Portland NORML News - Monday, May 4, 1998

Don't Treat As Criminals Very Ill People Using Pot (Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Oregonian' From Portland Physician Esther Gwinnell)

The Oregonian
letters to editor:
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Pubdate: May 4, 1998
The Oregonian

Patrick O'Neill's article on the Oregon Medical Association meeting at
Salishan (April 26) reports that I said that "the most abused drugs are
prescription medications." I did not say that.

Prescription drugs can be abused, and some of them have a much greater abuse
potential than marijuana. Because of this, I believe that the discussion of
medical use of marijuana should not be based solely on the issue of "someone
somewhere might abuse this drug." We don't use that factor in deciding
whether other drugs can be tested and marketed; we use a risk-benefit analysis.

There may well be appropriate medical uses of marijuana. The studies are
still in the works that will establish how and when to use this drug in the
treatment of medical illness. Until this is made clear, however, my stand is
that those who are desperately, severely ill and who may benefit from using
marijuana to decrease their suffering should not be prosecuted as criminals.

There is enough evidence for medicinal uses of marijuana to justify a
patient trying it when traditional anti-nausea drugs are ineffective or when
drugs that decrease the painful and crippling muscle spasms of neurological
disorders don't work. On the other hand, I cannot support prescribing
medicine until the studies are in and the medicinal use is not just
decriminalized but made legal.

Esther Gwinnell, M.D.
Southwest Portland

Medical Marijuana Trial In Portland (Bulletin From Portland NORML Director
Terry Miller Says The Cultivation Trial Of Craig Helm, A
Multiple Sclerosis Patient, Begins Tomorrow In Hillsboro, Oregon - Nationally Recognized
MS Specialist Dr. Petro To Testify)

Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 08:35:36 -0700
From: Terry Miller (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
Newsgroups: or.politics
Subject: Med Pot trial

Good Morning,

Tomorrow, May 5 at 9:00 am, at the County Court House in Hillsboro, Craig
Helm goes to a jury trial for growing pot to treat his Multiple Sclerosis
Lee Berger, his attorney, has arranged for the nation's
expert on spastisity, Dr. Petro, to come and talk about how marijuana
affects that aspect of the disease. I will be witnessing to the amount
grown in the bust (eight plants, plus seedlings) being a personal amount
and not a commercial operation.

Its been a long time since a medical marijuana patient finally hit a jury.
I expect a positive outcome for wheel-chair bound Craig. I've used him as
an example of how we jail folks like him in lieu of more serious

With today's LTE in the Oregonian from Dr. Gwinnell, we can see that
support for medical marijuana is growing. Perhaps, at least for the time
being, we can quit prosecuting those who fit the definition of a medical
marijuana user.

TD Miller
Arrested, Convicted, Serving my sentence and still
Director PDX NORML

Re - Medical Pot Trial (Leland Berger, Attorney
For Multiple Sclerosis Patient Craig Helm, Notes He Will Ask Judge Milnes
To Allow His Client To Invoke Oregon's 'Choice Of Evils' Defense)

From: LawBerger (LawBerger@aol.com)
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 17:50:07 EDT
Subject: Re: Med Pot trial (fwd)

Trial has been assigned to Judge Milnes, in Room 440J of new building attached
to Washington County Courthouse. Case is scheduled to begin @ 9am, however,
the judge has a civil commitment matter which may or may not delay the start

KATU has expressed an interest in televising the trial.

Uncertain as yet whether we will be able to present medical necessity evidence
to jury. Still to be decided pre-trial. No written motion filed but DDA Greg
Olson (on the case less than 1 week) intends to challenge on relevance

Hope to see you there.


Signature Count (Paul Loney, An Attorney And Chief Petitioner
For The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative, Says The Campaign
Has Officially Collected 30,606 Signatures Of The 73,261 Needed By July)

Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 10:32:30 -0700
To: octa99@crrh.org
From: blc@hevanet.com (Belmont Law Center)
Subject: Signature count

As of 4 May 1998, we have 30,606 signatures counted and stored. Thanks and
Praises. Please gather signatures and turn in the filled sheets that you
have. The time is now.

Paul L

Cannabis Club Case Tests Reading Of Medicinal Pot Law ('Los Angeles Times'
Notes David Lee Herrick, Marvin Chavez And Jack Schachter Of The Doctor,
Patient, Nurse Support Group In Garden Grove, California, Are To Begin
Their Jury Trials Wednesday In Orange County Superior Court)

Date: Tue, 05 May 1998 19:06:25 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: US CA: Cannabis Club Case Tests Reading of Medicinal Pot Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: May 4, 1998
Fax: 213-237-4712
Author: Lisa Richardson, Times Staff Writer


Courts: Three are accused of selling the drug through a Garden Grove
operation. They say they merely sought donations.

Hundreds of drug-related cases pass through Orange County courts each
month, but the case of the People vs. David Lee Herrick is bound to set a
new standard regardless of its outcome.

A member of a Garden Grove-based cannabis club, Herrick is charged with
selling marijuana, and his case offers the first local test of the
medicinal marijuana initiative passed by California voters in 1996. At
issue for a jury to decide is whether Herrick's acceptance of cash
"donations" in exchange for marijuana for medicinal use amounts to the
illegal distribution of the narcotic. If convicted, Herrick would face as
many as nine years in prison. The trial, expected to begin Wednesday in
Orange County Superior Court, puts the cannabis club on the front lines of
the statewide battle to keep marijuana available for medicinal use: In
addition to Herrick, club director Marvin Chavez is in jail awaiting trial
on marijuana charges while club member Jack Schachter--arrested in the same
snare that caught Chavez--is out on bail.

The medical marijuana initiative, known as Proposition 215, was approved by
56% of voters in November 1996--much to the chagrin of law enforcement
officials who believe it is a step toward legalizing the narcotic.

Since then, cannabis club members and directors have been taken to court
from San Francisco to San Diego, with many activists alleging they have
been unfairly targeted for arrest.

Members of the Garden Grove club, officially called the Doctor, Patient,
Nurse Support Group, say the arrests of Herrick, Chavez and Schachter, who
have all pleaded not guilty, prove their point. Marijuana is natural
medicine, and the men are guilty only of helping sick people soothe their
chronic pain, they say. The club's roughly 200 supporters statewide see the
trio as martyrs in a noble cause.

Club members and defendants see the trial--and the handful of others held
elsewhere in California, including San Francisco--as key battlegrounds.
They point to all of those rallying to help them as evidence they are
winning the struggle.

Doctors who advise patients to use marijuana have offered to speak out
during their trial. Chavez's two lawyers are working for free to thank him
for providing marijuana for medical use for their suffering relatives.

Herrick's public defender, once nonchalant about the whole issue, now is
reading books on marijuana and is passionately devoted to freeing him. And
an investigator for the public defender's office attended the last cannabis
club meeting to outline how its members could distribute marijuana and
receive money for it--without breaking the law. * * * But prosecutors have
a very black-and-white view of the matter. Herrick is on trial because he
broke the law, they say. California's medical marijuana initiative allows
the cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal
use only. That makes any exchange of money, goods or services illegal.

Whether Herrick sold the drug to sick people or healthy ones is irrelevant,
officials said, because Herrick is facing charges he accepted money in
exchange for marijuana.

"This is a case of a marijuana seller selling marijuana," said Carl
Armbrust, head of the Orange County district attorney's narcotics unit, who
contends that the case does not even qualify as a test of Proposition 215.

Indeed, Judge William R. Froeberg has almost closed the door to a
Proposition 215 defense for Herrick, who was arrested in May 1997 after
police found seven bags of marijuana in his motel room. The marijuana was
marked "Not for sale. For medical purposes only." Froeberg ruled that
Proposition 215 does not protect the sale of marijuana, even for medicinal

So Herrick's attorney, Sharon Petrosino, said she will try to prove that
her client accepted only voluntary donations to the co-op--not payments in
exchange for drugs.

Herrick and the Garden Grove club require members to bring a doctor's
written authorization; the club checks back with the doctor and requires
members to promise not to give the marijuana to anyone else, Petrosino said.

Petrosino also will argue that Herrick's case falls into the area of
medical necessity law. "It says that under certain conditions, we allow
people to violate the law because the alternative is so egregious."

Both sides plan to call to the stand witnesses who are ill and in chronic
pain--Petrosino to prove they needed the drug and voluntarily made
donations to the co-op, and Armbrust to prove they received drugs for money.

Chavez and Schachter were arrested last month after an undercover operation
during which a Garden Grove police officer posing as a caregiver approached
them separately about purchasing some "medicine," they said.

"I told him, 'This is free,' and I wrote a receipt saying one-quarter
ounce, free," said Schachter, who said he then asked the undercover officer
if he would like to make a $20 donation. "A couple days later, there's a
knock at my door and it's the Garden Grove Police Department," said
Schachter, who cultivates marijuana plants to ease the pain caused by
detached retinas. The same officer also obtained marijuana from Chavez and
arrested him.

* * * In an interview at the Orange County Central Men's Jail, Chavez, who
faces trial later this year, admitted taking cash in exchange for the
drugs, but he said the "donation" was understood to be a token amount to
help the club cover its costs.

"Often, we don't even take any money," he said.

Right now, Chavez, who has been incarcerated since Easter, says he could
use some medicine himself. The chronic back pain he suffers from has gone
untreated except for Tylenol allotted to him by the jail.

"I'm hurting," Chavez said. "My spirit is strong, but my body is hurting."

But while he remains in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond, Chavez said he has
used his time to proselytize to guards and prisoners alike about medicinal

"This cause, to me, is worth going to jail for and suffering for," Chavez
said. "This is my mission, and I'll never give up."

Copyright Los Angeles Times

Marijuana Still Divides California ('Christian Science Monitor' Update
On The Battle Between California Voters And The Governments
And Courts Thwarting Their Will)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 18:57:16 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: US CA: Marijuana Still Divides California
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Contact: oped@csps.com
Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/
Pubdate: Monday May 4, 1998
Author: Paul Van Slambrouck, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor


SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite renewed efforts to shut down the nation's most
famous medicinal marijuana club, a gold stenciled pot leaf remains boldly
emblazoned across its store front facade and traffic is as brisk as ever.

Upstairs, patrons with a physicians' recommendation buy various grades of
marijuana cigarettes, or baked goods, and consume them in a setting that's
more like a disco than a doctor's office.

The mood is relaxed and confident, seasoned by months of legal challenge
that show no sign of letting up. Last week, a California bid to close the
club immediately was denied, but a full hearing is slated for June.

As inconclusive as the cat-and-mouse game has been, many experts say the
battle made a definitive point: America remains unable to have an adult
conversation about marijuana.

"Marijuana sits on the San Andreas fault of contemporary American culture,"
says Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in
Washington. "It represents conflict between parents and children, the
establishment versus the anti-establishment, Democrats and Republicans and
traditional values as opposed to the values of the 1960s." All of that has
prevented development of a coherent policy, he says.

It's been 18 months since California voters nudged the door open to easier
marijuana use, a move that has spawned well-financed efforts to do the same
in several other states. Yet questions about marijuana's medical role and
whether an expansion of such usage would worsen the nation's overall drug
problem, particularly among teens, remain more in the realm of partisan
polemics than in rational consideration, say some analysts.

Instead, what the public sees is a protracted, costly public fight between
pot clubs and government that is more about scoring points than clarifying
issues, says Mark Kleiman, a drug-policy expert at the University of
California at Los Angeles. He criticizes pot clubs like the one in San
Francisco for goading government into action with activity not sanctioned
by the California initiative. He's just as harsh on state and federal
authorities, who he says have misrepresented marijuana's medical value and
discouraged research that might provide some facts.

Public opinion and government policy seem somewhat at odds. While 75
percent of Americans oppose legalization of marijuana for personal use,
nearly 70 percent say it should be permissible for medical purposes.

Voter sanction

In 1996, 56 percent of Californians voted to allow possession and
cultivation of marijuana for medical uses. That same year, 65 percent
Arizona voters passed an even broader measure, though it was later
overturned by the state legislature.

But the Clinton administration and others know that pot is the most
commonly used illegal drug in the US, and they are concerned that anything
that eases its availability to any segment of the population will encourage
broader use.

Not long after those 1996 votes, White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey
said the nation's antidrug strategy "could be undone by these imprudent,
unscientific, and flawed initiatives."

That anxiety has not abated. The US Justice Department has filed charges
against six California marijuana clubs, including the one in San Francisco,
for violating federal law. Of the dozen or so pot-club organizations
operating around the state, nearly half face some sort of city, state, or
federal legal challenge. Citing legal challenges, the director of the pot
club in San Jose, Calif., has announced it will close Friday.

Despite the legal hassles, the national movement to expand medicinal
marijuana use is stronger and more active than ever. The Los Angeles-based
Americans for Medical Rights, which grew out of the California effort, has
qualified a marijuana proposition for the November ballot in Alaska and is
gathering signatures for ballot initiatives in Colorado, Washington,
Oregon, Nevada, and the District of Columbia. A spokesman says the group
can finance a $2 million campaign in each state.

Under federal law, marijuana is a strictly controlled substance unavailable
even for medical use. Still, a number of states and the US government have
found ways to make it available, often under the auspices of research, to
patients with certain conditions. But such availability has virtually dried
up since 1991, when a key federal program was terminated.

Wrong message to teens?

Government concern about marijuana use heightened in the early 1990s, when
statistics showed teen use was rising. That, say many analysts, created a
highly charged political atmosphere that has colored all discussions about

The National Institutes of Health convened a panel of experts last year,
which concluded that "critical questions about the therapeutic usefulness
of marijuana remain largely unanswered." Many experts say there is no doubt
pot has medicinal value, but agree more study is needed - study they say
the federal government has inhibited by making marijuana unavailable to

Medical value aside, groups like Partnership for a Drug Free America worry
California-style liberalization has "the potential to drastically erode
social norms that keep children away from drugs."

Many experts say there are no facts to support the notion that medicinal
use leaks out to broader social acceptability and use. They note, for
instance, that teen marijuana use was declining in the years when pot's use
in medical research was most active. As Mr. Kleiman puts it, availability
of marijuana is so widespread, "the issue of leakage is irrelevant because
there is already a flood."

Anti-Smoking Campaign Gutted, Activist Claims ('San Francisco Examiner'
Says Dr. Stan Glantz, The Prominent Anti-Smoking Activist,
Is Accusing Governor Wilson's Appointees Of Sabotaging California's
$30 Million-A-Year Advertising Campaign Against Smokers Mandated By Voters,
Paid For By Tobacco Consumers)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 20:19:11 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Melodi Cornett 
Subject: MN: US CA: Anti-Smoking Campaign Gutted, Activist Claims
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com
Pubdate: Mon, 04 May 1998
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Author: Jim Herron Zamora


Glantz accuses Wilson appointees of torpedoing ads funded by Prop. 99

A prominent UC-San Francisco anti-smoking activist is accusing Gov. Wilson's
appointees of sabotaging the highly successful $30 million-a-year
advertising program against tobacco use authorized by California voters.

"At one point cigarette smoking was dropping in California faster than
anywhere else in the world, but since they watered down the program, that's
stopped," said Dr. Stan Glantz, a UC-San Francisco professor of medicine and
a member of the state's Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee.

Glantz was to testify Monday afternoon before the state Senate Budget
Committee. He and other anti-smoking advocates have been sparring with the
Wilson administration over use of the $30 million generated annually for
anti-tobacco programs through funding created by voter-approved Proposition 99.

Prop. 99, enacted in 1988, increased the tax on cigarettes by 25 cents per
pack, and directed that the money be spent on anti-tobacco research and
education. As part of the effort, the Health Department began funding a
series of bare-knuckled print, billboard and TV ads that portrayed the
hazards of smoking in the harshest terms.

Among them: the well-known "I Miss My Lung, Bob" advertisement, in which two
cowboys evoked the imagery of the old Marlboro Man spots.

The tobacco industry has long complained about the advertising program, even
likening the ads to Nazi propaganda. One 1990 spot, which portrayed tobacco
executives fretting about how to replace customers who die from
smoking-related illnesses, was so rough that most stations wouldn't air it.

Glantz said that when the Wilson administration adopted new review
guidelines in 1994, they took the teeth out the program. Previously, state
health officials approved the ads in consultation with a media advisory
committee of outside public health experts. Now all ads must be reviewed by
Sandra Smoley, secretary of the state's Health and Welfare Department and a
Wilson appointee.

"It used to be a very freewheeling, aggressive program. . . . But that has
changed," Glantz said. "They simply refuse to carry ads that take on the
tobacco industry."

Smoley could not be reached for comment on Sunday. But she has defended her
program in correspondence with the American Cancer Society, which has worked
with Glantz.

"I am disturbed to hear of your continued accusations that we are defenders
of the tobacco interests at the expense of public health," she wrote. "I
especially wish to take issue with your assertion that the administration
has somehow undermined California's successful anti-tobacco media campaign."

In her letter, Smoley concedes that her office rejected specific
advertisements but defended her decisions.

"The billboard "Are you choking on tobacco industry lies?' was pulled
because it was found to be offensive for government to use taxpayer funds to
call a private industry a liar," Smoley wrote. "My concern . . . is for the
health of all Californians. This cause is not helped by use of public funds
to attack a legal industry."

In the early 1990s, there was a sharp decline in cigarette consumption in
California -- at least partly attributable to the advertising campaign,
according to research by the state Department of Health Services. One study
found the anti-smoking campaign had cut the number of smokers in California
by 17 percent in three years.

But that decrease has since leveled off -- a phenomenon that coincides with
the state's slowness to approve new ads, Glantz said. The anti-smoking
movement has had previous fights with the Wilson administration. In 1992,
Wilson ordered the ad campaign shut down as part of a plan to divert some
$30 million from the cigarette tax to close a budget deficit. Anti-smoking
foes successfully sued the state to stop the diversion.

(c)1998 San Francisco Examiner

Can Issue Be Diminished To 'Coincidence'? (An Excellent Op-Ed
In The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 'Journal Sentinel' Documents Racism
Statistically On The Local And National Levels, Noting, For Example,
That Even Though Their Chance Of Using Illegal Drugs Is Equal,
A Milwaukee County Resident Of Color Is 10 Times More Likely
Than A White Resident To Be Charged With Drug Possession,
According To The Wisconsin Correctional Service)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 00:56:57 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: trikydik@inil.com (trikydik)
Subject: MN: Can Issue Be Diminished to 'Coincidence'?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Compassion23@Geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Mon, 04 May 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wi)
Contact: Jsedit@Onwis.com
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Author: Gregory Stanford


White high school dropouts get jobs more easily than do black high
school grads, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. But, no, that disparity is not racism; it's just a

An African-American apartment seeker faces a 17% chance of being told
an advertised unit is no longer for rent even though it remains
available to white applicants with similar income, background and
other traits as the black applicant, according to a nationwide study
sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban

But don't shout racism. That would be reveling in victim hood. Just
chalk that disparity up to another coincidence.

When not flatly turned away, black apartment seekers risk being shown
fewer units than comparable whites are shown and quoted larger
security deposits and higher rent for the same units, according to the
HUD study. But racism? No way. Just more coincidences.

A bank is likelier to grant you a home loan if you're white than if
you're black even if your credit-worthiness is equal, according to
studies by the Federal Reserve Bank and Fannie Mae. A related finding:
Milwaukee's wealthiest African-Americans are 2 1/2 times more likely
to be turned down for home loans than are poor white home buyers here.
But why blame these "anecdotal" differences on racism? Obviously we
have on our hands more coincidences.

A sheriff's drug squad is 6 1/2 times more likely to stop and search a
black motorist than a white driver on a stretch of turnpike in central
Florida, according to a recent study by the Orlando Sentinel. But
don't dare utter the word racism. To those of us who value clarity,
logic and common sense, this difference is plainly a

Whites applying for entry-level jobs in Washington and Chicago fare
better overall than equally qualified and equally groomed blacks, the
Urban Institute, a respected think tank, has reported. But racism is
just too sloppy a word to describe this difference in treatment. A
more precise word? Try "coincidence."

In Missouri, residents in low-income minority neighborhoods pay more
for homeowners' insurance than residents in low-income white
neighborhoods, even though companies dish out less for claims in the
minority areas than in the white areas, according to a study by that
state's Department of Insurance. But, please, don't leap to the wild
conclusion that racism in any way plays a role. A more plausible
explanation? Try coincidence.

The more blacks catch up with whites in education and in test scores,
the more they fall behind whites in employment and earnings, according

to separate studies by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute
and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for Research on

But that coincidence notwithstanding, blacks just need to stay in
school and apply themselves to catch up with whites financially.
Heaven knows, measures to fight racism, such as affirmative action,
won't close the racial gap. After all, racism is increasingly a
figment of the imagination, and affirmative action is an assault on
black talents.

Sure, racial disparities abound in criminal justice. For instance,
African-Americans make up about an eighth of all drug users, but a
third of all drug-possession arrestees, a half of all people convicted
for the crime and three-quarters of all those sent to prison, notes
the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based advocate of alternatives to

And even though their chance of using drugs is equal, a Milwaukee
County resident of color is 10 times more likely than a white resident
to be charged with drug possession, observes Wisconsin Correctional
Service, which works with prison inmates.

But no, no, no. Don't even think racism is at work. These are just
some more coincidences.

That white iron ring hemming in an increasingly black Milwaukee? No,
that's not racism. That's just another coincidence.

And the present proliferation of empty-headed opinion pieces blithely
proclaiming the end (or near-end) of racism without tackling the
well-documented chain of weird coincidences hobbling black America?
No, that's not racism, either. It's just one more coincidence.

Gregory Stanford is a Journal Sentinel editorial writer and columnist.

Teens Have Changed The Way They Use Drugs ('Newsday' Columnist
Sheryl McCarthy Says Researchers At John Jay College
Who Are Studying Drug Use In New York City Have Found
That Teenagers Are Avoiding Hard Drugs Like The Plague,
While Use Of Marijuana Is On The Rise)

Date: Thu, 07 May 1998 22:11:39 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NY: OPED: Teens Have Changed the Way They Use Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Nora Callahan 
Source: Newsday (NY)
Contact: letters@newsday.com
Website: http://www.newsday.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 04 May 1998
Author: Sheryl McCarthy (mccart731@aol.com)

Our Newshawk writes: This article appeared in Newsday on Monday.
Newsday likes to stay clear of common sense. Please read and if
you think it's well written, tell her. I'm sure she stuck her
neck out on this one.


WALKING through her Bronx neighborhood, Sarah Diaz, 18, sees empty crack
vials on the sidewalk, though not nearly as many as there used to be.

She sees quite a few crackheads, too, though for the most part they are
"old people" in their 30s and 40s and older. "They talk to themselves, they
talk to God, they collect cans and they fight with people who try to steal
their stuff," she says.

"I don't know many teenagers who smoke crack," Diaz told me. "The
crackheads are bummy. They've got a bad image. Teenagers see them and they
don't want to be like that."

The best news in a long time is that teenagers are avoiding hard drugs like
the plague. Researchers at John Jay College who are studying drug use in
New York City have found that heroin, once the scourge of many big-city
neighborhoods, has been taboo among young people for decades. In New York
City, virtually no black teenagers use it.

What's more, the crack epidemic, which ravaged communities in the 1980s
with violence and all kinds of social ills, is over. Prof. Richard Curtis,
who heads the John Jay team, says that in New York City, the demand for
crack has slowed so much that crack dealers have cut back on their hours or
have gotten out of the business.

The decline in hard-drug use among teenagers is not the result of police
sweeps or longer prison sentences for drug offenses, one federal study
found. Young people are deciding that using hard drugs is a ticket to nowhere.

"Teenagers today are very conservative," Curtis says. "Newt Ginrich would
love this stuff. They talk about their families and about improving their
communities. A lot of the young men I know who've given up drug dealing in
the last year or so say they did it for their kids."

Diaz knows a girl who used to smoke crack. "That was when she was 16," she
said. "But she doesn't smoke anymore. She stopped when she got pregnant.
She has a 2-year-old daughter now."

When Diaz was 9, she watched her mother smoke crack for a year after Diaz'
grandmother died. Then her mother stopped. She snorted cocaine for a while,
and she and Diaz fought about that. Now her mother is 35, and Diaz never
sees her get high.

Diaz' 18-year-old cousin once tried coke, but she never used it again
because the cocaine did nothing for her. Now the cousin smokes marijuana.
For her birthday she got a cake with 18 "blunts" (joints) stuck on it like

Which is the other side of the story about teenagers and drugs. While they
are avoiding heroin, cocaine and crack, young people's use of marijuana is
on the rise. Of those people arrested for crimes in 1996, only 22 percent
of the 15to 20-year-olds surveyed in a federal study were cocaine users,
while 70 percent were marijuana smokers.

In Crotona, the Bronx neighborhood where Diaz lives, there's a "Buddha
spot" on almost every corner. "Buddha" is slang for marijuana. "There's a
record shop that's a Buddha shop," Diaz says. "There's a 99-cent store
that's a Buddha shop, a Jamaican food store that's a Buddha shop, a 24-hour
store that's a Buddha shop, and people sell weed out of their apartment

She also sees plenty of teenagers drinking alcohol which, along with
marijuana, is their drug of choice. "Marijuana makes you laugh," Diaz
says. "Unlike crack, it doesn't make you talk to God or steal other
people's stuff."

It may sound strange to say that a story about teenagers smoking marijuana
and drinking liquor is a good story. But marijuana is a far, far less
damaging drug than heroin, cocaine or crack.

We still need to encourage young people to avoid drugs of any kind and we
should punish merchants who sell liquor to the underaged. But the good news
is that teenagers have really learned something from watching our
generation's struggle with hard drugs. And that really is something to

Copyright 1998, Newsday Inc.

Reefer Madness (Letter To The Editor Of 'The Washington Times'
From An Alaskan Reader Claims, Without Any Evidence,
And Contrary To The Government's Surveys, That 'Marijuana Users
Invariably Start Smoking Cigarettes After They Begin Smoking Marijuana'
And Therefore The Increase In Teen Smoking Is Due To A Dramatic Increase
In Marijuana Use Among Youth)

Date: Thu, 07 May 1998 22:22:17 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: LTE: Reefer Madness
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Uncle Hempy
Pubdate: May 4-10, 1998
Source: The Washington Times National Weekly Edition
Contact: nated@wt.infi.net
Website: http://www.WashTimes-Weekly.com/
Author: Michael Ward

Reefer madness

I have considered the increase in teenage smoking and I believe the reason
is not due to advertising by the tobacco companies. Rather, the increase is
due to the dramatic increase in marijuana use among the nation's youth.
Cigarette smoking is a by-product of marijuana smoking, not the reverse.
Marijuana users invariably start smoking cigarettes after they begin
smoking marijuana.

The Clinton administration must assume full responsibility for the increase
in marijuana use among the young, and therefore the increase in cigarette
use. President Clinton totally ignored the drug problem for years while
many of his staff members could not obtain security clearances due to drug
use. Mr. Clinton himself gave moral support to marijuana use when he said
during an MTV interview that if he could do it over again he would inhale.

Michael Ward
Gakona, Alaska

Medicinal Marijuana Vote Postponed (Marijuana Policy Project
In Washington, DC, Says The Republicans In Charge Of The US House
Of Representatives Have Again Put Off A Vote On House Resolution 372 -
Call Your Congressman Now!)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 19:43:07 -0400
From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG)
Organization: Marijuana Policy Project
Sender: owner-mppupdates@igc.apc.org
Subject: Medicinal marijuana vote POSTPONED!
To: MPPupdates@igc.org

On the afternoon of May 4, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of
Representatives decided to postpone the vote on House Resolution 372, the
anti-medicinal marijuana resolution, which had been scheduled for
Tuesday, May 5. The reason is not known at this time.

This gives you an additional opportunity to make those calls and send
those faxes to your U.S. representatives. (Please refer to yesterday's
update or see http://www.mpp.org/la031398.html for more information.)
More details will be posted in the near future.

Status Of Vote On House Resolution 372 (More Details From Keith Stroup

Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 15:35:30 EDT
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: RKSTROUP@aol.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
To: Multiple recipients of list (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Status of Vote on H. Res. 372


The vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on H. Res. 372, initially
scheduled for a vote tomorrow (Tuesday), has been postponed again by the
Republican leadership. The vote will not occur tomorrow, and we are still
awaiting information as to when it will be rescheduled.

NORML has planned a press conference on Capitol Hill to coincide with the
vote, on the day it is finally scheduled. We have 5 members of Congress,
along with Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Richard Brookhiser (senior editor at
National Review and a cancer survivor), and James Graham (head of the
Whitman Walker AIDS clinic in DC), lined up to speak at the press

It now appears that the Republicans will call the resolution up under an
open rule, rather than under a suspension of the rules, as they had
originally planned. More detail to follow when available.

Keep those cards and letters coming. Until the vote actually occurs,
please keep the heat on your representative in the House.

Keith Stroup

Letter To US Representative Conyers From The American Bar Association
(Opposing House Resolution 372, The Anti-Medical Marijuana Legalism)

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION Governmental Affairs Office
740 Fifteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-1022
(202) 662-1760
FAX: (202) 662-1762
(202) 662-1032

May 4, 1998

The Honorable John Conyers
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Conyers:

On behalf of the American Bar Association I am writing to express
our opposition to H.Res. 372. This resolution says the House of
Representatives is "unequivocally opposed to legalizing marijuana
for medicinal use."

We sympathize with the motives of the sponsors of this
resolution. The American Bar Association has repeatedly declared
that it deplores the use of marijuana and, like all Americans, we
are very disappointed that the use of marijuana by teenagers has
increased so dramatically since 1992.

However, American Bar Association policy "recognizes that persons
who suffer from serious illnesses for which marijuana has a
medically recognized therapeutic value have a right to be treated
with marijuana under the supervision of a physician..." (emphasis

There are scores of articles in the medical literature describing
the therapeutic potential of marijuana and its many constituent
compounds. There have been numerous controlled, double-blind,
randomized trials comparing marijuana with other medications. In
the case of relief of nausea, in particular, there is evidence
that marijuana is superior to Compazine¨ and Torecan¨, two common
anti-emetic medications.

Regarding glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in America,
marijuana lowers intraocular eye pressure. It should be noted
that new medications for glaucoma have been developed since this
research, but these medications present serious side effects that
may make them unusable for many patients, as did many of their
percursor medications. The Federal government currently makes
marijuana available to two persons for the treatment of glaucoma
under their pbysicians' supervision.

Convulsions associated with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, spinal
cord injury, paraplegia and quadriplegia can also be treated with
marijuana and its constituent compounds. The Federal government
makes marijuana available to at least two multiple sclerosis
patients. There is great potential for expanded treatment of
veterans, who have a high incidence of spinal cord injuries,
paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Expert physicians, convened by the National Institutes of Health
in February 1997 at the urging of ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey
to examine the medical utility of marijuana, reiterated in their
discussion that, based on the literature, marijuana has positive
medical effects for these conditions.

However, because marijuana is a drug with a demonstrated potential
for abuse, the American Bar Association "supports federal
legislation to establish a program under which [seriously ill]
patients can be treated with marijuana under the supervision of a
physician and under such controls adequate to prevent any
diversion or other improper use of medicinal marijuana" (emphasis
added). The patchwork of local regulations that have arisen in
the wake of Proposition 215 in California makes the recommendation
of the American Bar Association for federal legislation more

As you know, cocaine is one of the most abused drugs in the
nation. However, cocaine is legal for medicinal use in the United
States. In the Controlled Substances Act, Congress developed a
regulatory regime for medicinal use of cocaine. There is no
evidence that crack addicts or other illegal users of cocaine use
it because of cocaine's legal status in medicine, or because such
status creates an inconsistent message about cocaine's dangers.

As noted above, the American Bar Association continues its
longstanding opposition to substance abuse, including marijuana
use, other than in this limited, controlled medical situation.
The Association deplores the use of illegal drugs and supports
imposition by legislative bodies of appropriate sanctions to
discourage their use, including casual use. The Association
supports the establishment of educational and prevention programs
as widely as possible to discourage the use of marijuana and other
harmful drugs.

Many members of the American Bar Association work tirelessly to
fight the problem of drug abuse, and we commend you and your
colleagues for your many efforts in this regard. But we believe
our policy appropriately balances the needs of seriously ill
patients, the regulatory requirements of the government, and the
nation's responsibility to prevent illegal use of marijuana.

We urge the House to defeat H.Res. 372.


Robert D. Evans

Winning The War On Drugs (Op-Ed By House Speaker Newt Gingrich
In 'The Washington Times' Outlines The Former Pot Smoker's Battle Plan
For Halving Illegal Drug Use Nationwide By 2002, Reducing The Percentage
Of All Americans Using 'Drugs' From Today's Figure Of 6.1 Percent
To Less Than 3 Percent - But Fails To Say What The Cost Will Be
To Taxpayers For New Prisons, Police, Public Defenders, Probation Officers
And So Forth)

Date: Thu, 07 May 1998 22:14:12 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: OPED by Newt Gingrich: Winning The War On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Uncle Hempy
Pubdate: May 4-10, 1998
Source: The Washington Times-Weekly Edition
Author: Newt Gingrich
Contact: nated@wt.infi.net
FAX: 202-832-8285
Website: http://www.WashTimes-Weekly.com/


The time has come for the drug war to enter a new, winnable stage. This is
a war that has consumed the nation, with varying degrees of success, for
nearly three decades. In the 1980s, following the leadership of Nancy
Reagan and the effective, unequivocal "Just Say No" campaign, illegal drug
use declined year after year.

In the '90s however, as the messages from the White House and the media
became more ambiguous, drug use has increased-especially among the most
vulnerable, our young people. We have reached a moment when a majority of
all high school seniors admit they've tried an illegal drug. In 1992, 40.7
percent had used an illicit drug; by 1997, the number had jumped to 54.3

Today, the Republican Congress declares that we are as committed to
creating a drug-free America as we were in passing the Contract With
America three years ago. There is a simple yet essential reason for the
intensity of our commitment: Unlike other conflicts in which this nation has
been engaged, the war on drugs is at essence a comprehensive, all-out fight
to protect our children.

Some people are convinced that the war cannot be won. The naysayers suggest
that "It's all been done before" or "It's all been said before." However,
these were many of the same people who threw up their hands when facing
three decades of unbalanced budgets. They thought that the goal of a
balanced budget was a fantasy. In 1994, Republicans ran on a contract that
said, given the chance, we could make a balanced budget a reality. As a
result, not only do we have a balanced budget, we now have a budget surplus.

The Republican Congress believes that legislative commitment combined with
the good will and efforts of the American people are a force that can rise
to any challenge. Creating a drug-free America is a goal for a generation-a
long-term focused strategy. It should be, must be, the number one priority
of all concerned Americans. The war on drugs is ultimately a fight for our
children: They are our future. Drug abuse is a modern day plague that tears
apart families as it steals the innocence of youth. Without a coherent
policy to protect them from the evils and devastation of drug abuse, we
abandon them and put our country at risk.

This campaign will be fought on three major fronts: Deterring demand;
stopping supply; and increasing accountability.

Deterring Demand: Nine out of 10 people believe solving our drug crisis is
an urgent issue. Yet, we must educate and further engage Americans on the
nature of this problem. The deployment began with a vote April 30 on the
Drug-Free America Blue Ribbon Campaign Resolution. It spells out clearly
the extent of the drug problem and designates a week in September as Blue
Ribbon Week. During this week, all Americans are encouraged to wear a blur
ribbon to heighten awareness of the drug crisis and become volunteers in
the fight for our children. In addition to the concrete legislative action
to control the poisons flooding our streets, the American people must have
the essential information to face this crisis.

The Drug-Free Workplaces Act will help small and medium businesses
implement drug-free workplace programs that will enhance productivity and
quality of life. The Drug-Free Congressional Leadership Resolution will
strongly encourage all members of Congress to follow the lead of 76 of
their colleagues who have created community anti-drug coalitions. We will
build on our success with the Drug-Free Communities Act by doubling our
investment at the local level to $20 million.

Stopping Supply: Americans clearly see interdiction as the top priority
foreign policy issue, a higher priority than either illegal immigration or
terrorism. Responding to that concern the Congress will pass the Drug-Free
Borders Act that establishes severe criminal penalties for those who use
violence against customs officers at our borders. It increases the penalties
for making false statements when declaring goods into the U.S. The
Drug-Free Hemisphere Act will authorize the creation of international law
enforcement academies, allows U.S. law enforcement to train anti-drug
police abroad, and also authorizes non-lethal counter-narcotic assistance

Increasing Accountability: Accountability must start at the top. Federal,
state and local agencies must be empowered to win the war on drugs and be
held accountable for their actions. The American people must have greater
information to judge for themselves how well the fight for their children
is going. Thus, for the first time in history, federal funding will be tied
to specific drug reduction goals set by Congress. The targets include
reducing nationwide drug use by more than 50 percent by 2002 to reducing
the percentage of all Americans using drugs from today's figure of 6.1
percent to less than three percent. This measure will require greater
coordination of efforts among the 54 federal agencies receiving anti-drug
funding and so will give the drug czar oversight of all of them.

The Republican Congress and the Speaker's Task Force for A Drug-Free
America believe that these and other ant-drug measures we will vote on this
spring are, collectively, the most significant pieces of legislation that
Congress has considered since the Contract With America. Drugs themselves
are "gateways" to so many other societal ills: violent crime, spousal and
child abuse, and sexual assault. If we care about our children and about
ourselves, there cannot be a more important undertaking for the future.

This is not some pipe-dream. We can win the war on drugs. We can save our
children. The American people demand it. Congress is committed to it. Our
young people deserve it. We now ask only that the president and the
administration pledge their unequivocal support.

Legal Hammer Falls Less Heavily On British Columbia Pot Users
('Vancouver Sun' Says Its Own Analysis Of Canadian And British Columbian
Crime Statistics Shows That People Caught With Marijuana In British Columbia
Are Half As Likely To Be Charged With Simple Possession As Users In Canada
As A Whole - But More Than Twice As Many People Are Caught
With The Drug In British Columbia As The National Average)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 19:01:52 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Mike Gogulski 
Subject: MN: Canada: BC: Legal hammer falls less heavily on B.C. pot users
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada)
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Website: http://www.vancouversun.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 4 May 1998
Authors: Rick Ouston and Lindsay Kines, Vancouver Sun


Statistics show people with marijuana are half as likely to face charges if
caught in B.C.

People caught with marijuana in B.C. are half as likely to be charged for
simple possession as users in the country as a whole, an analysis of crime
statistics by The Vancouver Sun shows.

But that doesn't mean pot smokers are being let off the hook in this
province. More than twice as many people as the national average are caught
with the drug in B.C. , so even with a reduced rate of criminal charges,
the same percentage of British Columbians -- about 0.065 per cent -- are
charged as in the country as a whole.

While the law prohibiting pot falls under federal jurisdiction and is
administered nationally by the justice department, police and a
criminologist say there just isn't much of an appetite in this province to
target people for possession.

B.C. police issued reports on more than 8,800 people caught possessing pot
in 1996 -- the most recent figures available -- and charges were laid
against 2,487, or 28 per cent.

Nationally, police reported 33,059 incidents of simple possession of
marijuana in 1996, and charges were laid against 19,557 individuals, or 59
per cent.

The percentage of people charged with possession across the nation,
compared to the numbers caught, has plummeted in the past 20 years from 80
per cent in 1977 and close to 100 per cent in 1967, but the numbers have
fallen even more dramatically in B.C., plunging from 74 per cent in 1977 to
the current 28 per cent, an examination of numbers collected by the
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics shows.

The judicial hammer falls more heavily on marijuana traffickers both in
B.C. and across the country, but there are still discrepancies in the
percentages of people charged.

Nationally, charges were laid in 74 per cent of confirmed reports of
marijuana trafficking, but in B.C., just 66 per cent of reported offences
resulted in charges, the numbers show.

Superintendent Vince Casey, officer in charge of the RCMP's drug
enforcement branch in B.C., said police do not condone the possession of
marijuana but he acknowledged the crime is a low priority.

"The drug problem overall is significant here and we have to use our
resources in the priority levels," he said, adding that his officers focus
on high-level drug traffickers such as gangs and organized crime.

Vancouver city police rarely recommend charges for simple possession of
marijuana, preferring to focus on curtailing grow operations, trafficking,
the sale of marijuana to juveniles, and the proliferation of hard drugs,
media liaison Constable Anne Drennan said Sunday.

"It's a matter of priorities and resources," she said.

Neil Boyd, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University who has
studied the issue of drugs and the law for 30 years, said Sunday he was not
surprised at the disparities.

Boyd said police and federal justice department prosecutors practise
"discretionary enforcement." The reason, he said, is that attitudes in B.C.
toward marijuana are more tolerant than in the rest of the country.

Public opinion polls have found 63 per cent of British Columbians don't
feel simple possession should be considered a criminal act, compared to
about 50 per cent nationally, said Boyd. "There's no community support any
more for young people getting a criminal record for marijuana."

Cannabis Boosters Dispute Info On Warrant ('Vancouver Province'
Notes The Owners Of Sister Icee's Hemp BC And The Cannabis Cafe
In Vancouver, British Columbia, Are Suing For $20,000 After Losing $15,000
In Goods And A $4,000 Computer In A Police Raid Aimed At Former Owner
Marc Emery)
Link to earlier story
Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 21:55:51 -0700 To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com From: Chris Clay Subject: Cannabis boosters dispute info on warrant Cc: editor@mapinc.org SOURCE: Vancouver Province DATE: May 4, 1998 AUTHOR: Frank Luba, Lower Mainland Reporter The Province WEBSITE: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/ CONTACT: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca CANNABIS BOOSTERS DISPUTE INFO ON WARRANT After losing $15,000 in goods and a $4,000 computer in a police raid, Sister Icee's Hemp B.C. and the Cannabis Cafe want to pinpoint who's responsible. They also want an apology and $20,000 compensation. The search warrant for the raid last Thursday by Vancouver police, in which the goods were confiscated, named "Marc Emery and person or persons unknown" as the business owner. But well-known marijuana magnate Emery, whose cannabis capers have been featured in Rolling Stone magazine and on television's Hard Copy, no longer owns the two West Hastings Street operations. Represented by Jonathan Baker and Associates, Hemp B.C. and the Cannabis Cafe, its next-door neighbor, have sent a letter to the city of Vancouver requesting an "ample and unqualified apology" -- and $20,000. "I'm outraged," said Hemp B.C. owner and store manager Shelley Frances, who picked up the Rastafarian name Sister Icee while living in the Caribbean. "I totally intend to take it all the way" legally, added Frances. "It's time." Cannabis Cafe owner Adam Patterson, 23, said he had art work taken and a door to a dry-goods storage closet was broken. Failing a satisfactory response within five days from their May 1 complaint, Baker's firm plans on filing a writ. "If they don't apologize, then they risk greatly increased punitive damages when a lawsuit proceeds," Baker, a former Vancouver city councillor, said yesterday. "It's entirely possible that if this thing proceeds, it won't be $20,000 they'll be suing for, it will be a lot more than that," he added. Baker said his firm has detailed the transferral of the businesses from Emery to new owners on March 8, and he said the city was notified, also in March. He said the city was also notified on April 20 of Emery assigning his leasehold interest in the premises. Police say that's not the information they received. "We checked with city hall to ensure our warrants were accurate and the records at city hall still show Mr. Emery as being the owner at both locations," said Const. Anne Drennan. Drennan, said that in excess of $150,000 in goods and a small quantity of marijuana were taken in Thursday's raid on Hemp B.C., the Cannabis Cafe and a nearby warehouse. Neither the Hemp B.C. store or cafe has received a business licence, although both said they have submitted the necessary documentation.

Coast Apathy Feeding Local Drug Trade ('The Reporter' In Sunshine Coast,
British Columbia, Says The West Sechelt Community Association
Expressed Deep Disappointment Over The Lack Of Young People
At A Drug Information Forum - But Considering The Easily Disproved Myths
About Marijuana Imparted By The Local Cops, One Assumes The Kids
Were All At Home Looking Up The Real Facts On The Internet)

Date: Sat, 09 May 1998 16:20:11 -0700
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay 
Subject: BC: Coast apathy feeding local drug trade

(Note: this is just a small community newspaper, but it demonstrates the
kind of "drug education" the RCMP continue to deliver across Canada. So
many myths... a great opportunity for some letters!)

NEWSHAWK: Chris Clay -- http://www.hempnation.com/
SOURCE: The Reporter (Sunshine Coast, BC)
DATE: Monday, May 4, 1998
AUTHOR: Leslie MacFarlane Fraser, The Reporter
SECTION: Front page
CONTACT; the_reporter@sunshine.net


Community meeting: Information forum in Sechelt poorly attended by residents

The West Sechelt Community Association expressed deep disappointment over
the lack of young people at a drug information forum April 29.

"It must be quality attendance instead of quantity," the association's Mike
Shanks told a handful of the largely senior audience before giving the
floor over to Sechelt RCMP Staff Sgt. Linton Robinson.

"It was surprising two-and-a-half years ago how little information was
coming in about drugs," Robinson said. "Now, we are inundated with it."

		"To me, harm reduction
		means reducing harm to
		the citizens of our
		community who are being
		victimized by criminals."
		 -- RCMP Cpl. Bob Hall

He pointed to the recent drug sting that saw 13 people charged,
predominantly for cocaine offences. LSD is also making a comeback.

"Heroin is a big, big problem on the Sunshine Coast," Robinson said, adding
that at least 100 people are now using the local needle exchange program.

Cpl. Bob Hall, one of a staff of four in a government-funded project in
drug enforcement covering the entire Lower Mainland also addressed the
forum. Slamming the surfacing slogan, "harm reduction," among drug users,
he described the fiery death of two small children in Maple Ridge whose
father had been making weed-oil at home. When perceived risk is lowered, he
said, the increase grows.

"Harm reduction?" he asked, pausing a moment to allow the implications to
sink in. "To me, harm reduction means reducing harm to the citizens of our
community who are being victimized by criminals."

He rattled off the alarming number of carcinogens in marijuana, and the
little known fact that HIV-positive people who smoke marijuana progress
twice as fast to those with full-blown AIDS.

"If we're so bent against cigarettes, why not against marijuana?"

According to Hall, Canada has now been targeted by the US as a "supply
country" for marijuana. He made reference to the case of a man caught with
417 marijuana plants who was sentenced to four months incarceration but
served only two weeks of it behind bars, followed by eight weeks at home on
an electronic monitoring device.

Everywhere, there are grow operations, he said, and that is especially
true, he warned, on the Sunshine Coast. It is the lack of perceived risk
and the over-lenience with substance abuse which have contributed to a
problem that is now rampantly out of control. People are no longer growing
outside, said Hall -- grow operations are all indoors, some even
underground in trailers, undetectable from the surface.

And the drugs have changed too. In the 70s, the level of THC, the active
ingredient in marijuana, averaged a half to two per cent in strength, but
due to cloning the average has increased to a whopping 15 to 30 per cent.
Marijuana stays in the blood system for more than 24 hours and can still
affect judgement beyond that time. Hall referred to tests done with airline
pilots who simulated flights and "crashed" even as late as the day after.

"If you're going to decriminalize it, it has to be the same for everybody.
Do you want it for police officers, and airline pilots, or just for the
addicts?" Again, he paused. "That really scares me," he said.

Hall also talked at some length about all forms of drugs and their toll on
the community but kept coming back to his maine theme, being the cripping
apathy of our justice system and the lack of concern at the community level.

Story On Drug Labs Demonstrates Poor Math Skills, Descriptive Powers
(Letter To The Editor Of 'The Toronto Star' Faults The Newspaper
For Accepting Exaggerated Police Estimates Of The Value Of Eradicated Pot)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 09:15:24 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, editor@mapinc.org
From: Dave Haans 
Subject: PUB LtE: Story on drug labs demonstrates
poor math skills, descriptive powers
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: Toronto Star
Pubdate: May 4, 1998, Page: A19
URL: http://www.thestar.ca
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.ca

Story on drug labs demonstrates poor math skills, descriptive powers

A short local news story, Durham seeks tips on hydroponic drug labs (April
27) shows bad math skills and poor descriptive powers by your reporters.

Marijuana is not a narcotic, in law or practical life. A light-bulb in the
basement is not exactly a laboratory.

A single plant weighing 115 grams is not worth $2,500 on the black market.
Your figures suggest that marijuana is worth $21.73 a gram. That's an
error of fourfold.

That's like saying the Monday edition of The Star sells for $3 when in fact
it sells for 75 cents (outside Metro).

Roddy Heading

Players Rewarded With Drugs Says Policeman (Associated Press World News
Says A Cop In Kaitaia, New Zealand, Claims Regional Rugby Players
Are Being Given Cannabis As A 'Player Of The Day' Award,
And Marijuana Is Also Being Raffled In Bars To Raise Cash For Sports Clubs
In The Northland Area)

Date: Tue, 05 May 1998 11:24:57 -0300
From: Keith Alan 
To: "mattalk@islandnet.com" 
Subject: Players rewarded with drugs says policeman

Players rewarded with drugs says policeman

May 4, 1998

via NewsEdge Corporation : Regional rugby
players are being rewarded with bags of
marijuana for success on the field, a
policeman said Friday.

Kaitaia policeman Gordon Gunn said
marijuana was being used as ``player of the
day'' awards, and was also raffled in bars to
raise cash for sports clubs in the Northland
area. The area is New Zealand's prime
growing region for the illicit drug.

Gunn said one young player, arrested with
several marijuana cigarettes in his pocket,
admitted they were a prize for playing well.

Studies have shown as many as one in three
Northlanders use marijuana, or take part in
growing and distributing it. The area has high
unemployment levels, especially among its
Maori population.

Local sports clubs strongly denied the police
claims, while local legislator Dover Samuels,
called for Gunn to be reprimanded for the

Samuels said he had not seen or heard
anything to suggest there was any basis for
Gunn's comments, and he is to complain
formally to the police minister.

Gunn had cast a slur on all sports clubs in
the Far North and that could not be
tolerated, said Samuels.

Gunn has not prosecuted anyone in relation
to his claims.

He said while he knew drugs were being used
as rewards and for money-raising, there was
not always sufficient evidence to lay
charges against those involved.

Copyright 1998, Associated Press

Amnesty Focuses On US Death Penalty ('Irish Times' Says Pierre Sane,
The Secretary General Of Amnesty International, Spoke At The Annual Convention
Of The Organization's Irish Section This Weekend In Dublin,
And Reserved His Strongest Criticism For The Growing Popularity
Of Executions In The US, Carried Out In An Atmosphere
Of 'Total Indifference')

From: "Rolf Ernst" 
To: "MN" 
Subject: MN: IRELAND Amnesty Focuses On US Death Penalty
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 13:59:06 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie ((Zosimos) Martin Cooke)
Pubdate: Mon, 04 May 1998
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Contact: lettersed@irish-times.ie
Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


Ireland and Europe should show leadership in trying to end such abuses of
human rights as the death penalty in the US, WRITES PAUL CULLEN, Development

The abolition of the death penalty in the US was one of the key human rights
challenges facing society at the end of the 20th century, according to the
secretary general of Amnesty International, Mr Pierre Sane.

In Dublin over the weekend for the annual conference of Amnesty's Irish
section, Mr Sane reserved his strongest criticism for the growing popularity
of US executions. He said Ireland and the EU should be showing leadership on
such human rights issues.

"Public opinion in the US has bought into the propaganda that the death
penalty is necessary to overcome crime. With the execution of Karla Faye
Tucker earlier this year, a new threshold has been passed.

"Here was someone who was white, female, young, Christian and charismatic -
she must have been the most non-executable person in the US in terms of
class and race. Yet a few weeks later, another woman was executed in an
atmosphere of total indifference."

Founded 37 years ago, Amnesty has defended human rights worldwide by
highlighting violations by governments and opposition groups and by
insisting on a hard-line definition of human rights.

Mr Sane (49), from Senegal, has been secretary general since 1992. He
believes things are getting both better and worse for the upholder of human
rights. "People are more sensitised to human rights issues and standards.
But at the same time, there is a fatalistic acceptance that these things
happen, and that there's nothing we can do about them."

Governments have also retreated. "There's a lot of hypocrisy around, between
stated principles and the actions government take."

He cited the example of asylum policy in the West. "There are about 25
million refugees in the world but the proportion that reach Europe is
utterly insignificant. Europe is not taking its share of the burden.
Governments hide behind public opinion in their countries while ignoring
their role in shaping this."

In Ireland, Mr Sane said the 1996 Refugee Act should be implemented in full
and the Government should be persuading its neighbours not to lower
international human rights standards.

He welcomed the Northern Ireland Agreement but said past human rights abuses
must be tackled in the context of any settlement. "We are glad there is to
be a commission of inquiry into Bloody Sunday but there must also be a
proper inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, as well as an investigation
into extra-judicial killings."

Sane is muted in his assessment of Mrs Mary Robinson's performance as UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights. "She certainly has a difficult task . .
. For the moment, she has the support of the NGO community . . . But the
real test will be in the next six months."

Amnesty has been highly critical of the Commission on Human Rights, which
recently concluded in Geneva. Sane says this has been so undermined by
political manoeuvring it was unable even to come up with a motion critical
of the massive human rights abuses in Algeria.

Supporting calls for the establishment of an international criminal
tribunal, he says this is one of the "key missing links" in international
justice. The existing tribunal for Rwanda may be slow-moving and
scandal-prone, he concedes, but it is important that it adheres to the
highest standards of international justice. "Maybe that is the price we have
to pay - justice cannot be short-changed in the interests of speed."

In many parts of the world - Colombia, Algeria, Rwanda - life for the
defenders of human rights has become more dangerous than ever. Sane puts his
faith in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, now in its 50th year.
"The only agenda we need," he says, "is to implement it."

New Global War On Drugs Tackles A Losing Battle ('Toronto Star'
Says The World Is About To Go To War Against 'Drugs' -
27 World Leaders Are Set To Sign A United Nations Pledge
Next Month To Reduce The $400 Billion A Year Industry)

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 09:04:58 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, editor@mapinc.org
From: Dave Haans 
Subject: TorStar: New global war on drugs tackles a losing battle
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: Toronto Star
Pubdate: May 4, 1998
Page: A14
URL: http://www.thestar.ca
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.ca

New global war on drugs tackles a losing battle

27 world leaders set to sign U.N. pledge next month

By Stephen Handelman

Toronto Star Foreign Affairs Writer

UNITED NATIONS - The world is about to go to war against drugs.


After years of fighting a losing battle against the $400 billion (U.S.)
global narcotics industry, the international community has come up with a
strategy it thinks could finally make a difference.

At least 27 leaders will sign a pledge in New York next month to
dramatically reduce drug addiction in their countries over the next decade.

`The addiction problem we face now isn't a spontaneous expansion of
traditional culture. Today's world market has been created by forces like
organized crime.'
- Pino Arlaachi, head of the
United Nations Drug Control Program

`A commitment of all U.N. member states to continue the war on drugs . . .
constitutes a sort of solemn war declaration at the climax of a global
- New York-based Transnational Radical Party, one of many groups calling
for decriminalization of certain drugs.

``This is the first time the countries of the world are placing as much
emphasis on demand as on supply,'' says Pino Arlaachi, head of the United
Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP).

``We have come to the realization that any progress we make on going after
drug traffickers will never be permanent unless we can reduce the demand
for drugs.''

Prime Minister Jean Chretien is on the list of heads of government
scheduled to attend the United Nations special session on drugs June 8, but
a spokesperson in Ottawa could not confirm whether he'll attend.

U.S. President Bill Clinton may also be there, joining delegations from
more than 130 countries.

More than two years in the planning, the conference is set to approve a
worldwide plan to tackle the burgeoning drug trade literally from the
ground up.

On the agenda are strengthened international co-operation to fund crop
eradication programs, hunt down drug traffickers and end safe havens for
money launderers.

But the most radical step will be a global commitment to achieve
``significant and measurable'' decreases in addiction by the year 2008.

Until now, the war on drugs has been marred by charges from developing
nations who claim they have been unfairly singled out for penalties while
industrial countries do little to curb the demand for narcotics.

According to UNDCP figures, about 200 million people - or about 4 per cent
of the world population - are considered regular drug abusers.

Most live in ``northern'' developed countries, but consumption in other
regions has been rising steadily.


Under the plan, every country will have to establish credible large-scale
programs to treat addiction and promote education about the danger of drugs
within the next five years, and report its results to a central information
clearing house.

But no specific target for reduction has been set so far, which could
still leave many countries at odds over how to measure success.

Clinton recently committed the U.S. to a 50 per cent cut in narcotics
abuse by 2007, but a heated American debate is already underway about how
such a goal can be achieved.

Last week, the U.S. Congress banned federal funding for needle-exchange
programs despite scientific studies showing such programs curb the spread
of AIDS and led to reductions of drug use in poorer communities.

Meanwhile, critics say any global drug war is useless without a change in
the legal approach which has created a vast criminal underworld dedicated
to marketing forbidden substances.

``A commitment of all U.N. member states to continue the war on drugs . .
. constitutes a sort of solemn war declaration at the climax of a global
defeat,'' argues the New York-based Transnational Radical Party, one of
many groups in the U.S. and Canada calling for ``alternative'' policies
such as the decriminalization of certain drugs.

U.N. figures show the worldwide production of opium, cocaine and heroin
decreased only slightly since 1990, despite millions of dollars invested in
law enforcement campaigns.

At the same time, there is a spreading market for chemical stimulants
created in the lab, such as amphetamines.

``Clandestine methamphetamine manufacture is the main (chemical stimulant)
in North America and the Far East,'' notes one of the UNDCP reports.

The bulk of the world's drug consumption is actually marijuana, which many
consider less harmful and addictive than other drugs. According to official
figures, some 140 million of the 200 million drug abusers are cannabis

Arlaachi maintains addiction must be tackled as a ``market problem''
despite its medical and cultural dimensions.

``We still know very little about the deep reasons for addiction,'' he
said at a recent meeting with journalists. ``But the addiction problem we
face now isn't a spontaneous expansion of traditional culture. Today's
world market has been created by forces like organized crime.''

International treaties to combat the flow of drugs have been in place
since the late 1980s, but the new plan calls for a reinforced level of
``judicial co-operation'' in which governments will share information and
confidential legal material.

The leaders will also agree to adopt uniform codes against money
laundering and co-ordinate laws aimed at denying ``access to national and
international financial systems by criminals.''

``Seizing even large amounts of drugs often only has a limited impact on
over-all trafficking and abuse,'' the UNDCP admitted. ``However, blocking
and taking away the profits from drug sales at their entry point into the
financial system can significantly disrupt trafficking operations.

``Money, after all, is both the lifeblood and the sole end of illicit

Arlaachi, a former anti-Mafia prosecutor in Italy, said the illicit drug
industry is now bigger and more far-reaching than many multinational

``The turnover of $400 billion (U.S.) has been compared to General Motors
or Coca-Cola, but there's one important difference,'' he said. ``The
narcotics trade is made up of thousands and thousands of groups, and that
improves our chances of stopping them.''

By working together against them governments will have much more clout, he

``We are not fighting the impossible,'' he said. ``The enemy is not bigger
than us.''



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