Portland NORML News - Saturday, April 4, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Activist Jailed After Testing Positive for Pot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Medical Pot Activist Returned to Jail After Failing Drug Tests
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (jwjohnson@netmagic.net)
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Lungren Pushes Closing Pot Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (jwjohnson@netmagic.net)
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Friend Details Teen's Last Days
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: MacDonald's Former Dealer Didn't Believe He'd Inform
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Schafnitz Admits Cocaine Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Socialite Charged With Cocaine Sale
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: letters@uniontrib.com
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: (cohip@levellers.org)
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: ttrippet@mail.sorosny.org
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 98 16:43:27 EST
Subject: Ethan Nadelmann On Firing Line (PBS)
Sender: owner-tlc-cannabis@soros.org

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
ttrippet@sorosny.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: press@drugtext.nl, editor@mapinc.org, drctalk@drcnet.org
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: letters@nytimes.com

(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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Umberg Assumes Post of Deputy US Drug Czar
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.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: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: cwagoner@bendnet.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: cwagoner@bendnet.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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: U.S. Policy of Foreign Drug Control Criticized
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Mexico: Killings Linked to Mexican Army Unit
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Tom O'Connell 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Mexico Grounds 72 U.S.-Donated Helicopters
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Our pot is rated hot - a big export item
Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 09:16:47 -0800
Newshawk: creator@hempbc.com
Source: Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
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: mattalk@islandnet.com
Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, FRONT PAGE
Newshawk:carey.ker@utoronto.ca
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: mattalk@islandnet.com
Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, Page Front page
Newshawk:carey.ker@utoronto.ca
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: mattalk@islandnet.com
Source: The Globe and Mail, April 4, 1998, Page Front page
Newshawk:carey.ker@utoronto.ca
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: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
cc: editor@mapinc.org
Subject: CP Wire: RCMP fumble with Pot Laws again
Halifax Daily News
letterstoeditor@hfxnews.southam.ca

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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: editor@sunpub.com
Cc: mharris@istar.ca

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: creator@islandnet.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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: THREE STRIKES STUDIED
Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 09:21:31 -0800
Source: Calgary Sun
Contact: callet@sunpub.com

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: drctalk@drcnet.org, mattalk@islandnet.com, update@adca.org.au
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: editor@evpost.co.nz

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Source: New Scientest
Section: Letters
Pubdate: 4 April 1998
Contact: letters@newscientist.com
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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Source: New Scientist
Section: Letters
Pubdate: 4 April 1998
Contact: letters@newscientist.com
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: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UK: BMJ: Editorial: Cannabis As Medicine:
Time For The Phoenix To Rise? - The Evidence Suggests So
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Pubdate: Sat, 04 Apr 1998
Source: British Medical Journal, No 7137 Volume 316
Contact: bmj@bmj.com

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" 
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
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.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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