------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (California Medical Association Backs Removal Of Marijuana From Schedule I Prohibitive Status; NORML, Others Testify Against DEA Marijuana Eradication Program At Washington, DC Hearing; San Francisco Officials Explore Distributing Medical Marijuana In Wake Of Cannabis Healing Center's Closure; International Drug Reform Coalition Declares 'Global Days Against The Drug War') Thu, 28 May 1998 16:41:54 -0400 (EDT) Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 16:41:54 EDT Subject: NORML WPR 5-28-98 II The NORML Foundation News Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 710 Washington, D.C. 20036 P (202) 483-5500 F (202) 483-0057 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: www.norml.org May 27, 1998 *** CMA Backs Removal Of Marijuana From Schedule I Prohibitive Status May 27, 1998, Sacramento, CA: One of the country's largest state medical associations supports rescheduling marijuana so that researchers may better study the drug's therapeutic value. "Due to the lack of scientific justification for Schedule I classification of marijuana and the consequent virtual standstill in research on its medical benefits, ... we support efforts to reschedule marijuana," the California Medical Association's Board of Trustee's announced last week. "In addition, the Board support[s] efforts to obtain federal approval for a safe, reliable source of marijuana in California for research." The Board also voted to back "federal control over [the] distribution [of marijuana] for medical use in California through closely regulated sources." The CMA joins the American Public Health Association, the Florida Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, the AIDS Action Council, and over 20 other prominent medical groups that presently support rescheduling marijuana. The announcement marked a major policy shift for the CMA, which had previously taken the position that more research was needed before making marijuana legally available. California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer praised the CMA's decision. "The CMA has now come to the realization that the federal law is bankrupt," he said. "It is apparent that the CMA is concerned about the conflict between federal and state law and the lawless manner in which marijuana is distributed now." Gieringer also said that the CMA's position may undermine the passage of federal House Resolution 372, a "sense of the House Resolution" stating that "marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug [that] should not be legalized for medical use." The House will likely debate the issue shortly. "I don't know how any California Congressman could support the measure in light of this evidence," Gieringer speculated. For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751 or Alice Mead at the California Medical Association at (415) 541-0900. *** NORML, Others Testify Against DEA Marijuana Eradication Program At Washington, D.C. Hearing May 28, 1998, Washington, D.C.: NORML joined other concerned groups and citizens to testify against the aerial application of herbicides in DEA-sponsored marijuana eradication efforts, at a public hearing yesterday. The meeting, organized by the Department of Justice, was part of an ongoing review of the "environmental impact" posed by the DEA's use of herbicides, particularly glyphosate, to eliminate wild growing marijuana. The agency has not conducted such a review since May 1986. "The NORML Foundation strongly opposes the aerial directed spraying of herbicides from low flying aircraft for the purpose of eliminating wild growing marijuana plots," Publications Director Paul Armentano told DEA officials. "After evaluating the DEA's Domestic Cannabis Eradication Suppression Program, we find it misguided, excessively burdensome on taxpayers, counterproductive, and potentially harmful to the health and safety of residents and the environment." Armentano cited evidence that the multi-million dollar a year program targets almost entirely nonpsychoactive hemp, and that the aerial use of glyphosate in marijuana eradication efforts is ineffective and environmentally hazardous. "This program almost exclusively eradicates ditchweed which presents no threat to public safety," he said. "In addition, the aerial application of herbicides to eliminate ditchweed poses a demonstrated threat to the general public and wildlife through contamination of ground water, surface water, air and soil, and the elimination of many animals' habitat. Only in America do federal law enforcement continue to place public safety at risk and our tax dollars to waste eliminating this proven worldwide cash crop." Previous forums held in Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, and Atlanta also drew testimony and criticism from drug reform activists and environmentalists. The DEA will review the testimony and include it in the final supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Copies of NORML's testimony are available upon request. *** S.F. Officials Explore Distributing Medical Marijuana In Wake Of Cannabis Healing Center's Closure May 27, 1998, San Francisco, CA: City officials seeking alternatives to the state's privately-run medical marijuana dispensaries are promoting plans to distribute the drug through the Department of Public Health. "The will is there to put this [issue] in Public Health's court," Supervisor Tom Ammiano said shortly after local law enforcement officials complied with a court order to shut down the city's 9,000 member Cannabis Healing Center. "We have to make this happen as soon as possible." Ammiano said the Board of Supervisors may soon draft legislation to allow the health department to distribute marijuana to city residents who use the drug under their doctor's supervision. The proposal shares the support of District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who compares the idea to the city's policy of distributing clean hypodermic needles to addicts. While the latter program violates federal law, Department of Justice officials have not challenged the issue. Mitchell Katz, director of the Public Health Department, said his agency is examining the distribution issue. "We believe that medical marijuana eases suffering and that providing it is a compassionate service," he said. City officials will meet today with Mayor Willie Brown's office to debate the issue, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858. *** International Drug Reform Coalition Declares "Global Days Against The Drug War" May 28, 1998, New York, NY: More than 90 drug policy reform groups worldwide will participate in the upcoming "Global Days Against the Drug War," a five day series of events beginning on June 5 to be held in response to the United Nations Special Session on Narcotics. Several groups -- including NORML, the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet), Common Sense for Drug Policy, and others -- will host events in over 40 cities to promote alternative drug policies. Participating cities include Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Auckland, New Zealand; Dallas, Texas; London, England; Los Angeles, California; Madrid, Spain; Munich, Germany; New Orleans, Louisiana; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Sidney, Australia; Tuscon, Arizona; Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg, Canada. For more information on scheduled events, please contact Adam Smith of DRCNet at (202) 293-8340 or Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy at (703) 354-5694. Additional information is available on-line at: stopthedrugwar.org - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Approves Medical Marijuana Use ('San Francisco Chronicle' Says Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Catherine Gallagher Ruled Yesterday That Peter Baez, Co-Founder Of The Now-Defunct Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center, Doesn't Have To Worry About Failing Urine Tests While Awaiting Trial) Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 13:06:03 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Lee T. Neidow) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Judge Approves med-mj use The San Francisco Chronicle: Pot Crusader Can Smoke Pending Trial Thursday, May 28, 1998 SAN JOSE -- The former operator of San Jose's only medical marijuana dispensary will be allowed to smoke pot while awaiting trial on drug sales and fraud charges, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled yesterday. Peter Baez, co-founder of the now-defunct Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center, is facing seven felony counts stemming from his yearlong directorship of the center. Baez is free on his own recognizance while awaiting trial, but he had faced a return to jail if he tested positive for drugs. Baez, who suffers from cancer, uses marijuana with the approval of his physician. Judge Catherine Gallagher agreed yesterday to waive testing for marijuana use while on supervised release, which defense attorney Ingo Brauer says might be a first. ``I don't believe it has ever happened before,'' Brauer said. ``But then, Proposition 215 (which legalized medical marijuana use in California) is only two years old.'' County prosecutors have charged Baez with five counts of illegal drug sales, one count of running a drug house and of fraudulently taking money from the center.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Fall Of St. Peter - Why Public Officials Abandoned Medical Marijuana Advocate Peter Baez.('The Metro,' A San Jose, California Weekly, Recounts The Case Of Peter Baez And The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center And Finds Police Acted In Bad Faith) The Metro http://www.metroactive.com/ San Jose, California May 28-June 3, 1998 The Fall of St. Peter Why public officials abandoned medical marijuana advocate Peter Baez. Crucifying St. Peter While spouting rhetoric supporting the Compassionate Use Act, local officials launch an attack against the man they once called a hero Story by Eric Johnson Photos by Christopher Gardner 'LUCY VALENZUELA" does not want to reveal her real name because she is afraid of being seen as a criminal. To control her almost constant pain, the 56-year-old San Jose woman, whose hands are disfigured from diabetic nerve damage and who walks with crutches, likes to smoke a bit of marijuana. "The pills my doctor gives me make me confused, like I'm stumbling around," she says. "The marijuana just relieved my spasms. I could feel OK. It also took some of the stress off my life, of having to live this way." Until recently, Valenzuela believed the government - via the will of the people - had agreed to allow her to do this in peace. Now she's not so sure. Until last month, Valenzuela was a client of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center. When San Jose police arrested founder Peter Baez in March and seized its records, they decided that Valenzuela was not a legitimate patient. Now she is known in court documents as Buyer Number 5. Valenzuela did not know that she was named in Baez's case until I interviewed her last Friday. She cried when she found out--but she was more angry than sad. "I feel like something was taken away from me," she said, choking back tears. "Not just my medicine but my rights. This was something very private to me." She said she couldn't understand why Baez and his partner, Jesse Garcia, are being targeted. "I don't know why the government would want to attack them," she said. "They came into this with good clean hearts. They put their necks on the line to help people. They don't know it, but I pray for them every day. I pray to God and the Virgin Mary. I have my santitos." To become a santito, a person has to perform a miracle. It isn't enough to be a good person or to follow some kind of calling--sainthood requires the accomplishment of an impossible task, like making a desert rock spout water or curing a sick person. On Friday, May 8, when the doors of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center closed for good, it became clear that Peter Baez cannot do the impossible. Baez did, however, attempt a miracle. He tried to implement the Compassionate Use Act, the law allowing the use of marijuana as medicine. And as medical-marijuana clubs throughout the state have discovered, that can't be done. At least three agencies of the federal government are working to subvert the law, which was passed when Californians voted for Proposition 215. Dan Lungren's gubernatorial ambitions have set him on a crusade to thwart it. And local officials--because of political pressure and sheer cowardice--are now geared up to send the man who ran the only medi-pot dispensary in San Jose to prison. If convicted, Baez, who suffers from colon cancer, could be sentenced to nine years in prison. The legal case charges that most of the patients at the SCCMCC did not have written doctors' notes recommending marijuana. All of them--including the five whom the DA has selected for prosecution--have documented ailments. The legal question focuses narrowly on whether their doctors officially gave them the green light to use marijuana. Police and prosecutors also have launched a media campaign to depict Baez as a liar and a thief. They condemn him for betraying their trust and have charged that he ripped off his ailing clients--comparing his activities at the center to "street-level drug dealing." The evidence which was presented to the grand jury to procure an indictment, however, suggests that while he may have violated the letter of an imprecisely written law, Baez was trying to support the spirit of its passage, to help dying and suffering people lead better lives. And he received very little help from the public servants and elected officials whose job, by voter mandate, was to make Prop. 215 work. Two Faces of Government THE COMPASSIONATE USE Act mandates that governments themselves "implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need." Since Prop. 215 passed, local law enforcement and elected officials have made assurances to the 66 percent of the citizenry who supported the bill that they would see that it was carried out. Some, like assistant district attorney Karin Sinunu and former police chief Lou Cobarruviaz, stated their full support for the measure. Others were more reluctant, making it clear that while they did not believe in marijuana as medicine, they were willing to bow to the will of the people. Lawmakers and police did, however, promise to keep a very close eye on how the law was implemented. Unlike those in other California cities--including San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz, which developed a more or less relaxed attitude about enforcement--San Jose and Santa Clara County officials decided to closely monitor the way medical marijuana was dispensed. They were pleased when Peter Baez approached them with his idea to form an unofficial partnership with the city to carry out the Compassionate Use Act. Baez, himself a cancer patient, had a reputation as a clean-cut do-gooder. He had been commended in 1993 by Mayor Susan Hammer for his volunteer work on AIDS, and he was a member of Gilroy's anti-graffiti task force. Baez had spent years championing medical marijuana after developing a close relationship with Jesse Garcia, a Gilroy man suffering from AIDS. Following the passage of 215, Baez and Garcia had launched a guerrilla medi-pot dispensary, which they operated out of a car in the parking lot of Valley Medical Center. After months of clandestine distribution, Baez and Garcia decided to open a legitimate dispensary. They had a feeling the best way to do that was to work closely with local law enforcement. When the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center opened its doors just over a year ago, local officials pledged to work with Baez. His subsequent efforts to get marijuana to sick people--and to do it by the book--won him much praise. At times, it did seem as though he were being canonized. Karin Sinunu called him "the Eagle Scout of the medical marijuana movement." National media flocked to San Jose to profile Baez, lauding the local center as a statewide model. But, as it turns out, the official line of support for Baez did not run very deep. Now, as pressure from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and federal prosecutors heats to a fever, six California mayors are petitioning the feds to back off. Mayor Susan Hammer, a longtime friend of Baez's, declines to comment on the subject and refers all questions to the police. And the SJPD, through department spokesman John Carrillo, is hardly enthusiastic about abiding by the Compassionate Use Act. "I don't know how long 215 is going to be valid," Carrillo said. "It is not legal under federal statute, and that takes precedence over California law. "Currently, 215 was voted into effect. It is now currently law, and we must follow the law, so it will be allowed. But what I can tell you as the department spokesman is that the fate of 215 is in the courts." Baez and Garcia both feel that they have been betrayed. They also think it is more than coincidence that acting chief Walt Atkins took over the reins of the department the very day of the SCCMCC raid. "We had a great relationship with Chief Cobarruviaz," Garcia says of San Jose's recently retired chief. "Suddenly, Atkins comes in, and boom. What are we supposed to think?" Atkins did not reply to requests for an interview for this article. But City Attorney Joan Gallo says that "there has been no philosophical change whatsoever" since Atkins took over. She points to the fact that this week, she presented an ordinance to the City Council which would make it easier for a cannabis center to operate. However, she says pressure from the Clinton administration is making it almost impossible for the city. "With the federal government taking the unreasonable position that it is taking, it is going to be very difficult for anybody to operate a legal marijuana dispensary," Gallo says. Give Pete a Chance: Joan Baez was on hand to support her cousin Peter Baez (left) and friend Jesse Garcia (right) during the official closing of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Club early this month. With Friends Like These ... IN THE YEAR that the San Jose medi-pot center operated, the city offered Baez and Garcia little in the way of support for their pioneering operation, and then blamed Baez when the city decided that the experiment had failed. The club's founders say that they had a one-way relationship with public officials. "We felt like we were putting ourselves and our patients at risk [by providing documentation and communication], and nobody would communicate with us," Garcia says. In Baez's apartment in Gilroy, the two have a file folder full of letters requesting meetings with various officials, most of which never occurred. On June 23, 1997, for instance, they asked Mayor Hammer to consider adopting a resolution similar to one in Oakland that protects medi-pot dispensaries. On Sept. 5, they wrote to assistant city attorney Carl Mitchell regarding patients' concerns about the confidentiality of their medical records. On Feb. 2 of this year they asked Hammer, Cobarruviaz and others to help them contract with a local grower, so they could solve the thorny problem of transporting the pot, another issue not resolved in the wording of the law. They received no responses. Instead, the city pushed the responsibility for dealing with the club on Sgt. Scott Savage of the SJPD narcotics division. When I interviewed Baez and Garcia for another article last May, they both spoke highly of Savage. This unlikely trio--a narcotics officer and two medi-pot activists--were at the time working together to set up an indoor growing operation at the center's Meridian Avenue site (a plan that fell through because the center's landlord feared he'd lose his property under federal forfeiture law). In the months that followed, Baez even called Savage to turn in five people who had come to him with forged doctors' notes. Baez's motives in playing it straight with Savage were not altogether saintly or even Boy Scoutish: He saw it as a matter of survival. The DEA was sending undercover narcs into every pot club in California and filing charges up and down the state. The SCCMCC was about the only club which could not be stung--a fact Baez credits to his strict patient-intake procedures. But according to police and prosecutors, Baez wasn't nearly careful enough. In October of last year SJPD officers picked up a man named Enrique Robles, a client of the SCCMCC, on a charge of possession. In his defense, Robles said that as a member of the center, the pot he was carrying was legal. Sgt. Scott Savage called Baez to confirm that Robles was a client and asked Baez to give him the name of Robles' doctor. According to Savage's report, Baez hemmed and hawed a bit and then named two local physicians. Savage called both, and they denied having recommended pot for Robles. The following Monday, March 24, Savage showed up at the SCCMCC's Meridian Street office with a half-dozen undercover officers. Savage went inside and asked Baez to turn over all of the center's files. Baez refused on the grounds of patient confidentiality, claiming that the center's clients who were dying of AIDS and cancer had a right to expect privacy. Savage produced a search warrant and placed Baez under arrest. According to court records, Savage seized all of the center's patient files, a checkbook and check register, daily sales logs and the center's computer, as well as some marijuana and cash as evidence. Police left some marijuana at the premises, although the amount they left is in dispute. After poring over the 270 patient files, Savage concluded that 25 percent of the center's clients "appear to not comply with the Compassionate Use Act." He then obtained a warrant to seize the center's bank account in Gilroy, which contained almost $30,000. Lighten Up: Clients at the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center held a wake last month on the day the center closed. Dealing the Dirt AS A RESULT of this raid, Baez now faces seven federal charges: five for allegedly selling pot to five people who did not qualify under 215, one for allegedly operating a "drug house" and one for allegedly committing grand theft by accepting $705 per month in federal disability housing assistance. Police and prosecutors also believe Baez stole money from the SCCMCC checking account. The press release that went out last Monday following a grand jury indictment says that "there is a large discrepancy, approximately $73,454, between documented sales to SCCMCC clients and the amount of money received by SCCMCC." It also says "there are $51,000 in checks written to Peter Baez for cash," and that "Peter Baez purchased a brand-new Toyota RAV 4." The press release doesn't mention that all of this information was discovered because Baez--who was a banker for 10 years--accounted for every nickel that came in the door. Nor does it mention that every nickel of the alleged discrepancy was found in the center's bank account. Of course, it stands to reason that these details were left out, because the press release was circulated by Baez's prosecutors. Baez still believes that if law enforcement officials had talked to him, if they had asked him to walk them through his books, they would have reached a different conclusion. In fact, the center's books (copies of which were obtained by Metro) suggest that Baez used the $51,000 to purchase the center's marijuana--which had to be paid for in cash. A meticulous detail freak, Baez points to highlighted dated entries, each of which is cross-referenced to a purchase of pounds of "Yoli," "Boli" or "Mexican"--names of different grades of pot. He then produces another document that shows when and how each pound was distributed to patients. He says he understands how Savage might have concluded there was a discrepancy between patient files and daily tallies. The daily tally sheets, he says, contain slash-marks for every eighth-ounce sold, regardless of the price the center charged. If a client bought an ounce and received a quantity discount, Baez made eight slash marks. Instead of paying eight times $60, or $480, however, the patient might have paid $300, and that is the amount recorded in the patient files, which were kept in dollars. "Maybe that was a sloppy way of doing it," Baez now concedes, "but it isn't criminal-sloppy. It's just busy-sloppy. "More than 90 percent of our sales were cash," Baez adds. "If I had wanted to steal that money, why would I keep records of it at all? Why would I put it into a bank account where I know it could be found?" He answers every charge in similarly exhaustive detail. When asked about the RAV4 which the DA says he bought with stolen money, he produces another file-folder containing a bank statement from South Valley Bank in Gilroy. It shows a $8,000 wire transfer on July 21, 1997, from Samuel Baez, his father--a retired U.S. Navy chaplain. Three days later, the register shows a check written to Gilroy Toyota. The difference between the $8,000 and the price of the RAV4 was made up by trading in his 1995 Pontiac Sunfire convertible, he says, reaching for more paperwork to prove it. Garcia, however, points out that even if he and Baez had chosen to take money from the center, in the form of salaries, that would have been legal. He says the pair was only using about $300 to $400 per month to cover work-related expenses. "We were volunteers," he says, "but there is nothing in 215 that says a person has to be a volunteer to operate a center. It's one thing that we're being asked to account for allegedly illegal activities. It doesn't seem appropriate that we're also being asked to account for legal activities." The legal issue is not so much that Baez stole money--although the DA insists that he did. It's that he sold pot to people who didn't qualify under the law. All of the talk about Baez's alleged misuse of SCCMCC's funds is a smokescreen, he believes, designed to turn public opinion against him and against the medical-marijuana movement in general. The Letter of the Law AT THE HEART of the actual criminal case lies a real contradiction stemming from the fact that Prop. 215 puts the state of California's laws at odds with the laws of the U.S. government. Proposition 215 states that patients must have a doctor's recommendation, but prescribing marijuana puts doctors in violation of a federal law. A document released by the California Medical Association in January invokes the law and tells physicians in the state to steer clear of prescribing pot. Issuing such a recommendation could make them ineligible to participate in the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, costing them serious money, and could also result in their losing their licenses to write prescriptions for pain medication, according to the CMA. The memo reminded doctors that "the federal government, after the passage of Proposition 215, indicated that it would seek sanctions against physicians who recommended marijuana to their patients." It then described one of a half-dozen lawsuits orbiting around 215, which culminated in a court ruling that doctors may only recommend marijuana to a very narrow set of patients, including those suffering from AIDS and cancer. However, the most frightening section of the letter, to many physicians, warns them against issuing any written recommendations. In a needle-threading paragraph, the CMA clearly tries to find a way for doctors to provide their patients the letter which the law says they need, but points out that "a strong argument can be made that such a letter ... constitutes aiding and abetting--a violation of federal law. "It should be noted that the court did state that a physician can be subject to punishment for aiding and abetting the cultivation or possession of marijuana," the paragraph concludes. Finally, the CMA document tells doctors to "avoid communicating with a marijuana distributor, such as a buyers club, to confirm a recommendation made to a patient in an office dialogue." Obviously, this creates an impossible situation. Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, public health officer with the county health department, tried to intervene. A couple of weeks after the CMA issued its letter, Fenstersheib sent out a memo detailing guidelines for recommending medical marijuana, as well as forms for doctors, patients and dispensaries like SCCMCC. The county's guidelines and forms stopped short of a full-blown recommendation. Instead, they called on doctors to state only that they "discussed the medical benefits of marijuana" and that they would "continue to monitor" the patient. Baez and his attorneys insist that all of the center's patient files meet these two criteria: a physician's knowledge of the patient's marijuana use and willingness to continue to see the patient. But the DA maintains that only 70 of the center's 240 patients were legit. In a court affidavit, Savage reported that many of the center's files "contain no written medical recommendations, although some have notations of oral recommendation." In a subsequent report, Savage writes that he called many of the doctors from whom the center claims to have received oral recommendations, and that those doctors deny ever having heard from the center. Dr. Tod Mikuriya, former director of marijuana research at the National Institute of Mental Health, has reviewed all five of the patient files associated with the charges against Baez. Mikuriya provided Baez's attorneys with a report of his analysis of each patient's file. He writes that the file of Rick Robles, whose arrest led to the police raid on SCCMCC, shows that he had a broken back, and that his doctor "was aware of use" of marijuana. It also shows that the doctor was contacted by phone to confirm that Robles was a patient. Savage reports that the doctor denies ever receiving a call. SCCMCC's phone records, however, document a call to Robles' doctor's number on Oct. 22, 1997. Buyer Number 2's physician, according to Mikuriya, "appears to have accepted [the patient's] use of cannabis and tried to avoid putting himself at risk by prescribing Marinol [a THC pill]." A third doctor noted that his patient "requests that I consider providing a prescription for marijuana." These files, according to Baez and his lawyers, prove that the SCCMCC was abiding by 215's requirements. The case of Buyer Number 5 ("Lucy Valenzuela") appears from Mikuriya's notes to be borderline. While her file contained a diagnosis of a condition protected by 215, there does not appear to be any doctor contact. However, Mikuriya notes that Valenzuela "expressed concerns that MD may not sign because of fear of reprisal." In each case, the center clearly was forced to exercise discretion. In each case, Mikuriya concludes, the two standards set up by Fenstersheib had been satisfied. "Each and every individual appears to suffer serious chronic illness that qualifies for protection by Health and Safety Code 11362.5 [the Compassionate Use Act]," Mikuriya writes. "The apparent denials encountered by police investigators from treating physicians are clearly responses to appropriate fear and concern for the medical licenses based upon information provided them by the general media and by the California Medical Association." Hugs Not Drugs: Jesse Garcia, co-founder of San Jose's cannabis club, says the saddest part of the club's closure is that ailing clients who depended on the club will have nowhere to turn. Ending the War on Drugs BEYOND THE bureaucratic Catch-22s of the Compassionate Use Act is a simple fact: For the past 30 years, the government has considered marijuana to be unmitigated evil. So have many law enforcement officers, elected officials and doctors. Claiming marijuana as a miracle cure is pure heresy. Jeremy Griffey believes marijuana saved his life. A 44-year-old AIDS patient, Griffey credits the banned herb with miraculous curative abilities--only some of which have been verified through research. As many AIDS sufferers do, he speaks matter-of-factly about the details of his ailments. Smoking marijuana, he says, controls his nausea and restores his appetite so he can keep food down and take his medications. Eating pot muffins, he says, stops his diarrhea. Laughing, he almost guiltily admits that it also elevates his mood. Without it, he says, he often became depressed. Griffey says he began using pot medicinally while caring for his partner of 21 years, who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1992. He believes marijuana kept his partner alive for a year and made the last year of his life bearable. George Hanamoto, another medical-marijuana user, also believes the stuff works like magic. The 57-year-old Morgan Hill TV repairman is afflicted with glaucoma, arthritis and low-back pain. He says he started smoking marijuana for his glaucoma but found that it also cured his pain. "It happened like that," he says, snapping his fingers. "The very first time. Couldn't feel the pain at all. It was just gone." As a bonus, he says, his doctor took him off physically addictive eyedrops after he'd been smoking pot for a few weeks. A veteran nurse at a local hospital, who asked to remain anonymous, credits the survival of her own mother and sister, both of whom have cancer, to marijuana. She says she became a believer when she saw it work for her brother, who died of cancer last year. These stories, which are ubiquitous among users of medical marijuana, drive Drug War hawks batty. Assistant district attorney Karin Sinunu, who alone among local officials makes it clear that she does not consider Baez "a common criminal," says the charges against him are not an attack on the concept of medical marijuana. "I wholeheartedly support the spirit of 215," she says. Nevertheless, her office presses forward with its case. Talking to Denise Rabbe, one of Sinunu's deputy DAs, it is clear that two worlds are clashing in San Jose. The deputy assistant DA seems fixated on the details that, she believes, show Baez broke the law--but how else could she possibly see the case? The Compassionate Use Act may be a crack in the ideology which holds that marijuana is the Devil Weed, but law enforcement officials are a long way from loosening up loopholes so that it can be implemented. Peter Baez may have committed sins against the state. Perhaps he was overzealous in making marijuana available to people who he believed desperately needed it. Maybe he failed to follow the letter of the law, as interpreted by the DA's office, and even declared some expenses that don't match its definition of "business-related." But if there is betrayal involved in this case, it more likely came at the hands of officials who set Baez up to fail and then crucified him when he did. From the May 28-June 3, 1998 issue of Metro. Copyright (c) Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.
------------------------------------------------------------------- I Think You Guys Took It In The Shorts (San Francisco Bay Area Activist Forwards A Message From Peter Baez Saying The District Attorney Tried To Get 'The Metro' To Spike Today's 'St. Peter' Article) From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Fwd: Re: I think you guys took it in the shorts Content-Type: text/plain Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 11:46:40 PDT >Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 11:34:13 +0000 >From: "Baez,Peter" (email@example.com) >To: ralph sherrow (firstname.lastname@example.org) >Subject: Re: I think you guys took it in the shorts > >Ralph.... > >Pleas ask all on your email list to get the current free copy of the >Metro paper at coffee houses, theaters, etc. I am on the cover and they >did a 3 week investigation into me and my accusations, guess what, I >come out clean, and the d.a. even called the paper the day before it was >to print to scare them saying, "you'll embarrass your credibility if you >run the Baez story", They said go f yourselves! > >Peter Baez
------------------------------------------------------------------- Spotlight Shifts To Small Pot Clubs ('San Francisco Examiner' Publicizes Three Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Left In San Francisco After The Shutdown This Week Of The Cannabis Healing Center, The State's Biggest And Oldest Cannabis Buyers' Club) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 10:09:54 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Spotlight Shifts to Small Pot Clubs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Author: Marianne Costantinou of the Examiner Staff SPOTLIGHT SHIFTS TO SMALL POT CLUBS It looks like a college dorm, circa 1968. Mismatched couches and lounge chairs. Bad art on the walls. Purple painted bookcases and funky rugs. ... A bong on the coffee table. A joint in the ashtray. The sweet smell of pot in the air. The talk in the room is of peace and love and changing the world. But it is also of pain and loneliness and the fear of dying. This is a pot club, 1998. With the shutdown this week of the Cannabis Healing Center, the state's biggest and oldest pot club, only three pot clubs now remain in San Francisco. Unlike the megaclub founded by gubernatorial candidate Dennis Peron, the existing clubs are small and discreet, ever mindful of looming federal and state court battles that are challenging their legality despite Proposition 215, which state voters passed to approve medicinal marijuana. "Discretion is the better part of valor," said Ken Hayes Jr., head of C.H.A.M.P., an acronym for Cannabis Helping Alleviate Medical Problems, at 194 Church St. off Market. "We try to keep a low profile. ... One of the reasons we're still open, I believe, is that we haven't been in your face, smoking in front of the TV cameras." Now, with Peron's place at 1444 Market padlocked by deputy sheriffs, the remaining clubs are braced for a stampede of clients they feel ill-equipped to handle, what with their cozy rooms and small staffs. Until now, the other clubs have let Peron, with his 9,000 members, grab the headlines and take the political heat. They were content to quietly serve their clientele of just a few hundred each. But with word spreading of their existence, two of the three -- C.H.A.M.P and ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power -- have extended their hours to handle the constant stream of patients who have been arriving this week at their unmarked doors. At the 500-member C.H.A.M.P., open since December 1996, many newcomers have been turned away, Hayes said. Fear of a bust triggered by the infiltration by undercover drug agents -- one of Peron's downfalls -- forces the staff at C.H.A.M.P. to be suspicious of any applicant, even those in wheelchairs. C.H.A.M.P. not only insists on a doctor's note recommending the use of marijuana for the patient's medical condition, but the club wants the note to be dated within 30 days. Staff members then call the doctor to verify the note, Hayes said. Once approved, the applicant is issued a photo ID card. With the whole process taking an hour or two, the handful of staff members can handle only five or six applications a day, Hayes said. Over at ACT UP, at 3991 17th St., off Market in the Castro, membership has gone up at least 33 percent this week, up from 300. The club opened about three months ago, around the time another place, Flower Therapy, was pressured by authorities to close its doors. ACT UP doesn't ask for a doctor's note. It demands only that prospective clients sign a notarized declaration under penalty of perjury that a doctor has recommended pot for their medical condition. "We're not doctors here or judges," said Michael Bellefountaine, 32. "If you make a promise that you are sick and you need pot, I give you pot." Unlike C.H.A.M.P. and Peron's old club, which were set up as hangouts for clients to smoke their pot and socialize, ACT UP bans any smoking inside its tiny converted apartment. Clients come in, show their ID, check out the pot for sale, pay for it, and leave. "It's like going to a butcher shop," Bellefountaine said. " "What do you have today in lamb chops?' " At C.H.A.M.P. and ACT UP, the top price for an eighth of an ounce bag of pot grown in California is $55, but prices can go as low as $15 for Mexican pot. Prices go as high as $70 across the street from ACT UP, at the Market Street Club, a one-man operation with 150 members run by AIDS patient James Green, 36. Green opened his business in December 1997, just as the federal and state campaign against pot clubs really heated up. Ever since, Green has been watching the door of his second-floor, black-paneled office, fearful of a bust. Green also bans smoking at his club and doesn't even have any chairs. Clients fill out the paperwork at a counter and must be able to submit a doctor's recommendation. Keeping a straight-laced business image is key to survival, Green said. He even sells other items, from body lotion and vitamins to hand-carved Indian kachina dolls, to give the appearance of a legitimate shop to the casual passerby. "When people see a party atmosphere, they get the wrong impression," said Green, explaining his nonsmoking rule. Although he considers selling pot a business, Green said he was barely paying for his supplies and the rent. ACT UP, which takes in about $25,000 a month, is also just a grand or two ahead. C.H.A.M.P. has monthly revenue of about $35,000, Hayes said. To them, the purpose of selling pot is not making money, but helping those in need. Most of their clients have AIDS, but they also have patients with cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy and arthritis. "I don't relish the idea of being raided and being busted," Green said. "I think I'm doing the right thing, even though it might turn out to be unfortunate for me." To people who need the marijuana to ease pain and stimulate their appetites, the pot clubs make their lives possible. Sandi Patrick, 49, a paraplegic suffering from arthritis, traveled miles in her motorized wheelchair to get to the ACT UP club Wednesday afternoon. She had been a volunteer at Peron's club, located just around the corner from her house. For 13 years, she took morphine and methadone for her condition, and barely had enough energy to get out of bed. She's been smoking pot for two years. "Before, there wasn't much quality to my life," she said. "I feel now I can live again." 1998 San Francisco Examiner
------------------------------------------------------------------- San Francisco May Use Health Department In Pot Wars - Supervisor Says Cities Can Dispense Medical Marijuana ('San Francisco Chronicle' Says City Officials Are Scheduled To Meet This Afternoon In Mayor Willie Brown's Office To Work Out A Policy On How To Get Marijuana To People Who Need It - The City's Department Of Public Health Is Considered The Most Likely New Distributor) Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 12:59:17 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Lee T. Neidow) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: S. F. med-mj distribution The San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. May Use Health Dept. In Pot Wars - Supervisor says cities can dispense medical marijuana Glen Martin, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, May 28, 1998 In the aftermath of the closure of San Francisco's biggest medical marijuana club, local officials are promoting the city's Department of Public Health as the most likely new distributor for medicinal pot. ``The will is there to put this in Public Health's court,'' Supervisor Tom Ammiano said yesterday. ``We have to make it happen as soon as possible.'' District Attorney Terence Hallinan has endorsed the idea, which would make San Francisco the first city in the state to distribute pot and could put it on a legal collision course with the federal government. City officials are scheduled to meet this afternoon in Mayor Willie Brown's office to work out a policy on how to get marijuana to people who need it for medicinal reasons. Ammiano said the Board of Supervisors may be able to draft legislation in a few days that would enable the health department to distribute marijuana to residents of the city who can produce referrals from doctors. Ammiano said city governments are authorized to distribute medicinal marijuana under Proposition 215, the 1996 state initiative that legalized medical pot. But he acknowledged that the law is ambiguous about ways city officials could legally obtain the weed. ``It could be difficult to procure, but the (medical marijuana) clubs haven't had that problem,'' Ammiano said. ``Since Proposition 215 allows medical marijuana to be distributed, it implies that there has to be a means of legally obtaining it.'' Although medical marijuana is legal in the state, it is still against federal law to possess, use or distribute it. That fact has been brought home to the state's medical cannabis clubs in recent weeks as federal prosecutors have filed suits to close them down. On Monday, San Francisco sheriff's deputies padlocked the San Francisco Cannabis Healing Center after rulings by judges in U.S. Court of Appeals and San Francisco Superior Court. With more than 5,000 members, the center was the biggest medical marijuana outlet in the country. At a medical marijuana distribution ``summit'' Tuesday at the state Capitol, Hallinan said the city should undertake the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. State Senator Quentin Kopp, independent-San Francisco, said he is not convinced that cities can legally oversee medical marijuana programs. Nonetheless, the idea has developed momentum in San Francisco. John Shanley, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said Hallinan acknowledges that ``a conflict exists between state and federal law here.'' But Shanley compared medical marijuana to hypodermic needle exchange programs. ``Needle exchange programs operated in this city even though certain officials insisted they were illegal,'' Shanley said. ``There was a legitimate need for them, and there's a legitimate need for medical marijuana.'' Mitchell Katz, director of the Public Health Department, said his agency is studying medical marijuana options in concert with other city departments. ``We believe that medical marijuana eases suffering and that providing it is a compassionate service,'' he said. Ammiano said he believes Brown is behind the idea. But the mayor, whose endorsement is an absolute prerequisite for a city- sponsored marijuana distribution program, seemed somewhat coy about the issue. Brown said that he supports the efforts of the state's pot club owners but that he is limited in his ability to help them negotiate their legal difficulties. He said that city employees risk arrest and incarceration if they violate the law in their attempts to distribute medical marijuana. ``I'm too small a guy to spend any time in jail,'' he said, laughing. ``They can see me any way they wish. I am not going to jail for anyone.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Thurston's Crowded Jail Copes With Illnesses, Too - Corrections Officers Deal With More Visits To Clinic (The Tacoma, Washington 'News Tribune' Notes Thurston County's War On Some Drug Users Is Largely A War On Sick People - Between 1994 And 1997, The Number Of Inmates Treated Annually At The Jail's Part-Time Medical Clinic Rose From 1,300 To 2,541, While The Daily Inmate Population Rose From 284 To 391) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen - Olympia" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-Hemp Talk" (email@example.com) Subject: HT: Thurston's crowded jail copes with illnesses, too Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 21:27:11 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Doesn't mention drugs, but Thurston Co. is overcrowded from drug prisoners. Bob_O *** Thurston's crowded jail copes with illnesses, too Corrections officers deal with more visits to clinic Karen Hucks The News Tribune When Kenneth Henson took a job as a correctional officer at the Thurston County jail a year ago, he had no idea he would be playing nurse and social worker, too. But these days, Henson says, he has to help sick inmates on and off the toilet, clean up AIDS-tainted blood after fights, give inmates their medicine and watch them grow weaker with terminal illnesses. Not only is the population at Thurston County Correctional Facility in Olympia growing, but it is getting sicker, jail officials say. Between 1994 and 1997, the number of inmates treated annually at the jail's part-time medical clinic rose from 1,300 to 2,541, while the daily inmate population rose from 284 to 391, nurse Marla Fredericks said. On an average day this year, the doctors and nurses treat 25 inmates, compared with 12 four years ago, she said. It puts a strain on everyone. Henson cringes as he remembers one terminally ill inmate last year. The man's ankles swelled, his belly bloated and he couldn't control his bowels. "I kind of wanted to avoid him," Henson said. Part of the increase in medical visits is caused by the sheer volume of inmates. The jail, and an annex that opened last year to relieve overcrowding, have 358 bunks - and they are bursting at the seams. The average daily population under the jail's control in 1998 is 455 inmates, including people in alternative programs that allow them to sleep elsewhere. Inside the jail this week, 54 inmates were sleeping on the floor, said Karen Daniels, chief of corrections for Thurston County. But the number of sick inmates is growing even faster than the population. "We're seeing everything from people being diagnosed with cancer to people with other terminal conditions," said Fredericks, whose position is funded for 30 hours a week. "A lot of them come in from long periods of using illegal substances and have been ignoring symptoms." When they get into jail and no longer can take drugs to mask their symptoms, they want their health issues tended to immediately. Last week, medical officials diagnosed one inmate with a brain aneurysm and another who may have ovarian cancer, Fredericks said. The most typical problems are AIDS, hepatitis C and heart disease, Fredericks said. About 15 percent of the problems the medical clinic treats are dental, such as abscesses caused by untreated tooth rot. There also are many more inmates with mental illnesses. The jail has a psychiatrist four to six hours each week. Thurston County is not alone in its battle against illnesses in jail. "From a basic correctional philosophy, this is happening across the nation," said Julie Lord, Pierce County jail health services manager. "The population is getting older, and with that you're dealing with elderly illnesses, and there is an increase in AIDS - and we're seeing it like everyone else is." Poor medical care was a major part of a 1995 class-action lawsuit filed by inmates in Pierce County Jail who alleged inhumane conditions. The county reached a settlement with the inmates that, among other things, gave inmates better access to health care. In cities up and down the Interstate 5 corridor, medical conditions have played a role in inmate lawsuits, corrections chief Daniels said. The possibility of a lawsuit is worrying Thurston County officials now, too. The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating dozens of complaints from Thurston County inmates about alleged inhumane conditions at the jail. The county will open a 300-inmate regional jail near Tumwater within two years, and a population management committee is investigating solutions to the jail's crowding problems, including early release. But there doesn't seem to be any easy solution, and Mark Bolton, associate jail administrator, said he only expects it to get worse. Thurston County's clinic is open nine hours a day on weekdays. At other times, a nurse is on call and correctional officers like Henson handle crises and make minor medical decisions, which Daniels said they are not trained to do. Inmate Larry Neal, 56, said sicknesses cause stress for and between inmates. Other inmates started shying away from him when he got some sores on his face. "You don't know who has AIDS and who doesn't, so when they see open sores, they have a tendency to get very uptight," said Neal, who said he doesn't have the disease. Inmate Tim Matson, 31, said his medical problems - he has hepatitis C and kidney stones - make him more temperamental. He said that last year he urinated blood for more than a week before he got an appointment at the clinic. "Me, I'm not the smallest guy in this place," said Matson, who's 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 253 pounds. "My temper becomes pretty frazzled, and somebody with a bad attitude can set me off." Correctional officer John Zimmaro said it's not just the sick inmates who get stressed out about illness in the jail. The problems carry over to healthy inmates who can't get attention they need for administrative matters because officers are so busy devoting time to sick people. "It's constant where you've got to ignore the other 60 percent of the inmates because you're tied up dealing with (sick) people," Zimmaro said. "If they're not getting answers to their legitimate questions, then stress is building up on them." *** Staff writer Karen Hucks covers Thurston County. Reach her at 1-800-388-8742, Ext. 8660, or by e-mail at email@example.com (c) The News Tribune May 28, 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------- Four Downtown Petitioners Join In Police Complaint (Las Vegas 'Review-Journal' Says Five People Collecting Signatures For A Nevada Medical Marijuana Initiative Have Filed Complaints With The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau After They Were Thrown Off Fremont Street On Friday, Detained And Threatened With Arrest If They Ever Returned, By Cops Who Refused To Give Their Badge Numbers Or Names) Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 23:52:11 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: Four Downtown Petitioners Join In Police Complaint Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Author: Joe Schoenmann, Review-Journal FOUR DOWNTOWN PETITIONERS JOIN IN POLICE COMPLAINT Four more people filed complaints with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau after they and another person were thrown off Fremont Street on Friday, detained and threatened with arrest if they ever returned. The four -- Tim Bear, Lawrence Thompson, Ben Pederman and Laura Shook -- joined Amy Donaldson, who filed a complaint Tuesday. The "Fremont Five" contend that they were unlawfully detained for an hour by police, that the officers behaved belligerently, that the officers refused to give their badge numbers and names, and that the officers "trespassed" them by telling them they could never return to Fremont Street under threat of arrest. The four were on Fremont Street on Friday afternoon trying to gather signatures in support of legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana. A similar measure passed recently in California. They had collected about a dozen signatures, their spokeswoman said, and were leaving the street because so few of the people they approached were Nevada residents. But then, Fremont Street security guards confronted them and called the Police Department, contending that the group was soliciting. A Fremont Street spokesman said Tuesday he believed the petitioners were violating an ordinance that bans interfering with pedestrians by accosting or soliciting them. Gary Peck, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said Wednesday that instead of trying to find fault, police and Fremont Street managers should be "praising this kind of responsible citizenship." "And Metro police need to figure out that they do not work for Fremont Street," Peck added. "They work for the public." The officers justified their detaining of the petitioners by citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is known as the Terry Doctrine. That ruling allows police to search for weapons if they suspect criminal activity. But Peck said the police went beyond their bounds and were simply being "bullies."
------------------------------------------------------------------- City's Marijuana Law Under Fire ('The Ann Arbor News' In Michigan Says Mike Rogers, A Former FBI Agent And Republican State Senator From Livingston County, Wants The City Of Ann Arbor To Go Back To Criminalizing Marijuana Possession Or Lose About $1.3 Million In Revenue Sharing Money From The Upcoming State Budget - Rogers Says The City's Once-Infamous $5 Marijuana Ticket Law, Ratcheted Up To $50 In 1974 By City Voters, Sends The Wrong Message To Children) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 01:19:44 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US MI: City's Marijuana Law Under Fire Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: The Ann Arbor News (MI) Contact: http://aa.mlive.com/about/toeditor.html Website: http://aa.mlive.com/ Author: Susan L. Oppat, with Marianne Rzepka contributing CITY'S MARIJUANA LAW UNDER FIRE A state senator from Livingston County wants the City of Ann Arbor to go back to criminalizing marijuana possession or face the loss of about $1.3 million of revenue sharing money from the upcoming state budget. Sen. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, says the city's once-infamous $5 marijuana ticket law - ratcheted up to $50 since voters amended the city charter in 1974 - sends the wrong message to children by making possession of an illegal drug a civil infraction. But a City Council member called the Senate-passed state budget amendment that Rogers sponsored "blackmail." Several state lawmakers from Washtenaw County say the amendment, which still must make it through the House, is unconstitutional. Rogers, a former FBI agent, in his amendment called for a 10 percent reduction in state revenue sharing funding to Ann Arbor every year until the city complies with state marijuana possession penalties. He had attempted to push through a 20 percent reduction. Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem Township, spoke against the amendment this week and was one of a handful of senators who voted against it. Smith took that stand, she says, not because she supports low penalties for possession of marijuana, but because the state cannot legally withhold funding to force a local government to give up its right to its own laws. Rogers' amendment does not specifically name Ann Arbor, but no other municipality has marijuana possession penalties lower than the state standard. Under state law, marijuana possession is a crime, and can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount and any previous offenses. Since the unamended state budget would send $12.9 million to Ann Arbor in 1998-99, Rogers's amendment would cut $1.29 million to Ann Arbor in the first year. The city's has an $80 million general fund budget for 1998-99. State law calls for a maximum of one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines for a first marijuana possession violation. Ann Arbor city charter limits civil infraction tickets for any marijuana possession to $25 in fines and another $25 in costs. With 353 possession tickets issued in 1997, including 31 at the Hash Bash, and 44 tickets issued at the Hash Bash this year, that comes to $17,650 in 1997, and $2,200 at this year's Hash Bash. Wheeler said Wednesday she will take the amendment to the conference committee, where it can still be eliminated from the budget. Rogers said he wrote the amendment after he spoke to a government class at a Livingston County high school. Students there told him marijuana can't be bad because they use it at the Hash Bash on the University of Michigan campus every year. And, they told him, the only penalty is a ticket. "I about fell out of my chair," Rogers said. "I thought, what a horrible message we're sending to our kids. Nowhere else in the state do you do that. "We need to ... make sure we're protecting families and children all around the state, ... by having tough regulations and consistent standards." The first-term senator conceded the City Council cannot repeal the charter amendment approved by voters, but said the loss of state funding might "encourage" city voters to reconsider. "At the University of Michigan alone, the Department of Public Safety spends $20,000 just on policing the Hash Bash," Rogers said. "Those are tax dollars. Those are education dollars that could go to scholarships, extra classrooms, computers, anything other than supporting an event the majority of Michigan citizens don't support." State Rep. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, and Ann Arbor Council Member Christopher Kolb, D-4th Ward, both described Rogers' amendment as unconstitutional because it's a clear attempt to grab power illegally from local government and redirect it to the state. Brater also said state law requires revenue sharing to be based on population, and that it cannot be reduced for any other reason. Kolb described the amendment simply as "blackmail." Mayor Ingrid Sheldon said Rogers' actions are confusing. "Does he want to penalize Ann Arbor for something that was a vote of the people?" she asked. "If he has serious concerns about young people smoking marijuana - as I have - then he should spend money to fight that." State Rep. Mary Schroer, D-Scio Township, was incredulous Wednesday when she learned the amendment passed in the Senate. "He obviously doesn't understand the workings of local government," Schroer said, because council cannot change the charter. "Perhaps he should run for local government, if that's what he wants to do." But, she said, the bill "isn't going any place. It has to go through the House, but our Republicans tend to be a little more reasonable. "It's not something we do with our budgets," Schroer said. "We don't have the big arm of government being tied into revenue sharing. "I don't think the state Senate has any business dictating to local governments what they can do, especially by withholding revenue sharing. He doesn't even live there," she complained. Smith described Rogers' action as another salvo in a war between Ann Arbor and Livingston County residents. Smith said Wednesday that she attempted to draft legislation to tack onto the budget bill that would demand that any county that is home to the imperial wizard for the Ku Klux Klan pay any other local government that incurs costs or is damaged during a KKK rally. Livingston County was once home to a KKK imperial wizard. Ann Arbor spent about $137,000 to handle a Klan rally in front of the Larcom Municipal Building on May 9. Smith said she later dropped the effort to amend the budget bill.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.5 Tons Of Cocaine Seized ('Chicago Sun-Times' Says The DEA In Chicago Has Busted Five People, And Expects To Bust More, After Wiretaps Led Agents To $5 Million In Cash And Cocaine Valued At $31 Million To $155 Million - The Largest Chicago Cocaine Seizure In More Than A Decade And Perhaps The Largest Combined Seizure Of Drugs And Money In Chicago History) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 17:10:46 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US IL: 1.5 Tons of Cocaine Seized Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Author: Cam Simpson Section: sec. 1, page 8 1.5 TONS OF COCAINE SEIZED DEA drug, cash sting may be city's biggest A yearlong investigation hit pay dirt this week when a wiretap led agents into an unexpected 24 hours of activity, ultimately netting one of the largest drug and cash seizures in Chicago history, authorities said Wednesday. Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized about 1.5 tons of cocaine, the majority of which was found Wednesday morning in a shipment of carrots delivered to a South Side produce company. Also seized was an estimated $5 million in cash - mostly small bills wrapped with rubber bands and piled inside the Southwest Side home of a chief suspect, said Joseph A. Vanacora, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago. "It's a big hit for any [drug] trafficking organization," Vanacora said of the busts, which happened Tuesday and Wednesday. Officials claimed a wholesale value for the cocaine of $31 million and a potential street value of up to $155 million. Authorities said it was the largest Chicago cocaine seizure in more than a decade and perhaps the largest combined seizure of drugs and money in Chicago history. Five people have been arrested so far, but authorities said they expect more arrests. An affidavit filed in the case paints a series of events and suspects that eventually connected neatly. "It was like a jigsaw puzzle, and all of the pieces fell into place at one time," Vanacora said. The first one fell Monday, DEA Special Agent Charles Baumgartner said in the affidavit. A wiretap on the cellular phone of a suspect detailed a Tuesday delivery of 100 kilograms, or about 220 pounds, of cocaine, he said. That led DEA agents Tuesday afternoon to a 100-kilogram stash inside the garage of a Cicero home, records show. Surveillance and the suspects also led to a nearby storage locker, where the agents found about 463 pounds of cocaine. A car that had stopped at the storage center also got stopped by police in Bedford Park. One of the occupants, Steve Webber, 29, admitted he was working with a cousin who ran a cocaine operation out of his home in the 6100 block of South Kilpatrick, the affidavit says. Webber also lived there. Around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, DEA agents watching the home saw Webber's cousin, Jesse Quintanilla, 29, exit with a duffle bag. Quintanilla admitted he had about $5 million inside his home, Baumgartner said in his affidavit. He also told authorities he was to pick up a huge shipment of cocaine at Ortiz Produce Co., 2021 West 18th. On Wednesday morning, DEA agents found 1,265 kilograms of cocaine there inside a shipment of carrots Vanacora said. Arrested with Webber and Quintanilla wereDesi Cano, 46, of Wood Dale; Jorge O'Conner, 31, of the 4600 block of West Altgeld; and Juan Manuel Perez, 39, of Cicero.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Raiders Net Millions, Ton Of Cocaine ('Chicago Tribune' Version) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 02:14:46 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US IL: Raiders Net Millions, Ton Of Cocaine Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ Author: Matt O'Connor RAIDERS NET MILLIONS, TON OF COCAINE Authorities said Wednesday they have seized more than 1 1/2 tons of cocaine and several million dollars in cash by cracking a drug ring that shipped narcotics to Chicago in 18-wheelers and used a West Side produce company as a drop-off point. One suspect was caught red-handed carrying a large duffel bag filled with cash outside his Southwest Side home, officials said. Inside the residence, Drug Enforcement Administration agents said they discovered some $5 million in mostly small bills. Officials said the agents also found almost 2,800 pounds of cocaine packaged in fruit and vegetable crates at Ortiz Produce Co., 2021 W. 18th St., another 462 pounds of cocaine in a Chicago storage facility and about 200 pounds of the drug in a Cicero garage. Authorities displayed the cache of drugs at a news conference where they announced the arrests of five men in the yearlong investigation. The cocaine, wrapped in 5-kilogram packages, was piled 6 feet high in a corner while the cash filled a long table and tub. U.S. Atty. Scott Lassar and Joseph A. Vanacora, special agent in charge of the DEA in Chicago, put the wholesale value of the seized cocaine at $31 million. "It's a significant seizure," Vanacora said. "The seizure of money hurts them more than the seizure of cocaine." The investigation was led by the DEA and included investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Chicago Police Department and several suburban police departments. According to a criminal complaint, three of the defendants--Desi Cano, 46, of Wood Dale; Jorge O'Conner, 31, of Chicago; and Juan Manuel Perez, 39, of Cicero--were arrested Tuesday at the Cicero garage. About 1 1/2 hours later, authorities pulled over a car that had been under surveillance. Authorities said its occupant, defendant Steven Webber, 29, admitted to them that his cousin ran a drug organization and kept large amounts of cash at their Southwest Side home. DEA agents later arrested the cousin, Jesse Quintanilla, 29, as he left his home at 6142 S. Kilpatrick Ave. with a duffel bag of cash, according to the complaint. The agents also found about $5 million in cash inside the house and a drug ledger in Quintanilla's car indicating he had received almost a ton of cocaine during a five-day period earlier this month, according to the complaint. Wednesday morning, authorities recovered about 1,265 kilograms of cocaine at Ortiz Produce amid a shipment of carrots, authorities said. The business appears to be "a dropoff point for large shipments of cocaine coming up from Mexico," Vanacora said
------------------------------------------------------------------- A NORML Essay Contest ('The Mountain Eagle' In New York Says The Schoharie County Chapter Of The National Organization For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws Will Award A $500 Prize To The High School Senior In New York's Capitol Region Who Writes The Winning Essay On The Theme, 'How Does The War On Marijuana Threaten America's Constitutional Democracy?') Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 09:22:25 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NY: A NORML Essay Contest Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk Pubdate: Thursday, 28 May 1998 Source: The Mountain Eagle Section: Education Section Contact: FAX: (607) 652-5253 A NORML ESSAY CONTEST Walter F. Wouk, president of the Schoharie County Chapter of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), announced today that the organization will award a $500.00 prize to the high school senior who writes the winning essay on the theme "How does the war on marijuana threaten America's constitutional democracy?" Wouk is concerned by the growing disregard for the U.S. Constitution in our schools. He said, "the sight of police officers, with drug sniffing dogs, roaming the halls of local schools does little to instill the spirit of liberty in our children." According to Wouk, "the government's misguided war on marijuana is responsible for an epidemic of fascist-like hysteria that is poisoning the minds of our children." According to Wouk, there's a growing trend among school officials to sic drug-sniffing dogs on students. Recently, the Galway Central School Board asked the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department to bring police dogs trained to sniff out drugs onto school grounds to conduct the searches. There was no specific incident that brought on the policy , school officials said they were merely responding to a request from a student group. Wouk said, "the goal of this essay contest is to make young people aware of the growing threat to the freedom that they take for granted. Guilty until proven innocent is not an American value," he said. The contest is open to residents of New York's Capitol Region who are graduating high school seniors or students entering their senior year of high school in 1998. Contest guidelines are available on NORML in Schoharie's web site at: http://www.midtel.net/~reply2
------------------------------------------------------------------- Farmer - Hemp Makes Animals Healthy ('New York Times' Interviews Donnie Colter Of Kentucky, Who Has Been Testing Hemp Meal As A Feed Supplement On His 1,000-Acre Farm Near Willisburg With The Help Of The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Association) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 00:24:17 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US KY: Farmer: Hemp Makes Animals Healthy Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ FARMER: HEMP MAKES ANIMALS HEALTHY WILLISBURG, Ky. (AP) -- One Washington County farmer is convinced his feed makes happier, shinier animals. He says his horses and cattle have more energy and seem less stressed. His secret is hemp meal. Donnie Colter has been testing hemp meal as a feed supplement on his 1,000-acre farm near Willisburg with the help of Kentucky Industrial Hemp Association. ``We've fed it to everything from guppies on up. I've never fed it to nothing that won't eat it,'' Colter said. His wife, Cheryl, uses the hemp as well to make breakfast muffins. ``Even folks that eat my wife's muffins -- they'll just stand right over the box,'' Colter said. Colter's farm grew hemp in the 1940s, but today it's illegal to grow the product in the United States because it is closely related to marijuana. He says he'd like to grow certified seed for the world market. Colter uses hemp meal from seed grown in China. The seeds are imported by an Ohio company, which crushes them to extract the oil. Colter buys what is left and grinds it into meal for mixing into animal feed. Colter markets the feed supplement -- either as meal or lumps -- under the name Nutrahemp from Circle C Farm Enterprises. He has customers in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Indiana. The business started as an experiment. Colter bought a shipment at bargain prices and fed it to 22 of his calves. He sold the heifers last week and received $13 more for each one that had been fed the hemp mix. Next month, University of Kentucky researchers plan to study results of Colter's feed trial to determine whether the hemp made any difference. ``I'm amazed that there's a supply of the stuff,'' said Scott Smith, chairman of the university's agronomy department. ``People will feed cattle almost anything, and they'll eat it. I don't know if there's enough of the stuff out there to use as a supplement.'' There is a growing movement to persuade the federal government to allow cultivation of hemp, including a federal lawsuit filed in Kentucky and petitions seeking to overturn a Drug Enforcement Administration ban on the crop. Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Drug Czar, Marijuana Allies Clash Over Pot's Medical Use ('Orlando Sentinel' Notes William Bennett Spoke Wednesday In Orlando At The Marijuana Education Summit, A Seminar For 400 Police, School And Youth Officials, Aimed At Fighting The Legalization Of Pot For Medical Purposes, Sponsored By The Florida Department Of Law Enforcement, The Drug Free America Foundation, And Save Our Society From Drugs)Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 00:33:45 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US FL: Ex-Drug Czar, Marijuana Allies Clash Over Pot's Medical Use Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: Orlando Sentinel Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/ Author: Jim Leusner, Sentinel staff EX-DRUG CZAR, MARIJUANA ALLIES CLASH OVER POT'S MEDICAL USE Former U.S. drug czar William Bennett found himself challenged Wednesday in Orlando on why he and others oppose legalizing marijuana for medical treatment. ``It has been used as medicine for 5,000 years,'' Al Krulick said. ``Why do you and your colleagues ignore published studies on the effects of marijuana?'' Bennett countered that the studies were flawed. ``Cutting people's feet off, and using hot coals, has been used as medicine,'' Bennett said. ``That doesn't mean it's medicine.'' So went the first day of the Marijuana Education Summit, a seminar for 400 police, school and youth officials in Orlando. The two-day event, sponsored by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society from Drugs, is aimed at fighting the legalization of pot for medical purposes. Moments after the exchange between Krulick and Bennett, HIV patient Greg Scott told Bennett that marijuana had helped him keep his health. ``Should we put patients like myself in jail for smoking marijuana?'' asked Scott, 36, of Fort Lauderdale. Bennett said he doubted there was reputable research showing that pot saved his life. ``I would just tell the gentleman who spoke that he has a lousy doctor,'' responded Dr. Gary Cohan, a Los Angeles internist who treats AIDS patients. With battle lines clearly drawn, law enforcement officials painted the pro-pot movement as a prelude to legalizing all drugs. They contend pot is a stepping stone to the use of other drugs. Marijuana advocates say legalization would be a compassionate move to improve the quality of life for cancer and AIDS patients, many of whose bodies and appetites waste away in the face of chemotherapy and other treatments. U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Orlando, joined Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham, FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief Tom Constantine in a high-powered kickoff to fight a proposed marijuana initiative in Florida. Also appearing were Arizona and California law enforcement officials, who say they lost statewide referendums to well-financed, pro-marijuana forces. Bennett said he is working with Congress to cut federal aid to states that pass such initiatives. Meanwhile, a handful of opponents from the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana held a parking-lot news conference to counter what they described as law enforcement ``hysteria.'' ``The difference between us and the people inside is that we have a devastating disorder,'' Irvin Rosenfeld said while smoking a thick marijuana joint. The Boca Raton stockbroker, 45, is one of eight people nationwide who receives legally prescribed marijuana from the government as treatment for his bone tumors. Cohan, an assistant medical professor at UCLA and whose medical firm includes the largest HIV and AIDS practice in the nation, said there is no need to ever smoke marijuana as medicine. It has four times the tar of tobacco and has assorted carcinogens and contaminants, including fungal spores, he said. Better drugs can control nausea, appetite loss, pain or depression -- including a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in pot, Cohan said. ``People are looking at marijuana as a way of possibly taking control themselves,'' he said. ``The notion that there's one cure-all, smokable substance is absurd.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Says Arrests Son Of Alleged Cartel Hitman (According To 'Reuters,' The Man Arrested On Charges Of Drug Distribution Is The Son Of Alleged Hitman Ismael Higuera, Alias 'El Mayel,' Suspected In The 1993 Murder Of Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo And An Attack On Crusading Anti-Drugs Magazine Editor Jesus Blancornelas) Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 01:02:24 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Mexico: Wire: Mexico Says Arrests Son Of Alleged Cartel Hitman Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: Reuters MEXICO SAYS ARRESTS SON OF ALLEGED CARTEL HITMAN TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican federal police arrested the son of an alleged hitman for the Tijuana drug cartel on charges of drug distribution, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) said late Wednesday. Ismael Higuera Avila, son of alleged assassin Ismael Higuera, alias ``El Mayel'', was arrested with three other suspected members of the cartel in a secret joint operation with the army in the city of Ensenada on Tuesday, the PGR said. The elder Higuera has been one of the most wanted members of the violent Tijuana drug cartel, operated by the Arellano Felix brothers. The alleged hitman is suspected in the 1993 murder of Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo and an attack on crusading anti-drugs magazine editor Jesus Blancornelas. The PGR said it seized unspecified amounts of heroin and marijuana in the arrests. In addition to Higuera Avila, the PGR said it captured Carlos Gonzalez, a Baja California state police officer suspected of aiding the cartel. U.S. and Mexican officials have said the Arellano Felix organization is the top target of anti-drug efforts. Brothers Ramon, Benjamin and Javier Arellano Felix have million-dollar rewards on their heads in Mexico and Ramon has been on the U.S. FBI's 10 most wanted list.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cultivating Compassion - Local Club Provides Weed For Those In Need ('The Ottawa Xpress' Says A Group Called Compassionate Use Of Medicinal Marijuana Has Been Operating In Ottawa Since January) Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 21:47:59 -0400 (EDT) To: email@example.com From: Michael Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Cultivating Compassion The following article appeared in the May 28, 1998 issue of 'Ottawa Xpress'. They neglected to post it on their website so I have copied it out manually. Please forgive any typos as I am a lousy typist. Mr. Whalen is a former helper at 'Crosstown Traffic' who has gone on to do better things. He currently has no e-mail address but messages sent to (email@example.com) will be forwarded to him. He met the Mayor of Ottawa at a community event last weekend. The Mayor shook his hand. CULTIVATING COMPASSION - Local club provides weed for those in need by Alia Heward Quality not quantity. Marijuana has improved the quality of Ron Whelan's life and he's trying to do the same for others. Through Whalen's club, Compassionate Use of Medicinal Marijuana (CUMM), members can have a shoulder to lean on, learn meditation and, if need be, obtain cannabis brownies. The compassion club has been officially running since late January and the number of members ebbs and flows. There are roughly 25 to 30 members at any given time. This club operates on a donation basis - no money exchanges hands. Donations run the gamut from cannabis and baking ingredients to music, literature and even some old Far Side calendars for some cheer. Whalen, a former hairdresser, also does haircuts, teaches meditation, gives counselling and massage, and most of all, lends a sympathetic ear and a solid shoulder to lean on. Diagnosed officially with fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome two years ago, Whalen is no stranger to pain and depression. He suffers from "flare ups" of severe pain and loss of mobility. When the symptoms first appeared, he was told 'it was all in his head.' A recreational pot smoker for a number of years, he discovered that cannabis helped him to manage the chronic pain caused by his disability. "I would look up and see two hours had passed by and I'd managed to get through the pain without whining and wincing." Whalen recollects. "Marijuana's non-toxic behaviour and spiritual qualities have brought it into consideration and use with more and more people", he observes. When someone has been diagnosed with disability or disease, they can be full of tension and anxiety, Whalen sympathizes. "Cannabis takes the edge off." Many of the people coming to Whalen are living with AIDS, cancer and firbromyalgia. When an individual comes to whalen, he does an interview with them, to determine what medications they are taking and where they are, physically and psychologically. Only then will he assess their needs. If necessary, Whalen will also refer them to certain social programs. A former volunteer, he is aware of the existing services available to people living with an illness or disability. Drugs used to treat the symptoms of AIDS and chemotherapy regimens often cause severe nausea and loss of appetite. Whalen has seen members with AIDS, who haven't eaten in days, consume a cannabis brownie and then rush home because they have "the munchies". As a result, they end up raiding the fridge and cupboards. But as they say after a stuntman does a death-defying trick on television: "Don't try this one at home, kids!" Whalen stresses that marijuana has to be introduced properly-"Like all medicine, it takes time to get the dosage right. There has to be an experimental stage," he cautions. Whalen also encourages members to tell their medical professionals that they are coming to see him. The doctor can keep an eye on the patient's weight and progress. Some doctors consider this complimentary therapy, not alternative therapy, says Whalen. One member has gained 40 pounds since February and says that he wouldn't be here if it weren't for Whalen and the club. "I am doing well and I'm much happier," he says with a big smile. He says his doctor is "quite pleased" with the results. Again, Whalen emphasizes the need to introduce cannabis properly. "My concern is it's being introduced improperly to people. I'm working to change that." Some people may have smoked or ingested it before, others never. Each dose needs to be metered and regulated according to each individual's needs and experiences. Whalen acts as a guide and helps the individual deal with each sensation as it comes. And what of the paranoia often associated with pot? "It's not the dope that makes you paranoid, it's how you're feeling at the time. It just heightens those feelings," he responds. What goes in the brownies? The recipe remains for the most part under wraps - to avoid mishaps. All the ingredients are natural and nutritious, the main one being "shake" - cannabis leaves ground down to a fine powder to ensure even distribution throughout the brownie. Shake, while not as potent as the buds, still contains THC. In the meantime, baked goods are on the menu until more suitable cannabis is donated. Shake is smokable, but better suited to baking. Whalen stands firm in his beliefs, even at the risk of imprisonment or having everything taken away. "People are losing their land, houses and everything, just because of a plant that grows outside," he says with disbelief. "I'm tired of hiding." He says he is curious about how the issue of medicinal marijuana will be handled by the Canadian government in the near future. Beliefs aside, Whalen says that the club's philosophy is a simple one. "It's all about helping other human beings. It's about caring and compassion."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Democratic Governments Under US Pressure To Step Up Anti-Drug Efforts (InterPress Third World News Agency Says A Book To Be Released Soon In Montevideo, 'Democracies Under Fire - Drugs And Power In Latin America,' Charges That Anti-Drug Policies Promoted By The United States In South America Are Generating Serious Internal Conflicts There As Washington Insists That The Military Take The Lead In Anti-Narcotics Enforcement) Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 00:58:13 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Latin America: Wire: Democratic Governments Under U.S. Pressure to Step Up Anti-Drug Efforts Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Martin Jelsma Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Daniel Gatti LATIN AMERICA: DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS UNDER U.S. PRESSURE TO STEP UP ANTI-DRUG EFFORTS Montevideo, May (IPS Special) The anti-drug policy promoted by the United States in Latin America is generating serious internal conflicts in Latin American countries, and Washington's insistence that the military take on the role of an anti-narcotics police has lead to a disquieting repositioning of military institutions in the region. These are the arguments advance by a book soon to be released in Montevideo, which brings together works of U.S. and Latin American specialists on the subject. The book is entitled "Democracies Under Fire: Drugs and Power in Latin America." The volume argues that democratic systems in the region "are between two fires - the drug trade and the war on drugs." The book brings together the research and analysis of a team of professionals and journalists from nine Latin American countries and the United States. The authors explore the risks faced by democratic regimes in the region in relation to drug traffic. These risks included the "narcotization" of the economy produced by the immense profits generated by illegal drug trafficking, the accompanying corruption and impunity, and the remilitarization of countries promoted by the United States in the context of the 'war on drugs.' Argentine Adriana Rossi, a Doctor of Philosophy and specialized researcher on issues related to drug trafficking, stated that in her country there is a "dark tryst" which intertwines the interests of power and illegal activities. "If two decades ago the destruction of democracies in Latin America was carried out through violent de facto regimes, it appears that today it is being accomplished by the emptying out of democratic institutions" that has taken place as a result of the emergence of illegal economic interests within spheres of power, Rossi maintained. "The criminal networks which facilitate illicit activities within the police forces and military institutions, a complacent judicial system that accommodates to those in power, and a Congress dominated by government supporters all point towards the existence of a parallel state with its own laws and modes of operation" which is replacing the state itself, she pointed out. Carlos Fazio, a Uruguayan journalist nationalized in Mexico, asks himself if Mexico is not in fact a 'narcodemocracy,' and states that 'Salinismo' (referring to the government of former President Carlos Salinas, who ruled from 1988 to 1994) "was a cornucopia for narcos, bureaucrats and businessmen who took the country as their booty." Relying on the hypothesis of Mexican sociologist Luis Astorga, Fazio concludes that "there is a structural interdependence between particular institutions, social actors and traffickers, yet it is the latter which appear as the primary culprits." After analyzing the allegedly "bilateral agenda" between the United States and Bolivia, Theo Roncken, member of the Bolivia Center for Documentation and Information, concludes that it is in fact completely unilateral. According to Roncken, Washington has imposed on Bolivia not only a repressive anti-narcotics policy, but also the legal framework for the administration of justice in relation to the drug trade in that country. This influence "intensifies the criminalization of broad sectors of the population. International demands have pushed the Bolivian state towards an increasingly authoritarian model," he concludes. Colombian sociologist Ricardo Vargas Meza, for his part, states that in his country, the involvement of the military in the war on drugs has acquired a political character, because "it has set as its targets those region with a strong guerrilla presence." Moreover, he argues that the paramilitary forces(which have massacred hundreds of peasants(emerged from the multi-million dollar land investments made by drug barons in southern Amazonia, and that their actions are tolerated by the government because they are considered part of the counterinsurgency effort. "As a matter of fact, these interests are helping to polarize the conflict, justifying their actions by claiming to be neutralizing the social base of the guerrilla. Yet it is coca growing peasants who are hardest hit by paramilitary violence," affirms Vargas Meza. "In Colombia, Washington lights one candle for God and another one for the Devil," because while the U.S. denounces human rights violations, it increases military aid, accepting the fact that their weapons are not only used against the drug barons, but also against the guerrilla," he writes. "This in fact favors a dirty war in the coca and poppy growing regions of the country," states Vargas Meza. While some of Latin American's armed forces have accepted U.S. demands to become an anti-narcotics force, other have resisted this role in an attempt to defend their sovereignty. This is the case in the four Mercosur countries(Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. According to Uruguayan journalist and writer Samuel Blixen, "the elaboration of regional security objectives as opposed to ones informed by a continental perspective is complementary to the logic which opposes regional economic integration to continental integration," in the context of the U.S. proposal for a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. Blixen looks at the conclusions of the 10th Symposium of Strategic Studies of State Defense in Mercosur, held last June, in which the military institutions of the four Mercosur countries and Chile, which is also associated with the bloc, participated. He points out that the hypothesis on conflict advanced by the military institutions of those countries point to "the armies of other regional trading blocs (like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Andean Community) as well as other those of other areas of the world (like the European Union and Japan)," as a result of "conflicting economic interests." For the 'military Mercosur,' he adds, other possible conflicts "are with the United States and with the countries that support its initiatives in the context of a military offensive against the drug trade, where borders and sovereignties could be transgressed." "Democracies Under Fire" will be released in Washington D.C. by the Washington Office on Latin America, the Transnational Institute and Andean Action, in events that will coincide with the Extraordinary Assembly of the United Nations on drugs, which will take place on June 9.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stone Pledges To Hound Out Hoons ('The Australian' Says Chief Minister Shane Stone, A Fan Of Zero Tolerance Policing Programs In New York And Los Angeles, Has Pledged That Hardline Measures Will Be In Place In The Northern Territory By The End Of The Year - Stone Will Consider Hounding 'Drug Users' And Itinerants Away To Other States A Success, But If A US-Style Crackdown On Minor Offences Means Expanding Jails, Then 'So Be It') Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 00:07:02 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Australia: Stone Pledges To Hound Out Hoons Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Ken Russell Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: The Australian Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ Author: Maria Ceresa STONE PLEDGES TO HOUND OUT HOONS CHIEF Minister Shane Stone pledged yesterday to rid the Northern Territory of its public disorder problem even if it meant hounding itinerants "down the track" into other States. Speaking after examining Zero Tolerance Policing programs in New York and Los Angeles, Mr Stone promised that hardline measures would be in place by the end of the year. "If it means driving these people out of the Territory, I consider that a success in the same way we have done to drug users. "We will be using those strategies all the way down the track. We are one police jurisdiction. People may say all you are doing is hounding people out of the Territory. If that is what it takes, that's what will be done." But the president of the Northern Territory Criminal Lawyers Association, Jon Tippett, accused the Government of targeting Aborigines with a failed policy, while US critics claim the scheme just moves the problem to neighbouring regions. Mr Tippett branded Zero Tolerance Northern Territory-style a "mindless policy" likely to disadvantage Aboriginal people further. "We have seen in the Northern Territory such policing has brought local communities into confrontation with the police and is likely to do so again," he said. "It is a mindless policy of enforcement." But Mr Stone said if a US-style crackdown on minor offences meant expanding jails then "so be it". Northern Territory police commissioner Brian Bates, who accompanied Mr Stone to New York, said fear of crime among Territorians was out of proportion with actuality but the community was demanding their streets be free of itinerants and public disorder. "The community in the Northern Territory is not happy with public disorder and we ought to be doing even more," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Science - Halting The Irreversible (Britain's 'Financial Times' Gives An Update On Israeli Neurologists Using Cannabinoids To Halt Or Reverse Severe Brain Damage After Traumatic Injuries)Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 22:41:27 -0400 To: DrugSense News Service
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: UK: Medical Science: Halting The Irreversible Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: The Financial Times Contact: letters.editor@FT.com Website: http://www.ft.com/ Pubdate: Thursday, 28 May 1998 MEDICAL SCIENCE: HALTING THE IRREVERSIBLE Judy Dempsey on the marijuana-derived drugs countering the effect of head injury. Israeli neurologists need go no further than their own country to recognise the need for a drug to prevent the contamination of healthy brain cells caused by serious head injuries. Some 528 people in Israel were killed in road accidents last year and about 3,430 were seriously injured. Most deaths and injuries were caused by damage to the head. Now, using substances derived from marijuana, scientists may have found a solution. When the brain is injured, trauma, strokes or even death do not occur immediately. Brain cell molecules, tightly under control in a normally functioning brain, start reacting wildly. Over a period of a few hours, they rush from the damaged cells through narrow channels to other cells, causing confusion and excitement. This process, known as neuronal cell death, causes severe brain trauma. There is also the danger of swelling. Under normal circumstances, water is tightly controlled in the brain, operating like small blood vessels. But following an injury, water enters the brain from outside. The cells cannot cope; swelling occurs, often leading to strokes or death. Finding a way to contain damaged cells - which would limit brain injury by preventing neuronal cell death - is one project being undertaken by Pharmos, a small biotechnology company based at the Kiryat Weizmann scientific park close to Tel Aviv. Haim Aviv, chairman of Pharmos as well as the Israel National Committee for Biotechnology, says the company is developing a chemical compound, Dexanabinol, which can protect healthy brain cells by blocking glutamate, the neurotransmitter. Head trauma and strokes cause the release of excessive glutamate, often resulting in irreversible damage to brain cells. Pharmos has separated from marijuana properties for medical use that do not induce psychotropic side affects associated with the drug. "With Dexanabinol, we want to plug the receptor which sits at the entrance to the channel of the cells," says Anat Biegon, a physiologist and vice-president of research and development at Pharmos. By blocking the channel, Dexanabinol, which has potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflamatory properties, inhibits calcium influx in the primary neural cells. This means it interferes with, or blocks, the cascade of biochemical processes unleashed through an injury on the brain. Pharmos started phase II trials for Dexanabinol in October 1996, involving 67 patients in six of Israel's neurotrauma centres. About 1,000 patients will be involved in phase III, at a cost of $15m (£8.9m). According to Sturza, the US medical investment analysts, Dexanabinol showed no serious side effects when administered to healthy volunteers in a phase I trial. The drug is administered through injection. The market for such a drug is large, according to Jesup Lamont Securities, US analysts. An estimated 500,000 strokes occur in the US each year while worldwide more than 5m people suffer each year from stroke, head trauma or other conditions associated with neuronal cell death. Pharmos says it should soon be in a position when phase II trials are complete to assess the level of neurological recovery. Copyright the Financial Times Limited, 1998.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Video-Link Aid In Drug Fight (Britain's 'Daily Telegraph' Says European Community Justice Ministers Will Discuss Today Plans To Allow Foreign Witnesses To Give Evidence In British Trials) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: "MN" (email@example.com) Subject: MN: UK: Video-Link Aid In Drug Fight Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 11:08:52 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Newshawk: Martin Cooke
Pubdate: Thu, 28 May 1998 Source: Daily Telegraph (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ VIDEO-LINK AID IN DRUG FIGHT FOREIGN witnesses could give evidence in British trials by video link under plans to be discussed by European justice ministers today. International video links are expected to become more common in the fight to break up drug gangs that operate across Europe. An operation targeting one gang can often make arrests in several countries and international video links are seen as a solution to the potential problems. Criminals held abroad could give evidence by video link to help to convict associates arrested here, and inmates of British jails could easily testify in foreign courts. At present, agreements to set up video links between countries have to be negotiated for each case but ministers including Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, meeting in Brussels for a Justice and Home Affairs Council will try to set up an EU-wide agreement.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 44 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's Original News Summary For Activists) SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE NOW! Have you received your copy of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts? If we received your contribution before April 28, you should have gotten your copy by now -- let us know if you haven't, and we'll get it out right away. If we received your donation after that date, the book should be going in the mail this week. Please accept our apologies for the delay. THIS OFFER IS FINALLY EXPIRING, THREE DAYS FROM NOW -- SEE ITEM 2 BELOW FOR HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT BEFORE IT'S OVER! Table of Contents 1.Drug Crazy Hits the Stores! 2.Final Week for Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts Offer! 3.Colombian Soldiers Being Trained By US Special Forces 4.Helicopter Manufacturers Battle Over Which Will Arm Colombians 5.Washington: Conference on Latin American and the Drug War 6.Medical Marijuana Summit in California 7.California Medical Association Calls for Rescheduling of Marijuana 8.Speaking at Medical Marijuana Conference Lands Patient in Jail 9.Geriatric Prison Approved for Construction in Oklahoma 10.Romania's Secret Service Implicated in Cigarette Smuggling 11.Web Site News 12.Quote and Link of the Week 13.Editorial: Medicinal Marijuana, Summits and Balloons (visit last week's Week Online) 1. Drug Crazy Hits The Stores! - David Borden, Executive Director Two evenings ago, I got a call from the local bookstore in my neighborhood, letting me know that a copy of the book I had inquired about -- DRUG CRAZY: How We Got INTO THIS MESS & How We Can GET OUT -- had arrived. I picked it up yesterday morning -- my personal copy -- and returned yesterday evening to recommend the book and ask whether they had more copies in stock. I was told that two more were on order, perhaps because a copy had been purchased. It was early in DRCNet's history, 1994, when author Mike Gray found us on the Usenet talk groups, signed up, and told me about a book he was working on that would lay out the enormous damage being wrought by the prohibition laws, in a way, he hoped, that would speak to the all-powerful Middle America. I was excited to hear about the project, particularly because of Mike's illustrious career -- his credits include the hit movie "The China Syndrome" -- I figured that this guy was good, and if anyone could pull it off, it would be him. Mike later joined our advisory board, at my invitation. Drug Crazy took until now to complete because of the meticulous research that went into it -- practically every page required its own research project, taking Mike from Chicago, to Liverpool, to who knows where -- and because Mike continued to write about the history as it unfolded, all the way through last year. There are portions of the book that made me stop and think, "wait a minute, that's not history yet!" Like drug czar McCaffrey's foolish praise of his Mexican counterpart Jesus Guttierez Rebollo, who was arrested weeks later for being on the drug lords' payroll -- or the state of Virginia's ill-advised targeting of pain doctor William Hurwitz, with tragic consequences for his patients -- or the passage of California's Prop. 215. After all these years, I am looking at an actual copy of the book, no less timely. A chapter that is sure to rivet you to your seat is chapter one, "A Tale of Two Cities -- Chicago: 1995/1925", contrasting a narrative of a fast-paced drug raid/shooting spree from our time, with the story of Alcohol Prohibition, 70 years in the past. My favorite passage from the book is from chapter six, "The River of Money," where Mike takes readers to the Peruvian jungle to witness the futility of the "Andean Initiative" for themselves: "Three thousand miles to the south, where the headwaters of the Amazon spring from the Andean cordillera, an aging Vietnam-era Huey was choppering through the jungle haze, and in the doorway, like a haunting snapshot of another era, a DEA agent in green fatigues cradled an AR-15 automatic as he scanned the undulating landscape." I am sharing these personal recollections, in the hope that you will get inspired, and will call or visit your local Border's, or Barnes & Noble, other chains or independent bookstores, ask if they have a copy of DRUG CRAZY from Random House, and maybe pick one up, so the stores will order two more, or five, or ten, or even create a display. So that more thinking citizens will receive this vital information, feel some of the horror and the anger that led me and many of you to get involved, and stand with us to demand change. And when some of them do decide to take a stand, they will be able to find us on the Internet, using the comprehensive index of reform groups and resources provided in Appendix B. The introduction to the appendix is a brief history of how DRCNet got started and what it has become. So your support for DRUG CRAZY will not only educate the public, but will build DRCNet and the movement as a whole. Call today! (Take a look at the book cover in last week's WOL archive, at http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/5-22.html#drugcrazy. You can order the book there through amazon.com, and DRCNet will earn a 15% commission off of your purchase -- though we urge you to go the bookstore route instead to help the book go big. If, as in chapter six, you do go the amazon route, make sure to buy directly through our link -- otherwise, we'll only earn 5%, or possibly nothing.) 2. Final Week for Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts Offer! After several months and over 300 copies, we are winding up our offer of free copies of the Morgan/Zimmer book on May 31! Your contribution of $30 or more must be postmarked, or submitted via our online registration form, by the last day of this month, to qualify. (Okay, if you don't happen to read this until after that date, or if you need to wait a little longer for your next paycheck, we'll let you slide -- honor system! Write us a note to let us know.) DRCNet needs your help! Thanks to the generosity of our major donors and of many of our members last quarter --beyond our expectations -- DRCNet is almost in the black. We need your continued support to finally get there and stay there. Just as important as the money is increasing our number of paying members. Your contribution represents a vote for DRCNet and reform. So if you have never joined DRCNet before, your donation, no matter how small, is worth even more. The more of our current 5,500 subscribers actually join and contribute, the more confident our major donors will be in our ability to make it in the big leagues, and the more support they will provide, to help us go from 5,500 to 55,000, and from 55,000 to 100,000. Currently, about 900 of you have sent in membership dues and joined. Help us break 1,000 by June 1! Please use our secure online registration form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html, or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. Please note that contributions to DRCNet are not tax-deductible. If you are considering making a substantial gift, but need a tax deduction, please call us at (202) 293-8340 or e-mail email@example.com and we will explain an arrangement we have for that purpose. 3. Colombian Soldiers Being Trained By US Special Forces The Washington Post reports this week (5/25) that US Special Forces units are currently training members of the Colombian military under a program which sidesteps requirements that US military aid go only to units which have not been implicated in human rights abuses. The Post indicates that the program, which involves "hundreds" of US troops, represents a deeper and more hands-on involvement of US forces in Colombia's internal conflict. The program, "Joint Combined Exchange Training" (JCET) is the same one under which Indonesian troops have been trained for the past seven years, even though many members of Congress were under the impression that all military ties with the Suharto regime had been severed. 4. Helicopter Manufacturers Battle Over Which Will Arm Colombians Helicopter News reported last week (5/22) that Sikorsky, makers of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, and Bell Helicopter Textron, makers of the UH-1 Huey, are jockeying for position to determine who will get to fulfill the $36 million commitment Congress has made for the Colombian National Police (CNP). The Hueys, of which the CNP currently has 40 -- although few are operational and most are in need of parts -- are Vietnam-era helicopters which have been upgraded by the manufacturer in recent years. The Black Hawks are, according to their manufacturer, more "suviveable" in crashes and are able to withstand ground fire more easily; they are also more expensive. Bell, for its part, claims that the same $36 million which could purchase three Black Hawks would afford the purchase of 21 Huey helicopters. Joseph Miranda, former instructor at the American School for Special Warfare, told The Week Online, "It's no secret that the Drug War has replaced the Cold War as America's number one excuse for military expenditures and the sale of military hardware. But unlike the Cold War, during which the demand was for ultra high-tech, very expensive hardware, the Drug War has allowed for the sale of light arms, medium-tech equipment like night vision goggles, and helicopters. "The defense industry doesn't care whether or not the war itself is a good idea, that's not their job. In fact, it's an enormous advantage, from their standpoint, that there are no real measurable or achievable objectives. There's no end-game, and so their interest lies in keeping the war going for as long as possible, because as long as the policy lasts, there will be a never-ending market for their products." (Check out Joe Miranda's analysis of the military and the drug war at http://www.drcnet.org/military.) 5. Washington: Conference on Latin America and the Drug War The War on Drugs: Addicted to Failure -- a conference presented by Accion Andina, George Washington University, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Transnational Institute and the Washington Office on Latin America. Thursday, June 11, 1998, 1:00-5:00pm, GWU, Funger Hall Room 103, 2201 G Street, NW, Washington, DC. Open to the public, free of charge. For additional information please contact Laurie Freeman at WOLA, (202) 544-8045. 6. Medical Marijuana Summit in California On Wednesday, May 26, two dozen Democratic members of the California State Senate met with police officers, state officials and medical marijuana advocates in an attempt to hammer out a workable distribution plan in the wake of the federal government's continued hard line against the implementation of Proposition 215. Unfortunately for the attendees, the federal government, which has maintained its attack upon California's medical marijuana law on a variety of fronts, refused to participate in the summit. State Senator John Vasconcellos (Santa Clara) who called for the meeting, along with Senate president Pro Tem John Burton and 21 other senators and assembly members, sent a strongly-worded letter to the President, which said, in part, "Mr. President, we can't ignore this issue. It won't go away, so long as human beings believe they have the right to attend to their own illness, as their doctor recommends, rather than as government dictates." The letter also noted that "It's ironic you question our people's judgment about proposition 215 while not questioning the wisdom of our returning you to office." Proposition 215 received 56% of the popular vote; Clinton's total in California was 52%. Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, told The Week Online, "One interesting idea which came out of the meeting was the use of a loophole in federal law which allows state or local officials to handle otherwise illegal substances in conjunction with the enforcement of a state or local ordinance. This was written to allow the police and others to handle drugs for sting operations, but it's written very broadly. There was some agreement that this provision might well cover local health officials who were handing out marijuana." Todd McCormick, a long-term cancer patient and medical marijuana user who is awaiting trial on charges of growing marijuana, also attended the summit. McCormick told The Week Online, "I know that right now the federal government is trying to make it impossible for people to have access, but some of the plans which have been tossed around don't sound a whole lot better. I'm very concerned about the whole idea of ID cards for medical marijuana users. To single people out, to say 'hey, you're a marijuana user,' sounds a little like making people wear a pink triangle or a yellow star. I don't want to give up my privacy to the state because they don't like the way I choose to treat my pain." After much discussion, most agreed that the central obstacle to any plan was the federal government. Vasconcellos, addressing the attendees, called the feds' refusal to attend the summit "disappointing, shameful and arrogant." 7. California Medical Association Calls for Rescheduling of Marijuana Citing "the lack of scientific justification for Schedule I classification of marijuana," the California Medical Association voted this week (5/26) to call for a rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule II. Schedule I is the classification for substances which have no medical utility and a high probability of abuse. Substances so classified are illegal under all circumstances (other than highly limited federal licensing systems, primarily for drug abuse research). Schedule II is reserved for substances of medical utility which have a high probability of abuse. These are generally tightly controlled, with triplicate prescription forms and specific record-keeping procedures. 8. Speaking at Medical Marijuana Conference Lands Patient in Jail - Marc Brandl for DRCNet On Wednesday afternoon (5/27), Greg Scott, who uses medical marijuana to treat symptoms of AIDS, was arrested for reportedly shouting and interrupting an anti-medical marijuana conference. Details were sketchy as of press time, but supporters of Scott, who was a registered participant of the conference, were told by police officers he would be booked and have to post bail. The conference taking place in Orlando, Florida this week, entitled "Marijuana Education Summit: Training the Trainer" is featuring such speakers as former drug czar William Bennett, Rep. Bill McCullum, DEA Chief Adminstrator Thomas Constantine, former NIDA director and highly paid drug testing consultant Dr. Robert DuPont, and others. Sponsored by a myriad of top anti-drug and law enforcement groups such as the Drug Free America Foundation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the summit's focus is medical marijuana and state initiatives. A brochure claims, "participants will receive current and comprehensive information about how these initiatives will impact health care, crime in our communities, the work place and our children". Topics include: "History of the 'medical' marijuana movement", "Teens, children and the mixed message of 'medical marijuana' and, "The hidden agenda behind 'medical' marijuana messages". Medical marijuana advocates have serious doubts about the openness of the summit to ideas other than prohibition. In a press release by the Florida group Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana (CAMM), Irvin Rosenfeld, one of the eight patients who receives medical marijuana from the government states, "Although the brochure claims they will present 'comprehensive information' on medical marijuana, there's no one talking about the benefits of medical marijuana. I offered to debate any one of the top guns they've brought from Washington, but they refuse." The group planned to hold a press conference on Wednesday as well as pass out copies of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts to all of the 200 participants attending. The summit is taking place in Florida where a major effort has recently begun to collect signatures for a medical marijuana initiative in '99. For more information on Florida's medical marijuana initiative and related news, visit the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana home page at http://www.medicalrights.org or call (954) 763-1799. 9. Geriatric Prison Approved for Construction in Oklahoma - Marc Brandl for DRCNet The ever growing private and state-run prison industry has found a new way to make sure its expansion continues. Proof of this will soon be found in Lexington, Oklahoma, where a geriatric unit, attached to the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, has just been approved for construction by the state Corrections Board in a unanimous vote. The new prison for the elderly is a first for the state, and when completed will have 250 cells, a 50 bed infirmary with an additional 80 beds for transient housing of sick inmates who need routine medical attention. Construction costs are estimated at $18.7 million with annual operating costs of around $5.8 million. 138 new employees are thought to be needed to staff the new facility. Currently, of Oklahoma's 14,700 inmates housed in state-run prisons, only about 150 inmates now qualify for the new prison. But according to Corrections board Chairman Michael Roark, in a statement to The Oklahoman, "that [geriatric] population will be growing." With a steady stream of stories in the media about dangerous conditions in America's prisons, from gang violence to rape, this new facility may well be welcomed by many of those 150 aging prisoners who qualify for a cell, but many questions remain unanswered. How much of a criminal threat are prisoners who need a geriatric facility, especially non-violent offenders? How much more money will it cost taxpayers to house and feed these prisoners who'll inevitably need more health care than younger prisoners? In Oklahoma's regular state-run prisons, the cost is $43 dollars per prisoner per day, or about $16,000 per year. And what percentage of our current prison population is going to need such facilities in the future? For a more in-depth look at the aging of the prison population keep tuned to the following issues of the Week Online. 10. Romania's Secret Service Implicated in Cigarette Smuggling Romania's infamous Special Security Services will be cut by 24% in the wake of allegations of large-scale cigarette smuggling involving officers at the highest levels of the agency. 369 people will be fired in the initial phase of the downsizing. The scandal came to light last month when a top officer was arrested for his role in a shipment of 30 million smuggled cigarettes to Bucharest Airport. 11. Web Site News One of the movers and shakers profiled in DRUG CRAZY is Rufus King, a Washington attorney who brought together the Ford-funded Drug Abuse Council and who locked horns with the nation's infamous first drug czar, Harry Anslinger. King's recollections of Anslinger's tactics and the sordid story of how drug prohibition started in America are fascinating bits of history that need to be remembered. King is the author of "The Drug Hang-Up: America's Fifty Year Folly", published in 1972, now re-released by DRCNet at http://www.druglibrary.org/special/king/dhu/dhumenu.htm on our "drug library" web site, created and maintained by DRCNet board member Clifford Schaffer. As King points out, the Drug War didn't start with Richard Nixon. Check out this important history that is now more available than ever before. 12. Quote and Link of the Week On Tuesday, May 26, ABC Television aired a remarkable and important hour of programming, John Stossel's "Sex, Drugs and Consenting Adults." Featured, among others on the show were Peter McWilliams, author of "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do" and Will Foster, imprisoned for 93 years for cultivation of medicinal marijuana. But the show's highlight, or low-light, was DEA Chief Thomas Constantine, who unwittingly demonstrated the hypocrisy of the Drug War, and who, when asked about cigarettes, stated his belief that the war will engulf far larger numbers of Americans in the future when he said: "When we look down the road, I would say 10, 15, 20 years from now, in a gradual fashion, smoking will probably be outlawed in the United States." The transcript of "Sex, Drugs and Consenting Adults" can be viewed at http://www.abcnews.com/onair/abcnewsspecials/transcripts/specials_stossel980 526_trans.html. To send your congratulations to John Stossel and ABC, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. 13. EDITORIAL: Medicinal Marijuana, Summits and Balloons In California this week, a summit was convened by State Senator John Vasconcellos in an attempt to figure out a way to implement Proposition 215, the 1996 medical marijuana initiative which passed with 56% of the popular vote. Prop 215 gave Californians in medical need and their appointed caretakers the option of growing and possessing marijuana for medicinal use. But for all of the doomsday prognostications by opponents, and for all of the cheering of advocates upon its passage, there were two things that Prop 215 didn't do. First, the initiative (now the law) did not provide for a method of distribution to those who could not feasibly grow their own pot. This was due to an oversight in the construction of the language. Second, the initiative did not anticipate the cruel and hyperbolic response of the federal government to its passage. This was due to an underestimation of just how important the "fail at any cost" drug war is to the Washington elite, and to what lengths they will go to beat back any measure which will take the power to prosecute it out of their hands. Since the emergence of 215 late in the campaign season of 1996, the federal government has used taxpayers' money to campaign against it, convened three former presidents to warn of its dire implications for the future of the nation, held senate hearings to belittle the voters who passed it, threatened the careers, and implicitly the freedom of doctors who so much as discussed the use of marijuana with their patients, raided medical marijuana dispensaries over the objections of local communities, sued in federal court in an effort to close down still more dispensaries, ignored repeated communications from local officials pleading for cooperation, or at least a ceasing of aggressions in its implementation, and spent more taxpayer money on literature and public forums designed to outline the threat -- and call for the defeat of -- "the forces of legalization." All of this because AIDS, cancer and glaucoma patients, as well as others who daily face the horrors of chronic or terminal illness, have found that there is a plant which, when smoked, eaten or made into a tea eases their suffering, enhances their appetite, clears their vision or calms their spasms. This is a plant, mind you, which has been used medicinally for five thousand years, one which has never killed a single human being through its physiological effects, which has virtually no negative interactivity with other, more dangerous but legal drugs, and to which almost no one is seriously allergic. Not surprisingly, the federal government was just about the only significant party that refused to participate in the California summit. If they had, however, they would have seen for themselves that neither their steadfast opposition to allowing patients to choose their own medicines, nor their heavy-handed tactics in imposing their will are much appreciated by either the people of California or their elected officials. Terence Hallinan, the District Attorney for San Francisco -- a city where AIDS has taken a tremendous toll and the home of 215 sponsor and former cannabis cultivators' club impresario Denis Peron -- suggested that local governments pass laws allowing their health departments to cultivate and distribute marijuana to those in medical need. San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, among others, agreed. But the feds didn't need to show up to hear what many in the California state government felt about their intrusion into local health issues. To make sure that the administration in Washington was aware of their discontent, a letter was sent to President Clinton, signed by approximately two dozen members of the state assembly and senate, including Vasconcellos and Senate president Pro Tem John Burton, which said in part: "Mr. President, we can't ignore this issue. It won't go away, so long as human beings believe they have the right to attend to their own illness, as their doctor recommends, rather than as government dictates." The letter also took a shot at the popular approval of 215 in a state which was important to the president's election. "It's ironic you question our people's judgment about proposition 215 while not questioning the wisdom of our returning you to office." But proponents of medical marijuana have, to a large degree, misunderstood the forces they are fighting. They believe, and rightly so, that they are trying to allow suffering people to choose their own treatment regimen. The government, however, sees the issue far differently. To them, this is not about people with AIDS, or glaucoma, or cancer, this is about their Drug War, that cash cow which continuously accrues more power, both domestically and internationally, to Washington DC. It is about protecting a morally and intellectually indefensible policy against the slightest reform. Reform, you see, can only lead to further examination, and to more reform, until the raging torrent of money and power which flows from this war is reduced to a trickle. And the feds admit as much, albeit in a misleading and disingenuous way, when they say, over and over again, 'medical marijuana is not about the sick and dying, it is about legalization of drugs.' And to them, at least, it is. To Senator Vasconcellos, however, along with the millions of other Californians disgusted by the federal government's sledgehammer approach, Prop. 215 always was about sick people. But now, in the face of that federal approach, it is becoming an issue of local versus federal control, and freedom, and the basic human right to tend to ones own body as one sees fit. And, even more ominously for the feds, it is making an issue of the drug war itself. For just as proponents of syringe exchange, and of Latin American sovereignty and rights, and of access to pain medication, and of asset forfeiture reform, and of sentencing reform, and of police practice reform, and of racial justice, and of smaller government, and of violence reduction, and of civil liberties are discovering, it is impossible to advocate for rational changes in one part of Prohibition without feeling the full weight of an opposition dedicated to the maintenance of the illusion that it can work. Because when as great a structure as the Drug War machine has been constructed on a foundation of thin air, akin to an overfilled balloon, it is the unassuming man with the pin in his hand who must be silenced and defeated. So the feds are right. Medical marijuana is not about the sick and the dying. It is about Lockheed Martin and the defense industry. It is about the private prison industry, and the companies who build them, and the unions of the men and women who staff them. It is about textile and petrochemical companies. It is about an excuse to deploy our military forces in Latin America. It is about the seizing and conversion of assets into the treasuries of governments. It is about the perpetuity of bureaucratic careers and bureaucratic agencies. It is about the stick which is used in controlling poor and minority communities. And it is about federal power over the lives of every single American in every state of the union. It is not about the sick. Or the dying. Or the children. Or even marijuana. It is about the Drug War itself. So the time is upon us. The time for all of those advocates of all of those rational reforms to arrive together at the inescapable conclusion that the feds, in their own deceitful way, have been right all along. To paraphrase President Clinton's own campaign theme, "It's the Drug War, stupid." And it is time, through the prism of caring for the sick, or allowing syringes to the addicted, or justice to the oppressed, that all of the advocates of all of the various sub-issues begin to examine, very critically and very publicly, what the war has wrought. For we are fighting a common enemy in the drug war establishment. And in defending their indefensible system, the thing they want most to avoid is the coalescing of the resistance. Their structure, the enormous and imposing Drug War machine, sits upon a foundation which, like an overfilled balloon, is full of nothing but air. What we need to understand, as the drug warriors obviously do, is that we, as reformers, are in possession of the pins. Adam J. Smith Associate Director If you like what you see here and want to get these bulletins by e-mail, please fill out our quick signup form at http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly Action Report On Drug Policies, Year 4, Number 13 (Summary For Activists Of International Drug Policy News, From CORA In Italy) Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 12:28:13 EDT Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: first-class From: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CORAFax 13 (EN) ANTIPROHIBITIONIST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD .... Year 4 #13, May 28 1998 *** Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies Edited by the CORA - Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination, federated to - TRP-Transnational Radical Party (NGO, consultive status, I) - The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War *** director: Vincenzo Donvito All rights reserved *** http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet mailto:email@example.com PROHIBITIONISM ON DRUGS IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY 9th CORA CONGRESS: PARIS 5 - 7 JUNE 1998 INFORMATIONS AND BOOKING: Guendalina Desario, phone 0032-2-2482827 Ottavio Marzocchi, phone 0032-2-2842258 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org *** NEWS FROM THE CORA *** CORA'S CONGRESS The "Lista Pannella" says that on the drug question Europe finds itself in the same situation that twenty years ago Italy was facing on the abortion question. Prohibitionists are against a law that would better society . They instead try to impose or support laws that condemn society to a sure disaster. During CORA's Congress the Lista Pannella will make an appeal to all democratic and liberal forces in Europe, proposing that they join an effective fight against organized crime through legalization of drugs. *** CORA CONGRESS / WHY PARIS AND FRANCE? Because France - says CORA's secretary Eric Picard - is a country that tries to impose its repressive strategies on other EU countries, and because of this it represents, together with Sweden, the real bulwark of prohibitionism. *** ITALY / POSTPONED TRIAL FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION OF HASHISH The third hearing of Club Pannella leaders involved in the free distribution of hashish of August 1995 has been postponed. *** ITALY / UNFULFILLED DUTY OF PUBLIC SERVICES FOR DRUG-ADDICTS. CORA has deposited over 50 denounces to Public Prosecutors against the Public Services for Drug Addicts (SERTs). These structures do disobey the law by not guaranteeing a full time service. *** EP/ D'ANCONA REPORT/ TRP The Public Freedom and Internal Affairs Commission has approved the Hedy 'Ancona (Dutch socialist) report to the UN Assembly on Drugs on EU cooperation. "The target is a society free of drugs"... in which consumers should be "treated and reeducated" ...for a "life without drugs". Socialists and moderate forces voted against radicals, greens, communists. Eurodeputee Olivier Dupuis, secretary of the Transnational Radical Party, says: Our antiprohibitionist ideas do not allow us to go along with this. We will present new amendments, as a condition for our support. *** NEWS FROM THE WORLD 000044 27/05/98 AMERICA / USA / CALIFORNIA ADDICTION / CURES / REMEDY IL GIORNALE A hospital is testing a medicine for disintoxicating from heroin called Orlaam. The product prevents abstinence crises and does not have the usual narcotic effects of Methadone. Also, its use would not induce drug-addicts to go searching on the black market, as they now do for Methadone. *** 000045 26/05/98 E.U. / GERMANY ADDICTION / DRIVING / SITUATION FRANKFURTER In Meclenbourg percentages of automobile drivers who mix alcohol with other drugs have almost doubled in 1997. The 'mix' has been found especially among young people and those who have caused serious car accidents. *** 000042 27/05/98 AMERICA / USA JURISPRUDENCE / SENTENCE IL GIORNALE The Supreme Court has confirmed a series of sentences that had previously condemned drug-addicted pregnant women to jail for 'violence on the foetus'. *** 000038 24/05/98 E.U. / ITALY / ROME LAWS CORRIERE DELLA SERA / IL GIORNALE / IL MESSAGGERO Twenty-thousand people have participated in a demonstration against legalization of drugs organized by a number of therapeutic centres. Also center- right party leaders, who have menaced to use obstructionism in Parliament on this theme, participated in the event. *** 000039 22/05/98 E.U. / ITALY LAWS / REFORMS LA REPUBBLICA The Minister of Justice's reform of the law on drugs forsees non-punishability for personal use of marijuana. Working for social utility and prohibition to frequent discotheques is instead planned for those who make use of ecstasy and alcohol, while free distribution of drugs still remains a crime. *** 000043 22/05/98 E.U. / SPAIN PREVENTION / PROGRAM / ARMY EL PAIS Drug addiction is a phenomenon present also in the army. To contrast it the Armed Forces and the Foundation for Help against Drug-Addiction (FAD) have created a prevention plan which foresees also courses to prepare specialized personnel. *** 000040 27/05/98 E.U. PREVENTION / TESTS L'EVENEMENT DU JEUDI 'Drugwipe' is a device that allows to detect even the smallest trace of any kind of drug. German Police and custom officials have ordered 90.000 of these machines. The French are still testing its effectiveness. *** 000041 24/05/98 AMERICAS / COLUMBIA PRODUCERS / PREVENTION THE TIMES After the police forces throughout the world have declared that the Narcos are augmenting drug traffic activities in sight of the next World Soccer Championship in France and preparing to export many tons of cocaine, Columbian authorities have intensified controls in the whole country. *** 000046 21/05/98 AMERICA / MEXICO WAR ON DRUGS / INTERFERENCE / DENUNCIATION MISCELLANEOUS 21/05 - 01/06 Public protest against interference on the part of the USA. Twenty-two Mexican bankers have been arrested, within the 'Casablanca' anti-drug operation, for recycling of drug money. The whole plan was carried out without informing Mexican authorities. *** CLIPPINGS VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Camillo Ruini has confirmed the Church's objection to proposed legalization of drugs except for strictly therapeutic reasons. FRANCE - The fortnightly magazine "Valeurs actuelles" of the 15th of May publishes an article called "Free selling of cannabis?". The CORA is described as a "very active lobby within the European Parliament". MEXICO - In the Capitol of Oxaca a priest was killed for having denounced the Narcos. Nobody has been found guilty of this crime. SPAIN - 80% of people in Spain think that Methadone therapy is an effective one. *** CORA -COORDINATION RADICALE ANTIPROHIBITIONNISTE -ANTIPROHIBITIONIST RADICAL COORDINATION -COORDINAMENTO RADICALE ANTIPROIBIZIONISTA Federated with the Transnational Radical Party NGO with category I consultative status at the UN Emailto:email@example.com http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet Emailto:firstname.lastname@example.org -------------------------------------------------------------------
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