------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (Marijuana Poses Few Health Risks, New Zealand Health Ministry Says; States Certify More Medical Marijuana Initiatives For Fall Ballot; California Marijuana Arrests Soar Despite 215's Passage; Indian Tribe Approves Ordinance Supporting Hemp Cultivation; Three Recent Polls Reveal Overwhelmingly Support For Marijuana Reform) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 18:32:08 EDT Subject: NORML WPR 8/6/98 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org firstname.lastname@example.org August 6, 1998 *** Marijuana Poses Few Health Risks, New Zealand Health Ministry Says August 6, 1998, Wellington, New Zealand: Smoking marijuana poses few serious health risks, Health Ministry officials told a Parliament select committee last week. The ongoing hearings are in response to a report issued in April by a coalition of New Zealand scientists and health care professionals who support legalizing marijuana. "Overall, the current public health risks of cannabis use are small to moderate in size, and are less than the public health risk of tobacco or alcohol use," the Ministry said in a written statement. NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said the Health Ministry's position echoes those of other international health organizations. "Both the World Health Organization and the French medical institute INSERM concluded earlier this year that marijuana smoking causes less harm to public health than alcohol and cigarettes," he said. The Ministry also said that most New Zealanders only use the drug occasionally, and downplayed health dangers even among long-term heavy users. Dr. Nick Judson, deputy director of mental health, said that no more than two to three percent of the population were at serious risk from marijuana abuse. Dr. David Hadorn, director of the New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust, testified in favor of establishing a system to regulate marijuana consumption. "By driving cannabis use underground, we surely make the situation far worse than would be the case under a controlled, regulated system of cannabis distribution," he said. "Creating a flourishing black market for a widely used substance inevitably fosters criminal activity." Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Holyoake told the committee that he opposed marijuana legalization, but remained open to the possibility of decriminalization. He admitted that criminalizing the drug had not reduced marijuana use. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. Dr. David Hadorn of the New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust may be contacted via e-mail at: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz. *** States Certify More Medical Marijuana Initiatives For Fall Ballot August 6, 1998, Washington, DC: Voters in Washington state and Nevada will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana this fall, state officials affirmed last week. Voters in five states and the District of Columbia anticipate voting on this issue in November. Washington's Initiative 692 and the Nevada proposal seek to exempt seriously ill patients from state criminal marijuana penalties if they use marijuana under the supervision of their physician. State officials in Alaska and Oregon previously certified similar initiatives for the November 3 ballot. "These tightly worded proposals recognize that patients who use marijuana at the advice of their physician should not be victims of the 'war on drugs,'" NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. Nevada state guidelines mandate the initiative to win voter approval this November and again in November 2000 before it can become law. Petitioners qualified for the ballot after a recount determined that more than 70 signatures disqualified by county officials were actually valid signatures. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights @ (301) 394-2952. *** California Marijuana Arrests Soar Despite 215's Passage August 6, 1998, Sacramento, CA: California law enforcement arrested more citizens on marijuana charges in 1997 than in any year since 1985, newly released figures from the Bureau of Criminal Statistics revealed. The rising number of arrests one full year after voters legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes alarmed many activists who question whether police are continuing to punish patients despite the new law. "The government has spent more money trying to persecute medical marijuana patients than trying to implement Prop. 215," charged California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer. "Not only has Attorney General Dan Lungren ignored Prop. 215's mandate to establish a plan for 'safe and affordable distribution' of medical marijuana, he is wasting taxpayers' money prosecuting those who do." Law enforcement arrested 57,667 Californians on marijuana charges in 1997, the data showed. Seizures of cultivated marijuana also rose to near-record levels in 1997, law enforcement statistics indicated. "These arrest figures fly in the face of prohibitionist claims that the passage of Proposition 215 'legalized' marijuana for recreational use," NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. "Police continue to arrest marijuana smokers in California -- many of whom are valid medical patients -- at a record pace despite the protections allotted by the new law." For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858. *** Indian Tribe Approves Ordinance Supporting Hemp Cultivation August 6, 1998, Pine Ridge, S.D.: Council members of the Oglala Sioux Indian Tribe approved legislation recognizing hemp as a "safe and profitable" crop. The ordinance amends the Tribal Penal Code to legally distinguish between hemp and marijuana, and opens the door for legal cultivation of the low-THC strain of the plant. The passage of this ordinance "sets the stage for land-based economic development on the reservation and probably a legal challenge by the tribe in federal court," said ordinance spokesman Joe American Horse. At least one other Indian tribe, the Navajo Nation, has passed legislation supporting hemp cultivation on sovereign land. For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or attorney Tanya Kangas of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. Tom Cook of the Slim Butte Land-Use Association may be contacted @ (308) 432-2290. *** Three Recent Polls Reveal Overwhelmingly Support For Marijuana Reform August 6, 1998, Washington, DC: Three recent polls conducted by the BBC, Time Magazine, and the Internet news journal IntellectualCapital.com demonstrate overwhelming public support for marijuana reform. Ninety-six percent of respondents to a July 28 BBC telephone poll answered that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes. The two American polls examined the broader issue of reforming criminal penalties against marijuana and other illicit drugs. Over 90 percent of respondents to the Time Magazine survey answered that the government should legalize marijuana and other "recreational" drugs for adults only. More than 80 percent of respondents to the IntellectualCapital.com poll said that legalizing marijuana and other drugs would be their "next step ... in America's 'war on drugs.'" Allen St. Pierre, executive director of The NORML Foundation, said that the polls' outcomes were not surprising. "These results demonstrate that a significant portion of the public strongly disapprove of arresting and jailing marijuana smokers, and approve of the medical use of marijuana under the supervision of a licensed physician," he said. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Law Could Cost State $1 Million (The Eugene, Oregon 'Register Guard' Says The Official Estimate Released Wednesday Of The Cost Of Recriminalizing Marijuana, If Oregon Voters Approve Ballot Measure 57 In November, Has More Than Doubled Since The Legislature And Governor Approved The Bill Last Year - The Lawmakers' Absurdly Low Estimate Of $586,000 Per Year Has Been Increased By $638,000 Due To A Loss In Revenue From The Way Fines Are Currently Levied For Marijuana Possession) Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 00:28:42 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US OR: Marijuana Law Could Cost State $1 Million Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: William Conde Pubdate: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 Source: Register Guard (OR) Section: Front Page Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.registerguard.com Author: HARRY ESTEVE MARIJUANA LAW COULD COST STATE $1 MILLION If Oregon voters want to get tough on people caught with small amounts of marijuana, it could cost the state more than $1 million annually in lost revenues and added expenses, according to an official estimate released Wednesday. The amount startled a chief supporter of Ballot Measure 57, which makes it a Class C misdemeanor - instead of a simple violation - to possess less than an ounce of marijuana. But she said the higher figure wouldn't alter her support. "You've given me some information I didn't have previously," state Sen. Eileen Qutub, R-Beaverton, said after hearing about the new fiscal impact statement on the measure. "But I do think it's worth it because it sends a message to young people that (using pot) is not a good thing." Foes of marijuana recriminalization said the money would be better spent on prevention and addiction treatment programs. The estimated price tag is higher than most state lawmakers thought it would be because they didn't understand all of the implications of recriminalization, said state Rep. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, an outspoken opponent of the proposed law. "The Legislature, in their zest to look tough on crime, they lost the big picture," Prozanski said. The 1997 Legislature passed a law that upped the penalties for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, and Gov. John Kitzhaber signed it. But opponents of recriminalization gathered enough signatures to refer the bill to the state's voters in November. By law, the state must estimate how much any given ballot measure will cost if approved. According to the fiscal impact statement, the state would have to spend an additional $586,000 per year to cover the cost of increased law enforcement, court-appointed attorneys to defend people arrested under the new law, court operations and jury payments. That cost was largely anticipated. What came as a surprise was a second estimate of a $638,000 annual loss of state revenues because of a quirk in the way fines are levied for marijuana possession. Under the current law, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is considered a "violation," not a crime, and treated much like a traffic violation. But the fines are much stiffer. The minimum fine for pot possession is $500. If Measure 57 passes, police and district attorneys will have the choice of prosecuting the offense as a misdemeanor, which carries with it the threat of jail time, or as a violation. However, because the old marijuana possession law would be repealed, the $500 minimum fine no longer would be valid. Instead, if the case was prosecuted as a violation, it would be subject to a maximum fine of $250. Police and prosecutors testified at legislative hearings that they expect fully 40 percent of prosecutions under the proposed law to be handled as violations rather than misdemeanors. "It's kind of a Catch-22," Prozanski said. Prosecutors said they would go for the lesser sanction as a way to save on court costs, he said, "but what they didn't realize is that, in doing so, they're setting up a loss of 50 percent of the revenue" they would get from fines. Although the $1.2 million annual price tag is small compared with the potential budget impacts of some other measures on the Nov. 3 ballot, it could give opponents ammunition as they try to persuade voters to let the current law stand. "That's a higher cost than what the general understanding was among legislators," said Rep. Lane Shetterly, R-Dallas. But, Shetterly said, it's up to the voters to decide whether the state would get its money's worth. "It's important to ask not only if voters want it (recriminalization), but also if they're willing to pay for it," Shetterly said. Copyright (c) 1998 The Register-Guard
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Dismisses Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit ('The Associated Press' Says US District Judge Malcolm F. Marsh Has Dismissed The Lawsuit Filed By Oregon Union Trust Funds Against Tobacco Companies, Ruling That Individual Union Smokers Could Sue Tobacco Companies To Recoup The Cost Of Treating Smoking-Related Injuries, But The Union Could Not) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Judge dismisses multimillion-dollar lawsuit The Associated Press 8/6/98 3:30 AM PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Oregon union trust funds against tobacco companies. In a decision revealed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Malcolm F. Marsh ruled that individual union smokers could sue tobacco companies to recoup the cost of treating smoking-related injuries but that union trust funds could not. "The lawsuit details an allegedly sordid history of irresponsible corporate management and unchecked greed on the part of the tobacco industry," Marsh wrote. "However compelling these charges may be, there are very sound judicial policy reasons for limiting legal actions to those parties most directly injured by the harmful conduct." Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is one of about 40 state attorneys general who have sued tobacco companies in an attempt to recoup state medical costs for treating smoking-related injuries. Marsh said states are different from unions "given the state's unique role relative to the protection of its citizens." Steve Larson, an attorney representing the union trust funds, did not return a call seeking comment. John W. Phillips, a Seattle lawyer for Philip Morris Inc., said there were 40 to 60 union trust fund lawsuits against tobacco companies throughout the country. There have been eight decisions -- four dismissals, including Marsh's, and four other decisions largely favorable to tobacco companies. But tobacco companies have agreed to pay billions of dollars in settlements with four states that filed lawsuits -- Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Mississippi. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- County Jail Beds Won't Be Enough Without A Shift (A Staff Editorial In The Vancouver, Washington 'Columbian' Notes Clark County Jail Beds Are Currently Costing Taxpayers $55,000 Each To Build, Even Before The Costs Of Filling And Maintaining Them Are Counted) The Columbian 701 W. Eighth St. Vancouver WA 98666 Tel. (360) 694-2312 Or (360) 699-6000, Ext. 1560, to leave a recorded opinion >From Portland: (503) 224-0654 Fax: (360) 699-6033 E-mail: email@example.com Web: http://www.columbian.com/ In Our View: Thursday, Aug. 6, 1998 County jail beds won't be enough without a shift By 2-1 vote this week, the Board of Clark County Commissioners acceded to Sheriff Garry Lucas' assertion that he needs twice as many beds in a minimum security jail the county aims to build a couple of years from now between Vancouver Lake and the Columbia River. Actually, the sheriff insists he never said that 100 beds in the lakeside lockup would be enough. He does say now that he needs space for 200 rather than 100 people who don't have to be kept behind steel bars and thick walls of reinforced contract but should be caged away from the rest of us. Commissioners Judy Stanton and Betty Sue Morris went along. They felt under pressure to do so because the present jail behind the County Courthouse is packed dangerously full even though some people characterized as dangerous are being released. Boosting the planned capacity of a facility that cannot open until 2000 won't do a thing to relieve the present jail jam. Indeed, the increase might have the psychological effect of encouraging the system to put more people in and keep them in longer. At root is the supposition that locking up a certain percentage of the population makes things better for those who happen not to be locked up. The judges and police and prosecutors who keep that faith do so with apparent public support. Sympathy for the men and women bad enough, unlucky enough and poor enough to end up packed away in the jail is not a majority view these days. So long as that view prevails, there will not ever be enough jail beds in Clark County. Already at the planning stage is a 400-bed jail-work facility, probably also down in the Vancouver Lake wetlands near the garbage-packing plant. By the time that could possibly get done, maybe 2005 or 2006, the population of the county could have doubled again. At the present expectation for percentage of population to be locked up, total jail space would still be short by 500 or 600 cots. Can we afford it? The minimum security facility approved this week will hold 200 and cost at least $11 million. That's $55,000 for every cot before the first guard punches a time clock or the first baloney sandwich is slapped together. -- D. Michael Heywood, for the editorial board
------------------------------------------------------------------- A New Chavez Judge (The Long Beach, California, "Press-Telegram' Notes Judge Frank F. Fasel Has Replaced Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald In The Case Of Medical Marijuana Defendant Marvin Chavez, Co-Founder Of The Orange County Patient-Doctor-Nurse Support Group) Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 18:43:10 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: A New Chavez Judge Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Pubdate: Thurs, 6 Aug 1998 Source: Press-Telegram (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ptconnect.com/ Author: Joe Segura, Staff Writer A NEW CHAVEZ JUDGE Switch: Vacation plans bring another jurist to marijuana activist case. Santa Ana -- A new judge was assigned Wednesday to the drug-sales trial of medical marijuana activist Marvin Chavez, giving his attorneys another shot at bringing in Prop. 215 as a defense. Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald, who had scheduled a three-week vacation starting this weekend, had the Chavez case assigned to Judge Frank F. Fasel, who said he was willing to revisit the Prop. 215 issue on Aug. 14. Last week, Fitzgerald sided with the prosecution that Prop. 215 -- known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 -- should be banned from the trial because the medicinal marijuana measure does not allow for the sale of the substance. Chavez was arrested in April after allegedly selling marijuana to an undercover officer posing as a care-giver for a terminally ill uncle. He is facing eight felony drug-sale charges, and he was in court Wednesday for a possible plea bargain deal when the shift in judges occurred. Fasel's decision pleased both pro bono defense attorneys, Robert Kennedy of Long Beach and Jon Alexander of Orange County. "This gives us a second chance," Kennedy said. The defense attorneys believe that Chavez will be convicted of the felonies, unless they're allowed to show the jury that his activities were basically in the spirit of Prop. 215. Chavez is the co-founder of the Orange County Patient-Doctor-Nurse Support Group that he says is designed to be a clearinghouse for the seriously ill who use marijuana medicinally. The organization -- established after the passage of Prop. 215 legalized the medicinal use of marijuana in the state -- has about 200 members, people who reportedly have presented a doctor's recommendation for marijuana use. Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust, head of the Narcotics Enforcement Team, seized the group's medical records. After Wednesday's brief hearing in Fasel's courtroom, Armbrust said he plans to examine them to determine if doctors are involved in the cases -- and if they examined the patients before making the recommendation for marijuana use. Armbrust said that undercover officers determined that Chavez was not taking steps to assure that doctors were involved in all medicinal marijuana cases. However, he said he had no plans to file additional charges in the Chavez case. "I'm not looking at going against any doctor," he said. "And I'm not looking at going against any patient." However, numerous members of the Patient-Doctor-Nurse Support Group have sought the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, seeking protection from possible arrest and prosecution, said cannabis club member Mira Ingram of Garden Grove.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Future Of Proposition 215 (A Staff Editorial In 'The Orange County Register' Notes Recent Hopeful Developments In The Trial Of Marvin Chavez, The Medical Marijuana Patient And Director Of The Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse Support Group, And Says However The Chavez Case Turns Out, It Is Time For Orange County To Establish The 'Safe And Affordable' Distribution System That Proposition 215 Mandated) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: "MN" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: MN: US: CA Editorial: The Future Of Prop. 215 Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 17:54:25 -0500 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Pubdate: Thurs, 6 August 1998 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ EDITORIAL: THE FUTURE OF PROP. 215 It was another day of surprises Wednesday in the case of Marvin Chavez, with developments that could change the nature of the debate over implementation of California's medical marijuana initiative. Mr. Chavez is director of the Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse Support Group, which is trying to find a way to supply marijuana to patients in pain in a legal fashion, as authorized by California voters when they passed Proposition 215 in November 1996. Law enforcement officials see the situation differently and, in Mr. Chavez's case, have charged him with 10 counts of selling marijuana illegally. Mr. Chavez decided on Wednesday not to take the plea-bargain deal offered him even though it was considered generous. He declined largely because he didn't want to plead guilty to a felony he didn't think he had committed. Then, in another surprise, the case was transferred to another judge. The new jurist, Judge Frank F. Fasel, agreed to consider briefs and hear arguments as to whether the defense may bring up Prop. 215 during the trial. This is significant because the prior judge, Robert Fitzgerald, had decided not to allow Prop. 215 arguments. Judge Fasel's reconsideration on the matter doesn't mean he will decide to allow such a defense, which would be favorable to Mr. Chavez in particular and the cause of Prop. 215 supporters in general, but the situation has changed markedly. Attorneys for Mr. Chavez and Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust will present arguments to Judge Fasel on August 14, after which he will rule on whether Prop. 215-related arguments and witnesses can be used by the defense. The trial is scheduled to begin August 24. In addition, Mr. Armbrust returned the Support Group's medical records, which Judge Robert Fitzgerald had ruled the district attorney's office could have, to Mr. Chavez. Mr. Armbrust confirmed to us that his interest was simple: an undercover police officer had persuaded Mr. Chavez to give him some marijuana based on a false doctor's recommendation, and he wanted to find out if that had happened in other cases. He says he has no interest in investigating doctors or patients who have complied with the law. These developments raise the possibility that Mr. Chavez's case could result in clearer guidelines both for police and for would-be caregivers when it comes to getting marijuana to which patients have a right to it by some means other than the black market. Even if Mr. Chavez is eventually found guilty of selling marijuana, his case could offer guidance on how to set up a legal and above-board distribution system in the future. That would be more likely, of course, if Prop. 215 is allowed to be discussed during the trial so the issues involved - some of them are ticklish and the wording of the initiative can be subject to different interpretations - can be aired openly and intelligently. The best course would be for some city government or for the county government to pass an ordinance making it clear what kinds of distribution will be allowed and what won't, with appropriate safeguards to reduce the likelihood that marijuana used by bona fide patients for medical purposes will not strengthen or be diverted into the illegal black market. Oakland passed a law legitimizing the local cannabis club and set out guidelines for them as has the Northern California city of Arcata. Admittedly, Oakland's decision to declare workers at the medical-marijuana co-op to be de jure city employees to shield them from federal and state prosecution might not be a precedent every city would want to follow. San Francisco, San Jose and a few other cities are wrestling with the issue. However the Chavez case turns out - we plan to follow it closely - it is time for an Orange County jurisdiction to step up to the responsibility the state has so far avoided, and set up or authorize the "safe and affordable" distribution system that Prop. 215 mandated.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Co-Op Founder Opts To Take A Gutsy Step ('Orange County Register' Columnist Gordon Dillow Says Marvin Chavez, The Medical Marijuana Patient And Director Of The Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse Support Group, Is Taking A Courageous Step By Not Copping A Plea) Column: Co-op founder opts to take a gutsy step From: (FilmMakerZ@aol.com) Save Address Block Sender Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 14:59:21 EDT Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Pubdate: Thurs, 6 August 1998 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Gordon Dillow Column: Co-op founder opts to take a gutsy step No matter where you stand on the issue of medical marijuana, you have to give Marvin Chavez this much: The guy's got guts. Chavez, 42, of Santa Ana, is the founder of the county's first medical marijuana co-op. Chavez says he has only provided pot to sick people to ease their pain, not to make money. And he firmly believes that Proposition 215, the medical-marijuana initiative, allows him to do that - just as it allows him to use marijuana himself to treat a degenerative spinal condition. But the District Attorney's Office says Chavez is a marijuana dealer, and that while Prop. 215 allows sick people to use marijuana, it doesn't allow guys like Chavez to provide it. So now Chavez has been charged with 10 felony counts for giving marijuana to some sick people - and to some undercover agents who claimed they were sick people - in return for donations to his medical-marijuana group. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges - which could land him in prison for 15 years - and demanded a jury trial. And that's where the guts come in. Every year the DA's Office files thousands of felony cases - about 14,000 last year alone. But every year only about four or five hundred cases actually go to trial. The vast majority of the rest end with the defendant pleading guilty in return for a reduced sentence. In Orange County it's usually judges, not the DA's Office, who make those deals. And of course, the defendant can always refuse the deal and go to trial. But everybody knows that if you go to trial and are convicted, you're almost certainly going to get hammered with a much tougher sentence than if you had pleaded guilty before the trial began. You aren't really supposed to be punished for demanding your right to a jury trial. But if there was no advantage to copping a plea, every year thousands - not just hundreds - of defendants would go to trial and hope for an acquittal. That would cost Orange County taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and you and I would be getting summoned for jury duty about every other week. Anyway, that's what happened to Chavez. In an effort to dispose of the case, this week a judge offered Chavez a deal that would put him on probation and limit his jail sentence to the time he's already served. No prison time. It was a very sweet deal, especially since the judge had ruled that Chavez couldn't use Prop. 215 as a defense in his trial - which probably would turn the trial into a slam-dunk victory for the prosecution. But Chavez won't do it. "I won't take the deal," Chavez, a frail-looking man who wears a chest and back brace, said as he stood outside the courtroom Wednesday. "I have to stand up for what's right." Later he told the judge the same thing. Chavez's jury trial is now set for Aug. 24. All of which leaves Chavez's lawyer, Jon Alexander, shaking his head. "You don't get any better offer than time served," he said. The lawyer's probably right. Taking the deal would have been the smart move. But Chavez would rather stand up for his principles, even if that ends up with him getting hammered right into prison. And whether you agree with those principles or not, you gotta admit that that takes guts.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Best-Selling Author Peter McWilliams Is Victim Of Efforts To Discredit Medical Marijuana, Libertarians Say (A Press Release From The Libertarian Party About The California Cancer And AIDS Patient And Medical Marijuana User Incarcerated By The Federal Government) Date: Fri, 07 Aug 98 16:51:54 PDT From: email@example.com Subject: Release: Peter McWilliams Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Libertarian Party announcements) -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 *** For release: August 6, 1998 *** For additional information: George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222 Internet: 76214.3676@CompuServe.com *** Best-selling author Peter McWilliams is victim of efforts to discredit medical marijuana, Libertarians say WASHINGTON, DC -- The arrest of medical marijuana activist Peter McWilliams proves that the federal government is "fanatically determined to wage its War on Drugs -- even if it means putting sick and dying people in jail," the Libertarian Party charged today. "Peter McWilliams is the latest victim of the federal government's campaign to arrest and discredit advocates of medical marijuana," said Ron Crickenberger, the party's national director. "For the government's Drug Warriors, compassion is a crime, and propaganda is more important than the truth about the benefits of medical marijuana." McWilliams, a #1 bestselling author and Libertarian Party member, was one of nine people charged in California on July 23 with conspiracy to grow marijuana plants, which McWilliams said he planned to distribute to sick people under the state's medical marijuana law. The indictment alleged that marijuana was grown at four locations in Los Angeles County, and that McWilliams had provided the funds for the operation. Prosecutors claim that McWilliams tried to sell some of the marijuana to the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club, which has been distributing medical marijuana since 1996. But McWilliams vehemently denied the accusations, and released a letter from prison saying, "I have never sold a drug in my life. . . . I am a vocal and occasionally effective proponent of medical marijuana -- and that is why I am in jail." McWilliams entered a formal plea of not guilty, but remains in federal custody as he tries to raise a $250,000 bond. If convicted, he faces a 10-year jail sentence. At a July 31 hearing in federal court in Los Angeles, McWilliams' attorneys accused the prison of withholding lifesaving medication from the author, who is suffering from AIDS and cancer, and asked that he be released for health reasons. The judge denied the request, and also rejected a defense motion to reduce his bond. McWilliams -- whose book, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, criticizes "consensual crime" laws as immoral, destructive, and a waste of law enforcement resources -- is a long-time, high-profile advocate of the benefits of medical marijuana. Just 19 days before his arrest, McWilliams blasted the federal government's vendetta against medical marijuana at the Libertarian National Convention. In a speech broadcast nationwide on C-SPAN, he said, "Marijuana is the finest anti-nausea medication known to science, and our leaders have lied about this consistently. Medical marijuana is the most hideous example of government interference in the private lives of individuals. It's an outrage within an outrage within an outrage." Seven months before that, his home was raided by DEA agents, who seized his computer and a book-in-progress about medical marijuana, A Question of Compassion: An AIDS Cancer Patient Explores Medical Marijuana. His plight was subsequently detailed on the John Stossel television special, "Sex, Drugs, and Consenting Adults." Previously, McWilliams had taken out an advertisement in Variety, the trade publication of the entertainment industry, attacking the federal government's war on medical marijuana patients. McWilliams' passion on the medical marijuana issue comes, in part, from his own life: Suffering from both cancer and AIDS, he uses the drug to combat the nausea caused by his life-saving medical treatments. "Tragically, McWilliams already suffers from two potentially fatal diseases. Now he suffers from a cruel government that arrested him for trying to save his own life, and the lives of other sick people," said Crickenberger. "Given McWilliams' courageous opposition to the federal government's efforts to attack, imprison, and discredit anyone who suggests that there are genuine medical benefits to marijuana, it's not surprising that he's been singled out for prosecution." Medical marijuana is legal in California, thanks to Proposition 215, which voters passed in November 1996. The law decriminalized marijuana when used to treat medical conditions, but was immediately attacked by the Clinton Administration, which threatened to prosecute doctors who prescribe the drug, and to arrest medical marijuana users. Despite Clinton's actions, marijuana has a long history as a treatment for a variety of ailments, according to Dr. Lester Grinspoon, author of Marihuanna, the Forbidden Medicine (Yale University Press, 1997). It has been used to cure the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, weight-loss syndrome from AIDS, chronic pain, depression, glaucoma, and muscle spasms. The drug was the subject of more than 100 papers published in medical journals between 1840 and 1900, and was recommended as an appetite stimulant, analgesic, muscle relaxant, sedative, and as a treatment for migraine headaches. In 1937, when marijuana was effectively outlawed, the American Medical Association opposed the ban. As recently as 1988, the DEA's administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, described marijuana as "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." Despite this, the DEA continued to list marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no accepted medical use and is unsafe even under medical supervision. Efforts by doctors to clinically prove the medical benefits of marijuana have been stymied by the federal government. In 1994, for example, researchers at the University of California (San Francisco) tried to conduct a privately funded study comparing smoked marijuana to oral synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, the DEA prevented the researchers from legally obtaining the marijuana needed for the study. Ironically, since the 1970s, the federal government has furnished medical marijuana -- grown at a government pot farm in Mississippi -- for victims of multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and other ailments, at taxpayer expense. Peter McWilliams, 48, is the owner of Prelude Press and a multi-million-copy-selling author who has written on subjects as wide-ranging as curing depression, emotional loss, victimless crimes, meditation, and computers. Among his best-known titles are How to Survive the Loss of a Love (which sold over two million copies); The Personal Computer Book; DO IT! Let's Get Off Our Buts (with co-author John-Roger), a #1 New York Times bestseller; and Portraits (a book of photographs). McWilliams is probably best known to Libertarians for Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, a scathing attack on the foolishness of arresting people for "consensual crimes." First published in 1993, it was called "highly readable and entertaining" by Hugh Downs of ABC News. * * * FOR FURTHER INFORMATION To hear Peter McWilliams' speech to the Libertarian National Convention, go to: http://aennet.com/libertarian/mcwilliams.htm For updates on Peter McWilliams' imprisonment, check: http://www.marijuanamagazine.com/jail/ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 iQCVAwUBNcuRY9CSe1KnQG7RAQHpsgQAlX/Q/bb1mAd1zJdmXtyT30FW/N74ya9R VaVv/0UkC8z3apLT/a6Pbc50U3Q1TyY5HQwC6P1O3rX8+cWDgh/wevgqaS0FF9DF W9EJmYf5sPWczT3qlXXPPRbpeQBFz2WU48r3um0lXjbD2+/NBoslQ+jfxtCmMfGN a14qr0pkD+8= =Y7po -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- The Libertarian Party 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 Washington DC 20037 http://www.lp.org/ voice: 202-333-0008 fax: 202-333-0072 For subscription changes, please mail to email@example.com with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the subject line -- or use the WWW form.
------------------------------------------------------------------- PWA Lingers In LA Jail Without Medication For Days ('The San Francisco Bay Times' Notes The US Government Is Killing Peter McWilliams, The Medical Marijuana Defendant And Person With AIDS) Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 01:59:28 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: PWA Lingers In L.A. Jail Without Medication For Days Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: FilmMakerZ@aol.com Source: San Francisco Bay Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 525 Bryant St., San Francisco CA 94107 Pubdate: Thurs, 6 August 1998 Author: Ann Rostow PWA LINGERS IN L.A. JAIL WITHOUT MEDICATION FOR DAYS On July 30, the ACLU of Southern California sent a "strongly worded" letter to U.S. Attorney Nora Manella, demanding that she compel the Federal Detention Center in Los Angeles to provide AIDS medicine to inmate Peter McWilliams. McWilliams, a best-selling author and a proponent of medical marijuana who has both AIDS and cancer, has been in jail since July 23 for paying the rent on a piece of property where police allege marijuana plants are being raised for sale. McWilliams takes medication six times a day, a cocktail regime of protease inhibitors which -- as everyone but his jailers seem to know -- must be followed without fail to avoid developing resistance to treatment. The following day at a bail hearing, ACLU lawyer Taylor Flynn told the Bay Times that the issue was raised and the "judge was outraged," ordering the medicines to be resumed at once. As of Aug. 3, Flynn said she understands that McWilliams is getting some, but not all, of his drugs. "I'm waiting to get a detailed list of what medications he has and has not received so that I can call up the prosecutors to make sure he is getting the correct medications and there's no more dallying around with this." Flynn calls the situation appalling. "It's tantamount to a death sentence. It's unconscionable for anyone, but this is someone who hasn't been convicted of a crime."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mayor - 'I'm Not Anti-Prison, I'm Not Anti-Growth' ('The Bakersfield Californian' Says California City Already Has One Prison, And The Nashville-Based Corrections Corporation Of America Is Building Another, Private Prison To Open Next Summer With Up To 3,000 Inmates, While The State Still Plans To Build A 4,500-Bed Prison Within City Limits - In A Letter To The Planning Commission, Mayor Larry Adams Said He Thought The City Council Should Reconsider Approving More Private Prisons Because Of The Likely Strain They Pose To The City's Infrastructure) Date: Sun, 09 Aug 1998 19:52:31 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US CA: Mayor: "I'm Not Anti-Prison, I'm Not Anti-Growth" Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 Source: Bakersfield Californian Section: Local Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.bakersfield.com Author: Debby Badillo Californian Correspondent MAYOR: "I'M NOT ANTI-PRISON, I'M NOT ANTI-GROWTH" CALIFORNIA CITY -- Hot on the heels of intense scrutiny by residents about Mayor Larry Adams' letter to the Planning Commission last week came this disclaimer Tuesday night, "I'm not anti-prison, I'm not anti-growth." The mayor made that comment during discussion of an informal report from Economic Development Corp. President Jack Stewart to the City Council about the state budget's effect on prison-building and the issues facing the city as it contemplates approving more prison sites, including a state prison and one or two small, private prisons. Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America is already building its private prison on Virginia Boulevard, slated to open next summer and house up to 3,000 inmates. Stewart said the state still plans to build a 4,500-bed prison within city limits, but the prison hasn't been funded. According to Stewart the state also plans prisons for Delano, San Diego and Needles. Those also don't have funding yet, he said. In his letter to the Planning Commission, Mayor Adams said he thought the City Council should reconsider approving the private prisons because of the likely strain they pose to the city's infrastructure, especially the sewer system. Planning Commissioner Paul Condon agreed and presented a lengthy memo detailing his similar concerns. Tuesday's discussion brought out a few lone voices to speak against the city's efforts to bring at least one more prison here. Until now the overwhelming majority of residents, city officials and business owners have voiced nothing but anticipation for the economic development expected to follow prison construction. The city is already smacking its lips at the thought of new jobs, a resurrected real estate market, a supermarket, more retail stores, maybe even a fast-food place. But at what price do we want these things, asked a few opponents of more prisons. "One prison is enough," said resident Al Guidet. "Otherwise, build a brick fence around the city and change the name from California City to Correctional City." Councilman Harry Bailey, who has campaigned vigorously for a state prison, was inclined to agree. "I've made about 12 trips to Sacramento, begging for help to bring a state prison here. But I didn't go up there to make this a prison city. One is enough." California City began its bid to become a state prison site in 1989. The private prison is being built next to the site that would likely be used for a state prison. Stewart said about 300 acres of Bureau of Land Management land is under negotiation to be used by the state. In defense of community correctional facilities, Management & Training Corp - Marketing Director Mike Murphy said his company's small prison would be designed to work as a supplement to the state's prison system. "We can offer the minimum security beds that are in short supply, and we provide a rehabilitation program," said Murphy. He said his company has already spent $30,000 on environmental reports for a site on Neuralia Boulevard, and the company plans to proceed with its bid to the state once the state releases its request for proposals, which won't happen until the state budget is approved. "Now's the time for the city to determine where it's going and how to get there," said Stewart. "We have to figure out what is real and what is fantasy."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Initiative Qualifies (A Staff Editorial In 'The Las Vegas Review-Journal' Applauds Nevada Secretary Of State Dean Heller For Painstakingly Following The Law In Certifying The Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Sponsored By Americans For Medical Rights) Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 13:15:37 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: US NV: OPED: Initiative Qualifies Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 702-383-4676 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Pubdate: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 INITIATIVE QUALIFIES And Mr. Heller makes sure it gets done right. After months of petition-passing in 13 of Nevada's 17 counties, activists seeking to place a medical marijuana question on Nevada's November ballot were told they had fallen short by just 43 signatures, in Nye and Lyon counties. Representatives of Americans for Medical Rights appealed to Secretary of State Dean Heller, asking for a review of hundreds of signatures which had been disallowed due to illegibility, or for lack of addresses or dates, or because it was unclear the signers had been registered voters at the time they signed. Some signatures, the petitioners argued, had even gone uncounted through a simple mathematical error. Mr. Heller dug in. A mathematical error was indeed discovered, and 30 signatures resultantly added to the count in Nye County. Then, the secretary cited a 1994 ruling which called for county officials to credit another 400 signatures which were missing dates or addresses, so long as they could be determined to be those of legitimate, registered voters. In Lyon County, a slim 25 signatures, previously rejected, were validated upon instructions from Mr. Heller, bringing that county's total to 1,000 -- 18 more than legally required. In Nye County, as it turned out, petition-passers had exceeded their required quota -- by a mere 15. The proposal that patients suffering cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and other ills shall be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes upon the advice of a physician will now be on Nevada's November ballot. Because an amendment to the Nevada Constitution is proposed, however, voters would also have to approve the initiative a second time, in the year 2000, for it to become law. Said Mr. Heller: "In this entire process, from its inception to its conclusion, two principles stand without question: The first is the right to petition. The second is that the end result be valid." It requires no pre-judgment of the merits of the proposal to make sure the citizens are guaranteed their say. And it is certainly in everyone's interest that careful attention be paid to the legal requirements at each step in the process -- so neither side can cry "foul" at a later date, after vast resources have been spent on a public debate. From all appearances, Mr. Heller has done the job for which he was elected, and done it with considerable diligence. Now, as he says, "Let the debate begin."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Republicans Quash Drug Testing For House Members ('The Orange County Register' Version Of Yesterday's News About Congress Avoiding The Urine Tests It Foisted On The Rest Of The Country) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: "MN" (email@example.com) Subject: MN: US: WA: Republicans Quash Drug Testing For House Members Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 19:48:28 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Pubdate: 8-6-98 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ REPUBLICANS QUASH DRUG TESTING FOR HOUSE MEMBERS Republican leaders have apparently quashed, at least for now, a plan by two GOP lawmakers to require drug testing of House members and their staffs. "We have a few well-placed people who don't want this," Rep. Joe Barton of Texas said Wednesday. Barton, co-sponsor of the proposal with Rep.Gerald Solomon of New York, said the chairman of the House Republican Conference, Rep.John Boehner of Ohio, is refusing to allow the drug plan to be brought up for discussion. Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas told reporters earlier there isn't time in the House schedule to take up the matter before the August recess, which begins Friday.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dutch Take Issue Again With US Drugs Adviser ('Reuters' Says The Dutch Health Ministry On Thursday Rejected A Number Of Wild Claims Made Wednesday By The US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, Such As That The Netherlands' Prison's Were Bursting At The Seams As A Result Of Its Liberal Drugs Policy) From: GDaurer@AOL.COM Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 10:25:34 EDT To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: Dutch take issue again with U.S. drugs adviser Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Dutch take issue again with U.S. drugs adviser By Janet McBride AMSTERDAM, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The Dutch health ministry on Thursday rejected claims by U.S. drugs policy adviser General Barry McCaffrey that the nation's prison's were bursting at the seams as a direct result of its liberal drugs policy. Speaking to Reuters in Los Angeles on Wednesday, McCaffrey said Dutch tolerance of soft drugs like marijuana had contributed to an explosion in the jail population and a sharp rise in the number of drug users. ``The Dutch have consistently followed a harm-reduction policy ... In their country, drug-abuse rates among their youngsters have gone way up under this policy and their prison population has gone way up,'' McCaffrey said. The United States preventative approach, in contrast, was a roaring success, according to the White House adviser. ``Our model has resulted in lowering the rates of drug abuse in America by 50 percent. Cocaine use is down by 70 percent; drug-related murders are down by a third; the armed forces are drug-free,'' he said. At the Dutch health ministry, McCaffrey's latest set of statistics were greeted with as much disbelief as his extravagant claim last month that the Dutch murder rate dwarfed the murder rate in the United States. The Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics produced figures then that put the Dutch murder rate at less than a quarter of the U.S. level. On Thursday, the health ministry produced another set of data to contradict Vietnam war veteran McCaffrey. According to the Dutch figures, hastily produced by a health ministry spokesman, there are roughly 160 heroin addicts for every 100,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands. In the United States, by comparison, there are around 430 addicts per 100,000 people, the spokesman said. Prison statistics tell a similar story. According to Dutch figures, 73 people out of every 100,000 are serving a jail sentence in the Netherlands, far below the 645 recorded for the U.S. Cannabis consumption among 18-year-olds is also much lower in the Netherlands, according to the health ministry. ``We know Mr McCaffrey's views. We know he is against our coffee shops. We know he is against our heroin programme,'' the spokesman said, referring to two of the most controversial aspects of Dutch drugs policy. So-called coffee shops peddle marijuana with impunity in the Netherlands, with U.S. tourists among the most regular clients. A pilot scheme to supply heroin to addicts judged incapable of kicking their habit has also raised eyebrows in the United States. The Dutch say the aim of the programme is not to wean addicts off drugs, but to improve their health and cut crime. McCaffrey visited the Netherlands last month as part of a European fact- finding tour, and described his trip as ``useful.'' ``Before he came he called our policy a total disaster. By the time he had left he had scaled it down to a small disaster,'' the spokesman said. An unbowed McCaffrey said on Wednesday: ``There was a huge uproar over murder rates and crime stats, and was I right or wrong?... For an American to suggest that their crime rates were higher than the U.S. absolutely blew their mind. *** [ed. note - For a man of McCaffrey's stature to continue to make false statements in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are wrong does tend to "blow one's mind," but not as much as the continued silence of most of the media when confronted with what amounts to a clear and convincing case of violating the public trust and irresponsible, immoral behavior.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Facts From The Dutch Embassy (Statistics Posted At The Dutch Embassy Web Site Refuting Assertions Made By That Ugly American, General Barry McCaffrey) Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 17:07:10 EDT Errors-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Facts from the Dutch Embassy Forwarded from the firstname.lastname@example.org list: Source: the Dutch Embassy web site August 6, 1998 http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/drug-inf.htm Press, Public and Cultural Affairs DRUG POLICY AND CRIME STATISTICS Recent accounts in the U.S. press about the Netherlands drug policy have included incorrect and misleading statistics about drug use and drug-related crimes in the Netherlands. What follows is a short list of facts and comparisons to refute those accounts, and sources are given to permit and encourage third party verification of facts. Last month use of cannabis (marijuana) by high school seniors: 18.1% in the Netherlands (1996); 23.7% in the U.S. (1997). (Sources: The Trimbos Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) Any lifetime use (prevalence) of cannabis by older teens (1994): 30% in the Netherlands; 38% in the U.S. (Sources: Center for Drug Research, University of Amsterdam; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) Recent (last month) use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 15% in the Netherlands; 16% in the U.S.; 24% in the U.K. (Sources: Trimbos Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Council of Europe, ESPAD Report) Any lifetime use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 29% in the Netherlands; 34% in the U.S.; 41% in the U.K. (Sources: Netherlands Institute of Health and Addiction, U.S. National Institute for Drug Abuse; Council of Europe, ESPAD Report) Heroine addicts as a percentage of population (in 1995): 160 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 430 per 100,000 in the U.S. (Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) Murder rate as a percentage of population (in 1996): 1.8 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 8.22 in the U.S. (Sources: Netherlands Bureau of Statistics; White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) Incarceration rate as a percentage of population (1997): 73 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 645 per 100,000 in the U.S. (Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Justice; White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy) Crime-related deaths as a percentage of population: 1.2 per 100,000 in the Netherlands (1994); 8.2 per 100,000 in the U.S. (1995). (Sources: World Health Organization; Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation) Per capita spending on drug-related law enforcement: $27 per capita in the Netherlands; $81 per capita in the U.S. (Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Justice; White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy) More Dutch Data Results of public health policy There were 2.4 drug-related deaths per million inhabitants in the Netherlands in 1995. In France this figure was 9.5, in Germany 20, in Sweden 23.5 and in Spain 27.1. According to the 1995 report of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon, the Dutch figures are the lowest in Europe. The Dutch AIDS prevention-program was equally successful. Europe-wide, an average of 39.2% of AIDS victims are intravenous drug-users. In the Netherlands, this percentage is as low as 10.5%. The number of addicts in the Netherlands has been stable at 25,000 for many years. Expressed as a percentage of the population, this number is approximately the same as in Germany, Sweden and Belgium. There are very few young heroin addicts in the Netherlands, largely thanks to the policy of separating the users markets for hard and soft drugs. The average age of heroin addicts is now 36. In most EU countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, the use of cannabis has increased in the past few years. A similar trend is, unfortunately, discernible with regard to synthetic drugs. Evidently, international youth culture has more influence on the use of these substances than government policies. International cooperation is therefore vital in tackling this problem. *** Forwarded by: Richard Lake Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest email: rlake@MAPinc.org http://www.DrugSense.org/drugnews/ For subscription information see: http://www.MAPinc.org/lists/ Quick sign up for DrugNews-Digest, Focus Alerts or Newsletter: http://www.DrugSense.org/hurry.htm *** The FACTS are at: http://www.drugsense.org/factbook/ *** "DRUG CRAZY: How We Got Into This Mess and How We can Get Out," is a gripping and dramatic review of the drug war over the last 100 years. It is being published by Random House. From the opening scene, a shoot out between police and drug gangs in Chicago, the book draws you in with human stories, amazing revelations and the whole sordid history of the drug war. More at: http://www.drugsense.org/crazy.htm ......................................... We also sponsor an interactive chat room for activists. Point your web browser to: http://www.legalize-usa.org/ And join the discussion. This is a new location which also supports IRC chat programs. The chat starts at about 9:00 p.m on Saturday and Sunday night Eastern time. Folks drop in and leave as their time allows over about a three hour period.
------------------------------------------------------------------- AIDS Patient Fights For Legalized Pot - Immunity From Arrest, Reliable Supply Sought ('The Toronto Star' Covers Wednesday's Proceedings In The Constitutional Challenge Of James Wakeford) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 18:23:21 EDT To: email@example.com Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: Canada Rising Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: CUTLERMJ@aol.com Subject: Canada Rising Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 14:40:46 EDT The Toronto Star Thursday, August 6, 1998 firstname.lastname@example.org AIDS patient fights for legalized pot Immunity from arrest, reliable supply sought By Wendy Darroch Toronto Star Staff Reporter The Canadian government discriminates against AIDS patients by denying them easy, legal access to marijuana, a court has been told. James Wakeford, 53, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1989 and had full-blown AIDS by 1993, is seeking an order exempting him from arrest on marijuana charges. He battled chronic fatigue, extreme diarrhea, weight loss, insomnia, night sweats, loss of appetite, herpes and dehydration with massive amounts of anti-viral medication. But the medication left him with constant nausea and a loss of weight known as wasting, so he turned to marijuana, an Ontario Court, general division, judge was told yesterday. Wakeford found marijuana gave him an appetite and eased the nausea. Alan Young, a professor at Osgoode Hall who is representing Wakeford, urged Mr. Justice Harry LaForme to grant an order exempting Wakeford and his caregivers from arrest and prosecution on marijuana charges. He also asked that the federal government be ordered to immediately establish a program that would provide clean, inexpensive marijuana so people such as Wakeford, who is dying, won't have to go to the black market and possibly get contaminated pot. He argued that his client, a co-founder of the Ontario Association of the Children's Mental Health Centres, was having his Charter rights violated. Marijuana, like many other drugs, is a controlled drug. People who are ill can be prescribed controlled drugs, but marijuana is not one of them. This is discrimination, Young argued. Although there is a way to get an exemption, Young said ``the red tape is so massive it mummifies. You can't breathe through it.'' Court was told it is theoretically possible to get access to medicinal marijuana through a Health Canada program. But the applicant must specify a legal, licensed manufacturer for the drug, and there isn't a manufacturer in the world that would satisfy Health Canada's criteria, Young said. Crown lawyer Chris Amerasinghe said Wakeford's facts do not fit the legal test in order to get a constitutional exemption. The onus is on him to prove his life, liberty and security are at risk. ``Without marijuana will his life be in danger?'' he asked. Young said marijuana won't save, but ease, Wakeford's life. His liberty is at risk because he is subject to arrest and prosecution if he uses it illegally. The case continues.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Patient Fights For Medical Marijuana ('The London Free Press' Version In 'The Toronto Sun') Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 13:19:00 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Patient Fights For Medical Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/ Pubdate: Thursday, August 6, 1998 Author: Sam Pazanno, Sun Media Newspapers PATIENT FIGHTS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA TORONTO -- A Toronto AIDS patient and activist fought in court yesterday for his right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. James Wakeford, 53, also asked Mr. Justice Harry LaForme to order Ottawa to establish a program to supply uncontaminated marijuana for AIDS patients. Wakeford's lawyer, Alan Young, argued that marijuana "lifts the spirits and for a terminal patient, that isn't a bad thing." "I'm not a pothead. I only smoke before dinner," Young quoted Wakeford as saying. Wakeford, creator of Casey House Foundation, was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1989 and has had AIDS since 1993. He smoked marijuana to combat the "unbearable nausea" and weight and appetite loss triggered by anti-AIDS medication, said Young. "The greatest danger to Mr. Wakeford (last month) was starvation," Young quoted Wakeford's doctor, John Goodhew, as saying. Wakeford credited his increased appetite and weight gain to pot smoking. Many prominent Canadians and Americans praised marijuana for reducing nausea caused by cancer treatments. The list of endorsers included Toronto lawyer Tim Danson (who has quit smoking since beating cancer in 1981), best-selling author Peter McWilliams and Harvard geology professor Stephen J. Gould. "The politicians just wish I'd die and go away," Wakeford said in an interview. "I'm doing this for AIDS patients who live on fixed incomes and cannot afford the relief." Government lawyer Chris Amerasinghe argued that Wakeford's application should be dismissed since he stopped taking AIDS medications in May. "His evidence is that he feels wonderful (and) no longer suffers nausea," said Amerasinghe. The hearing continues today. Copyright (c) 1998 The London Free Press
------------------------------------------------------------------- Potheads Take Tories To Court ('The Toronto Sun' Says The Reverend Brother Michael Baldasaro, The Leader Of A Church That Holds Pot As Its High Sacrament, And Reverend Brother Walter Tucker Have Applied For A Judicial Review By The Federal Court Of The Tories' $30,000 Deposit Requirement For All Leadership Candidates) Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 13:20:23 -0400 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Canada: Potheads Take Tories To Court Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/ Pubdate: Thursday, August 6, 1998 Author: DAVID GAMBLE, OTTAWA BUREAU POTHEADS TAKE TORIES TO COURT OTTAWA -- Two pot-puffing "churchmen" are going to court after their bid for the Tory leadership went up in smoke. Rev. Brother Michael Baldasaro, the leader of a church that holds pot as its high sacrament, said he and Rev. Brother Walter Tucker have applied for a judicial review by the Federal Court of the Tories' $30,000 deposit requirement for all leadership candidates. "The (leadership selection) process, it's undemocratic and it's unfair," Baldasaro said yesterday. The men have received a "donation" from former Tory leadership candidate John Long to cover costs. Baldasaro, who lives on a disability pension resulting from a head injury, said the main plank of his platform is the legalization of marijuana and the cancellation of all pot-related criminal charges. Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Tests Won't Improve Safety Of TTC (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Toronto Star' Says The Toronto Transit Commission Was Correct To Reject Mandatory Urine Testing For New Employees - Because Metabolites Of Marijuana Stay In The Body For Up To A Month, Drug Tests Typically Focus Attention On Relatively Harmless Marijuana Use) Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 19:12:23 -0400 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: PUB LtE: Drug tests won't improve safety of TTC Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star Pubdate: Thursday, August 6, 1998 Page : A21 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: email@example.com Author: Dave Haans Note: This letter was sent in response to http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n572.a07.html Drug tests won't improve safety of TTC Re TTC rejects drug testing its drivers (July 16). There are strong reasons for not having widespread drug testing programs. For starters, drug tests don't test for impairment, which is really the issue here. Also, since metabolites of marijuana stay in the body for up to a month, drug tests typically focus attention on relatively harmless marijuana use, while harder drug use, including heavy drinking on the weekend, resulting in an impairing hangover, can easily go undetected. Finally, the drug test supporters make the serious mistake of assuming that drug testing is a cure-all for public safety concerns. Since the proposed drug testing can't possibly tell who will be safe and who will not once the job is offered, it is simply a waste of time and money, and yes, an infringement on personal and democratic rights. Dave Haans Toronto
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colombian Rebels Blast Anti-Drug Base (A 'Reuters' Article In 'The International Herald Tribune' Says The Revolutionary Armed Forces Of Colombia And The National Liberation Army Carried Out More Than 40 Coordinated Attacks In Over Half Of Colombia's 32 Provinces This Week - About 50 Policemen And Soldiers Were Wounded And More Than 100 Might Have Been Killed Or Taken Prisoner In Just One Assault On The Base In The Town Of Miraflores, Where Rebels Possibly Thought US DEA Agents Were Holed Up) Date: Sat, 08 Aug 1998 09:57:48 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mattalk@Islandnet.com, email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Conspiracy Theory The International Herald Tribune Aug 6 COLOMBIAN REBELS BLAST ANTI-DRUG BASE Reuters BOGOTA --- A 500-strong rebel force killed at least 30 security officers in a raid on an anti-drug base in southeast Colombia, taking the death toll in a nationwide guerrilla offensive to more than 100, the police reported Wednesday. About 50 policemen and soldiers were wounded, and military sources said that more than 100 might have been killed or taken prisoner in the assault on the base in the town of Miraflores. The raid this week was the worst of more than 40 coordinated attacks in more than half of Colombia's 32 provinces. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, Latin America's oldest and largest rebel groups, appear to have timed the strikes as a show of strength before President-elect Andres Pastrana takes office Friday. An unofficial military source said he believed a group of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents had been in Miraflores, but a spokesman at another anti-drug base in the provincial capital of San Jose denied the report. "All the U.S. personnel are safe here in San Jose," he said. "There were none in Miraflores." *** Well, how nice! How convenient for the Drugstapo! The "rebels" were enticed, perhaps, to believe they could capture some hi-ranking DEA, (as rumors had it that the U.S. ambassador had told Saddam the U.S. wouldn't interfere in "border disputes" and so encouraged him to invade Kuwait, setting up Desert Storm); if Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay I'm afraid I could easily be sucked in to believing that the U.S. is setting up the situation which will justify an invasion of Colombia. peter
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Nothing Left' Of Police Base In Colombia ('The Miami Herald' Version) Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 10:23:32 -0700 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Colombia: `Nothing Left' of Police Base in Colombia Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ginger Warbis (WebMistress@Fornits.com) Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.herald.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 Author: Tim Johnson - Herald Staff Writer 'NOTHING LEFT' OF POLICE BASE IN COLOMBIA BOGOTA, Colombia -- The faint voice crackled over the two-way radio: ``The base has been destroyed. There is nothing left. The police have been taken away as hostages, and the soldiers, too.'' The voice of Luis Rodriguez, a resident of Miraflores, related a tale of catastrophe in a jungle village that hosts Colombia's largest police anti-narcotics base. Little, if anything, remains of the base at Miraflores, which bore the brunt of a nationwide rebel offensive that began Monday night, U.S. and Colombian authorities said. At last tally, the guerrilla onslaught had cost the lives of 64 police, soldiers and civilians. More than 100 other police and army troops may have been taken captive or killed, officials said. Stunned politicians urged Colombians not to give up hope that President-elect Andres Pastrana may still begin peace talks with guerrillas after he comes to office Friday. But the offensive underscored that any talks may occur amid the heat of battle. The destruction and high death toll from this week's offensive made it one of the most brutal ever waged by Colombia's guerrillas since they took up arms in 1964. Rebel attacks continued well into Wednesday. Guerrillas swarmed into Silvia, a mountain town in southern Cauca state, peppering a police station with gunfire, and placed a car bomb in front of an army training school in Bogota. The bomb was deactivated. In Medellin, a man tossed a grenade in a crowded street, killing one person and wounding 11 others. In Uribe, 95 miles south of Bogota, a town official, Ernesto Rodriguez, said 46 people had been killed during the rebel offensive. Most eyes were on Miraflores, though, a speck in the vast savannas of eastern Guaviare state, a region thick with insurgents and coca plantations that feed Colombia's drug trade. On Tuesday, all contact was lost with a joint police-army base, which normally houses 150 to 200 anti-narcotics agents and soldiers. About 500 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the nation's largest insurgency, overran the base in a prolonged attack with rockets, mortars and high-caliber weapons. Up to 200 police and army personnel in Miraflores ``are missing and presumed dead or captured,'' said a U.S. government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``Colombian government efforts to reinforce and counterattack the beleaguered base were hampered by poor weather.'' Uncertainty A police spokesman, who also requested anonymity, said authorities are still unsure of what happened, and whether there are any survivors. ``There are two hypotheses: One is that the agents are hiding in the jungle. The second is that no one is left alive,'' he said. Miraflores, 275 miles southeast of Bogota, is a hub for U.S.-financed fumigation planes dropping herbicide on coca fields. The village is accessible only by air. A dirt strip serves as a runway, surrounded by crude wooden homes. About 4,000 to 8,000 people live in and around Miraflores. Witness accounts Limited news from Miraflores arrived via ham radio conversations with two local residents. Contacted by the Radionet station, Luis Rodriguez said he was speaking from a building across the street from the base. ``The base was taken over and destroyed. We no longer have any soldiers or any policemen,'' he said. What happened to the police on the base, he was asked. ``The few who were left [alive] were taken away,'' came the answer. The guerrillas took them? ``Yes, sir. Yes, sir.'' How many were taken away? ``We don't know.'' `A lot of bombs' Rodriguez said ``a lot of bombs'' exploded during the two days of fighting, and that ``terrified'' residents were still huddling in their homes. ``There's not a single soldier in the town, nor any police. They took them all away. We don't know how many people are dead and how many alive,'' he said. Then came a plaintive request: ``We need help from the Red Cross and the government. We are all scared and don't know what will happen.'' A second Miraflores resident, who identified himself only as ``Mr. Guavita,'' spoke by two-way radio with the Caracol radio network. ``Some houses were hit three or four times by rocket blasts and people are dead,'' he said. ``My son's house was destroyed. Exhaustion at hospital ``We need help because I think they are exhausted at the hospital,'' he added. ``The hospital personnel have been working more than 24 hours.'' A U.S. official said no U.S. civilians or Drug Enforcement Administration agents were believed to be at the base when it was attacked, contrary to a report on Colombian television Tuesday night. ``The weather was terrible yesterday. Planes flew over but they couldn't land. It's too dangerous to land. . . . The strip is full of guerrillas,'' said the Rev. Belarmino Correa, bishop in San Jose de Guaviare, the state capital. Correa said FARC rebels have been spreading the word for three months that they would attack any settlement in Guaviare state that housed a military base. ``This takeover was completely foretold,'' he said. The offensive prompted some Colombian peace supporters to suggest that greater violence always precedes the onset of negotiations. ``What has happened is terrible,'' said Sabas Pretelt, head of the country's Federation of Shop Owners and member of a national peace commission. ``But we Colombians must insist on a peace process. While we are in the darkest part of the night, we should have hopes for the dawn.'' Awakening Bogota Others suggested that the offensive may awaken residents of Bogota, the capital of six million people, to the violence wracking the countryside. ``One has to understand, first, that we are at war, an atrocious war, and that just because it hasn't touched Bogota yet doesn't mean we aren't at war,'' said Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal, governor of Valle del Norte state where Cali, the nation's second-largest city, is located. Copyright 1998 The Miami Herald
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rebel Offensive Leaves 130 Dead In Colombia (A Different 'Reuters' Account In 'The San Francisco Chronicle') Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 14:55:57 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Colombia: Rebel Offensive Leaves 130 Dead in Colombia Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Page: A14 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Author: Reuters REBEL OFFENSIVE LEAVES 130 DEAD IN COLOMBIA Bogota -- A wave of leftist rebel attacks has killed more than 130 people in Colombia since Monday, in what apparently is intended to be a show of strength before President elect Andres Pastrana takes office tomorrow. Pastrana has said that ending Colombia's internal conflicts will be his top initial priority. The country's two main guerrilla groups, the oldest and largest in Latin America, unleashed a coordinated offensive starting Monday night, and fighting was still raging in some areas yesterday. The offensive caught the army and police off guard. It is believed to be the worst outbreak of political violence in outgoing President Ernesto Samper's four-year term. In this week's fighting across the country, at least 106 members of the security forces, 15 insurgents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), and nine civilians have died in more than 40 attacks, military and civilian authorities said. One of the bloodiest incidents was in the town of Miraflores in southeast Guaviare province. A 500-member rebel force killed at least 30 police and soldiers in a raid on an anti-drug base, police said. Residents told local media that the guerrillas pounded the base with rockets and mortar bombs for more than 24 hours, leaving just a smoldering ruin. More than 100 security force members are reported missing at Miraflores, and military sources fear they may have been killed or taken prisoner. Elsewhere, the army reported intense fighting near the town of La Uribe, in eastern Meta province, close to a traditional FARC stronghold in the foothills of the Andes mountains. La Uribe Mayor Nestor Rodriguez said 38 soldiers and eight FARC fighters were killed. The municipality is one of five - which cover a total area about twice the size of El Salvador - that Pastrana has agreed to demilitarize in order to make way for peace talks with the FARC during his first 90 days in office. Both rebel groups have said they are prepared to negotiate an end to the uprising. But in the light of their latest offensive, military leaders have questioned the rebels' real desire for peace.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drug Base Destroyed By Colombia Rebels (The Knight Ridder Newspapers Version In 'The Orange County Register') Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:25:52 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Subject: MN: Colombia: Anti-Drug Base Destroyed By Colombia Rebels Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 6 Aug 1998 Author: Tim Johnson-Knight Ridder Newspapers ANTI-DRUG BASE DESTROYED BY COLOMBIA REBELS Offensive: A strong push by guerrillas leaves nothing left of the nation's largest facility fighting the cocaine trade. Bogota, Colombia - The faint voice crackled over the two-way radio:The base has been destroyed. There is nothing left.The police have been taken away as hostages,and the soldiers,too." The voice of Luis Rodriquez, a resident of Miraflores, related a tale of catastrophe in a jungle village that hosts Colombia's largest police anti-narcotics base. Little, if anything, remains of the base at Miraflores, which bore the brunt of a nationwide rebel offensive that began Monday night, U.S. and Colombian authorities said. At last tally, the guerrilla onslaught had cost the lives of 64 police, soldiers and civilians. More than 100 other police and army troops may have been taken captive or killed, officials said. Stunned politicians urged Colombians not to give up hope that President-elect Andres Pastrana may still begin peace talks with guerrillas after he comes to office Friday. But the offensive underscored that any talks may occur amid the heat of battle. The destruction and high death toll from this week's offensive made it one of the most brutal ever waged by Colomia's guerrillas since they took up arms in 1964. Rebel attacks continued well into Wednesday, hitting the towns of Silvia, Medellin and Uribe and including a car bomb outside an army training school in Bogota itself. In Uribe, 95 miles south of the capital, a town official, Ernesto Rodriguez, said 46 people had been killed during the rebel offensive. Most eyes were on Miraflores, though, a speck in the vast savannas of eastern Guaviare state, a region thick with insurgents and coca plantations that feed Colombia's drug trade. On Tuesday, all contact was lost with a joint police-army base, which normally houses 150 to 200 anti-narcotics agents and soldiers. About 500 guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the nation's largest insurgency, overran the base in a prolonged attack with rockets, mortars and high-caliber weapons. Miraflores, 275 miles southeast of Bogota, is a hub for U.S.financed fumigation planes dropping herbicide on coca fields. The village is accessible only by air. A dirt strip serves as a runway, surrounded by crude wooden homes. About 4,000 to 8,000 people live in and around Miraflores. A U.S. official said no U.S. civilians or Drug Enforcement Administration agents were believed to be at the base when it was attacked. "What has happened is terrible," said Sabas Pretelt, head of the country's Federation of Shop Owners and member of a national peace commission. "But we Colombians must insist on a peace process. While we are in the darkest part of the night, we should have hopes for the dawn." Others suggested that the offensive may awaken residents of Bogota, the capital of 6 million people, to the violence.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police 'Open-Minded' On Cannabis Law Change ('The New Zealand Herald' Version Of Yesterday's News About Assistant Commissioner Of Police Ian Holyoake's Comments To Parliament) Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 09:21:21 +1000 (EST) From: email@example.com (Andrew Duffy) Subject: New Zealand: Police 'Open-Minded' On Cannabis Law Change To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Pot News - Hemp SA's On-line News Service Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Pubdate: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 Source: NZ Herald (New Zealand) Contact 1: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact 2: email@example.com Author: Tony Wall POLICE 'OPEN-MINDED' ON CANNABIS LAW CHANGE The police admit traditional tactics for dealing with cannabis have not worked and are "open-minded" about decriminalisation of the drug. Assistant Commissioner Ian Holyoake yesterday told a parliamentary select committee investigating the mental health effects of cannabis that police opposed full legalisation, but decriminalisation warranted further investigation. The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws welcomed Mr Hoyloake's comments and called on police to immediately adopt a new approach to cannabis control. "Our ideal scenario would be that they stop arresting cannabis users right now," said a spokesman for the group, Chris Fowlie. "Even without changing the law police could say, 'We are going to maker personal use of [cannabis] a low priority." Mr Fowlie said the Assistant Commissioner's comments were a public acknowledgement of the failure of the traditional approach to cannabis control. "this is the most profound piece of common sense they have said in the past 30 years." Mr Holyoake signalled that police were ready to support instant fines for cannabis use, to take away the stigma of criminal charges. A police spokeswoman, Kaye Calder, said last night that police continued to oppose legalisation of cannabis. "That would purvey a message to people that cannabis is a safe drug and we believe it isn't. "But we do acknowledge that the traditional crime control response to cannabis use hasn't reduced significantly the number of cannabis users, to strategies must comprise a health component as well as law enforcement and education." She said that although police were open-minded on the issue of decriminalisation, "we would be concerned if that was the only response to what we see as a very complex social behavioural problem." Police would continue to support drug resistance education programmes for youth. Mr Holyoake told the select committee that if cannabis use was fully legalised, criminals would deal in some other substance. Police put about $20 million of an $800 million budget into policing related to cannabis offences. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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