Portland NORML News - Saturday, March 28, 1998

No Laws Broken In Strip Search ('The Oregonian'
Notes Fourth Amendment Protections For Middle School Girls In McMinnville,
Oregon, Have Been Abrogated By State Laws)

The Oregonian
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Letters to editor:
Web: http://www.oregonian.com/

March 28, 1998

No laws broken in strip search

Yamhill County district attorney bases his
decision on a state police report

By Dana Tims
and Inara Verzemnieks
of The Oregonian staff

McMINNVILLE - Yamhill County District
Attorney Brad Berry said Friday that no laws
were broken in the Jan. 29 strip search of girls at
Duniway Middle School, although mistakes in
judgment were made.

Forty-five girls between the ages of 12 and 14
were detained after thefts were reported in a
third-period gym class. Forty-four were students
in the class, but school officials also pulled a girl
out of another class who had been in the locker
room during the gym class period.

All but seven of the girls were strip-searched by
women police employees. A school district official
halted the process an hour after it began.

"I don't feel there was sufficient probable cause to
search these girls," Berry said. His decision not to
press charges was based on his review of a
1,000-page report the Oregon State Police
compiled on the Duniway incident at the
McMinnville Police Department's request.

Sixty people were interviewed in the state police
investigation, which lasted one month.

"Mistakes have been made," Berry said. "Now
we need to learn from those mistakes and move

The two adults who oversaw the search have
already faced some consequences for their roles.
McMinnville Police Officer Kent Stuart, who was
the school resource officer, was transferred to
patrol, and Pat Jenkins, Duniway vice principal,

But the city and the school district still face civil
repercussions as a result of the search: 11 people
have filed notices of their intent to sue.

Dean Klaus, whose daughter was among those
searched, said Berry's decision not to file charges
seemed like the right thing to do.

"I didn't think any good could have come out of
that," Klaus said, adding that he thinks the
investigation was important to help "bring the
facts forward."

The statute that Berry most closely examined for
possible violation was official misconduct, which
requires that someone knowingly performs an act
that constitutes an unauthorized exercise in
official duties, according to Oregon law.

Berry said there was no evidence of criminal
intent underlying the actions of Jenkins or Stuart.

According to the findings of the state police
investigation, this is what happened at Duniway
that day:

About 11 a.m., the girls discovered that their
locker room had been ransacked. Money, a
compact disc player, compact discs, candy,
jewelry and makeup were missing.

They told their gym teacher. She told Jenkins,
who summoned Stuart to come with her to the

Stuart asked the guilty party to come forward. No
one did. After consulting with Jenkins, Stuart told
the girls, "If you don't come forward you will be
strip-searched," Berry said.

Again, there was no response, and Stuart called
two women employees from the police
department to come and conduct the search.

The girls were led two-by-two into the locker
room, where they were asked to remove their
coats, shoes and socks. Jenkins stood by during
some of the searches and personally searched
many of the girls' backpacks and binders. Stuart
waited outside in the gym to make sure none of
the students left.

The women police employees patted the girls
down and asked them to shake out their bras,
unbutton their pants and quickly pull their
underwear down and up to see whether any of
the stolen items might fall out.

Two weeks earlier, a student was caught
committing a theft, and officials found stolen
money concealed in her underwear, Berry said.

"I'm confident that played a role in the action that
was ultimately taken," he said.

Well into the searches, Jenkins called Val Just,
personnel director for the McMinnville School
District, to tell her what was happening. After Just
consulted with the school district's attorney, she
called Jenkins back and told her to stop the

The remaining girls who were not physically
searched were taken to Jenkins' office and

None of the missing items was recovered.

McMinnville school district officials said Friday
they had no comment about Berry's findings.

The McMinnville Police Department also had no
comment. The department will use the state
police report in its own internal investigation.

San Jose Police Scan Pot Files ('San Francisco Chronicle'
Says San Jose Police Are Going Through Patients' Files Seized Monday
From The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center And Calling Doctors
To Determine Whether The Drug Was Indeed Recommended For Their Patients)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 10:07:42 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US CA: San Jose Police Scan Pot Files
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Maria Alicia Gaura, Chronicle Staff Writer
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998


Patients, Doctors Protest Probe Of Cannabis Center

San Jose police are going through patients' files seized this week from the
county's only medical marijuana clinic and calling doctors to determine
whether the drug was indeed recommended for their patients.

The seizure of the confidential records from the Santa Clara County Medical
Cannabis Center and the telephone calls to doctors listed in the files have
raised concerns among AIDS patients who fear being identified. Physicians
also say they worry about losing their federal licenses to prescribe drugs.

``What are they doing with our files?'' said one distraught patient, who
declined to give his name. ``Are we facing retaliation now? Will we face
surveillance? They have my address now, and my phone number, and
information about my illness.''

The man was one of many patients who gathered in protest at the year-old
Cannabis Center yesterday.

Police raided the center Monday and arrested executive director and
Cannabis Center co-founder Peter Baez, charging him with selling marijuana
to a patient without a valid physician's recommendation.

Baez disputes the charges, contending that three center workers had
received an oral recommendation from the patient's doctor.

Although the center was not closed Monday, police seized all patient files
and then returned copies of the files to center workers.

Baez complained yesterday that receipts were not provided for all of the
seized files, and that portions of some files that have been returned are

According to Baez, between 150 and 175 patients have told him they plan to
file a class-action lawsuit charging the San Jose Police Department with
violating the confidentiality of their medical records. Baez said he would
join the suit, as his personal medical files were also taken.

Police and officials from the Santa Clara County district attorney's office
confirmed that police investigators are looking through the approximately
270 client files seized from the center Monday and are calling doctors to
ask for confirmation of clients' illnesses, as well as to discover whether
they recommended marijuana use.

Deputy District Attorney Kristina Warcholski said yesterday that patients
should not be apprehensive about the fate of their files. ``We would like
the AIDS community to know that we are not interested in disseminating
information about anyone's medical history,'' she said. ``We are only
interested as to whether a violation of law concerning the dispensing of
medical marijuana took place.''

According to county health officer and AIDS physician Martin Fenstersheib,
the only ethical response a doctor could make to such a request is to say
that patient information is confidential. That is the response police have
gotten after calling his clinic this week, Fenstersheib said. ``Our No. 1
concern is that of patient confidentiality,'' Fenstersheib said. ``We have
to maintain the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship, and the
patient has to agree to the release of any information. ``In addition,
physicians are going to question who is on the other end of the phone,'' he
said. ``It could be anyone.''

Doctors are also fearful of the police calls because although state law
allows use of medical marijuana, the law is being challenged by the federal

Marijuana use for any purpose is still illegal under federal law, and
physicians must apply to the federal government to maintain their licenses
to prescribe drugs.

If doctors refuse to divulge the requested information, police will ask
patients to sign a release of their medical records, Warcholski said. And
if patients refuse to comply, ``We will try to otherwise determine whether
the person has a legitimate right to marijuana,'' she said.

This week's raid and arrest at the center came as a surprise to center
volunteers, who said the relationship between the center, the city and
local police has been unusually cooperative for the past year.

Baez and Jesse Garcia, the founders of the center, worked with city
officials to draft strict city rules governing the distribution of medical
marijuana after state voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized its
use. Center workers have successfully screened out not only five
prescription forgers but several federal agents who attempted to infiltrate
the operation.

Baez's arrest was shocking to clients and volunteers because he was
cooperating with the police investigation and also because he suffers from
colon cancer and had undergone surgery shortly before his arrest.

Baez and clients of the center are worried that the arrest and raid mean
that the support of city officials, which they once enjoyed, has evaporated.

``The government is getting between me and my doctor,'' said Don Altier, a
San Jose resident suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known
as Lou Gehrig's disease. ``No one should have access to my records without
my approval, and I'm going to tell my doctor not to release anything.''

Fenstersheib called the recent turn of events unfortunate. ``Things have
deteriorated now that the federal government is trying to close the medical
marijuana centers (in six California cities),'' he said. ``It's
particularly unfortunate because, at the bottom of this, it's the patients
who are going to suffer.''

Police spokesman Chris Moore said that police have no intention of stopping
the legitimate use of medical marijuana in San Jose. ``We are not denying
access to anyone,'' Moore said. ``We are doing our best as a city to make
sure it is done in an appropriate place and manner. But they've got to
follow the law, and we can't turn a blind eye to that.''

(c)1998 San Francisco Chronicle

Lawyer - Teen's Killers Called Him 'Narc' ('Orange County Register'
Says An Eyewitness Has Made A Statement Describing The Killing
Of A 17-Year-Old Boy Coerced Into Being An Informant By Police
In Brea, California)

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:05:40 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Lawyer: Teen's Killers Called Him 'Narc'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Author: Stuart Pfeifer and Tony Saavedra-OCR


The attorney for Chad MacDonald's mother says a 97-page police report
includes an eyewitness account of the youth's beating death.

The killers of Yorba Linda teen-ager Chad MacDonald called him "a
(expletive) narc" and made racial slurs while beating the youth at a
Norwalk drug house, the family's lawyer said Friday after reading Brea
police reports.

Attorney Lloyd Charton said the information - from a witness to MacDonald's
killing - was contained in 97 pages of police reports released Friday to
the 17-year-old's mother. Charton refused to give the documents to the
media, despite permission from a juvenile court judge and police
allegations that he was releasing only items favorable to his side.

Charton said at a news conference in Santa Ana that the documents also
disclose that a student told Brea police after MacDonald's body was found
March 3 that she had been warned to stay away from him because he had
fingered a separate Orange County methamphetamine lab and something bad was
going to happen.

The reports also said, according to Charton, that an Orange County
prosecutor told MacDonald on Feb. 19 that drug charges against him would
be dismissed if he completed one last undercover buy. Assistant District
Attorney John Conley said he was prohibited by laws that protect juvenile
privacy from confirming or denying the allegation.

Charton said records showed that MacDonald made one supervised buy as a
drug informant, gave information to police that led to the shutdown of a
meth lab and bought drugs on one occasion without police authorization.

Brea Police Chief William Lentini said Charton's information was slanted,
inaccurate and incomplete.

"He's releasing stuff piece-meal," Lentini said.

He said information in the reports indicated that MacDonald was killed for
other reasons and not because he had been a police informant, but that he,
too, was precluded from commenting at length. Lentini has said from the
beginning that MacDonald wasn't working for Brea when he went to the
Norwalk home.

Lawyer - Teen Was Trying For Last Deal ('Orange County Register'
Notes The Orange County District Attorney's Office
Had Also Coerced The 17-Year-Old Boy In Brea, California,
To Be An Informant Before He Was Tortured And Strangled
And His Girlfriend Raped And Shot)

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:22:18 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Lawyer: Teen Was Trying for Last Deal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Author: Stuart Pfeifer and Tony Saavedra-OCR


Confidentiality of juvenile proceedings prohibits comment from law
enforcement officials.

A prosecutor allegedly told Chad Allen MacDonald at a court hearing last
month that he would dismiss narcotics possession charges if the youth
completed another drug buy as a Brea police informant, a family lawyer said

The offer, which the lawyer said is outlined in police reports released to
MacDonald's family, is the first indication the Orange County District
Attorney's Office approved of the youth's informant work before he was
slain this month.

Attorney Lloyd Charton said he wouldn't publicly release the police file
because the reports could identify people who have cooperated with police
and others in the drug business. "These documents have things in it that
could get people hurt and I'm not doing it," the attorney said.

Assistant District Attorney John Conley said he could not comment on his
office's involvement because of state laws that require juvenile court
proceedings to remain confidential.

"The judge has put us in a situation where one side can talk and the other
can't and I'm very frustrated," Conley said. "Hopefully, early next week
we'll see if the judge will allow us to talk as well.

Charton's news conference was the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter
debate between MacDonald's family and Brea police on whether the
17-year-old's work as an informant led to his death. Police deny MacDonald
was working for them on the day he was killed.

Charton said that the youth agreed to work for police after he was arrested
Jan. 6 while driving in Yorba Linda with half an ounce of methamphetamine.

MacDonald disappeared March 1 after driving with his girlfriend to a
reputed drug house in Norwalk. The youth's tortured and strangled body was
found March 3 in a south Las Angeles alley.

Charton said the report indicated the accused Hispanic killers made racial
slurs while beating MacDonald and calling him "a (expletive) narc."

"Yeah, they said because he was a 'white guy,' but that's a red herring.
Chad was killed because he was a snitch," Charton said.

Brea police officials said Charton failed to release information that
showed other potential motives for MacDonald's death.

Brea police had petitioned presiding Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Owen for
permission to publicly release the police investigative file. But Owen,
instead, gave the documents to MacDonald's mother, as well as permission to
release what she wished.

Brea Police Chief William Lentini said the decision left him unable to
respond to Charton's allegations.

The judge "said he thought the mother had a surviving interest in the
information about Chad." Lentini said. "Clearly (Charton) will pick out the
information that is beneficial to his case."

Charton has not disputed that MacDonald was a drug user and methamphetamine
dealer in Yorba Linda. He has criticized police for not putting the teen
into the juvenile system, where he likely would been sentenced to a
six-month rehabilitation program instead of re-introducing him to the drug

On Feb. 19, when MacDonald appeared in court, Charton said the police
report shows that "Chad was told by the DA if you make another buy for the
detectives I will dump al the charges."

That night, at about 7:25 p.m., Brea police arrested him a second time for
possession of two grams of methamphetamine. MacDonald told the officers
that he was working as an informant for a Brea detective. The officers
released MacDonald to his mother and said the detective would contact him,
Charton said.

"Chad never heard from that officer again. There were no charges. There was
nothing ever done," Charton said.

Orange County Teen Informer Case Has Parallels (Lengthy
'Orange County Register' Article Notes The Chad MacDonald Case
In Brea, California, Is Just One Of Several Around The Country
In Which Teenage Informants Have Been Killed)

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:40:41 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: OC Teen Informer Case has Parallels
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 28 Mar 1998
Author: Stuart Pfeifer, Peter Larsen and Kim Christensen-OCR


Chad MacDonald's story is one of several in which families say informants
died or were at risk.

Gregory "Sky" Erickson was 15, an aspiring professional golfer from
Estherville, Iowa. Last May, he sat in a conference room with police and
prosecutors who wanted to make a deal.

Arrested during a traffic stop for allegedly possessing a small amount of
methamphetamine, Erickson could avoid prosecution by digging up information
on area drug dealers, recalled his father, Gregory Erickson.

A week later the teen-ager was found beaten and shot to death. His body had
been set on fire and dumped across the Minnesota state line.

"I feel responsible because I talked him into this," the elder Erickson
said. "There's just a lot of people that miss the hell out of him."

While police say the boy was killed over a drug debt, his father contends
he was slain because he had been an informant.

His story resembles one now playing out in Orange County involving the
death of a Yorba Linda teen-ager who was killed, his mother says, because
he had been a drug informant for Brea police.

Neither case is unique. From the Atlantic Coast to Silicon Valley, there
have been other situations involving juvenile informants, some that have
had deadly results:

A Roanoke, Va., teen-ager was slain by a man from whom the boy had bought
drugs as a police operative.

A San Jose youth was plucked from a county juvenile-detention hall to work
undercover for police on a bust that resulted in the death of one man and
the wounding of an officer.

While legal, the use of minors as police informants has drawn sharp
criticism from juvenile-justice advocates and experts on police conduct.

"I think it is improper, and I don't think they should be doing it," said
James J. Fyfe, a Temple University criminologist who has testified as an
expert witness in police-misconduct cases.

"The primary responsibility of the police is to protect lives," he said. "A
drug arrest is not worth putting a kid's life at risk."

Many police agencies don't condone the practice and say they don't employ
minors as snitches. But others argue that using juveniles is sometimes the
only way to infiltrate drug operations.

The controversial practice was thrust into the public spotlight after Chad
Allen MacDonald, 17, of Yorba Linda was tortured and strangled at a Norwalk
drug house earlier this month.

His mother alleges that in the weeks before his death he'd made drug buys
for Brea police to avoid prosecution on a methamphetamine charge.

Chief Bill Lentini says MacDonald was on his own the day he died. He would
neither confirm nor deny the boy's previous involvement with his
department, but said juveniles had made at least five drug buys for Brea
police investigations.

While many police officials say that minors are used sparingly if at all -
and almost always are required to have written permission from their
parents - several cases illustrate why the practice is controversial.


In the Iowa case, police ultimately arrested 10 people in connection with
Sky Erickson's killing. His father says they are people the 15-year-old
turned in to police.

"Do I think there should be an age limit for who can act as an informant?
Well, it's pretty obvious that a 15-year-old wasn't able to handle what
took place," Gregory Erickson said.

Clay County Attorney Mechael Zenor said there had bee "some discussion"
about the youth's providing authorities with information about drug
dealing, but that he died before he could act on that arrangement.

The suspects later told investigators it was revenge over a drug debt that
prompted the killing, Zenor said.

"The whole motive was that he owed a drug debt to these bad guys and he
didn't pay up." said Zenor, who is prosecuting Erickson's accused killers.
So far, six of the 10 have been convicted.

Had Sky Erickson been prosecuted as a juvenile after his first arrest, he
probably would have spent about sex months in juvenile custody the same
sentence MacDonald would have received.

Zenor doubts it would have prevented Erickson's death.

"Oh, come on," he said. "That would be a hell of a stretch to say if he had
gone to rehab he wouldn't have been killed. He would have still owed the
money when he got out, and the motivation was the money."


Sixteen years after Cecil Calloway was slain, his family still blames the
police who used the 16-year-old as an informant in Roanoke, Va.

"Even though he was streetwise, by him being that young I know he didn't
understand what could happen to him," said his sister, Jo Ann Calloway, 29.

Her family believes Cecil Calloway met police officers while he was in a
detention home for boys after getting nabbed for stealing and truancy.
After he got out, he began hanging out with a Roanoke vice officer named
Pete Sullivan.

Calloway said she believes her brother thought he was buying drugs for a
cop who wanted them for illegal personal use. Sullivan, now a sergeant,
said the boy knew police were using his information and drug buys to arrest

"He walked in and just volunteered," he said. "We didn't have any charges
on him, he wasn't working anything off; he just came in off the street and
wanted to help us. He just said he wanted to get the drugs off the street."

Cecil did a good job, he said, helping on the arrests of three or four
dealers. It was a job for which he was paid a small amount of money and in
which he took some measure of pride.

"We found out later that he was going around telling people he was a junior
narc," Sullivan said.

But it wasn't Cecil's bragging that led to his death, Sullivan said. It was
the fact that one of the dealers Cecil bought from followed him down the
street and saw him get into a car with two vice officers.

Robert Earl Rose, a nightclub owner known as Mr. E, heard that Cecil was
working for the cops. Rose had recently been arrested - not long after
selling drugs to Cecil - and police say he sought revenge.

Rose was convicted of shooting and bludgeoning the boy and dumping his body
on a remote stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. He died in prison in 1994
while serving a life sentence.

"It's a risk they take," Sullivan said of juvenile informants. "They know
it in the back of their minds. And we take every precaution we can with our
informants. We don't throw them to the wolves with their eyes closed.

I feel bad about it. But I don't fee responsible for it."

The Calloways sued the city, the Police Department and Sullivan for
$500,000, alleging they failed to protect Cecil. The suit was dismissed,
but police now require officers to get parental permission before using

"My brother, he was just flat out used," Jo Ann Calloway said.


In 1989, the mother of Robbie Williamson, 17, sued the city of Virginia
Beach, Va., after the teen-ager killed himself with drug overdose.

Dorothy Williamson alleged that police had used her son as an informant
without her permission and had failed to take into account his troubled
past. He was on probation at the time for theft and burglary, and had been
in out of a psychiatric treatment facility.

"If they had talked to his probation officer, taken the time to talk to me,
they would have found out how unstable Robbie was," she said in court

Police and city officials contended the boy volunteered and knew what he
was doing. If Robbie had been younger and less mature, they said, his
mother's permission would have been sought.

"Robbie was 17 at the time, and he was judged be the people he was working
with to be mature enough to make that decision on his own," said L.Steven
Emmert, a senior city attorney who added that the youth was used only as a
source of information, not as an undercover agent.

His mother's lawsuit contended that his status as an informer became known
to drug dealers through police negligence. Threatening phone calls began
the day after his information led to the arrests of several dealers, she

The family said in court that Robbie killed himself because of those
threats, Emmert said. The judge dismissed the case in 1992, ruling that the
boy's constitutional rights had not been violated.

His mother refiled her suit in state court, seeking $2.5 million. The city
settled it for $48,750 but admitted no liability.

Emmert said the city now uses juvenile informants only in "extremely
limited" situations, and only with parents' written consent. Detectives no
longer may use juveniles without a captain's approval.


Change has been proposed by legislators because of the MacDonald killing.

Assemblyman Scott Baugh, R-Huntington Beach, last week proposed emergency
legislation that would prohibit police from using juveniles in similar
cases. State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, has
called for a hearing before the Senate's Public Safety Committee.

Nationwide, there is no consensus on how or whether minors should be used
as police informants. Often, police department have no policy on the issue
until controversy arises.

That's what happened in Lexington, Ky. in the mid-1980s, after two teen-age
boys were used by police in a male prostitution sting.

A 16-year-old - who said he agreed to work after he was arrested for auto
theft - and his 14-year-old cousin posed as male prostitutes and were
picked up by a Lexington lawyer and driven to his apartment.

The older boy - whose mother had given he consent - wore a microphone so
police could listen to what happened. But before officers arrived the
younger boy - whose family knew nothing of the police operation performed
oral sex on the man for $20.

His mother later filed a lawsuit, seeking $12.5 million from 20 defendants.
It was settled out of court.

The mayor of Lexington called the undercover operation "a mistake" that
"sort of got out of hand" and issued strict guideline: police could use
juveniles only as a last resort and only with the approval of the public
safety commission, commonwealth and county attorneys, and a social worker.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police - with 16,200 members in
104 countries - has no specific policy position on the issue, said
spokeswoman Sara P. Johnson. Its model policy on confidential informants
recommends only that juveniles be used in accordance with department
policies and state laws.

However, a background paper on confidential informants warns law
enforcement agencies to exercise caution with juveniles and says it is
"essential" that two officers be present at meetings with juvenile
informants and that written consent forms be signed by a parent or legal

Some juvenile-justice advocates contend that minors should never be used.

"It is irresponsible to put someone at that age at that abount of risk,"
said Dan Macallair, associate director of the Center on Juvenile and
Criminal Justice, a nonprofit group in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

"The worst label, the most dangerous label that could be put on a kid in
some of these neighborhoods is 'a snitch' or 'a narc' or whatever word
they're using," Macallair said. "That alone can put a kid in serious

In the mid-1980s in San Jose, a 17-year-old Juvenile Hall inmate was
released to police investigating a drug and theft ring.

"They checked him out like a library book," said Scott Ewbank, a San Jose
lawyer and member of the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Commission.

The undercover operation went bad, sparking a shootout. The juvenile ducked
in time to dodge a bullet, but one officer was wounded and a suspect

Paul Lepak, a Santa Clara County deputy probation officer, said the use of
teen-age informants is simply too risky.

"You're basically putting a child in a situation that is dangerous from the
get-go," he said. "I can't imagine any agency wanting to do that. The
liability is just tremendous."

Ewbank said he will ask the commission to make sure that no Santa Clara
County agencies are using juvenile informants.

"I'm hoping that lesson from 13 years ago isn't forgotten," he said.

Democrats Consider Medical Pot (Longtime Marijuana Law Reform Activist
Carl Olsen Writes A Letter Recounting His Recent Successes
Working With The Iowa State Democratic Party
And Getting Them To Support A Medical Marijuana Platform)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 20:31:59 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Carl E. Olsen" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Democrats consider medical pot

This is a note to let you all know how much your efforts over the past few
years have made a difference in the way people think.

Today, I was elected to the state platform committee of the Iowa Democratic
Party. My purpose for being on the committee is to advance a platform
plank calling upon the federal government to allow the medical use of

At the county level, the chair of my subcommittee on government and law was
an attorney for the Des Moines Police Department. Another member of that
subcommittee was a legislative staff member of the Iowa Democratic
Legislative Caucus. My plank was adopted by that subcommittee without any
opposition. It was also adopted by the subcommittee on Health and Human

The chair of the county platform committee was a Des Moines police officer.
During debate on my platform plank, the only comment from the floor was
that it was a shame we couldn't be discussing complete legalization of
marijuana. My plank was adopted by the full committee and assigned the
position as the first plank in the government and law section of the Polk
County Democratic Platform.

I was elected to move on to the fourth congressional district platform
committee. At the district meeting, my plank was adopted without comment
and assigned to the second position in the government and law section,
directly behind a plank endorsing President Clinton's agenda as stated in
his State of the Union speech.

As the only member of the government and law subcommittee of the fourth
congressional district platform committee, I was given the task of
prioritizing the approximately 40 planks in my section of the district
platform document. Of course, I moved my plank ahead of Mr. Clinton
(making him number 2).

During the debate on my proposed changes, the acting chair of the district
platform committee (the same Des Moines police officer who chaired my
county platform committee) announced that the Democratic candidates had
asked that my plank be removed from the district platform. He also
mentioned that Iowa law recongizes the medical use of marijuana, and that
the states of California and Arizona had legalized the medical use of
marijuana in their states. He said that it would be better if the issue of
medical marijuana was deferred until two years from now, because there
would be a better voter turn-out in a presidential election year.

There was some heated debate at that point as several members of the
committee wanted to know if all controversial issues would be removed from
the district and state platforms. Some questioned whether the Democratic
Party stood for anything. One woman (who was also elected to the state
platform committee) almost broke down into tears as she described a
19-year-old relative who had died from cancer, and how his father had to
become a criminal just to get him marijuana to relieve his nausea and
vomiting from chemotherapy treatments.

I described the situation of a Waterloo, Iowa, man, who was arrested for
possession of 3 ounces of marijuana and given a 10-year prison sentence
which was suspended for a 10-year term of probation. He was accused of
violating his probation for using marijuana, but an Iowa district court
judge ruled that the Iowa law protected his use of medical marijuana after
his doctor testified that marijuana was the only medicine that worked to
relieve his pain.

A motion to strike my plank was soundly defeated by a voice vote (about 80%
to 90% in favor of keeping it in the platform), and my medical marijuana
plank remains the number one priority in the government and law section of
the Fourth Congressional District Platform of the Iowa Democratic Party.

As you can tell, there is going to be considerable debate on this issue as
it moves to the state platform committee, and possibly to the state
convention. I can expect opposition from the candidates both at the state
platform committee meetings and on the floor of the state convention,
although I have a feeling it will survive at both. I will be called upon
to defend my plank. I ask that you pray for me to be articulate and

I want to tell you that I was simply overwhelmed by the support I got from
my fellow rank and file Democrats on this issue. You all deserve thanks
for the tremendous work you've done in educating the public on this issue.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts. I wish I could
name you all, but there are just too many of you to count. You all know
who you are and what this means to all of us.

Peace and blessings my brothers and sisters.

Carl Olsen

Post Office Box 4091
Des Moines, Iowa 50333
(515) 262-6957 voice & fax

NORML News archived at

$4 Million Plan Targets Meth ('Des Moines Register' Says Iowa Democrats,
Accusing The GOP Of Dragging Its Feet While Methamphetamine Use Increases
Across The State, This Week Proposed A $4 Million Plan
Targeting The Crank Market)

Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 18:50:07 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US IA: $4 Million Plan Targets Meth
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Carl E. Olsen" 
Source: The Des Moines Register
Author: Shirley Salemy, Register Staff Writer
Note: Reporter Shirley Salemy can be reached at salemys@news.dmreg.com
Contact: letters@news.dmreg.com
Webform: http://www.dmregister.com/letter.html
Website: http://www.dmregister.com/
Pubdate: Saturday, March 28, 1998


Democrats say the GOP drags its feet while the drug spreads across Iowa.

With less than a month remaining in the legislative session, an 11th-hour
issue is percolating at the Statehouse: Iowa's devastating methamphetamine

Democrats this week proposed a $4 million plan to combat the growing
problem plaguing communities from Sioux City to Muscatine. They argued the
Republicans controlling the Legislature have done nothing meaningful to
attack the problem.

Now House Republicans hope to counter that measure by developing
legislation that takes a "comprehensive approach," said Rep. Jeffrey
Lamberti, R-Ankeny, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The rush of legislation was preceded by revelations that the vast majority
of methamphetamine in Iowa is not home-cooked, but funneled through a
sophisticated pipeline from Mexico and California.

Iowa's Drug of Choice

The drug - also known as crank, ice and speed - first flourished with the
motorcycle gangs of the 1960s and 1970s. These days, its cheap, highly
addictive, long-lasting fix is the choice of Iowa drug users, no matter
their income, age, gender or where they live.

The details of the House Republicans' proposal are still being worked out,
Lamberti said. But it likely will affect meth users, dealers and suppliers.
He also said the GOP would have to work within existing budget targets.

Under consideration are mandatory minimum sentences for meth dealers and an
outlaw of appeal bonds for convicted dealers, he said.

The proposal by Democrats includes money to create a 15-member "meth strike
force" to further investigate clandestine meth labs and drug manufacturers.
It also would establish grants so local law enforcement authorities could
increase training, staff and equipment.

Chances Aren't Good

In addition, the plan would boost funding for meth addiction treatment and
target teen-agers to keep them from using the drug.

The prognosis for the Democrats' proposal has not been good.

Sen. Dennis Black, D-Grinnell, said he unsuccessfully offered it as an
amendment to the health and human-rights budget.

"It's high time that Iowa government leaders develop some courage and
declare an all-out war on methamphetamine," Black said.

But in response to the Democrats' plan, Lamberti said: "Dumping more money
is not going to solve the problem. It's not a money problem. It's

Gov. Terry Branstad acknowledged recently more can be done to fight meth,
but he stands by his record.

"You never do enough, dealing with something this dangerous and serious,"
Branstad said. "But I would stack up what we've done in Iowa against any
state in the country. We've been very aggressive in education, public
information and tougher penalties."

Branstad cited the drug-testing bill passed this session as the most
significant this year to fight meth. Users have said that if drug testing
had been done at their workplace, they wouldn't have gotten tangled with
the drug, he said.

Drug-Abuse Summit

But on March 19, Branstad sent a letter to Alan Leshner, director of the
National Institute on Drug Abuse, inviting him to a town meeting in Des
Moines this fall to explore other steps.

Charles Larson, the state's drug czar, said one important step could be
locking up meth dealers and manufacturers after their conviction. If they
are allowed out on appeal bonds, many keep cooking the drug and teaching
others to do the same, he said.

"That would send an immediate signal to the drug community: You're out of
business," Larson said.

He said mandatory minimum sentences also are necessary to break people's
addictions and the groups that make and deal the drug.

He hopes the random drug-testing legislation recently signed by the
governor also will stymie the meth problem.

More investigators also might help.

Iowa is part of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which
means federal money is funneled to the state to fight meth manufacturing,
importation and use.

According to Larson's office, drug task forces operate throughout the
state, covering 74 counties and 80 percent of the population. The Iowa
Department of Public Safety's Clandestine Lab Response Team works to bust
local manufacturers and clean up hazardous materials that are left behind.

But House Speaker Ron Corbett, R-Cedar Rapids, said news of the
sophisticated meth pipeline means the state might need to focus on adding
drug-enforcement officers.

Harsher Penalties

Corbett also is interested in stiffer penalties for users unless they tell
who sold them the drug.

"That way we can start moving up the ladder to the drug kingpin or the main
people involved in the organization," he said.

During the summer, he wants to study the state's substance-abuse treatment
system and how it is faring under the added pressure of meth addicts.

Democrats, meanwhile, plan to keep pressing the issue and hope to win
approval of their proposal.

"We're going to keep the pressure on," said House Minority Leader David
Schrader, D-Monroe.

On Monday, away from the Statehouse spotlight, U.S. attorneys in Iowa and
other officials will inaugurate a public-information campaign called "Life
or Meth."

The campaign, developed by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area,
includes an educational video, crank hot line and television spots. One TV
announcement shows what appears to be a kid dancing to music, said Stephen
Rapp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa. In reality, the
teen-ager is convulsing on the floor next to a toilet.

"We're trying to get out there and make this drug unacceptable," Rapp said.


Iowa lawmakers this year and last have introduced bills related to the
growing problem of methamphetamine use. Here are some of the measures that
became law, and others that are proposals:

Someone 18 or older who manufactures methamphetamine in the presence of a
minor shall be sentenced up to an additional five years in confinement.

Judges are permitted to impose a longer jail term for someone who
manufactures crank in hotel rooms. Enacted.

Random and unannounced tests of workers for use of alcohol or other drugs.

State officials would report to the Legislature and the governor the extent
of methamphetamine use in the state, options for early intervention and the
availability of treatment for substance abuse and mental illness by Dec.
15, 1998. Proposed.

Someone 18 or older who unlawfully manufactures and delivers meth to
someone younger than 18 would be guilty of a class A felony and sentenced
to life in prison. Proposed.

Drivers would be considered operating a vehicle while intoxicated if they
have any amount of a controlled substance or other drug not prescribed
present in their system. Proposed.

Suburban Family Terrorized As Cops Raid Wrong House
(Unsourced News Article Says More Than A Dozen Illinois State Police
Broke Down The Doors Of A Woman's Home In Harvey, Illinois,
Ignited A 'Flash-Bang' Device, Handcuffed Her 13-Year-Old Son
And Peppered Her 7-Year-Old Daughter With Questions Before They Realized
They Had The Wrong Address - Harvey Police Chief Philip Hardiman Says,
'I Don't Know If We'd Apologize - It's Not Unusual For That To Happen')

Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 05:44:47 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Cops raid "wrong" house in Chicago suburbs

Suburban family terrorized as cops raid wrong house

March 28, 1998


LaDana Ford said she was awakened early Friday morning when more than a
dozen police officers kicked in the front and back doors of her Robbins
home, stormed inside and ``stuck flashlights and guns in my face.''

Then Harvey police and Illinois state troopers ignited a ``flash-bang''
device in the family's hallway for diversion, searched closets for drugs,
handcuffed her 13-year-old son and peppered her 7-year-old daughter with
questions, Ford said.

Then they realized they were at the wrong address.

``We were terrified,'' said Ford, 31, a security guard who lives with her
two children in the south suburb. ``I kept screaming, `You hit the wrong
house. You hit the wrong house.' But they didn't want to hear anything I
had to say.''

On Friday, Harvey Police Chief Philip Hardiman confirmed that Ford's home
was mistakenly raided during an investigation by his department. ``We make
out search warrants when we get information from drug informants,'' he
said. ``Sometimes they give us incorrect information, and warrants are made
out for one house when we're really looking for the house next door.

``I think that's what happened here,'' he said. ``That happens from time to
time in any police department.''

Hardiman defended his officers, who were working with a special drug unit
of the State Police.

When asked if the department would apologize to Ford, Hardiman replied. ``I
don't know if we'd apologize. It's not unusual for that to happen
sometimes, but I will say it doesn't happen that often.''

Hardiman said he does not know when officers realized they were at the
wrong address, but said the department would pay for damage to Ford's home.

``I know they realized that there were no drugs there,'' he said.

Ford said the experience was terrifying, and that officers refused to show
her the warrant.

``It was hard seeing my son sitting in his room on the bed in handcuffs,''
she said. ``He's 13, and they wouldn't let me talk to him. ... ''

``I asked both of my kids if they wanted to stay home from school [Friday]
because of the raid,'' she said. ``They both went to school. They're afraid
to be here.''

Legalism (List Subscriber Describes Doug Husak's Theory Of Social Psychology,
That Prohibition And Other Socially Divisive Edicts Are Created And Maintained
To Enhance The Solidarity Of Conformists -
Like The Proposed Flag-Burning Amendment, It Reinforces A Need
To Separate 'Us' From 'Them')

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 06:05:13 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Robert.Goodman@godi.adirondack.fidonet.org (Robert Goodman)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: legalism
Organization: Paradigm Shift East * USR 33.6K x2

alive@pacifier.com (Arthur Livermore) said in his copyrighted

> Drug warriors must be closet drug pushers. Why else would they
> support a system of drug prohibition that creates a subculture
> that perpetuates the "specialness" of marijuana?

Well, there's the phenomenon that Doug Husak describes as
"legalism". This is the idea that there's a motivation to
promulgate such edicts just so as to produce a subculture. Run
it up the flagpole and see who salutes and who doesn't.

The result is, or attempts, to enhance solidarity among both
the conformists and the non-conformists, by better being able to
identify both. Both the subculture and the regular culture
benefit in some sense by this means, although not all individuals
in those subcultures and regular subcultures so benefit.

I don't know whether readers outside the USA are aware of
this, but in this country for decades there's been probably the
starkest example of legalism fought over -- prohibition of
desecration (as by burning) of the American flag. There's not
much protest value in flag burning unless it's illegal, and
there's no reason for it to be illegal except its symbolic
function -- that is, legalism. So both flag burners and those
who revile flag burners would benefit by its illegality.

I believe the creation and isolation of a subculture to be a
major reason for prohibition. The prohibitionists will claim to
revile such a subculture, but they desire its existence. So,
probably, do many drug users. Of course, so do the drug
purveyors, but that's from pecuniary interest, not legalism.


Fidonet: Robert Goodman 1:2625/141
Internet: Robert.Goodman@godi.adirondack.fidonet.org

'Secret Heartbeat Of America' (Bulletin From The Militia Of Montana
About A Video Documentary By Newport Beach, California,
Investigative Reporter And Producer Daniel Hopsicker,
About Federally-Protected Illegal Drug Smuggling
Through Then-Governor Bill Clinton's Arkansas)
Link to Wormscan files
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 00:55:03 -0800 From: Paul Freedom (nepal@teleport.com) To: Cannabis Patriots (cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com) Subject: CanPat - [Fwd: [mom-l] Secret Hearbeat of America] Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com Hi cannabis patriots. There's some noise here so read below. The Militia of Montana is selling a video about the CIA, Oliver North, Bill Clinton, Arkansas, cocaine smuggling stuff. So take it for what it's worth. PF *** Mar 1998 13:34:46 -0800 (PST) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 12:51:27 -0800 From: "Randy L. Trochmann" (nox2128@montana.com) Organization: A.P.I.C. Service Subject: [mom-l] Secret Hearbeat of America Subject: Secret Heartbeat Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 18:26:06 EST From: uaicms@juno.com (UNAmerican Activities Inv Comm.) "Will 'Fornigate' uncover the REAL Clinton scandals?" Newport Beach, California. Investigative reporter/producer Daniel Hopsicker, whose 2-hour TV special "The Secret Heartbeat of America" exposes federally-protected drug smuggling through then-Governor Bill Clinton's Arkansas, announced plans recently to confront Congressional lawmakers with evidence that Clinton was directly involved in drug smuggling through the Mena Arkansas airport during the 1980s. "This intern business is part of the cover-up," states Hopsicker. "Our investigation into drug smuggling at Mena revealed eyewitnesses willing to testify that Clinton visited the airport alone while Governor and had meetings with Barry Seal, the most famous cocaine smuggler of the '80s, who imported $5 billion worth of cocaine into the United States." Hopsicker was told by a well-placed source in Hollywood that the contents of his 2-hour show were too explosive to air in America. "He told me, 'This won't air while Clinton's President," states Hopsicker, "which came as a shock, since I'm also the producer of a business news show which has been airing internationally on NBC." That left him no choice, he states, but to "bring our show to the American people any way we can. "We've got a true story - an all-too-real true story--of some actual American heroes who came face-to-face with a powerful criminal organization whose influence extended into the highest reaches of our state and federal government," says Hopsicker. "Barry Seal, Oliver North, and Maj. Gen. Richard Secord all participated in a massive CIA-protected drug smuggling operation through the Mena Arkansas airport while Clinton was governor--and there is persuasive evidence that the operation helped place him in the White House." The 6-month investigation exposed links between smuggler and CIA agent Barry Seal and Oliver North's infamous "Enterprise", the subject of the Iran/Contra Congressional hearings in the late 1980s and includes numerous startling links between Clinton and former President George Bush. "Drug smuggler Seal was in direct and frequent contact with George Bush. In fact, when he died in a hail of gunfire, he had Bush's unlisted phone number in his blood-stained pants. Now we've been able to tie Clinton to Seal's Mena operation, and prove CIA involvement in cocaine smuggling in support of the Contras, we feel it is imperative to the country that Clinton not be allowed to resign over his already-documented sexual indiscretions, without these far more serious charges being given an airing." To order the video send $20.00 + $3.00 shipping to: Militia of Montana, P.O. Box 1486, Noxon, MT 59853 *** Join the Militia of Montana Email Alert List by sending a message to: mom-l-info@logoplex.com with the words "subscribe mom-l" in the body of the message. If you have any problems please contact me and I will do this for you. *** SUPPORT A PATRIOT -- BUY FROM A PATRIOT Buy -- Sell -- Trade on the Patriots Internet Marketplace Advertise on the American Patriot Internet Classified Service http://www.logoplex.com/classifieds classifieds@logoplex.com *** LOGOPLEX -- the Patriot Internet Resource Center CREATE YOUR INTERNET PRESENCE ON LOGOPLEX For information on getting your message, product or service on the Internet, send your request to: randy@logoplex.com http://www.logoplex.com/LogoPlex/info.html

Ex-Chief In Mexico Charged With Drug Ties, Reports Say ('Reuters'
Says Adrian Carrera Fuentes, Former Director Of The Federal Judicial Police,
Mexico's Equivalent To The FBI, Was Detained Friday
And Arraigned Without Bail On Charges Of Being On The Payroll
Of The Arellano Felix Drug Gang)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:19:11 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Mexico: Ex-chief in Mexico Charged With Drug Ties, Reports Say
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Dick Evans 
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998


MEXICO CITY - A former Mexican police chief was arrested yesterday on
charges of being on the payroll of the Arellano Felix drug gang, local
media reported. Adrian Carrera Fuentes, former director of the Federal
Judicial Police, equivalent to the FBI, was detained early in the morning
and arraigned without bail, said national broadcaster Radio Red.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said she could not confirm
the reports. Neither could the office of the top prosecutor for the Federal
District. Local reports said Carrera Fuentes had long been suspected of
having links to the Arellano Felix brothers, who allegedly operate out of
Tijuana. The Arellano Felix clan is one of Mexico's most-wanted fugitives
and is also on the FBI's most-wanted list.

Carrera Fuentes would be one of the highest-level drug arrests in Mexico
since its anti-drug chief, General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was held last
year on suspicion of protecting the rival Juarez cartel. Meanwhile, the US
Senate voted 54-45 yesterday against a Republican-led resolution proposed
by four senators that sought to revoke the approval Clinton gave last month
in his annual evaluation of other countries' anti-drug efforts.

Proponents of the resolution complained Mexico had failed to stop drug
cartels smuggling billions of dollars of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs
into the United States.

If Emery Was Mayor, 'Weed' Not Be Bored ('London Free Press' In London,
Ontario, Interviews Former Resident Marc Emery,
Now A Famous Marijuana-Law Reform Activist In Vancouver, British Columbia,
Who Says He'd Move Back To London If Elected Mayor)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Column: If Emery was mayor, 'weed' not be bored
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 08:07:14 -0800
Newshawk: creator@hempbc.com
Source: London Free Press
Contact: letters@lfpress.com
Pubdate: March 28, 1998

If Emery was mayor, 'weed' not be bored

Don't groan. Marc Emery says he'll come back to London if we want him.
The former downtown business owner and infamous gadfly loves the place.

"If they make me mayor, I'll come back.''

He's not joking.

You might think he'd be sick of us. Find us provincial, parochial,
small-minded. Not at all.

At least not any more than the rest of the continent. He says Vancouver,
his adopted home since 1993, is the most broad-minded community in North
America. Now, even they seem to be tiring of him. The latest straw,
though not probably the last, is an article profiling his businesses in
the April 2 edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Emery may be old news to Londoners, but he's making headlines in
newspapers across the continent, not the least of which was the Wall
Street Journal, which has featured him, complete with picture, on the
front page.

Until the recent Rolling Stones profile, Emery ran a series of businesses
in Vancouver, which he says grossed about $3.5 million a year and
generated about $80,000 or $90,000 in salary for him. Once employing as
many as 43 people, they include:

* Cannabis Canada, a magazine about marijuana, hemp and all things related.

* Cannabis Cafe, a restaurant he says cost him $250,000 to build in
Vancouver, which is famous because customers smoke pot there with apparent
impunity. Just like Amsterdam, I guess. Emery says such places will spring
up across the country soon, even in London, despite the fact marijuana
possession is still an offence in Canada.

* The Little Grow Shop, a store for marijuana and hemp cultivators.

* Hemp *.C., a retail store known in street slang as a "head shop.''

* A cannabis seed mail order business, which generates a great deal of

* The Hemp *.C. legal assistance centre, which generates no income and
offers free legal help to people charged with marijuana-related activities.

Emery, who has been charged 17 times for such things as assaulting a
police officer and drug trafficking, has been forced to detach himself
from all the businesses, he says.

Vancouver city hall would have refused to renew his business licence if he
had not made himself scarce, he says. Pressure from south of border

The Rolling Stone article seemed to be the catalyst, but, he says, U.S.
justice officials were exerting pressure, partly due to the fact his cafe
has become a popular tourist destination and partly because he took out
full-page ads in Vancouver papers advertising it to world leaders in
Vancouver for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum last year.

Despite his absence, however, he vows the operations, like those he left
in London, will prevail. "I only leave successful businesses.''

There are those who say there is a fine line between genius and insanity.
You can't help thinking that while talking to Emery. He speaks non-stop in
eloquent staccato, railing against politicians, bureaucrats, police,
vested interests, the justice system, the status quo and the endless
meddling by city hall in the affairs of business.

It's just like the old days. As owner of City Lights book shop on Richmond
Street, an organization with which he still maintains a business
relationship, and the founder of the Mystic Bookshop on Dundas Street
east, he was forever railing against government and the downtown business
association, of which he was an unwilling member.

In his London days, before he left for Indonesia in the early '90s
complaining of a "deep-seated dissatisfaction" with the country's social
system, he flouted the Sunday shopping laws and railed against censorship.
He was convicted in 1992 for selling copies of a 2 Live Crew album the
courts said was obscene.

He protested London's bylaws regarding sidewalk signs. He condemned the
school system and pulled his two kids out, educating them at home instead.
Both are now grown. One plans to take sailing lessons. Another is
travelling in Asia. His wife, tiring of her husband's public profile, left
him last month.

His next move is anyone's guess. For those who either lament his loss or
believe we are well rid of him, consider this. "I like London. I could
come back. Never rule that out." As mayor, he would certainly make things

Paul can be e-mailed at pberton@lfpress.com. Letters to the editor should
be sent to letters@lfpress.com.

US May Boost Military Aid To Colombia's Anti-Drug Effort ('Washington Post'
Says The Clinton Administration, Alarmed By Recent Setbacks
To The Colombian Military, Is Considering Increasing US Military Assistance
Within The Framework Of The War On The Illegal Drug Industry)

Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 06:56:20 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: WP: U.S. May Boost Military Aid to Colombia's Anti-Drug Effort
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: Washington Post
Author: Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998


Alarmed by recent setbacks to the Colombian military in its decades-old war
against rebel armies, Clinton administration officials are considering
increasing U.S. military assistance to the government within the framework
of cooperation between the two countries to fight drug trafficking.

The administration is debating whether to supply sophisticated
communications equipment, intelligence support and training to the military
in the southern half of Colombia, where thousands of guerrillas are
protecting drug traffickers and may be engaged in production themselves,
according to officials from the National Security Council and State and
Defense departments.

Officials are also weighing a Colombian request to buy 12 Cobra attack
helicopters, which would make Colombia the first South American country to
receive sophisticated U.S. weapons since President Clinton lifted a ban on
such sales last year. Regional U.S. military commanders support the request
"because they need it," said one officer.

U.S. officials say that military aid would be aimed at helping Colombian
forces fight drug traffickers who have made the country the world's largest
producer of coca leaves and cocaine, accounting for an estimated 80 percent
of cocaine sold in the United States. But as ties between the Colombian
guerrillas and drug traffickers have grown tighter in the last year,
national security officials acknowledge that the line between fighting drug
traffickers and fighting rebels has become blurry.

"We continue to have a counternarcotics focus but are sensitive to the fact
there's a connection" between drug traffickers and insurgents, a senior
national security official said. "But we are still not ready to join the
military side . . . in a way that is unconnected to counternarcotics."

Nevertheless, 726 Colombian troops received training -- most of it not
designated as counternarcotics courses -- from the Defense Department's
Special Operations Command in fiscal 1996, according to Pentagon documents.
The instruction -- including small unit river and coastal operations and
light infantry techniques -- was conducted by Army special operations
forces and Navy SEALS, according to the documents. The training, which
continues this year, was exempted from restrictions at the time of U.S.
military aid to Colombia.

The efforts to help the Colombian armed forces reflect changing U.S.
attitudes about the gravity of the threat to the government posed by
drug-financed rebels. U.S. aid to Colombia's military has been virtually
nonexistent since the late 1980s because the Colombian army, as well as the
right-wing paramilitary groups that operate with its support, has been
implicated in scores of civilian massacres, disappearances and cases of

Aid to the military was formally cut off in 1996 because U.S. officials
believe President Ernesto Samper took $6.1 million from the Cali cocaine
cartel for his 1994 presidential campaign. The government was also
"decertified" by the Clinton administration after U.S. officials concluded
that it was not cooperating fully in fighting drug traffickers.

Last summer, a deal was struck between the two countries that would allow
military aid to resume if Colombian army units would participate in
screening to identify and remove human rights violators. Although the
administration declined to certify Colombia again this year, Clinton
decided to waive economic and aid sanctions on national security grounds.

Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. counternarcotics aid in South
America, including 200 U.S. troops stationed mostly at radar sites that
monitor suspected drug-carrying aircraft.

U.S. assistance to the military and to the Colombian National Police --
which, unlike the military, was not barred from receiving aid -- tripled
from $28.5 million in 1995 to nearly $100 million in 1997, much of it
transfers, repairs or upgrades of helicopters needed in the jungle as well
as field gear and counternarcotics training, according to State Department

The Defense Department also is sending Colombia $30 million worth of
equipment, including three Boston Whaler-type boats, 20 UH-1H helicopter
hulks for spare parts, 15 utility vehicles and 1.1 million rounds of
ammunition for weapons recently mounted on helicopters. Starting next year,
up to $20 million a year is earmarked for riverine training by Navy SEALS.

The Defense Department also is set to send the Colombian military $2.5
million in used radio equipment, 1,000 M-16A1 rifles and 500 M-60 machine
guns. This and other equipment, however, have been held up because Colombia
has failed to move quickly to screen members of its army brigades for human
rights abuses, the stipulation the Clinton administration attached to
military aid last summer.

While this conditional aid has gone to the Colombian navy and air force,
only one brigade-size unit of the 125,000-troop Colombian army has been
cleared to receive help, U.S. officials said. U.S. officials are waiting
for transfers of two alleged human rights violators before authorizing
equipment for a second brigade.

Some U.S. officials say they feel a sense of urgency to assist the military
after a startling defeat of government troops this month in the southern
province of Caqueta. On March 1 a company of troops from the 52nd Battalion
encountered dozens of guerrillas while looking for drug labs and attempted
to pursue them. As a second army company moved in to support the troops,
400 to 600 rebels surrounded both companies, killing 62 soldiers and taking
30 prisoners.

The rebels were from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the
largest of Colombia's insurgent groups, with about 11,000 members. Along
with the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has 7,000 adherents, the
rebel armies control an estimated 40 percent of the country. Army-backed
paramilitaries, who are often aligned with drug traffickers, are believed
to control up to 15 percent. With drug profits, the guerrillas are
self-sustaining and do not receive outside assistance, U.S. defense
analysts said.

But officials at the State Department, which has been more cautious about
increasing U.S. involvement in one of the world's most violent countries,
are more skeptical and recently opposed the transfer of three Black Hawk
helicopters to the Colombian National Police. "We are really not interested
in getting sucked into this," said State Department official.

Human rights activists here and in Colombia are fighting the transfer of
more helicopters and equipment because of reports that troops have strafed
towns in areas after guerrilla advances, said Colletta Youngers, senior
associate at the Washington Office on Latin America. They also are
concerned that the United States will become embroiled in a
counterinsurgency reminiscent of the divisive U.S. support of the
government of El Salvador in the 1980s.

But defense officials and some Republicans in Congress say those concerns
are overblown and that Colombia is on the verge of losing the war
altogether, which they say could result in a narcotics-dominanted state.

"Is anyone interested in an El Salvador, Vietnam-style ramp-up? No," said
one defense official involved in the discussions. "But we are dissatisfied
with the shackles we're putting on ourselves . . . the training is so
little it borders on irrelevant."

(c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Thousands Ready To Roll Up For Cannabis March (Britain's Independent'
Gives A Last-Minute Update On Today's March Through London
In Support Of Decriminalisation)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:07:52 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Thousands Ready To Roll Up For Cannabis March
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Martin Cooke 
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Author: Graham Ball
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Mail: The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England


REPRESENTATIVES of Britain's leading drug-reform groups met last night to
form a new front to fight the drug laws on the eve of the London cannabis

Danny Kushlick, director of the drug-policy group Transform said: "It is
the first time all the different groups in Britain have agreed to combine
in this way." The plan is for the new alliance to co-ordinate its
activities to create maximum impact. "The three main areas of co-operation
will be in lobbying MPs, building membership and working with the media,"
Mr Kushlick said.

The meeting, held at the Quaker International Centre in Euston, was
attended by more than 50 delegates. It was held last night because so many
representatives were in London for today's Independent on Sunday march in
favour of the decriminalisation of cannabis which begins in Hyde Park at
noon and goes on to a rally at Trafalgar Square. Thousands of people are
expected to attend.

"We will discuss the possibility of fielding a candidate at a forthcoming
European parliamentary election," Mr Kushlick said, "and organise a series
of events all over Britain in June to raise awareness of the United Nations
General Assembly special session on anti-drug policies". Groups represented
at last night's meeting included Transform, Release, The Green Party, the
Drug Policy Review Group, the CLCIA, UKCIA and the Scottish Campaign to
Legalise Cannabis.

Letter From The Editor (Rosie Boycott, Editor Of Britain's
'Independent On Sunday,' Explains Why She Believes In
The Newspaper's Campaign For Cannabis Decriminalisation
And Will Be Out There Today Marching Through London
In Support Of The Cause)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 14:53:35 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: UK: PUB LTE: Letter from the Editor
Newshawk: Martin Cooke 
Source: The Independent
Author: Rosie Boycott
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998


TODAY, I shall be out on the streets of central London marching for a cause
I believe in. While at the Independent on Sunday, I decided to launch a
campaign for the decriminalisation of cannabis - not heroin, cocaine, or
other hard drugs but pot, which has very few harmful side effects and even
better, can alleviate the suffering of multiple sclerosis sufferers. At
noon today, MS groups will join me, MPs, MEPs and supporters of our
campaign as we wend our way from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. It will be
an intensely exciting occasion, one that marks a high-point in our
six-month effort. But there is still much work to be done - while studies
released by the World Health Organisation and British Medical Association
point to the relatively benign affects of cannabis versus other drugs, most
notably alcohol, and many public figures from the media, medicine, science,
the arts, even the police have voiced their support, the Government refuses
to budge.

That is why we are marching today, and, hopefully, at last, Tony Blair and
Jack Straw will listen and understand this is one campaign that is not
going to go away.

THIS week, The Independent invited the main party leaders to sign up to the
Prime Minister's powerful statement attacking racism which he delivered in
Southwark 10 days ago. Here at The Independent we applauded his sentiments.
So too did William Hague and Paddy Ashdown, who echoed his views. As our
political editor, Anthony Bevins, wrote in the paper on Wednesday, racism
is endemic in our society. Barely had Tony written this than the
Director-General of the Prison Service, Richard Tilt, said that
Afro-Caribbean people were more prone to suffer "positional asphyxia" than
white people. There were "physiological differences as well," he added. Mr
Tilt did at least admit that there was racism in the Prison Service, but
attitudes like his - which reminded me of the Bell Curve controversy in
America - show how urgent the party leaders' commitment truly is. As a
newspaper, The Independent has always stood firmly behind its belief in
racial, cultural and sexual freedom for all. But we can never be
complacent. As Mr Hague said, "more needs to be done to bring down the
barriers of ignorance and mistrust which still exist in parts of our society."

SO, Canadian teenagers have gone wild for Prince William. Ten thousand
hysterical girls turned out to see him as "Wills Mania" swept through
Vancouver. In my teenage daughter's life, William's reign as the king of
pin-ups lasted for only a part of the autumn term following Diana's death.
It ended abruptly with the arrival of Leonardo DiCaprio, star of Romeo and
Juliet, Titanic and now The Man In The Iron Mask. William, as far as my
daughter is concerned, is history. She is, however, disgusted by her
mother's poor judgement: three years ago, while I was editing Esquire, I
went to a party at Giorgio Armani's. As I sat down to eat, a young man
flopped into the seat beside me. His name was Leonardo DiCaprio. His blond
hair was hanging over his eyebrows, his jeans and trainers decidedly
scruffy. "Put me on the cover of your magazine. I'm going to be the most
famous actor in the world within three years." At that point his fame was
limited to his ( totally brilliant) performance in What's Eating Gilbert
Grape. I didn't put him on the cover. My daughter cannot believe it.

LAST Monday, the Independent reporter Steve Goodwin set off to climb
Everest. The office clapped as he departed for his flight from London to
Kathmandu. As someone who read Jon Krakauer's extraordinary account of
climbing Everest, Into Thin Air, when it first appeared as an extract in
America's Outside magazine, I am moved and impressed by Steve's guts.
Technology (solar panels, satellite phones, digital cameras) permitting,
you'll be able to follow the ascent day by day in the pages of The
Independent over the next 10 weeks. He has our very best wishes.


Why We're Marching Today (Staff Editorial In Britain's
'Independent' Says Today, Thousands Of People Will March In London
To Show Their Support For Decriminalising Cannabis,
A Campaign Begun Last September By The 'Independent on Sunday' -
By 4 PM This Afternoon, Those Who March Will Have Earned Their Place
In The History Of The Struggle To Decriminalise Cannabis)

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 19:12:42 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Why We're Marching Today
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 1998
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Mail: Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/

Why we're marching today

Last September, the 'Independent on Sunday' called for the
decriminalisation of cannabis. Today, thousands will be in London to add
their support. Graham Ball recalls how the campaign took off

Today, for the first time in 30 years, the streets of London will be
thronged with people who want the freedom to smoke cannabis without fear of

The reason they are there is due to a campaign begun six months ago by our
sister paper, the Independent on Sunday, which has attracted support from
thousands of readers, as well as doctors, politicians, and people from the
worlds of business and the arts.

The paper's editor, Rosie Boycott, opened the campaign by disregarding the
hypocrisy that has traditionally surrounded this subject to write frankly
about her own experiences. "I rolled my first joint on a hot June day in
Hyde Park in the summer of 1968. Just 17 and desperate to be grown-up.
Since my first joint, I have smoked a good many more, although I hardly
smoke at all nowadays. The habit has given up on me. But I don't see why
people who share my earlier enthusiasm should be branded as criminal.

"The truth is that most people I know have smoked at some time or other in
their lives. They hold down jobs, bring up their families, run major
companies, govern our country, and yet, after 30 years cannabis is still
officially regarded as a dangerous drug," she wrote.

Last September, the honeymoon period enjoyed by the new Labour Government
was coming to a close. It had become clear by then that on the issue of
drug law reform the new Home Secretary, Jack Straw, was happy to endorse
the same hard-line policies of his predecessor, Michael Howard.

Rosie Boycott's decision to "out" herself struck a chord with those who had
hoped for a more radical approach from new Labour. "I quickly realised that
I was pushing against an open door. There are plenty of people, who like
me, believe it is high time we adopted a more sensible approach to
cannabis," she said this week.

Paul McCartney, Anita Roddick and Richard Branson were among the first to
endorse the campaign. In the following weeks they were joined by the
highest achievers from the worlds of arts and entertainment, literature,
medicine, and intellectually accomplished.

Janet Suzman, the classical actress, Labour's Ken Livingstone, Professor
Colin Blakemore, Harold Pinter and Martin Amis soon followed. The support
of so many celebrities encouraged readers to add their names, and to date
more than 14,000 have signed; each week more join.

The campaign received its first boost last October when, surprisingly, the
most senior judge in England and Wales backed calls for a public debate on
the legalisation of soft drugs, including cannabis.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the Lord Chief Justice, made it clear that while
he was not expressing a personal view on decriminalisation, it was an issue
that merited consideration. "It is a subject that deserves, in my judgment,
detached, objective, independent consideration," he said.

Many reformers saw this statement as a deliberate riposte to Jack Straw's
earlier announcement not to grant a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the
working of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act which prohibits the use of cannabis.

In the same month an opinion poll commissioned by the IoS revealed that 80
per cent of people wanted the current laws relaxed and that more than one
third wanted the immediate decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational

In November, the medical side of the argument was significantly advanced by
the British Medical Association's decision to publish an 80-page review
which overturned the old assumption that cannabis was a drug with no
therapeutic benefits. Demands for doctors to be allowed to prescribe
cannabis as a medicine had been growing for more than a decade. Strong
anecdotal evidence had suggested it was good for treating muscle spasticity
connected to Multiple Sclerosis, anorexia, some forms of epilepsy,
glaucoma, asthma and hypertension.

The influential BMA urged the Government to "consider changing the Misuse
of Drugs Act to allow the prescription of cannabinoids (active chemical
compounds in cannabis) to patients with certain conditions causing distress
that are not adequately controlled by existing treatments."

They went further and recommended that "while research is under way, the
police, the courts and other prosecuting authorities should be made aware
of the medical reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering
from certain medical conditions for whom other drugs have proved

Whilst the Government has turned a deaf ear to the report, there is
evidence that the magistrates have responded.

The IoS campaign consistently revealed cases where individuals suffering
from crippling disease had been convicted or sent to prison for using
cannabis to ease their pain. Following the BMA report, some courts took a
more lenient approach in line with their recommendations and issued
admonishments and lighter fines to invalids in the dock.

The case for applying the criminal law to protect public health suffered
another setback with the leaking of a World Health Organisation report in
February. The report, that had been suppressed by officials, contained
analysis by an expert panel of scientists, which determined that long-term
use of cannabis was less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. The magazine New
Scientist, which broke the story, said: "Politicians will just have to bite
the bullet - cannabis will have to be decriminalised."

However, the one event to make most impact on the campaign came from the
least likely source. On Saturday 13 December, a young woman bought a small
amount of cannabis from a young man in a London pub. An unremarkable event,
commonplace even. Except that young man with the 10 deal was William
Straw, son of the more famous Jack. The issue of the 17-year-old's identity
loomed over the whole of last Christmas, until early in the New Year it was
revealed that the Home Secretary had turned in his son and expected him to
face the consequences.

In the end, he got off with a caution, and the woman who set the deal up, a
reporter from the Daily Mirror, was accused of entrapment.

The incident proved embarrassing for the Government, although the Prime
Minister was quick to give his minister his full support, and proved once
and for all that cannabis use is more widespread than even the most fervent
advocate had suspected.

And so we come to the march. After six months of debating the case in
print, it was clearly time to turn words into action. Throughout the
campaign, the involvement and support of readers has been vital. The
passions raised by the question of cannabis decriminalisation run deep.

It was agreed that the best way to harness the energy and enthusiasm of
those who have so eagerly supported the campaign was to invite them to
"stand up and be counted" And by 4pm this afternoon, those who march will
have earned their place in the history of the struggle to decriminalise

Cannabis Campaign On The Move (BBC News Service
Says 11,000 Marched Through Central London Today
In Support Of Decriminalising Cannabis)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 18:54:05 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Wire: Cannabis Campaign On The Move
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Rev. Dennis Shields" 
Source: BBC News Service
Pubdate: Satruday, 28 March 1998


About 11,000 people have joined a march through the streets of central
London in support of decriminalising cannabis.

The rally was described as the biggest of its kind in Britain for decades.
Supporters from all over Europe joined the pro-cannabis demonstration.

People were openly smoking cannabis at the march as they congregated behind
a huge "legalise it" banner, despite police warnings that they risked being

Police said they did not make any arrests or cautions despite the dozens
who were smoking.

The rally was organised by the Independent on Sunday newspaper and led by
the Labour MP Paul Flynn, who is campaigning for the decriminalisation of
the drug.

"Before anyone takes a step, this march is already a success," he said
beforehand. "At last we are having a serious debate about the perils of

"The fact is that prohibition is fuelling the increased use of all drugs in
this country, which is now the drugs capital of Europe."

Pro-cannabis campaigners also point to the therapeutic effects of the drug
in support of their case.

Verity Leeson, 20, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, who suffers from multiple
sclerosis, was in her wheelchair at the front of the march smoking cannabis.

"I think they should legalise it," she said. "I have been smoking cannabis
for two years on my doctor's advice. It helps my condition, it's a good
painkiller and it relaxes me."

The campaign has brought strong opposition from anti-drug groups who
believe that cannabis is harmful to health and to society.

Glenys Weaver, of Parents Against Drugs, disagrees with any relaxation of
the drug laws.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think the drug should
be legalised," she said.

"My son is a heroin addict, and it has devastated our family and so many
other families, and it all started through the use of soft drugs like

But Howard Marks, a pro-cannabis campaigner turned quasi-celebrity, said
the march was necessary to raise awareness of the issue.

"It's necessary because the government doesn't seem to listen to anything
else," he said.

Thousands Throng London In Pro-Marijuana March ('Reuters'
Says About 10,000 People Took To The Streets Of London On Saturday
To Campaign For The Legalization Of Marijuana In The Biggest March
In Support Of Reform In Modern Times In Britain)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 16:37:35 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Wire: Thousands Throng London In Pro-Marijuana March
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Mike Gogulski
Pubdate: 28 Mar 1998
Source: Reuters
Author: Ellis Mnyandu, Reuters


LONDON - About 10,000 people took to the London streets on Saturday to
campaign for the legalization of marijuana in the biggest pro-drug march of
modern times in Britain.

Many protesters smoked the drug openly during the march through central
London, while police stood by and watched.

Others waved banners with slogans such as "Dope is hope," "Free the weed"
and "Change the law and condemn your children to prison no more."

The march, organized by the Independent on Sunday newspaper which is
campaigning to decriminalize the drug, was attended by participants from as
far afield as Italy and the United States.

"The government should legalize cannabis now. Alcohol is more dangerous
than cannabis. I've been smoking weed (cannabis) since I left school," said
a young woman who identified herself as Trixta.

"People need it medicinally and recreationally," she said, offering to
supply some cannabis if needed.

Around 65,000 people a year are charged with possession of cannabis in
Britain, where using the drug for personal use is illegal. Many offenders
are let off with only a caution.

Campaigners say the drug is less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes and
its prohibition boosts the illegal drugs market.

Debate over the use of cannabis intensified after revelations that the
17-year-old son of interior minister Jack Straw sold a small amount of the
drug to an undercover reporter.

The Labor government continues to reject calls to reverse a 27-year-old
ruling outlawing the drug, which is sometimes used to relieve the suffering
of the chronically sick.

Jane Moor, a 55-year-old suffering from multiple sclerosis, said she had
been dependent on cannabis for the last six years.

"I don't mind being a criminal if I can be happy and feel better," she said
as she steered her wheelchair through Trafalgar Square.

Doctors, politicians, pop stars and businessmen were among those supporting
the newspaper's campaign.

"What we want to see is (parliament) debating (legalizing marijuana)
openly, freely and weighing up the evidence from the World Health
Organisation and from the British Medical Council. People want to be
involved," said editor Rosie Boycott.

Paul Flynn, a pro-cannabis Labour member of parliament, said the government
was plagued by "ignorance and hypocrisy" on the issue.

He told the crowd: "Prohibition must end quickly for those people who are
terribly sick. It's the best medicine in the world."

Copyright (c) 1998 Reuters News Service

Thousands March To Legalize Pot ('Associated Press' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 15:32:11 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: UK: Thousands March To Legalize Pot
Newshawk: Mike Gogulski 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: 28 Mar 1998


LONDON (AP) -- About 10, 000 protesters, some openly smoking marijuana,
marched in London on Saturday demanding legalization of the drug.

More than a dozen groups, which argue that marijuana is less harmful or
addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, organized the march from Hyde Park
Corner to Traflagar Square.

Two victims of multiple sclerosis, a progressively paralyzing illness,
joined the march in wheel chairs.

"I have been smoking cannabis (marijuana) for two years on my doctor' s
advice," said multiple sclerosis sufferer Verity Leeson, 20. "It helps my
condition, it' s a good painkiller and it relaxes me."

Many demonstrators smoked marijuana as they assembled at Hyde Park behind a
huge banner declaring "legalize it." Police reported no arrests.

The editor of a liberal national weekly newspaper, The Independent on
Sunday, also helped organize the march.

"I do not think the kids of today should be turned into criminals for
smoking cannabis," said editor Rosie Boycott. "It does people no harm."

Home Secretary Jack Straw -- whose 17-year-old son was arrested but not
charged earlier this year for selling about $16 worth of marijuana -- says
the government has no plans to legalize the drug.

Copyright 1998 Associated Press.

Junkies Could Teach Us A Thing Or Two About Pure Desire, Reckons David Concar
('New Scientist' Article About Laboratory Research Into Desire, Craving, Sex,
Drugs, Withdrawal, Relapse, And Liking Versus Wanting,
By University Of Pennsylvania Psychologist Anna Rose Childress)

Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 11:36:06 +0000
To: press@drugtext.nl, editor@mapinc.org, drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: NS Article: Junkies could teach us a thing or two...
NOTE that New Scientist has set up a special URL for its recent edition on
marijuana at
New Scientist
28 March 1998
contact: letters@newscientist.com

Junkies could teach us a thing or two about pure desire, reckons David Concar

FORGET fornicating monks and American presidents. For a lesson on lust in
its purest, most pathological form, think drugs. Think cocaine, heroin and
nicotine--and how slavishly addicts crave them.

That, at any rate, is the advice of Anna Rose Childress. And to be fair to
this University of Pennsylvania psychologist, she does--unlike the monks
and presidents--practise what she preaches. For years, Childress has been
studying the intense cravings of cocaine addicts, trying to work out what
these feelings really consist of in the brain. Think of strong sexual
desire and multiply it ten thousandfold, some of her patients have told
her. Now Childress is calling their bluff. She and her colleagues are
trying to find out whether the urge for drugs really is like the urge for
sex--or whether we automatically use sex as the benchmark to describe all
our desires.

Childress isn't the first to suspect that addictive drugs home in on and
corrupt brain systems that evolved to make us succumb to other temptations
of the flesh. There's plenty of evidence from lab rats pointing in this
direction, and when you think about it, it would have been pretty
profligate of natural selection to give our brains separate "desire
systems" for everything from ice cream and claret to the smiles of young
female interns.

Even so, no scientist has previously pursued the common ground between sex
and drugs by sending colleagues out to the local video shop for some sex
films. Nor has anyone previously shown such movies to a bunch of willing
males while scanning their brains. Childress has done both.

The idea grew out of earlier experiments on cocaine craving, when her team
measured the blood flow of addicts watching a home-made video showing
people pretending to buy and use drugs. As the addicts craved, a couple of
structures lit up deep in the brain's limbic system, seat of our basic
emotions. But higher up in the cerebral cortex, home to reasoning and
willpower, there was no more activity during drug craving than there had
been when the addicts were watching a wholesome nature video.

Losing control

That fits with what many researchers have suspected about drug urges: that
they well up from the brain's evolutionarily ancient inner circuitry.
Childress says craving is "about losing control to the old brain and not
thinking about the consequences".

And if that sounds like an apt description of the average middle-aged man's
capacity to make a fool of himself sexually, you could be right. It's early
days with the sex study, but preliminary findings suggest that those
explicit videos also stimulate the same parts of the limbic brain.

The identities of the two structures that flare up also make perfect sense,
says Childress. One of them is the anterior cingulate, which helps control
the attention levels so crucial both to a drug deal or for focusing on an
object of desire. The second structure is the amygdala--a thoroughfare for
incoming information that plays a part in alerting us to possible dangers
or rewards, as well as enabling the brain to form Pavlovian associations.

Again, this adds up. Over time, addicts report that everything associated
with using drugs comes to seem important. A mere glimpse of a dealer or old
drug haunt is often enough to trigger overwhelming desire. Similarly, sex,
in the form of scantily-clad women--or these days, men--is invariably used
to build powerful associations between, say, cars and desire. As Childress
observes: "They're hoping your amygdala will link these two so that
hereafter cars will take on a rosy glow for you."

Of course, having a brain that is alert to naked bodies or drug cues in the
environment isn't the same as desiring sex or drugs. Besides, urges wax and
wane, and sometimes we cave in and sometimes we don't. To home in on the
seat of desire in the brain, we must take a closer look at craving.

One theory sees craving as an inevitable outgrowth of withdrawal. People
get into a negative state of mind and body because they're not getting the
things they're used to or need. They crave whatever it is that will make
them feel normal--food if they're starving, heroin if they're a junkie,
fornication if they're a sex-starved monk.

A second theory casts craving in a more hedonistic role: once you've
experienced the buzz of that chemical high or orgasm, your brain commands
you to experience it again. In this view, craving is the drive for some
sort of euphoric release. And of course, the more miserable you're feeling,
the more desirable that pleasure seems.

In fact, neither view quite stacks up. Take nicotine withdrawal. In a
pioneering study at the University of Pittsburgh, Saul Shiffman and his
colleagues have found that the cravings which lead so many former smokers
to relapse are not caused by withdrawal symptoms. They are not even caused
by not smoking.

The problem with most research into craving is that it relies on people's
reports of how they felt just before they were faced with temptation. But
memories are fallible. So what Shiffman and his team did was to supply 214
volunteers about to stop smoking with palmtop electronic diaries.

In the days leading up to "quit day", and for weeks afterwards, the
volunteers had to record the date, time, duration and intensity each time
they craved a cigarette, together with information about what they were
doing at the time, and how they were feeling. The palmtop computers were
also programmed to beep randomly and request answers to the same questions
so the researchers could measure background levels of craving too.

Against the odds, the electronic diaries revealed that the cravings for
cigarettes became less intense and less frequent during periods of
abstinence than they were when smoking was "allowed". The lesson here, says
Shiffman, is that the best way of stimulating craving and keeping it at a
high level is to keep taking the drug.

That accounts for the proverbial first drink which triggers the alcoholic
binge, but it also raises another question. If abstinence weakens craving,
why is staying on the wagon so difficult?

One answer might be that craving is not what pushes most addicts over the
edge after all. Shiffman's electronic diaries tell a different story,
however. Volunteers with the strongest urges to smoke turned out to be the
ones most likely to relapse later that day or the next. So craving is a
factor in relapse and we are still left with the puzzle of why abstinence
is such hard work for so many people.

Pleasant urges

Shiffman says that while drug urges do become weaker and less frequent
after quitting, they also become more tormenting because silencing them
with a quick smoke or fix is no longer an option. The electronic diaries
support that view: before "quit day", the smokers were not only less likely
to rate their urges to smoke as unpleasant, but they sometimes described
them as enjoyable.

So perhaps pleasure-seeking is what craving is really all about? Wrong
again, say Kent Berridge and Terry Robinson of the University of Michigan
in Ann Arbor. Based mainly on rat findings, their papers attack the
everyday assumption that "wanting" and "liking" are two aspects of the same
thing. In most normal situations, they say, yes, desire and pleasure do go
hand in hand. But it's a superficial marriage. In the brain, wanting and
liking are handled by different chemical systems, and while these systems
usually move in concert, it's not hard to push them in opposite directions.

Berridge and Robinson have recently discovered how to do this with food.
Normally, lab rats will not just pursue sugary snacks in a maze, they will
lick their mouths and paws with rodent-like pleasure when consuming them.
That changes, however, when you destroy--or block with drugs--cells just
beneath the limbic system that specialise in producing the neurotransmitter
dopamine. Now the animals will no longer seek out food, yet, say Berridge
and Robinson, they still appear to enjoy the sugary snacks when the
experimenters force them on the rats. What's been snuffed out is not the
liking of food, but the wanting of it.

In addicts and others plagued with compulsive desires, the opposite
happens: the impulses from the brain's "wanting" system are revved up and
cut loose from feelings of pleasure. Desire, as Berridge puts it, "gets a
life of its own".

He does seem to have a point. Over time, addicts grow to want heroin and
cocaine more and more, yet often claim to like them less and less. As for
nicotine cravings, they're clearly out of all proportion to the pleasure
the substance gives (it's actually a poison, remember).

But perhaps the most striking evidence that desire need not be wedded to an
expectation of pleasure comes from research showing that the desire for
drugs can influence people without them being aware of it. Bizarre as it
may sound, wanting can be an entirely unconscious process, neither
propelled nor accompanied by feelings of any kind.

In lab studies, for example, human heroin addicts will, like rats, press a
lever to obtain pleasurable injections of morphine. No surprises there.
Less predictably, though, the same addicts will, later on, also work hard
at pressing a lever for tiny doses that produce no buzz at all--despite the
fact that sham injections fail to move them to press a lever. When
questioned, the drug users cannot explain why they are prepared to work for
the boring real injections but not for the equally boring sham injections.

So what is motivating them? Desire. Not the rich and complex kind that a
Nabokov or Lawrence would write about, but a stripped down, primitive
version. Those tiny morphine doses are whetting the addicts' appetites, but
imperceptibly. They are pressing a "want" button deep in the brain's
unconscious inner circuitry.

At last, then, we seem to be closing in on the place where the seeds of
desire are actually sown. Berridge and Robinson suggest we look no further
than the network of nerves in the brain that includes the
dopamine-producing cells they fiddled with in rats.

Sometimes known as the "reward pathway", the network runs through the heart
of the limbic system, receiving signals from the brain stem. It is famous
among addiction researchers because drugs such as cocaine, heroin and
nicotine all stimulate it to pump out dopamine. Until now, it's been
unclear whether the pathway is mainly a font of pleasure or of desire, but
Berridge and Robinson argue there are good reasons for regarding it as a
desire system.

They point out that in rats the pathway starts pumping out dopamine before
they get the sugary snack, shot of heroin or copulation they so enjoy. Also
addictive drugs don't just stimulate this nerve network in the short-term,
they crank up its long-lasting sensitivity. Robinson says that the pathway
becomes hyperactive, just as you'd expect if it had more to do with
long-lasting drug effects like vulnerability to craving than with
short-term pleasures.

So much for lab observations. What about the real world? Here, predictably,
not everyone believes the distinction between wanting and liking is quite
so clear-cut. Childress says that human drug users tend to get more empathy
if they insist they no longer enjoy it, much as a philanderer insists the
sex was not enjoyable. "My patients," she says, "both want and like, and
both are intense."

Either way, if fornicating monks of bygone centuries had known about this
slither of nerve tissue, they would probably have seen it as the devil's
own work: the physical seat of temptation. Not that it would have done them
much good. For as Aldous Huxley reminds us: "A firm conviction of the
material reality of Hell never prevented medieval Christians from doing
what their ambition, lust or covetousness suggested."*

And like every drug user, Huxley knew a thing or two about temptation.

* Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, 1951
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