------------------------------------------------------------------- Extras Needed For Film (American Antiprohibition League Says Rainshadow Films In Portland Is Seeking Movie Extras May 4 Through 22 For 'No Alibi,' A Courtroom Drama About Pain Management And The Medical Use Of Marijuana) Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 22:44:08 -0800 (PST) From: Anti-Prohibition Lg
To: AAL@inetarena.com Subject: CanPat - EXTRAS NEEDED FOR FILM, $ FOR PDX-NORML & AAL Sender: email@example.com The AMERICAN ANTIPROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca Drug War, or Drug Peace? 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 503-235-4524 fax:503-234-1330 Email:AAL@InetArena.com EXTRAS, EXTRAS, CALLING ALL EXTRAS Dear friends, Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Shasta Hatter both Portland N.O.R.M.L. and the League have a chance to raise much needed funds that will help finance our organizations' work this summer. And all we have to do is get you to be in a new film about pain management and the medicinal use of marijuana. Rainshadow Films, a local Portland film company is producing 'No Alibi,' a courtroom drama. 'No Alibi' is a feature film which deals with how our society views these controversial issues. Here's the deal. N.O.R.M.L. and the League get $5 apiece for each volunteer we recruit to be one of the several hundred extras needed for non-speaking roles in the film. As an extra you'll need to make a commitment of a minimum of one day (9 hour max). Extras are provided a box lunch. The extras will be needed between May 4 and May 22. Please act now if you want to jump on this fantastic deal, we need to give Rainshadow Films the number of extras we can provide by Friday (4/3). So please CALL/FAX OR EMAIL ME NOW! Voice: 503-235-4524, Fax: 503-234-1330, Email: AAL@InetArena.com We'll need your name and phone number for confirmation Thank you. Floyd Ferris Landrath - Director
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Hemp Awareness Day (News Release From Cannabis Liberation Society In Eugene, Oregon, Invites You To A Rally Saturday, April 25, At Lane County Courthouse - Volunteers Needed, Too) Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 07:33:33 -0800 From: Dan Koozer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Koozer Draws To: Multiple Recipients of List (firstname.lastname@example.org), Subject: Cannabis Hemp Awareness Day Sender: email@example.com We're in the planning stages of our Cannabis Hemp Awareness Day which will be on April 25, 1998, 10:00a-6:00p at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, Lane County Courthouse, Oak & Broadway. We're having 21 speakers, music, raffle and information tables (and possibly a hemp fashion show). If anyone would like to help please let us know. If anyone would like to donate towards the raffle please let us know. If anyone has suggestions please let us know. Dan *** Dan Koozer, President Cannabis Liberation Society PO Box 10957 Eugene, Oregon 97401 Voice Mail & Event Line: (541) 744-5744 http://www.efn.org/~cannlib/
------------------------------------------------------------------- No Dignity - 'The Oregonian' Reacts Badly To Oregon's First Physician-Assisted Suicides ('Willamette Week,' Maybe The Second-Most Biased Newspaper In The World, Criticizes Its Competition's Coverage Of Drug Policy News) 'Willamette Week' Portland, Oregon '500 Words' Staff Editorial http://www.wweek.com/html/500words040198.html NO DIGNITY The Oregonian reacts badly to Oregon's first physician-assisted suicides. Context: Saturday's New York Times editorial page offered a more moderate - and more thoughtful - response: "She died in bed, with her family around her, half an hour after taking pills and drinking brandy. As an alternative, it seems preferable to life extended by blind medicine, or death by Dr. Kevorkian." *** On Tuesday, March 24, an elderly Oregon woman, acting with the aid of a doctor, dosed herself with potent chemicals and died. The woman had lived with breast cancer for more than 20 years. By all accounts her final hours were private and peaceful, as she became one of the first people in American history to end her life lawfully with the aid of a physician. The next day, Barbara Coombs Lee, a leader in Oregon's death with dignity movement, invited Colin Fogarty, a radio reporter for OPB, as well as local members of the Associated Press, to her office. Fogarty and a trio from AP arrived around 2 pm and were told then of the woman's suicide. Fifty-five minutes later, Fogarty filed the story from his car. At 3:04 it was on the air. OPB radio, rarely one to break news, had a scoop of significant proportions. It was, as Fogarty says, "a great radio story." And Coombs Lee had managed to keep the largest daily newspaper in the Pacific Northwest in the dark about one of the biggest stories of the year. By the next morning, of course, The Oregonian had the story, blaring it across the top of Page 1. The Death With Dignity Act, it seemed, had worked just as it was supposed to. No vomiting, no convulsions, no lingering death - in short, none of the awful consequences Portland's newspaper of record had threatened us with last year during the rerun of the Death With Dignity campaign. There was, however, a lot of gagging and convulsing at The Oregonian, which spelled out its reaction in an editorial that appeared Friday morning: "Even if you support the right to assisted suicide, you should be troubled that a single advocacy group is the first source of information about this use of Oregon's law." The same editorial also said, "The doctor who attended the woman...cannot be considered a truly independent source, either." The overall message was: Don't trust anyone involved with the death with dignity movement. Such skepticism only adds to the difficulty of ending life. The Oregonian's editorial was an unusually mean-spirited attack on people in this state who are attempting to help terminally ill patients play out their lives in a humane and civilized fashion. It's hard to explain such small-mindedness from the paper that prides itself - weekdays at least - for being "The Largest Newspaper in the Pacific Northwest." Did The Oregonian rail against news sources in public simply because it had been beaten on a significant story? Or was Portland's daily still smarting after its defeat last year when it went for broke in an attempt to defeat Oregon's ground-breaking Death With Dignity Act? The paper had not experienced such humiliation since the capture of the Bob Packwood story by The Washington Post. Although Oregon's first physician-assisted suicides evidently were textbook cases of how the procedure should work, something is bound to go wrong sometime in this process. Given The Oregonian's leadership role in the state, the paper should now be using its journalistic resources to make the new law work, not tear it down at every opportunity.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Pot Advocates Take Aim At Lawmaker ('Los Angeles Times' Notes Protests At Both Offices Of US Representative James E. Rogan Of Glendale, California, Who Has Backed A Congressional Resolution Opposing Any Use Of Cannabis, Three Years After He Supported It In The California Legislature) Subj: US CA: Medical Pot Advocates Take Aim at Lawmaker From: Jim Rosenfield Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 11:06:32 -0800 Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA), San Fernando Valley Edition Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 Author: Hugo Martin, Times Staff Writer MEDICAL POT ADVOCATES TAKE AIM AT LAWMAKER Protesters call Rogan's vote against marijuana purely political. Glendale Republican says he still supports drug's use for terminally ill. Three years after supporting state legislation to legalize the medical use of marijuana, Rep. James E. Rogan has come under attack by medical marijuana advocates for backing a congressional resolution opposing any use of the drug. Several dozen medical marijuana advocates protested Monday at Rogan's Pasadena office and at his headquarters in Washington, D.C., where two protesters were arrested after one ate marijuana leaves outside Rogan's office. The protesters targeted Rogan (R-Glendale) because they say he has reversed his position since being elected to Congress. "This is a great example of hypocrisy," said Jim Rosenfield, organizer of the protest. Despite voting for a resolution that opposes legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses, Rogan said he has not changed his position and continues to support the use of marijuana for terminally ill patients. Rogan--a former prosecutor and municipal court judge--noted that the resolution that he and members of the House Judiciary Committee supported was a nonbinding motion, expressing the panel's opinion. It was not enforceable legislation, he said. To clarify his position, Rogan said he publicly stated his support for a limited use of marijuana before voting to support the resolution. He conceded that he could have voted against the resolution or abstain because he did not agree with it entirely, but he said he felt it was enough to publicly express his opinion. "I didn't want to vote against a resolution that I agreed with 99%," he said. The issue is a personal one for Rogan, whose cousin suffered from cancer and used marijuana to counter the effects of chemotherapy for several years. He later died. In 1995, when Rogan was a top-ranking Republican in the Assembly, he broke from his party to provide a key vote in support of a bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana. The bill by Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, a Santa Clara Democrat, allowed people to possess and grow marijuana for themselves or immediate family members with a written prescription from a doctor. The bill was later vetoed by Gov. Pete Wilson. Rogan, elected to Congress to represent parts of Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank in 1996, voted along with other Republican members of the Judiciary Committee to support a resolution that says the "House of Representatives is unequivocally opposed to legalizing marijuana for medical use and urges the defeat of state initiatives which would seek to legalize marijuana for medicinal use." The entire Congress is expected to consider the resolution next month. Rosenfield called Rogan's vote for the resolution a "purely political stand" and accused Rogan of reversing his position on marijuana to keep with his party's position. "For him to sign off on a bill that says marijuana has no medical use, that doesn't make sense to me," Rosenfield said. The 30 or so protesters in Pasadena included members of the Cannabis Freedom Fund, a North Hollywood-based drug policy group. The protesters in Washington included members of the Marijuana Policy Project, a political advocacy group based in Washington. At the Washington protest, Cheryl Miller, 51, of Silverton, N.J., and her husband, Jim, were arrested on possession of marijuana after Jim Miller fed his wife marijuana leaves in front of Rogan's office. Cheryl Miller has suffered from multiple sclerosis since 1971. Her husband fed her the leaves because she cannot move her arms. Both were later released on their own recognizance. Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Providing Medical Marijuana - The Importance Of Cannabis Clubs (A Report In The April-June Issue Of 'The Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs' By Harvey W. Feldman And R. Jerry Mandel, Who Conclude That, Of The Various Methods So Far Proposed, Cannabis Clubs Afford The Best Therapeutic Setting For Providing Medical Marijuana) Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 20:57:54 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US: Providing Medical Marijuana: The Importance of Cannabis Clubs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Harvey W. Mandel, with OCR support from Rolf Ernst Source: Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Issue: Volume 30(2), April-June, 1998, pp. 179-186 Pubdate: April-June, 1998 Author: Harvey W. Feldman, Ph.D.* and R. Jerry Mandel, Ph.D.* * The National Association of Ethnography and Social Policy, Oakland, CA PROVIDING MEDICAL MARIJUANA: THE IMPORTANCE OF CANNABIS CLUBS NOTES: The authors would like to thank the Drug Policy Foundation for its funding, which made this research possible. We would also like to thank Elena Bridges for her help in arranging interviews with the Flower Therapy patients. Please address correspondence and reprint requests to Harvey W. Feldman, Ph.D., The National Association of Ethnography and Social Policy, 24 Randwick Avenue, Oakland, California 94611. Abstract - In 1996, shortly after the San Francisco Cannabis Club was raided and (temporarily) closed by state authorities, the authors conducted an ethnographic study by interviewing selected former members to ascertain how they had benefited from the use of medical marijuana and how they had utilized the clubs. Interviews were augmented by participant observation techniques. Respondents reported highly positive health benefits from marijuana itself, and underscored even greater benefits from the social aspects of the clubs, which they described as providing important emotional supports. As such, cannabis clubs serve as crucial support mechanisms/groups for people with a wide variety of serious illnesses and conditions. The authors concluded that of the various methods so far proposed, the cannabis clubs afford the best therapeutic setting for providing medical cannabis and for offering a healing environment composed of like-minded, sympathetic friends. Keywords - cannabis clubs, ethnography, medical marijuana, public policy, social environment The issue of whether marijuana has medicinal benefits no longer seems to be in question. Hundreds of scientific studies and thousands of testimonials from patients have established marijuana's effectiveness in controlling the nausea of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/ or radiation; in enhancing appetites for AIDS patients who suffer a wasting syndrome or who have adverse reactions to their new HAART (highly active antiretroviral treatment) medications; in reducing intraocular pressure for persons with glaucoma; in giving relief from spasms of muscular dystrophy; and for relieving pain from dozens of other serious diseases (Ad Hoc Group of Experts, National Institutes of Health 1997; Gieringer 1996). Voters in California and Arizona confirmed their belief in these medical benefits when they voted overwhelmingly in 1996 to make marijuana legally accessible to qualified medical patients (in California this was achieved by passing Proposition 215). Despite federal resistance to recognizing the medical utility of cannabis, the remaining unresolved question for public policy debate and scientific exploration is not whether marijuana can be a useful tool in managing a range of diseases but simply how qualified patients can acquire a medicine that they and their physicians believe will benefit their treatment and alleviate suffering. Of the several ways available for qualified patients to gain access to medicinal cannabis, a frequent suggestion has been for patients to grow their own supplies. While highly desirable, only a small minority of medical marijuana patients have the wherewithal to grow their own plants. Most city dwellers do not have outdoor yards or balconies; those who do report greater danger from thieves than from the police. Indoor growing requires a large initial investment for expensive equipment, which patients who live on limited or fixed incomes simply cannot afford. Patients must also be very skilled home gardeners to ensure a sufficient amount with the proper potency in order not to run short. Of special importance is knowing how to identify infestation and molds, which, if inhaled, might exacerbate already compromised health conditions. Some observers have suggested acquiring cannabis supplies through either the medical/pharmaceutical professions or from the police. With regard to the medical and pharmaceutical professions, no specific recommendations have been forthcoming from either field (beyond limiting cannabis use to prescribed THC/Marinol). Both professions seem content to allow the matter of delivery to be settled elsewhere. Our past history of marijuana prohibition has resulted in physicians seemingly knowing less about smoked marijuana, the preferred route of ingestion among patients, than the patients themselves. In California, most physicians who recommend patients to cannabis clubs appear satisfied with only recommending cannabis and monitoring patients while allowing cannabis buyers clubs (CBCs) to dispense it. The problems (especially with regards to available sources, storage, and assessing potencies) surrounding how pharmacies might dispense cannabis have not even begun to be speculated upon by the pharmaceutical profession. Since the passage of Proposition 215 in California, there has been some discussion, especially in San Mateo County, about the feasibility of the police providing confiscated marijuana to qualified patients. This new police function would require a different kind of training for this new quasi-medical role. From our discussions with CBC members, many would balk at revealing confidential health information to their local police departments. Constancy of supply in the San Mateo plan would depend on police seizure activities. Would police increase their seizures in order to meet the medical demands of patient consumers if their supplies ran out? Would they turn away legitimate patients? Or, out of necessity, would the police grow cannabis, or purchase it from the black market in order to meet their medical responsibilities? The number of complications inherent in the police option makes it a choice that offers amusing contradictions, but given the historical role of police in our series of drug wars, such a plan would be impractical and unworkable. Prior to the passage of Proposition 215 and the advent of cannabis clubs, all marijuana purchases in California were illegal. Although the black market is still an option for legitimate patients to acquire cannabis, it has a number of disadvantages for persons with serious medical conditions. If other options are not available, it forces patients to risk arrest in the process of purchasing medicine. Without necessarily defaming street dealers or impugning their honesty, these illegal transactions seldom involve discussions about the quality, freshness, purity, or even the sources of the product. In these furtive sales, consumers might easily be cheated, or simply sold bogus cannabis. For individuals with life-threatening diseases, the total interaction of purchasing medicine on the black market seems unnecessarily risky, inappropriate, and demeaning as well as especially costly. Of all the apparent available choices, purchasing marijuana through cannabis buyers clubs, from the authors' perspective, is clearly the soundest option. At this juncture, one might ask, "What are cannabis buyers clubs?" "What functions do they serve?" "How do people get into them?" and "What do members do there?" BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH Despite the media attention devoted to the cannabis clubs, which has usually emphasized the public smoking aspect, to our knowledge there has been almost nothing written about them by trained and qualified social science observers, other than one oral presentation to the American Anthropological Association (Roberts 1996) and a New York Times Magazine article (Pollan 1997) which dealt more with the general implementation of Proposition 215 than with cannabis clubs exclusively. This article is an attempt to begin filling that gap in knowledge. Beginning in February 1996, the authors, both experienced drug researchers, were part of a research group that met biweekly at the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club (SF CBC). The group was started and chaired by Dr. Tod Mikuriya, who has been a leader in the medical marijuana field since he was a consulting psychiatrist with the National Institute on Mental Health in 1967. At the end of July 1996, the Drug Policy Foundation awarded our research group a small grant to analyze the 12,000 or so intake forms the SF CBC required from all its members, with the goal of determining the distribution of disease categories and the demographic characteristics of its members. Less than a week later, however, on August 4, 1996, the California State Attorney General's Office and agents from the California Narcotics Enforcement Agency raided the club, shut it down (temporarily, it tumed out) and removed all the records, which remain under court seal. With permission from the Drug Policy Foundation, we revised our research plan and decided to explore the ways members utilized the CBC and the impact of its closing. Within two months, new but smaller cannabis clubs as well as other delivery arrangements emerged to fill the void, some lasting only a short time. The authors associated themselves primarily with Flower Therapy, one of the new clubs which some of the former SF CBC employees opened to meet the demand for cannabis of some of the 12,000 members who were separated from their supply as a result of the Attorney General's raid. Flower Therapy provided full cooperation with the research by providing a setting for interviews and observations, and by allowing staff to refer members to our research. We interviewed as broad a cross-section of the membership as our budget would allow. Selection of respondents was made to provide a broad representation of disease categories, gender, age, sexual orientation, and race/ ethnicity. To assure standardization, we developed an interview guide. The interviews were opened-ended, lasted between one and two hours, were tape-recorded, and transcribed. The few interviews not conducted at Flower Therapy were held in the respondents' residence. Some of those interviewed had been both member and staff at the SF CBC prior to the raid; others had been regular members. While the interviews were our core data, they were backed up with hours of participant observation - the ethnographer's stock-in-trade - at three clubs: the SF CBC before it was raided; Flower Therapy over a 16-month period; and the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative. WHAT ARE CANNABIS CLUBS? The concept of a cannabis club is the invention of Dennis Peron, a San Francisco marijuana dealer since 1973 who became converted to the cause of medical use of cannabis when his gay lover, a young man with AIDS, found relief from symptoms with regular marijuana use. Peron's concept was to provide not only a cafeteria of cannabis products - including marijuana of varying potencies, cannabis pastries, and smoking paraphernalia - but to create a life space where persons with life-threatening or seriously debilitating diseases could gather, relax, and consume their medications in an accepting, friendly, and colorful surrounding. Some critics referred to Dennis' place as a "circus," but considering that it was both staffed and utilized by sick and dying people, more sensitive observers might conclude that he had created a therapeutic atmosphere that encouraged relaxation, friendly interaction, laughter and healing. It was lively without being unnecessarily noisy, and had attractive furniture arranged to facilitate small group conversation and discussion. With this as a model, other clubs modified one feature or another - e.g., the Oakland club's rental agreement did not permit smoking on the premises, and Flower Therapy gave more emphasis to research and structured intervention - but the essential concept of having a place where members could select from a range of cannabis products and gather to socialize was Peron's original creation. As a new social institution, the cannabis club provides a setting that is a combination of a community center and settlement house (better known in eastern and midwest cities), a hospice, a friendly cafe, and - given the illegal nature of it prior to Proposition 215 - a kind of speakeasy which had the approval and public support of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, Mayors Frank Jordan and Willie Brown, its Department of Public Health, its District Attorney's Office, and the administration of the San Francisco Police Department. ROUTES OF ENTRY The development of the SF CBC is attributable to three underlying currents that seem peculiar to San Francisco: (1) its history of progressive political activism, (2) its reputation for innovation, and (3) its relatively small population, which allows for information to be disseminated quietly and quickly by word-of-mouth. The political background which brought like-minded people together in the medical marijuana movement was given a substantial boost with Proposition P, a local ordinance the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed in 1992 that directed the San Francisco police department to make marijuana arrests its lowest priority. This ordinance allowed Peron to come out of the shadows and become more public in using his private residence for commercial marijuana sales, and eventually to become the central San Francisco figure around whom others gathered in order to advance the cause of marijuana both as a political rallying point and as a legitimate medicine. Dec, the fictitious name for one of the early recruits, explained how her contacts with Peron introduced her to both the medical and political aspects of marijuana: "Oh, when I met Dennis, we'd sit around his living room and plan it [organizing for the passage of Proposition P, a San Francisco initiative requesting that police lower the priority of marijuana arrests]. I met him almost six years ago through my ex-husband... I met him and I knew from the minute I met him that he was coming from the heart as far as helping sick people get marijuana. We just connected. And the second time I went to his house, he just grabbed me and hugged me and kissed me and said, "Welcome back." And I was a regular at his house from 1992 on, even though I had to drive back and forth from Bakersfield... And then in 1994 my friends were worried that I was dying (from multiple sclerosis). I was wheel-chair bound and weighed about 100 pounds. I had gone to Los Angeles for a Medical Marijuana Day in 1994, and they all saw me and realized how critically ill I was. And they moved me to Santa Cruz and then I got moved to San Francisco with Dennis' help." Others came to the club through other word-of-mouth referrals; one, an elderly woman with both glaucoma and breast cancer, was referred by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors: HWF: How did you initially learn about the club? Hortense: From A [the elected Supervisor] sending me that note. I didn't even know it existed before then. HWF: How did you go about becoming a member? Hortence; I just made a nuisance of myself. I went every week on Fridays and Saturdays and talked to people. Then I decided my role was to listen, and I did that for quite awhile. And then in July, Dennis asked if I would do intake. There wasn't a lot of intake. We only had a hundred members or something like that. Regarding the original club, located on Church Street in much smaller quarters than the one which has received national and international attention, others heard from friends about a unique place where marijuana could be openly purchased and consumed. While the early members joined because they were personal acquaintances of Peron, a critical mass developed so that word-of-mouth became the most common route into the club: JM: How did you learn about the club? Hector: The club? A friend of mine told me about it because access [to medical marijuana] after HIV was still often awkward and expensive. Some people you buy from have minimum amounts that you have to meet. Like an eighth [ounce] for $60 or more. And limited hours. You don't know when they are going to be home, or when it's going to be available. So when you run out and when you want it, there was no guarantee that you were going to have enough money or that it would be easily accessible. A friend of mine knew about the club on Church Street, and took me, and introduced me. I had my proper paper work. HWF: How did you hear about the club? Marie: From a care-giver. 1 was in the hospital, and I wanted to get out. [A friend] told me about it. HWF: Where was the club then? Marie: On Market Street. And I couldn't believe it. It was like a piece of heaven.... I went with my doctor's letter. I knew what I had to bring. I was prepared. They walked me through it and introduced me around. It was just wonderful. JM: When did you first get involved in the club? James: Way in the beginning because I had a low number [cell count]. At the club on Church Street. SM: How did you gravitate there? James: My boss at the time brought me in because at the time you had to have a member bring you in was the way it worked. You couldn't just walk in. HWF: How did you initially learn about the club? Donald: A good question. Hmmmm? I guess a friend told me about it.... That there was a marijuana buyer's club that was right down the street from me. At that point I was HIV-positive so 1 could become a member. HWF: So, it was described to you as... ? Donald: As a place to buy marijuana for people with AIDS. HWF: Was it exclusively AIDS in the early days? Donald: It wasn't. No, because Hortense had glaucoma. No, but that's what they told me. Once I went, I found out it was for AIDS, cancer, glaucoma. ACTIVITIES AND SOCIALIZATION WITHIN THE CLUB Without question, the focal point of the CBCs was the distribution of medical cannabis. What too often is either understated or ignored is the variety of ways members utilized the club as a social and recreational institution. Most of these social activities appear to come about as a byproduct of the size of the facility and numbers of people in attendance rather than through formally planned programs. Members and staff found that marijuana itself produced a sense of well-being and that sharing both the substance and experiences developed strong bonds of friendship. This became especially true for members whose daily routines for dealing with their illnesses had left them isolated, pained, and frequently deeply depressed. The ways members went about enjoying their socialization varied. Some found the club simply a sanctuary from loneliness, a place to go and just hang out. Several respondents compared the cannabis club to the social setting of the bar, a likely comparison since both served as places of socialization and as a place where a mood-altering substance could be purchased and consumed. In contrast to bars, members found the club more suitable to sustaining friendships. Chuckles, a gay male with HIV/AIDS, claimed to have found the CBC far superior: "Oh, yes, there were lots of shared experiences. Lots of new social contacts that I would not have made or would not have wanted to make in any other place. The only other place for me to go, as a gay male, was to a bar, which means drinking, which is much more deleterious to my health and my behavior than is marijuana." Kenny compared the relaxed atmosphere of the cannabis club to a bar that might offer free beer: "I saw very few problems of members because of marijuana and considering that it was open to such a wide spectrum of different types of people, I think that it was amazing that I never saw a fist fight in there. I heard a few people had to be escorted out at times, but compared to say, a bar, I'd hate to even think of what it would be like to have a place with free beer given out to all customers.... Some people talk about being shy going into a party, walking into a room... I never felt that. I'd go in, and the first thing, look around the room to see who was there, and say "hi" to this person and that person. It was very social. I can't stress that enough." When the SF CBC moved to its larger (four-story) quarters on Market Street, directly on the main business' and traffic artery in downtown San Francisco - and with the ensuing increase in membership and media attention, and the political move to make medical marijuana legal under Proposition 215 - a new era began. A sense of excitement and destiny seemed to transform the club. Historically, it became the facility where former hippie/ radical/marijuana devotees, some of whom were now debilitated with legitimate medical conditions, blended with the rising number of people who had never been part of the counter-culture and were, for the most part, naive and resistant to using marijuana recreationally. With a sense of "only in San Francisco," the factions came together in a common political purpose, a satisfaction and relief of finding others in similar medical situations, and a feeling of safety because the club was protected by the local authorities. Though the first-time visitor might be wide-eyed, having what appeared to be legitimate access to marijuana and the ability to consume it in public without fear, regular members found that their satisfactions were as much social as medical, maybe even more so. In reflecting on their use of the club, members overwhelmingly described the social benefits in glowing terms. When asked the question, "What did you like best about the club?" almost without exception respondents answered in one form or another, "the social life." As with a community center or perhaps a hospice, members could find or create activities that utilized their skills, abilities, or talents. Sandy, a small woman who walked with two hand canes, described how she would teach origami (the Japanese art of folding paper into flowers or animals), and how her involvement served to improve her physical condition: "Twice a week I'd go up there. Friday, and then Saturday, Saturday because of the evening thing. Mainly do origami, the fellowship, and I'd bring a little weed and everybody'd have a little bit of weed. We'd smoke, but mainly we'd be sitting there shooting the breeze, folding stuff, singing along with the radio. Heck, we'd go up and down the elevator, or up and down the steps. I was walking up and down the steps on a regular basis. I was. Yes, I was. Now, I'd do the elevator every now and then, you know, but I was doing steps, man. It was great. It was old home week. You'd walk in there, and it didn't matter what kind of day you had had. And it wasn't the pot. If it was only the pot, I wouldn't be there, quite frankly." For members with limited incomes or the homeless with qualifying illnesses, the club provided oranges in containers placed strategically throughout the facility. On weekend days, staff prepared a full home-cooked dinner for members. Hector explained how he would schedule his visits to coincide with the meals: "Well, food. There was a time or two that I went knowing specifically it was Saturday afternoon and I specifically expected food would be there, and I was kind of broke, and I thought, I wouldn't wonder whether i'd get a potato or a cherry pie from the store. I expect there would be something decent to eat there." Others, like Jamie, enjoyed the Saturday night entertainment, which was provided by volunteer performers or members themselves in a kind of "open mike" evening: "I was there Saturday nights. They... had really great music. Saturday nights they would put on some nice shows, and things like that. Put on some bad shows, too. Put on shows. It was fun there. It really was." FINDING SUPPORT GROUPS When members were asked how they spent their time at the CBC or what they liked best, the most common and repeated response related less to the acquisition of cannabis and emphasized the supportive aspect of being with like-minded people with similar medical conditions. For many of the members, the clubs provided a kind of generalized support group: the social interaction that took place was an important and significant component of their treatment and/ or rehabilitation. For some individuals, the CBCs were their primary source of socialization. Recently, Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard psychiatrist and author of Marijuana Reconsidered (1994), one of the best and most complete discussions of medical marijuana, turned his attention to the subject of cannabis clubs. In an article which will appear in the 1998 Summer issue of Playboy (Grinspoon In press), he notes that recent studies by others have shown that having a social support network is an essential ingredient for cancer patients and that " .. these kinds of supports improve the quality of life... and that there is growing evidence that [they] may also prolong life" [emphasis added]. He notes that in one study "socially isolated women were found to be at five times higher risk of death from ovarian and related cancers than the controls," who were not reported to be isolated. In a second study, he stated, "women with breast cancer were 50 percent less likely to die in the first months after surgery if they said they had confidants, i.e. people they were close to." Grinspoon (1998) goes on to report that the studies showed that patients "...become less anxious and depressed, make better use of their time, and are more likely to return to work than similar patients who are given only standard care." These and several other examples discussed by Dr. Grinspoon provide strong testimony for the social role that cannabis clubs can and have provided. Not all cannabis clubs make a concerted effort to capitalize on this therapeutic possibility. But it is clear from the interviews that there were beneficial aspects to mere attendance at the clubs. Seriously ill and dying people can gather and enjoy the friendship of others in like situations. They learn how others with similar medical and social conditions cope. Hector again supplies one of many testimonials to the therapeutic benefits of his attendance at the SF CBC: "There's nothing else like it. There's no facility in town that offered a comfortable social place to hang out and meet other people that are in your same similar situation facing terminal illness... and trying to cope with it, both physically and emotionally... Let me put it this way. I think that depression is a real illness for some people. And as s major branch for almost all people who suffer from HIV. Once you're facing a terminal illness, you are bound to have a thousand ways of depression. And I think a support group, wherever you find it, a fully functioning support group and facility, is, can be a big booster and counter to serious depression... And the option of having a place to go that provides medicine in terms of marijuana but also medicine in terms of a real friendly network and reliable support group has been really important. And I haven't jumped into, or found a support group that was as comfortable and attracted to as l was with the support group I found on a daily basis at that place." Such sentiments were repeated often both spontaneously and in response to direct questions regarding what they liked or didn't like about the SF CBC. Frederick, a regular visitor to the club, actually downplayed the importance of marijuana and emphasized the social aspects as the club's primary significance even though he himself seldom used the club in that way: "I never smoked at the club. I was never a big one to go hang out and smoke. I would just get my stuff and would leave, which is what I thought people should do. Although I do, I am aware that people stayed... They hung out and smoked. I slowly started to see. I was just there Sunday night. I'm starting more and more to see that the reason they are there isn't just because, just that they want to sit there and smoke pot. It's because they know each other. I think marijuana is a secondary issue... It's about whatever it is that brings them, these people together, which is probably more their illness itself. Well, they all have illnesses in common, and the political issues that surround it [their illness]. That's what they are all always talking about. That's how they became friends... So, the marijuana itself to me is a small character in all this. Even with me personally, I don't see marijuana as being the star of the show here." Given the pervasiveness of terminal illness among the membership, managing depression and grief was always an issue which arose both from trying to adjust to having diseases where death was near and in dealing with the loss of friends. Being an active member of the CBC helped many individuals who had been living in isolation to reestablish a friendship network. Kendall, another member with full-blown AIDS, underscored the social role the club played in introducing him to a new set of friends: "The mainstay of my friends now are the people that I met through the club. Some [friends from the club] I've known way back, but a lot of them are people I just met m the past couple of years. Course, also in the past 10 years 1've had a lot of friends die from AIDS. I could think of a whole group of people I would have been out with, say, to dinner, or at a bar, and I am the only one that's alive out of, say seven or eight people in the group... I find it very hard to gauge how much benefit I should ascribe to marijuana and how much to the club itself. Because just being around people has really helped a lot. Like I said, I lost a great portion of my friends to AIDS. Other people I just drifted apart from. So, this was a way back into having a close circle of friends" In keeping with the way the clubs provide a healing atmosphere, Jamie noted how the social relations he had developed over time allowed him and others to manage the grief associated with the death of close friends and helped him find a new set of associates whose concerns he valued: "We had wakes there. We had a wake for Jimmy when he died. Jimmy was one of the original people from before it was Church Street... That's how long Jimmy was a member... He was one of the original I'd say 10 people in the beginning. And when he died, they had a wake... I've been a part of the club because I was there everyday. I became a part of the club, one of the faces that belongs there. When 1 went away for a week, everybody said, "Where'd you go?" It's a social thing to do, every day of your life. Well, almost everyday. THE ETHOS OF "LOVE AND COMPASSION" One of the remarkable consequences of having established the clubs as a place where members could expect help was the way the notion of helping others permeated member interaction, so that group esteem and status was often connected to performing kind, compassionate acts. One might say that there emerged an unstated expectation that rewards and recognition could be accrued through acts of helping other members. As a result, several respondents reported how they consciously set out to be of service to other members, which they viewed as being consistent with the club's mantra and slogan of "love and compassion." This aspect of helping was a route to both recognition and acceptance. Sidney, whose medical diagnosis did not include physical infirmities, explained how he created a helping role for himself in an attempt to become an official volunteer: "I hung around every day that I could because I wanted to help people who had problems with neuropathy, palsy, sclerosis, dystrophy. They can't roll [joints]; they can't clean [remove stems and seeds from marijuana]. They're shaking, trembling... A friend of mine has glaucoma and also has spasticity and arthritis. She'll come in and literally hand me her bag [of marijuana], and I would sit and roll her entire bag. And she would hand me a cigarette. And I would say, "No, thanks." And she would say, "Okay, just light it."" For Marie, a 40-year-old African-American women who was wheelchair bound because of muscular dystrophy, and a lifetime resident of San Francisco before moving to an adjacent county when special housing for her medical condition became available, her three visits a week to the club were her rationale for leaving her apartment. As a knowledgeable observer of San Francisco scenes while growing up in the Haight-Ashbury district, and as a child seeing the development of the counter-culture during its heyday in the mid-sixties, she summed up her view of the SF CBC by putting it in the context of San Francisco as a city of civility: Marie: I went Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. HWF: Did you go there only to buy or did you hang around? Marie: I went there to buy but I'd always run into someone I knew who I'd sit around and smoke a joint with and talk about how cool it [the club] was .. The club was life! The club was what San Francisco was all about. People were there sharing, talking, loving, just having a good time. And it was all kinds of people from all walks of life... It reinforced what San Francisco was all about I looked forward to it. Wednesdays is Farmer's Market Day [on Market Street near the SF CBC]. It was perfect. I could go to the club and then get my fruits and vegetables on my trip to the city. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Our approach in assessing the functions of cannabis clubs, particularly what was formerly called the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, was an ethnographic examination of how members themselves perceived the benefits of their membership. While the acquisition of medical marijuana for specific diseases (as recommended by their physicians) was the members' major rationale for seeking membership, almost without exception they expressed greater satisfaction in the social interaction and activities they found. Most of the members learned of the club through friends or acquaintances who were either members themselves or who knew of the club through other friends. Without advertisement or recruitment, members heard through word-of-mouth that Dennis Peron had created a facility where persons with serious and/or terminal illnesses could purchase and smoke marijuana. With the apparent success of Dennis' place, others with imagination and administrative skills opened similar, if somewhat unique, clubs throughout the state - in Marin, Eureka, San Jose, Oakland, Hayward, Los Angeles, Orange County, and other areas - after becoming acquainted with the SF CBC. Each may have had a somewhat original twist, but the notion of having a facility where cannabis could be purchased (and sometimes ingested onsite) was patterned after the original club created by Dennis Peron. Members who probably would have been content to find only a legitimate source of medical marijuana were even more pleased to discover that the setting itself served therapeutic purposes for them by providing a natural environment in which to socialize with others who were struggling not only with serious disease but who were frequently isolated, frightened, and depressed. As a result, members often stated that the socialization they encountered and the friends they made at the clubs were health producing. Most frequently members referred to these friendship circles as "support groups" because they offered mutual help in a number of critical emotional areas: adjusting to a terminal illness, or managing the grief which accompanies the many deaths an epidemic like HIV/AIDS leaves in its wake. At the time of this writing, two legal actions are underway in attempts to close the clubs: (a) action by the California State Attorney General's Office, which claims that cannabis clubs do not qualify as primary caregivers under their interpretation of Proposition 215; and (b) a federal civil suit against six California clubs - including the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators' Cooperative, Flower Therapy (which closed because of federal action against the club's landlord), and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. The federal case seems the simplest since it drew on the Controlled Substances Act of 1972, which classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug (a classification specifying that marijuana has no legitimate medical use). The federal action - taken by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the Department of Justice - simply does not recognize the many studies and reports on marijuana which have demonstrated its medicinal usefulness. Perhaps the anticipated report from the Institute on Medicine (whose members visited the Bay Area cannabis clubs in December, 1997) on its investigation of possible medical uses for marijuana will help bring the Department of Justice and the DEA more into line with the available scientific evidence. At the moment, the DEA simply ignores all scientific and medical evidence, and with apparent blindness continues to argue that marijuana has no legitimate medical use. With that as their foundation for determining public policy, from the DEA's perspective all marijuana use remains illegal. And they saw fit to take civil - not criminal action - against six of the better known clubs. The remedy for the federal position, which in all likelihood is forthcoming, is to reschedule cannabis and recognize what thousands of Americans and hundreds of physicians already know - that cannabis is a remarkable, naturally grown substance with wide utility in the treatment of a variety of diseases. The authors concur with the New England Journal of Medicine, which stated in its editorial of January 30, 1997 (Kassirer 1997) that "...a federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." The California Attorney General's case is somewhat different, since under Proposition 215 the use and recommendation of cannabis for severe medical conditions is legal. In California, the suit against the SF CBC attempts to clarify Proposition 215 by implying that the law does not authorize or consider the role of cannabis clubs in providing marijuana to legitimate patients. While the Attorney General's Office has not developed its own plan for distribution, it does seem to support the police option suggested in San Mateo County, which (as discussed earlier) would blur the lines between law enforcement functions and medical practice. Having the police as distributors of medical cannabis would have a chilling effect on how medical patients, fully aware of how police departments in the past viewed marijuana consumers, might utilize or abuse this new distribution route. After almost two years of investigation into the functions of cannabis clubs, witnessing how members participate in the socialization that takes place in them, and formally interviewing a selected sample of patients, as social scientists the authors conclude that the cannabis clubs are not only a desirable method but a preferred method for the distribution of medical marijuana. Without question, of the available ways of providing cannabis, the CBCs provide the safest and least expensive commercial method for patients to purchase medical marijuana. Moreover, the existing relationships are trusting ones that have been developed over the years, and they would be difficult to transfer. Of greatest importance is that the clubs provide a therapeutic setting which patients themselves find gratifying, socially supportive, and congenial. Rather than attempting to shut down cannabis clubs, public policy makers at the federal and state level should move toward supporting the clubs' existence, and thus function the way the health, law enforcement, and elected political officials in San Francisco have done over the past six years. As a new and promising strategy, the cannabis club concept is boldly imaginative and; according to our investigations, highly effective in providing its sick and terminally ill members both a medicine and a social setting which has improved the quality of their lives. REFERENCES Ad Hoc Group of Experts, National Institutes of Health. 1997. Report to the Director: Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana. February 19-20. Available on the Internet at www.nih.gov/news/medmarijuana/MedicalMarijuana. Gieringer, D. 1996. Review of Human Studies on Medical Use of Marijuana. San Francisco: California NORML. Grinspoon, L. In press. A perspective on buyers' clubs. Playboy. Grinspoon, L 1998. Personal communication. Grinspoon. L. 1977 (1971). Marihuana Reconsidered. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Kassirer. J. 1997. Federal foolishness and marijuana. [Editorial] New England Journal of Medicine 336 (5): 366-67. Pollan, M. 1997. Just say "sometimes." New York Times Magazine July 20: 21-48. Roberts, T. 1996. Life crises create situations for communitas. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, November 22.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weeding It Out - Ventura Residents Say Ad Tarnishes Their Image ('Los Angeles Times' Says Some Residents Of Ventura, California, Are Upset Over A Billboard Advertising Hemp Shampoo Featuring A Giant Leaf They Call 'Marijuana' But The Company, Westwood-Based Alterna, Calls 'Hemp') Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 10:57:14 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Ventura Residents Say Ad Tarnishes Their Image Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 Author: Pamela J. Johnson, Special to The Times Weeding It Out VENTURA RESIDENTS SAY AD TARNISHES THEIR IMAGE VENTURA--What looks like a giant marijuana leaf looming over Ventura Avenue has enraged a group of west side residents who are calling for its removal. Residents say the billboard, an advertisement for Hemp Shampoo, sends a pro-drug message to children. But a spokeswoman for Alterna, which makes the shampoo, says the leaf is not marijuana. It is hemp, used in products ranging from rope to clothing to lotions. The debate comes at a time when many Avenue residents are working diligently to spruce up the area's depressed, poverty-stricken image by clearing out slumlords, cracking down on gang members and cleaning up West Park. The billboard, some say, represents a setback in those efforts. Community Council President Mike Del Dosso said that about a dozen residents have called him complaining about the billboard. "The first person who brought it to my attention was a kid," Del Dosso said. "He asked me, 'Why is there a marijuana leaf on a sign on Ventura Avenue?' I explained to him that the hemp plant is used for other things. "I could kind of see a puzzled look on his face. . . . It [the billboard] sends kids a mixed message." The matter will be discussed at Thursday night's community council meeting, Del Dosso said. Members will decide whether a subcommittee should work on the sign-removal effort, although some already have expressed their concerns to hair-care company officials. Others say they plan to push for a city ordinance that would apply stricter rules to billboard content. As it stands, city officials do not review the content of billboards before they are erected, Associate City Planner Ann Grant said. "And I don't know of any ordinance that would allow us to do that," she said. "That might bring up First Amendment rights issues." Grant said she was not aware of the uproar created by the billboard. Officials at the hair-care company, however, learned of the concerns after residents began calling them earlier this week. The 12-by-24-foot billboard advertises a new hair-care product manufactured by Westwood-based Alterna. It is among more than 100 billboards and bus-shelter posters that have popped up over the past few weeks in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties. The two others in Ventura County are on Lewis Road in Camarillo and on the Ventura Freeway in Oxnard. The campaign is aimed not only at selling the product, but at raising public awareness on the benefits of hemp, said Kimberlee Jensen-Mitchell, the company spokeswoman. "Let me say right off the bat that it's not a marijuana leaf, it's a hemp leaf," she said. "Hemp is not a drug. It's a viable and ecologically correct commodity." The shampoo contains hemp seed oil, one of the richest sources of essential fatty and amino acids, she said, adding that hemp seeds are not controlled substances. The billboards, she noted, contain a disclaimer stating "No THC (Drugs)." THC is derived from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp. Since the campaign was launched in mid-March, Ventura residents have been the only ones to demand the removal of a billboard--or at least the offending, head-turning hemp leaf, she said. The ad, which depicts forest-green hemp leaves sprouting out the back of a bottle of shampoo, has stained the area's image, residents say. "If it had been just the shampoo without the marijuana leaf, I would have no objection to it," said Heidi Sohn, who is heading the anti-billboard effort. "But the most prominent feature on the billboard is the symbol of an illegal drug. That is an insult to me and my neighborhood." Sohn is a member of the Westside Community Council, which was launched three years ago to clean up Ventura Avenue. "It appears that the company is targeting a low-income neighborhood," she said. "They think that we find this symbol attractive or that we can identify with it, and therefore we would want to put it in our hair. But low-income does not mean low standards or low values." But Jensen-Mitchell said the company has not targeted low-income neighborhoods and has erected much larger 14-by-48-foot billboards in Sunset Beach, Tarzana and Pasadena. Still, many people do not see the merits in the billboard campaign. "We wish them well in their campaign, but not with that leaf," said Sharon Troll, a volunteer at the city's west side police storefront. She said she has fielded many calls from residents angry over the billboard. "They can put bubbles, or a head of hair or somebody shampooing up there. Something nice and clean. But not a marijuana leaf. That's not OK." Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- ACLU Challenges Oakland Over Car-Seizure Law ('San Francisco Chronicle' Says The American Civil Liberties Union, Citing An Opinion By State Lawyers, Believes An Oakland, California, Ordinance Allowing Police To Seize Alleged Drug Buyers' Cars Is Wobbly If Not Flat-Out Baseless Under California Law) Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 17:08:41 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: ACLU Challenges Oakland Over Car-Seizure Law Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 Author: Rick DelVecchio, Chronicle Staff Writer ACLU CHALLENGES OAKLAND OVER CAR-SEIZURE LAW Ordinance lets police take autos of alleged drug buyers A pioneering Oakland city ordinance that allows police to seize alleged drug buyers' cars is wobbly if not flat-out baseless under California law, the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday, citing an opinion by state lawyers. But the criticism was denounced with equal intensity by one of the city's legal advisers, who told police they can continue to enforce the law with confidence that there is no basis on which it could be overturned. Deputy City Attorney Marcia Meyers said the critics' aimed their broadside at the wrong target. They attacked a preliminary version of the law, not the amended ordinance finally enacted last June by the City Council and now on the books, she said. The ACLU cited a blistering opinion by the state legislative counsel, which reviewed Oakland's ``Operation Beat Feet'' law at the request of state Senator John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara. ``We weren't even aware Oakland had changed the ordinance,'' said Rand Martin, Vasconcellos' chief of staff. Still, in contrasting the amended ordinance and state law, it's clear that city and state lawmakers diverge in their views on seizing offenders' vehicles as a way to deal with crime and blight. The Oakland law has not been challenged in court, but the disagreement appears to be headed that way. ``We are not raising issues based on an old ordinance,'' the ACLU's John Crew said. ``We are aware of the minor amendments. They didn't address the underlying conflict -- the government ought not take people's property, sell it and keep the proceeds unless someone has been convicted.'' The legislative counsel's nonbinding critique said the Oakland law allows more police intrusion than permitted under state legislation written to help communities fight crime by seizing cars used in prostitution and drug offenses. State law permits such seizures only in the case of a conviction. Such police work is the exclusive territory of state law and cannot be pre-empted by local action, according to the legislative counsel and the ACLU. Crew said Oakland should repeal its ordinance. And other cities thinking of following Oakland's example should know they are on shaky ground, he said. In January, in the first test of ``Beat Feet,'' police arrested 14 drug buyers on East Oakland streets that have long served as a regional drive-through drug market. Police seized the suspects' vehicles -- a move sure to discourage others from coming to town to buy drugs, the law's backers believe. On Friday, a police sting on San Pablo Avenue netted 17 men on suspicion of soliciting acts of prostitution. Many of them commuters on their way home to the suburbs, these suspects, too, were deprived of their vehicles and subjected to the mortification of ``Beat Feet.'' Meyers said the vehicle impound law is firmly set in the state Constitution and in legal precedent. It is the product of months of research by her staff and the Alameda County district attorney's office, and the questions raised by the legislative counsel and the ACLU are nothing new, she said. The critics say local vehicle seizure laws must conform to limitations that state lawmakers built in to the vehicle and health and safety codes with situations such as Oakland's in mind. But Oakland and Alameda County lawyers found in their research that there is another way. They say their legal foundation is just as solid. For example, the amended Oakland law dropped a reference to the restrictive vehicle code and substituted the state constitution, which allows cities broad powers to deal with a public nuisance. Similarly, although the health and safety code says property used in drug trafficking can't be taken unless the offender has been convicted, the Oakland law does not concern itself with stripping drug dealers of the tools and profits of their trade. Instead, Oakland treats an offender's vehicle as a contributor to urban blight. Thus, the law is a means of nuisance abatement, not drug enforcement, and nuisance abatement is not a matter of state concern alone, the Oakland argument goes. Crew said that calling a crime-fighting program a nuisance program does not change the rules. Whatever the name, offenders must have been convicted before their vehicles can be taken, he said. And, in drug cases, state law allows the tactic to be used only in cases that involve certain substances and certain amounts. 1998 San Francisco Chronicle Page A13
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legislators Decline To Ask Congress For Marijuana Rx ('Honolulu Star-Bulletin' Says Alex Santiago, Chairman Of The Hawaii Legislature's House Health Committee, Vetoed A Proposed Resolution Asking Congress To Allow Doctors To Prescribe Medical Marijuana, Calling It 'Much Too Strong') Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 14:10:12 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US HI: Legislators Decline To Ask Congress For Marijuana Rx Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Don Topping Pubdate: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.starbulletin.com/ Author: Helen Altonn LEGISLATORS DECLINE TO ASK CONGRESS FOR MARIJUANA Rx The House Health Committee isn't ready to ask Congress to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. A resolution heard by the committee yesterday to do that was "much too strong" said Chairman Alex Santiago. He said it would be difficult getting support to pass it. He said, however, there is strong feeling that marijuana relieves pain and suffering and the committee should look at the issue. He suggested the author, Rep. David Tarnas, rewrite the measure to ask the federal government to move more quickly on testing to establish a universal policy on medical use of marijuana. "Rather than the tail wagging the dog, let's get the dog to move a little quicker," Santiago said, "and get the feds to come up with a position." The Health Committee earlier in the session held a bill, also proposed by Tarnas, to allow use of marijuana for medical reasons. Rep. Bob McDermott, committee member, said he would also vote against a resolution based on testimony and evidence. The Honolulu Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, state Public Safety Department and state Health Department opposed the resolution. but they indicated that a consistent federal policy would help their agencies. Eight states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes while others have banned it, Santiago noted. Donald Topping, retired university of Hawaii professor who heads the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said denying marijuana "to sick people because of the politically motivated war on drugs is unconscionable." "You can go down the streets anywhere and see stuff all over the place," said Rep. Gene Ward. "So isn't there de facto legalization already?" Topping said the drug with the highest increase of arrests in Honolulu is marijuana. People who use it for pain and suffering must resort to black market supplies, he said. He supported Tarnas' resolution as a "small step" forward and would even favor a modified version, he said. "Anything that would move it to rational discussion and scrutiny."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Substance Abuse Costs State $76 Billion, Study Says ('The Oklahoman' Says The New Report, Titled 'Everyone Pays,' Was Written By The Center For Health Policy Research At Oklahoma State University In Response To A Request From The Governor's Task Force On Substance Abuse - Newspaper Doesn't Explain Fallacious Assumptions Implicit In Researchers' Propaganda, Or Weigh Alleged Costs Against Costs Of Prisons And The Rest Of The War On Some Drug Users) Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 18:45:33 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US OK: Substance Abuse Costs State $76 Billion, Study Says Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: OK NORML Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 Source: Oklahoman, The (OK) Contact: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/ Author: Paul English Capitol Bureau SUBSTANCE ABUSE COSTS STATE $7.6 BILLION, STUDY SAYS Alcohol abuse and illegal drug use in Oklahoma have an annual negative economic impact of $7.6 billion -- the equivalent of 13 percent of the state's economy, state researchers said Tuesday. ''It costs every household in the state ... over $1,000 a year'' in federal, state and local taxes, said Michael Lapolla, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at Oklahoma State University. Lapolla presented the study, ''Everyone Pays,'' to the Governor's Task Force on Substance Abuse, which had requested the report. Task force Chairman Bill Crowell said the panel plans to release its recommendations in a couple weeks. About $5.8 billion of the effect is in the ''lost productivity'' of illegal drug users and alcohol abusers, the study says. ''Our estimate is that 61 percent of lost productivity is due to alcohol, 37 percent due to illegal drugs,'' Lapolla said. The study says that when people become disabled and nonproductive, they hurt the economy . ''We assumed that these costs are equally distributed in the population rather than being concentrated at the lower income levels,'' the researchers wrote. ''Therefore, we assumed lost wages to be the state median income rather than the minimum wage.'' Federal taxpayers pay $860 million of the cost in Oklahoma, while state taxes cover $330 million , and local taxes take care of $130 million , the researchers say. The state taxes attributable to alcohol and drug abuse accounted for more than 7 percent of state taxes collected in 1996, the report said. Lapolla said Oklahoma private businesses lose $547 million through security costs, theft, vandalism and similar problems. More than 7 percent of all hospital costs are attributable to alcohol and illegal substances, researchers said. ''There are some who may argue that the use of drugs is a 'victimless' crime. And that if others choose to use drugs it doesn't impact the rest of society,'' the study's executive summary states. ''That would be true if family, friends, and taxpayers were not considered.'' The report says alcohol abusers and illegal drug users ''write 'checks' for almost a third of a billion dollars against the Oklahoma treasury ... and for much more against the federal government, private business and overall economy.'' Of the costs estimated in the report, ''none calculate the adverse effects upon individuals, family or friends,'' the study says.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gym Teacher Suspended After Arrest ('The Oklahoman' Notes The Oklahoma City Elementary School Teacher Says She's Not Guilty Of Possessing .04 Grams Of Cocaine Found On The Floor Of Her Recently Purchased Car) Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 18:45:33 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US OK: Gym Teacher Suspended After Arrest Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: OK NORML Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 Source: Oklahoman, The (OK) Contact: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/ Author: Bobby Ross Jr. and Robert Medley Staff Writers GYM TEACHER SUSPENDED AFTER ARREST In her 15 years with Oklahoma City schools, Susan Denise Rose has earned a reputation as a model teacher. Her Star Elementary School co-workers and students certainly never expected to see her in the local news -- accused of cocaine possession. ''This is the kind of teacher that whatever you need, she's right there,'' district spokeswoman Cynthia Reid said Tuesday. On Tuesday, Oklahoma City school officials suspended Rose, 37, with pay pending an investigation. Oklahoma City police arrested the physical education instructor late Monday after they said they witnessed her stop for one minute at a known drug house. About midnight Monday, police stopped Rose's car in the 1100 block of W Hefner Road. She let police search the car, and they found .04 grams of a substance that appeared to be rock cocaine under the front passenger seat, a police report said. The substance tested positive for cocaine and was kept as evidence. An angry Rose on Tuesday called her arrest a ''nightmare.'' Asked whether she had cocaine in her car, she told The Oklahoman, ''That's so wrong, sir. That's why I let them search the car. I had nothing in my car. They showed me a little piece of something they said they found under my front passenger seat.'' She said she bought the car about a week ago. ''I'm very upset because those things didn't happen,'' she said of the allegations in a police report. ''All I did was pull into a driveway looking for a friend's address, and I backed right out. I never got out.'' A police officer said the car was seen at two other houses where police believe drugs are kept and sold. About 11:40 p.m. Monday, a car pulled into a driveway in the 600 block of NW 114 and stayed for one minute before the driver left to stop at a house in the 900 block of NW 116 Court, a police report said. A house at 908 NW 116 Court was raided March 11 by police. Four people were arrested on drug-related complaints, and police found traces of crack cocaine. Monday night, an officer saw the driver leave the same house in about a minute and disappear into heavy traffic before being stopped on W Hefner Road. Rose was taken to the Oklahoma County jail on a complaint of possession of a controlled and dangerous substance. She posted a $3,000 bond and was released. Her arrest is the third metro-area drug arrest of a school teacher in a month. Rose questioned Tuesday whether police planted drugs in her car, hoping she might lead them to drug dealers. She said two detectives called her Tuesday seeking her cooperation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- House Backs Meth Crackdown ('Des Moines Register' Says Iowa Lawmakers Voted Tuesday For Harsher Penalties For Sellers And Users, Including Stiffer Penalties For Repeat Offenders And Mandatory Minimums For Sellers - The House Republican Majority Assembled The Package Of Proposals, Which Competes With A $4 Million Democratic Package - Legislation Returns To The Senate For More Debate) Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 20:07:59 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US IA: House Backs Meth Crackdown Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Carl E. Olsen http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/ Source: The Des Moines Register Author: Jonathan Roos, Register Staff Writer Contact: email@example.com Webform: http://www.dmregister.com/letter.html Website: http://www.dmregister.com/ Pubdate: Wednesday, April 1, 1998 HOUSE BACKS METH CRACKDOWN Tougher Penalties, New Law-enforcement Tools Win Approval Iowa lawmakers, alarmed by a methamphetamine crime wave, voted Tuesday to mete out harsher penalties for drug dealers and users. The House gave lopsided approval to proposals that include stiffer penalties for repeat offenders of drug possession laws; enforcement of mandatory minimum sentences for meth dealers; and new law enforcement tools to nab drug-using motorists. Members of the House Republican majority, who assembled the package of proposals, said it would provide the state with more powerful weapons in its war on drugs. "Our judicial system ... is something of a turnstile. The drug dealers come in one courthouse door and they come out the other in a short time," said Rep. Chuck Larson, R-Cedar Rapids. "This legislation is going to put meth dealers in prison." Rep. Jeffrey Lamberti, R-Ankeny, said the measures send a strong message to people manufacturing or peddling meth that Iowa is not a good place to do business. Most House Democrats voted for the legislation, even though some said the Republicans were offering a simplistic solution to a complex problem that requires more drug-abuse prevention and treatment efforts. "What I see is a continuation of the philosophy that if we push the penalties high enough, we'll scare (drug dealers) off. Folks, we haven't scared them off," said House Minority Leader David Schrader, D-Monroe. Rep. Wayne Ford, D-Des Moines, one of three lawmakers who opposed the bill, said its new law enforcement provisions could be used by police to harass members of minority groups. Under one proposal, similar to legislation approved by the Senate earlier in the session, Iowa's drunken-driving laws would be extended to users of meth or other illicit drugs. The measure would make it easier for prosecutors to charge drug-impaired drivers. Other provisions of the anti-drug package adopted by the House include: Increasing penalties for illegal drug possession. A third offense would be a felony. Eliminating a judge's discretion to suspend a mandatory minimum sentence for meth dealers. Denying appeal bonds for convicted dealers, so they would have to remain behind bars while appealing their sentences. Allowing judges to deny state and federal benefits, such as college student aid, to convicted users and dealers until they complete a rehabilitiation program. The anti-meth provisions were attached to a bill dealing with Iowa's drunken-driving laws. The revised legislation returns to the Senate for more debate. House Republicans and Democrats in recent days have offered rival plans to combat methamphetamine trafficking in Iowa. Parts of the Democrats' $4 million plan were rejected during debate Tuesday of other bills. The GOP-controlled House, during a nighttime debate of a justice system budget bill, defeated a $1.5 million proposal for drug buys and creation a 15-member "meth strike force." The House Appropriations Committee defeated a Democrat-backed proposal that would have spent $2.5 million on meth treatment, education and local law-enforcement efforts. Republicans want to spend a smaller amount of money on a proposed informant reward program, police undercover purchases of the drug and educational programs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot-Smoking Juror Is Put On Probation ('Associated Press' Item In 'Miami Herald' Says A Juror In Wheeling, West Virginia, Who Smoked Marijuana With Three Defendants The Night Before He Helped To Convict Them In A Drug Case Has Been Sentenced To Six Months Of Home Confinement And Two Years' Probation)Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 11:45:14 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US WV: Pot-Smoking Juror Is Put On Probation Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Ginger Warbis Pubdate: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.herald.com/ Author: Associated Press POT-SMOKING JUROR IS PUT ON PROBATION WHEELING, W.Va. -- (AP) -- A former juror who smoked marijuana with three defendants the night before he helped to convict them in a drug case has been sentenced to six months of home confinement and two years' probation. Matthew Smith, 28, pleaded guilty in December to contempt after smoking pot with the defendants in 1993 during the 3 1/2-week federal trial. The three were convicted; five others were acquitted. Smith spoke to one defendant and then to another after retrieving a dollar bill that the defendant had dropped in the parking lot, prosecutors said. After closing arguments, Smith and the three defendants got together and smoked pot.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High On A Lie - Funded By Billionaires, The 'Medical Marijuana' Movement Is Blowing Smoke In Our Eyes (Erroneous Propaganda From 'Reader's Digest') Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 17:52:05 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: US: Reader's Digest: High on a Lie To: DrugSense News Service Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: The Society for the Correction of Erroneous Propaganda Source: Reader's Digest Author: Daniel Levine Pubdate: April, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Mail: Reader's Digest, Box 100, Pleasantville NY 10570-0100 Fax: 914-238-6390. Website: http://www.readersdigest.com/ Graphic: Behind the Pot Vote - George Soros $550,000 - Peter Lewis $500,000 - John Sperling $200,000 -- Californians for Medical Rights Campaign for the Compassionate Use Act" to legalize medical marijuana. Photo caption: "All marijuana use is medical," claims Dennis Peron, the outspoken owner of California's largest pot club. Editor's note: Reader's Digest has a circulation of over 22 million copies in 19 languages. It is the world's largest circulation magazine. *** Funded by Billionaires, the "Medical Marijuana" Movement is Blowing Smoke in our Eyes HIGH ON A LIE One Saturday last September, 50,000 people, most of them teen-agers, crowded into the Boston Common for the eight annual Freedom Rally. Its organizers billed it as the largest marijuana-legalization event on the East Coast. Strolling through the crowd, holding a joint, was a 17-year-old high-school senior who said his name was Bill. "If they allow sick people to use it," he said, "it can't be that damaging." Sharing a marijuana pipe with two friends, a 15-year-old named Nicole agreed. "Pot is harmless," she said. "It should be legalized because there are so many medical benefits. It helps you with a lot of things. It's the best." An increasing number of young Americans agree. They have gotten this idea from a well-funded movement to legalize the "compassionate" use of marijuana. While every legitimate drug requires rigorous testing by the FDA before being approved, marijuana advocates are opting for medicine by popular vote. This year signatures are being gathered for medical-marijuana initiatives in a half-dozen states and the District of Columbia. Marijuana's main active ingredient, THC, is effective in relieving nausea and inducing weight gain in cancer and AIDS patients. That is why the FDA has approved Marinol, a synthetic pill form of THC. But marijuana in its smoked form has never been shown in controlled scientific studies to be safe or effective. In fact, marijuana smoke contains over 2000 chemicals, many of which produce psychoactive reactions, cause lung damage and - in cancer and AIDS patients - increase the risk of pneumonia and weaken the immune system. Inhaling the smoke also disrupts short-term memory and leads to changes in the brain similar to those caused by heroin, cocaine and other highly addictive drugs. "There is no conclusive scientific evidence that marijuana is superior to currently available medicines," says Dr. Eric Voth, chairman of the International Drug Strategy Institute in Omaha. "Medical marijuana is a scam that takes advantage of sick and dying patients." Says Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey (Ret.), director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, "Medical marijuana is a stalking-horse for legalization. This is not about compassion. This is about legalizing dangerous drugs." "Daddy Warbucks" of Drugs. - The legalization of marijuana and other drugs has been debated for more than 30 years, with a vast majority of Americans standing in opposition. Legalization supporters have used the argument that drugs are necessary for medical reasons. But now, for the first time, they have significant financial backing. In the last six years a handful of America's wealthiest people have contributed $20 million to groups that promote medical marijuana or other radical drug-policy reforms. Billionaire financier George Soros is the biggest giver, donating more than $16 million. Others include Peter Lewis, CEO of Cleveland-based Progressive Corp., the nation's sixth-largest auto insurer, and John Sperling, president of the Apollo Group, a holding company that controls for-profit universities and job-training centers. In an interview with Reader's Digest, the 76-year-old Sperling said he believes doctors should be allowed to prescribe all drugs, including heroin and LSD. Lewis declined to be interviewed. A spokesman for Soros said he does not support drug legalization. Nonetheless, Soros has donated millions since 1992 to groups led by people advocating it. Former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Jr., calls him the "Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization." Soros created a drug-policy institute called The Lindesmith Center and has funded it with $4 million. Its director, Ethan Nadelmann, Soros's point man on drug policy, has said he wants to "legalize the personal possession of drugs by adult Americans." Soros has also given $6.4 million to the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF), a leading advocate for medical marijuana. Its stated mission is "publicizing alternatives to current drug strategies." Its founder, attorney and college professor Arnold Trebach, calls himself a "flat-out legalizer" who advocates the repeal of current drug laws. Richard J. Dennis, a 49-year-old Chicago commodities trader and member of DPF's board of directors, supports both medical marijuana and legalization in general. In fact, says Dennis, "I'd like to see legalization for adults for all drugs, including heroin." On DPF's advisory board is Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon, a leading advocate of medical marijuana for over 25 years. He compares marijuana's potential benefit to that of penicillin, predicting, "It will be the wonder drug of the new millennium." Soros, Lewis and Sperling gained their biggest victory in November, 1996 when California voters passed Proposition 215, also knows as the Compassionate Use Act. It allows pot to be grown and smoked for "any illness for which marijuana provides relief." There are no age restrictions. "Illness" is loosely defined and can include headaches, chronic pain and arthritis. A doctor's oral recommendation is all that is required. The principal author of the California initiative was 52-year-old Dennis Peron, a San Francisco "medical pot club" owner who's been arrested 15 times on marijuana charges. Peron says he worded the initiative vaguely because he believes "all marijuana use is medical." Peron's Cannabis Cultivators' Club is the state's largest pot club, taking in over $20,000 a day. One day last fall, Peron wandered the club greeting patrons and handed one a bulging quarter-pound bag of marijuana. Standing in line at Peron's smoke-filled club to buy an eighth of an ounce of high-grade Mexican marijuana was a 39-year-old named Anthony. Under California's law, Anthony is consider a "seriously ill patient" who can purchase and smoke pot. He tokes up four or five times a day. When asked about his ailment, Anthony answered: "Officially, hernia discomfort from overstrenuous intercourse. Actually, I can't feel it." He said the club admitted him without any medical referral. A self-described "potaholic," Anthony has smoked dope since he was 16. My problems, he conceded, "are related to a general life-style kind of thing." Peron's club has operated for years, despite violating state and federal drug laws. In August 1996, state drug agents raided it, seizing 86 pounds of pot and $62,000. "The club was running a sophisticated illegal drug-distribution network," said a spokesman of California Attorney General Dan Lungren. A grand jury indicated Peron, and he awaits trial on felony drug charges. Meanwhile, Peron is running for governor of California. Peron's initiative never would have made it to the ballot without the help of Soros, Lewis and Sperling. California requires 433,269 valid petition signatures before a "citizen's initiative" can be placed on the ballot. As the deadline neared, Peron and his unorganized group of volunteers had collected only 40,000. That is when Ethan Nadelmann of Soros's Lindesmith Center stepped in. He helped create Californians for Medical Rights, a sophisticated campaign organization that pushed the medical-marijuana initiative. Soros and Lewis pored $400,000 into the group, which paid professional signature gatherers who, in 90days, obtained more than 700,000 signatures. Once the measure was on the ballot, Soros, Lewis and Sperling contributed $450,000 for advertising. Commercials featured emotional appeals for relief through the use of marijuana. The ads never mentioned that Proposition 215 would allow marijuana to be smoked for any condition, without age restriction and without a prescription. One of the numerous medical-marijuana clubs that opened as a result of Peron's measure was the Dharma Producers Group in San Francisco, which bragged that it offered "medical marijuana with a Tibetan touch." The club's "medical director," a pony-tailed 52-yar-old named Lorenzo Pace, laughed when he explained his medical-marijuana credentials: "I did preliminary research all through the '60s.: California for Medical Rights has since changed its name to Americans for Medical Rights. Today it is leading a campaign to place medical-marijuana initiatives on state ballots across the country. Rx: LSD. - While Californians were voting on medical marijuana, their neighbors in Arizona were considering an even more radical initiative. The Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996 proposed to legalize not only marijuana but also more tan 100 other drugs - including heroin, LSD and PCP (angel dust) - for medical use. Arizona's initiative was sold to voters as a way to get tough on violent criminals. How? Open up jail space by paroling all first- and second-time drug offenders. This ignored the fact that virtually all of the 1200 inmates affected had plea-bargained down from more serious charges or had prior felony records. In Arizona, Sperling spearheaded the campaign. He, Soros and Lewis contributed a total of $1.2 million; the DPF gave $303,000. This accounted for 99 percent of the initiative's total funding. As in California, much of this money paid for a massive media campaign. Opponents of the initiative, caught unprepared, did not run a single advertisement. The measure passed, but a post-election survey revealed that Arizona voters had been badly misled. Seventy-four percent did not believe doctors should be able to prescribe drugs such as heroin, PCP and LSD, as he proposition allowed; 70 percent agreed that the initiative would give children the impression that drugs were also acceptable for recreational use. The state legislature subsequently passed a statute that effectively overrode the initiative. Fighting Back. - The organizers of Arizona's initiative moved to place a similar measure on the ballot in Washington State. Sperling, Lewis and Soros contributed a total of more than $1.5 million. Despite being outspent more than ten to one, opponents of the Washington initiative were not about to be caught unprepared. They took every opportunity to stress that the measure was not about compassion, but about legalizing dangerous drugs. Last November voters rejected the measure. The defeat in Washington has not sidetracked plans for similar medical-marijuana initiatives in other states. Battlegrounds include Hawaii, Florida, Kansas, Main and Alaska. An Oregon initiative would not only legalize use of many drugs but also permit the sale of marijuana in state liquor stores. In Washington, D.C., Initiative 59 would allow up to four caregivers, including "best friends," to cultivate pot for a "seriously ill" person. Organizers are hoping that passage of these initiatives will spur Congress to legalize medical marijuana under federal law. Says Dr. Robert DuPont, a former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse: "Never in the history of modern medicine has burning leaves been considered medicine. Those in the medical-marijuana movement are putting on white coats and expressing concerns about the sick. But people need to see this for what it is: a fraud and a hoax." *** Let us know what you think about this topic at www.readersdigest.com Copyright 1998 Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - 'Readers Digest' (Letter To The Editor Of 'Reader's Digest' From Dave Ford, Author Of 'Marijuana - Not Guilty As Charged,' Faults Magazine's One-Sided, Mostly Inaccurate Treatment Of The Medical Marijuana Issue) Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 20:20:49 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Dave Ford" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Readers Digest Compliments to MAP for making the inaccurate HIGH ON A LIE, (Reader's Digest, April 1998) available. I just wrote the following email to Readers' Digest: *** Would you be interested in increasing your circulation? I'm a published author and former investigative reporter. My book, MARIJUANA: NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED, was five years in the writing. Over 300 medical and relaxation users, as well as physicians were interviewed. I formally lived in Hawaii for thirty years. I worked for the CBS television affiliate. I've interviewed numerous medical marijuana users. Would you consider a story from a writer who disagrees with Daniel Levine? Reader's Digest has constantly presented one-sided, mostly inaccurate stories on marijuana. The thousands of cancer patients, including myself, know otherwise about the medical benefits of marijuana. It would help your circulation if you were to offer both sides of this sensitive argument. Very truly yours, David R. Ford email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard Cowan's Critique Of 'High On A Lie' (From 'Marijuananews.com') Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 16:17:39 -0800 (PST) From: Randy Chase
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: Richard Cowan's Critique of 'High On A Lie" (HUGE) (fwd) Sender: email@example.com This is a big article, but if your parents are like mine they have read the readers digest article and it is nice to have answers. Expect these same arguments from others. Randy Newshawk: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Source: marijuananews.com - A Personal Newsletter on the Cannabis Controversies Author: Richard Cowan, Editor and Publisher Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.marijuananews.com/ Pubdate: March 29, 1998 Editor's Note: This is a very rare exception to our policy of not distributing items that are only web published. In response to the significant discussion of the April Reader's Digest article Dick has written a superb critique. His comments are in (parentheses) that start with 'Ed. note.' At some points his critique links to other web based articles. I have made the links visible. The original item is in our archives at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n209.a06.html - Richard Lake - Sr. Editor, DrugSense News Service (Ed. note: For more than twenty years the Reader's Digest has been a major source of anti-marijuana prohibitionist propaganda. The late Peggy Mann wrote a series of articles which popularized the work of Dr. Gabriel Nahas. Given the Digest's enormous circulation and its reputation, these articles undoubtedly played a large role in the resurgence of "reefer madness" prohibitionism. (Reader's Digest has a circulation of over 22 million copies in 19 languages. It is the world's largest circulation magazine.) Also, they went virtually unanswered. In the age of the Internet, their free ride is over. It is ironic that this article appears in the same month with the Journal of the American Medical Association's review of Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. http://www.marijuananews.com/journal_of_the_american_medical_.htm The JAMA review says, "It is difficult to see how the growing tide of acceptance of medical marijuana might be stemmed much longer by accusations of "covert legalization tactics." This article is an attempt to do just that. Please note that they use the word "lie" in the title and the main point of the article is to attack the motives of the supporters of medical marijuana. In fact, the most striking thing about the article is its very poor intellectual level, and its apparent indifference to the truth. Appropriately, reprints of the article were distributed at William Bennett's anti-medical marijuana hate-fest put on by Empower America earlier this month. See Only Forty People Show Up For Bill Bennett's Anti-Medical Marijuana Hate-Fest http://www.marijuananews.com/only_forty_people_show_up_for_bi.htm The Digest can certainly afford better, and its readers should feel insulted that the editors think them such fools, but it is just what one would expect of Bennett, the former drug-addicted drug czar and multi-millionaire hypocrisy entrepreneur. However, the article does offer the opportunity to examine the principle prohibitionist arguments, so bear with me. Prepare your anti-emetics.) The Reader's Digest April 1998 "High On A Lie" By Daniel Levine Contact: email@example.com Mail: Reader's Digest, Box 100, Pleasantville NY 10570-0100 Fax: 914-238-6390. Website: http://www.readersdigest.com/ The article is accompanied pictures that give a sinister appearance to the article's arch-villains. " Behind the Pot Vote - George Soros $550,000 - Peter Lewis $500,000 - John Sperling $200,000 --> Californians for Medical Rights Campaign for the Compassionate Use Act" to legalize medical marijuana. Photo caption: "All marijuana use is medical," claims Dennis Peron, the outspoken owner of California's largest pot club. Funded by Billionaires, the "Medical Marijuana" Movement is Blowing Smoke in our Eyes (Ed. note: It never bothers to explain why these very rich men, who have nothing to gain from this, are pursuing what is clearly a thankless course. The article is largely about denigrating the motives of the medical marijuana supporters, but it never ventures an explanation for them. Why do we want to do what they see as such a horrible thing? What is the nature of our depravity? Certainly, Levine is not bashful in commenting on motives.) HIGH ON A LIE One Saturday last September, 50,000 people, most of them teen-agers, crowded into the Boston Common for the eight annual Freedom Rally. Its organizers billed it as the largest marijuana-legalization event on the East Coast. Strolling through the crowd, holding a joint, was a 17-year-old high-school senior who said his name was Bill. "If they allow sick people to use it," he said, "it can't be that damaging." (Ed. note: A previous article by Levine used the same technique, beginning with a "troubled adolescent," thereby framing the marijuana issue simply in terms of teenage use. Even if that were the proper measure of "drugs policy," and it has been a disastrous failure for us, this would be irrelevant to the medical marijuana issue. As the prohibitionist psychiatrist Sally Satel observed in the prohibitionist Wall Street Journal, "Just as addictive morphine has medical uses, so might marijuana..." If some teenager in the park made a similar statement about morphine, would that then be the basis for the Digest to crusade against all pain relievers?) Sharing a marijuana pipe with two friends, a 15-year-old named Nicole agreed. "Pot is harmless," she said. "It should be legalized because there are so many medical benefits. It helps you with a lot of things. It's the best." (Ed. note: Again, it would seem that the confusion between medical use and recreational use is being fostered by the prohibitionists. ) An increasing number of young Americans agree. They have gotten this idea from a well-funded movement to legalize the "compassionate" use of marijuana. (Ed. note: Blaming the medical marijuana movement for the increase in teenage marijuana use is not supported by any survey data. Teen marijuana use began increasing before the medical marijuana movement got significant publicity.) While every legitimate drug requires rigorous testing by the FDA before being approved, marijuana advocates are opting for medicine by popular vote. This year signatures are being gathered for medical-marijuana initiatives in a half-dozen states and the District of Columbia. (Ed. note: Of course, this ignores the fact that the very expensive FDA approval process was designed for patented pharmaceuticals, not for a plant that no one can own. Moreover, the FDA process was designed to prevent the marketing of these products prior to being proven "safe and effective," not to justify arresting sick people who find that a plant helps them relieve their suffering. You will not find any mention of the arrest and prosecution of seriously ill people anywhere in this article.) Marijuana's main active ingredient, THC, is effective in relieving nausea and inducing weight gain in cancer and AIDS patients. That is why the FDA has approved Marinol, a synthetic pill form of THC. (Ed. note: First, one would think that even at this level of prohibitionist propaganda they would recognize that a person who is vomiting would have difficulty taking a pill. After all, the subject is nausea! Also, this ignores the fact that THC is not the only therapeutic or palliative agent in marijuana.) But marijuana in its smoked form has never been shown in controlled scientific studies to be safe or effective. (Ed. note: This is untrue. It is not necessary to do "controlled studies" to know that marijuana has no lethal dose. Marijuana has been called "one of the safest therapeutically active agents known to man" by the DEA's own Administrative Law Judge. This is a matter of public record that a reader of this article would never know. Also, this ignores the role that the government has played in delaying research. Dr. Donald Abram's research was delayed for more than five years. See The Scientist Magazine Does A Reverent Interview with the Head of NIDA. http://www.marijuananews.com/scientist_magazine_does_a_revere.htm ) In fact, marijuana smoke contains over 2000 chemicals, many of which produce psychoactive reactions, cause lung damage and - in cancer and AIDS patients - increase the risk of pneumonia and weaken the immune system. Inhaling the smoke also disrupts short-term memory and leads to changes in the brain similar to those caused by heroin, cocaine and other highly addictive drugs. (Ed. note: This paragraph is so densely packed with lies that it is necessary to refer the reader to Marijuana Myths; Marijuana Facts - http://www.marijuananews.com/marijuana_myths.htm - by Zimmer and Morgan to deal with them fully. As the JAMA review of Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine points out: "Grinspoon and Bakalar's summary of the safety and toxicology data is clinically and logically unassailable. Undoubtedly there are batches of mold-contaminated marijuana; coordination and motor reflexes are impaired during acute intoxication; chronic use of marijuana subtly affects cognitive function and produces upper respiratory problems. However, for the amount being smoked, it is reassuring that no deaths directly resulting from marijuana overdose have been reported, nor have there been documented cases of lung cancer even in heavy chronic smokers." However, there are certain non-technical and common sense observations that illustrate how bad this really is. First, it is largely irrelevant, because it is possible to vaporize whole cannabis by heating it to just below the combustion point. This liberates the active ingredients in it, while minimizing the risks of smoking. Second, the risks in every medicine are dose-related. The amount of cannabis required for chemotherapy induced nausea is very small. Moreover, the comparison of the effects on the brain caused by marijuana, cocaine and heroin is irrelevant for several reasons. First, it is essentially meaningless. This sounds scary, but it means nothing. Second, opiates and other highly addictive drugs are medically available. If marijuana has a similar effect, so what? Third, if a person is seriously ill or in great pain, what difference does it make?) "There is no conclusive scientific evidence that marijuana is superior to currently available medicines," says Dr. Eric Voth, chairman of the International Drug Strategy Institute in Omaha. "Medical marijuana is a scam that takes advantage of sick and dying patients." (Dr.Voth is a well-known prohibitionist propagandist, but never mind. It is not necessary to prove that marijuana is "superior to currently available medicines." Under the law, all that is necessary is to prove that it is relatively safe and effective for some patients for whom conventional medications are not. Both of these points are implicit in the recognition of the medical value of THC in Marinol. That is all that is required.) Says Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey (Ret.), director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, "Medical marijuana is a stalking-horse for legalization. This is not about compassion. This is about legalizing dangerous drugs." (Ed. note: Hardly a disinterested party.) "Daddy Warbucks" of Drugs. - The legalization of marijuana and other drugs has been debated for more than 30 years, with a vast majority of Americans standing in opposition. (Ed. note: Surveys show that a substantial majority are in favor of medical access to marijuana, which is the question at hand.) Legalization supporters have used the argument that drugs are necessary for medical reasons. (Ed. note: Gosh, "drugs are necessary for medical reasons?" What an amazing concept. Maybe someone should start a pharmaceutical industry!) But now, for the first time, they have significant financial backing. (Ed. note: In contrast to the prohibitionists who have always had "significant financial backing." If this really is a relevant issue, then someone should do an examination of the funding levels and sources of both the prohibitionist and anti-prohibitionist movements. It is important -- as a matter of public policy -- to know that huge sums of public money are being used to support prohibitionism, but it is irrelevant to the merits of the arguments.) In the last six years a handful of America's wealthiest people have contributed $20 million to groups that promote medical marijuana or other radical drug-policy reforms. Billionaire financier George Soros is the biggest giver, donating more than $16 million. Others include Peter Lewis, CEO of Cleveland-based Progressive Corp., the nation's sixth-largest auto insurer, and John Sperling, president of the Apollo Group, a holding company that controls for-profit universities and job-training centers. In an interview with Reader's Digest, the 76-year-old Sperling said he believes doctors should be allowed to prescribe all drugs, including heroin and LSD. (Ed. note: This does not sound like a libertarian plot to "legalize all drugs.") Lewis declined to be interviewed. A spokesman for Soros said he does not support drug legalization. Nonetheless, Soros has donated millions since 1992 to groups led by people advocating it. Former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Jr., calls him the "Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization." (Ed. note: A very well-funded prohibitionist propagandist doesn't like the fact that someone is spending his own money to disagree with him.) Soros created a drug-policy institute called The Lindesmith Center and has funded it with $4 million. Its director, Ethan Nadelmann, Soros's point man on drug policy, has said he wants to "legalize the personal possession of drugs by adult Americans." (Ed. note: This is what is known as decriminalization and is not what the Digest seems to mean by legalization.) Soros has also given $6.4 million to the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF), a leading advocate for medical marijuana. Its stated mission is "publicizing alternatives to current drug strategies." Its founder, attorney and college professor Arnold Trebach, calls himself a "flat-out legalizer" who advocates the repeal of current drug laws. Richard J. Dennis, a 49-year-old Chicago commodities trader and member of DPF's board of directors, supports both medical marijuana and legalization in general. In fact, says Dennis, "I'd like to see legalization for adults for all drugs, including heroin." On DPF's advisory board is Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon, a leading advocate of medical marijuana for over 25 years. He compares marijuana's potential benefit to that of penicillin, predicting, "It will be the wonder drug of the new millennium." (Ed. note: This may be the low point of the article. It would have been so easy to identify Dr. Grinspoon as the author of the book Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine, that not doing so indicates a fear that the readers may find out that someone can get information that disagrees with the article. Instead, he takes one sentence out of context.) Soros, Lewis and Sperling gained their biggest victory in November, 1996 when California voters passed Proposition 215, also knows as the Compassionate Use Act. It allows pot to be grown and smoked for "any illness for which marijuana provides relief." There are no age restrictions. (Ed. note: There are also no age restrictions on morphine or other very powerful drugs that a doctor can legally prescribe. If a child is suffering, should an effective medication be withheld?) "Illness" is loosely defined and can include headaches, chronic pain and arthritis. (Ed. note: Does he really mean to imply that "headaches, chronic pain and arthritis" are not serious conditions which require medication? This is really bizarre.) A doctor's oral recommendation is all that is required. (Ed. note: Of course, the Digest would never acknowledge the reason for this. Doctors cannot legally "prescribe" marijuana, and are being threatened with the loss of their ability to prescribe legal pain-relievers if they even give an "oral recommendation" for marijuana.) The principal author of the California initiative was 52-year-old Dennis Peron, a San Francisco "medical pot club" owner who's been arrested 15 times on marijuana charges. Peron says he worded the initiative vaguely because he believes "all marijuana use is medical." (Ed. note: Dennis specifically said "adult use," which is a very important distinction in this context.) Peron's Cannabis Cultivators' Club is the state's largest pot club, taking in over $20,000 a day. One day last fall, Peron wandered the club greeting patrons and handed one a bulging quarter-pound bag of marijuana. Standing in line at Peron's smoke-filled club to buy an eighth of an ounce of high-grade Mexican marijuana was a 39-year-old named Anthony. Under California's law, Anthony is consider a "seriously ill patient" who can purchase and smoke pot. He tokes up four or five times a day. When asked about his ailment, Anthony answered: "Officially, hernia discomfort from overstrenuous intercourse. Actually, I can't feel it." He said the club admitted him without any medical referral. A self-described "potaholic," Anthony has smoked dope since he was 16. My problems, he conceded, "are related to a general life-style kind of thing." Peron's club has operated for years, despite violating state and federal drug laws. In August 1996, state drug agents raided it, seizing 86 pounds of pot and $62,000. "The club was running a sophisticated illegal drug-distribution network," said a spokesman of California Attorney General Dan Lungren. A grand jury indicated Peron, and he awaits trial on felony drug charges. Meanwhile, Peron is running for governor of California. (Ed. note: This is the only reference to the use of the criminal law to suppress medical marijuana. If anyone has ever been to any of these clubs, but he will quickly meet people with very serious medical conditions. This is cruelest part of the article. It pretends that there are no seriously ill people using marijuana. This is both dishonest and inhumane.) Peron's initiative never would have made it to the ballot without the help of Soros, Lewis and Sperling. California requires 433,269 valid petition signatures before a "citizen's initiative" can be placed on the ballot. As the deadline neared, Peron and his unorganized group of volunteers had collected only 40,000. That is when Ethan Nadelmann of Soros's Lindesmith Center stepped in. He helped create Californians for Medical Rights, a sophisticated campaign organization that pushed the medical-marijuana initiative. Soros and Lewis pored $400,000 into the group, which paid professional signature gatherers who, in 90days, obtained more than 700,000 signatures. Once the measure was on the ballot, Soros, Lewis and Sperling contributed $450,000 for advertising. Commercials featured emotional appeals for relief through the use of marijuana. The ads never mentioned that Proposition 215 would allow marijuana to be smoked for any condition, without age restriction and without a prescription. (Ed. note: The contents of Prop 215 were not a secret. http://www.marijuananews.com/proposition_215_compassionate_us.htm ) One of the numerous medical-marijuana clubs that opened as a result of Peron's measure was the Dharma Producers Group in San Francisco, which bragged that it offered "medical marijuana with a Tibetan touch." The club's "medical director," a pony-tailed 52-yar-old named Lorenzo Pace, laughed when he explained his medical-marijuana credentials: "I did preliminary research all through the '60s.: California for Medical Rights has since changed its name to Americans for Medical Rights. Today it is leading a campaign to place medical-marijuana initiatives on state ballots across the country. Rx: LSD. - While Californians were voting on medical marijuana, their neighbors in Arizona were considering an even more radical initiative. The Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996 proposed to legalize not only marijuana but also more tan 100 other drugs - including heroin, LSD and PCP (angel dust) - for medical use. (Ed. note: This section is entirely irrelevant to the argument about medical marijuana. There are very good libertarian and technocratic arguments why other drugs should be legalized or made medically available, but they are not the same as the arguments for medical marijuana.) Arizona's initiative was sold to voters as a way to get tough on violent criminals. How? Open up jail space by paroling all first- and second-time drug offenders. This ignored the fact that virtually all of the 1200 inmates affected had plea-bargained down from more serious charges or had prior felony records. In Arizona, Sperling spearheaded the campaign. He, Soros and Lewis contributed a total of $1.2 million; the DPF gave $303,000. This accounted for 99 percent of the initiative's total funding. As in California, much of this money paid for a massive media campaign. Opponents of the initiative, caught unprepared, did not run a single advertisement. The measure passed, but a post-election survey revealed that Arizona voters had been badly misled. Seventy-four percent did not believe doctors should be able to prescribe drugs such as heroin, PCP and LSD, as he proposition allowed; 70 percent agreed that the initiative would give children the impression that drugs were also acceptable for recreational use. The state legislature subsequently passed a statute that effectively overrode the initiative. Fighting Back. - The organizers of Arizona's initiative moved to place a similar measure on the ballot in Washington State. Sperling, Lewis and Soros contributed a total of more than $1.5 million. Despite being outspent more than ten to one, opponents of the Washington initiative were not about to be caught unprepared. They took every opportunity to stress that the measure was not about compassion, but about legalizing dangerous drugs. Last November voters rejected the measure. The defeat in Washington has not sidetracked plans for similar medical-marijuana initiatives in other states. (Ed. note: As he just got through complaining, the Washington and Arizona initiatives were not medical marijuana initiatives. These others are, and most are much more restrictive than Prop 215.) Battlegrounds include Hawaii, Florida, Kansas, Main and Alaska. An Oregon initiative would not only legalize use of many drugs but also permit the sale of marijuana in state liquor stores. (Ed. note: This is not a medical marijuana initiative.) In Washington, D.C., Initiative 59 would allow up to four caregivers, including "best friends," to cultivate pot for a "seriously ill" person. Organizers are hoping that passage of these initiatives will spur Congress to legalize medical marijuana under federal law. (Ed. note: Initiative 57 is not being funded by the AMR group. On the contrary, it is being backed by Act-Up the militant AIDS group that has vocally denounced AMR and has distanced itself from the drug reform movement in general. Again, it is dishonest not to recognize this, but it doesn't fit with his simple scenario. AIDS groups are among the major supporters of medical marijuana, but no one would learn that from this article.) Says Dr. Robert DuPont, a former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse: "Never in the history of modern medicine has burning leaves been considered medicine. Those in the medical-marijuana movement are putting on white coats and expressing concerns about the sick. But people need to see this for what it is: a fraud and a hoax." (Ed. note: Just when in modern history has arresting sick and dying people been considered medicine? An article about medical marijuana that does not mention the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, the DEA's administrative law judge, or the prosecution and imprisonment of seriously ill people is worse than a "fraud and hoax," it is complicity in murder. This is a blood libel. Yes, Mr. Levine, I know what that means. Do you?) Let us know what you think about this topic at www.readersdigest.com (Ed. note: Please do!) Copyright 1998 Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- [Portland NORML notes: The Daily News archive for April 1, 1998, was broken up into multiple files after it reached 400,000 bytes, to make it more accessible. No articles have been removed. If you followed a link to this notice, the article you were referred to has been moved to one of three other pages comprising the drug policy news for April 1, 1998. Please notify the webmaster at the referring site and ask him or her to update that link. (If you arrived here from a link at this site, please notify this webmaster.) To find the article you were originally referred to, try typing in the letter "a" in your browser's URL window, like this: Change: http://www.pdxnorml.org/980401.html#xyz (the last three letters vary, depending on what article you're accessing) to: http://www.pdxnorml.org/980401a.html#xyz If that doesn't work, try /980401b.html#xyz And if that doesn't work, try /980401c.html#xyz If that doesn't work, you were given a bad link to begin with. You can scan a complete linked list of today's headlines and publication sources at today's news index.] -------------------------------------------------------------------
The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
Next page of today's news
Next day's news
Previous day's news
to 1998 Daily News index for March 26-April 1
to Portland NORML news archive directory
to 1998 Daily News index (long)
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/980401.html