Portland NORML News - Friday, April 17, 1998

Morphine And Marijuana (Staff Editorial In 'Register-Guard' In Eugene,
Oregon, About Senator Gordon Smith's Anti-Medical Marijuana Campaign,
Says Classing Marijuana With Heroin And Cocaine, While Denying
Potentially Beneficial Medical Uses, Does More To Undercut
The Credibility Of Current Drug Policy Than 'Pro-Marijuana' Activists Ever Could)

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 15:39:56 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US OR: Editorial: Morphine And Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Dave Fratello 
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Source: The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon)
Section: Editorial
Contact: rgletters@guardnet.com
Website: http://www.registerguard.com/


A proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes hasn't even made the
ballot in Oregon yet, but Sen. Gordon Smith has already staked out his
position as the leading opponent. He reiterated his opposition in Eugene
Tuesday, warning that medical marijuana sends the wrong message to children
and would be the first step toward an anything-goes drug policy.

It's worth bearing in mind that doctors routinely prescribe morphine, an
opium derivative that is far more dangerous than marijuana, without opening
the door to drug legalization and without confusing the anti-drug messages
directed at children.

Smith and others may be correct in saying that some activists are using
medical marijuana as a vehicle to advance a larger agenda relating to drug
policy. But classing marijuana with heroin and cocaine, while denying
potentially beneficial medical uses, does more to undercut the credibility
of current drug policy than pro-marijuana activists ever could.

MAMA's Vision Oregon Tour April 20-May 8 (Sandee Burbank,
Founder Of The Drug Education Group, Mothers Against Misuse And Abuse,
Will Be Making Presentations Around Oregon -
Help Publicize These Public Events)

From: "sburbank" (sburbank@orednet.org)
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 18:23:58 -0700

Hope to see you in your community. Could use help putting up fliers. Let
me know ASAP if you're interested.

MAMA's Vision Oregon Tour
April 20-May 8

Eastern Oregon


Hood River

The Dalles
Noon Presentation-
PUD Board Room
401 Court


7PM Presentation- Blue Mountain Community College
Morrow Hall lecture hall M-130


La Grande
Baker City

7PM Presentation -
Four Rivers Cultural Center
Malheur River Room
676 SW 5th Ave.



Klamath Falls
7PM Presentation- Klamath County Library-Meeting Room


Klamath Falls

Bend -
7PM Presentation - Bend HS Room I - 7& 8


Oregon Coast


St. Helens

2 PM Presentation
Chamber of Commerce
450 Tenth Street



Lincoln City

Naterlin Community Center
169 SW Coast Hwy-Room 11



Coos Bay
7PM Presentation
Public Library-Auditorium
525 Anderson


Myrtle Point


7PM Presentation
Douglas County Library
Meeting Room
1409 NE Diamond Lake Blvd


Grants Pass
3-5PM Presentation
Ashland Public Library-
Gresham Room
410 Siskiyou


Cottage Grove

Noon presentation
Corvallis-Benton County Public Library
Main Meeting Room
645 NW Monroe


7PM Presentation
University of Oregon
ERB Memorial Union
Gumwood Room
1222 E 13th


Sweet Home

I PM Presentation
Oregon State Capitol Bldg.
Hearing Room D- Main Floor




Oregon City

7PM Presentation
Portland Community College
Terrell Hall RM 122
705 N. Killingsworth

Report Depicts How Oregonians Die ('The Oregonian'
Cites Oregon Vital Statistics Annual Report 1995
Compiled By The Oregon Health Division, Which Suggests 22.3 Percent Of Deaths
Were Linked To Tobacco Use, And That Alcoholism
Was The 11th Leading Cause Of Death -
Not A Single Death From Cannabis Mentioned)

The Oregonian
letters to editor:
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/
April 17, 1998

Report depicts how Oregonians die

* The death rates for diabetes, lung cancer and diseases such as Alzheimer's
are rising as of 1995, according to some of the state's findings

By Steve Woodward
of The Oregonian staff

Diabetes is in. Arteriosclerosis is out. And the jury is still undecided on

Oregon's latest statistical report on death, scheduled for release today,
paints a portrait of a state whose people are beating back heart disease and
living longer but losing ground against diabetes, lung cancer and chronic
old-age diseases such as Alzheimer's.

A record 28,190 Oregonians died in 1995, the most recent year for which
complete statistics are available. That's 829 more people than in 1994,
according to the Oregon Vital Statistics Annual Report 1995, compiled by the
Oregon Health Division.

But the 1995 death rate - the percentage of the population that dies in a
year - has stayed almost flat since the end of World War II. The 1995 rate
was 9.0, meaning that nine Oregonians died of every 1,000 Oregonians living
that year.

As in past years, heart disease claimed the most lives - 7,529 - accounting
for one of every four deaths. But the death rate, 2.4 of every 1,000
Oregonians, was a record low. That rate was 21 percent lower than in 1985,
when the death rate from heart disease peaked.

Also, as in past years, cancer finished a close second to heart disease as a
killer, accounting for 6,824 deaths, or slightly less than one of every four
deaths. The cancer death rate has continued to rise slowly but surely during
the past two decades, driven primarily by an increase in lung cancer among

Lung cancer is one of several fatal diseases linked to tobacco use in the
Health Division report. Using data from death certificates, the division
concluded that 22.3 percent of deaths were positively or probably linked to
tobacco use. The age groups most likely to die of tobacco-related illnesses
were between 55 and 84.

The Health Division reported several other findings:

* Strokes and other cerebrovascular diseases were the third leading cause of
death. The diseases killed many more women than men and occurred at a
significantly higher rate than the national average. The report said part,
but not all, of the difference between national and state rates was
attributable to Oregon's older population.

* Unintentional injuries were the leading cause of premature death, as well
as the leading cause of death among Oregonians younger than 45. Motor
vehicle accidents accounted for 45 percent of the 1,293 deaths in this
category. The death rate from unintentional injuries has risen 19 percent
since hitting a record low in 1991.

* The death rate for diabetes hit a new high for the ninth consecutive year.
The metabolic disease, increasingly recognized as one of the growing
epidemics of modern times, caused 705 deaths and contributed to an
additional 1,688 in 1995.

* The number of reported adolescent suicide attempts fell for the first time
since 1990, although the report cautioned that the decrease may be due to
poor reporting by hospitals. Although girls were four times more likely than
boys to attempt suicide, the boys succeeded more often in killing
themselves. Drug overdose was the overwhelming method of choice for suicide
attempts, but firearm use was the method that accounted for the most deaths.

* The death rate for Alzheimer's disease rose 13 percent in 1995. Women were
twice as likely to die from the disease, which is marked by mental
deterioration, and 90 percent of the victims were at least 75 years old.

* Alcoholism was the 11th leading cause of death but ranked fourth among
people ages 45 to 54. Half of the deaths occurred by age 56, the youngest
median age ever recorded for alcoholism deaths.

* AIDS deaths declined, albeit a tiny amount, for the first time since the
epidemic roared to life in the early 1980s. With the advent of new drug
therapies, AIDS claimed 10.6 lives of every 100,000 Oregonians, down from
10.7 deaths in 1994.

* The death rate for arteriosclerosis fell to a record low in 1995,
continuing a long-term trend downward. The artery disease caused 298 deaths
and contributed to an additional 1,019 deaths.

* Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder largely of old age, rose 17
percent in 1995, killing 232 Oregonians.

* The homicide rate fell 17 percent, to 158 deaths, significantly below the
national average. Eight children younger than 10 were murdered in 1995; half
were infants. Firearms were used in six of every 10 deaths.

* The infant death rate fell 14 percent, to 6.1 deaths for every 1,000 live
births. That's 20 percent lower than the U.S. infant death rate. Most of the
262 infants who died were less than 28 days old.

* Equal numbers of people died in hospitals, nursing homes and at home -
about 31 percent in each location.

* The oldest Oregonians who died in 1995 were a man and a woman, both 109.

* The county with the oldest median age at death, 82, was Gilliam County.
The lowest median age, 74, was in Morrow and Jefferson counties.

* Harney County had the highest death rate linked to tobacco use, 40.7
percent of all deaths. Wheeler County had the lowest, 5.9 percent.

* Grants Pass had the highest death rate of any Oregon city, with 1,627.7
for every 100,000 residents. Tualatin had the lowest rate: 277.3 deaths per
100,000 residents.

Operator To Close San Francisco Cannabis Club ('San Francisco Chronicle'
Says Dennis Peron Announced Thursday That His Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Would Close Next Week - But That It Would Instantly Reopen With A New Name,
New Rules, And A 78-Year-Old Woman As Its New Director)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:07:37 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Operator To Close S.F. Cannabis Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
and "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Glen Martin, Chronicle Staff Writer


It will sprout again with new name.

Leave it to Dennis Peron to figure out a way to wiggle around a San
Francisco judge's order to shut down the Cannabis Cultivators Club.

Yesterday, Peron announced that the organization was going out of business.
He also announced that it would instantly reopen with a new name, new rules
-- and a 78-year-old woman as its new director.

Peron said he would have no ties to the new group. ``I'm out of it
completely,'' he said.

He also said he has requested that the Sheriff's Department close his club.

``It will probably happen early next week,'' he said. ``We've asked them to
respect our campaign offices, because I'm running for governor (in the
Republican primary against Dan Lungren). Otherwise, they will be able to
seize any property they find and seal the building. The keys will then be
handed over to the landlord.''

Peron said his landlord has agreed to lease the building immediately to
Hazel Rogers, a 78-year-old artist and member of the cultivators club who
suffers from glaucoma and other maladies.

``She has agreed to be the director of the new club, which will be called
the Cannabis Healing Center,'' Peron said. ``If (the state attorney
general's office) wants to deal in technicalities, we can play the same

Wednesday's order by Superior Court Judge David Garcia declared that Peron
was illegally selling marijuana at the club, and that either the San
Francisco Sheriff's Department or the California Bureau of Narcotics
Enforcement could shut it down.

Garcia said that only ``primary caregivers'' can provide marijuana to
patients under provisions of Proposition 215, the state medical marijuana
initiative that passed last year -- not businesses that purveyed the weed.

John Entwistle, a spokesman for the Cannabis Cultivators Club, said Peron's
move will nullify Garcia's order.

``(Rogers) will not distribute to caregivers,'' said Entwistle. ``She'll
only provide marijuana directly to the patients. That conforms in every way
to the exact language (of Proposition 215).''

Rogers said she wasn't sure of all the ramifications of her new position,
but that she was looking forward to it.

``I'm honored,'' she said. ``There'll probably be a hundred people to help
me run it. It will be fun to sit in Dennis' chair and put my feet up on his
desk. One thing's for sure -- we're going to obey the letter of the law.''

By requesting the San Francisco Sheriff's Department to close the club,
Peron is enlisting the aid of an old ally.

``I have total confidence in Sheriff (Michael) Hennessey,'' Peron said.
``He's an honest man, and I trust him to carry out Garcia's order in a fair
and lawful fashion.''

Lillian Brown, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department, said
``(Hennessey) has decided that he will probably go ahead with the eviction,
though he hasn't decided when. He will decide that with his staff.''

Peron said that he wanted to make sure state narcotics agents did not have
the opportunity to close the club. There has been bad blood between Peron
and California Attorney General Dan Lungren since 1996, when state agents
raided the club.

Peron still faces criminal charges of illegally selling marijuana as a
result of that raid. ``I just don't want those (state narcotics) agents in
here wearing their rubber gloves, standing around making jokes about AIDS
to sick people,'' Peron said.

Matt Ross, a spokesman for Lungren, said he could not comment on the
prospect of the cultivators' club closing ``until we see what Peron is up

Peron said he will probably open a new medical marijuana club in time, but
not at his old Market Street address.

``I'm too busy running for governor right now anyway,'' he said.

1998 San Francisco Chronicle

Cannabis Club Leader Resigns In An Effort To Keep Shop Open
('Los Angeles Times' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:11:28 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Cannabis Club Leader Resigns in an Effort to Keep Shop Open
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield and "Frank S. World" (compassion23@geocities.com)
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Mary Curtius - Times Staff Writer


SAN FRANCISCO--A day after a Superior Court judge ordered him to
immediately cease operations, Dennis Peron said he has stepped down as head
of the state's largest cannabis club in a bid to keep it open.

The resignation came shortly after San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey
said Thursday that he will evict the staff and patrons and close the club
Monday or Tuesday, in compliance with San Francisco Superior Court Judge
David A. Garcia's order.

"I realized that either my department was going to do it or the state
Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement would," Hennessey said. "I was afraid that
if the state came into our county, things would be much more tense, things
could escalate out of control."

Peron said he had promised Hennessey that the club's patrons will not
resist deputies who come to padlock the doors. But by turning over the club
to new owners and giving it a new name, he contended, he could comply with
the judge's ruling.

Peron had begun the day defiantly, opening the club's doors to a throng of
anxious clients at 11 a.m. and vowing to stay open despite the court order.

"We have done nothing wrong," Peron told reporters the morning after Garcia
ruled that he was illegally selling drugs from his four-story Market Street
club. "We will not be moved. We are going to be like Martin Luther King and
like Gandhi. We will go absolutely limp if they try to drag us away."

But by late afternoon, Peron said, it had become clear to him that the
club's only hope for survival lay in a drastic reorganization.

"It is a sad day for me," Peron said after announcing that he will no
longer direct the 9,000 member Cannabis Cultivators Club.

"I have folded the club. I am giving up my lease. The landlord has
negotiated with a new group of people, and they will reopen here as the
Cannabis Healing Center after Hennessey closes it down." The group, Peron
said, would include current staff members and clients who he said would
operate the club as a cooperative.

Peron said he plans to work full time on his campaign for the Republican
gubernatorial nomination. He has been running that campaign from his office
at the club and said he will negotiate with the new owners to rent space
from them.

Asked whether the resignation and reorganization is merely a legal
maneuver, Peron replied: "This whole thing has been technicalities upon

Hennessey said Thursday that his obligation ends once the club is shut down
and the keys are turned over to the landlord. "What the landlord does then
is up to him. You only get one shutdown per order," he said.

Within minutes of the Cannabis Cultivators Club's 11 a.m. opening Thursday,
the sales counter was doing its usual brisk business, serving dozens of
customers various grades of pot. The sweet smell of marijuana began wafting
through the third-floor lounge as clients smoked joints or puffed pipes at
the small tables scattered across the brightly painted room.

John Lassiter, 24, said he rushed to the club fearing that "it might be the
last chance to say goodbye to everybody." Lassiter, who said he is
HIV-positive, started coming to the club in December, shortly after moving
here from Washington. He said that daily use of marijuana keeps his
appetite healthy and helps him keep his weight stable.

"This place also offers intangibles that would never be admissible in a
court of law," he said. "It is a place for really ill people, people with
terminal diseases, to escape their loneliness. They come here for a few
hours to visit people."

Club operators across the state weighed the implications of Garcia's order
Thursday. The broad consensus: another serious setback for a movement that
has had little to rejoice about since 56% of California voters approved
Proposition 215 in 1996. The law says that patients suffering from serious
illnesses who obtain a doctor's recommendation may grow and use marijuana
for medicinal purposes.

The number of marijuana clubs and their operators facing civil and criminal
legal charges is such that some in the medical marijuana movement are
convinced it is only a matter of time before all the clubs are forced to

"The state government does not want to implement this law," said Jeff
Jones, director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, whose club is
one of four named in a federal civil suit against Northern California
clubs. "They are squelching the will of the people."

Peter Baez, director of the Santa Clara cannabis club that many looked to
as a model of a well-run club, is facing eight felony counts in the alleged
sale of marijuana to someone who had no doctor's recommendation. Baez says
that he will close his club by the end of the month. Other clubs or their
operators are also in trouble. District attorneys in Orange, Ventura and
San Diego counties have moved to close clubs or charge operators with
criminal violations of drug laws.

"Last October, there were 28 clubs and start-ups," said Scott Imler,
director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center. "Now, 14 of them are
still open and only three of those--the club in Arcata, the Women's
Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz and us, are not either
indicted or served with orders by federal, state or local officials."

Some blame politics for their troubles--President Clinton, club operators
say, needs to appear to be tough on drugs, and state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren
is campaigning for governor. But others blame mistakes made by the medical
marijuana movement's leaders and club operators.

"The problem is Dennis Peron," said Imler, a longtime critic of Peron
within the movement. "He became the Daddy Warbucks and the Godfather, at
least of the Northern California medical marijuana movement. He was
exciting and charismatic and he has been a disaster."

Peron is fighting criminal and civil suits brought against him by Lungren.
The federal government has also filed a civil suit against Peron, his club
and three others in Northern California.

"I am a full-time defendant who sometimes sells marijuana," Peron gloomily
said Thursday, as he sat surrounded by "Peron for Governor" banners in his
office at the club, hours before announcing his resignation.

Although Peron and his club have been Lungren's primary targets in the war
on cannabis clubs, the attorney general's office insists that a December
appellate court ruling that Proposition 215 did not legalize the clubs
means that they all must close. But Lungren has moved only against Peron's
club. Other club operators said Thursday that if Lungren wants to close
their operations, he will have to sue them.

"The state will have to take every dispensary into court to take us all
out," Jones said in Oakland. "We have had some major setbacks, but we are
not going to quit because they say we are operating illegally. We've done
everything in our ability to meet the law. We've incorporated; we pay
local, state and federal taxes."

In fact, Jones said, he expects a huge surge of business if Peron's club is
closed. "It will be pandemonium. It is going to be a circus over here for a
few weeks," he said. "Our phones already are ringing off the hook."

Whatever relief Jones may be able to offer Peron's clients may be
short-lived. This month, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is expected to
rule on the federal Justice Department's request to close the four Northern
California clubs, including the Oakland club and Peron's operation.

The Justice Department says that no matter what law California voters
passed, marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law, and its
sale--by clubs or individuals--is illegal.

Undercover drug agents allegedly purchased marijuana in each of the clubs
the federal government has named in its civil suit, apparently by
presenting bogus doctor recommendations that the clubs failed to detect.

Imler said he was not surprised that agents were able to slip by the intake
procedures of the Northern California clubs.

"There are problems with how these clubs are run," he said.

Authors of Proposition 215 envisioned the clubs as a stopgap measure
pending action by the state legislature to regulate the pharmaceutical
dispensing of medical marijuana, Imler said. Instead, the Legislature has
done nothing and clubs--some operated by less-than-rigorous staffs--have
sprung up across the state.

"The Legislature has left patients and their families in the lurch," he
said. "We're praying for the day when we can close our club. But the only
way is if the government provides for prescriptive access. Then these clubs
will be a moot point."

Pot Club Founder Vows To Continue ('Oakland Tribune' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:14:07 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Club Founder Vows to Continue
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: Oakland Tribune
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Jeff Israely, Staff Writer


Peron hopes plan avoids legal clash

Following a court decision to dose the state's largest medical marijuana
center, San Francisco pot club founder Dennis Peron said Thursday he has
found, a way to "avoid an ugly confrontation" - and continue ~ operate.

Peron, who founded the controversial San Francisco Cannabis Club in 1994,
said he will comply with Wednesday's order by San Francisco Superior Court
Judge David Garcia to close down the center.

The founder of Oakland's cannabis club, which also faces legal attempts to
shut it down, said he is closely monitoring the scenario in San Francisco.

"If they're going to force us underground, then so be it," said Jeff Jones.
"If we have to dive back under the rug to help patients, we will."

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey plans to close the operation Monday
or Tuesday. Peron said he will then reopen the five-story, 9,000-member
medical. marijuana center under another name and a new leader.

The facility will be called the San Francisco Cannabis Healing Center, and
Hazel Rodgers, a 7-year-old club member, will take over the reins from
Peron. The new operation will begin one day after Hennessey takes action,
Peron said.

Hennessey said Thursday he simply will enforce the court order to shut down
the current operation. "We're treating it like an eviction," he said.
"We'll make sure everyone's moved out."

A spokesman for Attorney General Dan Lungren - who has been seeking the
club's closure for two years - declined to comment on Peron's plans.

Garcia's latest ruling had appeared a significant victory for Lungren,
whose agents raided the Market Street marijuana center in 1996 - shutting
it down and arresting Peron and several other members.

Just a few months later, 56 percent of California voters passed Proposition
215, the medical marijuana initiative. Two months later, in January 1997,
Garcia ordered that the club be allowed to reopen.

The judge's decision Wednesday cited Peron's admission that he sold pot to
people who cared for medical marijuana patients, which is not covered under
Proposition 215.

Garcia did not rule on whether the club itself could be considered a
"primary caregiver." The answer to that question will help determine if
such facilities, which also operate in Oakland, Hayward and San Jose, are
legal under the embattled initiative.

Peron said he hoped to find a way to continue providing marijuana to those
who need it.

"This avoids the ugly scene that Lungren wants," he said. "We will carry on
the functions to bona fide patients and not their agents."

The federal government also has moved to close California's medical
marijuana sales clubs in a civil action.

Essentially, the federal position is that the citizen-passed initiative
has no standing because it conflicts with federal law that designates
marijuana an illegal drug.

Cannabis Club To Be Reborn ('San Francisco Examiner' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:48:43 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Cannabis Club to be Reborn
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Eric Brazil of the Examiner Staff


It will reopen as "healing center'; Peron to step aside

Cannabis Cultivators Club founder Dennis Peron says he's stepping aside as
its director and expects Sheriff Mike Hennessey to shut it down, briefly,
on Monday, after which it will be reborn and reopened as the Cannabis
Healing Center.

Marijuana was still being sold and smoked Thursday by hundreds of members
inside the 1444 Market St. club, the day after a Superior Court judge
ordered it closed.

In the immediate aftermath of Judge David Garcia's ruling that the club was
"engaging in illegal sales of marijuana" and ordering its closure, Peron
was defiant and announced that he'd appeal.

But by Thursday afternoon he'd changed his mind.

"We're not going to appeal the decision," said Peron, adding, tongue in
cheek, "I see the error of my ways."

Instead, Peron has asked Hennessey to close the club Monday and confiscate
any "contraband" he finds therein, a move aimed at averting a raid by
agents of the state's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE).

Judge Garcia's order directed Hennessey to close the building down "at his
discretion." If Hennessey declines, the judge said, the BNE could do the

"My department is looking on this as an eviction, and we do thousands of
those every year," Hennessey said. His eviction team will make its move
"probably on Monday," he said.

Peron's plan is to turn over directorship of the Market Street operation to
78-year-old Hazel Rogers, a longtime Cannabis Cultivators Club member. That
club will cease to exist, and the Cannabis Healing Center will take its
place, on the same premises, probably on Tuesday, Peron said.

Whether the change of directors and titles satisfies the court's order is
anybody's guess, and the answer may have to come from a court.

In ruling against Peron, Judge Garcia noted that the defendant admitted
that he had sold marijuana to people who were acting as primary caregivers
for bedridden or hospital-bound patients. Such sales are not authorized
under Proposition 215 -- the medical marijuana initiative approved by
California voters in November, 1996, the judge said. On Thursday, Peron
said that the club will no longer distribute marijuana to anyone who is not
a patient. The exceptions are patients who are physically unable to come in
to purchase their marijuana; in that case, he said, club volunteers will
take it to them.

1998 San Francisco Examiner

Pot Club Founder Rolls With Ruling, Vows It'll Reopen
('San Jose Mercury News' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:51:54 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Club Founder Rolls With Ruling, Vows It'll Reopen
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco's sheriff promised Thursday to carry
out a judge's order to shut down the city's largest medicinal marijuana
club, while the club's founder vowed it would reopen immediately.

Sheriff Mike Hennessey said he would evict the 9,000-member Cannabis
Cultivators' Club from its Market Street building Monday.

``My intention is to attempt to carry out the court order in the safest way
possible,'' he said.

Club founder Dennis Peron said he intended to cooperate with Hennessey and
vacate the building -- for one day. By changing its name and its management
structure, he said, the pot emporium can comply with Wednesday's ruling by
Superior Court Judge David Garcia.

``We intend to allow the sheriff to close this club -- then we'll reopen
the next day as the Cannabis Healing Center,'' said Peron, who added that
he has resigned as director of the club.

Peron said he was particularly worried about the possibility of violence if
Hennessey didn't act and instead allowed the state Bureau of Narcotic
Enforcement to conduct the eviction. That agency raided the club in 1996,
and many members contended agents were politically motivated and too

Swarms of pot buyers descended as usual on the club Thursday. About 50
cheered as the doors swung open at 11 a.m.

In his order, Garcia cited Peron's admission that he has sold marijuana,
through the club, to people who were acting as primary caregivers for
bedridden or hospital-bound patients -- sales not authorized under any
interpretation of voter-approved Proposition 215.

Chief Of San Francisco Pot Club Quits, Says Facility Will Open Again
('Sacramento Bee' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 20:47:49 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Chief of S.F. Pot Club Quits, Says Facility Will Open Again
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (jwjohnson@mapinc.org)
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: opinion@sacbee.com
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: John Lyons - Bee Correspondent


SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco's medical marijuana guru Dennis Peron
resigned Thursday as chief of his Cannabis Cultivators Club, effectively
closing the busy medical marijuana outlet with the promise that it would
reopen under a new name.

"It all may seem like a semantic shell game, but we're obeying the spirit
of Proposition 215," Peron said, referring to the 1996 law legalizing
marijuana possession for the seriously ill and their caregivers.

Peron said the operation would shut down at the conclusion of business
today. The announcement came one day after a Superior Court judge ordered
the outlet closed, ordering Peron and his followers to vacate their
downtown San Francisco headquarters and quit the business of selling pot.

Under Peron's plan, Hazel Rodgers, an elderly but high-profile cannabis
club member who says marijuana eases her glaucoma symptoms, would take over
the club's lease and reopen the operation as the Cannabis Healing Center,
Peron said.

Peron would have no official role in the new operation, but would instead
dedicate himself full-time to campaigning against Attorney General Dan
Lungren for the Republican nomination for California governor, he said.

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey said Thursday he would send
deputies into the club early next week to seize the keys to the building
and any contraband inside, as ordered by the court.

In the past, Hennessey has been reluctant to act against the club, which
enjoys considerable political support in the city. And his decision to shut
the club down appears to have been made with the approval of Peron himself.

"It's better all around if Hennessey comes in because he won't break
everything," Peron said. "When the (state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement)
raided us, they came in with rubber gloves, made all kinds of nasty jokes
and they broke every door in the place."

Judge David Garcia ordered the closure Wednesday because the club, which
claims to distribute pot under the medical marijuana law, sold it to

In his ruling, Garcia called on the San Francisco Sheriff's Department to
seize the club's property. But he added that "if the sheriff declines,"
state drug agents would be authorized to enter the club. The court order
shutting down Peron's club stems from a 1996 civil suit filed by Lungren.

Peron also faces criminal charges brought by Lungren in Alameda County
Superior Court, and a federal civil case brought by the Justice Department
seeking to close down six Northern California pot clubs.

San Francisco Sheriff Vows To Close Pot Club (Brief Item
In 'Orange County Register' Says Sheriff Mike Hennessey
Will Officially Close The Dispensary Monday)

Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 00:16:52 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: San Francisco Sheriff Vows To Close Pot Club
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: Fri, 17 Apr 1998


San Francisco's sheriff promised Thursday to carry out a judge's order to
shut down the city's largest medical marijuana club, while the club's
founder vowed it would immediately reopen.

Sheriff Mike Hennessey said he would evict the 9,000-member Cannabis
Cultivators' Club on Monday.

Club founder Dennis Peron said he intended to vacate the building - but
only for a day. By changing its name and its management structure, the pot
emporium can abide by Superior Court Judge David Garcia's ruling, he said.
Garcia ruled that some sales at the club are not covered by voter-approved
Proposition 215 - the so-called medical marijuana initiative.

San Francisco's Political Potboiler ('Washington Post'
Say San Francisco's Reputation As A Municipal Iconoclast
And Proving Ground For Unconventional Ideas Got A Major Boost Today
When San Francisco County Sheriff Michael Hennessey
Refused To Padlock The Cannabis Cultivators' Club As Ordered Wednesday
By Superior Court Judge David Garcia)

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 22:26:13 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US CA: WP: San Francisco's Political Potboiler
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: Washington Post
Page: A03
Author: William Claiborne, Washington Post Staff Writer
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Friday, 17 April 1998


In Fight Over Marijuana as Medicine, Sheriff Backs Growers

LOS ANGELES, April 16-In most cities, a Superior Court judge's order to
local law enforcement officials to shut down an illegal marijuana
cultivators' club would seem to be enough to get the job done. But not
necessarily so in freewheeling San Francisco.

Both the county sheriff and the district attorney in San Francisco are
outspokenly in favor of legalized marijuana for medicinal use. The director
of the health department has even suggested having city health workers
distribute the drug to patients who need it for relief of pain.

San Francisco's reputation as a municipal iconoclast and proving ground for
unconventional ideas got a major boost today when County Sheriff Michael
Hennessey refused to padlock the controversial Cannabis Cultivators' Club
as ordered Wednesday by Superior Court Judge David Garcia.

"I feel that many people benefit from medical marijuana and that this
organization provides a valuable service," Hennessey said in a telephone
interview. "I don't know if they did step over the line, but no official in
San Francisco, including me, wants to put them out of business," added
Hennessey, a Democrat who has been elected to the county's top law
enforcement job five times.

The sheriff said the city attorney's office, which itself has already sued
the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent it from punishing
physicians who recommend marijuana for medicinal use, interpreted Garcia's
order as giving him the option of declining to shut down the club and
turning that responsibility over to the state Bureau of Narcotics
Enforcement. But Hennessey said he will not even ask the state drug agency
to act in his place, as provided for in the court's order, and instead will
attempt to negotiate a settlement with the court in which the cannabis club
could remain open.

Even if the sheriff's deputies or state narcotics agents did move against
the club, the task of prosecuting its operators would fall to District
Attorney Terence Hallinan, a self-described "Old Prog" who long has
advocated decriminalizing marijuana and who has said, "We're all together
on wanting to make [medical marijuana] work in San Francisco."

The year-long legal battle over the use of medical marijuana, which
California voters approved in a 1996 referendum, came to a head when Garcia
ordered the immediate closure of the cannabis club, which was founded by
oft-busted pot dealer Dennis Peron.

Garcia, basing his decision on an appellate court ruling last December,
said that the 1996 ballot initiative allows only patients and their
immediate caregivers to cultivate and possess marijuana. The judge said
that the law does not allow clubs like Peron's to sell or give marijuana to
other clubs or caregivers, as Peron admitted his outlet was doing.

Garcia's "nuisance abatement order" calls for either the San Francisco
County Sheriff's Department or the state Bureau of Narcotics to close
Peron's psychedelically decorated downtown emporium immediately and seize
its contents. But complicating the order is the fact that the club is also
the headquarters for Peron's maverick campaign for the Republican
nomination for governor -- and that his opponent in the June 2 primary is
Attorney General Dan Lungren, who is the Republican frontrunner in the
gubernatorial race.

Lungren, a law-and-order conservative who has long opposed efforts to
legalize marijuana, said if Hennessey fails to act against the club, he will.

"We will make sure the court's injunction is enforced," Matt Ross,
Lungren's press secretary, said today, thereby setting the stage for the
attorney general being forced to shut down his primary rival's campaign
headquarters. Ross declined to say when state narcotics officers plan to
move against the cannabis club.

Peron, whose club was closed by Lungren's narcotics agents for five months
in 1996 before the statewide referendum allowed it to reopen, remained
defiant as ever. "If they want to pull another Waco here, let them bring in
the state narcs. We're not closing down this place," said Peron, referring
to the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., by federal
law enforcement officers.

Peron said that about a dozen sufferers of AIDS and cancer are living in
the cannabis club and that a raid by state narcotics agents will only
result in the spectacle of emaciated and terminally ill patients being
forcibly removed from their beds.

In a long-shot effort aimed at circumventing the court order, Peron said he
dissolved the Cannabis Cultivators' Club last night and renamed it the San
Francisco Cannabis Healing Center, located in the same five-story building
near City Hall and staffed by the same volunteers.

"We'll redecorate it, and if they want to come and arrest the building,
they can do that. They're just the same old spoiled sports who opposed the
ballot initiative and want to defeat it with a technicality," Peron said.

(c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

The Joint Debate (Transcript Of 'The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer'
Newscast On PBS About Developments
Regarding California Cannabis Dispensaries)

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 20:28:41 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: PBS NewsHour Transcript: The Joint Debate
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: PBS: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript
Pubdate: 17 April 1998
Contact: newshour@pbs.org
Website: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/
Editors note: Yes, Newshawks, we also want radio/TV show transcripts.
Please provide the lead line information as above (we do not have contact
or website info in our database) and send your items to editor@mapinc.org
More information on newshawking may be found at:


The NewsHour Reports On The Medical Marijuana Debate In California.

SPENCER MICHELS: Nearly two dozen cannabis clubs, where marijuana is sold
for medicinal purposes, have sprung up in California in the last year.
Their very existence flies in the face of a long-time state policy of
cracking down on drugs. Since 1982, California's law enforcement agencies
have engaged in war on marijuana. Officials of the Campaign Against
Marijuana Planting, CAMP, have swooped down on fields of cannabis and last
year claim to have destroyed 130,000 plants. CAMP operations are overseen
by California Attorney General Dan Lungren.

DAN LUNGREN, California Attorney General: And we've seen a doubling of the
use of marijuana by teenagers across the country. I am concerned about
teenagers who are being sold a lousy bill of goods by adults who say too
bad about the next generation, we went through it in the 60's; we ruined a
lot of lives; it doesn't matter; let 'em ruin some more lives.

SPENCER MICHELS: Despite Lungren's concerns, in 1996, California voters
enacted by a 56 percent majority Proposition 215, which allowed the use of
marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation. Most of the
medical marijuana sales made under that law take place in buyers clubs like
this one in San Francisco. It was started by marijuana activist Dennis
Peron, who led the fight for Prop 215.

DENNIS PERON, Cannabis Club Founder: We didn't legalize marijuana. What we
did is say we're taking away the criminal penalties for possessing and
selling marijuana to sick and dying people.

SPOKESMAN: Make sure that we have everyone in position. We're going to be
opening very, very shortly.

SPENCER MICHELS: Peron's club opens every morning to a rush of clients
anxious to buy marijuana. They show a club ID card obtained with a doctor's
letter affirming they have medical need for cannabis. And then they are
free to belly up to the bar and buy packages of pot, ranging in price from
$3 to $60 for an 1/8 ounce, depending on the quality. The club gets its
supplies from a number of small growers who claim to cultivate pot
exclusively for medical use. Health worker and club patron Sandy Cala
admits he used to use the drug recreationally, but now it's for health

SANDY CALA: Sure. I grew up in Southern California on the beach, and we'd
smoke before hitting the ocean, but yet now it's smoking with a purpose. I
have liver disease, which is the reason for my vomiting. I'd start smoking
pot, and it would completely subside to the point where I don't throw up at
all. And that's the whole idea is keeping my food inside so my body gets
all its nutrients.

SPENCER MICHELS: Another client named "Mike" says he uses pot to reduce
side effects from pills he takes for bone cancer in his jaw.

SPENCER MICHELS: Now, how many joints is that a day? "MIKE": Maybe two. One
in the morning and one mid-afternoon, right after we take our pills and
stuff because you start getting nausea from the pills and stuff.

SPENCER MICHELS: But Attorney General Lungren does not think the club
should be allowed to exist. At a news conference at which confiscated
marijuana and money were displayed he announced civil and criminal charges
were being brought against Peron's club. The complaint alleges that people
who were not patients often bought marijuana. Undercover films were shown
to the press.

DAN LUNGREN: Some of the film showed toddlers in the smoking room receiving
secondhand marijuana smoke. This is a situation in which we saw 13--well
15-year-olds buying marijuana in the place.

SPENCER MICHELS: Peron, who was charged and who had previously done time
for marijuana possession, denies he sold to minors. He attributes his
arrest to another factor.

DENNIS PERON: To the government it is a cultural war that they've been
waging since the 70's, the 60's, and essentially now they're using patients
to continue this cultural war on people that they don't like.

SPENCER MICHELS: The case against the clubs goes beyond just who buys pot.
Lungren contends the clubs have no legal basis to exist because they never
were part of Proposition 215. Further, they don't qualify as a primary care
giver as required under the new law.

DAN LUNGREN: They can't shoehorn in the idea of cannabis buyers clubs
within the definition of primary care giver. Primary care giver is a
relatively simple term to figure out, and cannabis buyers clubs just don't
come within it.

SPOKESMAN: What are our priorities? Where is our compassion?

SPENCER MICHELS: But in San Francisco the clubs get a lot of support from
activists and city officials like San Francisco District Attorney Terence
Hallinan. He says that while the law didn't specifically establish buying
clubs, they were a logical way to distribute the drug.

TERENCE HALLINAN, District Attorney: The one thing that was left out that
was a mechanism by which marijuana was to be distributed to sick people, in
San Francisco we've had these--they call 'em clubs--we call 'em medical
centers--whatever name you choose to call 'em--they operate under a set of
rules adopted by the health commission. My office oversees 'em. We do
surprise pop-in visits. The Health Department has people going and
confirming that they are checking on the recommendations and checking with
the doctors. It works for us.

SPENCER MICHELS: But a state judge sided with the attorney general and this
week, ordered the San Francisco club closed based on the argument that it
is not a primary care giver. Officials in other jurisdictions interpret and
enforce the law differently. The operator of the San Jose cannabis club was
hauled into court recently for allegedly selling marijuana without a valid
medical recommendation after local police raided the club. That club may
soon close. But it's not only some local governments and the state that
want the clubs closed; so does the federal government, which claims all
marijuana use is illegal. The U.S. Attorney's Office recently filed a civil
suit to close down six cannabis clubs in Northern California.

MICHAEL YAMAGUCHI, U.S. Attorney: The issue is not the medical use of
marijuana; it is the persistent violation of federal law. And I'd like to
emphasize that. Again, it is not the medical use of marijuana; it's the
violation of federal law that's important here.

SPENCER MICHELS: At a press conference U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi
cited violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits
distribution or possession of marijuana unless the Food & Drug
Administration approves.

MICHAEL YAMAGUCHI: Under our system of federalism laws by Congress cannot
be overridden or supplanted by state law. Federal laws continues to
prohibit the distribution of marijuana at the cannabis clubs.

SPENCER MICHELS: But a pack of attorneys for the clubs contend there are
conflicting constitutional issues. William Panzer represents a buyers club
in Oakland.

WILLIAM PANZER, Cannabis Club Attorney: Every American citizen enjoys
what's called a substantive due process right, a fundamental constitutional
right to life, to bodily integrity, to be allowed treatment for
excruciating pain. The government, in essence, has taken the position that
the world is flat. When all the evidence is there, the science is there,
unequivocally that the world is round here, unequivocally that medical
marijuana is an effective, very safe medicine for use for a number of

SPENCER MICHELS: Yamaguchi rejects the constitutional argument and as a
legal matter, the medical use of pot as well.

MICHAEL YAMAGUCHI: Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in the
United States, and it's not been approved by federal health officials to
treat any diseases or conditions.

SPENCER MICHELS: Yamaguchi's federal suit brought quick denunciations not
just from these advocates but from the mayors of four cities, including San
Francisco's Mayor, Willie Brown.

MAYOR WILLIE BROWN, San Francisco: I wrote a letter recommending to the
president that he instruct the Justice Department to work out some
arrangement with not only this local government but all local governments,
so that, in fact, the administration of marijuana to people who are
terminally ill and who find that as the only method of relief, that that
opportunity can be afforded then. That's not flaunting the law. That's
complying with the law.

SPENCER MICHELS: Officials in San Francisco marching to what they claim to
be the beat of the pro 215 voters say that if the federal court closes down
the cannabis clubs, city health workers could distribute marijuana to
patients instead.

TERENCE HALLINAN: I don't see it as thumbing its nose. I see it as us
saying, hey, guys, look, we've found something here that works. The health
authorities of a city have authority under federal law and regulation to
distribute drugs that otherwise would be illegal if they were distributing,
if they're doing it in compliance with local laws and ordinances.

DR. DAVID SMITH, Haight Ashbury Clinic: The real barrier is getting them
into care.

SPENCER MICHELS: Dr. David Smith, who has run a free clinic in San
Francisco's Haight Ashbury District since the 60's, says all these legal
and medical arguments are being used for political gain.

DR. DAVID SMITH: There is such a blurring of the medical issues, and it
appears to me that both sides of this ideological debate use whatever
evidence they want in order to support their ideology.

SPENCER MICHELS: Smith says many of the problems with medical marijuana
could be solved if it didn't take the same form as the recreational drug.
The clubs, he says, deliver medical marijuana in the wrong way, smoked in
cigarettes or pipes full of harmful impurities

DR. DAVID SMITH: It is not the way medicine is delivered; therefore, what
we need to do is to open up the medical system so that they can get the
medication they need in a pure form that looks medical. For example, if a
pain patient in a hospital needs morphine, we have a delivery system for
morphine for pain that's medical. We don't say, well, the patient should
tie up and shoot up in the ward like the heroin addicts do on the street.

SPENCER MICHELS: Smith would like a smoke-free inhaled form of marijuana
bought at a drugstore prescription counter like an asthma inhaler. The
American Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health favor
research on that idea. The federal case against California cannabis clubs
will be decided shortly. The state court order to close the San Francisco
club is being appealed. Meanwhile, initiative drives are underway in seven
other states and the District of Columbia to legalize medical marijuana.

JIM LEHRER: And yesterday Dennis Peron announced the Cannabis Cultivators
Club was going out of business and will reopen as the Cannabis Healing
Center. Peron said the new club will be run by a 78-year-old woman who will
provide marijuana only to patients. He claims the club will then conform to
California law.

Copyright (c) 1998 MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and PBS

New Charge Filed Versus Cannabis Co-Op Founder ('Orange County Register'
Says Orange County Deputy District Attorney Carl Armburst Thursday
Charged Marvin Chavez, Director Of The Orange County Cannabis Co-Op,
With Mailing Seven Ounces Of Cannabis To A Woman In Northern California -
Central Municipal Court Judge Charles Margines Sets Bail At $100,000)

Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 00:17:03 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: New Charge Filed Vs Cannabis Co-Op Founder
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: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: John McDonald


Prosecutors say Marvin Chavez mailed 7 ounces of pot, a felony.

Prosecutors filed a new charge Thursday against medical-marijuana advocate
Marvin Chavez, alleging that he mailed 7 ounces of cannabis to a woman in
Northern California.

Central Municipal Court Judge Charles Margines set bail at $100,000 for
Chavez, 41, director of the Orange County Cannabis Co-Op.

Chavez contends that he distributes marijuana to people with medical needs,
an activity he says is legal under Proposition 215. Prosecutors say Cahvez
sells marijuana, a felony.

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Carl Armburst leveled the new charge
Thursday, based on a mail receipt and fax seized at Chavez's home during
the execution of a search warrant this month. That evidence led U.S. postal
inspectors to intercept a package sent to a woman in Northern California,
which contained seven ounces of marijuana, he said.

Armbrust said the new count, of transportation of marijuana, is significant
because it is a clear-cut felony. The earlier charges involve quantities of
less than an ounce, which would result in misdemeanor convictions if a jury
finds that Chavez gave the marijuana away rather than sold it.

Chavez's attorneys maintain he never charges for marijuana but accepts

But Chavez's lawyer, Jon Alexander, said all of the charges must be thrown
out because of the protection of Prop. 215.

Armbrust noted that Chavez violated a court order prohibiting him from
distributing marijuana.

Police Dispute Pot Club Costs ('San Jose Mercury News'
Says San Jose Police Are Alleging In Court Documents That Peter Baez,
Director Of The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center,
Charged Clients Four Times What The Center Paid For Pot,
Sold To Nearly 70 People Without A Required Doctor's Recommendation,
And Used Center Money To Pay For Such Questionable Expenses
As His Satellite Television Bill - But Baez's Lawyer
Says He Will Be Vindicated Of Any Financial Wrongdoing)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:48:24 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Police Dispute Pot Club Costs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Raoul V. Mowatt - Mercury News Staff Writer


S.J. cops say director inflated sale prices; question spending

In a court document equating the executive director of the Santa Clara
County Medical Cannabis Center with a street-level drug pusher, San Jose
police accuse Peter Baez of charging clients four times what the center
paid for pot, selling the drug to nearly 70 people without a required
doctor's recommendation and using center money to pay for such questionable
expenses as his satellite TV bill.

Baez, who currently faces six felony charges of illegally selling
marijuana, denied any wrongdoing Thursday. But his legal troubles could
worsen considerably if the allegations contained in a Santa Clara County
Superior Court affidavit are proved true.

Sgt. Scott Savage, the San Jose police department's liaison with the center
Baez co-founded about a year ago, said in the affidavit the center's check
register contained numerous questionable payments. He also wrote that about
a quarter of the center's 270 clients had no apparent recommendation from a
doctor. He added in those papers that the non-profit center charged $400
per ounce of marijuana, while paying only $100 per ounce.

``Based on my training and experience, I know that this type of profit
equals street-level trafficking,'' Savage wrote in the affidavit. The
eight-page document, made public this month, was filed in support of a
search warrant used three days after a March 23 police raid of the San
Jose-based center that led to the arrest of Baez, now free on $5,000 bail.

But Baez and his lawyer said Thursday that many of Savage's contentions
were exaggerated. ``Cops lie, and that's all I can say, for their own
agenda,'' said Baez, a 34-year-old Gilroy resident.

``If (Baez and center co-founder Jesse Garcia) wanted to live the lavish
lifestyle and have everything paid for, there was enough cash that they
could have done it without anybody knowing,'' said Baez's attorney,
Riccardo Ippolito.

``But they took meticulous notes and documented everything,'' he said.
``I'm certain . . . he will be vindicated of any financial wrongdoing.''

Ippolito also said that Baez, who has colon cancer, lives on Social
Security and disability payments -- a far cry from the impression left by
the affidavit.

Garcia, who was not named in Savage's affidavit, agreed with Ippolito.
``We've done everything to the best of our ability,'' he said.

Although the investigation into the center continues, a Santa Clara County
prosecutor confirmed the affidavit is the first step in efforts to
confiscate any illegal assets belonging to Baez or the center. If the case
proceeds, it may establish whether the state's asset-forfeiture law can
supercede Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative that broadly sanctioned the
medicinal use of marijuana.

San Jose gained national attention when it established in 1997 its own
ordinance governing medicinal marijuana dispensaries, but has not moved to
shut down Baez's group despite its violations of that law.

The center has not completed the application process for a required
special-use permit, nor met a city requirement that the marijuana be grown

``We didn't feel there was a need to oversee his operation because (we
felt) it served a greater benefit to the community,'' said Officer John
Carrillo, a police department spokesman. ``Not only has he betrayed the
police department, he's conned and betrayed the entire community.''

An accusation

Until recent weeks, the center had avoided the sort of legal troubles that
befell many of its counterparts in other cities.

That good fortune came to a halt after a suspect in a marijuana-possession
case claimed he was entitled to have the drug because of back pain.
Although Baez said a doctor authorized that patient's use of marijuana,
police said they found none of the patient's three doctors had recommended

On March 23, police served a search warrant on the center, at 265 Meridian
Ave., to see if any other clients did not have the proper sanction to use
the drug. They arrested Baez, froze about $30,000 in assets and seized
patient files, a sampling of marijuana and club records. The charges
against Baez could result in a maximum nine years in prison.

Until last month, the center had enjoyed a seemingly close relationship
with local authorities, who said they had no wish to close the center even
after Baez was charged. But that relationship appears fractured.

Now, Deputy District Attorney Julie Sousa said her office would seek to
seize permanently at least part of the center's bank account, worth about
$29,000. Investigators are conducting an audit to see whether any of those
funds are illegal, and to determine what other assets the center might have
obtained unlawfully.

Sousa estimated she might file a forfeiture claim by mid-May. The case
would then proceed much like a civil lawsuit, she said.

Evidence in the March 23 search prompted Savage to seek -- and receive --
another search warrant, served on March 26.

Savage referred questions about the subject to Capt. Ralph Torres, who is
slated to act as deputy chief over the department's Bureau of
Investigations. But Torres said he has not been fully informed about the
issue, since he does not have authority over narcotics in his current post.

Payments questioned

In the March 23 search, Savage wrote, he obtained a check register with
payments for such ``apparently personal'' expenses as South Valley Refuse,
the city of Gilroy, car repairs and a refrigerator. Between November and
the day of the raid, court records show, about $400 was paid to the
satellite-television provider Primestar.

Asked about those payments, Baez said, ``I don't know anything about
that,'' and added he was limited in what he could say because of the
pending litigation.

Ippolito, however, said that all but one of the expenses Savage and
prosecutors questioned were clearly legitimate. The car was used in the
business, and Baez used the satellite service to keep informed about any
developments in Proposition 215.

Ippolito conceded there might be questions about payments to the refuse
service, which does not service San Jose: ``At best, you might have $18 a

Ippolito also said that the center paid $300 per ounce for most of its
marijuana, rather than the $100 that Savage contended it did.

Baez, Ippolito and Garcia all said they didn't know why the accusations
were focused on Baez. Sousa said that may have been because Baez had told
Savage he handled most of the sales.

With most of the center's assets frozen, it continues to operate on a
day-to-day basis, Garcia said. He added that he wished he and Baez could
sit down with city officials to discuss how to address the center's

``I think the city should just open up their own pot club,'' Baez said.
``It's so frustrating, dealing with bureaucracy on both ends.''

Newport Man's Arrest Jars Neighbors ('Orange County Register' Notes Bust
Of Gentry In The Gated, Beachfront Community Of Bayshores, California,
For Participation In Smuggling Nine Tons Of Marijuana In September 1995
In A Sailboat That Docked At Boat Harbor, Near Anacortes, Washington)

Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:07:39 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Newport Man's Arrest Jars Neighbors
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: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Bill Rams


A Balboa Bay Club governor is tied to the smuggling of 9 tons of pot.

NEWPORT BEACH-Ronald Newman owns part of a vintage car dealership and has
sold Ferraris, Mercedes Benzes and Porsches to many Newport Beach
residents. He is a doting father to his three sons. He is a Balboa Bay Club

He also is accused of smuggling drugs.

Newman has been indicted with a group of men and women who allegedly
shipped more than 18,000 pounds of marijuana into the country from Thailand
in 1995, officials said Thursday. The drugs have a street value of about
$45 million.

News of the indictment has shocked his neighbors in the gated, beachfront
community of Bayshores, where Newman and his family have lived for 13

"I really hope that the truth comes out in the wash and Ron is innocent,"
said John Hertrick.

Hertrick said his neighbor often volunteered to plan community fund-raisers
for children. He described Newman as a friendly family man whose wife, Kim,
a flight attendant, brought over homemade candy for Christmas. He never
appeared to be involved in drugs, he said.

"We can't believe this is true," he said. "They are such a lovely family."

Other neighbors said they couldn't understand the allegations. Newman
didn't appear to need the money, they said.

"This make me really sad," said neighbor Ann Sullivan. "He's a really neat
guy. I remember he used to have this antique fire engine. He used to drive
the kids around in it."

Newman, 48, and 19 others were indicted last month on charges of conspiracy
to import and distribute marijuana. If convicted they could face life in
prison and a $4 million fine.

Newman was among eight people arrested April 8. But he has since posted
bail and been released from jail. The other are fugitives.

Newman on Thursday denied the allegations through his attorney, James Riddet.

"He is totally shocked that he has been accused," Riddet said. "Ron is
completely innocent of these charges."

The marijuana was brought into the United States in September 1995 in a
62-foot sailboat that docked at Boat Harbor, near Anacortes, Wash., court
papers show.

The marijuana then was loaded onto three different boats to be stored in
"stash houses" and storage facilities throughout the country, including one
in Aliso Viejo, where authorities later recovered 150 pounds of marijuana,
court papers state.

In 1995, Alan Blake Eliel, a Laguna Beach resident, paid one of the
scheme's masterminds, Phillip Edward Hastings, $50,000 to secure a stake in
the ring, the court records say.

It is unclear how Newman got involved, but he rented a room at the Marriot
in Washington at Hastings' direction about the time the marijuana arrived
in the country. He stayed with Eliel, who has not been indicted.

Newman also allegedly took $30,000 from Eliel for a white cargo van used to
move the drugs, the court records show.

"In no way are we trying to link Ron Newman to a lifelong pursuit of drug
smuggling," Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Coughlin said. "But if you look at
the indictment, his name comes up several times."

Sheriff, Prosecutors End Tiff Drug Money's Fate Undecided ('The Oklahoman'
Describes A Dispute Over Money From The Illegal Drug Market)

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 00:17:34 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US OK: Sheriff, Prosecutors End Tiff Drug Money's Fate Undecided
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Michael Pearson 
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Contact: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus
Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/
Author: Mark Hutchison Staff Writer


SULPHUR -- A tiff between a southern Oklahoma prosecutor and sheriff
apparently has ended after a two-hour meeting.

Still undecided, however, is whether Murray County Sheriff Marvin McCracken
will relinquish $11,000 in forfeited drug money to District Attorney Gary

The two and their assistants met Wednesday. When asked Thursday if he'll
give Henry the money, McCracken said, "We're discussing it. We'll take care
of it ourselves."

Henry, meanwhile, said McCracken told him he'd give the money to the
district attorney's office.

"Things went real well in the meeting. We are going to be working together,
as we should be"

A months-long dispute between Henry and his assistant, John Walton, and
McCracken took an unusual twist Monday when McCracken asked county
commissioners if he could hire an attorney to advise him.

The sheriff complained prosecutors wouldn't work with him on criminal cases.

McCracken thinks part of the animosity is because of Henry's and Walton's
friendship with former Sheriff Ed Bristol, whom McCracken defeated in the
1996 election.

Henry admitted endorsing Bristol but denied working against McCracken.

The district attorney said he even gave McCracken equipment when he took
office as a "show of good faith."

The situation deteriorated last year when the county collected forfeited
drug money from a 1996 case.

Henry said he had a contract with Bristol to equally split drug forfeiture

That deal was struck in May 1996 after the two offices helped bust a drug
ring. The investigation led to charges against six men and seizure of about
$83,000 in cash.

McCracken took office in January 1997. The district attorney's office in
June 1997 was awarded an $11,541.40 forfeiture from the case and split it
with McCracken.

Two months later, McCracken's office retrieved $21,576 in forfeiture money
from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration office in Oklahoma City.
Since then, Henry has tried unsuccessfully to get his office's share.

ACLU Against Westport Prom Testing ('Standard-Times' In Massachusetts
Notes School Officials In Westport, Massachusetts, Are Considering
Whether To Require Breath Analysis Alcohol Tests For Participants
In School Events)

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 18:59:35 -0400
From: Mike Gogulski 
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: ACLU against Westport prom testing
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
Website: http://www.s-t.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 1998
Author: Rachel G. Thomas, Standard-Times staff writer


WESTPORT -- As school officials gather information and opinions on a
proposal to require breath analysis alcohol tests for participants in school
events, the American Civil Liberties Union has weighed in on the issue.

"This is dreadful," Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney for the Massachusetts ACLU,
said of the proposal, which has yet to be approved by the town School

"I hope they don't approve it. I hope they would use more sense than that,"
she said.

Ms. Wunsch said the policy, which would require students and staff to take a
blood-alcohol test as they enter school-sponsored events, such as the
upcoming senior prom, was not a legitimate means of preventing or
discouraging teen-age drinking.

"This is not to minimize those concerns, which are certainly legitimate,"
Ms. Wunsch said, "but there are other means officials can deal with that
problem. This is a knee-jerk reaction, a gimmick."

The issue was raised last year in Dighton, when Dighton-Rehoboth Regional
High School instituted a similar policy. Legal opinions from a Quincy law
firm supporting the policy were included in the information packets provided
to the Westport School Committee.

The committee is expected to debate and vote on the proposal at its next
meeting on April 27.

"It is disturbing to see this as a trend," Ms. Wunsch said. "The
(Breathalyzer) test could be viewed as an illegal search. Normally, in
public schools, there is a requirement there be reasonable suspicion that a
student has done something wrong. In this case, there is not."

Westport School Superintendent Margot desJardins said she was surprised but
pleased when she received a copy of the proposal from high school dean Dr.
Ronald W. Pacy.

While she said she has not reached any conclusions about the proposal, Ms.
desJardins said it spurred some much-needed debate on an issue that has
concerned parents and school staff for years.

"The worst nightmare is you hold a school function and someone ends up dead
or injured," Ms. desJardins said. "You have a certain duty of care. With any
school sponsored activity, we have a certain responsibility. I thought about
the kids. When you are one of the responsible parties for providing safe
programs, when the parents release their kids to you, they should have a
level of comfort, a standard they can expect."

But Ms. Wunsch said the standard advocated in the testing policy is a
dangerous one.

"High school kids are supposed to learn about constitutional rights," she
said. "We have constitutional rights that protect us when government is
overreaching. We have limitations that protect from illegal search. Kids
need to think harder about the Constitution, and maybe what they're not
being taught."

Ms. desJardins said all school officials understand the proposal must be
debated after all the important parties add their comments.

"I am going to be asking for a number of recommendations, from the school
council and student council, at least that much," Ms. desJardins said. "And
I certainly hope the school committee has been getting phone calls. That's
the wonderful thing about the process."

School Committee member Deana Chase said she had not heard from many parents
but sought opinions while talking to people during the recent town meeting.
Some, Mrs. Chase said, thought the proposal seemed a good idea, "but others
said 'Whoa, that's going a little too far.'"

Mrs. Chase said she expected a good deal of discussion at the next school
committee meeting.

Both Mrs. Chase and Ms. desJardins said all opinions will be weighed before
a decision is made to approve, reject or amend the proposal. And both
pointed to a written opinion submitted by high school junior Keith Costa,
opposing the tests, as evidence that dissent is respected and welcome.

Mr. Costa sent school officials a three-page letter, critiquing the court
opinions cited by lawyers to justify the Dighton policy and suggesting the
practical application of giving a breath alcohol test to hundreds of people
would be unworkable.

"I was so proud when I read Keith's letter," Mrs. Chase said. "My first
thought was, if this is the kind of student we are turning out at Westport
High, we're doing a pretty good job."

"I respect Keith a great deal for engaging in the process so maturely," Ms.
desJardins said.

The superintendent said she still had some thinking to do about the policy.

"I have not made my recommendation," Ms. desJardins said.

In the end, after the legal and logistical arguments are settled, the issue
remains: Where does a community cross the line between respecting a
student's rights and protecting their lives?

"We understand teen-agers want to try different things at this time in their
lives," Ms. desJardins said. "What we are saying is, you can not be
experimenting as part of the prom."

Ms. Wunsch, however, said there have to be other ways to let kids know what
is expected.

"There has to be good supervision. Chaperones have to look for signs. A lot
of work has to be done to make sure kids aren't drinking.

"But this is just an awful thing to do to kids," Ms. Wunsch said. "All they
want is to go to the prom.

"You shouldn't have to waive your Constitutional rights to take part in the
benefits and programs your school provides," she said.

Ritalin May Encourage Drug Abuse, Study Says (Ignorant Journalists
At 'Orange County Register' Completely Misunderstand And Misrepresent
The Article In Tomorrow's 'New Scientist')

Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 10:18:04 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Ritalin May Encourage Drug Abuse, Study Says
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: Fri, 17 Apr 1998


A medicine regularly taken by a millions of hyperactive children has
properties similar to cocaine and could encourage drug abuse in later life,
New Scientist magazine said Thursday.

Methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, is the leading treatment for a
neurological condition known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
which prevents children from concentrating on a task for more than a few

New Scientist said growing concerns over the longtime effects of the drug,
a stimulant that works by making the neurotransmitter dopamine more
available in the brain, have put it on the agenda for the U.S. National
Institutes of Health conference on ADHD, scheduled for November.

A 1995 study by Nora Volkow, director of nuclear medicine at the Brookhaven
National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., found the Ritalin's properties were
very similar to cocaine.

Hyperactive Child Drug Like Cocaine ('Reuters' Version In 'Toronto Star')

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:04:58 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans 
Subject: TorStar: Hyperactive child drug like cocaine
Cc: editor@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star
Pubdate: Friday, April 17, 1998
Page: A25
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com
Link to follow up
Hyperactive child drug like cocaine LONDON (Reuters) -- A medicine taken by millions of hyperactive children has similar properties to cocaine and could encourage drug abuse in later life, New Scientist magazine reported yesterday. Methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, is the leading treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which prevents children from concentrating on a task for more than a few minutes. A study of 5,000 children by developmental psychologist Nadine Lambert of the University of California at Berkeley says children on Ritalin are more likely to smoke as adults. Psychopharmacologist Susan Schenk of Texas A&M University in College Station suggests they are three times more likely to develop a taste for cocaine.

Re - Ritalin May Encourage Drug Abuse, Study Says (Letter Sent To Editor
Cites Research Contradicting Theory That Ritalin Is A Gateway
To Cocaine Abuse)

From: "Raffi Balian" (raffib@lefca.com)
Subject: Re: Ritalin May Encourage Drug Abuse, Study Says
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 11:24:26 -0300

Dear Editor:

widely published in the mass media under different titles, is the result of
poor research by Nadine Lambert of the university of California. The
researcher infers that, because Ritalin has similar properties as cocaine,
children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) are more
likely to become cocaine addicts if they have used Ritalin for the disorder.

There is a plethora of sound research that contests the findings of Ms.
Lambert. The one that particularly comes to mind is the work of Lily
Hechtman's of Montreal. Ms Hechtman found that there was no difference in
relation to the propensity for chaotic drug use between adults who took
Ritalin for ADHD as children, and those who did not. Moreover, research
from the opposite spectrum shows highly contrary results. Dr. Edward
Knantzian (American Journal of Psychiatry 140:784-785, 1983), Beverly
Horner, Karl Scheibe, and Susan Steine of Veterans Affairs Medical Centre
(Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 10, March 1996), and other
Addiction and Treatment academics have determined that Adult Deficit and
Hyperactive (AADHD) individuals who are addicted to cocaine quit the drug
when administered high doses of Ritalin. My own research leads me to
conclude that these individuals were using cocaine for the purpose of

Therefore, even if Nadine Lambert's findings are accurate, Ritalin is not
the dependent variable. Rather this variable is the underlying
disorder/disease (AADHD). In other words, Ms. Lambert's cocaine using
subjects may be self medicating when they discontinue Ritalin. Thus, their
prior use of Ritalin has nothing to do with their current addiction to
cocaine. In this climate of war on drug users, it is best to shy away from
scare tactics and seek out solid information so that people can make
informed choices, rather than choices based on hysteria.

Raffi Balian,

Chat Saturday-Sunday Nights (The Drugsense/Media Awareness Project's
Weekly Online Chat Forum At 9 PM Saturdays-Sundays Eastern Time,
This Week Features Members Of The Alliance Of Reform Organizations)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:16:30 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, maptalk@mapinc.org
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: CHAT Sat/Sun

Members of the Alliance of Reform Organizations (ARO) have been invited to
join the regular chat group this weekend at:


As you probably know this is a group of reform leaders and high profile
individuals in the reform movement.

I hope that all the regular guests, Lynn Harichy, Matt Elrod, Dr. Kate, and
many other serious reform activists, including YOU, will drop in!

The chat starts at about 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday night Eastern time
(6:00 p.m. Pacific). Folks drop in and leave as their time allows over
about a three hour period. No special software required.

Looking forward to the chat....

Richard Lake

Crusader For Medical Pot Use Fed Up With Hassle, Expense ('London Free Press'
In Ontario Says Multiple Sclerosis Patient Lynn Harichy Of London
Needs $20,000 For Expert Witnesses To Present Her Constitutional Challenge
To Canada's Prohibition On Medical Marijuana)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Crusader for medical pot use fed up with hassle, expense
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 07:40:58 -0700
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: London Free Press
Contact: letters@lfpress.com
Pubdate: April 17, 1998
Author: John Miner -- Free Press Reporter


Lynn Harichy says she's sorry she ever started her campaign to
legalize marijuana for medical use.

The 36-year-old Londoner with multiple sclerosis says she's found the
campaign tiring and expensive.

"I'm just getting tired of the whole issue. I just want it to go
away," she said.

Harichy is charged with marijuana possession after protesting the law
by trying to light a marijuana cigarette on the steps of the London
police station. She expected to be charged and planned to challenge
the marijuana law in court.

While her lawyer, Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young, has offered
to waive his fee, Harichy said it will still cost her $20,000 to bring
in expert witnesses.

It is money she said she doesn't have.

"I didn't know it was going to cost this much," she said.

"I really thought that all I needed to do was tell my story and that
would be the end of the legal part. How naive I am. This issue is a
full-time job without pay."

A benefit to raise money is being organized for April 25 at 8 p.m. at
the Embassy Hotel in London, she said.

Harichy said smoking marijuana relieves constant pain in the back of
her head and down her spine and the uncontrollable spasms. The drugs
that she has been prescribed have had severe side-effects, she said.

"When I use marijuana the worst side-effect I have found is the legal
system," she said.

While Harichy said she is tired of the fight, she still plans to open
a medical marijuana buyers' club in London, which will supply
marijuana to people who have a medical certificate from their doctors.

She said the idea has drawn a lot of support from London doctors, who
have been signing the certificates for their patients.

In March, Harichy met with federal Health Minister Allan Rock in
Tillsonburg to urge him to press for changes in the law.

Rock said he took seriously Harichy's plea to legalize marijuana for
medical use.

He said he and Justice Minister Anne McLellan have asked senior civil
servants to review the implications of legalizing marijuana for
medical purposes and hoped to have a response for Harichy within

Copyright (c) 1998 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media

Marijuana Found Growing In Home ('Edmonton Sun'
Doesn't Say What Led Police In Edmonton, Alberta,
To Discover 33 Plants At A Townhouse,
Or How They Came Up With An Estimated Value Of Almost $30,000)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:30:29 -0700
Source: Edmonton Sun
Contact: sun.letters@ccinet.ab.ca
Pubdate: April 17, 1998


A drug bust by city police has snuffed out $33,000 worth of
Edmonton's hydroponic marijuana industry.

About 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, cops discovered 33 marijuana plants worth
more than $29,000 after searching a townhouse near 54 Street and 11A
Avenue. They also found $4,000 worth of hydroponic equipment, police

Joshua Lowell Masson, 22, and Kimberly Julie Willier, 18, have been
charged with producing marijuana and possession of a narcotic for the
purpose of trafficking.

Accused A Robot - Woman Has No Memory Of Crash ('Calgary Sun'
Says A Psychiatrist From The Clark Institute Of Psychiatry In Toronto
Has Testified That A Woman Who Killed Another Motorist
While Driving The Wrong Way Was Not Negligent Due To The Two Drinks
Of Alcohol She Had - He Attributes Her Involuntary Incapacitation
To Not Taking Her Anti-Depressant, Paxil)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:29:07 -0700
Source: Calgary Sun
Contact: callet@sunpub.com
Pubdate: April 17, 1998
Author: KEVIN MARTIN -- Calgary Sun



Criminal negligence suspect Amber Abel was in a robotic state when
she drove the wrong way on Deerfoot Tr. -- killing an oncoming
motorist, an expert said yesterday.

Dr. Robert Hill, a psychiatrist at the Clark Institute of Psychiatry
in Toronto, said Abel was unable to appreciate the consequences of her

"She was not receiving information (from her brain) which was
allowing her, or might have allowed her, to make voluntary corrective
movements," Hill testified.

Abel, 37, is charged with criminal negligence and impaired driving
causing death in the Nov. 3, 1996, crash which killed Neita McEachern.

Abel said she has no recollection of driving north in the southbound
lanes of Deerfoot Tr. near Heritage Dr. and crashing into McEachern's

Hill said the accused's amnesia was triggered by alcohol consumption.

He suggested Abel's blackout occurred after only two drinks because
she was suffering withdrawal from anti-depressant drugs she had been

But Crown psychiatrist Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez said there was no
evidence Abel's forgetting to take her medication, paxil, was related
to the crash.

Arboleda-Florez said it was possible Abel's case is the first of its
kind, but it's unlikely considering the millions of people taking

The trial continues this morning.

Law Used To Seize Biker Pad - Proceeds Of Crime Legislation ('Toronto Sun'
Says The Seizure Of The Satan's Choice Clubhouse In Hamilton
By Ontario Provincial Police, Who Allege It Was Purchased With Drug Money,
Is The First Of Its Kind In Canada)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Law used to seize biker pad
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:33:31 -0700
Source: Toronto Sun
Contact: editor@sunpub.com
Pubdate: April 17, 1998



By IAN TIMBERLAKE -- Toronto Sun

HAMILTON -- The steel-plated doors of the Satan's Choice clubhouse
weren't strong enough to withstand the piece of paper police used
yesterday in the ground-breaking seizure of the building.
Armed with a restraint order and special search warrant, a joint
forces police squad seized the squat, brown brick Lottridge St.
clubhouse they allege was bought with drug money.

The seizure under Proceeds of Crime legislation is the first of its
kind in Canada, they said.

"It's confiscated by the police forces," OPP Det.-Sgt. John Corcoran

Cops used a battering ram to get inside, then loaded everything into
a rental truck and carted it away.


The pool table, the black futon, the artificial palm tree, the
picture of Bugs Bunny on a motorcycle, the green "Rockin Hard Cafe"
plastic wall clock and the coin-filled jar labelled "Jail Fund" -- all
this and everything else will be held until a court rules on whether
they're proceeds of crime, Corcoran said.

In the meantime, cops have changed the locks and installed alarms and
video monitoring equipment to stop the chapter's seven members from
going back.

Police stood in the rain and applauded as a city worker pried a
wooden plaque bearing the Satan's Choice red devil's head logo from
the side of the building.


In an affidavit filed with the Ontario Court general division,
Corcoran alleges Ion William Croitoru, a former wrestler known as
Johnny K-9, is president of the chapter which bought the former
restaurant for $40,000 two years ago.

"Get away from me! Get out of here!" Croitoru said when asked by The
Sun for his side of the story.

He was convicted on April 24, 1997, of trafficking in cannabis and in
Depo and Deco Testosterone, says an appendix to Corcoran's affidavit.
Croitoru was one of several people charged last December in the
bombing of a Sudbury police station.

Police said yesterday's action was part of Project Dismantle, which
saw provincewide raids against Satan's Choice in December 1996, and
again last June.

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 38
(The Drug Reform Coordination Network's News Summary For Activists
Features Nine Original Articles Including - Special Report - Medical Marijuana
In Canada, And Its Potential Impact On The US;
And Editorial - The 4-20 Debate, By Adam J. Smith)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 16:54:01 EDT
Originator: drc-natl@drcnet.org
Sender: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet (manager@drcnet.org)
To: Multiple recipients of list (drc-natl@drcnet.org)
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #38



(To sign off this list, mailto:listproc@drcnet.org with the
line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or
mailto:drcnet@drcnet.org for assistance. To subscribe to
this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.)

JOIN DRCNET: $25 or more for one-year membership plus free
copy of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, this month only!
http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html or mail to DRCNet, 2000 P
St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. Donations not

FREE WILL FOSTER RALLY in Oklahoma City this Monday, and
other events, see item 8 below.

TV: Todd McCormick freed, appearing with actor Woody
Monday night, April 20. See http://www.marijuananews.com and
for more info.

ONLINE: Washington Post chat room hosting discussion on
whether the "voter approved marijuana dispensaries"
(California CBC's) should be closed. To participate, go to
(you'll have to register first).

IN PRINT: Pick up this Saturday's New York Times (4/18) for
letters to the editor responding to A.M. Rosenthal's latest
"backdoor to legalization" column.


1. Week Online Reprint Policy

2. UN Ambassador Richardson heads to Afghanistan...
Narcotics Tops Agenda

3. "Global Days Against the Drug War" United Nations Protest
Takes Shape

4. Press Release: Dutch Study Finds Marijuana Use Lower
than Previously Thought

5. Commerce Department Report: Over 100 Million People
Online... but most of them not on DRCNet

6. College Student Suspended for Two Semesters for
Protesting "Zero-Tolerance" Policy

7. Special Report: Medical Marijuana in Canada, and its
Potential Impact on the US

8. Events Coming Up

9. Editorial: The 4-20 Debate



As an advocacy organization dedicated to public education
regarding the harms of Prohibition, DRCNet welcomes, in fact
encourages, the re-printing, re-posting and general sharing
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, on a
tour of South Asia, will arrive in Kabul, Afghanistan on
April 17 to discuss human rights and the opium poppy with
the ruling Taliban. Afghanistan is said to be the world's
largest source of the opium poppy, raw material in the
production of heroin. The Taliban, in control of
approximately 75% of the country, are not officially
recognized by most of the world's governments due to their
extremist policies regarding women. These include barring
women from education and health care, from speaking in
public, and from appearing in public without a close male
relative. Penalties for failure to abide can include public
beatings, amputations or execution. The Taliban have
ignored repeated calls from international organizations to
reform these policies, calling their detractors, including
the leadership of several international women's rights
groups "infidels". (See "Sympathy for the Devil" at

Pino Arlacchi, the new United Nations' "Drug Czar", has
seized upon Afghanistan's opium production to justify his
plan, as part of the soon to be released United Nations drug
strategy, to fund the Taliban to the tune of at least $250
million over ten years in return for their promise of opium
eradication. This despite the fact that the UN Department
of Humanitarian Affairs 1997 report warned that "(The
Taliban's) limited capacity to engage in substantial
processes of policy-making or the implementation of
governmental programs remains the main obstacle to
meaningful cooperation." The Taliban have also made a
mockery of other UN efforts by repeatedly attacking aid
workers, especially women, to the point that earlier this
year, the UN pulled most of them out of the southern part of
the country. In addition, a high-level United Nations
official has previously told The Week Online, "no one really
believes that (the Taliban) will follow through on this. It
seems to be (Arlacchi) looking for headlines."



As June approaches, and the first-ever United Nations
Special Session on Narcotics draws near (June 8-10 in New
York), plans are being finalized for events all across the
globe in protest of the global Drug War. At least 35
separate events will be held in at least 30 different
cities, from Belgium to Tel Aviv, Amsterdam to San
Francisco. The events, all part of the "Global Days Against
the Drug War", will take place primarily over the weekend of
June 6-7.

A special event will be held starting on Monday, June 8 in
New York, which will allow for the participation of people
from all over the world. Details of this event, including
how you can become involved, no matter where you are, will
be available starting next week. For information regarding
events in your part of the world, or to make an
organizational endorsement of the sign-on statement, go to



April 15, 1998

Ben Petrone at (212) 787-4822 or
Ty Trippet (212) 548-0604



Despite Decriminalization, Dutch Use Less Marijuana
Than Americans

A new study with sweeping implications for marijuana policy
in the United States and abroad has found the number of
marijuana users in the Netherlands to be substantially lower
than previously estimated.

According to a study released today by the Centre for Drug
Research (CEDRO) at the University of Amsterdam, only about
2 to 3 percent of the Dutch population (ages 12 years old
and up) had used marijuana in the previous month. Earlier
studies had put the rate at about 5.0 to 6.5 percent.

"Previous estimates were based on surveys in Amsterdam,
which has a higher use rate than the rest of the country,"
said Peter Cohen, one of the authors of the study. "By
including the cities of Tilberg and Utrecht in our survey,
the results are more representative of the Dutch population
as a whole."

These findings offer new insight into the relationship
between marijuana use and marijuana policy. For the last
twenty years, Dutch citizens over the age of 18 have been
able to buy and use marijuana in government-regulated coffee
shops. In the United States, where it is illegal under
federal law to grow, purchase or use marijuana, U.S.
government studies have found Americans use marijuana more
often than the Dutch. According to a 1996 U.S. government
study, between 4.2 and 5.3 percent of the U.S. population
(ages 12 years old and up) had used marijuana in the past
month. Despite fundamentally different marijuana policies,
the Dutch use less marijuana than Americans.

"This study is further evidence that Dutch marijuana policy
has not resulted in an explosion of marijuana use," said Dr.
John P. Morgan, co-author of the book Marijuana Myths,
Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence (The
Lindesmith Center, $12.95 U.S., paperback). "Despite an
overly punitive policy toward marijuana in the U.S.,
Americans still use more marijuana." Marijuana Myths,
Marijuana Facts co-author Lynn Zimmer asks, "If the Dutch
are using less marijuana, what purpose was served by
arresting 642,000 Americans for possessing marijuana last



A report issued this week (4/15) by the U.S. Department of
Commerce finds that as of the end of 1997, over 100 million
people world-wide were online, and that the volume of net
traffic (the number of messages being sent) has been
doubling every 100 days. The report indicates that it took
the Internet just four years to reach 50 million users,
compared to 38 years for radio and 13 years for television.
In 1994, just after DRCNet's founding, only 3 million people
worldwide were online.

The bad news is that 99.995% of these 100 million net-users
aren't subscribed to DRCNet! (Though many of them may be
reading our material via other lists or forums.) You can
help remedy this appalling situation by telling your
friends, colleagues and fellow list subscribers and forum
participants about DRCNet. If you like, use the following
text to do so:


* Are you tired of mandatory minimums and prison
* Are you appalled by the spread of AIDS and
other deadly diseases?
* Do you resent the atmosphere of paranoia and
suspicion prohibition creates?
* Do you want the cities to be safe again?
* Do you want to Help End the War on Drugs?

If you're opposed to Drug Prohibition, or even if
you just think the War on Drugs has gone too far,
you should sign up online with the Drug Reform
Coordination Network, drug policy reform central
on the Internet. DRCNet's weekly news bulletins
and as-needed action-alerts will keep you up to
date on what's going on with the issue and the
movement to change US drug policy. Just one,
sometimes two messages a week, DRCNet won't jam
your mailbox, but will put you "in the loop".
Every supporter of drug policy reform should be
on DRCNet.

Please visit our home page at http://www.drcnet.org
and follow the link to our "quick sign-up" form,
and you can get "in the loop" for drug policy
reform in less than a minute. Tell your friends!



Bryan Anderson, a student at Southwest Texas State
University, is fed up with the Texas State University
system's zero-tolerance policy which mandates a minimum two
semester suspension for any student caught in possession of
an illegal substance for any reason. Anderson is so fed up,
in fact that he has set himself up as its latest victim in
an effort to bring it down. On January 28, Anderson stood
on the campus' central Quad, read a statement denouncing the
policy, and lit a joint in front of campus police. He was
arrested and charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which
carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail.

On Thursday, April 2, Anderson's case was heard by a
tribunal consisting of two University-selected students and
one faculty member. At that hearing, Anderson was not
permitted to question witnesses against him, nor to present
evidence in mitigation. The tribunal's decision, mailed to
him last week, was that he too would serve a two-semester

Anderson is already a local celebrity in San Marcos Texas.
For the past year he has been a disc jockey for KIND-Radio,
a "pirate" station which operates at low power (under 10
Watts) without an FCC license. KIND-Radio, like other
unlicensed broadcasters, has been involved in an ongoing
legal battle with the FCC over its right to exist. KIND-
Radio, which broadcasts to the San Marcos community at 105.9
FM, seems to have broad local support in their struggle.
KIND-Radio also broadcasts over the net in Realaudio at

Anderson has no intention of backing down. He told The week
Online, "There have been a couple of other students who have
decided to challenge the University's disciplinary code, but
once they either graduated or pressured the University
enough to have their tuition refunded, they backed out. But
unlike most of the students who are caught up in the system,
I didn't get caught with marijuana in my dorm room, I
purposely and publicly smoked a joint in order to protest an
unjust policy."

David Sergi, Anderson's attorney, spoke with The Week
Online. "The hearing, as mandated in the University's
disciplinary handbook, does not allow for student's cases to
be considered on an individual basis. There is no provision
for the presentation of mitigating evidence, and no
opportunity for the student to question the witnesses
against him. There's a case, decided by the District Court
in Austin (Payne v. U. of Texas System), and affirmed by
reference by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which states
that within the University System, each student has the
right to present mitigating evidence. In other words, there
can be no "mandatory minimum" punishment based solely on the
act itself. Each case and each student must be considered

The school, however, is arguing that they are in compliance
with this requirement. "The school claims that there is a
right to appeal to the University president" said Sergi.
"But this option is not published anywhere, and therefore
students have no way of knowing that it exists. In
addition, this right of appeal is at the sole discretion of
the president. That doesn't exactly look like due process
as the Texas courts have apparently defined it."

Anderson plans to appeal to the president and to seek an
injunction in district court against the imposition of the

NOTE: DRCNet subscribers are urged to email editors of both
the Austin American Statesman at letters@statesman.com and
the San Marcos Daily Record at SMDRnews@centuryinter.net.
You might consider telling them that any university policy,
especially at a state school, which refuses to allow the
facts of an individual case to be aired, is a poor way of
educating students as to the tenets of the American system
of justice. Or you might just let them know that Bryan
Anderson's act of civil disobedience highlights the
absurdity of filling Texas prisons with non-violent
marijuana users. Whatever your take on this incident, the
very act of writing to the editor will let the local press,
and the Texas state University system know that people
across the country, and around the world, are watching.

AND: Don't forget to check out KIND-Radio at
http://www.mediadesign.net. Tell 'em DRCNet sent you!


- Marc Brandl for DRCNet

The first act of public civil disobedience Lynn Harichy
committed was in September of 1997, when she lit up a joint
in front of the London, Ontario police station. For that
act, she was charged with "possession of a narcotic". Since
then, Harichy, 36, a mother of two who uses medical
marijuana to alleviate the pain and spasticity of her
multiple sclerosis, has gone on to become one of the most
prominent activists in Canada for the right to safe and
legal access to medical marijuana.

Harichy's newest endeavor has been the opening of the London
Cannabis Compassion Center (LCCC). The goal of the club is
to keep patients in medical need off of the streets, by
providing them with access to safe marijuana. Although
things have started off slowly, progress is being made, says
Harichy, "Today, April 8th, I got back my first completed
application, and at 5:22pm it was approved." Patients must
supply a prescription from a doctor in order to qualify as a
member of LCCC.

Although Canada lacks any legal protection for medical
marijuana patients and their primary care providers like
Harichy's LCCC, public support remains high and officials
have been leery of cracking down. "Any police intervention
would make for a tremendous amount of bad press, and the
clubs would continue operating anyway." says Chris Clay of
HempNation and a board member of the Vancouver Cannabis
Compassion Club, which has been up and running for about a
year. Despite this small pocket of protection that has
emerged for cannabis buyers clubs (CBC's), operators like
Harichy still face problems due to medical marijuana's shaky
legal standing. "Most doctors are leery of filling these
[prescriptions] out because of the legal implications they
could be involved with. However, I have been assuring them
that everything would be kept under complete
confidentiality," states Harichy. "I will under no
circumstances divulge any information for any reason to
anyone, including the police."

Harichy is part of an association of CBC's called the
Medical Marijuana Centers of Ontario, of which she and her
husband Mike are the presidents. The group of ten activists
came together in February and announced publicly their
intention to open multiple CBC's in Ontario province. "We
are all working together and will support one another if any
or all are busted." says Lynn, "We are working together on
this because this is a medical necessity for people who are

The case involving Lynn Harichy's act of civil disobedience
back in September is still working its way through the
courts. Professor Alan Young of the Osgoode Law School is
representing Lynn in the case and has also agreed to
represent the Ontario medical marijuana centers if
necessary. Young hopes through cases like Lynn's, and the
success of the CBC's, legal access to medical marijuana can
be attained.

The prospects for medical marijuana continue to look good
for Canada, but they are far from certain, and clubs such as
the one Lynn Harichy runs could still be busted. If that
happens, says Lynn, "I have been informing the police and
government and have told Alan Rock the Minister of Health
that if anyone goes to jail let it be me and me alone. If
anyone is punished in any way it must be me."

If anything is certain in the rugged landscape of medical
marijuana reform, the efforts of Lynn and other activists
will ensure the issue will not drop off the radar screen in
Canada anytime soon.


It is truly a small, interconnected world, as the existence
of this newsletter proves. Countries are now less and less
likely to make policy, especially regarding a global issue
such as drugs, by considering only internal political
forces. New policy in one country can influence laws being
written by another. We have seen this with some
environmental issues and laws passed to ban land mines, to
name just two areas. How do efforts at drug policy reform
in one country affect another? With Lynn Harichy and many
others' undaunted efforts in Canada in mind, the Week Online
sought out a U.S. perspective on medical marijuana

Dave Fratello is the Director of Communications of Americans
for Medical Rights, which successfully headed the Prop. 215
effort in California and which is running similar
initiatives in several states in '98. The Week Online
briefly talked to Fratello about what successful efforts
like those in Canada might mean for the U.S., and what
problems other international efforts might face.

"Just as surely as pressure can be brought to bear on
Washington by the states, it can also come from progress
being made internationally. Frankly, the U.S. government
gets away with writing off the Dutch experience as an
anomaly. But when you see pressure and activity on medical
marijuana growing in Great Britain, France, and other parts
of Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and even here
in North America, from Canada, the pressure on Washington
threatens to become real."

"The activity in Canada is interesting in this context.
What happens to our immediate north is inherently different
from what happens in the Netherlands or Australia, for
example. Americans generally feel that Canada is like the
United States. We're already seeing folks in some
Midwestern states who are supporting the industrial use of
hemp asking why Canadian farmers are going to be allowed to
grow it, but American farmers aren't. I think you'll see
the same kind of question if the Canadian policy on medical
marijuana continues to veer off from the path ordained by

But countries do not make drug policy in a vacuum, and
Fratello says pressure from the U.S. is a real danger.
"What is clear about the whole medical marijuana controversy
is that the U.S. government is the greatest obstacle to
reform. Everyone involved internationally recognizes that
the U.S., through the DEA and even the reactionary, U.S.
dominated U.N. Drug Control Program, calls the shots on drug
policy. But the increased openness of some of these nations
provides real hope."

But now in 1998, the U.S. government will face a second
round of medical marijuana initiatives, creating an
international opportunity for reform. "One of the most
interesting questions is how the synergy might work between
what is going on internationally and what's due to happen
later this year in several U.S. states, with November votes
on marijuana initiatives. To the extent that certain
governments might feel cowed by the American hard line on
marijuana, the discrediting of federal policy by voters in
several states at once could embolden those governments who
are considering going their own way on issues like medical

(Check http://www.hempnation.com for continuing updates on
the Canadian drug policy situation.)



(Please accept our apology to anyone whose important event
we missed. Submit your event listings by e-mail to
drcnet@drcnet.org, as far in advance as possible.)

Oklahoma City, 4/20: FREE WILL FOSTER RALLY! Capitol
Building, 4:00pm. Featured speakers include Will Foster's
wife, Meg, and DRCNet Associate Director Adam J. Smith. For
info, call OK NORML at (405) 366-8058, or visit
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-3.html#freewill. IF

TEACH-IN. St. Luke's Church at 330 S. 13th Street, between
Pine and Spruce, 6:00pm. For info, call (215) 731-1844 or
e-mail Julie Davids at jdavids@critpath.org.

PROBLEM, A Fraser Institute Conference. For info, contact
Patrick Basham, (604) 688-0221 x329, pbasham@istar.ca,

Washington, DC, 4/22: SYRINGE EXCHANGE LOBBY DAY. For info,
contact Chris Lanier, National Coalition to Save Lives Now,
(212) 213-6376, e-mail ncsln@dti.net.

Baltimore, MD, 4/24-26: NASEC VII - 8th North American
Syringe Exchange Convention. For info, visit
http://www.nasen.org (it's too late to call).

Forums in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN):

4/27, 7:00pm, University of Minnesota Law School.
Ethan Nadelmann will speak on "Harm Reduction: An
Alternative Drug Policy."
5/28, 7:00pm, University of Minnesota Law School.
Joel Brown, Ph.D. will speak on "Future Directions
in Drug Abuse Prevention"
For info, contact Scott Warnick at (612) 292-9815
or e-mail warn0121@tc.umn.edu.

At various locations throughout Oregon: "MAMA's Vision",
4/20 - 5/8. Sandee Burbank of Mothers Against Misuse and
Abuse will present a computer generated, animated show that
describes MAMA's harm-reduction based drug education
program. For info, call (541) 298-1031 or check the new
MAMA web site at http://www.mamas.org.



At some point in the evolution of every social movement,
questions arise about the value of various forms of civil
disobedience (CD) as a tool for achieving change. In the
U.S. over the past thirty years, the civil rights movement,
the anti-war movement, the anti-nuclear movement, the
environmental movement and the AIDS movement have all made
use, with varying degrees of success, of civil disobedience.

But perhaps no American movement has had as ambivalent a
relationship with civil disobedience as the drug policy
reform movement. This is true not because those who are
involved in it doubt the effectiveness of CD as a concept,
but rather it is due to the nature of the most widely
employed method of those advocating drug law -- or more
accurately marijuana law -- reform: the large-scale

This week, the week of April 20th, is generally considered
by marijuana activists to be the "proper" time to hold a
smokeout. And so on that date, across the country, large
numbers of marijuana users come together to listen to
speakers rail against the status quo, to thumb their
collective noses at prohibition, to protest a set of laws
that are as universally ignored as they are unevenly
enforced, and to celebrate communally the mellow high of
their favorite intoxicant. Oh... and to listen to cool

The activists who organize these events are quick to point
out their value to the cause. Smokeouts tend to bring
together large crowds, sometimes 50,000 people or more
(depending on the bands, of course). They are a great place
for organizing, collecting names and addresses, handing out
literature, and providing a forum for other groups and
organizations who set up tables and gain access to the
(admittedly only marginally attentive) masses. Organizers
of the largest smokeouts point out that by bringing that
many people together, they are sending a message to
politicians. Further, they argue, since these events are
noteworthy for the lack of violence (due mainly to the
virtual absence of alcohol) or other disturbances, they are
a good way to show the public that marijuana is not the
demon drug that the prohibitionists would have people
believe. Finally, they say, the sheer empowerment of coming
together, in public, to share some bud and proclaim their
God-given right to partake in the ingestion of their
favorite plant on a sunny spring day, is a boost to the
morale of a population that is generally forced into the
shadows, lest they be picked off by local police and become
one of the statistics rattled off from the stage at next
year's event.

Other drug policy reformers hold a far different opinion of
smokeouts. They will tell you that while they have no
problem with the argument that there is a God-given right to
naturally occurring plants, or to do with those plants as
the individual sees fit, that this is not an argument which
is likely to sway the uninitiated. The smokeouts, they say,
present the image of drug policy reform as something out of
the 1960's -- a self-indulgent group of long-hairs who
simply want to be left alone to get stoned without being
hassled. (Not, they will reassure you, that they have
anything against long-hairs.) That image, they say,
devalues the message of reform, for which there is a real
moral, economic and social imperative. And not only
marijuana reform, but, by association, all drug policy
reform issues, from methadone maintenance to needle
exchange, from asset forfeiture to mandatory minimums, and
from pain control to the war in Colombia.

But by far the biggest problem that the anti-smokeout
reformers have with the tactics of their pro-smokeout
bretheren is the reaction of the media to the events. Hold
a smokeout, they say, any smokeout in any public space, and
do you know what happens? Some reporter with camera crew in
tow will head directly -- like a heat-seeking missile -- for
the single youngest smoker in the crowd. They'll snap
pictures of the grinning red-eyed kid and ask him some tough
questions, like: "Do you like smoking marijuana? Do you
wish it were legal?" And unless a nuclear holocaust happens
to erupt on the same day (and only if it happens somewhere
really important), guess what will be on the cover of the
next day's papers, or, if it was a video camera, leading off
the local news.

It is that image, of course, the image of the drug-taking
thirteen year-old, upon which the drug war survives. Never
mind that the kid with the joint in his mouth bought his
weed under a prohibitionist system that makes rational age
restrictions impossible. Never mind that rather than
licensed vendors, marijuana, along with heroin, cocaine and
LSD is available from the girl who sits next to this kid in
science class. And never mind that the organizers of the
protest may have done all that they could to discourage
underage people from smoking at the rally. That kid, and
his joint, will lead. Because the image of a pubescent
doing drugs has done more for drug war budgets than the
image of Joe Camel ever did for the sales of RJ Reynolds.

And don't expect the news story accompanying that image to
mention that the same anti-prohibitionist views being
preached from the stage have also been preached by such
noted hippies as William F. Buckley, George Schultz or
Milton Friedman. Nope. Here are your legalizers... and
here is the product of their message. And in the eyes of
reformers who argue against the use of smokeouts as mass
civil disobedience, that picture is worth a thousand words.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director




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