Portland NORML News - Saturday, April 25, 1998

Initiative A Reaction To Draconian Laws (Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Oregonian' By Dr. Richard Bayer, A Chief Petitioner
For The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, And Dr. Nancy Crumpacker,
Rebuts Robert Landauer's Uninformed And Uncompassionate Staff Editorials)

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 19:01:29 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US OR: OPED: Initiative A Reaction To Draconian Laws
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: ricbayer@teleport.com (Rick Bayer)
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Source: Oregonian, The
Section: OpEd - pg E9
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Authors: Richard Bayer, MD and Nancy Crumpacker, MD


Doctors Should Be Able To Prescribe Marijuana

In two recent columns, Robert Landauer has tackled the issue of marijuana's
medical uses, and how public policy should react to evidence of its
benefits. Oregon voters are likely to face this issue this fall as a
result of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act.

Landauer concludes that the scientific evidence to date is too weak or
unreliable for marijuana to become a prescription medication. He rightly
chides the federal government's knee-jerk anti-marijuana policies for
blocking research that could have solved the question before now.

Still, his position -- increasingly common among medical professionals as
well -- begs the question: What do we do with patients who benefit from
marijuana now, but must break the law to use it?

Our initiative asks voters to end the risk of state criminal penalties
faced by these seriously and terminally ill patients in a sensible,
regulated way, brokering a peace of sorts while science continues its

To reach a do-nothing position, Landauer and others tend to rely on an
understatement of the knowledge that exists about marijuana's medical
value. Wait for more research, they argue. Many share Landauer's fear
that "personal anecdotes will dominate the public discussion" of this
year's ballot initiative.

In fact, there's more value to these much-derided "anecdotes" than he
implies, and there's more scientific support for marijuana's value than
most people know. Good clinical doctors seek anecdotal evidence from
patients to help with diagnosis and treatment. This is especially true when
managing problems such as nausea and pain, which are almost totally
subjective. In fact, it would be impossible to evaluate any anti-nausea or
anti-pain medicine without the use of important anecdotal evidence. And,
when thousands of patients come forward, all describing the same phenomena,
it is time to put politics aside and accept the obvious truth that some
patients benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

Scientific data collected in studies of marijuana in the 1970s and early
1980s are also stronger than most people realize. The American Medical
Association's Council on Scientific Affairs summarized those findings in a
December 1997 report that Landauer quoted mainly for its more ambivalent
passages about marijuana's value. The report states:

* Both survey and data derived from placebo-controlled single dose studies
indicate that smoked marijuana stimulates appetite in normal subjects.

* Smoked marijuana was comparable to or more effective than oral THC . . . in
reducing nausea and emesis (vomiting).

* Anecdotal, survey, and clinical data support the view that smoked marijuana
and oral THC provide symptomatic relief in some patients with spasticity
associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) or trauma.

* Smoked marijuana may allow individual patients to self-titrate their dosage
to the point of therapeutic benefit, while minimizing undesirable
psychoactive effects. It also provides a method of more rapid onset and
offset than oral THC.

The existence of Marinol, an imperfect substitute, and a tangle of federal
regulations and political opposition all get in the way of proving,
finally, whether and how marijuana works for some kinds of patients.

Currently, marijuana is classified federally as a Schedule I drug, meaning
doctors cannot prescribe it, even to dying and suffering patients. It is
time that the federal government moved marijuana to Schedule II, both to
expedite research into its medical uses and to allow patients to have
access to marijuana under medical supervision, just like morphine.

In the end, the debate over medical marijuana is about dying and suffering
patients. It's about providing these patients with effective means to
control the disabling symptoms they often face with terminal or chronic
debilitating illnesses.
Link to earlier story
We say, let us hear from the patients. If marijuana helps them, then they should have access to it, under strict regulations, such as those in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Dr. Richard Bayer is a chief petitioner for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and Dr. Nancy Crumpacker, an oncologist, is his wife. *** Rick Bayer, MD Chief Petitioner Oregon Medical Marijuana Act 6800 SW Canyon Drive Portland, OR 97225 503-292-1035 (voice) 503-297-0754 (fax) ricbayer@teleport.com (email)

When Credibility Is Lost (Yet Another Staff Editorial By Robert Landauer
Of 'The Oregonian,' Who Cites A Variety Of Informed And Misinformed Opinions,
And Concludes, 'Prescribing Marijuana For Therapeutic Uses
Without First Conducting Large-Sample Peer-Reviewed Studies
With Controlled Dosages And Potencies Strikes Me As A Risky Way
To Practice Medicine,' Even Though Cannabis Has Received More Scrutiny
Than The Vast Majority Of FDA-Approved Pharmaceutical Drugs,
And Was A Widely Prescribed Medicine Until Congress Banned It
In 1937 Despite The AMA's Objections)

The Oregonian
Portland, Oregon
Pubdate: April 25, 1998, Editorial column
Email: robertlandauer@news.oregonian.com
Phone: 503-221-8157

When credibility is lost

by Robert Landauer

Many voters, distrusting federal regulators, appear ready to tear issue
of medical marijuana out of their hands.

"My brother died of complications related to AIDS," said the
first caller. He maintained that Marinol did not help and
that marijuana did.

This was one of many responses to columns April 18 and 21 about medical
marijuana. Many Oregonians care deeply about this subject, which
may reach the state's November ballot. Listen to some of their voices:

"My addiction to marijuana has been the most trying episode in my
life," says a man who calls himself "a recovering pothead"
after 27 years. "It is an insidious drug." Problems
with quitting, he says, have included depression, insomnia, mood swings,
rage, headaches, anxiety and "skin rashes indicating liver problems
with detoxifying."

Research into safe medical uses for marijuana should accompany more
disclosure about the harmful effects of abusing the drug, he said.
He opposes legalization of drugs and wants readers "to know that
Marijuana Anonymous of Oregon (503-221-7007) has meetings every day of
the week in the Portland-Vancouver area."

The first caller continued that her mother voted for medical marijuana in
California because it had helped her brother. "I will do the
same until the federal government is willing to actually study the issue

Leland R. Berger, a Portland lawyer, has defended clients with AIDS and
other illnesses who faced felony charges for possessing and cultivating
marijuana. His clients "pretty uniformly" say that Marinol (synthetic THC)
turns them into what my columns called "stoned zombies." But many say
they don't get a "high" on marijuana.

His AIDS and multiple sclerosis clients tell him that "the ability
to regulate their dosages better than they can with Marinol and get the
relief faster" explains their preference for using smoked
marijuana. Some make clear, he said, that they don't like being
high and that they "stay stoned for a long time" after taking

Comments of another Portland lawyer, Douglas Kelso, capture strands from
many readers. "From where I sit, the war on drugs has become
an institutionalized bureaucracy with budgets to protect, a mission to
justify its existence, a motive to lie about cannabis and a history of
doing so."

"In 1937 the story was that 'marihuana, the killer weed' was a drug
more addictive than heroin and a potent stimulant that drove users crazy
and into frenzied crime sprees before they died from overdose.
Since then, the story's changed a number of times -- and every few years,
a new danger of marijuana appears, while old dangers, now discredited,
are quietly dropped."

Overstating your case undermines your credibility, says Kelso, voicing a
thought expressed widely.

Not all view recreational drug use as risky or abusive. "As a
freeman I prefer to make my own botanical choices, be they medical or
recreational," wrote Floyd Ferris Landrath, an activist in drug
issues in Oregon. "Frankly, sir, it's none of your or the
government's business."

A physician calls to say that patients self-prescribing marijuana for
pain, nausea or tremors seldom report problems with "highs" or
addiction. This doctor wants to know what ingredients in marijuana
can be used safely and effectively.

Two other themes recur: (1) Why does the government fail to see that
researching medical uses for marijuana is not the same as retreating in
the war against drugs? (2) Why should people who haven't been
helped by conventional treatments suffer when medical marijuana might
offer relief?

Prescribing marijuana for therapeutic uses without first conducting
large-sample peer-reviewed studies with controlled dosages and potencies
strikes me a a risky way to practice medicine.

But the voices are saying to the federal regulators: If you don't
convince us that you are helping good-faith research to proceed, voters
in the states are going to take the issue away from you.


Transcribed by:

Arthur Livermore

Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Receives More Than $11,000 In Donations
During Last Two Weeks (Update From OCTA Chief Petitioner Paul Stanford -
Campaign $15,000 Away From Certification - Work Available
For Signature Gatherers At $10 Per Hour)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 13:31:52 -0700
Sender: stanford@crrh.org
To: octa99@crrh.org
From: "D. Paul Stanford" (stanford@crrh.org)
Subject: Fwd: New Zealand physician's group pledges $1,000+ to OCTA

In the past two weeks OCTA has gleefully accepted over $11,000 in donation
into our checking account and pledges of $1,100 more. We are expanding our
paid petitioner campaign and advertising in newspapers and with the state
employment department for workers. Paid petitioners earn over $10 an hour,
perhaps several times that sometimes. If you or anyone you know wants
meaningful, important work, contact us: 503-235-4606. If you or anyone you
know can donate to help us make the ballot, we are about $15,000 away from
certain ballot qualification of OCTA. Please forward this message. Thanks!

Yours truly,
D. Paul Stanford

Sent by Dr. David Hadorn of New Zealand on Thursday, April 23, 1998 to
DRCtalk list for drug policy reform advocates:


> I believe that the California
>experience, in particular, is (next to OCTA, see below) more likely than any
>other current project to bring down the Berlin Wall of cannabis prohibition.
>(What about heroin, cocaine, etc., speaking of "hindmost:? I'm a "one step
>at a timer" on this thorny question.)


>...the most
>likely route to an acceptable, long-term viable situation lies in regulating
>cannabis like alcohol and tobacco. This is the route the NZ Drug Policy
>Forum Trust recently recommended for New Zealand.
>In view of our position on this issue, the Forum wishes to foster
>experiments with cannabis regulation, the only existing example of which
>this, as far as we know, is the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA). For this
>reason, I'm pleased to announce (and this will come as a surprise to Paul
>Stanford & Co.) that the Forum is donating $2,000 NZD (something over $1,000
>USD) to OCTA. If there are other examples of regulation-style initiatives
>that could use a little cash, please advise. In the meantime, please
>consider this to be an unsolicited endorsement of OCTA, which will be
>"competing" with a mmj initiative in November (assuming OCTA qualifies).
>If you share my concerns about the way cannabis policy reform is unfolding,
>please consider supporting OCTA by making a secure credit card donation via
>their website: http://www.crrh.org/credit_cards.html or mail to CRRH ; P.O.
>Box 86741 ; Portland, OR 97286 made out to CRRH (Campaign for the
>Restoration and Regulation of Hemp) or "OCTA". This is a particularly good
>time to donate as an anonymous benefactor has agreed to match donations 3
>for 1. So every $1 of your donation will bring another $3 in matching funds
>toward getting OCTA qualified. See www.crrh.org for more details.
>The drama of drug policy reform is unfolding in unpredictable and momentous
>ways. My view is that OCTA, if successful, could do more for the cause of
>long-term-tenable cannabis/drug policy reform than any other single effort
>internationally (except perhaps New Zealand regulating cannabis!)
>I would be glad to hear from those who have other candidates for such an
>honor, as well as from those who think my take on mmj is misguided.

Drug Sting's Tactics Helped 'Poison The Public,' Judge Says ('Sacramento Bee'
Notes US District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton Is Considering
Whether To Dismiss Charges Against A Methamphetamine Manufacturing Ring
Due To Outrageous Conduct By The Police Who Supplied The Operation)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 17:11:37 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Drug Sting Tactics Helped 'Poison the Public,' Judge Says
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: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Author: Cythnia Hubert - Bee Staff Writer


State agents helped "poison the public" by giving drug dealers huge amounts
of the key ingredient to produce methamphetamine and failing to recover it,
a federal judge said Friday.

During a "sting" operation targeting a pair of notorious drug manufacturing
suspects in 1995, the narcotics agents committed crimes that would justify
life in prison "if they did not have badges," said U.S. District Judge
Lawrence K. Karlton.

"How many people got started on meth who wouldn't have if not for the
conduct of these agents?" the judge asked. "There may be some child out
there who's dead because of what went on."

Karlton's comments came at the end of a hearing in which defense lawyers
charged that state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agents posing as
suppliers provided the suspected drug dealers with enough ephedrine to
produce 66 pounds of methamphetamine between August and October of 1995.
The lawyers contended that most of the drugs were never recovered, and
instead ended up on the streets to be inhaled, injected and consumed by

Karlton must decide whether the tactics of agents and their superiors
justify dropping charges against Michael and Erwin Spruth, described as two
of the biggest methamphetamine producers in Northern California.

"This is an appalling situation," the judge said at the hearing requested
by lawyers for the Spruths and an alleged accomplice, John Roger Rowley.

While the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement's conduct in the case was
"reprehensible," Karlton said, allowing the suspected drug dealers back on
the streets "would be a very serious consequence."

He said he would rule on the matter later.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Dan Lungren said the Department of
Justice stands firmly behind the agents and the investigation, which won
honors and is considered a "textbook" example of how such cases should be

"We hope the judge holds the criminals in as much disdain as he apparently
does these fine agents," said spokesman Rob Stutzman.

The Spruth brothers and Rowley were arrested and indicted after a raid on a
methamphetamine lab in rural Shasta County in October 1995. They have
previous drug records and face life in prison if convicted on all charges.

But the conduct of the drug agents may be their ticket to freedom.

Defense lawyers argue that government agents put the men back in business
after they got out of prison by supplying them with more than 100 pounds of
scarce ephedrine over a period of about three months. The agents failed to
diligently trace the chemicals, which ultimately were used to manufacture
"crank" that was sold on the street, according to the attorneys.

More than 100,000 doses of methamphetamine may have been produced by the
ephedrine given to Rowley by Special Agent Joseph Diaz, who posed as a
supplier, said assistant federal defender Michael Kennedy.

Agents testified under questioning by Kennedy and Assistant U.S. Attorney
Nancy Simpson that they did everything possible to keep track of the
chemicals while homing in on the lab site operated by the Spruths.

Simpson said agents in the Spruth case followed the bureau's regulations,
which allow for "precursors" such as ephedrine to be furnished to criminal
suspects during clandestine laboratory investigations. The amount varies
depending on the case, but should be "sufficient to demonstrate that the
lab operator is a major violator," the regulations state.

Chemicals, including ephedrine, "should never be used in a manner in which
they may chemically expose the public," according to the policy. If they
are released, "every effort" should be made to track them to their
destination and identify a lab site.

"This was a very controlled operation," said Special Agent Supervisor
Daniel Largent of the agency's Redding office. "I just didn't get out there
with my guys and throw ephedrine around."

Largent and others described the Spruths as some of the most notorious and
prolific methamphetamine manufacturers in the north state, and said they
believed the chance of bringing them down was worth the risk they were
taking in supplying them with ephedrine.

"We do our level best to recover all of the methamphetamine in these
situations," said Largent. "But it doesn't always happen."

The agents said they were uncertain how much, if any, of the ephedrine they
supplied to the men actually hit the streets in the form of
methamphetamine. But testimony strongly suggested that at least half of it
did, Karlton concluded.

Karlton asked Diaz why agents continued supplying ephedrine to the men over
three months while getting very little methamphetamine in return.

"You guys are out there, clearly aiding and abetting the creation of
methamphetamine," he said. "You have concerns about it creating havoc in
the community. Why didn't you try to get it back?"

Diaz said agents did try to trade for methamphetamine. "But we were afraid
that if we did not continue negotiating, we would be cut off and they would
find another source," blowing a major investigation that had consumed them
for months.

Karlton said he was deeply troubled by the case.

"Should the fact that these agents contributed to the poisoning of the
public mean that your clients ought to benefit?" he asked Kennedy. "Doesn't
it seem utterly bizarre that these guys are rewarded because the agents
used bad judgment?"

Kennedy acknowledged that his clients "do not deserve" to be set free, but
argued that the judge must consider the larger issue of government conduct.

A judgment in favor of the agents would send a message that "the end always
justifies the means," he said.

Copyright 1998 The Sacramento Bee

Drug Tests For New Teachers Approved ('Burbank Leader' In California
Notes The Burbank Board Of Education Allocated $3,150 To Drug Test
Approximately 70 New Employees In July And August At $45 Per Person)

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 00:07:42 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CA: Drug Tests For New Teachers Approved
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Burbank Leader
Contact: bleader@earthlink.net
Mail: 220 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502
Fax: (818) 954-9439
Pubdate:April 25, 1998
author: Jasmine Lee


School board OKs pilot program one year after establishing policy. Seventy
new employees will be screened this summer.

Almost one year after passing a school district policy to screen job
applicants for drug use, the Burbank Board of Education has approved a
pre-employment drug testing pilot program. In a unanimous vote Thursday,
the school board allocated $3,150 to drug test approximately 70 new
employees at $45 per person in July and August, district officials said.

The program was delayed a year because district resources ~ money and
personnel ~ were tapped to comply with a state law requiring fingerprinting
of prospective employees, said Robert Fraser, district human resources
director. The state law passed around the same time the testing program was
to begin.

The program will determine whether permanent drug testing is necessary, he

Efforts to start a drug testing program were further hampered by increased
teacher hires because of the district's class-size reduction efforts,
Fraser said. It will also be hard to track the results because the prospect
of a drug test may scare away potential applicants who might not pass the
screening, said Elena Hubbell, the school board president.

"It's very expensive," Hubbell said. "But I don't think $3,000 is too much
to spend if we can divert unwanted employees away from our students."
Hubbell said the school board was advised by district officials last year
that implementing the pilot program immediately would be too expensive.
Under the districtwide program, a prospective employee who fails the drug
test will immediately be rejected as a candidate. He or she will not be
allowed a second test, officials said.

At the end of August, the school board will decide whether to continue,
modify or eliminate drug testing after reviewing the results of the pilot

In October, Richard Bedigan, a John Burroughs High School science teacher,
was arrested after being caught snorting cocaine on a desk in his
classroom. He later pleaded no contest to the charge and was ordered to
enroll in a drug program.

Such an incident puts more focus on the need for drug testing, Hubbell
said, but did not prompt the school board's decision. Had the pilot program
been implemented earlier, it would not have prevented the Bedigan incident
because employees already with the district are not tested, Hubbell said.
There has been some discussion, however, of random drug testing among
employees and students, she said, but the district is not actively pursuing
such a program.

Alaskans Will Vote On Marijuana Medical Use ('Orange County Register'
Version Of Old News)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 16:28:42 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US AK: Alaskans Will Vote On Marijuana Medical Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998


Alaska voters in November will be asked to legalize the use of marijuana
for medical purposes.

A question on the subject will be placed on the November general election
ballot, the result of a petition drive that collected 25,090 verified
signatures of registered voters, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer said

The ballot initiative would allow patients with debilitating medical
conditions to use marijuana if a doctor determines that the drug will help.
The initiative also provides for a confidential registry of patients who
use marijuana for medical purposes.

Wayne Judge Sends Ex-Deputy To Prison ('Akron Beacon Journal'
Notes A Cop In Wayne County, Ohio, Was Sentenced To Two Years
For His Role In A Methamphetamine Manufacturing Operation
In His Home While On The Force)

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 14:44:47 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Melodi Cornett 
Subject: MN: US OH: Wayne Judge Sends Ex-Deputy To Prison
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Nora Callahan
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Source: Akron Beacon Journal
Contact: vop@thebeaconjournal.com
Website: http://www.ohio.com/bj
Author: David Knox, Beacon Journal staff writer


Man gets two years for role in manufacture of methamphetamines

A former Wayne County sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to two years in
prison for his role in a methamphetamine manufacturing operation in his
former Rittman home.

Phillip Black, 33, pleaded guilty March 23 in Wayne County Common Pleas
Court to reduced charges of attempted illegal manufacture of drugs and
possession of drugs.

At the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Common Pleas Judge Mark K. Wiest also
ordered Black to pay a $5,000 fine.

Black's live-in girlfriend, Candy Chamberlin, 30, pleaded guilty to the same
two charges and an additional charge of child endangerment, because her
6-year-old daughter was living with the couple.

Judge Wiest sentenced her to 90 days in the county jail plus 90 days home
arrest and also fined her $5,000. She also was placed on three years'
probation, ordered to undergo drug rehabilitation and to perform 200 hours
of community service.

Black and Chamberlin were accused of making methamphetamine -- better known
as ``speed'' or ``crystal meth'' -- at the Strawberry Lane home they shared
from April to October 1997.

Their roommate, Michael E. Stierl, 46, of Rittman, was sentenced to seven
years in prison in February after pleading guilty to illegally manufacturing

Police arrested Stierl on state Route 57 in a traffic stop on Oct. 1 after
receiving a tip from Cuyahoga Falls police that Stierl might be living with
Black and Chamberlin in Rittman. A search of the home the same day turned up
the drug manufacturing lab.

Stierl also faces charges of operating similar labs in Summit County.

Black and Chamberlin originally were charged with more serious drug charges.
But assistant Prosecutor John Williams said he agreed to reduce the charges
in return for guilty pleas because the couple may not have known the extent
of Stierl's operation and they cooperated with police.

``They weren't full participants,'' Williams said. ``It was largely run by
him (Stierl). There was no evidence they were active participants in

Williams said Black could be eligible to apply for early release from prison
after six months.

At sentencing, Judge Wiest said Black deserved prison time because he
committed his crimes while serving as a law enforcement officer.

Because Black is a former law officer, he will serve his time separate from
other inmates at the Lorain Correctional Institution.

Judge Wiest also noted that the drug lab in the Strawberry Lane home
threatened Chamberlin's child and other innocent people because the chemical
used to make methamphetamines produces toxic and explosive vapors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruled in November that the home was
free from toxic damage and was no longer a risk to residents.

Black, who resigned Oct. 6 after seven years as a deputy, apologized to
former co-workers, his family and friends.

Veteran Officer Suspended Over Drug Case ('New York Times'
Says A 34-Year Veteran New York Cop Was Placed On 30-Day Suspension
And Ordered To Take A Drug Test After An Undercover Unit Saw Him
Take A Woman To A Known Drug Location - After She Returned,
The Other Police Stopped The Car And Found A Bag Of Heroin On The Woman)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 22:00:41 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: US NY: Veteran Officer Suspended Over Drug Case
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Author: Kit R. Roane


A veteran New York City police officer who spent the last 15 years doing
internal investigations for the department was suspended yesterday after
narcotics officers found a woman with a small bag of heroin in his car, the
police said.

Lieut. Stephen Jordan, 57, who has been a police officer for 34 years, was
placed on a 30-day suspension but has not been charged with any crime, the
police said. Lieutenant Jordan has also been ordered to take a drug test,
Marilyn Mode, a department spokeswoman, said. If he fails, he will face
dismissal, she said.

The police said an undercover unit saw a woman get out of Lieutenant
Jordan's car around 2:30 A.M. yesterday and visit a bodega on Sutter Avenue
near Blake and Miller Avenues in East New York, Brooklyn, that was being
watched for possible drug sales. The police said the officers from the unit
pulled Lieutenant Jordan over shortly after the woman returned to his car
and he began to drive off.

Inside, they found Valerie Brown, 40, and a bag of heroin, said Deputy
Inspector Michael Collins, a department spokesman. He said the woman told
the officers that the drugs belonged to her.

Brown has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance,
the police said.

Lieutenant Jordan's relationship with the suspect is unclear, as is the
reason why he took her to a known drug location.

The police spokesman said that Lieutenant Jordan had a clean record with the

Law enforcement investigators, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
lieutenant said he had seen Brown on the street, then stopped and picked her
up when she requested a ride to the store.

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

Million Marijuana March (Final Details On Saturday's Rally
In New York City's Battery Park, Sponsored By Cures Not Wars)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 18:22:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Cures not Wars (cnw@mojo.calyx.net)
To: pieman@pieman.org
Subject: Million Marijuana March (fwd)
-- Forwarded message --
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 15:06:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robert MacDonald (rgmacdon@yahoo.com)
Subject: Million Marijuana March

On Saturday, May 2nd, at 1 pm, Cures not Wars Million Marijuana March will
be Marching down Broadway from Houston and Broadway to City Hall. At
about 2:30 pm

There will be a speakout and concert in battery park.
featuring some of the foremost people in the Marijuana Movement.
There will be Dennis Peron the author of the California Medical
Marijuana Law. Jack Herer author of
'The Emporer Wears No Clothes' and Dana Beal, author of
'The Ibogaine Story.' People will be able to pick up the book
'Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts,' authored by Lynn Zimmer,
a professor at Queens College, and John P. Morgan M.D. of City

This march will be the Biggest Marijuana March ever put together
in the World. People are coming out to march on City Hall to protest
Guilliani's intolerance.

As students and New Yorkers it is our duty to participate in this rally
to start a campaign of deligitimizing Guilliani's drug war which is
just another arm of his war on youth and people of color (the primary
victims of the drug war whose lives are interrupted by the draconian
laws around Guilliani's drug war and quality of life campaign).

People are already in route from all over America to
show up in the village for this coming May 2nd Million Marijuana
March. Bring signs banners whistles drums and your own creative
spirit of dissent. Stop the injustice, stop Guilliani. MARCH ON CITY

Rob MacDonald

Herbal Remedies Will Soon Face FDA Regulations - Tobacco, Gambling,
Liquor Interests Make Large Donations (First Of Two Brief Items
In 'San Jose Mercury News' Says The Food and Drug Administration Friday
Prohibited Makers Of Vitamins And Herbal Remedies From Claiming
They Can Cure, Prevent Or Alleviate Specific Diseases)

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 11:00:00 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: DC News in Brief: Herbal Remedies and FDA; Tobacco Donations
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: Sat, 25 Apr 1998


The Food and Drug Administration Friday took long-awaited action aimed at
protecting consumers from misleading health claims by the booming
herbal-remedy industry. The new rules would bar makers of vitamins and
herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort and pennyroyal from claiming to
cure, prevent or alleviate cancer, AIDS or other specific diseases.
Instead, the products would be limited to making more general claims about
enhancing the immune system, memory or other bodily processes.



Tobacco firms, gambling interests and liquor companies gave large donations
to political parties in recent months, according to Federal Election
Commission reports. While Congress debates proposals to eliminate soft
money -- unlimited donations from wealthy individuals, corporations and
labor unions to political parties -- the reports show how various interest
groups with important matters before Congress have written large checks to
various party committees.

From Mercury News wire services

Republicans Plan Major Campaign For Drug-Free America
('Copley News Service' Item In 'San Diego Union Tribune'
Notes US House Republicans, Following In The Demagogic Footsteps
Of Nixon And Reagan-Bush, Are Preparing To Launch
A Highly Publicized Election Year Anti-Drug Campaign -
Next Week More Than 100 House Republicans Are Expected To Endorse
A Dozen Bills)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 16:47:25 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Republicans Plan Major Campaign for Drug-Free America
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: tmurlow1@san.rr.com (Tom Murlowski)
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Author: Marcus Stern - Copley News Service


WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are preparing to launch a highly publicized
election-year initiative to bring about a drug-free America.

In an event planned for next week and to be staged like the House GOP's
mass 1994 signing of its Contract With America, more than 100 House
Republicans are expected to endorse a dozen wide-ranging anti-drug bills.

One bill calls for doubling the Border Patrol to 20,000 and restoring
controversial military patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., formed the Speaker's Task Force for a
Drug-Free America one month ago, and it already has a comprehensive
national "battle plan" for reaching its goal within four years.

The initiative will be comprised of about a dozen bills that are in various
stages of completion and will be unveiled one at a time at different media
events over the following eight weeks or so, according to strategic
planning documents of the task force.

One bill, to be titled the Drug-Free Congress Bill, would require members
of Congress and their staff members to take periodic drug tests.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, a member of the task force, is drafting a
bill titled the Drug-Free Borders Act.

A member of Hunter's staff confirmed that the bill is in the works. But he
declined to discuss its details publicly in advance of next week.

The bill reportedly once again will call for doubling the size of the
Border Patrol, to 20,000. The patrol is just about double what it was only
a few years ago after four or five straight years of explosive growth.

The bill, as it is currently written, also would allow the Border Patrol to
engage in a hot pursuit when a vehicle flees agents.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, under intense community
pressure because of fatal accidents in the past involving hot pursuits, has
abandoned the practice.

The bill would restore military monitoring missions along the border that
had been suspended after Marines from Camp Pendleton fired on and killed a
Texas youth. The boy had been carrying a rifle while herding goats in a
remote border area where the Marines were secretly watching the border for
drug-smuggling activities. The Marines believed he was firing on them.

The bill would provide $11 million for additional X-ray machines used to
detect drugs in trucks and cars entering the country. A machine being used
on an experimental basis at the Otay Mesa port of entry has proven a
popular success with anti-drug officials.

It also would provide for the deployment of state-of-the-art tire shredders
to combat smugglers and border runners who fill their tires with silicone
or other substances in an effort to drive over spikes intended to deflate
their tires and stop them.

Republicans are planning to unveil their initiative next week in a
gathering on the west side of the Capitol and are planning to sport blue
ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to fighting drugs. Then they will
sign a "Declaration of Commitment" and hope to lure some Democratic
supporters to the event

They also are considering for their "Legislative Deployment Ceremony" a
ticking digital "Death Clock" to represent the approximate "number of kids
using or dying from drugs as we speak."

The clock awaits Gingrich's approval.

Copyright 1998 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

Needle-Funding Refusal Disappoints Satcher ('Orange County Register'
Notes The New US Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher,
Officially Expresses Regret At The Clinton Administration's Decision
To Let Countless Americans Contract AIDS By Not Funding Needle Exchanges)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 16:23:01 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Needle-Funding Refusal Disappoints Satcher
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Author: Laura Meckler - The Associated Press


The surgeon general says he wishes the decision had been made without the
political overtones.

Washington-The nations new surgeon general said Friday the he is
disappointed as a scientist by the Clinton administration's decision to bar
federal funding for AIDS-fighting programs that give clean needles to drug

The administration said this week that science shows that such programs
prevent the spread of HIV without increasing drug use. However, the White
House decided against using federal money to support them, agreeing with
those who say that buying needles for addicts sends the wrong message.

Asked about the decision, Dr. David Satcher said that as a scientist he is
disappointed any time resources are not available to fund effective

"We said very clearly that they do not increase drug use," he said in
interview Friday. "It would be great if we could do it without the political

Also Friday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus called for the
resignation of President Clinton's drug policy chief, Barry McCaffrey, who
had urged Clinton to withhold federal money for the programs.

"This is a life-and-death issue," said Pep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles.
"You can save lives with needle exchange distribution as we try to work at
getting rid of drugs in our society."

In response, McCaffrey said black leaders should think twice before
endorsing needle exchange programs in neighborhoods where drugs are
rampant. Such programs provide clean needles to drug users in exchange for
used, possibly contaminated, ones.

"If you're a parent already fighting to bring your children up right and
protect them from drugs, you have to ask: 'Do I want one of these programs
on my corner or near my child's school?'" he said in a statement.

White House spokesman Mike McCurry added that the president supports
McCaffrey and is confident in the needle exchange decision. "The president
is very supportive of the work that he's done." McCurry said.

At an announcement of the administration's policy Monday, Satcher had said
that more money for needle exchange programs would save lives. But with the
administration trying to show a united front, Satcher had sidestepped a
question about whether he was personally disappointed.

Satcher, who took office two months ago, has supported needle exchange
programs since he was director of the federal Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, and it was one of several positions criticized by Senate
conservatives opposed to his nomination.

Clinton's science advisers wanted to lift the ban on federal money for
needle exchange programs. But at the last minute, the White House sided
with opponents, including McCaffrey and conservatives in Congress.

Studies suggest that needle exchange programs can be effective in getting
drug users into treatment, but McCaffrey and others say it is wrong to use
tax money to buy needles that will be used to inject illegal drugs.

Satcher acknowledged those arguments.

"It's not easy to answer that with science when someone asks you what kind
of message you're sending," he said.

Still, Satcher said it is "critical" for local communities to come together
and create their own needle exchange programs if they feel comfortable with

"They should find the funds," he said.

Studies suggest that half of all people who contract HIV are infected by
needles or by sex with injecting drug users, or are children of infected

The government reported this week that HIV infections have remained
relatively steady over time, despite a historic drop in AIDS cases and
deaths because of new drugs.

The CDC report also found minorities making up a larger percentage of the
infected population.



Strong preventive measures have helped Orange County keep the rate of AIDS
in intravenous drug users down during the epidemic, but county figures show
that rate is rising.

So a needle-exchange program is definitely needed, said Patricia Munro,
executive director of the AIDS Services Foundation.

The percentage of AIDS cases associated with injection drug use more than
doubled from 1990 to 1997, from 6 percent, to 14 percent of all count

"We've been very fortunate that we've been able to keep the rate of
infection down din that population," said Munro, who used to work with the
county Health Care Agency. National figures show that about half of all
people who catch HIV are infected by dirty needles, sex with injecting drug
users or are children of infected addict.

The Register

Clinton Spineless On Needle Funds ('Atlanta Constitution' Columnist
Cynthia Tucker In 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Notes The Political Backlash Clinton Sought To Avoid Broke Out Anyway)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 09:28:56 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Clinton Spineless on Needle Funds
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Author: Cynthia Tucker


IT IS tempting to blame the Paula Jones scandal for Bill Clinton's
cowardice, but it wouldn't be fair. Clinton has always been a coward.

Clinton's gutless refusal to fund programs that save lives by providing
clean needles to drug addicts was not an inevitable result of a weakened
presidency. Even if Clinton were not hounded by charges of sexual
misconduct, he would be an unlikely savior of poor heroin addicts. They
don't have the money to make campaign contributions and they don't have the
demographics the president's pollsters like to see.

For years now, renegade do gooder groups have been distributing clean
syringes - which, in many states, are regulated like prescription drugs -
to intravenous drug users as a way to cut down on the transmission of HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS. Because poor drug users often share syringes,
they face high risks of HIV infection.

Indeed, IV drug use is responsible for most of the growth in HIV
infections, especially among the poor and members of ethnic minority
groups. According to Dr. David Satcher, the U.S. surgeon general, about 40
percent of all new AIDS cases in this country are directly or indirectly
related to contaminated needles; the rate is 75 percent among women and

The good Samaritans who hand out clean needles don't have much money for
the program. They had been led to believe the Clinton administration would
lift the nine-year-old ban on federal funds for clean needles - giving them
both money and the implicit sanction of the Clinton administration.

After all, Congress had declared that the president could lift the ban if
research showed two things: that needle exchanges reduce the spread of HIV
infections, and that needle exchanges do not encourage illegal drug use.

Well, the science is in. Programs that distribute clean syringes do curb
HIV infections without increasing IV drug use, according to several

But the science did not stiffen Clinton's spine. The Clinton administration
announced that although programs that provide clean syringes save lives,
they will not receive federal funds. He made the decision despite estimates
from public health experts that hundreds of lives could be saved through
needle exchanges.

The mealy-mouthed policy was Clinton's way, according to news reports, of
avoiding a controversy. How very like Clinton. Lives are at stake, but he
wants to avoid a controversy. Any hope that a second Clinton term would put
principle over polls was dashed.

And, of course, the inevitable political backlash broke out anyway. Clinton
is being harshly criticized for even endorsing the idea of needle exchanges
by the same narrow-minded set who remain convinced that clean needles
encourage drug use, just as they remain convinced that condoms produce sex.

The president's own drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey (who, as the
commander of the war on drugs, runs the longest losing war in the nation's
history), opposed federal funding for clean syringes, suggesting that such
programs send the wrong message for children. I wonder: Just what kind of
message does an HIV-infected 3-year-old send to the general?

There is a lesson in all this that Bill Clinton never seems to learn:
You're not going to please everybody, so you might as well do the right

Cynthia Tucker is editorial page editor of the Atlanta Constitution.

FDA Approval Is Just The First Step (Op-Ed In 'New York Times'
By Stephen Fried, Author Of 'Bitter Pills - Inside The Hazardous World
Of Legal Drugs," Follows Up On The Recent Report In 'The Journal
Of The American Medical Association' About More Than 100,000 Americans
Who Die From FDA-Approved Drugs Annually, Noting The Problem Is Even Worse
Than The Report Indicated, Since It Took Into Account
Only Hospitalized Patients, And Plenty Of People Have Bad Reactions
To Pharmaceutical Drugs At Home - When The Drug Companies Agreed
In 1992 To New Fees For Certifying New Drugs, They Tacked On A Rule
That None Of The Money Generated Could Be Used To Track Adverse Reactions)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 21:57:16 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: US: OPED: FDA Approval Is Just the First Step
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Author: Stephen Fried


PHILADELPHIA -- A study published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association a week ago found that more than 100,000 Americans die each year
from adverse reactions to medication. If the report is accurate, these
reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in this country -- just
behind strokes and ahead of pulmonary disease and accidents. And the problem
might even be worse than that: the study took into account only hospitalized
patients. Plenty of people have reactions to medication at home.

We haven't known just how bad the problem is because so little money and
effort are devoted to monitoring or researching the safety of drugs after
they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Since 1992, the
F.D.A. has increased spending by $335 million to speed up the approval of
new drugs. But it has provided little additional money to monitor drugs
after approval.

Medications are tested on only 3,000 to 4,000 volunteers during clinical
trials. Much of what we need to know about a drug's safety can be determined
only once it has been approved and is taken by hundreds of thousands of
patients under varied circumstances.

The F.D.A. has been able to speed up approvals because pharmaceutical
manufacturers must now pay six-figure "user fees" along with their drug
applications. But when the companies agreed in 1992 to pay these fees, they
also tacked on a rule that none of the money generated -- about $36 million
this year -- could be used to track adverse reactions after the drugs were

The F.D.A. currently allots only $140,000 a year from its budget for the
Medwatch system, which is responsible for monitoring reactions to all drugs
sold in the United States. Until last fall, Medwatch wasn't even
computerized; it was run "pretty much like a library card catalogue,"
according to Dr. Murray Lumpkin, the deputy director of the F.D.A. Center
for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Moreover, doctors are not required by law to report their patients' drug
sensitivities to the F.D.A., and they rarely do. The F.D.A. estimates that
less than 10 percent of all drug reactions are ever reported.

Once a new safety problem is discovered, it is difficult to get unbiased
research on the subject. The F.D.A.'s own small budget for studying drug
reactions has shrunk even though the number of new drugs approved has
increased. That leaves manufacturers as the main source of financing to
study problems with their own drugs.

Last year, Congress passed legislation creating a pilot program to conduct
independent research on adverse drug reactions and provide safety
information to doctors and patients. But the current White House budget
proposal allocates only a third of the $3 million needed to create the first

There have been exciting discoveries in predicting which patients will react
badly to certain drugs -- particularly in the new field of pharmacogenetics,
in which DNA analysis is used to identify genetic predispositions to medical
sensitivities. The technology that allows doctors to analyze a drop of blood
for DNA markers already exists. But we need to finance research to find the
markers that indicate possible drug sensitivities, or the technology will be

Pharmaceutical companies have given us plenty of good news about the
benefits of their products, especially since a change in the F.D.A.
television advertising rules last August unleashed a deluge of new "ask your
doctor" advertisements. It is important for us to learn not only what these
drugs can do for us, but also what they can do to us.

Stephen Fried is the author of "Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of
Legal Drugs."

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

Tobacco Industry Launches Ads To Fight Congress ('Associated Press' Item In
'Boston Globe' Predicts An Aggressive Advertising Campaign Warning That
Passage Of Federal Antismoking Legislation Would Lead To A Cigarette Black
Market And A Huge New Federal Bureaucracy To Monitor Tobacco Sales)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 22:09:55 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: US: Tobacco industry launches ads to fight Congress
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Author: Associated Press


WASHINGTON - The tobacco industry is asserting in an aggressive advertising
campaign that passage of antismoking legislation would lead to a cigarette
black market and a huge new federal bureaucracy to monitor tobacco sales.
''I'm done making a point to these people in Washington,'' RJR Nabisco
chairman Steven Goldstone said yesterday in New York. ''My discussions now
are going to be with the American people.'' In its campaign, the industry is
using a populist, anti-Washington message similar to the one that
Republicans successfully tapped during the 1994 congressional election.

Only this time, the attacks are aimed primarily at the GOP. One tobacco
industry ad that has been running around the country for more than a week
says, ''Washington has gone haywire, proposing the same old tax and spend.''
''Washington may say it's just punishing the tobacco industry, but it's also
really hurting the American people,'' stated a full-page ad published in
national newspapers. ''You don't have to like tobacco companies to think
there's something really wrong with Washington's approach.'' Tobacco
executives say lawmakers are risking the nation's cultural and economic
health by considering a bill, sponsored by Senator John McCain, an Arizona
Republican, that would bankrupt the companies. According to their vision of
the McCain bill: Taxpayers earning $30,000 a year or less would bear the
brunt of the tax penalties. It would spawn a black market for cigarettes,
in which foreign interests would be free to smuggle cigarettes and hire gang
members to sell them to anyone - including children. Farmers, retailers, and
small business people would be driven from their jobs by competition with
black market dealers. More than a dozen new government bureaucracies would
be born to regulate everything from tobacco sales to teen-age smoking rates.

Land Of The Smoke-Free (Editorial In Britain's 'Economist'
About The Political Battle Over The Future Of America's Tobacco Industry
Says That, To Judge By The Rhetoric Of The Anti-Tobacco Campaign,
America Has Taken Leave Of Its Senses When It Comes To Smoking -
The Intolerance Of The Anti-Smoking Movement
Is A Greater Threat Than Smoking)

Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 06:37:35 -0700 (PDT)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: Land of the smoke-free
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Source:	 The Economist
Contact: letters@economist.com


Land of the smoke-free

There is no case for stiff new penalties against America's tobacco

The extraordinary political battle over the future of America's
tobacco industry seems likely to come to a climax over the next few
weeks. Will Bill Clinton work with Republicans on Capitol Hill to
impose drastic new penalties on the once-mighty industry? Or will
president and Congress settle for posturing - each aiming to outbid
the other ahead of this autumn's Congressional elections, proposing
ever more outlandish punishments, until the process collapses without
yielding legislation? The tobacco firms too have a choice to make.
Now that Congress has picked apart the deal they agreed with state
governments last June - a deal that, on any disinterested assessment,
was already harsh - should they refuse to co-operate in seeking a
national agreement, as they now threaten to do? And, if so, should
they fight their cases through the courts or seek quick settlements
state by state?

Complicated stuff. Let us simplify. The politicians are debating, in
effect, whether to thump the industry severely or beat it to within
an inch of its life. Perhaps even now it isn't too late to point out
there is no case for doing either.

To judge by the rhetoric of the anti-tobacco campaign, America has
taken leave of its senses over smoking. Politicians and newspapers
refer mindlessly to tobacco firms as "dealers in death" - comparable
to, or maybe worse, than terrorists. Yes smoking is bad for you, as
every packet of cigarettes sold in America for the past thirty years
has pointed out. But so are lots of things: high-fat foods, alcohol,
fast cars, unprotected sex and jogging all take a dreadful toll. In a
tolerably free society, you are allowed to do what is bad for you,
and what others would rather you didn't, so long as you are harming
only yourself. Despite the bally-hoo over second-hand smoke, there is
no good evidence that it poses a measurable risk to bystanders.
America's insistence, whenever possible, on enclosing smokers in
small glass-sided cubicles already protects non-smokers from both
nuisance and any risk. A tolerant society would recoil even against
this, never mind seek to mobilise a lynch-mob against the dissidents.

True, the tobacco companies have hardly helped their cause. Their
refusal to admit the obvious - that smoking is unhealthy and
addictive - must rank as one of the stupidest, and least successful,
disinformation campaigns in history. But this should have no bearing
on their position in law: they should not be judged negligent because
everyone has known for decades what they denied. The states' legal
suits claiming damages for health-care costs created by smoking,
which have forced the industry to the negotiating table, are bogus.
On balance, smokers save public money by dying early.

The avowed priority of Mr Clinton and congressional leaders - to cut
teenage smoking - is just more humbug. Simply banning vending
machines and enforcing more vigorously the current laws against sales
to minors would achieve more in that regard than fining the industry
billions or forcing it to agree to unconstitutional bans on
advertising. Turning tobacco into a wicked indulgence by declaring
war on it is certainly the best way to get teenagers to take it up.

Fanaticism takes years off your life

The tobacco companies, aided by a coalition of junk-food firms,
retailers and civil-liberties groups, may yet hold the zealots at
bay, both in state courts and Congress. More likely, the firms will
eventually have to agree to some settlement. It is in America's
interest that any such deal, whether reached at the national or state
level, falls far short of providing the huge damages and draconian
restrictions now being contemplated. The intolerance of the anti-
smoking movement is a greater threat than smoking. If the zealots
succeed in pushing cigarettes to the edge of prohibition, their real
goal, then what will be next? Not guns, obviously - no need to get
carried away. But beer, perhaps (it's bad for you, and drunks can be
violent). Or hamburgers (America has an obesity crisis, and fat
people take up too much space). Enough, already.

Two Nations Team Up To Tame Tijuana ('Orange County Register' Article
In 'The San Francisco Examiner' Says Mexico And The United States
Are Attempting To Stop Underage Drinking By Americans)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 16:44:10 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Mexico: Two Nations Team Up to Tame Tijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Author: Rosalva Hernandez - Orange County Register


Mexico, U.S. target underage drinking by Americans gone south for a Blast

TIJUANA, Mexico -- Like a siren's call, the throbbing disco music wound
its way down Tijuana's tourist strip, captivating the young revelers on the
prowl for some midnight action.

And heed it they did, hurrying down the boulevard aptly named Avenida
Revolucion on a rebel quest to drink and dance until dawn.

They shrugged off new club crackdowns by Tijuana police, pushed aside rumors
concerning the spring break death of an Orange County girl who had been
drinking in a border bar, and scorned the possibility of damaging cultural
relations with their drunken demeanor.

It was Wednesday night - College Night - a time to howl between shots of
tequila and buckets of beer in the bowels of the 30-odd clubs and bars.

"It's crazy here," crowed Laura Harris, 20, a student at Riverside
Community College in California, who eagerly tipped her head back for a
"popper" - a shot of tequila poured down the throat by one of the mobile
bartenders - inside one of the city's most popular discos, Club A.

"It's not like the U.S., where you can't do anything," Harris said.
"There's not too many rules here about drinking, about having fun, about
getting crazy."

But there are rules, authorities on both sides of the border insist and
they're about to get tougher. No longer, authorities warn, will Tijuana's
drinking age limit of 18 - three years below California's limit of 21 - be
accepted as a pass for American youths to walk on the wild side.

Unprecedented cooperation between the two border cities is giving Tijuana
and San Diego officials their first real hope in more than a decade that
border binge drinking by Southern California youths may finally be brought
under control.

U.S.-Mexico cooperation The transnational tactics include:

* San Diego police spot-checking youths crossing into Tijuana and
turning back minors. During the 15-day spring break period ending
April 12, police turned back 480 minors.

* California Alcoholic Beverage Control officials training Tijuana police,
liquor-control board inspectors and bartenders on ways to spot fake age
identification cards.

* A coalition of U.S. authorities standing guard at the border reentry
point during heavy tourism seasons to counter fights, crimes and drunken
driving by youths return-ing from Tijuana.

* Tijuana police arresting and detaining minors found in bars and
nightclubs until a parent or legal guardian comes to pick them up.

* Tijuana liquor-control board officials fining businesses - up to $1,300
per infraction - or closing them for up to seven days when minors are found
on the premises. Three closures mandate permanent revocation of the owner's
liquor license. During the main spring break week this month, Ti-juana
officials closed two clubs for minors violations.

* New Tijuana policies prohibiting the public display of posters and signs
touting drink specials. Fines of $500 or more are imposed for infractions.

Reforms have fizzled

There are forthcoming restrictions on alcohol consumption by those of legal
drinking age by Mexican law. Bartenders and restaurant owners begin
training next month on ways to spot inebriated customers.

A 1991 investigation by the Or-ange County Register showed that 17 people
died in alcohol-related crashes tied to binge drinking in Tijuana over an
18-month period. Mexican officials promised a round of reforms then, but
they fizzled.

Raul Aleman Salazar, assistant director of Tijuana's liquor licensing
board, blamed politics for past failures.

Tijuana holds a mayoral election every three years, prompting a rotation of
administrations and changes in policies, programs and priorities. Salazar
says his department has built upon past pro-grams, tightening loopholes,
imposing heavier penalties and cooperating more with San Diego authorities.

This year's spring break was the first sign that the crackdown might succeed.

The number of American youths arrested dropped from a weekend average of
150 to 200 to only 75 on the weekend of April 11 and 12.

There are other signs that the effort is having an early impact.

On a Wednesday night tour of the avenue's clubs, liquor inspectors found
only three minors -none drinking - in one nightclub. And the usually
popular College Night saw a scant 20 percent of its typical 10,000-student

Authorities said they'd like to take credit for the crackdown, but admitted
that a combination of factors was probably responsible:

* Publicity surrounding the restrictions.
* The unseasonably cold night-time weather.
* Rumors surrounding the death of Kavita Chopra, 21, of Anaheim, who the
Tijuana coroner's office said had died of natural causes after she choked
on vomit.

The lackluster crowd prompted a concern of a different type among Tijuana
club owners. Now grappling with the difficulty of retaining business while
trying to change customers' drinking habits, the owners say the entire
problem has been overblown by authorities and the media.

Club owners cry foul

"We get about 400 to 500 people at a time, and of those maybe three might
get really drunk, but every-one focuses on those three," said Alberto
Rubio, supervisor of two of the avenue's most popular spots, the Safari
Club and the Escape Club. "I think it's unfair to us. We want everyone to
be safe. That's what keeps bringing business back." Salazar has little
sympathy for the club owners.

"If their business is big but violating the law, we're shutting them down,"
Salazar said. "It may make for a smaller trade, but one that's legal and

And that may fuel the arrival of a more prosperous clientele, said Sigfredo
Pineda, a city spokesman.

"The presence of these kids who cause problems is keeping away older
tourists who like to shop the avenue during the day, then rush home before
night falls because they worry about drinking teens, fights and crime,"
Pineda said. "We're hoping that by decreasing the problem caused by these
types of youths, families will be more encouraged to stay later, perhaps
have dinner, take in a show, do more shopping. That's the kind of trade we
want here."

Although Americans tend to blame Mexico's lower drinking age for the
problems, Mexican authorities note that it is American teens - not local
youths - who lose control.

"They'll lose customers," Robert Bringman said of the crack-down,
especially the idea of restricting consumption. "If people can't come down
to have a good time, what good is it here? We might as well be back home."

The 21-year-old aviation electronics technician at North Island Naval Air
Station in San Diego was in town with a group of military comrades to
sample the border night life. Hanging about the dance floor of Club A, they
admitted that each of them might have 15 to 20 hard drinks before the night

"I can handle it," shrugged Andrew Rowe, 22. "We're sailors. It's our job."

Drug Money Linked To Kin Of Ex-Mexican Chief ('Associated Press' Article In
'Boston Globe' Says Court Documents Released Yesterday In Lausanne,
Switzerland, Claim US Investigators Have Traced $132 Million In Swiss Banks
To Raul Salinas De Gortari, The Brother Of Former President Carlos Salinas
De Gortari, And That At Least Some Of The Money Came From Drug Traffickers)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 22:04:34 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: Drug money linked to kin of ex-Mexican chief
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Pubdate: April 25, 1998
Author: Associated Press


LAUSANNE, Switzerland - US investigators have traced $132 million in Swiss
banks to the brother of a former Mexican president and say at least some of
the money came from drug traffickers, say court documents released yesterday.

Switzerland's highest court disclosed details of the largely secret US case
against Raul Salinas de Gortari, the brother of former president Carlos
Salinas de Gortari. The Federal Tribunal made the disclosure in a decision
allowing some bank account documents to be turned over to US authorities,
who have accused Salinas, his wife, and others of money laundering, bribery,
and cocaine trafficking. The decision omitted names but referred to ''the
brother of the previous Mexican president'' and otherwise made clear that it
was the latest decision in the Salinas case.

The court disclosed not only that US officials believe Salinas had deposited
$132 million in Swiss bank accounts but also that they believe significant
drug dealers paid Salinas to ''assure undisturbed passage of the drugs
through Mexico to the United States.'' The court also referred to US
assertions that the wife of Raul Salinas, Paulina Castanon, admitted that
the money came from bribes. Salinas has denied any links to drug
traffickers and said the money in the Swiss accounts was an investment fund
pooled by several wealthy friends.

Virtually all of the funds have been frozen by Swiss authorities since
November 1995. Raul Salinas has been imprisoned in Mexico in the 1994
murder of a political rival. Carlos Salinas, who left Mexico in disgrace in
early 1995 soon after his term ended, has spent most of his self-imposed
exile in Dublin.

Goody Two Shoes Barren Of Ideas (Letter Sent To Editor
Of 'Calgary Herald' Suggests A Recent UN-Sponsored Youth Conference
Was Stage-Managed - The Young People 'Chosen To Attend
These Government-Sponsored Conferences Are Incapable Of Coming Up
With Any Fresh Ideas - Come To Think Of It,
That's Probably Why They Were Chosen')

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 06:51:27 -0700 (PDT)
To: letters@theherald.southam.ca
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: Goody-two-shoes barren of ideas

Calgary Herald

April 25, 1998

Dear Editor:

Eva Ferguson's April 19 story, "Drug Conference, Global solution
needed, say youth" showed clearly that the young "goody-two-shoes"
chosen to attend these government-sponsored conferences are incapable
of coming up with any fresh ideas to deal with today's problems. Come
to think of it, that's probably why they were chosen.

Luckily, our future leaders are too busy skateboarding or working or
hanging around street corners to waste their time trying to show the
elders how gosh-darned decent and respectful of authority they are.
Those clean-cut young people attending the conference mindlessly
mimicking their parents' opinions will hopefully end up far from the
corridors of power, perhaps happily pumping gas or pushing Big Macs.

Here is the issue the conference attendees "forgot" to mention.
Canada's drug prohibition laws were spawned during the early years of
this century by virulent racism directed by whites against non-white
"inferior races" such as blacks, Chinese and Hispanics. The state has
no more right to ban any drug than it has to ban pound cake. There is
no more reason to persecute drug users and distributors today than
there was in the past to burn witches at the stake, lynch Blacks or
gas Jews.

So Nancy Snowball, spokeswoman for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Commission "was astonished by how well these young people connected,
the conversations were never about the weather or scenery; they were
about the issues." Spoken like a true defender of the status quo, a
status quo, we should not forget, that ensures the continuation of Ms
Snowball's job. I suspect Ms Snowball would have expressed similar
sentiments about a conference of the Nazi Youth back in Hitler's

For myself, I prefer that our young people discuss the scenery and the
weather more, and failed racist ideas less.

Alan Randell

Ritalin Story Cut To Shreds (Staff Editorial In 'Toronto Star'
Apologizes For Misrepresenting 'New Scientist' Article On Ritalin)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 19:01:36 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Canada: Editorial: Ritalin Story Cut To Shreds
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Section: Opinion
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998


THE DRUG is methylphenidate, usually known as Ritalin. Millions of
children, mostly boys, take it to control a neurological condition called
attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The disorder makes kids jumpy and unable to concentrate. Scientists are
uncertain as to what causes ADHD, but Ritalin is the most common treatment.
Like most drugs, however, Ritalin has critics.

So it's safe to assume that many readers saw a brief story tucked away deep
in The Star recently. It had an eye-catching headline: Hyperactive child
drug like cocaine.

The item, datelined London, was by Reuters News Agency. Accurately quoting
a New Scientist magazine article, it said Ritalin has similar properties to
cocaine ``and could encourage drug abuse in later life.''

The three-paragraph story was based partly on a study of 5,000 children by
developmental psychologist Nadine Lambert of the University of California.
She also believes kids on Ritalin are more likely to smoke as adults.

The story ended by saying psychopharmacologist Susan Schenk of Texas A&M
University ``suggests they are three times more likely to develop a taste
for cocaine.''

Reaction to the story was swift. Several readers, all with kids on Ritalin,
complained that the paper was trying to scare people into abandoning a
useful drug.

For sure, it wasn't intentional. But as is often the case when medical
research stories are trimmed for space reasons, readers get shortchanged.

The Reuters story - itself a summary of a longer New Scientist article
- had been cut to just 110 words from 370. In the process, much was lost.

Gone were some crucial balancing comments from Alan Zametkin, a National
Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist who told New Scientist he thinks
stimulants (such as Ritalin) reduce, not increase, the risk of drug

``My theory is that stimulant use allows kids to be more successful and
therefore they develop fewer antisocial behaviours. So it's less likely
they'll become drug addicts.''

Clearly, there's a debate about the Ritalin risk.

A glance at the New Scientist article, available on the Internet, uncovered
more weaknesses. Primarily a scene-setter for a U.S. National Institutes of
Health conference on Ritalin controversies, it's not so scary.

For one thing, the magazine quoted scientist Nora Volkow as warning that
similarities she detected between cocaine and Ritalin ``should not be used
as an argument against the use of methylphenidate.'' She saw no evidence of
a link between Ritalin use and cocaine abuse.

The New Scientist also noted that Volkow's study on Ritalin's cocaine-like
properties was based on an experiment with just ``eight healthy male
volunteers'' injected with the drug. Their brain scans were compared with
those of people in earlier studies who had been injected with cocaine.

As for Schenk, she experimented with rats, not people.

Also, a Canadian angle was missed. New Scientist cited the work of Lily
Hechtman, a Montreal psychiatrist who found ``no significant differences in
patterns of substance abuse'' among people who took Ritalin, people who
weren't hyperactive, and ADHD sufferers who hadn't taken the drug.

Let's hope the coverage of this fall's Ritalin conference is more complete.

Contents copyright (c) 1996-1998, The Toronto Star.

Herbicide Could Be Used In Drug War Despite Dire Warning By Maker
('The Scotsman' Says Even Though Colombia Has Carried Out
The Largest Eradication Of Coca And Poppy Crops In History,
The United States Wants It To Switch From Glyphosate, Which Has Only
A 50 Percent Success Rate, To The Much More Dangerous Tebuthiuron,
Even Though Its Manufacturer, Dow Agro Sciences, Specifically Says
It Is Not The Product For Wide-Scale Eradication Of Illicit Drug Crops)

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 19:01:36 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Colombia Herbicide Could Be Used In Drug War Despite Dire Warning
By Maker
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug@shug.co.uk
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Website: http://www.scotsman.com/
Author: Jeremy McDermott in Bogota


Colombian anti-narcotics agencies, under pressure from the United States to
improve eradication of drug crops, are planning to use a herbicide so
strong that its manufacturer says it could cause environmental damage.

In 1997, Colombian anti-narcotic agents sprayed 41,161 hectares of coca,
6,962 hectares of poppies and eight hectares of marijuana in "the largest
eradication of coca and poppy crops that has taken place in the world in a
year", according to the counter-narcotics police director, Colonel Leonardo
Gallego. But the US feels it is still not enough.

A State Department official said that the herbicide used, Glyphosate, led
to a less than 50 per cent rate of effectiveness. So Col Gallego is backing
a switch to Tebuthiuron.

Dow Agro Sciences manufacture Tebuthiuron, or Spike. It also produced the
controversial defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

It is so concerned about the potential misuse of Tebuthiuron that it warns
customers never to apply it near trees, water sources or any place where it
can accidentally kill desirable plant life. It specifically says it is not
the product for wide-scale eradication of illicit drug crops.

Dow finds itself in the unusual position of siding with the environmental
groups against the US government proposal to make Tebuthiuron a centrepiece
in the war on drugs in Colombia.

US government researchers have listed Tebuthiuron as the most effective of
several potential eradication chemicals and insist it can be used safely.

Environmental groups, including Greepeace and the World Wildlife Fund, have
objected to even limited tests of Tebuthiuron in Colombia, arguing that its
rain and terrain makes it too risky for such an herbicide. Members of
President Ernesto Samper's government also have raised concerns, but also
under pressure, have expressed willingness to consider the US proposals.

"It's insanity," said an MP, Algeria Fonseca. "This chemical was never
designed for eradication. It was meant to be applied on weeds in industrial
parks... It is not selective in what it wipes out."

Ted McKinney, a Dow spokesman, agreed. "Tebuthiuron is not labelled for use
on any crops in Colombia, and it is our desire that this product not be
used for illicit crop eradication," he said. "It can be very risky in
situations where the territory has slopes, rainfall is significant,
desirable plants or trees are nearby and applicaiton is made under
less-than-ideal circumstances."

Colombia is having to weigh the threat of environmental damage against the
risk of further decertification by the US and the economic sanctions that
entails. US officials have made it clear that unless Colombia takes
decisive action to curb the rapid expansion of coca and opium cultivation,
it could risk returning to the list of nations decertified by Washington as
allies in the war on drugs. Colombia was removed from that list only last
month after enduring two years as an international pariah.

Despite the huge aerial eradication programme by Colombian anti-narcotics
police, the amount of land under cultivation has nearly doubled in the past
five years to around 150,000 acres, according to government statistics.

The problem is that more than 40 per cent of the country is controlled by
rebels who "tax" and protect drug production to fund their war.

Anti-narcotics police cannot operate in much of this territory, and aerial
spraying, a notoriously inaccurate and inefficiant method of drug crop
eradication, is the only means at their disposal. Furthermore, its use does
nothing to prevent increased cultivation for drugs crops.

A US department of agriculture herbicide researcher, Charles Helling, said
the advantage of Tebuthiuron is that it can be quickly applied from high
altitude in any conditions, with a higher rate of effectiveness than

Colombian Rebels Send Message To Washington ('Associated Press'
Notes FARC, Colombia's Oldest And Largest Rebel Group,
Released One American Bird Watcher And Promised Three Others
Would Soon Follow, And Used The Opportunity To Denounce US Intervention
In Colombia)

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 14:37:04 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Melodi Cornett 
Subject: MN: Columbia: Wire: Colombian Rebels Send Message To Washington
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Pubdate: Sat 25 Apr 1998
Source: Associated Press


LOS ALPES, Colombia (AP) -- Rebels promised release was imminent for the
last of four American bird watchers kidnapped as they tracked a rare,
ground-hugging species in the mountains of Colombia. One of the bird-lovers,
a retired teacher from Illinois, was newly freed.

"They never threatened me. I was never frightened," Louise Augustine, 63, of
Chillicothe said after her release Friday from a month in the captivity of
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. "I prayed for a miracle, and
this is it," said Augustine, a former nun.

The rebels handed her over to government and Red Cross officials in the
remote town of Los Alpes, 60 miles southeast of the capital. A regional
commander of the rebel group met with reporters on a mountainside afterward,
promising that the two birders still held -- Peter Shen of New York City and
Todd Mark of Houston -- would be released soon, perhaps as early as today.

The commander, Marco Aurelio Buendia, read a statement accusing the United
States of intervening on the side of the government in Colombia's fight with
the rebels, which the Colombian army has been losing.

The United States was using its anti-drug war to launch "a campaign of
disinformation that seeks to delegitimize the sacred right of people to rise
up against corrupt and oppressive regimes," the statement alleged.

The rebel group, known by its Spanish initials, FARC, is Colombia's oldest
and largest. It grabbed Augustine and three fellow bird watchers on March 23
a few hours down the mountain from Los Alpes. After Augustine fell and
injured her hips and ribs on April 10, her captors transported her on
muleback -- typical of their respectful treatment throughout, she said.

Augustine said she had no regrets about coming to Colombia, "a wonderful
country" where her group was hoping to sight a bird of the species
Cundinamarca Antpitta, a drab, earthbound creature that is extremely rare.

The bird is only found in this region -- also a favorite rebel kidnapping
spot. The American bird watchers were snared along with more than a dozen
Colombians during a more than four-hour rebel roadblock of the main road
that drops down to eastern plains.

Augustine said the remaining two U.S. captives were in good condition. The
fourth, Thomas Fiore of New York, was found April 2 by a television crew
reporting on the abductions.

He says he escaped, but rebels insist they let him go. An Italian, Vito
Candela, was freed April 15. Most of the Colombians were freed earlier.

Colombia leads the world in kidnappings, with nearly four abductions a day.
Foregners are prized targets because they often fetch higher ransoms --
although there was no indication a ransom was paid for Augustine.

The kidnappings come at a time of heightened U.S. concern over the FARC's
involvement in protecting illegal drug crops and production and its recent
victories over Colombian troops. -- and unsubstantiated reports of planned
U.S. military involvement that have been denied by the Pentagon.

A rebel leader had said early on that the four Americans probably would be
held for up to a year while ransoms were negotiated.

But the rebels apparently settled for the public relations opportunity. They
got considerable media attention in June when they freed 70 captured
soldiers. They've got nearly as many soldier prisoners now.

Marijuana Special Report: Newswire: From on high (New Scientist, in Britain,
says a new survey by the Centre for Drug Research at the University of
Amsterdam indicates that only 3 per cent of Dutch people smoke cannabis
regularly, not 5 per cent as had been thought. Either rate is lower than in
many countries that criminalize users of the herb.)
Link to New Scientist's 'Marijuana Special Report' index
New Scientist Britain 25 April 1998 http://www.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/marijuana.html Marijuana Special Report: Newswire: From on high From New Scientist, 25 April 1998 Only 3 per cent of Dutch people smoke cannabis regularly, not 5 per cent as had been thought, according to a survey by the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam. This is less than in many countries that take a tougher line against the drug. Cannabis use has been legal in the Netherlands since 1976, and campaigners against the drug claim this has resulted in more widespread use. But the centre points out that previous surveys were carried out in Amsterdam, where the population is not typical of the whole country. It carried out its study in Tilburg, whose population profile is more typical. From New Scientist, 25 April 1998

Letter From The Editor (Andrew Marr, Editor In Chief
Of Britain's 'Independent,' Notes The Departure Of Editor Rosie Boycott,
Who Spearheaded The Cannabis Campaign For 'The Independent On Sunday'
That Saw Its Circulation Increase Significantly)

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 10:45:00 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: Independent: Letter From the Editor
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke)
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
Our Newshawk writes: "The following article may be important since it was
Rosie Boycott who started the "Legailise cannabis" campaign. Her departure
may see The Independent dropping the campaign."


Whenever there seems to be a rather thin news list, we have a tradition at
The Independent of making some news ourselves. I don't mean making it up,
just getting ourselves taken over, or hurling an editor or two out of the
tower to keep the chattering classes happy. We could put in on the
masthead: ''The newspaper that makes the news''. So it's been Marr out,
Rosie Boycott in, Mirror Group out, Marr in. And now it's happened again -
dull week on the media front, what to do? - oh well then, Boycott out.

Seriously, though, when I was dismissed in January after an argument (about
budgets) with the then owners, many of you wrote to me privately,
complaining that the incident and my career had been air-brushed out of the
paper in an almost Stalinist way. What had been going on, you asked. Why
weren't we told? Had they got something to hide?

You had a point, I thought. You can't be a pro-openness newspaper and then,
the minute your own affairs are under scrutiny, go all coy. We have a
straight story, therefore, on page 2. This time, the departing editor
hasn't been sacked. So what happened, you may ask, to the Marr-Boycott
''dream team''? Was it a ferocious row? Was it our disagreement over
cannabis? Some kind of Marrist revenge?

None of that. We certainly have disagreed not only about drugs but also
about how forthright the daily newspaper should be in expressing its views
on the subject. But that wasn't really the issue: I don't respect
journalists who can't argue or stand up for themselves and I'd hate to work
on a newspaper where disagreements didn't happen. On most things we agreed
and we got on perfectly well. Rosie wasn't driven out. She decided that she
wanted to work on a mid-market tabloid and that's a perfectly reasonable

So what now? By far the most important thing is that for the first time in
the paper's history we are secure, and stable, working inside a big,
liberal-minded company - one which not only makes profits but believes in
independent journalism. For most of my time at The Independent, which spans
eight years out of eleven, we have been living with stories about our
possible demise, takeover or what have you. Now that's all gone and, like
most of my colleagues, I haven't really got used to it yet - it is like the
sudden disappearance of a kind of daily pain one had almost become used to.
Readers will see a series of changes in the months ahead which will show
quite clearly an intelligent paper moving upmarket and expanding too.

Speaking personally, I'm going to remain as editor in chief, directing
editorial policy, and taking an overview of the paper, as well as writing.
I tend to sit, looking portly, with my fingertips pressed lightly together
and an expression of remarkable wisdom on my face. I've agreed to take over
as daily editor as well, but only for a short time while new executives are
recruited. Excellent people are lining up and a new editor will be
appointed soon. Then I will float gently upwards, returning to a realm of
pure and rarified contemplative bliss.

I've spent a lot of time reading best-sellers while trying to prepare a
speech for the Booksellers' Association next week. As I swing from tube
straps deep in Louis de Bernieres or the new life of Thomas More, my
overwhelming impression is that the reading public is trading up - that
best-seller lists are fuller of intelligence and good prose than they were
in the Eighties. My colleague Boyd Tonkin, our literary editor, who is
writing opposite, confirms this. So the question for broadsheets is: if
people are trading up in books why should we think they desperately want to
dumb down as soon as they get to their newspaper? They don't: and we intend
to prove it.

Andrew Marr

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 39
(The Drug Reform Coordination Network's News Summary For Activists
Features An Original Editorial By Adam J. Smith, 'Tobacco,
America's Newest Drug')

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 15:06:39 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 #39



(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

NEWSFLASH: PBS Frontline to air "Busted: America's War on
Marijuana", featuring Will Foster, arthritis patient from
Oklahoma sentenced to 93 years for medical marijuana.

ALSO: We've been informed that the Politically Incorrect
segment featuring Todd McCormick and Woody Harrelson, which
we reported as airing last Monday, will not air until May
19. Sorry for the confusion.

This week's issue of The Week Online is an abbreviated one
due to the fact that Adam was in Oklahoma for the Free Will
Foster rally until early Wednesday morning, and both Adam
and Dave are in Baltimore for the North American Syringe
Exchange Network Conference starting on Thursday. While
this past week was an eventful one on the Drug War front, we
will regretfully be unable to provide our usual original
coverage. Next week's issue will touch on the major
happenings during the entire two-week period.



1. Medical Marijuana Protesters Have Charges Dropped

2. Clinton Administration Declares Syringe Exchange Safe and
Effective - But Will Not Lift Ban

3. Soros Pledges Additional $1 Million for Needle Exchanges
in U.S.

4. Hemispheric Leaders Pledge Cooperation in Global Drug War

5. Belgium Decriminalizes Cannabis

6. EDITORIAL: Tobacco, America's Newest Drug



Charges were dropped this week (4/20) against Cheryl Miller
and her husband Jim for their protest of March 30 during
which Jim helped his wife to eat cannabis in the
congressional office of California Rep. Jim Rogan. Charged
with possession, the Millers could have faced up to six
months in jail. The Millers, who are from Pennsylvania,
chose to target Rogan for his about face on the medical
marijuana issue. Rogan, who had previously supported
medical marijuana in the California legislature, voted in
favor of anti-med mj HR 372 in committee.

You can read about the March 30 protest at
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-3.html#protest. You
can stay up to date on the status of HR 372 by visiting the
Marijuana Policy Project web site at
http://www.mpp.org/la031398.html. If your web browser has
a video plug-in, you can see live footage from the protest
at http://wire.ap.org/APpackages/video/0331videoday.html.



On Monday (4/20) Donna Shalala made the unequivocal
determination that syringe exchange programs reduce the
spread of AIDS without increasing drug use. Nevertheless,
the administration announced that it would not lift the ban
against the use of federal anti-AIDS funds for the programs.
The funding, which is already in the hands of state and
local governments, would allow for the expansion of the
programs to fight the number one cause of new cases of AIDS
and HIV in America.

We will have in-depth coverage of this ongoing story in next
week's issue.

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST: Two weeks ago (WOL - Issue #36)
DRCNet was *the first publication in the nation* to announce
that a decision by the administration was forthcoming. And
unlike the major media outlets (e.g. SF Chronicle, CNN) who
announced, at various times in the interim, that the ban
would be lifted, we reported that Secretary Shalala was
"supportive", and that the decision would be announced
"within two weeks". You can check out that exclusive report
at http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-10.html#dhhs.

(Sounds like a good reason to support DRCNet by becoming a
member, doesn't it? http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html)

You can learn more about the impact of injection-related
AIDS on your state by visiting DRCNet's site at



(Reprinted with permission of The Lindesmith Center,

In light of the federal government's decision to not fund
needle exchange programs, philanthropist George Soros today
offered $1 million in matching funds to support needle
exchange programs in the U.S. With 35% of all new HIV cases
in the United States now due to drug-injection with unclean
needles, Mr. Soros is challenging individuals, private
foundations and local governments to help stop the spread of
HIV by supporting needle exchanges. Last year, Mr. Soros
provided $1 million to fund needle exchange programs in the

"Over half of all AIDS cases involving children are directly
related to unclean syringes," said Mr. Soros. "It has been
scientifically proven, and the federal government agrees,
that making sterile syringes readily available to addicts
reduces the spread of HIV and does not encourage drug use.
I challenge other philanthropic organizations, individuals,
and local governments to join me in supporting these life-
saving programs."



The leaders of 34 nations of North, Central and South
America closed a hemispheric conference in Chile on Saturday
(4/18) with an agreement of increased Drug War cooperation.
The alliance, brought together under the auspices of the
Organization of American States, will begin meeting in
Washington next month. Some U.S. officials have indicated
that the alliance would eventually take on the role of
judging each nation's progress, a task now undertaken by the
U.S. Congress as part of its certification process.
Republican leaders have already indicated that they will not
accept any such changes.



Belgium, which has long been stuck, both legally and
geographically, in-between the cannabis-tolerant Dutch and
the prohibitionist French, announced this week (4/21) that
personal-use amounts of cannabis will now receive the
"lowest priority" from the police. While insisting that
possession will remain a punishable offense, the
government's action effectively decriminalizes marijuana.
The move is the latest sign of a mounting trend in Europe
away from cannabis prohibition. Sources in Europe are
estimating that "personal use amounts" will likely mean five
grams or less.


6. EDITORIAL: Tobacco, the Newest Drug

(Note: The following is an exploration of issues common to
the tobacco debate and illicit drug policy, and does
not represent the position of the organization. DRCNet
does not at this point have a position on how the
currently illegal drugs would be best regulated in a
post-prohibition system, nor on whether or how regulation
of the currently legal drugs should be modified. We do
have ascribe to the philosophy that regulations should not
be so restrictive as to cause prohibition-like harms.)

Observers of drug policy are beginning to realize that their
field is about to be exponentially expanded thanks to the
federal government's escalating war on tobacco. That
tobacco, or rather the nicotine in tobacco, is a drug, and
cigarettes a "delivery system" is a fairly new concept, but
it is undoubtedly true. And as surely as the effects of
nicotine addiction will kill 400,000 Americans this year, we
can be certain that the federal government will do
everything in its power to make things worse under the
predictable guise of "protecting" children.

Like all American drug policies, the federal government's
plans for tobacco will give rise to numerous unintended
consequences. And like all American drug policies, our
elected officials are acting as if they are immune from
common sense on the issue. They seem determined to ignore
not only America's parallel experiences with other
substances, but also the well-documented experiences of
other countries in trying to address this problem.

The first step on the road toward empowering the government
to prohibit tobacco will be a tax of $1.10 on every pack of
cigarettes sold. This step is designed to price the killer
weed out of the range of kids' allowances. This tactic,
prohibitive taxes designed to discourage consumption, has
been adopted before, most notably in Germany and Canada. In
both nations, a lucrative black market materialized almost
instantly. In Germany, forty "tobacco-related" murders were
recorded in the first year of the tax. Both nations quickly
abandoned the experiment.

One need not be a student of political science to predict a
likely tobacco war scenario. Bootlegged cigarettes, either
diverted directly from American factories or else smuggled
back into the country from abroad, become a staple of the
underground economy. In response, new federal agencies
spring up to handle enforcement. Penalties are increased as
it becomes apparent that current sentences are deterring
neither street-level dealers nor the vast organized crime
organizations trafficking tobacco through their existing
networks. In order to offset the new costs associated with
tobacco, and the loss of tax revenue due to large-scale
diversion, per-pack taxes rise further, making the black
market even more lucrative.

To the shock and horror of both parents and legislators,
tobacco's new identity as a counter-culture status symbol
leads to an explosion in teen (and pre-teen) use. It is
now almost universally "cool" among the middle school set
to possess and use tobacco. In response, hordes of
children enter the trade, supplementing their allowances
and financing their own use.

As name brand cigarettes become more expensive to smuggle,
small-time operations begin to grow and produce their
own cigarettes, filterless and of questionable content.
Enforcement, concentrated in less affluent areas as those
in the upper income brackets continue to pay the tax on
legal product, disproportionately affects non-whites and
immigrants. Law enforcement across the country begins
to succumb to yet another easily corrupting influence, and
respect for the law as a whole takes another, devastating
hit. Failing to get a handle on the growing problem,
congress and the president declare an all-out "War on
Tobacco" pushing through legislation with an eye toward
total criminal prohibition.

It is not as farfetched as it might seem. At a median
income level of $25,000 per year, even $1.10 per pack will
adversely impact the average smoker. That the product is
addictive insures that rather than quit, many will pay the
price until a cheaper (if illegal) alternative source can
be found. A New York Times survey (4/22) revealed that
most underage smokers, the ones who are supposed to be
deterred by the increase, will continue to buy cigarettes.

American society, in the proud tradition of alcohol
prohibition and the drug war, is about to embark on yet
another substance-induced folly. As always, its intentions
are noble. As always, its logic is fatally flawed. It is
disheartening, to say the least, that the people we have
elected to represent us to the Republic are either unwilling
or incapable of learning from relevant history, either our
own or anyone else's. Perhaps, as we begin to witness the
impact of this "new" public policy, the American people will
begin to make the connections, and to re-think our policies
on all demonized substances. But as our leadership once
again uses the failures of the policy to justify more of the
same, that realization may take awhile. In the meantime,
perhaps we ought to just begin by using that $1.10 per pack
to start building prisons.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director




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