Portland NORML News - Saturday, June 6, 1998

Washington Democrats Endorse Medical Marijuana Initiative
(List Subscriber Says Washington State Democrats Approved A Resolution
To Support Initiative 692, The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure,
At Their 1998 Convention Today In Yakima)

Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 22:26:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robert Lunday (robert@hemp.net)
Reply-To: Robert Lunday (robert@hemp.net)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
cc: drctalk@drcnet.org
Subject: HT: Washington Democrats Endorse Medical Marijuana Initiative
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Washington Democrats Endorse Medical Marijuana Initiative

June 6, 1998

Yakima, WA - At the 1998 Washington State Democratic Convention held
today in Yakima, Democrats approved a resolution to support Initiative
692, the Washington State Medical Marijuana Initiative. Over 650
delegates from around the state, gathered to vote on issues central to
the Democratic Platform. Included were resolutions to support I-692 and
to refocus our drug war efforts on prevention and treatment.

The two resolutions passed as follows:

"We support the narrowly focused Medical Marijuana Initiative, which
would allow physicians to authorize, and qualified patients to use,
marijuana medicinally for well-established medical conditions."

"We support redefining the war on drugs to include emphasis on
prevention and treatment to demonstrate the importance of reducing
demand rather than simply focusing all resources on supply."

While party leadership remained silent on the issue, it was clear the
delegates at the convention supporter a patient's right to use medical
marijuana. Justice Sanders, the dissenting voice in the Ralph Seeley
medical marijuana case, made an appearance in his race to defend his
Supreme Court seat. He was met with resounding applause, when he
proclaimed that Ralph Seeley and others like Ralph should have the right
to use medical marijuana.

While party support was broad, the initiative resolution can be credited
to the hard work of the Washington Hemp Education Network. WHEN Medical
Coordinator, David Edwards M.D. placed a call to action in early April
on hemp-talk@hemp.net, Hemp.Net's Washington Hemp activist e-mail list.
Since that time, WHEN activists have coordinated their efforts, gaining
support for the proposal at precinct and district levels, culminating in
it's successful passage at the State Convention.

Washington Hemp Education Network members who were delegates to the
Convention included Dr. David Edwards, Bob Owen, Eve Lentz, Tim Crowley,
Magic Black-Ferguson, and Robert Lunday. Activist and Repulican defector
Ben Livingston also attended in support of the initiative.

For an update on Initiative 692, see Tim Killian's article in the June
issue of Hemp Activist Times, available now online at

For more information on WHEN, see http://www.olywa.net/when


Robert Lunday --- Hemp.Net SysOp/Founder
robert@hemp.net ---- http://www.hemp.net
phone:206.781.8307 ---- fax:206.784.8983

The Washington Hemp Information Site

Demo Convention (A Physician And Activist Gives A First-Hand Account
Of The Washington State Democratic Convention In Yakima)

From: MJDOCDLE@aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 02:13:08 EDT
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net, RKillian@aol.com, whenboard@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Demo Convention
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Just got back from Wash. State Democratic Convention in Yakima. Drove up
with Bob Owen and my frau on Fri in time to attend a workshop on party
platform . Then in the evening attended a reception for Sen Patty Murray at
which we were represented by 5 of the 7 board members of WHEN who all happened
to be elected delegates to the Convention! ( Magic Ferguson, Bob Owen ,
Robert Lunday, Eve Lentz, & y'r 'umble S'v'nt). Also present were Ben
livingstone and Turmoil of the Net, and Rachel Kurtz who also works on the
Brian Baird campaign (if I left anyone out please clock in). Good opportunity
to rub elbows with prominent Party figures.

Today we had a table at the convention to display our literature and gather
sigs on I-692 ( I have sigs from around 80 delegates - 2/3 gathered by me and
1/3 by the folks who manned the table - and i believe others got even more
sigs throughout the day). This is quite a contrast with the 1996 State
Convention where I was the only elected delegate and collectd 50 sigs, and
delegates would make a wide circle around me to avoid having to confront the

Furthermore, in contrast to no resolutions in '96, today the Washington
State Democrats approved Resolutions for the 1998 Campaign which include: 1)
"We support redefining the war on Drugs to include emphasis on prevention and
treatment to demonstrate the importance of reducing demand rather than simply
focusing all resources on supply"; 2) "We support the narrowly focused
Medical Marijuana Initiative, which would allow physicians to authorize, and
qualified patients to use, marijuana medicinally for well-established medical
conditions". Wowee!!!

The Party Platform itself included a plank: "We support public funding
of effective and successful substance- abuse programs as an alternative to

All in all, a very satisfying outcome, especially since neither of the
resolutions above were challenged (although we were ready and waiting to
defend them if the occasion had arisen).

Nice to see that we could work within the system in a very presentable
fashion without any question of representing some lunatic fringe. I would
encourage more activists &/or sympathizers to get involved in the process and
join us in working from within the system.

David L. Edwards, M.D. (aka- mjdocdle)

US Won't Challenge Assisted Suicide ('The Herald' In Everett, Washington,
Notes Yesterday's News That The DEA Won't Be Allowed To Block
Oregon's Unique Assisted-Suicide Law)

From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: "MN" 
Subject: MN: US: WA: U.S. Won't Challenge Assisted Suicide
Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 21:14:40 -0500
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Saturday 06 June 1998
Source: Herald, The (WA)
Contact: letters@heraldnet.com
Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/


No punishment for Oregon doctors

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jane Reno decided Friday that the Justice
department will not use federal drug-control laws to punish physicians who
help their dying patients commit suicide under a fledgling Oregon law.

The decision means that Oregon doctors no longer risk having the government
revoke their entire ability to write prescriptions if they prescribe lethal
doses to terminally ill people under the state's assisted-suicide law, the
only one of its kind in the nation.

Reno's action effectively over-rules the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), which had concluded last year that Oregon physicians
who helped their patients die were flouting the nations' Controlled
Substances Act.

Since the state's law took effect last October, only three patients are
known to have died with their doctors' help, and some advoctes on both sides
of the issue have suggested the specter of punishment by the DEA was
dampening doctors' willingness to cooperate. With that threat now removed,
the true demand for assisted-suicide may become evident for the first time.

The Justice decision is the latest twist in the gnarled public debate about
a subject fraught with legal, moral, religious and political controversy.
The movement to legalize assisted suicide in Oregon has endured two voter
referendums, most recently last November, and two Supreme Court decisions on
the matter.

The question of invoking federal drug-control laws illustrates how intricate
the politics of assisted suicide have become. The DEA explored the issue at
the behest of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill.,
the chairman of the Senate and House judiciary committees who usually favor
a limited role for the federal government. For her part, Reno determined
that Oregon doctors could not be penalized under the drug laws, even though
President Clinton has been long opposed to assisted-suicide.

Friday, members of Congress indicated that the issue would persist. Hyde and
Sen Majority Whip Don Nickels, R-Okla., said they would work to change
federal laws so that Oregon doctors could be penalized.

Last November, the day after Oregon's most recent assisted suicide
referendum, DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine said he had concluded
that helping patients die conflicted with a part of the
controlled-substances law that requires doctors to prescribe drugs only for
"legitimate medical practices." Reno said Friday that U.S. drug laws were
not intended to replace an individual state's own decision as to how to
define such legitimate practices.

Richard Doerflinger, Associate director for policy development for the
National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Pro-Life Activities, said her
decision was an "enormous contradiction," with the Clinton aministration's
recent move to use the same drug laws to block the legalized use of
marijuana for medical purposes in California.

"My fear is this ruling will have the effect of encouraging many more
doctors to assist suicides in Oregon," Dooerflinger said.

But Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who personally opposes assisted suicide,
nevertheless praised Reno's decision. "It's a victory for democracy," he
said. "It's not right to let the DEA disenfranchise the people of Oregon."
But given the prospect of a new fight in Congress, Wyden said, "This isn't
end of the debate."

Reno - DEA Can't Act On Suicide Law (A New 'Associated Press'
Account Of Yesterday's News About Oregon's Assisted-Suicide Law)

Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 22:46:08 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US OR: Reno: DEA Can't Act On Suicide Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Author: Michael J. Sniffen-The Associated Press


Oregon doctors' drug licenses won't be pulled if they follow the rules, she
says. Legislators aim to overrule her.

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Janet Reno ruled Friday that federal drug
agents cannot move against doctors who help terminally ill patients die
under Oregon's landmark death-with-dignity law. Within hours, a bill to
overrule her was introduced in Congress.

Already rebuffed by the Supreme Court, opponents of physician-assisted
suicide said they would turn to legislation. House Judiciary Committee
Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., joined by Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn.,
sponsored the first bill to explicitly ban drugs for assisted suicide.

Advocates of Oregon's law, the first of its kind in the nation, hailed
Reno's ruling as clearing the way for political debate in the 50 states on
the morality and ethics of the issue.

But few predicted an immediate surge in doctor-aided deaths. Although
Oregon's law took effect in October, only three terminally ill Oregonians -
including a cancer-stricken grandmother in her 80s - have killed themselves
with lethal prescriptions.

And Reno warned that doctors in states with no assisted-suicide law or even
those in Oregon who ignore the law's safeguards could face federal

President Clinton signed a law last year barring federal assistance for the

The Oregon law requires two doctors to agree that the patient has less than
six months to live, is competent and has made a voluntary decision. Two
other witnesses must agree that the request is voluntary.

Last November, without consulting the Justice Department, one of Reno's
subordinates, Drug Enforcement Administration chief Thomas Constantine,
told Congress his agents could use the federal Controlled Substances Act to
arrest doctors who participated or revoke their DEA drug licenses.

But Reno concluded that he law was designed to curb drug trafficking and
abuse of stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens.

"There is no evidence the Congress, in the Controlled Substances Act,
intended to assign DEA the novel role of resolving (what the Supreme Court
last year called) the 'earnest and profound debate about the morality,
legality and practicality of physician-assisted suicide,'" Reno wrote Hyde.

PS To Heroin Missive - NA Gets It Right ('San Francisco Examiner'
Columnist Cintra Wilson Revisits Her May 15 Piece
About An Unapologetic Heroin User - She Agrees Narcotics Anonymous
Has Done 'Worlds Of Good' For Many Addicts, But Emphasizes
The Uniqueness Of The Man Who Renounced Abstinence From Heroin
After Eight Years With NA)

Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 19:11:43 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Column: P.S. To Heroin Missive: N.A. Gets It Right
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998



DEAREST Fed-Up-With-the Topic Readers :

I know I swore not to talk about heroin anymore, but this is essentially
the first staunchly anti-heroin letter I've gotten since the whole chat
began, and I thought it important to show this side of the issue as well -
you may skip it and return to the flock next week if this timely discussion
bores you.

This letter comes in response to the one by Carl L. of a few weeks ago, who
wrote a very long and interesting letter about his choosing heroin over
abstinence, after long periods of both:

Dearest Cintra,

It is very, very sad to read this letter published in your column from a
person who gave up!

I have 15 years' recovery time through Narcotics Anonymous. I am not
bragging. No one said life was fair or easy or free from loneliness,
boredom, hard times or fear.

When a drug addict, any drug addict, cleans up, (s)he has a slim chance of
success. You have to really want it. Heroin addiction is not glamorous,
fun, chic or the answer.

So many people in San Francisco are terminally unique; the big problem is
that users can and do die from it. I know for a fact. Coming from the punk
scene in the late 1970s, I knew a lot of strung-out junkies and sporadic
users. My good friend, Will Shatter, whom some of you may remember, OD'd. I
knew others who died that way. One girl I knew ended up in a barrel dumped
in Golden Gate Park.

However, there is hope. I never thought I'd make it, but I did. Sure, life
can be a drag at times, and no one says you won't be lonely or sexually
frustrated. Life is just life, good or bad. One thing I can tell you is
it's a hell of a lot better without a slow death from drugs.

Last, I'd like to say to you, Cintra, that I've read your column weekly,
and until now I've felt you've been fairly responsible, but printing (Carl
L.'s) letter is a bad decision. Any person who is struggling with drugs
might take that load of crap as an excuse to get loaded. His "30 seconds"
is actually 30 seconds to hell! - F. Jay Plath Oakland

Dearest "F."

Thank you for illustrating your large leaps in raised consciousness - N.A.
has done worlds of good for plenty of people that I am friends with, and
seems to be the only secure system of prying addicts away from drugs that
provides them with what they really need - a new community of people who,
like them, are having white-knuckled sufferings from the sheer force of
will it requires for them to stay away from drugs.

Carl L. had a lot to offer as far as insights on the conventional Reefer
Madness-type extremity of propagandized attitudes applied to smack and its
regular users, and provided us with an inside glimpse of someone who
prefers a carefully sustained dope habit to the straight-and-narrow, but I
also don't think he painted an irresistible picture of a way of life that
many people would readily pounce on.

Carl spent most of his letter explaining that he really enjoyed the agony
and trouble that was invariably the flip side of opiate ecstasy. Most
recovering addicts I've met don't want that kind of whiplash psychodrama
anymore and are trying instead to "study peace."

I hope Carl's thoughtful and honest letter will not provoke any dope fiends
clamoring to remain sober into barbing up a bag, but truthfully, didn't
Carl just express ideas they've all entertained themselves, anyway? Nobody
ever triumphed over anything by shutting ears to the basic, unsettling

Druggies will never truly win their battles with narcotics if they decide
to simply polarize the whole topic and decide that All Drugs Are Satan. As
I said in previous columns, that's exactly the kind of insultingly limited,
knee-jerk, Nancy Reagan, Pollyanna Fundamentalist soap-box ignorance that
is responsible for half of the drug problems today. Too many young people
who begin experimenting with drugs are amazed by the pervasive lies
surrounding the whole drug culture.

These revelations can generally be summed up into: "Wait a minute - I just
did a bunch of drugs, and I had a great time, I'm not dead, I'm not
addicted, and my life isn't totally ruined! Most of the information we get
about drugs must be tainted." This can be powerfully misleading - young
drug experimenters who decide that everything they have ever heard about
drugs must be disinformation spun around conservative societal requirements
often have to find out for themselves exactly how dangerous and
life-strangling narcotics abuse can be.

There needs to be real information, real education, and tons more study on
this subject in order to make any kind of dent in the "epidemic." Drugs are
such a ridiculous tangle of taboo at this point that there seems to be a
political agenda to every opinion.

The subject needs a big injection of truth.

Crawl out of your unlit hole and write to : CINTRA WILSON FEELS YOUR PAIN
etc. zintra@aol.com

Two Decades Of Freedom End For Fugitive LSD Maker
('The San Francisco Chronicle' Says Nicholas Sand, 57,
Who Allegedly Fled The United States In The 1970s
To Avoid A Long Federal Sentence, Pleaded Not Guilty Yesterday
At His Arraignment On Federal Flight Charges In San Francisco)

Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 21:48:30 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: 2 Decades Of Freedom End For Fugitive LSD Maker
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
PubDate: 6 June 1998
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Author: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer


An LSD manufacturer who fled the United States in the 1970s to avoid a
long federal sentence was arraigned on federal flight charges in San
Francisco yesterday.

Nicholas Sand, 57, pleaded not guilty yesterday to fleeing the country
in 1974 to avoid serving a 15-year prison sentence for manufacturing
LSD and laundering profits from sales of the potent hallucinogen. He
is being held without bail and will appear in court June 16 to face
U.S. District Judge Sam Conte, the jurist who originally gave him his
long prison sentence.

An associate of LSD pioneer Tim Leary and fellow LSD guru Stanley
Owsley, Sand was one of the leaders of the psychedelic drug movement
in the early 1970s. Sand headed an international acid distribution
network and produced huge quantities of the drug at labs in
California, Colorado, Missouri and Belgium. Much of the drug was
marketed through an organization known as the Brotherhood of Eternal
Love. Sand was released on bail while his case was appealed after his
conviction in 1974. When the appeal failed, he went underground, then
left the country. For more than two decades, authorities could find no
trace of him. Then in 1996, Canadian investigators raided a mammoth
drug lab near Vancouver and discovered enough LSD to make 45 million

Fugitive To Face LSD Charges ('San Francisco Examiner' Version)

Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 19:34:56 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: Fugitive to Face LSD Charges
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998
Author: Eric Brazil of the Examiner Staff


Back in S.F. after 23 years on the run

When Nicholas Sand last stood before U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti, the
judge roasted him for having "contributed to the degradation of mankind" and
sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

That was on March 8, 1974. Two years later, when he lost his appeal of a
conviction for manufacturing LSD, Sand jumped bail in San Francisco and

This week, Sand was returned to San Francisco, and he and Judge Conti are
about to meet again.

For 23 years, he remained at large, shuttling between Canada and Mexico and
continuing to manufacturer the pure acid that turned on a generation and
made the Bay Area psychedelia central.

But in September 1996, Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Sand in his
LSD laboratory in the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlan.

What they found flabbergasted the mounties.

It was, they said -- and Interpol and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
agreed -- the largest designer drug lab in the world. In addition to
$500,000 in cash and gold bullion, and a cache of firearms, the mounties
found LSD, DMT, Ecstasy and Nexus with a street value of $6.5 million.

There was enough LSD, said RCMP Staff Sgt. Kenneth Ross, to make 45
million doses.

The lab "was literally better than the Health Canada lab," Ross told The
Examiner. "Our lab tested it (LSD) out at 106 percent purity." Sand, he said
"is an icon in the world of illicit drugs."

The $800,000 lab and warehouse -- also Sand's residence -- had been under
surveillance for several months. The mounties moved in when they suspected
that Sand planned to leave the country.

It took investigators nearly two months to identify Sand, because he had
false identification and refused to discuss his background.

In February, Sand, 58, pleaded guilty to trafficking in LSD and was
sentenced to nine years in prison.

He was then sent back to San Francisco for the resolution of his case here.

Sand was arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte. His
case -- now complicated by a bail-jumping indictment -- was re-assigned to
Judge Conti, who is regarded as one of the toughest sentencers on the
federal bench.

Sand's attorney, Patrick Hallinan, said he was going to take a hard look at
the initial conviction in an attempt to win some leniency for his client.
"Some of the facts raise very, very serious issues that go to the heart of
the justice system," he said.

Sand, a New York native who was living in Santa Rosa when he was indicted
in 1973 for manufacturing LSD and evading income tax, was a disciple of
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, the so-called King of LSD, the prosecution

While Stanley, the man who made LSD available to the masses, became
internationally famous, it was the low-profile Sand who actually
manufactured most of the product when the Bay Area drug culture flourished
in the 1960s and 1970s, according to law enforcement officials.

Sand's first brush with the law was a 1967 arrest in Colorado for illegal
possession of LSD and failure to register as a drug manufacturer. When
police stopped him in Dinosaur National Monument for a traffic violation,
they found the truck he was driving equipped with a mobile LSD lab and
$40,000 worth of the hallucinogenic drug aboard.

In 1990, Canadian police arrested Sand for operating a lab in British
Columbia. However, using one of the numerous false IDs he kept handy, he
escaped before police could determine his true identity and his status as a

The San Francisco indictment that led to Sand's 1974 trial and sentencing
accused him of being part of a far-flung conspiracy that had labs in
Belgium, Mexico and Honduras, as well as the Bay Area. Its distribution
network included Hells Angels and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a drug
cult founded by the late LSD guru Timothy Leary, according to the

Enough LSD was found by investigators at a lab Sand operated in the Sonoma
County town of Windsor to supply 1.5 million doses.

One of the principal witnesses against Sand and two co-defendants was
William Mellon Hitchcock, an heir to the U.S. Steel fortune, who testified
under immunity and acknowledged that he had bankrolled the operation. The
jury deliberated four days before convicting Sand.

Hallinan said that Sand's 15-year sentence on the LSD charge was "very
severe," given the nature of the crime. He could receive another five years
if he pleads guilty to or is convicted of jumping bail. Authorities in
Canada have decided to let Sand's Canadian sentence run concurrently with
whatever sentence he gets from Conti, Hallinan said.

Sand will appear in Conti's court at 10 a.m. June 16. The Vancouver Sun and
Province contributed to this report.

1998 San Francisco Examiner

Senate Tobacco Bill Yanked In All Directions ('Reuters“ Says Prohibitionists
Who Want An Even Tougher Crackdown On Cigarette Makers Have Won
Two Of Five Votes The US Senate Has Held Regarding The McCain Bill,
But The Only Thing Certain After Two Weeks Is That The Senate Is Stuck
And A Lot Of People Are Mad At Each Other)

Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 09:35:37 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Wire: Senate Tobacco Bill Yanked in all Directions
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newhawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@hotmail.com)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998
Author: Joanne Kenen


WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) - The Senate tobacco bill has been pulled to
the left, yanked to the right, and dragged into parliamentary quicksand.

After two weeks of meandering but acrimonious debate, the only thing
certain is that the Senate is stuck and a lot of people are mad at each

The Senate has spent days arguing about Arizona Republican John McCain's
legislation but has cast only five votes -- two of which handed key
victories to public health advocates wanting an even tougher crackdown on
cigarette makers.

Conservative foes have also piled on amendments. Most of them have not been
decided, but some that are likely to pass would take money McCain had
intended for anti-smoking programmes and medical research and instead spend
it on such conservative priorities as tax cuts and the war on drugs.

``It's death by amputation,'' said Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle
of South Dakota.

McCain, who is generally conservative but finds himself isolated from the
right-wing of his party on tobacco, is trying to hold together a coalition
of moderates, liberals and a smattering of conservatives who share his
views on tobacco.

Many public health lobbyists who closely track the bill believe that
despite all the machinations, McCain can rally enough votes to pass the
bill -- if he gets the chance.

The paradox he faces is that even with broad support, he may not be able to
rally enough backing to overcome monumental procedural hurdles that will
determine whether the Senate ever does vote on the overall bill.

In the meantime the Senate is truly stuck. Unless a series of bipartisan
agreements are struck quickly, it cannot move ahead on the bill unless 60
out of 100 senators vote for a ``cloture petition'' to cut off debate. And
because of an unusual tactic used at the very start, it cannot just drop
the bill either and go onto other business without broad agreement.

As of now, no one is agreeing on anything. Twice Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, and Daschle had unusually vitriolic
and accusatory exchanges on the Senate floor. Each accused the other of
acting in bad faith.

``This further sours the well,'' Lott said to Daschle after he set in
motion the attempt to cut off debate that will lead to a vote next Tuesday.
Democrats acknowledge they will probably lose that vote, but will keep
filing cloture petition after cloture petition hoping to eventually woo
more support.

McCain, who says the cloture votes are premature, has been pleading with
everyone to calm down. ``Harsh rhetoric and parliamentary manoeuvres
intended to polarise the Senate along partisan lines will result in only
one thing -- the demise of comprehensive tobacco legislation,'' he said.

Republicans said Democrats have been stalling and running for cover ever
since Texas Republican Phil Gramm flummoxed them with his proposal to
devote a third or more of the tobacco funds to reducing the ``marriage

The notion of eliminating that tax code quirk that makes some married
couples pay more than they would if they were single is a tempting idea to
politicians in an election year.

Democrats ``didn't have anything to respond with,'' said David Hoppe, a top
aide to Lott. ``They'd prefer to scream at us for not voting while they've
been the ones who refuse to vote,'' fearing that many in their own ranks
would join Gramm.

The Democrats have put forth a smaller, rival tax plan but have not agreed
with Lott on how and when to vote on it.

There are several scenarios for getting the Senate unstuck. Solving a
bitter feud over aid to tobacco farmers, or a bipartisan deal on an
anti-drug component could get things moving again.

Even Democrats who dislike the changes promoted by the conservatives are so
eager for a bill that they will accept almost anything to get it through
the Senate, and then try to reshape it in subsequent negotiations, called a
conference, with the White House and the House. If the House never acts on
tobacco, the Senate bill is moot anyway.

``Have no illusions -- this bill will be written in conference,'' said
Massachusetts Democrat Edward Kennedy. ``The president will either get a
responsible bill, or veto it because of these (tax-cutting) measures.''

The McCain bill is the most ambitious anti-smoking measure ever considered
by Congress. It would raise cigarette prices by $1.10 a pack, strengthen
Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco and nicotine, and
subject cigarettes to new health, marketing, advertising and labeling

Clinton To Attend Special UN Drug Session ('Reuters' Says President Clinton
Will Be The First Speaker Among More Than 30 World Leaders
Who Will Gather Monday At The Three-Day United Nations General Assembly
Special Session On Expanding The War On Some Drug Users)

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 19:25:42 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US GE: Wire: Clinton to attend special U.N. Drug Session
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Source: Reuters
Author: Anthony Goodman
Pubdate: Saturday June 6, 1998


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - With 190 million people using drugs worldwide,
more than 30 world leaders will gather for a special U.N. session starting
Monday on combating the global narcotics scourge at both the supply and
demand sides.

President Clinton is the first speaker at the three-day General Assembly
session, which will meet literally morning, noon and night to accommodate
over 150 participants.

Other speakers on Monday alone will include presidents, prime ministers or
other Cabinet members from France, Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Argentina,
Brazil, Spain, Peru and Chile and dozens of other countries.

The outcome will be an ambitious political declaration aimed at reducing
drug supply and demand substantially by the year 2008.

The declaration will commit governments to establish new or enhanced
demand-reduction programs by the year 2003 and to "achieve significant and
measurable results" by 2008.

A declaration on the guiding principles of drug demand reduction is
intended to help governments in setting up effective prevention, treatment
and rehabilitation programs and calls for adequate resources to be devoted
to them.

It says demand reduction programs should cover all areas of prevention,
"from discouraging initial use to reducing the negative health and social
consequences of drug abuse." "Drugs are tearing apart our societies,
spawning crime, spreading diseases such as AIDS, and killing our youth and
our future," says Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"No country is immune. And alone, no country can hope to stem the drug
trade within its borders. The globalization of the drug trade requires an
international response."

The United Nations estimates the number of drug users worldwide now at 190

The session marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark treaty in the fight
against drugs, the 1988 U.N. Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

With so many leaders drawn to U.N. headquarters, they are also bound to
discuss, at least privately, a host of recently spawned crises, such as the
fighting in Serbia's province of Kosovo that threatens to ignite a new
Balkan war, the nuclear tests carried out recently by India and Pakistan
and a full-blown conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The special session itself will focus on six key areas:

- demand reduction, aimed at cutting the number of drug users. The United
Nations estimates that heroin, which it calls the most serious drug of
abuse, is used by eight million people; cocaine by some 13 million; and
marijuana or cannabis, the most widely used drug, by about 140 million.

- the elimination of illicit crops such as the opium poppy, the coca bush
and the marijuana plant, and the introduction of alternative development
programs, backed up by stronger law enforcement. Afghanistan and Myanmar
together account for about 90 percent of the world's opium poppy, while
Bolivia, Colombia and Peru account for most of the coca crop;

- money laundering, bank secrecy and offshore havens, all used to
camouflage huge sums of money derived from drug trafficking. The United
Nations estimates the illegal drug trade generates retail sales of some
$400 billion a year, or nearly double the revenue of the global
pharmaceutical industry;

- amphetamine-type stimulants, including synthetic drugs like speed and
ecstasy, that are becoming increasingly popular and are used by an
estimated 30 million people, or more than use cocaine and heroin combined;

- judicial cooperation, to ensure that drug traffickers cannot take
advantage of increasingly open borders and markets;

- precursor chemicals, or the illicit diversion of chemicals used to
manufacture drugs.

All U.N. drug control activities are coordinated by the Vienna-based U.N.
International Drug Control Program (UNDCP), headed by Pino Arlacchi, an
Italian former parliamentarian who made a name battling the Mafia and
organized crime.

In a counterpoint to the Assembly session, a number of private
organizations are taking the opportunity to argue that conventional "wars
on drugs," especially as waged in the United States, can never succeed and
that the objective should be to reduce harm rather than fill jails.

These organizations say syringe exchange programs -- swapping sterile
needles for dirty ones, as is done in some European countries and in many
U.S. states and cities -- can save thousands of lives by preventing the
spread of AIDS and hepatitis.

Such groups also favor making methadone or other synthetic opiates
available to reduce the use of illicit heroin and avert the associated
evils of crime and disease.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.

DrugSense Focus Alert Number 65 - Pro-Reform Judge Needs Support
(DrugSense Asks You To Write A Quick Letter In Support Of Denver Jurist
John Kane Jr., Featured In Yesterday's 'Rocky Mountain News')

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 11:13:34 -0700
To: mgreer@mapinc.org
From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Subject: FOCUS Alert No. 65 Pro Reform Judge needs support

FOCUS Alert No. 65 Pro Reform Judge needs support

Judge John Kane Jr., a senior trial judge in Denver CO has taken a valiant
pro reform stand and needs our help and support. Please write a brief
letter to the Rocky Mountain News in support of Judge Cane, The newspaper
for covering this important topic, and/or Karen Abbott - Rocky Mountain
News Staff Writer


It's NOT what others do. It's what YOU do.


Phone, fax etc.)

Please post your letters or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you
are subscribed, or return a copy to this address by simply hitting
REPLY to this FOCUS Alert or E-mailing to MGreer@mapinc.org



Send your letter to:
Rocky Mountain News

Send a letter to the
Denver Post
(they did not run an article on judge Kane that we know of)



US CO: Judge Urges Truce in War on Drugs

Newshawk: cohip@levellers.org ( Colo. Hemp Init. Project)
Source: Rocky Mountain News ( CO)
Contact: letters@denver-rmn.com
Website: http://www.denver-rmn.com/
Pubdate: Thu, 4 Jun 1998
Author: Karen Abbott - Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer


Giving drugs to users would unclog courts and eliminate illegal market for

A Denver federal judge wants the government to give free drugs to drug
abusers and stop prosecuting them as criminals.

John Kane Jr., a senior trial judge, believes the drug war already is lost.
He advocates treating drug abuse as a public health problem instead.

Kane, who has been making the argument in articles and speeches for about
six months, said he doesn't advocate making all drugs legal for anybody who
wants them.

"Prosecution and severe criminal penalties should still be maintained for
the illegal manufacture, distribution for sale and illegal importing of
drugs," Kane said.

"But I think that the use of drugs should not be treated by the criminal
law," he said.

"Either through public health clinics or through physicians and
pharmacists, drugs ought to be provided to anybody, under medical
supervision -- and at no cost, if necessary."

The purpose isn't to encourage people to use drugs, but to eliminate the
illegal market for them, he said, comparing the "war on drugs" to
Prohibition's failure to end alcoholism.

Kane said courts are drowning in criminal drug cases while other crimes go
unprosecuted and civil disputes wait for trial time.

Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., who is seeking re-election to Congress in
November, called Kane's idea a bad one.

"I think that sends a real signal to society, and to young people, that
this is really OK because, after all, the government is doing it," Hefley

"Even with legalized liquor, we still have bootleggers and we still have
alcoholism," he said. "And I'm not sure, from a social standpoint, that it
would reduce those who abuse drugs."

Andrew Hudson, spokesman for Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, said the mayor
disagrees with Kane's view.

Kane said other federal judges across the country -- most notably, a senior
federal trial judge in Manhattan, Robert Sweet -- are saying publicly that
the war on drugs has failed.

The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, headed by Barry McCaffrey,
known as the nation's "drug czar," has heard that message before and is
vehemently opposed.

"Drugs are a real danger, even in small amounts," spokesman Brian Morton

He said drug abuse nationwide has dropped about 50 percent in the past 15
years, largely because "drugs are against the law, and police uphold the
law, and the societal disapproval that comes from that."

"To say this is a 'war' that has failed doesn't serve the public, doesn't
do any service to the good people out there working in treatment centers,
the law enforcement community and the citizens and parents and teachers and
ministers who are trying to stop this scourge on America's cities," Morton

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., seeking re-election to Congress in November,
delivered a carefully worded statement on Kane's views through spokesman
Jamin Spitzer: "A proposal such as this is unlikely to be considered by a
Congress that recently voted against funding needle exchange."

But DeGette's statement didn't disclose her own views.

"Right," Spitzer said.

Needle exchange programs seek to control some drug-related health problems
by giving illegal users a sort of amnesty to turn in used needles for new
ones, reducing the spread of disease.

In April, Kane made a speech to Colorado's municipal judges at their annual
convention about what he sees as the drug war's failure.

"I think some of them were stunned," Kane said. "And some of them said,
"Well, you know, maybe we agree -- but what is a judge doing talking about
controversial issues?"'

Kane said he cleared his plan to be outspoken on his views with Stephanie
Seymour of Tulsa, Okla., the chief judge of the federal 10th Circuit, and
with a federal judiciary committee on judges' ethics.

"Not only is it all right, but I have an affirmative duty to speak out on
critical legal issues," he said.

On the bench, Kane does not handle drug cases or any other criminal cases -
-- an option for senior federal trial judges, who choose the cases they take.


Sample Letter (SENT)

Judge John Kane a first class hero

Dear Editor:

I am mightily impressed with the courage demonstrated by both Judge Kane
and the Rocky Mountain News in covering the controversial topic of
reforming our failed drug laws (Judge Urges Truce In War On Drugs RMN 6/4)

For far too long this country has hidden it's head in the sand while
pretending that our drug laws are "protecting our children." In fact our
drug laws are addicting our children, destroying our criminal justice
system, and making criminals rich.

I wonder what our schools could have done with the $17 billion the fed
wasted on the war on drugs this year? This questions becomes even more
pertinent when we realize that this huge some of money has accomplished
absolutely nothing positive whatever in reducing drug use.

Thank you for the excellent story and coverage and please stay on top of
this important subject until other leaders begin to implement some reason
and logic as Judge Kane obviously has.

Mark Greer
(contact info and phone)


Mark Greer
Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc.
d/b/a DrugSense

Undercover Anti-Drug Operation Strains US Ties With Mexico
('The New York Times' Says The International Uproar
Over The 'Operation Casablanca' Money-Laundering Sting Took A New Turn
Friday With The Publication In Mexico City Of A May 26 Letter
From US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott To Mexican President
Ernesto Zedillo, Which Has Infuriated Mexican Officials)

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 20:50:08 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Mexico: NYT: Undercover Anti-Drug Operation
Strains U.S. Ties With Mexico
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: kevzeese@laser.net (kevin b. zeese)
Source: New York Times (NY)
Author: Julia Preston
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998


MEXICO CITY -- A flap over an undercover money-laundering operation by
American customs agents has escalated into a full-scale diplomatic
altercation that has strained the close ties between the United States and

The feud took a new turn Friday with the publication here of a letter from
Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, to President Ernesto Zedillo.
In the May 26 letter the senator expressed his "deep disappointment" over
recent comments by Zedillo that the operation violated Mexican law and
sovereignty as well as several bilateral cooperation agreements.

Lott said he was "astonished" by Zedillo's criticisms, which he said added
to a string of "broken promises" by Mexico in the fight against
international narcotics trafficking.

Top Mexican officials were infuriated by the letter. Jesus Reyes Heroles,
Mexico's ambassador in Washington, blasted back on May 29 with a five-page
response defending Mexico's anti-drug record and renewing the attack on the
undercover operation, which was code-named Casablanca. That letter was also
released Friday.

Tensions between the two countries flared last February after Gen. Jesus
Gutierrez Rebollo, a top-ranking army officer who was in charge of Mexico's
anti-drug program, was arrested on charges that he collaborated with the
most powerful drug trafficker. Americans officials were appalled to
discover that drug organizations had infiltrated Mexican justice at such
high levels. A stormy debate in Washington forced the Clinton
administration to postpone its annual assessment of Mexico's narcotics
enforcement progress.

In this case, however, Mexico is driving the dispute. The last time Mexico
objected this bitterly to an American action was in 1990, when American
agents seized a Mexican medical doctor in Mexico and took him to the United
States to stand trial in the killing of an American anti-drug agent. The
doctor, Humberto Alvarez Machain, was later freed by an American court.

More than 100 people, including some 30 Mexican and Venezuelan bankers, and
three large Mexican banks have been charged with laundering more than $110
million in narcotics proceeds as a result of the three-year undercover
operation by the U.S. Customs Service. U.S. officials called it the most
successful operation of its type ever undertaken by American law enforcement.

But Mexican officials were embarrassed by the operation, which seems to
have exposed much more extensive money-laundering through Mexican banks
than they had acknowledged. It also deepened popular suspicion in Mexico
about the financial system at a time when Zedillo is trying to push major
banking reforms through a skeptical Congress.

American officials did not inform Mexico about the operation while it was
under way in order, they said, to protect undercover agents and secret
informants. The agents had a number of meetings with suspects in Mexico
and, through a front company based in Los Angeles, relayed orders to
Mexican bankers from Colombian drug lords.

In a speech in May, Zedillo called the operation "inadmissible because it
tramples on our laws." Mexico has said that it will demand the extradition
for trial here of American customs agents who held meetings in Mexico as
part of the operation.

Lott wrote: "Mr. President, this is not 'inadmissible' or a 'violation' of
your sovereignty. It is a decisive action against ruthless criminals."

Ambassador Reyes Heroles called Operation Casablanca "an act of a criminal
nature similar to the crimes it was supposed to uncover."

Last week President Clinton called Zedillo to explain why American law
enforcement decided to leave Mexican authorities in the dark. But Mexican
officials have dismissed the American statements as inadequate.

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

Trafficker Faces Deportation ('The Ottawa Sun' Notes Canadian
Immigration Officials And Politicians Are Trying To Figure Out
How To Circumvent A Ruling By The Supreme Court Of Canada
That A Sri Lankan Convicted For Drug Trafficking And Sentenced To Eight Years
In Prison Should Not Automatically Be Denied The Chance To Seek Asylum
As A Refugee)

Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 19:29:22 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Canada: Trafficker Faces Deportation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Sun (Canada)
Contact: oped@sunpub.com
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/OttawaSun/
Pubdate: Sat, 6 Jun 1998
Author: Anne Dawson -- Parliamentary Bureau


Immigration Minister Lucienne Robillard is considering declaring a Sri
Lankan convicted of drug trafficking a danger to the public, meaning he
could be deported.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Veluppillai Pushpanathan should not be
automatically denied the chance to make a refugee claim solely because he
was convicted for drug trafficking and sentenced to eight years in prison.

"We also have other tools in the legislation to prevent an individual to go
to the refugee board. I am thinking about the certificate for danger of the
public," Robillard told the Commons yesterday.

The court ruled Pushpanathan should be granted a hearing before the
Immigration and Refugee Board because of his claim that he would be
tortured and persecuted if sent back to Sri Lanka.

But Robillard said that there are ways to get around the court ruling and
even if Pushpanathan got his IRB hearing, that doesn't mean he'd
necessarily get refugee status.

She said she was surprised by the judgement and needs time to analyze it
before making a final decision.

If the government moves to declare an individual a danger to the public,
the individual still has the right to challenge it before the courts. But
if that person loses, he'll be deported.

Reform MP John Reynolds was outraged by the court ruling, calling it
"bizarre and socially repugnant."

He said a convicted drug dealer should have absolutely no rights in Canada
and should be automatically deported.

"He should go back where he came from," said Reynolds. "I have no concern
what they're going to do with him back in his homeland whatsoever and I
don't think most Canadians do."

Huge Pot Bust ('The Calgary Sun' Says A Six-Month Undercover Investigation
In Calgary Has Netted 14 Arrests And Cannabis Police Valued
At More Than $680,000)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Huge pot bust
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 15:29:03 -0700
Lines: 20
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Calgary Sun
Contact: callet@sunpub.com
Pubdate: June 6, 1998



Cops have busted a major marijuana-growing ring, hitting 10 homes,
arresting 14 people and seizing pot worth more than $680,000.

For six months, undercover officers amassed intelligence on the ring
before hitting the suspect houses Wednesday, said Staff Sgt. Mike
Cullen of the drug unit.

"It was a pretty large operation," he said.

Six homes in northeast Calgary and four in the southeast were raided
by police.

Woman Gave Crack To Tot ('The Toronto Sun' Says A Toronto Woman
Was Found Guilty Yesterday, Apparently By A Judge, Of Criminal Negligence
And Administering A Noxious Substance, Although She Was Acquitted
Of Similar Charges For Giving Her 4-Year-Old Boy Ritalin)
Link to earlier story
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod) To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com Subject: Canada: Woman gave crack to tot Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 15:41:09 -0700 Lines: 56 Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org Source: Toronto Sun Contact: editor@sunpub.com Pubdate: June 6, 1998 Author: GRETCHEN DRUMMIE -- Toronto Sun WOMAN GAVE CRACK TO TOT A Toronto woman was found guilty yesterday of giving a four-year-old boy crack cocaine, but acquitted of criminal charges for feeding him Ritalin without a prescription. "In giving cocaine to (the boy) she was criminally negligent," Justice John Hamilton said. "She endangered his life. I find she must have administered the drug to him ... he was certainly not out on the street (buying it)." Joyce Hayman, 30, was found guilty of criminal negligence and administering a noxious substance. She was acquitted of similar charges for giving the boy the prescription drug Ritalin. Hamilton will sentence her on July 22. A request to revoke her bail until sentencing was rejected. Hayman bolted from the courthouse, shielding her face with a coat. During her trial the admitted cocaine addict fidgeted, rocked, checked her makeup and chewed bubble gum in the prisoner's dock. Hamilton found Hayman gave the developmentally delayed child Ritalin to try to control his hyper and violent behavior, getting the pills from a friend because she couldn't get a doctor to prescribe them. She testified she felt they helped the tot. Hayman, who learned of the drug from TV, knew there were side effects but didn't know what they were. In May 1996 Hayman told a doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children about the Ritalin and was then given a prescription for it at a much lower dose. "I find the accused never attempted to hide the fact she was giving Ritalin," said Hamilton, adding she was trying to help the boy and there was no evidence of bodily harm. Hamilton said it wasn't until that visit to the doctor that Hayman was told she was giving a "dangerous dosage." He said there's no evidence that the doses of Ritalin she gave the boy from then on were greater than prescribed by the doctor. Tests, however, found "enormously high" levels of cocaine in the child, which Hayman suggested came from "the air." Hamilton ruled out second-hand smoke, saying the drug had been ingested and the "only logical conclusion" is Hayward gave it to him. Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.

Mr George Soros - Letter Urges UN To Reconsider Drug War ('The Irish Times'
Notes The Lindesmith Center In New York Has Orchestrated A Petition
Calling For An End To The War On Some Drug Users, To Be Turned Over
To Secretary-General Kofi Annan At The United Nations' New York Drug War
Conference, Signed By Thousands Of International Figures,
Including The Former UN Secretary-General, Mr Javier Perez De Cuellar)

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 11:56:48 -0400
To: roi@legalize.org, britain@legalize.org, drugtalk@legalize.org,
global@legalize.org, mape@legalize.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Ireland GE: Mr George Soros: Letter urges UN to Reconsider
Drug War
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Richard Lake rlake@mapinc.org
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Author: Joe Humphreys
Pubdate: Saturday, 6 June 1998
Contact: lettersed@irish-times.ie
Mail: 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407
Website: http://www.irish-times.com/


The global war on drugs "is causing more harm than drug abuse itself", the
UN Secretary-General has been warned by international judges, senior
politicians and other dignitaries.

In a letter being delivered today to Mr Kofi Annan, on the eve of the
opening of a UN General Assembly session on drugs, the group calls for an
end to anti-drugs policies which have cost billions of pounds but achieved

"Persisting in our current policies will only result in more drugs abuse,
more empowerment of drug markets and criminals, and more disease and
suffering," the letter reads.

Among the thousands of international signatories are the former UN
secretary-general, Mr Javier Perez de Cuellar; the former prime minister of
the Netherlands, Mr Andreas Van Agt; the European Commissioner for
Humanitarian Affairs, Mrs Emma Bonino; the former presidents of Bolivia and
Colombia; writers Ariel Dorfman and Dario Fo; and philosopher Ivan Illich.

The Irish signatories include Prof Ivana Bacik, criminal law professor at
Trinity College Dublin; Mr Tim Murphy, law lecturer at UCC; legalise
cannabis campaigner Mr Olaf Paul Tyransen; and journalist Mr Vincent Browne.

The signing of what will be the largest international call for a
reappraisal of drugs policies has been co-ordinated by the Lindesmith
Centre, a project of the Open Society Institute sponsored by the
international financier, Mr George Soros.

The letter says the UN has a legitimate and important role to play in
combating the harms associated with drugs, "but only if it is willing to
ask and address tough questions about the success or failure of its efforts".

It asks bluntly what drug war policies have achieved to date.

"Every decade the United Nations adopts new international conventions,
focused largely on criminalisation and punishment, that restrict the
ability of individual nations to devise effective solutions to local drug
problems. Every year governments enact more punitive and costly drug
control measures. Every day politicians endorse harsher new drug war

"UN agencies estimate the annual revenue generated by the illegal drug
industry at $400 billion, or the equivalent of roughly 8 per cent of total
international trade. This industry has empowered organised criminals,
corrupted governments at all levels, eroded internal security, stimulated
violence and distorted both economic markets and moral values. These are
the consequences not of drug use per se, but of decades of failed and
futile drug war policies."

It says that in many parts of the world "drug war policies impede public
health efforts to stem the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other infectious
diseases. Human rights are violated, environmental assaults perpetrated and
prisons inundated with hundreds of thousands of drug-law violators.

"Scarce resources better expended on health, education and economic
development are squandered on ever more expensive interdiction efforts.
Realistic proposals to reduce drug-related crime, disease and death are
abandoned in favour of rhetorical proposals to create drug-free societies".

In a separate statement, the Lindesmith Centre compared favourably the
Dutch approach to drugs to the US's repressive policies. It said fewer
people smoked marijuana or used heroin in the Netherlands despite spending
less on drug enforcement.

The centre, established in 1994, has called for a move towards
harm-reduction policies like syringe exchanges, although it has stopped
short of urging the decriminalisation of drugs.

The letter concludes by calling on Mr Annan to initiate "a truly open and
honest dialogue . . . one in which fear, prejudice and punitive
prohibitions yield to common sense, science, public health and human rights".

(c) Copyright: The Irish Times

Leaders Ask UN For New Drug Policy ('San Francisco Chronicle' Version)

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 12:11:03 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA GE: Leaders Ask UN For New Drug Policy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Sat, 6 Jun 1998
Page: A13
Note: Our newshawk writes: 'The Chron omitted that last three paras of of
the 6/05 AP wire story." Our newshawk writes the news comments for our
weekly newsletter, which can be seen by a link from http://www.drugsense.org/


UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Saying the drug war has caused more harm than drug
abuse itself, prominent world figures are calling for ``a truly open
dialogue'' to shift drug control policies from punishment to public health

The call is being made in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan from the
Lindesmith Center, a private institute which conducts drug research, in
advance of the U.N. General Assembly special session on drugs, which opens

Dr. Ethan Nadelmann, director of the center, said the letter has been
signed by more than 500 prominent people, including former Secretary of
State George Shultz, former Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar,
former Greek President George Papandreou, former President Oscar Arias of
Costa Rica and former German Justice Minister Sabine

``We believe that the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than
drug abuse itself,'' the letter said. ``Human rights are violated,
environmental assaults perpetrated and prisons inudated with hundreds of
thousands of drug violators.''

The letter said scarce resources are being diverted ``on ever more
expensive interdiction efforts'' while ``realistic proposals to reduce
drug-related crime, disease and death'' are abandoned ``in favor of
rhetorical proposals to create drug-free societies.''

It appealed to Annan ``to initiate a truly open and honest dialogue
regarding the future of global drug policies -- one in which fear,
prejudice and punitive prohibitions yield to common sense, science, public
health and human rights.''

Nadelmann said the U.N. conference should consider the global drug policy
as a public heath issue, using the resources of U.N. agencies such as the
World Health Organization to devise policies to replace those based on
``interdiction and criminalization.''

Representatives of about 150 countries, including 35 heads of state and
government, are to attend the three-day conference. President Clinton will
deliver the opening address Monday.

Leaders Attack UN War On Drugs ('The Ottawa Citizen' Version)

Date: Sat, 06 Jun 1998 19:00:53 -0400
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: Canada: GE: Leaders Attack UN War On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/
Pubdate: Saturday 6 June 1998
Author: Jeremy Mercer, The Ottawa Citizen


Host Of Dignitaries Hope To Nip Campaign In Bud

Days before the United Nations is to announce its most ambitious anti-drug
program ever, hundreds of world leaders, including 80 Canadians, have
signed a ground-breaking petition asking the UN to support the
liberalization of drug laws instead.

The petition, a rough draft of which has been obtained by the Citizen, will
be presented to the UN General Assembly when it convenes Monday for what
are expected to be hard-nosed discussions on how to crack down on trade in
illegal drugs.

The goal of the conference is to come up with a plan that will eliminate
the world's production of heroin, cocaine and marijuana within the next 10
years by paying farmers who grow the drugs to switch to legal crops. Those
who will be speaking at the drug conference include U.S. President Bill

The conference is expected to recommend spending an additional $3 billion
to $4 billion to fight drugs.

But the signatories of the petition question the value of such initiatives.

"We believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug
abuse itself," says a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan included in
the petition. "In many parts of the world, drug war politics impede public
health efforts to stem the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other infectious

"Human rights are violated, environmental assaults perpetrated and prisons
inundated with hundreds of thousands of drug law violators. Scarce
resources better expended on health, education and economic development are
squandered on ever more expensive interdiction efforts."

The petition includes the signatures of such dignitaries as former UN
secretary general Javier Perez de Cuellar; former U.S. secretary of state
George Shultz; former U.S. surgeon general Jocelyn Elders; and Edward
Ellison, former head of the Scotland Yard Drug Squad.

Among the prominent Canadians to sign the petition are Senator Sharon
Carstairs, NDP Leader Alexa McDonough, former Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar,
lawyers Clayton Ruby and Edward Greenspan, noted urban-planning author Jane
Jacobs, and a dozen members of Parliament.

The most prominent names on the petition will be featured in a two-page
advertisement in Monday's New York Times.

The goal of the petition is to promote other ways of dealing with the drug
problems than resorting to the expensive and overcrowded criminal justice

The protest is the result of work by the Lindesmith Center, a New
York-based think-tank, and drug-policy reform groups from more than 20

"What we are trying to do is influence the UN and its member countries to
move away from these outrageous drug policies that serve only to congest
the court system and fuel the violence associated with the illegal drug
trade," said Eugene Oscapella, a spokesman for the Canadian Foundation for
Drug Policy, which helped organize the petition.

The petition's backers will also hold a series of conferences to help
promote alternative methods of dealing with drug problems.

The list of people who signed the petition includes several Nobel Peace
Prize winners, high-ranking politicians and judges from dozens of
countries, and members of the academic community. It also includes such
notable business people as Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, and
George Soros, the billionaire investment king.

The petition is just the latest volley in what has become an increasingly
spectacular debate on whether drugs should be decriminalized. Proponents of
decriminalization point to the excessive costs of policing and punishing
drug offenders, and the crime cartels that thrive on the prohibited drug
trade. Opponents of drug decriminalization argue that easier access to
drugs would lead to greater rates of addiction and to the erosion of
society's morals.

The group's petition concludes:

"Mr. Secretary General, we appeal to you to initiate a truly open and
honest dialogue regarding the failure of global drug control policies --
one in which fear, prejudice and punitive prohibitions yield to common
sense, science, public health and human rights."

Copyright 1998 The Ottawa Citizen


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(JR Irvin)

Jury Clears Man Over 'Medicinal' Cannabis (Britain's 'Times'
Says A Man Who Broke His Back After Falling 60 Feet From A Bridge
And Who Admitted Smoking Cannabis To Relieve Chronic Back Pain
Has Been Cleared Of Any Drug Offence By A Jury
After Defending Himself At Manchester Crown Court)

Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 05:56:26 EDT
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: medmj@drcnet.org
Originator: medmj@drcnet.org
Sender: medmj@drcnet.org
From: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
To: Multiple recipients of list (medmj@drcnet.org)
Subject: ART: UK: Jury clears man over 'medicinal' cannabis
Date: Saturday, June 6 1998
Source: The Times (UK)
Contact: letters@the-times.co.uk
Saturday, June 6 1998

Jury clears man over 'medicinal' cannabis

(Acquittal of father who used drug to alleviate back pain may
hasten legalisation, WRITES RUSSELL JENKINS)

A MAN who admitted smoking cannabis to relieve chronic
back pain has been cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown
Court of any drug offence.

The jury acquitted Colin Davies, 30, a former joiner, from
Brinnington, Manchester, after he told them that he smoked
four home-grown joints a day instead of taking legally
prescribed painkillers.

Mr Davies, who has two children and who defended himself,
began cultivating cannabis plants in his flat after breaking his
back when he fell 60 feet from a bridge near his home in
Stockport four years ago.

He survived after lengthy treatment in hospital but now walks
with a limp and is in constant pain. He said the various
treatments prescribed by doctors prompted spasms and
sickness and he had turned to the drug in desperation.

Police arrested him last November, seizing 18 cannabis
plants hidden behind a partition in his bedroom, but a jury
took only 40 minutes to find him not guilty of cultivating
cannabis under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

Mr Davies said outside court that he intended to carry on
smoking cannabis. "I felt fantastic that the jury had listened to
me. It was a just verdict," he said.

"It is a mistake when even the BMA [British Medical
Association] has said the police and courts should think
before prosecuting people for using cannabis on medical

Matthew Atha, principal consultant of the Independent
Drugs Monitoring Unit and one of three medical experts
called upon by Mr Davies to provide evidence, said the
verdict would bring closer the day when cannabis use for
medical purposes is legalised.

He said: "The priority is to make sure those with legitimate
medical reasons are not turned into criminals. A not guilty
verdict means the jury thinks the law is an ass and they are
more sensitive to the needs of people who need to use
cannabis for medical reasons than the Government."

Mr Davies's solicitor, James Riley, described the case as
ground-breaking. "It will heap further pressure on the
Government to follow recommendations from the BMA to
allow the prescription of cannabis to aid the treatment of
chronic pain," he said.

At the start of the one-day hearing Ian Metcalfe, for the
prosecution, said Mr Davies knew what he was doing was
illegal and told the jury: "You have taken an oath to give a
true verdict according to the law. That is all the Crown asks.
You have a duty to return a guilty verdict."

However, Mr Davies said that large intakes of prescribed
paracetamol and codeine provoked spasms that left him
hospitalised. He had read about cannabis as a pain reliever
and decided to buy some from a street dealer.

He said he did not like doing this so he decided to try
growing his own plants at home, purely for his own use for
the purposes of pain relief. "I chose something else out of
desperation," Mr Davies said. "I am offering a defence of
necessity. What choice did I have? The only choice from
doctors is more pain killers." Brian Todd, a consultant
orthopaedic surgeon, confirmed in a statement that Mr
Davies suffered multiple spinal injuries and rib fractures,
spending two months in hospital.

Allan Gilman, his family doctor, said in a statement that he
had seen Mr Davies move into spasm because of the pain on
several occasions. He remained in extreme difficulty and had
been referred to a pain clinic, he said.

Mr Atha, who has been invited to give evidence to a House
of Lords Select Committee inquiry into cannabis use, told the
jury that a BMA report published last November had called
for the rescheduling of cannabis to allow for the drug to be
made available for chronic pain relief.

After the verdict Mr Davies asked whether the confiscated
cannabis plants could be returned. Judge Barry Woodward
told him that he should look to his solicitor for advice.

"If you cultivate cannabis again and come before the courts,
another jury may return a different verdict," the judge said.

Cultivation of cannabis attracts a maximum sentence of 14
years imprisonment, but Home Office guidelines suggest a
fine of up to £5,000 for those who grow small quantities for
personal use.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "We
prosecute the law as it is, not as it may be in the future."

Jury Clears Man Who Used Cannabis As Pain Killer
(Version In Britain's 'Guardian')

Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 01:25:22 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: Jury Clears Man Who Used Cannabis As Pain Killer
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke 
Source: The Guardian, UK
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998
Contact: letters@guardian.co.uk
Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
Author: David Ward


Verdict 'brings closer' legalisation of drug for medical purposes By
David Ward

A man who smoked four cannabis joints a day to relieve pain caused by
a broken back vowed yesterday to continue rolling them after a jury
cleared him of drugs charges brought following a police raid on his

"I will carry on smoking cannabis," said Colin Davies, of Stockport,
Greater Manchester. "It helps the terrible pain I get from my
injuries. I feel vindicated that the jury has listened to me."

The eight women and four men at Manchester Crown Court took just 40
minutes to clear Mr Davies of cultivating cannabis contrary to the
1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

After the verdict Mr Davies provoked giggles when he asked for his 18
cannabis plants back.

The verdict comes just two months after a jury in Warrington,
Cheshire, cleared on three out of four drugs charges a man who
supplied his wife with home-grown cannabis to ease her acute pain from
multiple sclerosis.

It will be a further boost for those campaigning for the
decriminalisation of cannabis, including the thousands who marched
through central London in March.

Mr Davies, a former joiner who suffered severe injuries when he fell
60ft from a bridge in 1994, denounced the prosecution as a waste of

"The only victim out of all this is me," he said. "I could not believe
it when the police broke down my door. I was being arrested for
something that was for my own medical benefit. Where am I on the scale
of criminality?"

The court heard that police, acting on a tip-off, had found the
cannabis plants behind a partition in the bedroom of Mr Davies's flat.
Mr Davies, who represented himself, said paracetamol and codeine
prescribed by doctors prompted spasms and sickness spells, and he then
had to seek hospital treatment.

"I read about cannabis as a relief from pain and I actually went out
and bought some off the streets," he said. "I did not like having to
do that so I decided to have a go at growing some for my own use on my
own property.

"I did it behind my own front door, there was no interference with
anyone else. I now find myself here and I feel terrible. I chose
something else out of desperation. I'm offering a defence of
necessity. The only choice from doctors is more pain killers."

Ian Metcalfe, prosecuting, told the jury there was little dispute
about the facts. "Mr Davies knew it was illegal and said the cannabis
was for pain relief. But as the law stands today that does not provide
the defence or justification to start growing a crop," he said.

He told the jury: "You have taken an oath to give a true verdict
according to the law. That is what the Crown asks. You have a duty to
return a guilty verdict."

During the trial, Mr Davies called as witnesses his own GP, a
consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Matthew Atha, principal consultant
of the Independent Drugs Monitoring Unit.

"This verdict will bring closer the day when cannabis use for medical
purposes is legalised," said Mr Atha after the trial. "The priority is
to make sure those with legitimate medical reasons are not turned into

"A not guilty verdict means the jury thinks the law is an ass and they
are more sensitive to the needs of people who need to use cannabis for
medical reasons than the Government."

Last November, the British Medical Association published a report on
the medical uses of cannabis which called for more research.

"We have to recognise that there are many thousands of people who are
resorting to the use of cannabis illegally because they have not been
able to find conventional relief for their symptoms," a spokeswoman
said yesterday.

Paul Vallely's Britain - A City Fighting For Its Reputation
(Op-Ed In Britain's 'Independent' Gives An Interesting Portrait
Of Manchester, Where Officials Are Worried About Allegations
That Violent Crime Has Increased 50 Per Cent In The Last Year,
Which Could Put A Damper On The Commonwealth Games In 2002 -
Statisticians Changed The Way They Calculated The Figures
To Include Minor Assaults, Previously Omitted, And The Police
Issued A Statement Insisting That If You Took Out The Minor Incidents
Of 'Pushing And Slapping,' The Real Increase Was Less Than 2 Per Cent.-
Heroin-Related 'Acquisitive Crimes' Such As Shoplifting, Burglary, Car Thefts
And Gun Offences Are All Down - Today's Problems Are Different,
Attributable To Prohibition And Centred Around The Dance And Rave Clubs -
Most Casual Violence On The Streets Is Fuelled Not By 'Drugs' But By Alcohol)

Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 01:16:08 -0500
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: UK: OPED: Paul Vallely's Britain - A City
Fighting For Its Reputation
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 1998
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/



The city hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2002, but remains notorious
for its levels of violent crime, with gangster families terrorising
retailers and night clubs

"BASTARD," screamed the man from the pavement, looking directly at me.
"Bastard, bastard!" His face was puce with anger and his lips were
flecked with spittle. "Bastard, bastard, bastard!"

I was not sure what I was supposed to have done. I was sitting at a
table at a pavement cafe in St Peter's Square having a coffee - and
reading in the Manchester Evening News that crimes of violence in the
city had risen by 50 per cent over the past year.

I decided to ignore him, and turned my eyes studiously to the paper.
My assailant lurched across the road to the Cenotaph and started
hurling bedraggled poppy wreaths into the air before taking his
inexplicable anger elsewhere.

"Don't take it personally," smiled the stranger at the next table. The
trouble is that we do take it personally. Or as Alan Haughton put it,
with an epigrammatic flourish: "We live in a world of anecdotes."

Mr Haughton is the manager of Lifeline, a drugs agency in the city,
which works in the dance and rave clubs that are said to be the
focuses of the city's violence. A leaked letter from the leader of the
city council to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police
recently accused the force of failing to combat the "rampant
lawlessness" of the protection rackets and the drug dealing in the
city's clubland. Is it that bad?

Anecdotes are not much help here. When I asked Ben, a clubber in his
late twenties who reckons he has been out on more than 1,000 occasions
in the past decade, he replied: "Not at all. I've only seen one
incident in that time." Yet when I asked Anna, a 19-year-old student,
she responded: "Every time we go into the city we get involved in some
kind of violence" - and told tales of bottles raining through windows,
of dance-floor punch-ups, of broken noses, and even of a "friend of a
cousin's friend" who, while dancing, had been stabbed with a syringe
labelled "Welcome to the HIV club". If the last tale sounds like an
urban myth it still tells us something. The thing about a myth is that
it may be based on truth, or it may not be, but it becomes more potent
than reality and therefore a new reality in itself. The fear of
violence is what worries the council leader, Richard Leese, who can
clearly spot a threat to investment a mile off. Manchester is to host
the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

"The city has already begun to attract extra investment," he said amid
the Victoriana of his oak-panelled Town Hall office, "and that that
will step up significantly after the 1998 games. All this 'Britain's
most violent city' stuff doesn't exactly help, even if the truth is
that you have less chance of being attacked than being hit by a car."

The new crime statistics were released for the meeting of the local
police authority yesterday. Mr Leese had been on to the Chief
Constable ahead of the meeting for an explanation. "He told me that
they had changed the way they calculated the figures to include minor
assaults, which previously had been omitted."

Did that entirely account for the increase? "He said he can't answer
that question. So I don't know - and it appears that nobody knows -
whether violent crime in Manchester is going up." Later, the police
issued a statement insisting that if you took out the minor incidents
of "pushing and slapping" the real increase was not 50 per cent but
less than 2 per cent.

But if the Evening News insisted that such explanations "will not
wash", there can be no doubting that beneath the mythology there lies
the conflation of three separate phenomena: hard drugs, so-called
leisure drugs and alcohol.

Hard drugs were at the centre of the city's gun wars in the early
1990s. Heroin and crack dealing are concentrated not in the city
centre but in the notorious inner-city suburbs such as Moss Side. In
recent years there has been relative calm in these areas, which is to
say that only the occasional shooting is reported. Lower unemployment
and the wider availability on prescription of methadone, which makes
the addicts dozy, are said to be the cause. This is reflected in
yesterday's statistics. Smackheads tend to involve themselves in what
the police call "acquisitive crimes" - shoplifting, burglary and car
theft - which, along with guns offences, are all down.

Today's problems are different. They are centred around the dance and
rave clubs, where local crime families, who five years ago were
involved in armed robberies, have moved into ecstasy supplying. The
kids who take the drug may claim it fills them with universal love,
but the same cannot be said for the individuals who supply it.

Club owners in the city have felt powerless, since these gangsters
often control the bouncers through payment or intimidation. "Dealers
can make £312,000 per club per night," one club owner told me.
"Doormen can share more than £33,000 a night as their cut." Anyone
who objects is beaten or shot. The gangsters do not even have to
produce their guns. A word is enough to secure access and free food
and drinks.

It is the spill-over of this culture into the mainstream that has
worried the city authorities. Gangsters tried the same tactics at a
five-star city-centre hotel recently. Newly opened restaurants that
refused to pay protection have been trashed. One major eating chain
recently cancelled its opening. Ram-raids on designer fashion shops in
the past six months seemed aimed more at intimidation than theft.

"We've had discussions with the managers at Armani and the others and
they are adamant that they are not paying protection," Richard Leese
said. Still, he is relieved that the first phase of the city centre's
closed circuit TV system - which was delayed by the IRA bomb there two
years ago - is to open in August.

Moreover, although the local police say little, it is evident that
they have changed their approach in the weeks since Mr Leese wrote his
stinging letter. They have begun to make their presence felt with
"disruptive policing". They have begun towing away cars parked
illegally outside a bar frequented by gangsters. Officers in body
armour have made appearances in clubs, backed up by armed response
units outside. Five-hour rolling roadblocks every weekend for the past
five weeks have produced exemplary arrests for drugs and firearms
offences. Now, clubs are being encouraged to use out-of-town security
firms from as far afield as Birmingham, so that doormen are not
vulnerable to the threat "we know where you live".

But there is a third problem. Most casual violence on the streets is
fuelled not by drugs but by alcohol. In the past year the city has
been shocked by what locals call the Good Samaritan murders, five
separate cases in which those who tried to break up fights were
killed. No one is sure of the correct response. The authorities hope
that the general police clampdown will have its effect. Mr Leese looks
uneasy when asked whether the local liberalisation of the licensing
laws might partly be responsible. "No, more liberal laws have
generally eased the problem. You don't get the 2am closing time tension."

Others, such as Alan Haughton, are more pragmatic. Lifeline is about
to produce a set of "What to do if ." leaflets. If what? "If you see
someone collapsed in the street, if you see a guy beating up his
girlfriend, if you encounter violence in the taxi queue or kebab shop."

What does it tell us about society if self-defence is the only
response, I asked. "We can't look at this as anthropologists," Mr
Haughton replied. "We have to live here and ask 'What works?'"

So, I was about to riposte, we turn away our eyes. And then I
remembered that that was exactly what I had done with the man in St
Peter's Square. Suddenly it seemed as good an answer as any.



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