Portland NORML News - Sunday, August 23, 1998

From Around The County (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Orange County Register' Sees A Double Standard Of Justice
In The Fact That An Undercover Prohibition Agent Posing As A Cancer Patient
Can Legally Arrest Marvin Chavez Of The Orange County Patient, Doctor, Nurse
Support Group, While The Same Tactic Used By The FBI To Snag
Corrupt Politicians Taking Bribes Was Ruled Illegal In The Aftermath

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:31:20 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: CA: PUB LTE: From Around The County
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/


Let me see if I have this straight. An undercover narcotics officer posing
as a cancer patient can legally arrest Marvin Chavez after the people of
California voted for Proposition 215,the medical marijuana initiative. The
same tactic used by the FBI to snag corrupt politicians taking bribes,
however, was ruled illegal in the aftermath of ABSCAM. I guess it's OK to
arrest a cancer patient looking for some pain relief but not OK to arrest
corrupt politicians falling all over each other to grab illegal money.
Sadly, it seems, the rule of law is dead and the monarchy lives.

Mike Villano-Aliso Viejo

Gravely Ill Cancer Patient Prosecuted For Growing Pot
('The Arizona Daily Star' Notes San Bernardino County, California,
Is Refusing To Comply With Proposition 215 In Prosecuting Timothy Weltz,
An Elevator Installer And Former Navy Medical Corpsman In Rancho Cucamonga,

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 17:39:52 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Gravely Ill Cancer Patient Prosecuted For Growing Pot
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: Sun, 23 Aug 1998
Source: Arizona Daily Star
Contact: letters@azstarnet.com
Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/
Author: Riverside Press-Enterprise


RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - A cancer patient who may have only six months to
live faces charges of growing marijuana. He and his doctor say his use was
strictly medicinal.

Timothy Weltz, 38, whose cancer is attacking his lymphatic system, is
scheduled to face felony charges Tuesday in San Bernardino County Superior

His case may be the area's first legitimate use of Proposition 215, the
so-called Compassionate Use Act of 1996, as a defense for cultivating and
smoking marijuana for medical purposes.

An elevator installer and former Navy medical corpsman, Weltz appears
fatigued and underweight. His swollen lymph glands are the size of
baseballs, and his cancer has invaded his spine.

Sheriff's deputies came to his door around 4 a.m. June 23 in response to a
domestic disturbance complaint sparked by an argument with his ex-wife, who
was visiting, he said. The officers noticed he had more than 20 marijuana
plants growing in his yard and confiscated them.

Although deputies handcuffed Weltz, he was not arrested or cited. Last
month, however, he received a summons from the District Attorney's Office
to appear in court this Tuesday.

Weltz vows to plead innocent to the charge of cultivating marijuana.

``I won't accept this,'' he said. ``I would rather take my chances with
serious jail time than make a deal for probation. . . . I'm fighting for my
life here.''

Assistant District Attorney Dan Lough said Weltz could produce no evidence
of his illness or his doctor's endorsement for using marijuana.

Proposition 215 is specific, said Matt Ross, spokesman for California
Attorney General Dan Lungren. Doctors can recommend that seriously ill
patients grow and use the plant. Or a primary caregiver can provide
marijuana for the patient.

Linda D. Bosserman, a Rancho Cucamonga cancer specialist, wrote that Weltz
has used ``inhaled THC'' from privately grown plants and found it effective
in controlling his severe nausea, vomiting and anxiety caused by his

One Last Gasp - Oakland Tries A New Medicinal Marijuana Strategy
(A Staff Editorial In 'The Sacramento Bee' Says Oakland's Designation
Of Staff At The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative As Officers Of The City,
In Accordance With The 1970 Controlled Substances Act, Is Likely
To Be Nullified By Courts Or Congress)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 11:33:58 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: One Last Gasp: Oakland Tries A New Medicinal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 23 Aug 1998


Proposition 215, the seriously flawed medicinal marijuana initiative
approved by voters in 1996, is down to one last legal thread in Oakland.
The initiative attempted to amend state law to let seriously ill patients
smoke marijuana and their "primary caregivers" furnish them with the
otherwise illegal substance.

But courts have ruled, and rightly so, that dispensaries known as buyers'
clubs don't qualify as caregivers and therefore can't provide the pot. And
federal law continues to unambiguously prohibit sale or possession,
regardless of health. Yet the 56 percent of the electorate who voted for
Proposition 215 wish for some way for the seriously ill, after medical
examination and concurrence, to obtain marijuana. Their best bet, albeit a
long shot, is with Oakland.

The Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative and city officials seek to exploit
an apparent loophole in the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. That
act provides legal immunity for any "officer" who is enforcing ordinances
relating to controlled substances. This has allowed undercover officers to
buy and sell drugs as part of an investigation. Oakland sees the law as a
way to declare the principals of the city's cannabis club as "officers" of
the city, so that they may legally dispense medicinal marijuana.

Club attorneys are seeking in federal court to dismiss efforts to close
down their club based on the city's attempt at granting them legal
immunity. The city and club, if nothing else, are clever. Yet this strategy
likely will go up in smoke in either one of two fashions -- either before
the courts or before an anti-drug Congress that would quickly close any
loophole if one is found to exist.

Despite its flaws, Proposition 215 has achieved some good.
Government-funded research on medicinal marijuana, research that otherwise
would never have happened, is now under way. And Oakland's cannabis
strategy, although likely to be brief, will help determine if a
government-sanctioned dispensary can act any more responsibly than San
Francisco cannabis clubs, which used to operate more as pot parties than as
the caregivers voters intended.

Oakland Tenants Fight Feds' Policy ('The San Francisco Examiner'
Recounts The Legal Victory Against The Federal Government's
'One Strike You're Out' Public Housing Policy Obtained By Herman Walker,
A Retired Minister In Oakland, California, Whom The Government Tried To Evict
Because A Caretaker Was Busted For Crack Cocaine Possession)
Link to earlier story
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 22:59:38 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US CA: Oakland Tenants Fight Feds' Policy Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World) Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: letters@examiner.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 Author: Emelyn Cruz Lat of the EXAMINER STAFF OAKLAND TENANTS FIGHT FEDS' POLICY OAKLAND -- Herman Walker is in the eye of the storm swirling around public housing. A former minister, he is 75, partially paralyzed in his left arm, and suffers from severe arthritis. He lives alone in public housing for seniors on Harrison Street. To continue living independently, he hired a caretaker to help him bathe, dress and cook. The helper sometimes invited friends to Walker's apartment. Occasionally, Housing Authority lawyers said in court documents, they smoked crack cocaine. The housing staff warned Walker. But he says he didn't believe them because he had never seen his caretaker or her friends use drugs. Last year, his helper was arrested for drug possession. The same day, Herman Walker's building manager told him to move out. "I was shocked," Walker said. "I asked what for?" When Walker learned he could be evicted for his helper's crime, he fired the woman and vowed to carefully watch future caretakers. But it was too late, the building manager said. Walker recalls the manager telling him, "We'll file suit and you won't stand a chance. We win 98 percent of our cases." Perhaps, but Walker's case may be the one that changes the way the federal government's "One Strike, You're Out" eviction policy is enforced. In March, the Eviction Defense Center filed suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Walker and three other tenants who were being evicted for crimes by others. Though dozens of lawsuits have been filed in state courts around the country, this case is significant because it may be the first time a federal judge has moved to block an eviction under one-strike. A final ruling or jury verdict in the case could alter enforcement of the policy in Northern California and perhaps nationwide. That's why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has appealed the judge's preliminary order barring evictions of Walker and others until their cases are resolved. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has indicated in preliminary rulings that he thinks it may be unconstitutional to evict people from public housing for crimes they knew nothing about. In June, Breyer issued an order barring the Housing Authority from ousting the four tenants until the lawsuit is resolved. "The Court concludes that Congress has not addressed the question of whether a housing authority may terminate the lease of an "innocent' tenant," Breyer wrote. "Defendants insist that by its silence Congress specifically intended that no knowledge or ability to control is required" for evictions. Breyer hinted that he doesn't agree with the defense. "Such reasoning leads to the conclusion that Congress specifically intended that if a tenant invites a guest into her apartment and the guest engaged in drug-related criminal activity five years earlier on the other side of the country, the drug-related activity . . . could be cause for termination, regardless of whether the tenant had knowledge," Breyer wrote. "The court doubts that Congress specifically intended that a tenant could be terminated under such unreasonable circumstances." In preparing this case, lawyer Anne Tamiko Omura and her colleagues listened to taped congressional hearings and read Senate records, but found no direct reference to the one-strike law being used against unwitting tenants whose guests commit a crime. "It was very clear that congressional intent was to evict those who had personal knowledge of illegal activity," she said. Walker, who says he has done nothing wrong and feels he is being persecuted, says the Housing Authority discounted his side of the story. "There's always two sides to everything," he said. "To them, there's only one." Willie Lee, 71, and Barbara Hill, 63, also are being evicted because their grandsons were cited for possessing marijuana in a parking lot near their apartments. Pearlie Rucker, 63, is being evicted because her mentally disabled daughter was arrested for public intoxication three blocks from her Oakland apartment and because Rucker's grown son -- who didn't live with her -- was arrested for allegedly possessing cocaine eight blocks away. The Eviction Defense Center has added Du Nguyen, 61, as a plaintiff. Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee whose son was arrested for alleged car theft about 8 miles from Nguyen's Oakland public apartment, is disabled and speaks little English. In every case, the tenants said they didn't know the younger people were committing crimes or using drugs or alcohol. "It's not right," said Walker, whose sunny one-bedroom apartment is filled with family photos, posters and cascading water plants. "I'm being punished for someone else's crime." Oakland Housing Authority lawyer Gary Lafayette said the agency likely would appeal a final order barring one-strike evictions of unwitting tenants whose guests or relatives commit crimes. "This is not an easy issue," Lafayette said. "On the surface, people look at this case and say, "You can't do that.' But what about the single mom who raises her kids and doesn't want them exposed to drugs? To guns? Shouldn't they be protected?" 1998 San Francisco Examiner

Pot Propositions On State Ballots (A Background Piece
In 'The Chicago Sun-Times' About The Medical Marijuana Initiatives
Facing Voters In November In Arizona, Nevada And Washington State)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 17:36:32 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IL OPED: Pot Propositions On State Ballots
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: Sun, 23 Aug 1998
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Contact: letters@suntimes.com
Website: http://www.suntimes.com/
Author: Gary Wisby Staff Reporter
Editors Note: Medical Marijuana is on the ballot in Alaska and Oregon also.


Getting high used to be the only reason to smoke marijuana. But for years,
people also have been going to pot for medical reasons, and there are
efforts at the state level to make the practice legal.

That's already the case in one state--California, of course, where voters
approved a so-called medical marijuana proposal in 1996. Similar measures
are on the November ballot in Arizona, Nevada and Washington state. A
proposal in Colorado was shot down for lack of petition signatures, but
advocates say they likely will sue to get it back on the fall ballot.

Marijuana long has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. In an
episode of ``Chicago Hope'' last season, a doctor sneaked some joints to a
patient with the blessing of most of his colleagues. But cannabis is far
from being accepted by the medical establishment.

AMA group's view

The American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs observes,
``The concept of burning and inhaling the combustion products of a dried
plant product containing dozens of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals as a
therapeutic agent represents a significant departure from the standard drug
approval process.''

Other opponents argue there is no scientific evidence that smoking
marijuana is of any greater benefit to patients with AIDS, multiple
sclerosis, glaucoma or cancer than what is now done to treat them, relieve
their suffering or lessen side effects of their treatment.

While cannabis curbs the nausea of some chemotherapy patients, opponents
say, leading cancer institutions don't recommend it because of its limited
effectiveness, unpredictability and the irritating effects of the many
noxious chemical compounds it contains. Besides, marijuana can cause
dependency--some say addiction--and memory impairment.

And San Francisco pot activist Dennis Peron probably does his cause more
harm than good by declaring that ``all use is medical.''

What it's good for

But less-extreme advocates point to marijuana's ability to relieve pain
when nothing else seems to work, curb internal eye pressure for glaucoma
patients and whet the appetites of people with AIDS.

New research suggests that pot may reduce stroke damage and protect against
Alzheimer's disease. Indications are it could be used someday to help
people withdraw from hard drugs and to treat epileptic seizures, asthma and
movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets smokers high, is one of 60
cannabinoids that can affect receptors in the brain. In addition, the
plant's essential oils have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and
anti-inflammatory properties. And marijuana seems to be remarkably safe: A
deadly dose is 40,000 times the amount of a therapeutic one. By comparison,
the figure for aspirin is 25, and for morphine, 50.

The California experience

Many Californians were sold on marijuana as medicine even before the latest
research came to light. The legislature passed bills with bipartisan
backing in 1994 and 1995, but Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed both. Voters OKd
Proposition 215 the following year after a campaign whose financial backers
included Laurance D. Rockefeller, former Secretary of State George Shultz,
the University of Chicago's Milton Friedman, Chicago commodities broker
Richard Dennis, Gail Zappa (singer Frank's widow) and former Sen. Alan

Also in 1996, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, which legalized not
only pot but also permitted doctors to prescribe heroin, LSD and
methamphetamine--provided they obtain a second physician's opinion and show
``documented scientific evidence'' of potential benefit. In practice, that
probably means only marijuana, though sponsors said they worded the
provision broadly to prevent the federal government from interfering.

Though Prop 200 passed by a 2-to-1 ratio, Arizona's legislature blocked it
by making it illegal to prescribe marijuana and other drugs until Congress
or the Food and Drug Administration or the Drug Enforcement Administration
signed off on the substances to fight illness.

New Arizona measure

In November, Prop 300 will be accompanied by an initiative to bar the
legislature from undercutting the will of the voters. This would put
Arizona on par with California, whose constitution prohibits the
legislature from tampering with ballot measures approved by voters.

The proposal voted on in Washington state last year also would have led to
the legalization of heroin, but voters defeated it in 38 of 39 counties.
The new measure is restricted to marijuana. It also drops a provision that
would make hundreds of people imprisoned for drug possession eligible for
release, plus send those arrested for possession to treatment instead of

Americans for Medical Rights, the same group that launched the California
vote, also is behind the initiative on November's ballot in Nevada. It
would allow adults, on the advice of physicians, to use marijuana for pain
in a number of illnesses, such as cancer and AIDS. It would need voter
approval again in 2000.

Off the ballot

In Colorado, medical marijuana was knocked off the ballot for lack of valid
signatures. Coloradans for Medical Rights has until Sept. 7 to challenge
the ruling and says it probably will.

A 20-year-old Illinois law allows ``authorized doctors'' to prescribe
marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients ``or such other procedures
certified to be medically necessary.'' But few apparently do, and the law
is little known.

Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson emphasized that the measure was not
a first step toward the legalization of pot when he signed it into law in

Texas Congressman May Revive Case Of Marine Border Slaying
('The San Diego Union Tribune' Says US Representative Lamar Smith,
The Republican Head Of The House Subcommittee On Immigration,
Which Oversees The Immigration And Naturalization Service
And The Border Patrol, Is Looking Through 20 Boxes Of Evidence
And Information To Determine Whether Congress Should Investigate The Shooting
Death Of 18-Year-Old Esequiel Hernandez Jr. In May 1997,
By Camouflaged Marines On An Anti-Drug Border Patrol In Texas)

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 11:34:31 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Texas Congressman May Revive Case of Marine Border Slaying
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David)
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 23 Aug 1998
Author: Darlene Himmelspach, Staff Writer


CAMP PENDLETON -- A former Marine who shot and killed a teen-age goatherd
along the Texas border with Mexico last year has been cleared by several
investigations but may face another probe, this time by Congress.

Clemente Banuelos, 23, who was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps
here at the end of his enlistment in June, shot Esequiel Hernandez Jr. in
May 1997 when the 18-year-old allegedly fired twice at Banuelos' four-man

Two state grand juries and a federal grand jury have declined to indict

But now a Texas congressman has begun his own investigation, delving into
20 boxes of evidence and information about the shooting before deciding
whether to conduct hearings.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is head of the House Subcommittee on
Immigration, which oversees the Immigration and Naturalization Service and
the Border Patrol.

At the time of the shooting, the Marines were part of a joint military task
force supporting the Border Patrol's effort to curb illegal immigration and
drug smuggling.

Hernandez was tending his family's goats and may have been shooting at cans
with a vintage rifle. But the Marines believed he was firing at them.

Banuelos radioed the Border Patrol that someone had shot at them and then
said, "If the man points his weapon down-range again, we are going to take
him," Banuelos' attorney, Jack Zimmermann, said a tape of the conversation

The Border Patrol responded: "Roger. Fire back."

Twenty minutes later, Hernandez was dead.

"We don't know how it happened," Smith's spokesman, Allen Kay, said in a
telephone interview from Washington. "The congressman does not think the
death has been fully explained."

In any event, said Kay, "no one has been held accountable. The typical
American knows more about the latest traffic fatality in their community
than we know about the first military shooting on U.S. soil since 1970,"
when four students were gunned down by National Guardsmen at Kent State

Kay said Smith "has promised a public accounting of this shooting." The
grand juries have heard testimony behind closed doors.

Since the Border Patrol was responsible for putting the Marines in the
field manning an observation post, Kay said, Smith "has leaned more toward
Border Patrol supervisors" than Banuelos as a target of a possible
congressional investigation.

"Who is responsible for placing those Marines near a populated community?"
the spokesman asked.

Admitting no wrongdoing, the federal government recently settled a civil
claim from the Hernandez family by agreeing to buy a $1 million annuity
that will pay an undisclosed sum annually for 20 years, the family's
attorney said. Including an initial payment from the government, the family
can expect to receive $1.9 million over time, according to the attorney.

Zimmermann, a retired Marine colonel, has represented Banuelos at
government expense since shortly after the shooting.

"At some point," he said, "we need to let Clemente Banuelos know what he
did was what he was supposed to do and let it go. His actions were entirely
justified under the law and consistent with what he was trained to do."

Zimmermann repeated that Banuelos was cleared by three grand juries.

He said Banuelos left the Marine Corps because his enlistment was up and
because he might have had to leave his artillery job specialty for a less
attractive assignment due to the scarcity of promotions in the artillery

He added, "I don't see how a young man who answers his country's call and
does what he has to do and then gets put under the griddle for a year --
how could that not color his thinking?"

Zimmermann, who would not disclose where the Northern California native is
now living, said Banuelos is looking for a job and he and his wife "are
doing better" than last year when the pressure was intense.

Still, the attorney said, "I've stopped telling the man it's over."

Public's Fear Of Violence Serves Varied Interests ('Los Angeles Times'
Columnist Beth Shuster In 'The San Jose Mercury News'
Describes The Common Interests Shared And Exploited By Police, Mass Media,
And Politicians That Have Created And Perpetuated A Self-Aggrandizing
Police State And Military-Incarceration Complex)

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 05:58:38 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Public's Fear Of Violence Serves Varied Interests
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: 23 Aug 1998
Author: Beth Shuster Los Angeles Times


Politicians, police, private firms gain by exploiting crime trends

They are on the news almost nightly: carjackers, sexual predators,
workplace gunmen, home-invasion robbers, ``road rage'' killers.

By the numbers, there are fewer and fewer of them. Yet fear of them has
held steady. That fear has overwhelmed reality, causing many Americans to
feel more threatened by crime even as the nation has become a safer place
in which to live.

The reasons for that disparity are complex, and sometimes shockingly
deliberate. Police stoke fear in part because they take crime seriously,
but also to prime their budgets; politicians feel deeply about the issue,
but also manipulate it to win votes. News organizations amplify fear by
ratcheting up their crime coverage, even as crime declines, because it
helps ratings. Security companies, theft-detection manufacturers and others
tap into deeply held fears and end up turning a profit.

In some respects, the merger of profit and political advantage has turned
the crime business into the domestic equivalent of what President
Eisenhower once described as the ``military-industrial complex.'' In that
incarnation, the fear of Soviet adventurism was real and the enemy a
dangerous one. But in their desire to combat it, military contractors,
politicians and Pentagon brass congealed into a self-sustaining system.

Similar structure

In the new version, prison-guard unions, burglar-alarm companies and
others, in effect, cooperate with politicians and police to perpetuate
public fear of a domestic enemy, in this case crime. It too presents real
dangers, but even as those dangers have waned, fear has persisted.

Crime rates notwithstanding, who today feels safer?

``Crime, particularly violent crime, is very highly concentrated . . . and
yet that feeling of fear lasts,'' said Eric Sterling, president of the
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Washington.

Criminologists note that, to some extent, a sense of security will lag
behind reality because fear preys on memory.

Even long after crimes occur, the names, even faces, of victims linger.
Twelve-year-old Polly Klaas is kidnapped from her bedroom, then raped and
murdered. Six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey dies of strangulation in the tidy
town of Boulder, Colo.

Police say it's not prudent to cut back on tough sentencing or a national
police buildup, because law enforcement authorities believe they are
largely responsible for declining crime. If police told people they could
relax about crime, the argument goes, violence would rebound, and the
public would be in real danger.

Some observers warn that anti-crime efforts actually can breed fear even as
they thwart crime.

``There are constantly new categories of violence,'' said Barry Glassner, a
University of Southern California sociology professor. ``For a while, it
was carjacking. . . . Now, it's `road rage.' . . . The effect of it is that
the public hears a lot about what they think is this new pressing problem.
You wouldn't have panicked three months ago, but there's more of a reason
to panic now.''

Politics and crime

Crime frequently becomes a campaign issue as politicians routinely tap into
the public's fear. In 1988, George Bush hammered Michael Dukakis for
releasing criminals into the community. In 1992, Bill Clinton won office in
part based on his pledge to put 100,000 more police officers on the
nation's streets.

But why not let a candidate boast about crime drops, about increasing
numbers of officers on the streets? The answer: That message is not as sexy
and has much less impact.

And that is nowhere more true than on television, where the adage ``If it
bleeds, it leads'' has become the catch phrase for national and local news.

Americans spent an estimated $14 billion on professionally installed
electronic security products and services last year, and more than one in
five homes in the United States and Canada had electronic alarm systems by
the end of the year.

Scare tactics

Aside from their television and print ads -- which can be graphic in
depicting lone motorists securing their cars, for instance -- some
security, alarm and lock companies regularly promote products by
manipulating crime data so crime appears to be worse.

Those who work in the industry defend their practices.

``I think we are part of the solution,'' said Dave Saddler, a
representative of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association in
Bethesda, Md. ``The steps people are taking to protect their communities
themselves are working. I think it's the random nature of crime -- that it
can happen any time, anywhere -- that keeps people afraid.''

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Nation's Drug Forfeiture Law Turning Cops Into Robbers
(Syndicated 'Fort Worth Star-Telegram' Columnist Molly Ivins
Urges Readers To Write To Their Congressional Representatives
About How The War On Drugs Is Ripping Up The Constitution,
Endangering American Liberty And Encouraging Law Enforcement Officers
To Act Like Bandits - Of Special Consideration Is Asset Forfeiture,
Which Took Off In 1984 When Congress Passed The Comprehensive Crime Control
Act, Allowing Drug Money And 'Drug-Related Assets' To Be Funneled
Into The Police Agencies That Seize Them)

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 05:58:18 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: OPED: Nation's drug forfeiture law turning cops into
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Contact: wsjopine@statejournal.madison.com
Website: http://www.madison.com/
Pubdate: 23 Aug 1998
Author: Molly Ivins Fort Worth Star-Telegram


AND in other news . . . the War on Drugs is ripping up the Constitution,
endangering American liberty and encouraging law enforcement officers to
act like bandits. The unpleasant ramifications of the War on Drugs are too
numerous for one column, but the area of asset forfeiture deserves special

On Oct. 2, 1992, a team of officers from the Los Angeles Police Department,
the Park Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Forest Service,
the California National Guard and the California Bureau of Narcotic
Enforcement staged a raid on the home of Donald Scott, a 61-year-old
rancher, near Malibu. Armed with high-powered weapons, flak jackets, a
battering ram and a presumably legal search warrant, they kicked in the
door and rushed through the house. Scott's wife began screaming; he went to
her side with a gun and was shot to death before her eyes.

The officers found no marijuana plants, other drugs or paraphernalia. It
turned out that Scott was bitterly opposed to all drug use.

According to the Nation magazine, a subsequent investigation revealed that
there was no credible evidence of marijuana cultivation on Scott's ranch,
that the sheriff's department had knowingly sought the search warrant on
legally insufficient information, and that much of the information
supporting the warrant was false, while exculpatory evidence was withheld
from the judge. As they invaded the property, the officers -- with two
forfeiture specialists in tow -- had a property appraisal of Scott's $5
million ranch and instructions to seize the ranch if 14 marijuana plants
were found.

In a much-noted case, a Detroit woman had her car seized after her husband
was found using it to dally with a prostitute. The Supreme Court upheld the
forfeiture, even though the woman was clearly not involved in her husband's
illegal activity.

A 72-year-old grandmother in Washington, D.C., lost her home after letting
a nephew, who was suspected of drug dealing, stay there overnight.

The owner of an air-charter business in Las Vegas lost his livelihood when
he unknowingly chartered a plane to a drug dealer.

Last year, NBC's ``Dateline'' did a prize-winning expose of the practice of
Louisiana sheriff's deputies stopping motorists with little or no cause and
seizing cars and cash under the state's forfeiture laws. The deputies
started a slush fund with the money. According to ``Dateline,'' deputies
used the fund to pay for a ski trip, pizza and doughnuts; thousands of
dollars were unaccounted for.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, all this started in 1984, when
Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which allowed drug
money and ``drug-related assets'' to be funneled into the police agencies
that seize them.

Between 1985 and 1991, the Justice Department collected more than $1.5
billion in illegal assets; in the next five years, it almost doubled this
intake, according to a report by the Nation. Local law enforcement agencies
fight to ``federalize'' their drug busts because if a U.S. attorney
``adopts'' a forfeiture, 80 percent of the assets are returned to local
police, whereas under many state laws, forfeited assets go to school funds,
libraries, drug education or other programs. According to the Nation, some
small-town police forces have increased their budgets by a factor of five
or more through seizing assets.

This is also deforming the efforts to control drugs; police forces can get
far more money by busting small-time marijuana buyers in reverse stings
(where the cops sell drugs to unsuspecting customers) and then seizing
their assets than they can by, say, going after major methamphetamine
dealers who work on street corners.

This entire practice is rapidly becoming worse and worse, causing more and
more injustice, police lawlessness and distorted law enforcement
priorities. This is one of those times when the right and the left can
unite in opposition to government abuse.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association have
opposed these practices. Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat from
Massachusetts, and Rep. Bob Barr, a conservative Republican from Georgia,
both support reform. The Wall Street Journal is as concerned as the Nation.
Surely the property-rights people, who seem to consider the Endangered
Species Act a threat to liberty, would like to join the ACLU on this one.

The political problem is that we have created a monster. Law enforcement
just loves asset-forfeiture laws; agencies have practically become
self-financing through these abuses. And when the coppers of the nation
stand in unison and say, ``We need this for law 'n' order,'' mighty few
politicians are willing to go against them. (Envision the ads in their
re-election campaigns: ``My opponent sided with the drug dealers and
against the police officers of our fair state.'')

The only way to get the politicians to undo what they have done is to build
public pressure to stop this outrageous practice. Take pen in hand . . .

Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

August Pray For Peace Foundation News (The August Newsletter
Of The Interfaith Religious Organization 'Committed To The Legalization
Of Sacred Natural Medicines For Spiritual Healing, For All People')

From: PFPFNews@aol.com
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:17:14 EDT
To: PFNews@steamboats.com
Subject: August PF News


Pray For Peace Foundation News
August 1998


NACA Holds First Board of Directors' Meeting

ARCATA, Calif.--The California Franchise Tax Board recently accepted the New
American Church Association's application for tax exempt status. Board members
met here on August 15 to discuss the future of the NACA.

NACA supports the respectful use of marijuana. One of NACA's goals is to
promote a more responsible image of marijuana smoking. At the meeting,
directors noted that recent media attention to the medical and industrial uses
of the plant have raised cannabis above the previous stereotype as a "party
drug" commonly mixed with alcohol and other manufactured drugs. Recognizing
the spiritual heritage of cannabis is another step toward social acceptance.

The NACA board discussed the cultural, family and religious roots that lead
some individuals to prefer marijuana over alcohol. During the meeting, the
board wrote preliminary, tentative language for a religious exemption to
protect people who prefer marijuana (see below).

Last May PF News reported that the California Franchise Tax Board denied
NACA's application, because it could not condone illegal activities. Guy
Mount, the driving force behind NACA, wrote a letter explaining that NACA's
purpose is to promote a dialogue about religious use, not cultivate or
distribute marijuana. The Tax Board then accepted NACA's application. Guy
recently submitted NACA's 501(c)3 application for federal tax-exempt status
and is awaiting approval.



According to the U.S. Supreme Court (Oregon vs. Smith, 1989), "Each state has
the right to exempt any controlled substance for religious use." The New
American Church Association is working on wording for a "Religious Freedom
2000" ballot initiative. This is one of several forms being considered:

The religious use of plant materials in their natural form (marijuana, peyote,
etc.), and the cultivation and possession thereof for such use, shall not be a
violation of any law of the State of California [or your state].

If you would like to become involved in a dialogue about Religious Freedom
2000, please contact PFPF 
or NACA 


Prayers for Peace in a Time of Turmoil

Get up your millennial fears, because if stuff's going to happen, it's
happening now. Clinton's problems alone are enough to get you depressed about
the so-called new age that's just around the corner.

Americans are used to having an enemy to complain about and attack, but they
say that could change with the paradigm shift. What would life be like if we
quit feeling sorry for ourselves? Sitting around complaining about Congress,
Clinton, McCaffrey, Shalala, Lungren, etc., keeps us stuck, focused on ideas
that repulse us. We notice the consequences of negative thinking, even among
those who work for legalization. For many years, internal disagreements
stalled the movement's progress. We must become better people if we expect to
live in a better world.

Instead of convincing ourselves that we are the victims of unreasonable
circumstances, let's envision something higher. There is every reason to think
positive. According to a Time-Life poll, support for the drug war has dropped
to less than 10%. (Time poll, vote today:

When we give our attention to something, the universe interprets it as our
desire for more of that thing. Instead of dwelling on judgments based on fear,
let's keep our minds open and see where we stand when the smoke clears. As we
careen into the twenty-first century, we still have time to envision a better


PF's Alternative Visualizations:


We affirm a peaceful conclusion to the War on Drugs. Personal freedom, civil
liberties and democracy are restored.


We give our blessings to the men and women in government office as they make
their decisions with steady consciousness of the highest good for all.


We affirm the men and women of law enforcement who fulfill their duty to
protect and serve, thus nurturing trust, cooperation, safety and goodwill in
their towns.


We teach our children to cope with life's problems free from manufactured
drugs of all kinds.


Notes from the Prayer Circle:
Affirmations for War Times

Finally, after one month as a political prisoner, best selling author and
medical marijuana patient Peter McWilliams was released from jail. We agree
with NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup who said, "It is unconscionable
to treat sick and dying medical marijuana patients like criminals."

We offer these prayers for Peter McWilliams and other medical marijuana
patients (and all abuse victims):

The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can it be burned by
fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. The individual soul is
unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. It is
everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution and a little advancement on
this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-gita 2.23-24; 2. 40



Pray For Peace Foundation was founded to spread awareness, education and
devotion to the Great and Holy Mystery that is God. We accept all paths as
true; all religions are but branches of the same tree. We promote interfaith
dialogue and exchange programs to develop tolerance between religions.

Pray For Peace Foundation is dedicated to nonviolence (vegetarian diet) and
daily meditation. Pray For Peace members are committed to the legalization of
sacred natural medicines for spiritual healing, for all people.

Valley Farmers High On New Hemp Crop ('The Halifax Daily News'
Says Many Local Farmers Are Considering Adding Hemp To Their Fields Next Year
Because Of Its Lucrative Potential - A Farmer Could Yield More Than $1,000
Per Acre Of Hemp, While It Can Cost As Little As $300 To Grow,
Depending On Soil Condition)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Valley farmers high on new hemp crop
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 08:08:24 -0700
Lines: 93
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Halifax Daily News (Canada)
Contact: letterstoeditor@hfxnews.southam.ca
Pubdate: Sunday, August 23, 1998
Author: Sue Coueslan -- The Daily News

Valley farmers high on new hemp crop

Valley farmers are looking at growing, processing, and marketing a
plant that has had its fair share of image problems.

Chops Viger of Kentville is one of a handful of farmers who think hemp
could be the crop of the future.

"It's the oldest cultivated plant," says the 67-year-old retired
fighter pilot and Canadian Tire store operator. "The oldest cloth and
paper comes from hemp."

Hemp has been used to make rope, clothing, paper, food, and
pharmaceuticals. Viger says some people claim there are 25,000
potential uses for the leafy green plant.

"If we could get one tenth of one per cent of those 25,000, we'd still
have 25 products," says Viger.

Various uses

The plant contains three parts: the fibre, the seeds, and the hurd.
Each portion can be used for various purposes, from oil in the seeds
to pulp and paper from the fibre.

Hemp is also known for its high protein content, similar to soy, but
easier to digest, making it an ideal substitute for any of the
soybean's uses, such as tofu, oil, and food supplements.

Viger says more than 1,000 jobs could be created in the Annapolis
Valley if the plants were grown and processed in the area, instead of
transporting the raw materials to other locations.

Many Valley farmers are considering adding hemp to their fields next
year, because of its lucrative potential. A farmer could yield more
than $1,000 per acre of hemp, while it can cost as little as $300 to
grow, depending on the soil's original condition.

The Valley provides ideal growing conditions and would benefit from
the plant, says Viger. Up to 70 per cent of the nutrients the plants
take from the soil are returned to it as they drop their leaves.

Plants also require little in the way of pesticides or fertilizer,
allowing a much-needed break for the soil says Viger.

As much as Viger believes in the potential of hemp, he's still in the
research stages, trying to find a viable way to produce and market it.

"At this juncture I'm optimistic, but I can't guarantee it."

Looking for fibre

Fundy Pulp and Paper, which recycles cardboard, has publicly announced
it's looking for more fibre for its product. Viger says hemp might be
the answer.

Mike Lewis, a Billtown farmer holding the only local commercial hemp
license, just finished harvesting over four hectares of the stuff.

"That was a test crop, we're sending it to potential markets to let
them see that we can grow it, and prove the quality for them."

Lewis says businesses such as hardboard and textile companies call
every day for samples to see if they can use the many parts of the
plant in their products.

"Things have been processing very well for us, we just can't be sure
of anything just yet," says Lewis.

Requests for the product have come from all sorts of people. A local
weaving instructor hopes to use it to teach her students how to weave.
Lewis says they've only received a bit of negative response - people
taking the tops off the plants, in hopes of getting free pot.

The hemp that is grown for commercial use is not the kind of cannabis
that gives you a buzz. The drug substance in marijuana known as THC is
15 to 18 per cent. To obtain a licence to grow commercial hemp, the
plant has less than half of one per cent.

"You'd have to smoke a whole truck load to get a buzz off it, and then
you'd just get sick," says Viger.

The business plan is almost together, putting their future success
just a little closer.

"It's just a matter of getting it off the ground right, getting it
right off the bat."



The articles posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here for educational purposes under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107). NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and/or source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. The articles and information included here are not for sale or resale.

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