------------------------------------------------------------------- Activist Jailed After Testing Positive For Pot ('Los Angeles Times' Notes US Government Jails 27-Year-Old Cancer Patient Todd McCormick Of Bel Air, California, For Testing Positive For Legally Prescribed Marinol Before His Trial On Cultivation Charges - No Hearing Until April 22) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 22:22:14 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Activist Jailed After Testing Positive for Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project"
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 ACTIVIST JAILED AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR POT Medical marijuana activist Todd McCormick was jailed by a federal magistrate Friday after prosecutors said that he tested positive for the drug, violating a condition of bail in his pending trial for cultivating more than 4,000 cannabis plants. Despite emotional pleas by McCormick and his lawyer that the government's test results were wrong, U.S. Magistrate James McMahon ordered the 27-year-old cancer victim taken into custody. A bail revocation hearing was set for April 22. McCormick had been free on $500,000 bond since last July when federal drug agents raided a Bel-Air home where he was growing marijuana plants that he said were intended for medical use. Using marijuana for medical purposes became legal statewide with passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. Under terms of his bond, posted by actor Woody Harrelson, McCormick agreed to refrain from marijuana use and to undergo random drug tests. The order was broadened recently to include legally prescribed drugs, such as Marinol, that contain synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the essence of pot. Defense lawyer Eric Shevin argued that it was unfair to deprive McCormick of his freedom before hearing from both sides' experts on what the tests really mean. He said the positive tests probably reflect Marinol still in McCormick's body. Shevin filed an emergency appeal and said he hoped a hearing would be held Monday.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Pot Activist Returned To Jail After Failing Drug Tests ('San Jose Mercury News' Version) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 19:16:31 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Pot Activist Returned to Jail After Failing Drug Tests Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (email@example.com) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 MEDICAL POT ACTIVIST RETURNED TO JAIL AFTER FAILING DRUG TESTS Los Angeles (AP) - Medicinal marijuana activist Todd McCormick was ordered back to jail Friday for violating bail by failing drug tests three times this month. "Your honor, putting me in jail will serve no one," McCormick said through tears to U.S. Magistrate Judge James McMahon. "There is not justice in this. I didn't use any illegal substances. I am not using marijuana." Judge Unmoved The judge appeared unmoved by McCormick's sobs, and even refused to allow McCormick to take his "special pillow" with him when marshals took him into custody. "I can't believe this," McCormick said, burying his face in his hands as his attorney put his arms around him. McCormick said the pillow, like marijuana, helps ease the pain of a rare cancer he has suffered since childhood. His attorney told reporters outside the federal courthouse that the tests were inaccurate and unfair. "It's absolutely arbitrary and there's no basis to take a man's freedom away from him based on a piece of paper that has conclusions which are unfounded," said Eric Shevin, McCormick's attorney. Bail Hearing Set McMahon set an April 22 bail hearing where it will be decided whether McCormick will be locked up until trial and his bail revoked. McCormick, 27, was awaiting trial for growing marijuana. He pleaded not guilty Nov. 10 and was free on $500,000 bail posted by actor and fellow marijuana activist Woody Harrelson. Four other people were arrested July 29 when Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators raided a Bel-Air mansion and found 4,116 marijuana plants growing throughout the home and on a deck. McCormick was ordered not to use marijuana as a bail condition and has been subjected to random drug tests. Emergency Appeal Shevin filed an emergency appeal asking U.S. District Judge George King, who will preside over McCormick's trial, to overturn McMahon's decision. On March 16 a federal magistrate denied his request to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes while awaiting trial. McCormick maintains that he hasn't done anything illegal under Proposition 215, passed by California voters in November 1996, since he was using marijuana for medical purposes. The law allows people to cultivate, use and possess marijuana on a doctor's recommendation for a medical condition. Federal courts have not recognized the state law.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lungren Pushes Closing Pot Club ('San Jose Mercury News' Says A Lawyer From The Office Of California Attorney General Daniel Lungren Urged Superior Court Judge David Garcia Friday To Change His Mind And Order The Immediate Closure Of Dennis Peron's San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club - Judge Refuses To Close Club And Sends Lungren's Civil Suit To An April 27 Jury Trial) Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 19:16:28 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Lungren Pushes Closing Pot Club Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 LUNGREN PUSHES CLOSING POT CLUB San Fransisco (AP) - Describing San Frasisco's major medicinal marijuana club as a "drug house," a state lawyer urged a judge Friday to change his mind and order the club closed immediately. The latest faceoff between Attorney General Dan Lungren's office and Dennis Peron, founder of the Cannabis Cultivator's Club, took place in a courtroom packed with Peron's clients and supporters and presided over by a judge who has issued a tentative ruling in Peron's favor. Superior Court Judge David Garcia's decision, issued before the hearing to guide lawyers' arguments, was to deny closure of the club and send Lungren's civil suit to a jury trial, scheduled for April 27. Garcia said there appeared to be a question about whether or not Peron and his club could qualify as "primary caregivers" allowed to furnish medicinal marijuana under the state's voter-approved Proposition 215. The November 1996 initiative, sponsored by Peron, allows patients or their primary care-givers to cultivate and possess marijuana if recommentded by a doctor to treat the effects of AIDS, cancer therapy and other illnesses. Senior Assistant Attorney General John Gordnier told Garcia: "Drug houses like the one Mr. Peron operates are not sanctioned by the voters. He wants to continue to provide drugs to thousands, and the court of appeal has said you can't do that." Peron's lawyer, J. David Nick, argued that the appellate court had merely denied the "primary care-giver" label to businesses that sold marijuana to patients coming in off the street, without establishing a long-term exclusive relationship of providing health care. He said he could show that Peron, since passage of Propostition 215, was acting legally as the exclusive care-giver for his clients, charging them only for the cost of growing and providing marijuana. "This man is doing the work of God," Nick said, as Peron sat in the front row. Garcia said he would rule soon. The U.S. Justice Department is also seeking to close six medicinal marijuana clubs in Northern California, including Peron's, the oldest and largest. The Clinton Administration contends the clubs violate federal laws against possessing and furnishing marijuana, regardless of Proposition 215. A federal judge has deferred a ruling until after a final round of written arguments, due April 16. That federal suit does not include the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center in San Jose -- a facility that experts say also should remain unscathed by Lungren's efforts to close Peron's operation. On Monday, San Jose center co-founder Peter Baez is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Clara County Municipal Court on a felony charge of illegally selling pot. Peron's club, then called the Cannabis Buyers' Club, has been allowed to operate by San Fransisco authorities. But Lungren ordered a raid in August 1996 by state agents, who said they seized large amounts of marijuana, found minors on the premises and saw marijuana being sold to customers who lacked a doctor's recommendation. Lungren obtained a criminal indictment from an Alameda County grand jury against Peron and five others. He also got an injunction shutting down the club. But Garcia allowed it to be reopened after Proposition 215 passed, saying the initiative allowed the club to act as a primary caregiver and provide marijuana to patients unable to get it themselves. The 1st District Court of Appeal overruled Garcia and said the club was not a primary caregiver, a ruling Lungren's office contends could be used to close all the state's pot clubs. But the ruling did not prohibit charging patients for the cost of growing and supplying the marijuana, and specified that someone like a hospital administrator could be the primary caregiver for multiple patients -- language that Peron contends could be applied to him.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Friend Details Teen's Last Days ('Orange County Register' Update On The Case Of 17-Year-Old Chad MacDonald, Tortured And Killed After Being Turned Into A Drug Informant By Police In Brea, California) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:52:28 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Friend Details Teen's Last Days Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Bill Rams FRIEND DETAILS TEEN'S LAST DAYS He says MacDonald frequented the Norwalk house as part of his work for police. Yorba Linda-Chad Allen MacDonald started visiting a reputed Norwalk drug house because he had already led police to all his local drug connections, some of his closest friends said Friday. "We couldn't figure out why he would want to go all the way down there, into that neighborhood," recalled Don McGluckie, 21, adding that up until January, MacDonald had just about quit using drugs. He now believes it was to help police make one more big bust, not to feed his meth-smoking habit. MacDonald became an informant to avoid jail time, after being arrested Jan. 6 with about 11 grams of methamphetamine. He made one supervised buy for police on Jan. 15 - six weeks before he was strangled and dumped in a south-central Los Angeles alley. Brea police officials say he no longer was working for them when he disappeared. He didn't go to the Norwalk house at their direction, they say. "It's easy to (blame) in hindsight," Police Chief William Lentini said. "Just look at the facts." MacDonald's death has sparked a debate about the use of juveniles as police informants; state legislators have proposed banning the practice. His friends say the normally outgoing teen-ager became nervous and jittery about the time of his first arrest. "He was a nervous wreck the last two months of his life," said Steve Magy, 20. "He was trapped and confused. He didn't know what he was doing." Rather than talking about his plans of becoming a Las Vegas card-table dealer or an accountant, his conversations almost always focused on getting more drugs. Police arrested two of MacDonald's drug-dealer friends, Daryl Hood and Ryan McGreevey, on Jan. 29, three days after MacDonald told them about the meth lab in Hood's bedroom. Before February, there were three meth dealers around Yorba Linda that MacDonald and his friends bought from. Two were in jail by Feb. 1, and police were after the third, McGluckie said. The arrest shook the small group of MacDonald's closest friends. Many vowed to stop smiling meth. Not Chad. Just days after Hood's arrest, MacDonald, looking for a new place to buy, was told about the Norwalk house, his friends said. He was also given a warning, McGluckie said: "Be careful. It's not a safe place to be at." MacDonald sometimes went on his own or with other friends to the house with broken windows and a sofa on the porch. Sometimes, he would spend the night. He helped those who lived there fix lights. He bought them a generator with his own money. And he kept going back. McGluckie was worried about his buddy. He confronted him. "I've got a few things to take care of," MacDonald answered. He never explained what those things were. Rumors were already abounding that MacDonald was responsible for Hood's arrest and the search of another local dealer's home. "It's just really sad," he said. "He was trying to get his life together, and the cops put so much fear in his heart." A week before MacDonald disappeared, somebody slashed all four tires on MacDonald's white Nissan pickup, and that scared him deeply, McGluckie said. McGluckie said he last saw his best friend the day before he and his girlfriend disappeared. MacDonald told him he was going to Norwalk the following day. "Why? Why do you have to keep going down there?" MacDonald took a deep breath and answered: "I gotta do this one last thing. And then I want to take a vacation."
------------------------------------------------------------------- MacDonald's Former Dealer Didn't Believe He'd Inform ('Orange County Register' Interviews A Methamphetamine Manufacturer Turned In By 17-Year-Old Chad MacDonald Before He Was Tortured And Killed As A Police Informant) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:50:02 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: MacDonald's Former Dealer Didn't Believe He'd Inform Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Bill Rams MACDONALD'S FORMER DEALER DIDN'T BELIEVE HE'D INFORM He says his operation was only for their personal use. MacDonald provided some supplies. SANTA ANA- Daryl Hood brushed off the warning he got that one of his drug-dealing buddies had told police about the homemade methamphetamine lab in his bedroom. Chad MacDonald inform on me? he wondered. "No way!" Three days later, Hood and another suspected dealer, Ryan McGreevey, were in jail. "He shouldn't have ratted on me," Hood said in a jailhouse interview Friday. "But he didn't deserve to die. He was just a young kid who was probably scared and didn't know what he was getting into." MacDonald, 17, was tortured inside a Norwalk house in March before being strangled and dumped in an alley in south-central Los Angeles. His family and friends blame police, who used him as an informant to make at least one drug buy. Police said they had stopped using MacDonald as an informant and his death resulted from his drug habit. "I can tell you this, "Hood said. "He wouldn't have needed to go to Norwalk if I was still on the street." Hood said he and his friends bought only from each other. The group, he said, consisted of three local dealers and several meth smokers. He said he had never been to Norwalk. Hood said he and MacDonald quickly became friends because of their shared interest in drugs and partying. "We weren't in it for the money at all," Hood said. "I learned how to cook it from the Internet." He said he and MacDonald were partners of sorts. "Chad used to work at Thrifty's," he said. "He'd get me Sudafed pulls. Lots of them. A few thousand." In exchange, Hood gave him all the methamphetamine he could handle, more than an ounce a week. They'd smoke it in his bedroom. Or take his kit to a local motel and party there. But then Hood got arrested. He said he didn't know for sure that MacDonald was responsible. He said he heard rumors that MacDonald's girlfriend was warning some of his closest friends to stay away from MacDonald. But Hood said he had believed another buyer, a woman, might have reported his drug lab to police. "I cried when I read it in the paper that he was killed;" Hood said. "We were really good friends." But then the story broke about MacDonald being a police informant. He said he knew then that MacDonald had at least some responsibility for his arrest. "I was actually kind of happy (that the arrest happened)," said Hood, who pleaded guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to three years in prison. "I'm going to appeal my case."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Schafnitz Admits Cocaine Use ('Orange County Register' Interviews Well-Off Newport Beach Woman Busted For Selling Cocaine Who Says She Was Entrapped By Undercover Police) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:24:28 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Schafnitz Admits Cocaine Use Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Greg Hardesty SCHAFNITZ ADMITS COCAINE USE NEWPORT BEACH-Tina Schafnitz likes to kick up her heels now and then at one of her favorite venues: country-Western nightclubs. It was in this after-hours milieu where the Newport Beach woman said she first was introduced to cocaine about two years ago through a friend. "I did a gram once in a while - about every month," Schafnitz said in a telephone interview Friday. "It would last me when (I) went out for a while." But Schafnitz, a married mother of two young boys, said she is off the drug and her arrest for allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover policeman was a "setup" and "a sting." She is not, she said, a cocaine addict or a drug dealer. "I don't do it (cocaine)," said Schafnitz, 38. "I don't deal it or sell it." Schafnitz related the events leading up to her arrest March 16 for allegedly selling 16 grams of cocaine. She was arrested outside El Torito Mexican restaurant in Tustin. Her troubles began the night of March 13 at the Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon in Santa Ana. Schafnitz said a "male acquaintance named Glenn" approached her at the nightclub that evening. Schafnitz said she had seen him at the Crazy Horse on a few occasions. Glenn asked Schafnitz if she used cocaine, she said, and she told him she had at times. "He then said to me, 'Talk about your unlucky days (Friday the 13th). Tina, can you get me any coke?'" Schafnitz said she told Glenn that she could arrange for a purchase through a female friend. Asked why she believes Glenn approached her about purchasing cocaine, Schafnitz said: "I have no idea why." Schafnitz said Glenn requested 16 grams of cocaine for $70 per gram for him and his brother. Schafnitz said she contacted her female friend Saturday and that her friend acquired the cocaine from a third party. The following Monday, March 16, Schafnitz said she drove to her friend's Cost Mesa house and the two arrived at an El Torito restaurant in Tustin at about 4 p.m. to make the transaction. Schafnitz said Glenn and a man she didn't know got into Schafnitz's Mercedes outside the restaurant, joining her and her friend. Schafnitz said she handed over the cocaine to either Glenn or the unidentified man, and was given $1,120 in cash. Schfnitz said when she got out of the car to enter the restaurant, where she and her friend had planned to dine, two undercover policemen swooped down on her and arrested her. "I couldn't believe it," Schafnitz said. "My heart dropped." Schafnitz said she spent a sleepless night in jail in a small concrete cell. The next morning, her husband, Matt, posted her $25,000 bail and put her under doctor's treatment. Asked why she believes she was set up, she said: "I don't know. It really bothers me." Asked why she would get involved in an alleged drug deal, Schafnitz said: I think it was a risk, but I trusted (Glenn). I thought, 'No problem. We'll meet at a certain place (and make the deal).'"
------------------------------------------------------------------- Socialite Charged With Cocaine Sale (Another 'Orange County Register' Story On Tina Schafnitz Notes She Faces An Enhanced Penalty For Having A Gun) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:22:00 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Socialite Charged With Cocaine Sale Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Laura Saari, Heather Lourie and Tony Saavedra SOCIALITE CHARGED WITH COCAINE SALE Tina Schafnitz, a well known fund raiser, is accused of trying to peddle $1,000 worth of the drug. A socialite with a million-dollar Harbor Ridge home and a penchant for high-priced couture-a woman with more than 200 pairs of shoes-drives to a Tustin El Torito parking lot in her black Mercedes-Benz to peddle $1,000 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer. In Orange County social circles Friday, the question on everyone's lips was: Why? Tina Schafnitz, 38, a fixture in the society columns who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help abused and neglected children, was charged Friday with selling and possessing cocaine. In an interview Friday, she denied the charges and said she was set up by a friend. "I'm totally blown away," said Antonio Cagnolo, the owner of Antonello's Restaurant in Santa Ana and the godfather of the woman's two sons. "I'm totally beside myself. Something is definitely wrong here, because Tina doesn't need the money, I can tell you that." Carl Armbrust, Orange County's top drug prosecutor, said the charges could carry a maximum sentence of nine years in state prison if Schafnitz is convicted. Police also found an unloaded firearm in the trunk of her car. The penalty "goes up fast" if you have a gun. Armbrust said. Armbrust said his office will contend that the weapon was available to the woman to use on police. Schafnitz reportedly is going through a recovery program at an undisclosed rehabilitation center. Schafnitz, who had aspired to be an actress, once used her acting skills to help train an undercover police officer on how to act less like a police officer, said Newport Beach police Lt. Richard Long. As far as her acting career went, though, Schafnitz, a model, so far had succeeded in getting a few walk-on parts on soap operas. But this was no soap. "My heart dropped," Schafnitz recalled of the moment when two undercover police officers swooped down and arrested her March 16. Tustin police said the drug bust was part of an ongoing, pre planned investigation. They would not elaborate on how Schafnitz was targeted. "This was not the type of case where she happened to have a little bit of drugs in the car," said Tusting Lt. Mike Shanahan. "It was part of a deliberate effort on our part to arrest her." He said the amount of the deal is much more than what a recreational drug user would have. Shanahan explained that one tenth of a gram is considered a "line" of cocaine. Schafnitz was arrested with Marilyn Scott, 42, a Cost Mesa woman who was described as a friend. She was detained by police for questioning and released. People who know Schafnitz well said they were aware she might be using drugs. Adrienne Brennan, once a close friend, said she hasn't been close for three years because, "It was apparent that she had a problem. Tina had lost touch with her friends on the social scene, and most of her new friends were her druggie friends. I', glad she's getting help." One friend said Schafnitz's relatives and friends recently attempted to confront her about her alleged drug use in an "intervention." But most said the news of her arrest caught them by surprise. Until as recently as six months ago, Schafnitz's star was among the brightest at charity affairs. Flitting about in her trademark hot pants, red leather dresses and cat suits and owning more than 40 pairs of cowboy boots, Schafnitz was not afraid to be flamboyant. She was the first in the conga line at charity balls. She helped run a lingerie show for the Ritz Bros., a charity group at the Ritz restaurant. Schafnitz and her husband, Matt, an insurance magnate 16 years her senior, have given generously of their time and money, opening up their wine cellar for charity parties at their home and donating to such causes as Children's Hospital of Orange County, Childhelp, Opera Pacific and cystic fibrosis. Her husband could not be reached for comment. Perhaps their greatest focus has been on the Short Stature Foundation, a group they supported generously after their son, Alexandre, was born with dwarfism in 1990. When attending certain functions, Schafnitz sometimes wore her Mrs. America Globe banner, an acquaintance said, because she was very proud of having won the crown in 1996. She also said once that she had placed in at least five beauty pageants, including being named Miss Teenage California and placing second in the Miss Newport Beach competition. Blessed with comely genes (her father danced with Pavlova, she said, and her mother was an original Liquinet hair-spray girl), Schafnitz said her modeling career included a spread in Vogue. She owned a Rolls-Royce, and then a red Ferrari - both gifts from a husband said to adore her. She and her husband often dressed in matching colors. When he proposed, he sent her a dozen long-stemmed Sterling roses every hour for eight hours. "People called me an unguided missile," she said in a 1989 interview. "With Matt, I got a little direction." But some friends said Friday that the relationship was strained - and neighbors said both had moved out of the Harbor Ridge home. The news of the arrest spread quickly among the county's social set Friday. "Everyone is shocked, because she seemed to have everything," said Gloria Osbrink, who worked with Schafnitz on some of her charities. "Everywhere I went today, from the beauty, shop to Big Canyon Country Club, it's what everybody was talking about." Mary Ann Miller said some people are worrying that their organization will be tainted, because Schafnitz was such a strong presence in raising funds for so many groups. "My God, she was high-profile," Miller said. "People are saying: 'Oh, God, what if they mention our group?' For sure, people will distance themselves, because they're afraid it's going to rub off on them." Others said they will support her no matter what happens. "We must not forget what's she's done for the community and for the children," said Lana Chandler, a Corona Del Mar volunteer who worked with Schafnitz on charity projects. "She's probably just going through a general life crisis. We never know what a person's life struggles are. We never know what they go through. Only they know that."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Military's Drug Test Program Shaken ('San Diego Union Tribune' Notes The Military's Drug Testing System Has Been Beaten Again With The Acquittal Of A Camp Pendleton Marine And Bodybuilder Who Tested Positive On A Random Drug Test Because He Used Legal Hemp Seed Oil As A Health Food Supplement) From: "Rolf Ernst"
To: "MN" Subject: MN: US CA: Military's Drug Test Program Shaken Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:40:46 -0500 Newshawk: Patrick Henry Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ Author: James W. Crawley MILITARY'S DRUG TEST PROGRAM SHAKEN Marine cleared; says he used diet product CAMP PENDLETON - The military drug testing system may be jeopardized by a court-martial jury's acquittal of a marine who tested positive on a random drug test because he used a legal dietary supplement containing hemp seed oil. After 35 minutes of deliberations, a jury of three officers and five sergeants acquitted Lance Cpl. Kevin Boyd of a single count of using marijuana. Boyd, a heavily muscled avid bodybuilder, contended that he tested positively in August because he was using a dietary supplement containing hemp seed oil, which is a legal byproduct of marijuana plants. Hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids and has been advocated by some nutrition experts. A tablespoonful or two a day is supposed to help build muscles and burn calories more efficiently. In most cases, a positive result from a drug test has been enough evidence for military juries to convict. The military routinely requires soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen to submit to random urine tests. The tests, which are in response to rampant drug use in the armed forces during the 1970's and early 1980's have been successful in making the military virtually drug-free. But, in the Boyd case and another in December involving an Air Force sergeant, defense attorneys convinced court-martial panels that their clients had not smoked illegal marijuana but, instead, had drunk a readily available health-food supplement. In the Air Force case, Chief Master Sgt. Spencer Gaines, also a bodybuilder, was acquitted under nearly the same circumstances as those in the Marine case here. While those two acquittals set no precedent in other courts-martial, the verdicts point to a viable defense strategy for many service members accused of drug use. Boyd's attorney and a Navy pharmacologist, who testified for the defense, said yesterday's acquittal could spell serious trouble for the military's random drug testing program. "It's going to be tough on the government (prosecutors) because anyone who 'pops' on a drug test will argue this (defense)," Capt. Todd Wallace said Lt. Thomas Bosy, a pharmacologist and research coordinator at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., said Boyd's case highlighted a serious threat to the government testing program. "This can be a serious threat to the government and not just the military," Bosy said. In tests, Bosy found amounts of THC, the banned component of marijuana, in seven brands of hemp seed oil. The amounts were high enough, Bosy testified, to show up as a positive result on standard drug tests. Several studies in the United States and Europe agree that commercially available hemp seed oil has identifiable levels of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol. However, most distributors have said their products have no THC. None of the oil products will give users a high. Marine Corps officials in Washington were unavailable last night for comment about the verdict. A spokesman for a national pro-marijuana organization called the court-martial verdict "interesting." There is little doubt that ingestion of hemp seed oil will produce an adverse test result, said Patti Armentano, a spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. As more people use hemp seed oil, Armentano predicted, many more cases of the "false positive" drug tests will occur. During closing arguments of the two-day special court-martial, the prosecutor, Capt. Paul Buta, said that, although there was no eyewitness to say Boyd smoked marijuana, the urinalysis was a "silent witness." Regarding the defense claims, Buta told the jury, "Hemp oil is fanciful ingenious, imaginitive. It's a red herring." Although the lance corporal did not testify, jurors heard from a woman who lived in Boyd's house and said she saw him drink the oil supplement. After the verdict, Boyd said he was "finally relieved." "I've been in the twilight zone for seven months," he said. Boyd plans to leave the Marine Corps in three months when his enlistment ends. He expects to attend junior college and play football. He does not use hemp seed oil anymore and said he does not believe that the Marine Corps should allow its use. "I think they'll have to ban it," Boyd said. "Otherwise, a bunch of dope heads are going to use it as a defense."
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Agriculture Secretary Visits Farms, Hosts Forum (Lexington, Kentucky, 'Herald Leader' Says Secretary Dan Glickman Confided The Industrial Hemp Issue 'Is Some Extent Above My Pay Grade,' But 'Keep The Information Flow Coming') Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 19:57:17 -0600 (MDT) From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project"
To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" Subject: Ag. Sec. Glickman Addresses Hemp Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 21:46:41 -0400 From: Joe Hickey LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER Lexington, Kentucky April 4, 1998 U.S. Agriculture Secretary visits farms, hosts Forum By Kit Wagar Herald Staff Writer Lex., Ky--U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman came to Central Kentucky yesterday to take the pulse of American agriculture, and farmers let him know that Kentucky lives and dies by tobacco price supports. "We are not here to save tobacco," said Owensboro tobacco grower Rod Kuegel. "We are here to save the family farm. But you can't do one without the other in Kentucky." Kuegel's comments set the tone for yesterday's farm forum, the first of seven such meetings Glickman is holding across the country to see firsthand how new federal farm policies are working. Sitting in a warehouse filled with the pungent aroma of cut tobacco, officials could not have gotten away from tobacco if they had tried. The farm forum, which attracted several hundred growers from across Kentucky, included questions that ran the gamut from ostrich farming to hemp growing. Glickman said he was trying to end the Agriculture Department's traditional bias toward large operations by emphasizing research into ways that small and medium-size farms can be competitive. One farmer (Andrew Graves, Pres. Ky Hemp Growers Coop) asked why the government was not moving to help the U.S hemp industry. Hemp is legal in Germany and Canada, which is providing millions in assistance to get the hemp industry up and running. "That issue is to some extent above my pay grade," Glickman said, prompting laughter. He acknowledged that farmers in other states also had inquired about the possibility of growing hemp, a cousin of marijuana that lacks THC, the substance that causes smokers to get high. He said the future of hemp is tied up in anti-marijuana issues, so the Agriculture Department has made no decision on whether hemp promotion would be a good idea. "All I can tell you is: Keep the information flow coming," he said. Earlier in the day, Glickman visited the Woodford County tobacco farm of Robert Richardson. He told local growers they need to make their voices heard. All of agriculture faces a tough political situation, he said, because farmers make up only 2 percent of the population. John Richardson, who raises cattle and with his brother grows 120 acres of tobacco, was unimpressed. "It was about the same thing they say all the time," Richardson said. "They talk more about grain farmers than tobacco farmers. It gets them off the subject of tobacco." Re-distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Email: (email@example.com) Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ethan Nadelmann On PBS's 'Firing Line' (Director Of The Lindesmith Center In New York Is Featured In A Discussion Of Drug Policy On William F. Buckley's Television Talk Show 10-11 AM Today) From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 03 Apr 98 16:43:27 EST Subject: Ethan Nadelmann On Firing Line (PBS) Sender: email@example.com TIME: 10:00AM - 11:00AM EST, Saturday, April 4, 1998 SHOW: Firing Line (PBS) FORMAT: Debate Style discussion of drugs and drug policy with William F. Buckley as host. *** Ty Trippet Director of Communications The Lindesmith Center New York, NY 10019 212-548-0604 212-54804670-fax firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Don't Forget The Addict's Role In Addiction (Drug Warrior Dr. Sally Satel Tells 'New York Times' Readers That Addiction Isn't A Brain Disease, It's A Moral And Behavioral Problem) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 11:36:59 +0000 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: Peter Webster
Subject: Sally Satel in NYT: Don't Forget the Addict's Role in Addiction Lead Op-Ed Article NY Times April 4, 1998 contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (accompanied by a "phrenology" map of the brain with parts marked out "creativity, "morality," et al., and a special section marked "heroin") Don't Forget the Addict's Role in Addiction By SALLY L. SATEL WASHINGTON -- From the first installment of Bill Moyers's widely publicized television special, "Addiction: Close to Home," on Sunday night, viewers learned that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease. The addict's brain "is hijacked by drugs," Mr. Moyers said that morning on "Meet the Press," adding that "relapse is normal." These are the words of a loving father who was once at his wits' end over his son's drug and alcohol habit. But as a public health message, they miss the mark. First, addiction is not a brain disease. And second, relapse is not inevitable. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, is waging an all-out campaign to label addiction a chronic and relapsing brain disease. It seems a logical scientific leap. Obviously, heavy drug use affects the brain, often to a point where self-control is utterly lost -- for example, when a person is in the throes of alcohol or heroin withdrawal or in the midst of a cocaine binge. Scientists have even identified parts of the brain that "light up," presumably reflecting damage, after long-term exposure to drugs. Yet as dramatic as the images of this phenomenon are, there is wide disagreement on what they mean. "Saying these changes predict that someone will relapse amounts to modern phrenology," John P. Seibyl, a nuclear radiologist and psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine, told me. "We don't have any data linking these images to behavior, so how can we call addiction a disease of the brain?" One of my colleagues puts it this way: You can examine brains all day, but you'd never call anyone an addict unless he acted like one. That's what is really misleading about the Moyers assertion that "addiction is primarily a brain disease" -- it omits the voluntary aspects of an addict's behavior. Addicts' brains are not always in a state of siege. Many addicts have episodes of clean time that last for weeks, months or years. During these periods it is the individual's responsibility to make himself less vulnerable to drug craving and relapse. Treatment can help the addict learn how to fight urges and find alternative ways to meet emotional and spiritual needs. But will he take the advice? Maybe. More likely, he will begin a revolving-door dance with the treatment system. A recent study showed that only 1 in every 21 patients complete a year in a treatment clinic. To drop out generally means to relapse. "Addicts make decisions about use all the time," Dr. Robert L. DuPont, a former director of the national institute, points out. Researchers have found that the amount of alcohol consumed by alcoholics is related to its cost and the effort required to obtain it. Two decades ago Lee Robins, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, in a classic study of returning Vietnam veterans, found that only 14 percent of men who were addicted to heroin in Vietnam resumed regular use back home. The culture surrounding heroin use, the price and fear of arrest helped keep the rest off the needle. Thus drug addicts and alcoholics respond to rewards and consequences, not just to physiology. Relapse should not be regarded as an inevitable, involuntary product of a diseased brain. Turning addiction into a medical problem serves a purpose, of course. The idea is to reduce stigma and get better financing and more insurance coverage for treatment. As a psychiatrist, I'm all for treatment, but when the national institute says that addiction is just like diabetes or asthma, it has the equation backward. A diabetic or asthmatic who relapses because he ignores his doctor's advice is more like an addict, as his relapses result from forsaking the behavioral regimens that he knows can keep him clean. True, former addicts are vulnerable to resuming use -- hence the "one day at a time" slogan of Alcoholics Anonymous. But they are by no means destined to do so. The message that addiction is chronic and relapse inevitable is demoralizing to patients and gives the treatment system an excuse if it doesn't serve them well. Calling addiction a behavioral condition, as I prefer, emphasizes that the person, not his autonomous brain, is the instigator of his relapse and the agent of his recovery. The experts on Bill Moyers's program say that making addiction more like heart disease or cancer will reduce stigma. They're wrong. The best way to combat stigma is to expect drug users to take advantage of treatment, harness their will to prevent relapse and become visible symbols of hard work and responsibility. This prescription does not deny the existence of vulnerabilities, biological or otherwise. Instead it makes the struggle to relinquish drugs all the more ennobling. Sally L. Satel is a psychiatrist who works in a methadone clinic.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Umberg Assumes Post Of Deputy US Drug Czar ('Orange County Register' Says Former Orange County, California, Assemblyman Tom Umberg Received Unanimous Confirmation From The US Senate Thursday And Is Now President Clinton's Deputy Drug Czar In Charge Of Interdiction) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:34:20 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Umberg Assumes Post of Deputy US Drug Czar Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Martin Wisckol UMBERG ASSUMES POST OF DEPUTY U.S. DRUG CZAR The former assemblyman will concentrate on reducing smuggling. Former Orange County Assemblyman Tom Umberg, after unanimous confirmation by the Senate on Thursday, has become President Clinton's deputy drug czar in charge of stemming the flow of drugs into the country. Umberg, who will travel to Mexico on Sunday for his first trip abroad in the new post, will develop and coordinate plans to halt foreign drug production and smuggling. "We have been successful so far," said Umberg, who had been special adviser to drug czar Barry McCaffrey for several months. "Now we have to reach our goal, which is to reduce the supply of drugs by 50 percent over the next 10 years." Umberg, who ran Clinton's reelection campaign in California, is the only Orange County resident serving in the Clinton administration. Umberg, 42, is a former assistant U.S. attorney based in Santa Ana, prosecuting drug and civil rights cases and white-collar crime. He left that job when he beat incumbent Assemblyman Curt Pringle in 1990 and became the first Orange County Democrat to defeat an incumbent Republican in 14 years. He left the Assembly in 1994 for an unsuccessful bid at state attorney general and has been a partner in the law firm of Morrison & Foerster for the past three years, working out of the firm's Irvine office. He has a home in Villa Park. "It's an honor to be able to play a role in keeping drugs away from America's young people," Umberg said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Questionable Needle Exchanges (Letter To Editor Of 'Washington Post' From Two Beltway Statisticians Suggests The Science Supporting Needle Exchange Programs Is Less Than Overwhelming) Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 07:58:28 -0400 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: US: WP: LTE: Questionable Needle Exchanges To: DrugSense News Service Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Washington Post Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Saturday, April 4, 1998 QUESTIONABLE NEEDLE EXCHANGES The March 25 front-page story "Pr. George's Needle Plan Wins Vote" carries the claim that "numerous federally funded studies have shown that needle exchange programs nationwide have helped reduce new HIV infections." This overstates the scientific status of the effectiveness of those programs. The difficulty of conducting careful epidemiology research among heroin addicts has been seriously underestimated. Though some scientific bodies have offered endorsement of needle exchange programs, all of the studies to date suffer from serious methodological limitations, including self-selection and self-reporting biases, inadequate samples, improper controls and limited proxy measures. In fact, the most recent and large-scale study, conducted in Montreal using a sophisticated observational design with prospective and case-control methods, found a consistent and independent positive association between attendance of needle exchange programs and risk of HIV infection. Moreover, the promising figures the story cites from Baltimore may not be reliable. The data are non-published and ignore the fact that surrounding counties, with which Baltimore's 20 percent putative decline in new HIV infection is contrasted, have a dramatically lower level of HIV prevalence. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala is correct to insist that support for needle exchange programs must await more convincing science. To err on this issue without strong evidence that dispensing needles to the addicted will neither place them at greater risk for HIV nor enhance the legitimacy of hard drug use would be to perpetrate a public health tragedy. DAVID MURRAY BRYAN KIM Statistical Assessment Service Washington (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Campaign Finance Records (List Subscriber Tells You How To Obtain Records For Any US Representative Or Senator From Federal Election Commission) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 23:58:27 EST Errors-To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Campaign Finance Records Anyone that would like to obtain a copy of the campaign finance records for a Congressman or Senator may do so by contacting the Federal Election Commission at: Office of Public Records Federal Election Commission 999 E Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20463 1-800-424-9530 / FAX 202-219-3880 Flashfax 202-3413 Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday They have a 24 hour a day automated information delivery system that transmits directly to your fax machine, any day, any hour, any timezone. Simply dial 202-501-3413 from a touchtone phone, follow the instructions, and the information you request will be automatically FAXed to you.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Policy Of Foreign Drug Control Criticized ('Orange County Register' Says General Barry McCaffrey, Clinton's Drug Czar, Is Planning To Leave Sunday For A Visit To Mexico, And Spoke Out Friday Against The US Policy Of Certification For South American Allies In The War On Some Drug Users) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 10:31:33 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: U.S. Policy of Foreign Drug Control Criticized Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 U.S. POLICY OF FOREIGN DRUG CONTROL CRITICIZED Barry McCaffrey, White House drug-control chief, Friday criticized the U.S. policy of evaluating foreign countries on their counternarcotics efforts. While calling the policy the "law of the land," McCaffrey suggested that it builds resentment in Mexico and impairs anti-narcotics cooperation between the two countries. McCaffrey leaves for Mexico on Sunday, his first visit since the Clinton administration certified Mexico in late February as fully cooperating with U.S. efforts to curb cross-border drug trafficking. He and his delegation will meet with President Ernesto Zedillo and Mexican Foreign Ministry officials. An effort in the Senate to overturn the certification was defeated by a vote of 54-45 last week. A decision to decertify could have led to economic penalties against Mexico.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Killings Linked To Mexican Army Unit ('San Francisco Chronicle' Documents Atrocities Carried Out By Mexico's Elite GAFE, Or Air Mobile Special Forces Group, Devised By The Mexican Army And Trained By The United States Military After The Debacle Of The 1994 Zapatista Uprising In Chiapas, Which Supposedly Revealed The Government's Lack Of Preparation For Modern Low-Intensity Warfare Against Its Own Citizens) Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 20:05:39 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Mexico: Killings Linked to Mexican Army Unit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Tom O'Connell
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Author: Paul Gunson, Chronicle Foreign Service KILLINGS LINKED TO MEXICAN ARMY UNIT Elite Commando Group's Officers Received U.S. Training San Juan de Ocotan, Mexico - It was just after 2 in the morning when the Mexican special forces troops arrived unannounced in Victoria Lopez's dusty back yard, among the scrawny chickens and the dogs. Trained in commando operations - courtesy of the U.S. military base in Fort Bragg, N.C. - the dozen or so soldiers dispensed with the formality of knocking on the front door. Instead, they stormed over the low wall and smashed in her bedroom door as she cowered with her three youngest children. Led by an officer later identified as Lieutenant Colonel Julian Guerrero, they proceeded to break windows and furniture while demanding to know the whereabouts of her eldest son, Salvador. "Tell him to give us back the pistol" barked one of the hooded men, whose dark blue uniforms bore no insignia. I knew they were soldiers because they wore military boots," said Lopez, who is in her 50s. "But they never identified themselves." The soldiers, who were after Salvador because they believed he had stolen a gun from one of their colleagues, soon tracked him down at a different house where he lived. A week later, the 23-year-old's badly tortured body was pulled from a shallow grave several miles away. Severely beaten, he had apparently died from a head wound. His mother has not been shown the autopsy report, but a witness who saw the body said Salvador's tongue had been ripped out. About 30 teenagers from the village were also kidnapped that night by the soldiers and later dumped naked or half-naked in the nearby hills. Several required hospital treatment, which in one case lasted three weeks. The Mexican army arrested 13 officers and 15 soldiers for the San Juan de Ocotan incident. But the attention the case received in the Mexican press was soon eclipsed by news of the massacre of 45 pro-Zapatista villagers in Acteal, Chiapas, by their pro-government neighbors, a crime that happened on the same day Salvador's body was found. Although she did not know it, Lopez was dealing with the GAFE (the Spanish initials stand for Air Mobile Special Forces Group). Nor was she aware that the commando skills used in the assault on her house were funded by the U.S. taxpayer. Devised by the Mexican army after the debacle of the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, which revealed the army's lack of preparation for modern low-intensity warfare," the GAFE is a "rapid-deployment" counterinsurgency force. Under a 1996 bilateral defense agreement, the GAFE's officer corps is trained in the United States. The goal, says the Pentagon, is to equip them not to fight guerrillas but to combat drug trafficking, which Mexico's corruption-riddled police have sometimes done more to promote than to curb. So far, there is little proof that the involvement of soldiers in police work has helped stem the flow of drugs. But there is growing evidence that this controversial program has led to serious human rights abuses. In 1997 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Defense Department, 829 members of the Mexican armed forces received "counter-narcotics-related training" in the United States. Of these, 203 were GAFE officers trained by the Army's 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. This group, in turn, has been passing on its newly acquired skills to trainees in Mexico. The Pentagon admits that at least some of the men involved in the San Juan de Ocotan incident had received U.S. training. It described the case, in euphemistic terms, as one in which, "some soldiers sought retribution for an alleged theft of a watch [sic] belonging to one of their unit's soldiers." Although the Mexican Defense Ministry declines to answer questions on the subject, all 40 of the country's military zones are now believed to have 100-man GAFE units attached to them. "They are not just for the drug war," said Raul Benitez, a professor specializing in defense issues at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City. "They are for everything. Depending on the particular threat that exists in the region, that's what they specialize in." The training, U.S. official sources say, includes a "substantial human rights component." But in one three-month period last year in the state of Jalisco, where San Juan de Ocotan is located, drug raids apparently involving the GAFE led to 16 complaints to the official state human rights commission. In all those cases the soldiers were either hooded or wearing face paint. They carried automatic weapons but no identifying insignia, much less a search warrant. In several cases, they kidnapped their suspects. By far the worst incident with which the GAFE has been linked to took place last September in a Mexico City barrio known as the Colonia Buenos Aires. A military led police raid resulted in the kidnapping of six young people whose tortured bodies were later discovered in two remote locations. According to a report in La Jornada newspaper, citing anonymous police sources, the killings were carried out by GAFE members who illegally infiltrated elite police units, which have since been disbanded. The Chronicle traced one of the sources, who initially agreed to talk but later withdrew the offer. "If I tell you about this," he said, "they'll track you down and demand to know who gave you the information. These people are very dangerous." Statements by the teenagers in the San Juan de Ocotan case suggest that clandestine interrogation and torture by the GAFE is not unprecedented, at least in Jalisco. The kidnapped teens say they were taken to rooms that stank of stale blood. The soldiers tied them up, threw buckets of cold water over them and beat them systematically with planks of wood. At least one was repeatedly half suffocated with plastic bags placed over his head. Not even the military suggests that the victims had anything to do with the drug trade. Their alleged crime, as alluded to by Lopez, was taking a pistol from a drunken soldier. Benitez suspects that those with real, or alleged, links to drug traffickers may fare even worse. The Jalisco complaints were passed on to the National Human Rights Commission, which has done nothing. The national commission did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. Washington, too, seems indifferent. "With very few exceptions in Congress and certainly none in the Clinton administration, nobody has expressed much concern about the human rights implications of this policy," said Erie 0lsen of the Washington Office on Latin America, a human-rights lobbying group. Because the funding for the training program comes from the Pentagon's budget, not the foreign assistance budget, the usual requirement that aid be withdrawn if there are human rights violations does not apply. Congressional oversight is also less rigorous. Despite the arrests in the San Juan de Ocotan incident, the victims and their relatives have little faith in the military justice system. The unit's commanding general visited Lopez to offer her compensation, but she turned him down. I don't want any help from them until they punish the murderers," she said. "My son wasn't an animal but a human being. They have wounded me in the depths of my heart."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Grounds 72 US-Donated Helicopters ('Dallas Morning News' Says The Move Comes Just Days Before US Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey Is Scheduled To Meet With His Counterparts In Mexico City To Discuss Counternarcotics Strategies) Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 11:02:09 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Mexico Grounds 72 U.S.-Donated Helicopters Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 Author: Tracey Eaton / The Dallas Morning News MEXICO GROUNDS 72 U.S.- DONATED HELICOPTERS Safety concerns cited over Vietnam-era models MEXICO CITY - Mexican authorities have grounded 72 U.S.-donated Huey helicopters pending an investigation into potentially deadly "technical flaws." The move comes just days before U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey is scheduled to meet with his counterparts in Mexico City to discuss counternarcotics strategies. Mexican officials say they are taking the helicopters out of service because of safety concerns. A U.S.-donated Huey UH-1 was forced to make an emergency landing Nov. 21 while searching for drug crops 50 miles northeast of Mazatlan, Mexico, officials say. They cited an engine problem in that incident. There have been concerns about the reliability of older-model Hueys on both sides of the border. All 72 of the U.S.-donated helicopters are Vietnam-era Huey UH-1s, worth about $250,000 each. "The UH-1s are war horses. They're good for getting a dozen guys on ground and into action fast," said Robert Nieves, former director of international operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "But they are getting pretty old. Comparing them to some of the newer helicopters is like comparing a Jeep of the 1960s to the Humvees of today." Just last month, the U.S. Army and the National Guard grounded their UH-1s over safety concerns. The U.S. government delivered the 72 UH-1s to Mexico in 1996 and 1997, generating good will but also controversy and criticism. Members of Mexico's political opposition repeatedly have accused the government of using U.S.-donated military equipment against the Zapatista rebels and other insurgents scattered across the country. Mexican authorities deny that. In the United States, meanwhile, some say Mexico shouldn't get any helicopters at all because Mexican law enforcement officials have traditionally misused donated equipment. "At the very least, there should be some oversight," said Phil Jordan, former director of the El Paso Intelligence Center, jointly run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, CIA and other agencies. "There has been a lot of abuse." In the 1980s, for instance, Mexican agents used U.S.-donated helicopters to spray liquid fertilizer on illicit crops, Mr. Jordan said. The helicopters were meant for just the opposite - to spray herbicides on the plants. On other occasions, Mr. Jordan said, Mexican agents deliberately mixed herbicide with dirty water to jam up the helicopter's spraying mechanism so that traffickers' crops wouldn't be harmed. Or they used the helicopters for personal trips, he said. "If they didn't spend half their flight hours flying their girlfriends around the country, they'd be better off," said another former U.S. law enforcement official who requested anonymity. Mexican authorities defend their use of the donated helicopters and say they are destroying more illicit drug crops than ever. Brig. Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver Cen, who coordinates drug crop eradication for Mexico's anti-drug agency, said 25 helicopters are in operation at all times - and for official business use only. Ten to 12 of the helicopters spray herbicides on fields of marijuana and poppies. The others provide security, he said. "Spraying drug crops can be dangerous," he said. "Last year, traffickers shot at our pilots 39 times. Fortunately, no one was killed." Rather than point fingers or get mixed up in controversy, U.S. and Mexican officials say they want to work together against the drug gangs. As part of that effort, Gen. McCaffrey is scheduled to arrive Monday for a series of meetings with Mexican officials. Thanks to these periodic encounters, the "prickly" relationship between the two countries over the drug issue "has given way to one of cordiality and of cooperation," Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green said. Despite such talk, some analysts believe that Mexico is playing politics, trying to pressure the United States into donating more modern aircraft. Others aren't so sure. "Unlike the Peruvians and the Bolivians, the Mexicans don't tend to rattle their tin cup and ask for better stuff. They're too proud for that," said a former staffer at the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, now headed by Gen. McCaffrey.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Our Pot Is Rated Hot - A Big Export Item ('Vancouver Sun' Describes The Illegal British Columbian Cannabis Industry - 'Water, A Few Seeds And Some Dirt - Three Months Later, An American Is Giving You A Big Wad Of Money, Taking Your Stuff, Going Home - And He Burns It!') From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Our pot is rated hot - a big export item Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 09:16:47 -0800 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Vancouver Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Saturday 4 April 1998 Section: TOP STORIES Author: Ken MacQueen Vancouver Sun OUR POT IS RATED HOT - BIG EXPORT ITEM A world-class reputation is a carefully cultivated thing, and so it is with B.C. pot. Within the span of a generation home-grown marijuana has gone from outlaw weed to major export item by following -- with glaring exception of the Criminal Code -- all the accepted rules of commerce. Imported expertise, initially in the form of Vietnam-era draft dodgers, research and development, security of supply, and international marketing have all played their part. Even the U.S. Border Patrol, run ragged by B.C. pot-smuggling traffic, pays a grudging compliment. "The potency of the Canadian marijuana is such they'll trade, pound for pound, cocaine for Canadian marijuana," says Gene Davis, deputy chief patrol agent for the Blaine region. "There is nowhere that's got better quality marijuana than B.C." Davis says this with the resigned air of a man who knows the record 160 kilograms his agents have seized this year represent the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Local police are also fighting an uphill battle -- against the scale of the endless harvest, and the weight of public and judicial indifference. Apart from outdoor cultivation -- hidden in forest, field and island outpost -- police estimate indoor hydroponic operations in Greater Vancouver alone number in the thousands. Just Thursday, local police made four marijuana seizures. One, an elaborate grow operation in a Burnaby fertilizer warehouse, netted 2,200 plants worth more than $2 million. Most grow operators without previous convictions face fines and equipment seizure, something they treat as a business tax, says RCMP Sergeant Chuck Doucette, provincial drug awareness coordinator. Such busts do little to undo the marketing bonanza that B.C. pot has enjoyed in both the international mainstream and the outlaw media in recent years. Consider the protective public attitude to Whistler snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, whose gold medal redefined the Olympic ideals of "Faster, Higher, Stronger." His pot-positive urine sample, far from generating outrage, became an endorsement of the power of B.C. pot. "Our boy shredded!" said the Doonesbury colour comic in last weekend's papers. "He's way worthy, man! Who cares if he hangs with stoners?" Put aside for a moment the nagging question of its illegality [as do 12 per cent of British Columbians who smoke pot, according to a Health Canada estimate] and you have an economic success story akin to the reborn B.C. wine industry. Except, very probably, the numbers are larger. Even marijuana seed catalogues are reminiscent of the Wine Spectator's reverential descriptions of taste and lineage: "Northern Lights [10 seeds, $300] has dominated the various Harvest Festivals." "Slyder" offers "a strong lethargic stone." "Western Winds" is "fantastic for conversation or romance, with its relaxing and invigorating qualities." The RCMP's Doucette won't publicly estimate the value of the pot crop, saying it gets too much glorification as it is. CNN, ABC TV, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are among the latest media outlets to look at B.C.'s high-test pot and tolerant judiciary. Most recently, the April 2 Rolling Stone magazine celebrated "Vansterdam's" easy ways. "The drug is being cultivated, smoked and championed in Vancouver more openly than anywhere else on the continent." Will this "common-sense drug policy" spread, asked the magazine, "or is it just a Prague Spring for pot activists?" Lately, the betting is on Prague Spring. Such articles have a way of getting up the authorities' nose. Raids have a tendency to follow with renewed vigour. Even Marc Emery, ex-Vancouver mayoral candidate and the city's most visible potrepreneur, has been laid low by a successive series of police raids. Several pending trafficking charges over the sale of marijuana seeds, a mountain of legal bills, and Vancouver's withdrawal of his business licence forced the sale of Hemp B.C. and Cannabis Cafe on West Hastings to some of his 30-odd employees. Still, the cafe remains open, as does the rival Amsterdam Hemporium around the corner. Emery is still publishing the bi-monthly Cannabis Canada magazine, and his Internet seed outlet is still operating, although down from his pre-raid high of $20,000 a week in sales. "I'm a bit despondent actually," says Emery, who nonetheless talks in exclamation points. Not just police are barking at his heels. He is now going -- head-to-head -- against four or five seed-order competitors. Emery estimates B.C.'s crop has an annual value of $2 billion to $4 billion. He credits his ability to sell his message in the media for much of this. His critics tend to agree. "There is no more perfect economy than pot," Emery says on a recent afternoon in the funky Gastown distribution centre for Hemp B.C. "Here you start with bull-s- - -, water, a few seeds and some dirt. Three months later, an American is giving you a big wad of money, taking your stuff, going home -- and he burns it!" With bull and seeds Emery grew what he calls a "revolution by retail" since 1994, although he claims to have never sold pot. His niche is serving those who grow and those who smoke. The notoriety of B.C. pot he credits to "a harmonic set of circumstances." The strains carried north by draft dodgers combined with local expertise has created hundreds of varieties. Hydroponic techniques are shared and refined. The Hemp B.C. website runs continuous discussion groups on everything from home-wiring to advanced techniques for cloning and growing. Prohibition keeps the price artificially high -- $4,000-$6,000 retail in the U.S. -- while lower penalties lessen the risk. "You've created an environment where it is very profitable and very fortuitous to grow here and export to the United States," he says. The potency of today's product would shock boomers used to the buzz of the bell-bottom era, says the RCMP's Doucette. It is a business, he says. "They do marketing. They try to make their product better than their competitor's product. That's why we have this high-grade marijuana with a THC level now routinely in the high teens and as high as 30 per cent, compared to the stuff out there 15 years ago that was only one or two per cent." The ratio of profit to risk has brought a new generation of entrepreneurs: bike gangs and other organized criminals, and Americans who have moved north to lesson their chances of pulling serious jail time, says Davis of the U.S. Border Patrol. The B.C.-Washington border is a cat-and-mouse exercise pitting a handful of border patrol agents and RCMP officers against a corps of professional pot couriers, amateur adrenaline junkies and quick-buck artists. With trans-border delivery payments of up to $1,000 a pound, the incentive is obvious, and the odds are stacked in the smuggler's favour. About 300 border agents are deployed along the northern U.S. border, compared to 7,000 fighting the human flood across its southern flank with Mexico. Just 25 U.S. agents patrol the stretch from Blaine to the mountains at Sumas, although it is part of a U.S.-designated "high-intensity drug-trafficking area." Smuggling techniques range from the elaborately high-tech to the disarmingly obvious. One group simply stuffed the pot into plastic trash bags and pitched it south across the border, which is little more than a ditch between two residential roads at some points. There it sat, like all the other garbage bags along the street, until the smugglers drove through a border port and picked it up. More hardened pros are rigged with body armour, night vision goggles, camouflage, scanners and often weapons. Their sprint along any number of forest paths or suburban back gardens -- often picked up by border-patrol sensors -- is timed to the second. Before agents can scramble to the site, a vehicle rolling along the American side has scooped up the cargo. Another shipment of B.C.'s finest disappears down the I-5.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Netherlands Swims Against The Drug Tide (An Excellent Article In Toronto's 'Globe And Mail' Looks At The Netherlands' Non-Punitive Policies Regarding Cannabis, Which Have Led To Some Of The Lowest Usage Rates In The Industrialized World For Cannabis As Well As For Harder Drugs) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 11:21:42 -0500 From: Carey Ker
Subject: Canada: Netherlands swims against the drug tide To: email@example.com Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, FRONT PAGE Newshawk:firstname.lastname@example.org contact: letters@GlobeAndMail.ca Please note: There are some excellent side-bars that go along with this article. i will forward them as soon as I can get around to typing them. this is a breakthrough for Mattalk -- The Globe and Mail is usually very anti-decrim. I personally feel that this speaks volumes for our efforts! Carey. Netherlands swims against the drug tide LOOKING THE OTHER WAY / By not punishing soft-drug use, the Dutch have avoided a lot of trouble. First of a two-part series. Saturday, April 4, 1998 By Timothy Appleby Amsterdam -- THE proprietor of the Machu Picchu coffee shop was cordial enough as he uncapped a fruit drink and fished a fat joint of homegrown Superskunk from a glass jar. But when asked how the smorgasbord of marijuana and hashish finds its way to his brightly decorated little emporium overlooking the Amstel River, the man's face darkened. "Ah. That's the undiscussed part." So it is. In the Netherlands, the peculiar legal status of the 1,200-plus cannabis outlets allows them to sell the drugs in small amounts, but not to buy them. Pressure is building in a number of countries not just to decriminalize marijuana, but also to reappraise the huge fiscal and social costs of the U.S.-led "war on drugs." Drug use has been thrust into the spotlight. There were more cheers than boos when Olympic snowboarder and sometime pot-smoker Ross Rebagliati regained his Nagano Olympic medal in February, after briefly losing it. In California and Arizona, to the dismay of Washington, voters have approved initiatives to legalize marijuana in cases of medical need. In Canada, several Canadians have gone directly to the police and the courts in the last two years to challenge what they say are the country's anachronistic drug laws. Critics of the status quo often look to the Netherlands, and elsewhere in Europe, where drug abuse is viewed primarily as a medical and social problem, rather than a criminal one. But in Europe's most drug-tolerant nation, what is called the "back-door problem" -- the source of supply -- speaks volumes. Marijuana has never been decriminalized in the Netherlands. It has merely been depenalized through non-enforcement of the law against simple possession. Most Dutch seem content with that state of limbo. Outright legalization looks to be as far off as ever. It is not that the bold experiment has failed. Since the country's Opium Act was rewritten 22 years ago, drugs have been divided into two categories, dangerous and less dangerous. That has permitted the coffee shops to flourish, along with outlets for organic stimulants such as peyote and psychedelic mushrooms. Penalties for trafficking in heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, meanwhile, have increased sharply. The result? Hard-drug usage by the Netherlands' 15 million residents is among the lowest in the Western world. Pot-smoking, too, appears far less prevalent than previously thought, new data indicate. "Few people believe it, but higher availability of drugs doesn't lead to higher use, and I'm talking about all drugs," said Tim Boekhout Van Solinge of the University of Amsterdam's Centre for Drug Research. Politics, however, is another matter. It is one thing to turn a blind eye, in the Dutch tradition of gedoogbeleid , meaning institutional discretion. But it is quite another to disregard international statutes and codify a policy that in some quarters of Europe is regarded as radical. "Right now, legalization is not possible. We'd have a lot of problems," Amsterdam police spokesman Klaas Wilting said. For one thing, the Netherlands would become even more of a magnet for smokers and dealers than it already is. For another, conflicting priorities would bedevil co-operation with foreign police agencies. "The Netherlands is only a small country," Mr. Wilting said. "I think you can only legalize when other countries want to do it, too." There have been plenty of signals that some would like to do just that. Yet in an era in which the United Nations estimates the drug trade to be worth a record $567.6-billion annually, comprising a staggering 8 per cent of all global economic activity, a powerful current of intolerance tugs the other way. Much of Europe is aghast at the unforgiving U.S. approach. (There are currently 400,000 Americans imprisoned for drugs, compared to 15,000 in 1980.) At the same time, many of its politicians still perceive the Netherlands and its giant port of Rotterdam, the world's busiest, as a sinister gateway for Europe's drugs. There are also loud complaints about drugs that originate in the Netherlands, rather than pass through it. The huge Dutch-grown marijuana industry, whose potent hydroponically grown product comes courtesy of an estimated 35,000 farmers, accounts for about two-thirds of coffee-shop sales. Its crop is also exported. Another worry is the amphetamine-based "designer drug" ecstasy, of which renegade Dutch chemists are Europe's major producer, even as domestic ecstasy consumption seems to be dropping. Anti-Netherlands rhetoric peaked in 1996 after French President Jacques Chirac threatened to scrap the Schengen Agreement, allowing unfettered movement across Europe's borders, amid charges that Holland had become a "narco state." "The political discussion has cooled down since then, a lot of things have happened," said Dutch foreign ministry spokesman Jack Twiss. Those changes include a largely symbolic reduction in how much cannabis can be purchased (five grams at a time, down from 30 grams), the shutdown of dozens of coffee shops violating the rules, and a wave of crackdowns on big drug gangs. Yet foreign unease lingers, notably in France, Germany, Sweden and, most recently, Britain, whose illicit drug consumption is the highest in Europe. ("I do not recognize the term 'soft drug,' " Home Secretary Jack Straw remarked recently.) Add to that the perennial dismay in Washington about marijuana. Domestic pressures, too, are tilting against Dutch legalization. An election is set for May, and the conservative Christian Democrats are in the ascendant. All of which leaves Dutch authorities in a distinctly odd spot. Even as Mr. Wilting's police colleagues cheerfully direct you to the nearest coffee shop, other officers are vigorously pursuing the importers, dealers and large-scale growers. Or at least some of them. For the coffee shops, which are taxed on their sales, the rules are clear: No one under 18, no advertising, no trouble, and, above all, no hard drugs. "The coffee shops are strictly controlled by the police," Mr. Wilting said firmly. "If there is a disturbance, or selling of hard drugs or stolen goods, we report this to the mayor and he closes the coffee shop." But what that control really amounts to, others suggest, is a form of selective law enforcement. Along with the hard drugs that are their priority, Dutch authorities each year intercept hundreds of tonnes of hashish and marijuana. In 1995, the net haul of soft drugs comprised 44 per cent of the total intercepted within the 15-member European Union. Several hundred domestic growers have their crops seized each year, too, and some are fined. "Most of the dealers have difficulties with the cops," said the counter man at the Border Line coffee shop, deftly shovelling $20 worth of sticky Rough Bush into a plastic bag. Yet there is no escaping the fact that those mountains of hashish and marijuana keep on coming. Two years ago, coffee-shop sales were estimated at about $709.5-million annually. "Some of the big cannabis dealers they let operate, some they don't," explained Carolien Van Milst, 30, a long-time heroin and crack addict and veteran of the Amsterdam drug scene. "People the police can use, who have information they want, don't get hassled." This uneven landscape prompted the national council of Dutch police chiefs to recommend last year that cannabis be decriminalized, period. But who would be the supplier? There is a long-time consensus that it would have to be the state. Turn it over to market forces such as the tobacco companies, the argument goes, and there will be more drug use, not less. "This is all very confusing, but the thing about our drug policy is that it works," said political-science student Ellen Hoogakker, 29. "Our experience over the last 20 years has been profound, and when we look around, we see that almost everywhere in the world is worse than Holland. We're stubborn and quite proud of our drug policy. There's a lot of moral humbug in other countries." Ms. Van Milst, the addict, offers more anecdotal proof that the Dutch have succeeded in their core goal of driving a wedge between hard and soft drugs. "Everybody who smokes marijuana is very against hard drugs, the soft-drugs people will have nothing to do with people like us," she said, inhaling pipe after pipe of crack cocaine in her bleak little apartment. "Heroin is regarded as the losers' drug, almost no young people are attracted by it even though it's available at low prices," concurred Mr. Boekhout Van Solinge. "We are a very pragmatic society. And if the Dutch drug policy had had all the negative effects that they sometimes say, in the United States and France . . . that policy would have been changed by now. I mean, this is not a religion." Still, the anticannabis sentiment remains alive and well. In February it was disclosed that the World Health Organization in Geneva had excised part of a long-awaited drug analysis that concluded that cannabis is less hazardous than tobacco or alcohol. If, as many allege, the omission resulted from pressure by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and the UN's International Drug Control Program, few drug experts in the Netherlands would be surprised. Similarly awkward data have slipped down the cracks before. But while most of those experts stress that what works at home might not work elsewhere, the Dutch leniency seems to have paid off. "We succeeded in making pot boring," former Dutch drug czar Eddy Engelsman remarked a few years ago, and he may have been right. "Dutch kids, yeah, they smoke and go to coffee shops, but they grow over it," said a waitress in the smoky Coffee Shop 36 in Amsterdam's red-light district, setting down a $4 mug of mind-addling Chocolate Grass Milk. "I grew over it." Dutch high-school students' math and science marks, meanwhile, remain among the highest in the world. Surveys within 11 U.S. states that reduced small-scale marijuana possession to a misdemeanour in the 1970s drew a similar conclusion: Looser laws almost certainly spur greater short-term usage, but there is no proof that most dabblers become chronic potheads or abusers of hard drugs. Only now is a national Dutch survey being completed. When it is, statistician Marieke Langemeijer predicts the number of people who admit to having smoked pot within the previous month will range from 250,000 to 400,000 -- about half of what had been thought. Dealers in all kinds of drugs still abound in the Amsterdam core, and legions of foreign narco-tourists still flood in to smoke their brains out in dimly lit venues in Amsterdam and in some Dutch border cities. Yet less than 3 per cent of the total Dutch population appears to be regular cannabis users, according to new estimates by the drug-research centre. The Conscious Dreams store on central Warmoes street is one of scores of "smart shops" that sell peyote buttons and other psychoactive substances, along with an array of horticultural equipment. Just up the block is the local police station, where cops sip coffee and stare into computer screens, looking as bored as the nearby prostitutes in their red-lit windows. At the giant "raves" on the outskirts of the city, arriving partygoers are liable to be stopped by police and searched for the ecstasy and other stimulants that are the festivities' staple. But once inside, a government-sanctioned chemist will test the purity of those pills. It all might resemble a recipe for social collapse. But Amsterdam now, where crime has dropped 25 per cent in the past five years, is a far cry from Amsterdam in the early 1970s, when the city was the hippy capital of Europe, and armies of stoned junkies were trashing the now-pristine Vondel Park. "We're not saying our model is the one for the whole world, that's absolute nonsense; it's the model for the Netherlands," Mr. Twiss concluded. "But you can learn from each other by listening to each other." Monday: Canada's battle over pot
------------------------------------------------------------------- What The Numbers Say (Sidebar To Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Front Page Story On Dutch Cannabis Policy Says The Latest Dutch National Drug-Use Survey Is Expected To Conclude That About 14 Per Cent Of Dutch Citizens 12 And Older Have Used Cannabis, Compared To 35 Percent Of Americans And 60 Percent Of American Parents - Tolerance For Soft Drugs Has Also Cut Use Of Hard Drugs - The Netherlands Has A Rate Of 1.6 Heroin And Cocaine Addicts Per 1,000 Population, Compared With About Three In Britain, Seven In Switzerland And 10 In The United States) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 11:57:01 -0500 From: Carey Ker
Subject: Canada:[Sidebars] Netherland swims against the drug tide To: email@example.com Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, Page Front page Newshawk:firstname.lastname@example.org contact: letters@GlobeAndMail.ca [Sidebar#1] What the numbers say Do liberal drug laws encourage abuse? In the case of the Netherlands, it appears not. A national drug-use survey currently being assembled, the first of its kind in the Netherlands, is expected to conclude that about 14 per cent of Dutch citizens 12 and older have used cannabis. Previous estimates have been much higher. But these are now thought to have been badly skewed by the heavy concentration of young adults, artists and other free thinkers in Amsterdam, where 30 per cent of teen and adult residents admit to having smoked pot at some time. That 14-per-cent figure compares with a slightly differently based Canadian statistic of 23 per cent, drawn from 1994 surveys of residents 15 or older by Ontario's Addiction Research Foundation and Ottawa's Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. But the Canadian numbers are probably higher now. After years of decline, recreational cannabis usage among teen-aged students in Ontario has more than doubled. In 1991, 12 per cent admitted using the drug at least once in the previous year, while the 1997 figure was 25 per cent. A similar surge was seen elsewhere, most notably the United States and the United Kingdom. As for hard drugs, the Netherlands has a rate of 1.6 heroin and cocaine addicts per 1,000 population -- unchanged for more than a decade. That compares with a figure of about three on Britain, seven in Switzerland and 10 in the United States. A Canadian statistic is elusive: Both Health Minister Allan Rock's office and Health Canada say they do not know how many Canadians regularly abuse heroin and cocaine. Using CCSA data, an estimate of about two per 1,000 emerges. The CCSA cautions, however, that because the methodology is based on telephone interviews, the real figure may be higher. Two years ago, Maclean's magazin cited a figure of seven addicts per 1,000 population. -- Staff
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs And The Dutch (A Second Sidebar To The Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Front Page Story On Drug Policy In The Netherlands Notes Penalties For Cannabis Are Being Reduced Just About Everywhere Around The Globe Except In The United States, Where The Mass Media Continue To Allow Politicians To Make Demonstrably Untrue Assertions Without Risk Of Being Contradicted) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 11:57:01 -0500 From: Carey Ker
Subject: Canada:[Sidebars] Netherland swims against the drug tide To: email@example.com Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, Page Front page Newshawk:firstname.lastname@example.org contact: letters@GlobeAndMail.ca [Sidebar #2] Drugs and the Dutch The Netherlands' revamping of its Opium Act in 1976, spurred by a heroin epidemic and two national commissions, did not give the green light for cannabis-selling coffee shops to open everywhere. Rather, it authorized local authorities to permit such outlets if they wished. Most have said yes. A couple of municipalities operate their own. This state-level tolerance is unusual, but not unique: -- Spain depenalized cannabis use in 1983. -- So too have three Australian jurisdictions. -- In several German states, a 1994 federal court ruling has meant that prosecution for small amounts of cannabis is now rare. -- Two years ago, Luxembourg's parliament called for the adoption of Dutch-style drug policies in all three Benelux countries (Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands). -- The Belgian government is considering a modest form of decriminalization. -- Last weekend in London, thousands of marchers staged the largest pro-cannabis rally ever seen in the United Kingdom. -- The European Commission is weighing the merits of a task-force proposal urging the toleration of marijuana for medical use. -- In the United States, by contrast, national policy is leaning heavily the other way. In a new survey of 229 cannabis-using teenagers referred for treatment by social-service or criminal-justice agencies, researchers found that more than two-thirds complained of withdrawal symptoms if they ceased smoking. The study, paid for by the strongly antimarijuana National Institute on Drug Research was released this week. "Marijuana is a dangerous drug and its use can lead to severe consequences for vulnerable young people," responded President Bill Clinton's drug czar, retired general Barry McCaffrey. -- Staff
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Case Goes To Pot ('Canadian Press' Item In 'Halifax Daily News' Notes Police In Saskatoon Have Dropped Charges Against A Man For Selling Marijuana Magazines Such As 'High Times' And 'Cannabis Canada,' Four Years After The Law Which Bans Literature About Illicit Drug Use Was Struck Down, 11 Months After The Bust) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 16:03:55 -0400 (AST) Sender: Chris Donald
From: Chris Donald To: email@example.com cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: CP Wire: RCMP fumble with Pot Laws again Halifax Daily News email@example.com Saturday, April 4, 1998 Police case goes to pot SASKATOON (CP) - Eleven months after police busted Mike Spindloe for selling marijuana magazines such as High Times and Cannabis Canada, they've dropped the charge. The law which bans literature about illicit drug use was struck down four years ago, but that didn't stop authorities from charging Spindloe last year. Spindloe, owner of a music business, said he is a victim of police harassment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - To Toke Or Not To Toke (Letter Sent To Editor Of 'Toronto Star' Summarizes The Logical Inconsistencies In Prohibitionists' Arguments) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Sent: To toke or not to toke Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 15:36:39 -0800 -- Forwarded message -- Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 13:21:42 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org To the editor, Inspired by Mike Harris's column summarizing the arguments advanced by cannabis law reform advocates, (To toke or not to toke, April 2), I have summarized some of the most common prohibitionist arguments. (1) Reform would "send the wrong message" to kids. Instead of using one of our official languages, we should communicate with irresponsible teenagers by warehousing responsible adults. (2) Cannabis today is 20-100 times more potent than the grass we smoked at Woodstock. If beer were unavailable, beer drinkers would consume equal amounts of vodka. This argument compliments arguments 3 and 4. (3) Cannabis has no medicinal value. Besides, the primary active ingredient in cannabis is available to the nauseated in an FDA approved and patented pill. This argument is hard to swallow. (4) Cannabis causes brain damage, turns men into homosexuals and women into lesbians. Dangerous substances like cannabis should be sold on commission by biker gangs to anyone of any age anywhere 24 hours a day, not condoned with quality control and strict regulation. (5) Okay, cannabis may be less harmful than hamburger, but cannabis is a "gateway" drug. Masturbation leads to rape, lottery tickets lead to VLTs, tricycles lead to traffic accidents and the Beatles lead to Marilyn Manson. (6) Granted, for over 5000 years, zero people have died from using cannabis, but if cannabis became more popular that death rate would multiply. (7) Sure the Netherlands and states that have depenalized cannabis have witnessed a reduction in cannabis use, but Canucks are not as smart as the Yanks or the Dutch. If Canada depenalized cannabis, my granny in Winnipeg would become a pothead. This argument dovetails into (8). (8) The chicken-or-the-egg argument. Cannabis is illegal because a majority of Canadians do not care to use it because cannabis is illegal. (9) The "harm threshold" principle. Cannabis is relatively harmless so we must discourage cannabis use by making it more harmful. No need to prohibit alcohol and tobacco because they are harmful enough without our help. Matthew M. Elrod 4493 [No thru] Rd. Victoria, B.C. V9C-3Y1 Phone: 250-[867-5309] Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Three Strikes Studied ('Calgary Sun' Says Art Hanger, A Law-And-Order Reform Member Of Canada's Parliament, Is Visiting California Next Week To Hear A Pitch For The State's Tough So-Called Three-Strikes-You're-Out Criminal Legislation - Hanger Was The Same Authoritarian Who, Two Years Ago, Cancelled A Trip Due To Bad Publicity That He Had Planned To Singapore To Study Its Caning And Flogging Punishment Policy) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: THREE STRIKES STUDIED Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 09:21:31 -0800 Source: Calgary Sun Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org April 4, 1998 THREE STRIKES STUDIED CREDIT: By BILL KAUFMANN and MICHAEL PLATT -- Calgary Sun Law-and-order Reform MP Art Hanger heads to California next week to hear a pitch for the state's tough so-called three-strikes-you're-out criminal legislation. The Calgary Northeast MP is already going to bat for the law, saying Canadians should consider adopting the provision that jails for life offenders who commit three violent or potentially violent crimes. "I think we should be looking at it in a very serious fashion here," said Hanger. "Right now, we're going the exact other way where victims aren't protected from criminals." Hanger will visit Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Fresno during his four-day study trip -- the latter two centres "where the three-strikes law was born," he says. During his visit, he'll meet with one of the legislation's instigators, Mike Reynolds, whose daughter, Kim, was shot to death in the early '90s while resisting a pursesnatcher who had a lengthy criminal record. He'll also meet with California District Attorney Ed Jagels, who's prosecuted numerous cases under the controversial law. Hanger says since its introduction seven years ago, violent crime in America's most populous state has fallen by 40%. "That is very significant, though they've had to build more prisons," said Hanger, adding the falling violent crime rate is now easing the pressure on the state's prisons. Still, people pushing for early prevention and prison reform over tougher laws say the three-strike rule targets the wrong criminals. "In California, more than half of those convicted under the three-strike system are non-violent offenders," said Christine Leonard, provincial director of John Howard Society. Due to bad publicity two years ago, Hanger cancelled a planned trip to Singapore to study the Asian city-state's caning and flogging punishment policy. Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two Drugs Are Quite Enough (Staff Editorial In Wellington 'Evening Post' Says New Zealand Health Minister Roger Sowry Is Right To Resist The Decriminalisation Policies Recommended By The Drug Policy Forum Trust - Two Legal Drugs Already Do Much Damage In New Zealand Communities - Paradoxically, The Paper Also Says The Argument For A Review Of New Zealand Drug Laws Is Timely) Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 18:27:54 +1200 (NZST) To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Subject: NZ: Two drugs are quite enough Source: Evening Post (Wellington) Lead editorial Pubdate: Saturday, 4 April 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Two drugs are quite enough The great dope debate smoulders on. This week's report on marijuana law reforms by a group of New Zealand doctors and professionals has stirred the embers again in what's become a long-running argument about whether it's time this country addressed the issue of marijuana law reform. A report by an organisation calling itself the Drug Policy Forum Trust and recommending the Government regulate and tax cannabis was immediately dismissed by Associate Health Minister Roger Sowry, who said the paper failed to acknowledge the harmful effects of cannabis use. In the report, forum director Dr David Hadorn says New Zealand is one of the few countries not to review its drug laws in recent years, while attitudes toward cannabis were shifting worldwide. In Australia, he said, police had conceded laws weren't working and the British House of Lords was launching an inquiry into the case for decriminalising cannabis. Meanwhile, California last year went a step further by introducing the controversial and virtually unenforceable Proposition 215, a law that enables doctors to prescribe marijuana use to ease the symptoms of a variety of illnesses including Aids, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. While there is mixed evidence about the effects of marijuana on people's health, Mr Sowry is right to resist the decriminalisation lobby. Two legal drugs already do much damage in New Zealand communities, and Dr Hadorn is missing the point when he says the health effects of cannabis are no worse than those of alcohol or tobacco. New Zealand doesn't need another. But the report is spot on when it makes the point that current laws haven't reduced harmful drug use, whereas experience with tobacco use and drink-driving rates show social sanctions can work. The argument for a review of New Zealand drug laws is timely. Police don't seem to be able to cope with the sheer volume of cannabis already available. In 1995-96, they seized more than 268,000 plants. Last year, faced with a $1.7 million cut in their drugs and anti-social offences budget, they recovered just over 98,000. Whatever the reason for the sharp decline, it's clear police aren't busting to make drug busts the way they used to. New Zealand's courts system is already clogged with people on minor possession charges, while limited resources mean police are unable to make meaningful inroads into the hardened criminal element that grows, supplies and deals in drugs. Despite the Government's understandable reluctance to decriminalise marijuana, there have been signs of political movement in the way the Government treats small-scale recreational drug users. Last year, Justice Minister Doug Graham raised the idea of instant fines, and Police Minister Jack elder suggested that people with minor drug convictions could have their record wiped after a suitable time. In its report, the trust estimated half of those aged 15-50 had tried marijuana. That's a lot of smokers. If police arrested them all today, the courts would suddenly be faced with the unappetising prospect of turning about one million otherwise law-abiding Kiwis into instant criminals. Obviously, that's neither practical nor realistic. If the Government is serious about stamping out widespread cannabis use it makes more sense to get tougher at the base of the dope mountain - by hitting the growers and suppliers - rather than ineffectually chipping away at the tip.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Anxieties (Letter To Editor Of Britain's 'New Scientist' Rebuts Earlier Letter Citing The Current Problems We Have With Alcohol As The Reason We Should Not Legalise Marijuana) Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 17:54:34 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: New Scientest: PUB LTE: by Clifford A. Schaffer Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Source: New Scientest Section: Letters Pubdate: 4 April 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Webform: http://www.newscientist.com/ns/lettersreply.html Website: http://www.newscientist.com/ HIGH ANXIETIES Philip Cooper refers to the current problems we have with alcohol as the reason we should not legalise marijuana (Letters, 14 March, p 58). What he fails to mention is that the US tried banning alcohol, and it was a disaster. Prohibition failed to produce any long-term reductions in alcohol use and created new problems of its own. One such problem was a massive increase in the use of alcohol by children. During Prohibition, school officials reported that they were unable to hold school dances and other events because it had become fashionable for all the male students to show up with a hip flask of whisky. They even had to close some schools for a while because so many kids were coming to school drunk. The slogan of the campaign for Prohibition was "Save the Children". The same slogan was used in the campaign for its repeal--by some of the same people who had campaigned for Prohibition in the first place. They reported that, before Prohibition, their children had been unable to get alcohol easily. After Prohibition came into effect, their children became involved in the liquor trade. The major problems of violent crime and alcohol use by children did not diminish until alcohol was legalised once again. The lesson of history is that these drugs may be bad, for a lot of reasons, but that prohibition doesn't solve those problems, it only makes the situation worse. CLIFFORD A. SCHAFFER DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy http://www.druglibrary.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Anxieties (Letter To Editor Of 'New Scientist' From Two WHO Scientists Denies They Suppressed Report Showing Cannabis To Be Less Harmful Than Tobacco Or Alcohol - Plus A Response From The Editor) Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 18:04:21 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: LTE: High Anxieties Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Source: New Scientist Section: Letters Pubdate: 4 April 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Webform: http://www.newscientist.com/ns/lettersreply.html Website: http://www.newscientist.com/ HIGH ANXIETIES Like the premature reports of Mark Twain's death, New Scientist's report of the alleged "suppression" by the WHO of our paper comparing the health effects of cannabis with those of alcohol, opiates and tobacco has been greatly exaggerated (This Week, 21 February, p 4). Our paper is being prepared for publication later this year (along with the other background papers) by the Addiction Research Foundation and the WHO. The content of our paper was not reflected in the WHO report because some of the experts who were consulted by the WHO in the process of peer reviewing the report believed that there were too many uncertainties about the adverse health effects of cannabis to permit such comparisons to be made. These uncertainties were acknowledged in our paper, but we undertook the comparison because of its public health policy significance. The fact that on current patterns of use, cannabis is a lesser public health problem than alcohol and tobacco does not mean that cannabis use is harmless or that its public health consequences are trivial. The comparison emphasises the unacceptable burden of disease and disability that alcohol and tobacco cause in much of the developed and developing world. Finally, the disagreement between the experts about the validity of comparisons of the adverse health effects should not detract from the fact that they were agreed on the adverse health effects of cannabis summarised in the report. They also agreed on the priorities for future research that would enable us to better understand the adverse health effects of cannabis use. WAYNE HALL National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre Sydney ROBIN ROOM Addiction and Mental Health Services Corporation Toronto, Canada *** THE EDITOR REPLIES: New Scientist was aware that a background paper comparing cannabis with alcohol and tobacco is to be published later this year. If anything, this adds to our suspicions about the WHO's decision to exclude the comparison from its report. If the comparison is good enough to publish as a background paper, why not include it in the report? Part of the answer is that reports are widely circulated and read by policy makers and journalists, whereas background papers are not. If "uncertainties" were the only reason for excluding the analysis, one must question the consistency of the peer review process. Much of the material deemed fit to include in the report could scarcely be described as certain. Take one example, the hormonal effects of cannabis. Here the report says: "This action of cannabis might be of importance in the prepubertal male... however, at present this is purely conjecture." (c) Copyright New Scientist, RBI Limited 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis As Medicine - Time For The Phoenix To Rise? The Evidence Suggests So (Editorial In 'British Medical Journal' Summarizes The British Medical Association's Recent Investigation Into The Medicinal Properties Of Marijuana - The BMA Recommends That The Misuse Of Drugs Act Be Amended To Allow Cannabinoids To Be Prescribed For A Range Of Medical Conditions) Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 23:12:22 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: UK: BMJ: Editorial: Cannabis As Medicine: Time For The Phoenix To Rise? - The Evidence Suggests So Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 Source: British Medical Journal, No 7137 Volume 316 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial CANNABIS AS MEDICINE: TIME FOR THE PHOENIX TO RISE? The Evidence Suggests So Since 1971 British doctors have been barred from prescribing cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Many otherwise law abiding people have subsequently thought it worthwhile to expose themselves to the risk, inconvenience, and expense of obtaining illegally a drug they believe can ease symptoms inadequately controlled by conventional medicines. Patients have told me how effective cannabis can be in relieving aches and pains, numbing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and alleviating the vomiting, anorexia, and depression associated with AIDS related disorders. Anecdotes such as these are all very well, but is there any scientific evidence that cannabis has real therapeutic value? The BMA has addressed this question with an excellent report, which begins by reviewing the pharmacology.(1) Only a few of the 60 or so chemicals unique to Cannabis sativa (cannabinoids) have so far been studied, the best known of which is the main psychoactive ingredient, |gd-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain and in spleen macrophages, and naturally occurring substances which bind to these (anandamides), have been identified in recent years. These findings open the door to developing novel agents for therapeutic use or exploring the physiological role of the anandamide system - which may be concerned with mood, memory and cognition, perception, movement, coordination, sleep, thermoregulation, appetite, and immune response.(2) The report evaluates the scientific literature on cannabis and cannabinoids in relation to the strengths and shortcomings of existing medicines and proposes directions for research. The strongest evidence relates to the effectiveness of |gd-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone in relieving nausea and vomiting secondary to cancer chemotherapy. Nabilone is licensed for this use in Britain, but |gd-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (as dronabinol) is not. A pilot study suggests that the non-psychotropic |gd-8-tetrahydrocannabinol has promise as an antiemetic in children.(3) Proposals for research contained in this section are applicable to most of the others: exploration of optimal regimens and the relative usefulness of different cannabinoids; controlled comparisons with newer medicines alone and as adjunctive therapy; specification of patient categories; and a focus on other conditions producing similar symptoms. Many anecdotal accounts indicate that cannabis and some cannabinoids can relieve symptoms related to muscle spasticity, but the few controlled studies offer only modest support for this. Good evidence exists from basic research that several cannabinoids have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, but eight small scale human studies listed here give equivocal results. Again animal studies suggest that cannabidiol has possibilities as an anticonvulsant, but the human data are lacking. |gd-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol definitely reduces intraocular pressure and produces bronchodilatation but its potential in glaucoma and asthma is not compelling on current evidence. Relief of symptoms in AIDS related disorders is one of the most interesting possibilities. The appetite stimulating effect of oral dronabinol in patients with AIDS (4) was convincing enough to win approval from the American Food and Drug Administration for this indication. This attribute, combined with antiemetic and possible analgesic, anxiolytic, (5) hypnotic, (6) and antidepressant (7) properties, suggests a profile uniquely relevant to this condition and a compelling reason for research. Adverse effects relevant to clinical use are discussed. No deaths have been attributed to cannabis toxicity alone. Common acute effects include sedation; psychological symptoms (euphoria, anxiety, paranoia, impaired memory); and physical symptoms such as dry mouth, ataxia, blurred vision, weakness and incoordination, and tachycardia. Impaired psychomotor performance may persist as long as 24 hours after a single dose. Interactions with central nervous system depressants are possible, as is aggravation or precipitation of psychosis in vulnerable individuals. Physical and psychological dependence can occur, but withdrawal symptoms are usually mild. Inconsistent effects on sex hormones and immunosuppression in animals have been reported. Cannabis smoke is as rich in toxic gases and particulates as tobacco smoke, so regular heavy smokers probably face an increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The report concludes that individual cannabinoids have a therapeutic potential in several conditions in which other treatments are not fully adequate and that they are safe drugs with a side effect profile better than that of many drugs used for the same indications. The BMA recommends that the government should amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow cannabinoids to be prescribed in a range of medical conditions, calls for the setting up of controlled clinical trials, and suggests that pharmaceutical companies should search for novel analogues to open up new therapeutic possibilities. The BMA is not alone in arguing for enhanced access to cannabinoids in clinical practice. Others include the Royal Pharmaceutical Society,(8) the previous president of the Royal College of Physicians (L Turnberg, personal communication), and many British doctors.(9) The role of cannabinoids in modern therapeutics remains uncertain, but the evidence in this report shows that it would be irrational not to explore it. The active components of a plant which has been prized as a medicine for thousands of years should not be discarded lightly, and certainly not through political expediency or as a casualty of the war on drugs. Philip Robson Senior clinical lecturer Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX REFERENCES 1 British Medical Association. Therapeutic uses of cannabis. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic, 1997. 2 Pertwee RG. Pharmacological, physiological and clinical implications of the discovery of cannabinoid receptors: an overview. In: Pertwee R, ed. Cannabinoid receptors. London: Harcourt Brace, 1995. 3 Abrahamov A, Abrahamov A, Mechoulam R. An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. Life Sciences 1995;56:2097-102. 4 Beal JE, Olson R, Lauberstein L, Morales JO, Bellman P, Yangco B, et al. Dronabinol as a treatment for anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 1995;10:89-97. 5 Fabre LF, McLendon D. The efficacy and safety of nabilone (a synthetic cannabinoid) in the treatment of anxiety. J Clin Pharmacol 1981;21:377-82S. 6 Carlini EA, Cunha JM. Hypnotic and anti-epileptic effects of cannabidiol. J Clin Pharmacol 1981;21:417-27. 7 Regelson W, Butler JR, Schulz J, Kirk T, Peel L, Gleem ML, et al. Delta-9-THC as an effective antidepressant and appetite-stimulating agent in advanced cancer patients. In: Braude MC, Szara S, eds. The pharmacology of marihuana. New York: Raven Press, 1976. 8 Gray C. Cannabis: the therapeutic potential. Pharmaceutical J 1995;254:771-3. 9 Meek C. Doctors want cannabis prescriptions allowed. BMA News Review 1994; Feb:15.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jury Clears Man Accused Of Growing Cannabis (Britain's 'Independent' Says Cab Driver Alan Blythe, 52, Of Runcorn, Cheshire, Grew Medical Marijuana For His Wife, Who Has Multiple Sclerosis, And Used The Defence Of Duress Of Circumstances, Which The Jury At Warrington Crown Court Accepted) Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 16:11:44 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: UK: Jury Clears Man Accused Of Growing Cannabis Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 JURY CLEARS MAN ACCUSED OF GROWING CANNABIS A man accused of growing and giving cannabis to his wife, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, was yesterday cleared by a jury's majority verdict of cultivating, cultivating with intent to supply, and supplying the drug. Cab driver Alan Blythe, 52, of Runcorn, Cheshire, had used the defence of duress of circumstances, which the jury at Warrington Crown Court accepted. He claimed he had grown the cannabis and supplied it to his wife Judith, 48, because he was afraid that without it the acute symptoms of MS could trigger her suicide. The jury ignored the judge's suggestion that Mr Blythe had failed to prove duress of circumstances for the charge of cultivation. But they followed this advice in relation to possession, for which Mr Blythe was fined £100. Afterwards, Mr Blythe said: "I don't know what to say. I am so relieved. I do not think the prosecution should have been brought. I think they should have dropped the charges when the defence asked them to months ago. "They said it was going to be a waste of taxpayers' money and it was." He said his wife, who was too ill to attend court and hear the verdict, had also been very relieved when he told her the news on the phone. He vowed that he would not be able to stop supplying his wife with the Class B drug. "I have never stopped giving her cannabis and I never will," he said. The trial had heard that 10 cannabis plants, pots of cannabis bush heads and a variety of growing equipment were found during a police raid on the Blythes' house in July last year. In evidence, Mr Blythe described how his wife was diagnosed with the debilitating and terminal MS in 1983, 15 years after they married, and her condition steadily worsened. Prescription drugs did little to help and her main symptom, acute attacks of dizziness, culminated in one three-week period in 1989 when she was bedridden, virtually unable to move. On Thursday, Mrs Blythe told the court: "I had a very severe attack in 1989 and it was so severe I wanted to die. I wanted someone to kill me. "I felt as though I had been thrown into a bottomless pit at 100mph and I couldn't even move my eyeballs. Every time I moved, I was back in this bottomless pit being thrown around." Asked about what happened after the attack by defending counsel Andrew Mattison, Mr Blythe said: "We talked in depth about finishing her life and she said she would not be able to live through that again and, of course, I told her I could never kill her. "After the worst attack she had, we discussed it over a period of months with me telling her I would definitely never be able to kill her. As time went by she told me that one of her friends, one of our friends, would help her to die ... she made it clear she would die if she went through that again." It was two or three years later that the couple tried cannabis after reading a magazine article discussing claims that it had beneficial effects for MS sufferers. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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