------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US OR: OPED: Initiative A Reaction To Draconian Laws Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Bayer) Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Source: Oregonian, The Section: OpEd - pg E9 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Authors: Richard Bayer, MD and Nancy Crumpacker, MD INITIATIVE A REACTION TO DRACONIAN LAWS 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 investigations. 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.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) firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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 objectively." 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 Marinol. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 503-436-1882
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "D. Paul Stanford" (email@example.com) 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: [Snip] > 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.) [Snip] >...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. > >David
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Drug Sting Tactics Helped 'Poison the Public,' Judge Says Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (email@example.com) Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Author: Cythnia Hubert - Bee Staff Writer DRUG STING'S TACTICS HELPED 'POISON THE PUBLIC,' JUDGE SAYS 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 addicts. 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 handled. "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: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US CA: Drug Tests For New Teachers Approved Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Burbank Leader Contact: email@example.com Mail: 220 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502 Fax: (818) 954-9439 Pubdate:April 25, 1998 author: Jasmine Lee DRUG TESTS FOR NEW TEACHERS APPROVED 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 said. 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 program. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US AK: Alaskans Will Vote On Marijuana Medical Use Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 ALASKANS WILL VOTE ON MARIJUANA MEDICAL USE 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 Thursday. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Melodi Cornett
Subject: MN: US OH: Wayne Judge Sends Ex-Deputy To Prison Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Nora Callahan Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Source: Akron Beacon Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ohio.com/bj Author: David Knox, Beacon Journal staff writer WAYNE JUDGE SENDS EX-DEPUTY TO PRISON 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 drugs. 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 trafficking.'' 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: email@example.com From: Mike Gogulski
Subject: MN: US NY: Veteran Officer Suspended Over Drug Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Author: Kit R. Roane VETERAN OFFICER SUSPENDED OVER DRUG CASE 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 department. 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 (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Million Marijuana March (fwd) -- Forwarded message -- Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 15:06:42 -0700 (PDT) From: Robert MacDonald (email@example.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 College. 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 HALL SATURDAY MAY 2ND 1998. JAH, RASTAFARI! ONE LOVE, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: DC News in Brief: Herbal Remedies and FDA; Tobacco Donations Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 HERBAL REMEDIES WILL SOON FACE FDA REGULATIONS 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, GAMBLING, LIQUOR INTERESTS MAKE LARGE DONATIONS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Republicans Plan Major Campaign for Drug-Free America Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (Tom Murlowski) Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Author: Marcus Stern - Copley News Service REPUBLICANS PLAN MAJOR CAMPAIGN FOR DRUG-FREE AMERICA 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Needle-Funding Refusal Disappoints Satcher Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Author: Laura Meckler - The Associated Press NEEDLE-FUNDING REFUSAL DISAPPOINTS SATCHER 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 users. 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 programs. "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 overtones." 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 them. "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 addicts. 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. *** O.C. AIDS RATES ON THE RISE 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 cases. "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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Clinton Spineless on Needle Funds Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Author: Cynthia Tucker CLINTON SPINELESS ON NEEDLE FUNDS 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 children. 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 studies. 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 thing. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mike Gogulski
Subject: MN: US: OPED: FDA Approval Is Just the First Step Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Author: Stephen Fried F.D.A. APPROVAL IS JUST THE FIRST STEP 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 approved. 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 center. 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 wasted. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Mike Gogulski
Subject: MN: US: Tobacco industry launches ads to fight Congress Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Evans) Source: Boston Globe (MA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Author: Associated Press TOBACCO INDUSTRY LAUNCHES ADS TO FIGHT CONGRESS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Alan Randell) Subject: Land of the smoke-free Newshawk: Alan Randell Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Source: The Economist Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Land of the smoke-free There is no case for stiff new penalties against America's tobacco firms 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Mexico: Two Nations Team Up to Tame Tijuana Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Author: Rosalva Hernandez - Orange County Register TWO NATIONS TEAM UP TO TAME TIJUANA 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 crush. 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 safe." 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 ended. "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: email@example.com From: Mike Gogulski
Subject: MN: Drug money linked to kin of ex-Mexican chief Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (Dick Evans) Source: Boston Globe (MA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Pubdate: April 25, 1998 Author: Associated Press DRUG MONEY LINKED TO KIN OF EX-MEXICAN CHIEF 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan Randell) Subject: Goody-two-shoes barren of ideas Editor Calgary Herald email@example.com 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 Germany. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Canada: Editorial: Ritalin Story Cut To Shreds Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Toronto Star (Canada) Section: Opinion Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thestar.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 RITALIN STORY CUT TO SHREDS 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 addiction: ``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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Colombia Herbicide Could Be Used In Drug War Despite Dire Warning By Maker Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 Source: Scotsman (UK) Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com Website: http://www.scotsman.com/ Author: Jeremy McDermott in Bogota HERBICIDE COULD BE USED IN DRUG WAR DESPITE DIRE WARNING BY MAKER 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 Glyphosate.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com From: Melodi Cornett
Subject: MN: Columbia: Wire: Colombian Rebels Send Message To Washington Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat 25 Apr 1998 Source: Associated Press COLOMBIAN REBELS SEND MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON 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.)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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: UK: Independent: Letter From the Editor Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke) Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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." LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 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 ambition. 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: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #39 THE WEEK ONLINE WITH DRCNet, ISSUE #39 -- APRIL 25, 1998 http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html -- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -- (To sign off this list, mailto:email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.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 tax-deductible. 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. *** TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Medical Marijuana Protesters Have Charges Dropped http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#millers 2. Clinton Administration Declares Syringe Exchange Safe and Effective - But Will Not Lift Ban http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#shalala 3. Soros Pledges Additional $1 Million for Needle Exchanges in U.S. http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#nepfunds 4. Hemispheric Leaders Pledge Cooperation in Global Drug War http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#hemisphere 5. Belgium Decriminalizes Cannabis http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#belgium 6. EDITORIAL: Tobacco, America's Newest Drug http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/4-24.html#editorial *** 1. MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROTESTERS HAVE CHARGES DROPPED 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. *** 2. CLINTON ADMINISTRATION DECLARES SYRINGE EXCHANGE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE -- BUT WILL NOT LIFT BAN 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 http://www.drcnet.org/AIDS/. *** 3. SOROS PLEDGES ADDITIONAL $1 MILLION FOR NEEDLE EXCHANGES IN U.S. (Reprinted with permission of The Lindesmith Center, http://www.lindesmith.org) 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 U.S. "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." *** 4. HEMISPHERIC LEADERS PLEDGE COOPERATION IN GLOBAL DRUG WAR 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. *** 5. BELGIUM DECRIMINALIZES CANNABIS 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 *** DRCNet *** JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org/ REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org/ STOP THE DRUG WAR SITE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ -------------------------------------------------------------------
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