Portland NORML News - Tuesday, June 23, 1998

Senator Vasconcellos Modifies SB 1887 To Authorize Medical Marijuana
Distribution By Local Communities (Bulletin From California NORML
Says The Amended Bill Will Be Heard By The California Assembly
Health Committee On June 30)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 16:01:26 -0800
To: dpfca@drugsense.org, aro@drugsense.org
From: canorml@igc.apc.org (Dale Gieringer)
Subject: DPFCA: Cal. Med MJ Distribution Bill
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfca@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/

Sen. Vasconcellos Modifies SB 1887 to Authorize Medical Marijuana
Distribution by Local Communities

SACRAMENTO: Drawing on testimony from the recent statewide summit
on medical marijuana, Sen. John Vasconcellos is amending his medical
marijuana bill, S.B. 1887, to authorize cities and counties to establish
medical marijuana distribution programs by local ordinance.

The amended bill would allow cities and counties to contract out to
non-profit corporations to provide medical marijuana, subject to the
oversight of local health departments and law enforcement. It also
establishes guidelines for verification of patients, the optional provision
of patient identification cards, and inspection by police.

The bill makes use of an untested provision in the federal
Controlled Substances Act that apparently immunizes local officials from
federal drug laws. Supporters expect this provision to be tested in
federal court. "If we are fortunate enough to see this bill enacted, I
expect it'll be just the beginning," notes Sen. Vasconcellos' chief of
staff, Rand Martin.

Sen. Vasconcellos' legislation corresponds closely to the approach
proposed by California NORML in testimony to the State Senate Public Safety
Committee. "Sen. Vasconcellos is to be congratulated for offering a
comprehensive, realistic solution to the short-term medical marijuana
distribution problem," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer.

In the longer term, Martin notes, the "true consensus of the
summit was that marijuana should be rescheduled." Sen. Vasconcellos'
proposed distribution legislation would expire six months after

The newly amended version of S.B. 1887 will be heard by the
Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, June 30th. Should it pass the
Assembly, it will have to be re-approved by the State Senate.


Constituent letters would be helpful to capture the following swing
votes on the Health Committee.

Cruz Bustamente (D-Fresno): Democratic candidate for Lieutenant
Gov, should be receptive to letters from throughout the state.

Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacto): Sympathetic, but running in a
conservative state senate district;

Scott Wildman (D-Burbank/Glendale): Represents a swing district,
needs to hear from constituents.


Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // canorml@igc.apc.org
2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114

At Lungren's Convenience (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The San Francisco Chronicle' Pans The Republican Candidate
For California Governor, Noting His Words Contradict His Actions
As Attorney General Promoting Noncompliance With Proposition 215)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 14:09:01 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: At Lungren's Convenience
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)
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/


Editor -- This letter is in response to Arlene N. Heath's letter to the
editor about Dan Lungren in The Chronicle on June 15. She says, and I
quote, ``. . . I fully support Lungren for governor. His commitment to
follow the law, even where it conflicts with his personal views, is only
one more reason to support his candidacy.''

Arlene must have been in another country while Dan Lungren ignored the will
of the people on the medical marijuana initiative, based on his personal
views. It seems to me that Dan Lungren follows his personal views, rather
than the law, when convenient for him. Which is only one more reason not to
support his candidacy.


San Francisco

Marijuana Ballot Initiative Verification To Begin Today
('The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Says The Clerks Of 13 Nevada Counties
Will Begin The Signature Verification Process Today For The Ballot Measure
Sponsored By Americans For Medical Rights)

Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 23:19:07 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US NV: Marijuana Ballot
Initiative Verification To Begin Today
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)
Pubdate: Tuesday, June 23, 1998
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Contact: letters@lvrj.com
Fax: 702-383-4676
Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/
Author: Sean Whaley Donrey, Capital Bureau


CARSON CITY -- The clerks of 13 Nevada counties will be told today to begin
the signature verification process for a ballot initiative that would
legalize the medical use of marijuana if approved by voters. The secretary
of state's office confirmed Monday that signature gatherers for Americans
for Medical Rights have met the first test to get the constitutional
amendment on the November ballot.

At least 46,764 signatures of registered voters are required. The total must
be obtained with signatures representing 10 percent of those who voted in
the last general election in each of the 13 counties.

A total of 74,439 signatures were turned in to the clerks of 13 counties on
June 16. The minimum signature requirement needed in each of the 13 counties
also was met, based on a count of the raw numbers. County clerks now will
sample the signatures to ensure they are from registered voters in the
county in which the petition was signed. The sampling process requires a
review of either 5 percent of the total number of signatures or 500,
whichever number is greater.

That means in Clark County, where 45,955 signatures were turned in, nearly
2,300 signatures will have to be checked. A total of 26,509 valid signatures
are required in Clark County. In Esmeralda County, where 78 signatures were
submitted, each one will have to be checked.

Esmeralda requires 55 of those be valid to meet the 10 percent requirement.
The random sampling of signatures must be completed within nine working
days. If the sampling shows that the number of valid signatures is less than
90 percent, the petition fails.

If 100 percent, it automatically qualifies. If the number of signatures is
between 90 percent and 100 percent, the clerk of each county must verify
each signature. If the initiative makes it onto the ballot and is approved
by Nevada voters this fall and again in 2000, the marijuana proposal would
amend the constitution to let doctors prescribe marijuana to people who
suffer from cancer, glaucoma and other medical problems.

US Accuses 33 Of Running Latin King Reign Of Terror
('The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' Says Alleged Members Of The Latin Kings
Gang Were Charged Monday With Federal Racketeering, Drug Conspiracy,
And Weapons Charges In An Indictment Accusing Them Of Orchestrating
An 11-Year Reign Of Terror In The Inner South Side Of Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 22:53:13 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US WI: U.S. Accuses 33 Of Running Latin King Reign Of Terror
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)
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Author: Jessica McBride of the Journal Sentinel staff


Charges In Gang Case Include 9 Murders

Thirty-three alleged members of the Latin Kings gang, accused of
orchestrating an 11-year reign of terror on the near south side, were
indicted Monday on federal racketeering, drug conspiracy and arms charges.

In a 73-page indictment, federal authorities said the 33 defendants were
responsible for nine murders, 21 attempted murders, nine robberies, three
arsons and an attempted arson, five kidnappings and an ongoing drug
trafficking conspiracy.

The Milwaukee chapter of the Almighty Latin King Nation -- its official
name -- was sophisticated enough, authorities allege, to provide safe
houses for firearms, require dues from members, punish disobedient members
through beating or death, have a written manifesto, receive training on
destroying evidence, murder law-enforcement informers, and be ruled by a
"crown council" of top leaders.

The murders attributed to the Latin Kings include those of a 19-year-old
man gunned down as he sat in a barber's chair getting a haircut, a
15-year-old Oak Creek girl beaten and dumped in a river, a 19-year-old
woman shot six times as she sat in a car, and two double murders.

Authorities allege that the gang was a criminal enterprise and that its
primary source of income was "drug dealing, robbery and gun sales." They
said the gang used the proceeds from drug trafficking and robberies to
boost legitimate businesses under gang control, obtain firearms and support
incarcerated gang members and their families.

The indictment says the Latin Kings have murdered and attempted to murder
members of rival gangs, including the 2-1s, the Imperial Gangsters, La
Familia, the Maniac Latin Disciples and the Spanish Cobras. The Kings have
also allegedly murdered individuals believed to have provided information
to authorities.

Most recently, the gang was said to be involved in a back-and-forth series
of payback murders during an escalating rivalry with local Mexican Posse
gang members.

Nearly all of the defendants face a maximum term of life in prison without
parole if convicted. U.S. Attorney Thomas Schneider announced in a Monday
afternoon press conference that 26 defendants were charged with
racketeering, 26 with conspiracy to sell drugs from 1987 to the present, 11
with specific drug-dealing violations, and four with firearms violations.
Some of the defendants face multiple charges.

The racketeering charges are being made under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. It was last used by federal
authorities in Milwaukee in 1997, when 17 members of the Outlaws motorcycle
gang were indicted.

The indictments announced Monday seek $10 million in proceeds from what
prosecutors called the illegal profits of the criminal enterprise.

"These arrests are part of the continuing effort to disrupt and dismantle
organized gang activity in this community," said Debra Pierce, acting
special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in
Milwaukee. The FBI was one of numerous agencies -- from Milwaukee police to
the federal Drug Enforcement Administration -- to play a role in the
effort, dubbed Operation Checkmate.

"This investigation demonstrates the commitment of the Milwaukee Police
Department to rooting out gang violence in order to make our neighborhoods
safe," Police Chief Arthur Jones said. "Law enforcement agencies are
working together and will continue to proactively target violent gangs."

Authorities would not reveal what tactics they used to crack the gang's
hierarchy and what specific evidence they had compiled. They said details
would be revealed in court. However, they acknowledged that during the
course of the lengthy investigation, 39 other alleged Latin Kings members
have been charged with various offenses in state and federal court,
including two additional murders.

Monday's press conference came just hours after a task force of 200 federal
and local law enforcement officers swept through the city's south side,
rounding up alleged gang members without incident. Nearly two dozen of the
accused appeared in federal court Monday afternoon, led into the courtroom
in handcuffs by U.S. marshals and other officers under tight security.

Most were dressed in T-shirts and jeans, looking like they were straight
out of high school. Some coming into court had their hair cropped short and
sported gang tattoos on their arms, looking sullen and slumping in their
chairs as federal prosecutors read off a string of charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Larsen requested that all the defendants be
temporarily detained until a bond hearing can be held Thursday. The
government will seek detention until trial of most of those charged in
Monday's indictments. U.S. Magistrate Judge Aaron Goodstein ordered 20
defendants held in jail until Thursday's bond hearings.

Just a handful of the 33 people named in the indictments were still at
large late Monday.

The national organization of the Latin Kings is known to have chapters in
several states, including Illinois, Connecticut, Florida and New York. The
Milwaukee branch was established in the mid-1970s and quickly grew to
dominate the south side.

It defined its territory as a swath of the city from S. 15th to S. 1st
streets between W. National and W. Cleveland avenues. Over the years, the
gang split into subchapters.

Schneider said the gang truly controls no territory. He and other law
enforcement officials said Monday's action should demoralize and weaken the
gang. And they repeatedly said they wanted to send out a warning to other
street gangs that they also might be targets under federal racketeering

Neighborhoods, they said, belong to law-abiding citizens, not gangs.

"These charges are not just a message to the Latin Kings," Schneider said.
"It is also a message to the Cobras, Mexican Posse, Maniac Latin Disciples,
Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords and all of the other gangs out there.
The message to gangs is you will be targeted and you will be prosecuted.
The violence must stop."

Schneider stressed that those who lost their lives to the gang should not
be forgotten amid the attention paid to Monday's sweep.

Eleven murders were alleged to have been committed by Latin Kings gang
members during the 11-year period covered by the investigation -- the nine
mentioned in Monday's indictment and two others that authorities said were
part of the investigation. Several already have resulted in charges or
convictions of gang members in Circuit Court. The federal charges announced
Monday name other people as planning some of those slayings.

The 11 victims were:

m Jenna Gonzales, 15, was found beaten to death on May 16, 1993, along the
5600 block of S. Root River Parkway in Greendale. The indictment Monday
named Antonio "S.P.A." Mendez in connection with the murder. Mendez was
acquitted of homicide by a Circuit Court jury in 1993; this time, he was
accused of conspiracy under racketeering laws.

m Angelique Morales, 19, was shot six times as she sat in a parked car Jan.
23, 1994, in the 1600 block of W. Forest Home Ave. The indictment accuses
Pedro "Pistol Pete" Martinez and another man of conspiring to murder her;
the second man was not named Monday because he remained at large.

m Juan C. Pantojas, 22, was found Nov. 5, 1995, in an alley in the 1100
block of S. 23rd St. near his car, which still had its headlights on. He
was shot in the head, back, neck and right leg. The indictment accuses
three defendants of conspiring to murder Pantojas. Two were not named
because they remained at large Monday; the third was identified as
Alejandro "Wicked" Vallejo.

m Jose Antonio Andino, 25, and Luis A. Enriquez, 33, were found shot to
death in the 1900 block of S. 5th Place early on Nov. 27, 1995. The
indictment accuses Vallejo of the murders.

m Michael Steven Tepley, 15, was found dead in the kitchen of his family's
home in the 700 block of W. Maple St. on July 13, 1996. No indictments on
Monday related to this case; prosecutors, however, said it was part of the

m Francisco Correa, 20, and George Staninzewski, 17, were ambushed while
sitting in a car early July 16, 1996, in front of a home in the 2300 block
of S. 15th Place. A third man was wounded in the attack. The indictment
accuses Wilfredo "Pito" Vasquez in the murders.

m Daryl Davis, 21, was shot in the head and chest in the 2400 block of S.
6th St. on Sept. 2, 1996. Vasquez is accused of the murder.

m Frank Garza, 19, was slain while getting a haircut at Jose Ortiz'
barbershop at 831 W. National Ave., on Feb. 19, 1997. A man strolled into
the shop, shot Garza in the head with a pistol, then calmly walked outside.
The indictment accuses Jorge "Junior" or "J-Bone" Espada of the murder, and
Raymond Rivera of conspiracy in the murder.

m Donald Eldridge, 23, was shot Oct. 8, 1997, after he bought a half-pound
bag of marijuana. No indictments on Monday related to the case; authorities
said it was part of the investigation.

Dave Daley of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

Florida Court Reverses 1996 Tobacco Verdict ('The Standard-Times'
In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Says The First District Court Of Appeal
Yesterday Nullified A $750,000 Verdict Against Brown And Williamson
Tobacco Corporation, Ruling The Lawsuit Was Filed Too Late -
It Was The Biggest Liability Verdict Ever Against The Industry,
The Third Time A Jury Had Awarded Damages In A Smoking Liability Case,
And The First Time A Jury Ordered Punitive Damages Because Cigarettes
Are Inherently Dangerous)

Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 12:12:55 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US FL: Florida Court Reverses 1996 Tobacco Verdict
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Tuesday 23 June 1998
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
Website: http://www.s-t.com/


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- An appeals court yesterday threw out a $750,000
verdict won by a smoker two years ago, ruling the lawsuit was filed too

The 1996 verdict was only the second time in 40 years of anti-smoking
litigation that a tobacco company was ordered to pay damages.

Grady Carter, 66, sued Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., blaming it for the
lung cancer he developed after smoking for 44 years.

But the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled 3-0 that the lawsuit "was filed
more than four years after Grady Carter knew or should have known ... that
he had a smoking-related disease."

B&W had no immediate comment.

On June 10, a jury in Jacksonville ordered B&W to pay nearly $1 million to
the family of a man who died after smoking Lucky Strikes for almost 50

It was the biggest liability verdict ever against the industry, and the
third time a jury had awarded damages in a smoking liability case. It was
also the first time a jury ordered punitive damages because cigarettes are
inherently dangerous.

House Approves Anti-Drug Measure ('The Associated Press' Says The US House
Tuesday Voted 402 To 9 To Provide Small Businesses With Financial Incentives
And Technical Aid To Adopt 'Drug-Free Workplace' Programs)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 14:23:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: turmoil (turmoil@hemp.net)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: House Approves Anti-Drug Measure (fwd)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Small businesses would get financial
incentives and technical aid to adopt drug-free workplace programs
under legislation approved by the House Tuesday.

The measure, approved 402-9, is part of a package of anti-drug
bills the Republican leadership has made a top priority over the
past month.

Sponsored by Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the bill encourages
states to provide financial benefits to small businesses that meet
minimum standards for drug-free workplaces.

Portman helped develop a program in his home state that reduces
workers' compensation insurance premiums by up to 20 percent for
companies participating in drug-free programs.

The bill also provides an average $12 million over five years
for demonstration grants that would encourage small businesses to
join community-based anti-drug coalitions and offer technical
assistance through existing Small Business Development Centers.

Portman cited figures showing that substance abusers file five
times as many workers' compensation claims as nonabusers and have
three to four times the number of workplace accidents.

Small businesses realize the costs of drug abuse, he said, but
need help in implementing anti-drug programs. ``Just as we provide
technical assistance in developing business plans, identifying
loans and other important small business services, we need to
provide assistance with drug-free workplace programs.''

The bill, H.R. 3853, still needs Senate consideration.

The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of
The Associated Press.

Clinton OKs Survey Of Teen Smokers' Brand Preferences
(A 'Dallas Morning News' Article In 'The San Jose Mercury News'
Says The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company Released A Statement In Response
Suggesting The Survey Would Serve No Purpose, Noting The US Centers
For Disease Control And Prevention Provided Such Information In Surveys
In 1989 And 1993, And Said Most Studies Conclude That The Primary Factors
In Youth Smoking Are Peer Pressure, Family Influence And Access)

Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 12:13:29 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: Clinton OKs Survey of Teen Smokers' Brand Preferences
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998
Author: Kathy Lewis - Dallas Morning News


WASHINGTON -- President Clinton, his efforts to get comprehensive
anti-smoking legislation stymied, Monday ordered an annual survey of
teenagers to find out what brands of cigarettes they smoke.

``Parents, quite simply, have a right to know,'' said Clinton.

He said the federal survey not only would reveal which brands teenagers
buy, but also which companies are most responsible for the teen smoking

Clinton said public health officials would use the information to try to
reduce teen smoking.

The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. released a statement suggesting the survey
would serve no purpose. Company officials said the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention had provided such information in surveys in
1989 and 1993, and said most studies conclude that the primary factors in
youth smoking are peer pressure, family influence and access.

``R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. does not want youth to smoke, period. Having
taxpayers fund additional studies on which brands youth smoke perpetuates
the `blame game' and focuses on the wrong issue,'' said John Singleton,
director of corporate communication.

Clinton countered that the tobacco officials' ``automatic and angry
dismissal'' of the survey showed their ``continued disregard for their
children's health and parents' concern.''

Once survey information is available, Clinton said neither companies nor
Congress could avoid accountability.

He said an annual survey that showed a substantial difference in brand
preference clearly would demonstrate that ``there is something in the
nature of the advertising that'' generates the popularity.

``If advertising can be isolated and we can see that in brand preference, I
think it will help us quite a lot to forge some good policies,'' he said.

Under an executive order issued by Clinton, the Department of Health and
Human Services will expand its National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to
include tobacco use by youth and brand preference. The current survey,
started in the early 1970s, covers illicit drug, alcohol and tobacco use
among the general population.

White House officials said the executive order is but one of several
announcements Clinton will make in coming weeks on the issue.

Last week, Senate Republicans blocked an anti-smoking bill that would have
raised cigarette prices, placed major new restrictions on advertising and
marketing, and levied penalties on cigarette companies if targeted
reductions in teen smoking were not met. The bill, which stalled after
failing to win the necessary 60 votes to end debate, would have called for
research into the youth smoking market.

Clinton said he would continue pushing for passage.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans continued work Monday on a much smaller, more
narrowly focused bill aimed at reducing teen smoking and drug use.

Justices Strike Down Forfeiture As Excessive ('The Washington Post' Version
Of Yesterday's News About The US Supreme Court's Decision
In United States V. Bajakajian)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 21:43:15 -0400
To: fear-list@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US: WP: Justices Strike Down Forfeiture as Excessive
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: DrugSense
Source: Washington Post
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998
Author: Joan Biskupic, Washington Post Staff Writer


Case Involved Gas Station Owner Taking Large Amount of Undeclared Cash to

A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the federal government
cannot seize and keep the money of a person trying to carry funds out of
the country simply because the person failed to fill out the proper Customs
Service forms. The decision marked the first time the court had struck down
a government fine as unconstitutionally excessive, and dissenting justices
said the reasoning may jeopardize a vast range of financial penalties the
government imposes.

The case produced an unorthodox 5-to-4 voting alliance and a majority
opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas that said a punitive forfeiture is
forbidden if it is "grossly disproportional to the gravity" of the offense.

The case was originally brought by Hosep Bajakajian, a Syrian immigrant who
tried to take $357,000 out of the country without having declared it on a
form required of anyone who moves more than $10,000 into or out of the
United States. He also lied about the amount of money he had with him when
questioned by a customs inspector.

In a day of varied court business as the justices finish the last days of
the term, they also ruled 5 to 4 that illegally seized evidence can be used
against defendants in parole hearings in ways that it cannot be used
against them in trials. Dissenting justices in Pennsylvania Board of
Probation and Parole v. Scott said the ruling undercut the Fourth Amendment
protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Forfeiture laws, largely used in the government's war on drug traffickers,
have become a controversial tactic as critics complain the government is
wielding its power without safeguards and seiz ing money and property from
people whose conduct does not always warrant drastic action.

The Eighth Amendment says "excessive bail shall not be required, nor
excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." But
the high court had never made clear when a fine is excessive and lower
courts have been divided. Some believed they should consider the amount of
money seized in relation to the crime, while others thought it enough to
determine that the money was used in the crime and, thus, was tainted by
the wrongdoing.

Bajakajian, a Hollywood gas station owner, was arrested in 1994 at the Los
Angeles airport for not disclosing that he was carrying $357,000 in cash as
he headed to Syria to pay a business debt. His lawyer attributed his
violation to "cultural differences," saying Bajakajian was afraid of
government and its procedures. Bajakajian was fined $5,000, subjected to
three years' probation, and the federal government additionally sought to
keep all the money he had concealed in his luggage.

A trial judge rejected the government's attempt to keep the $357,000,
saying the money "wasn't drug money, wasn't gambling money, wasn't stolen
money; this wasn't money that was being laundered for any reason."

The court said only $15,000 of the total should be forfeited because
anything larger would be an unconstitutionally excessive punishment on
Bajakajian. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit also declined to
allow the government the larger amount but said that money that is legally
possessed, as in this case, could never be forfeited because it cannot be
considered the "instrumentality" of a crime.

Yesterday the Supreme Court affirmed that decision, finding the forfeiture
provision unconstitutional. In his opinion for the majority, Thomas said
the Eighth Amendment requires that a forfeiture be proportional to the
gravity of the offense. He rejected the Justice Department's argument that
courts should look primarily at whether the property was significantly invo
lved in the offense.

Thomas said the law was designed for money launderers, drug traffickers and
tax evaders -- a class Bajakajian doesn't fit. Thomas added that the harm
Bajakajian caused was minimal. "Failure to report his currency affected
only one party, the government, and in a relatively minor way," Thomas
wrote. "There was no fraud on the United States, and [Bajakajian] caused no
loss" to the U.S. Treasury.

Thomas's opinion in United States v. Bajakajian was joined by the more
liberal justices: John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Stephen G. Breyer.

Grandma's Addiction (Scripps Howard News Service Syndicated Columnist
Bonnie Erbe In 'The Oakland Tribune' Comments On The CASA Report
Released This Month Suggesting That Almost Two Million Women
Above The Age Of 59 Are Addicted To Alcohol And Almost Three Million
Abuse Or Are Addicted To Prescription Drugs)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 20:22:19 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Grandma's addiction
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: Oakland Tribune
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998
Author: Bonnie Erbe


IT seems kids in America aren't the only ones with drug and substance abuse
problems. Grandma - long teased for hiding a whiskey flask under her
rocking chair may be covering up a substance abuse problem of her own.

"Kids and drugs" is a topic that's glamorized and sensationalized by the
media. Yet Grandma's substance abuse problem is not seen as being pretty,
glamorous, dangerous or in any other way attractive, in fact, it's a
problem we as a society seem content to ignore or shove out of view.

The latest data on this subject come to us from Columbia University's
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. A CASA report released
this month shows that almost 2 million women above the age of 59 are
addicted to alcohol and almost 3 million abuse or are addicted to
prescription drugs.

Worse yet, when physicians are presented with older female patients who
display classic symptoms of prescription drug or alcohol abuse, fewer than
1 percent of them properly diagnose the condition. Instead, they
misdiagnose the symptoms -- depression and prescribe even more drugs as the

When older drug-addicted women are fortunate enough to find doctors who
properly diagnose their conditions and refer them to substance abuse
counseling or treatment centers, one-fifth of those surveyed by CASA say
their health insurers refused to cover the cost of treatment.

As one who has often thought that our "war on drugs" is an overblown,
politicized effort that can never succeed at much except garnering
publicity for vote-hungiy politicians and spending money that might more
productively go for education and jobs, I am doubly dismayed by the
information in the CASA report. Clearly, a cocaine habit is a serious
problem that must be dealt with. But equally so is an addiction to martinis
or tranquilizers. And because the former tends to manifest itself in young
people and the latter in older women, we pay endless attention to the kids
and little if any to Grandma.

It's time to turn that around, as well as our attitudes toward what
constitutes drug abuse and who is most vulnerable to it. The CASA survey
reveals that the average woman over 59 is taking a combination of five
drugs. Doctors need to stop thinking of older women as pill boxes and start
looking at them as valuable human beings.

A good place to start is in medical school. Doctors surveyed by CASA
reported they spent one day or less being trained to understand, diagnose
and treat substance abuse. Medical schools need to make this a routine
component of any young physician's training.

Insurance companies need to change their exiguous attitude toward drug
rehabilitation programs and recognize the financial and emotional benefits
of treatment CASA's report shows without doubt that treatment programs are
a whole lot cheaper than the alternative.

It costs an average of $1,800 to put an older woman through a substance
abuse rehabilitation program. It costs almost $16,000 to treat her in a
hospital when she overdoses or comes close to death.

Finally, we all need to express to the grandmas and older women in our
lives bow much they matter to us. They are not just there to comfort us
when we are in need or to remember our birthdays. They're to be respected
for their love and wisdom and valued for their wealth of experience.

They're to be made to feel precious and important, not old and used up. If
we can just make them recognize their own self-worth, perhaps the need to
resort to drugs and alcohol to kill the pain of older age won't be quite so
pressing as it seems to be now.

Bonnie Erbe, host of the PBS program "To the Contrary," writes for Scripps
Howard News Service. Her E-mail address is 102404.3317@CompuServe.com

Inmates In Rehab Get No Promises From Province ('The Toronto Star'
Says The Ontario Government Wants To Pull Out Of An Agreement
With The Federal Government To Jointly Fund And Operate
The Northern Treatment Centre For Prisoners)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 10:46:25 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: TorStar: Inmates in rehab get no promises from province
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star
Pubdate: Tuesday, June 23, 1998
Website: http://www.thestar.ca
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.ca
Author: Tracey Tyler

Inmates in rehab get no promises from province

Government officials cancel meeting on treatment centre

By Tracey Tyler

Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The Ontario government can't promise federal offenders will receive help in
the province's ``superjails'' if a Sault Ste. Marie treatment centre closes.

A meeting between federal and provincial officials to discuss the future of
the Northern Treatment Centre was cancelled unexpectedly yesterday, leaving
many questions unanswered.

The 96-bed centre is funded jointly by Ottawa and Queen's Park and up to
half the patients have been federal offenders. An operating agreement calls
for financial penalties to be imposed on any party terminating the
operating agreement with less than two years notice.

Federal Solicitor-General Andy Scott has indicated Ontario wants to sever
the agreement and says he expects it to pay, but so far the provincial
government doesn't know how much it might cost to break the deal.

``We haven't yet got to that stage,'' Ross Virgo, a spokesperson for the
provincial corrections and solicitor-general's ministry, said yesterday.

Virgo said the question of whether the province will establish a new
treatment facility elsewhere in conjunction with the federal government is
still up in the air. ``That's not at all clear,'' he said.

The Northern Treatment Centre may lose its treatment function and be
converted into another use, possibly a city jail, as part of the province's
restructuring of its correctional system.

Virgo says treatment for offenders with anger, drug and sex abuse problems
will still be offered - in fact expanded - through facilities to be set up
in new superjails in Milton, Penetanguishene and Lindsay.

The Sault centre, however, has received high praise for its ability to
offer inmates intensive treatment in a setting removed from what's seen as
the destructive environment of a conventional jail.

All federal penitentiaries in Ontario offer treatment programs and will
continue to do so, a spokesperson for Scott said yesterday.

However, most are in the nature of therapy sessions that offenders attend
during the day, returning to their cells at night.

Drug Dabblers, But Hardly Hooked (A 'Sydney Morning Herald' Article
About 'Patterns Of Drug Use In Australia, 1985-1995,' Released Last Week
By The Federal Health Department, Notes Families And Friends For Drug Law
Reform Put Out A Statement Saying The Report Was Irresponsible
Because It Was Based On An Unreliably Small Sample)

Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 00:48:07 -0400
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Contact: letters@smh.com.au
Website: http://www.smh.com.au/
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 Author: David Dale



There's a strong link between being a smoker and being divorced, but it's
not clear which is cause and which is effect. The typical marijuana smoker
is a university graduate who is currently unemployed, but it's not clear
whether unemployment gives him the motive or just the time. And most people
who have tried heroin say they use the drug once a year or less.

These are some of the mysteries raised in a report called Patterns of Drug
Use in Australia, 1985-1995, which was released last week by the Federal
Health Department. The investigators - Toni Makkai, of the Institute of
Criminology in Canberra, and Ian McAllister, of the Research School of
Social Sciences at ANU - drew on data from five surveys taken between 1985
and 1995, with a total sample size of 15,000. The smoker. A woman is most
likely to smoke if she is single, aged 20 to 29, and in a manual
occupation. A man is most likely to smoke if he has a trade qualification
but is unemployed, was born in Australia, and has been divorced. Divorced
people are twice as likely to smoke as married people.

The typical smoker consumes 17 a day (compared with 18 in 1985). There
seems to be a big decline in smoking among teenagers - in 1985, 64 per cent
of 14- and 15-year-olds said they had tried cigarettes, compared with 36
per cent in 1995. The authors suggest this may result from restrictions on
shops selling small packets and on tobacco sponsorship of sport, which "may
have reduced the visibility and attractiveness of smoking to young people".

The drinker. Six per cent of men and 4 per cent of women are classified as
"harmful drinkers" (five or more drinks every day). The typical harmful
drinker is likely to be aged 40 to 59, with limited educational
qualifications, unemployed, Australian-born, and never married.

The pothead. About a third of Australians of all ages, and half of those
aged 14 to 29, say they have tried marijuana at some time in their lives.
About a third of those who use marijuana do so at least once a week. The
most likely marijuana user is an unemployed male with tertiary
qualifications, in his 20s, born in Australia, New Zealand or Britain.

The junkie. Nearly 2 per cent of Australians of all ages, and nearly 4 per
cent of people aged 14 to 29 say they have tried heroin at some time. The
person most likely to have tried heroin is a male in his 20s, Australian
born, with tertiary or trade qualifications but unemployed.

The authors comment: "The popular image of heroin is of a heavily addictive
drug which forces regular use on those who succumb to its effects. The
survey evidence portrays a different picture ... those who use (or used)
heroin frequently - once a week or more - is just under one in 10 of all
users. By far the largest group of users - 86 per cent - are those who said
that they used the drug less than once a year. While heroin is undoubtedly
addictive for a small group of users, the survey evidence suggests that
there is a much larger proportion of recreational users in the general

This comment has generated an angry reaction from a lobby group called
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform. It put out a statement saying the
report was irresponsible because it was based on an unreliably small
sample. The group's president, Brian McConnell, said: "The evidence is
everywhere that the problem of heroin and other hard drugs is increasing."



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