------------------------------------------------------------------- Voters Around The State To Decide On More Than Measures ('The Associated Press' Notes Local Governments In Oregon, Freed From The 'Double Majority' Rule For The First Time Since 1996, Are Loading The November 3 Ballot With Tax Increase Measures, Including Proposals For More Jails For The Insatiable War On Some Drug Users) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Voters around the state to decide on more than measures The Associated Press 9/5/98 3:29 AM SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Freed from the "double majority" rule for the first time since 1996, local governments are loading the November ballot with money measures for everything from jails to schools to light rail. More than 120 money measures seeking more than $2 billion will appear on Nov. 3 ballots across Oregon. Thursday was the deadline for local governments to file tax measures with county elections officials. Measure 47, approved in 1996, required money measures to be approved by a "double majority" -- a majority of votes plus at least a 50 percent voter turnout -- to be valid. The only exception is during the general election in even-numbered years. It was replaced by Measure 50, which retained the double-majority provision, last year. In May, voters approved to 39 of 62 measures but only nine achieved the double majority. At least 20 local governments that passed measures but failed to get the 50 percent turnout are rattling their tin cups at voters again. Voters in fast-growing Jefferson County in central Oregon have not approved a tax increase for county government since the 1960s. The county will ask for a $9.5 million bond measure to finance a new 80-bed jail, and for a $1.65 million levy to operate it through creation of a new service district -- a tax strategy gaining in popularity across Oregon. Wish-lists for November include at least 25 school bond measures and 47 public safety tax requests. Growth is fueling many of these money measures, as schools seek new buildings and cities and counties try to keep up with demands for police and fire services and parks. >From 1990 to 1997, local government debt in Oregon rose from $4.4 billion to $8.4 billion, when the state's population grew by 13.2 percent to 3.2 million. Not all the governments who failed in May are waiting until November. Deschutes County, for example, has a $41 million sheriff's operating levy on the Sept. 15 ballot. Measure 50 included modest property tax cuts for many Oregonians and enacted other limits on how fast taxes can increase. But it also provided exceptions. Bond measures are exempt from the limits. And operating tax rates are frozen, but the governments can ask voters for temporary levies for as long as five years. At least 46 governments are doing so in November. The largest request is a $79.7 million levy in Washington County that is mainly for law enforcement. There is another way to raise taxes, and more governments are trying it this year. Measure 50 allows the creation of new government districts. Voters must approve a new permanent tax rate for the new district. There are seven such measures on the ballot this fall, including Jefferson County's jail district. With so many money measures confronting voters, there is much guessing about whether voters will discriminate, giving thumbs up to a few, or just voting no on everything. A good example of the smorgasbord of choices is in Portland, where voters will face about $800 million in tax requests, including a $475 million bond measure to expand Tri-Met's light-rail system north and south of the city's core. The measure is the biggest request on the ballot this fall and would add $72.80 to the tax bill of a home assessed at $140,000. Jim Scherzinger, the revenue officer for the Oregon Legislature, said voters may make choices, but because they all won't make the same choice, everything might go down. "The more things on the ballot, the more likely it is that everything will fail," he said. The fate of the property tax system in Oregon could rest on the outcome, he said. If many of the measures pass, and taxes go up significantly, that would increase political pressure for further limits, Scherzinger said. If many measures fail, he said, local governments that have looked to the general election as the answer to their financial problems would have to look somewhere else. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- An Aerial War On Pot Growers ('The Orange County Register' Portrays The Annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting In Humboldt County, California - This Year, The District Attorney Is Allowing Medical Marijuana Patients With 'The 215 Letter' To Keep 10 Plants, Even Though An Oral Recommendation Is All That's Required By Law - Meanwhile, Because Of Budget Constraints, There Is No Basic Law Enforcement In Much Of The County, No 911 Service, No Resident Deputies) Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 13:47:38 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: An Aerial War On Pot Growers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998 Author:Phil Garlington-OCR AN AERIAL WAR ON POT GROWERS Drugs - it's harvest time, and the helicopters are flying in Humboldt County, state hub of marijuana growing. Garberville, Humboldt County-Tom Samuels,a short,wiry 47-year-old pot grower with squinting eyes and a grizzled beard,was not completely at ease as he left his isolated two story cabin parcel to show his letter to the sheriff's deputies. A little earlier, a spotter aboard a JetRanger helicopter leased by the county Sheriff's Department's Marijuana Eradication Team had spied a couple of Samuels' lime-colored plants peeking out of the undergrowth in the ravine below his house. Now half a dozen officers dressed in camouflage and flak vests had cut the lock on his gate and were in his garden sizing up his summer's effort. Mutely, Samuels handed over a folded letter. "It's another 215," said sheriff's Sgt. Wayne Hansen to his boss, Lt. Steve Cobine. The letter was from Samuels' doctor, and - citing the recent passage of Proposition 215, the Medical Marijuana Initiative - it prescribed the use of up to 3 pounds of pot per year for his chronic neck and back pain caused by spinal arthritis. Samuels told the deputies he had 30 pot plants growing in the ravine (deputies found a total of 81 on his property). But since they were growing in the shade, he said, they'd probably produce only a couple of ounces each, instead of the 2 pounds per plant from pot grown in the sun. "OK,"said the sergeant, shrugging, "we won't arrest you, and we'll leave you 10 plants for your arthritis." "Right," said the lieutenant, "but this isn't going to be like picking the Christmas tree. You get the first 10 in the row, and we cut the rest." Samuels, looking pretty glum but moving with greater dexterity than some of the middle-aged deputies, led the way down the steep slope to his concealed plants, all of them rooted in 5-gallon black buckets, protected by chicken wire and strung along the ravine like a trap line. "This 215 thing is evolving," said Cobine. "Right now the district attorney's policy is that if they got the 215 letter, we let them keep 10." It's late summer, and it's the pot-raiding season in Humboldt County, an endeavor fueled for the past dozen years by the state's CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) grants. This year the county received $250,000 to pay for a dozen officers and two helicopters for eight weeks. "We don't want to go back to the early '80s when people out here were growing it like corn," Cobine said. These days, Samuels' garden is pretty typical of the outdoor grows the deputies are finding. Viewed from the helicopter, every ridge, every ravine, every meadow, has a cabin, trailer or owner-built home, all off the grid, with electricity supplied by generator, most with outdoor plumbing and water from a spring. "At night, with all the generators humming, it sounds like a giant insect," Hansen says. Although the hills have been heavily logged, there's still enough forest left to conceal plenty of pot. The bigger grows (sic) of several hundred plants feature fancy drip-irrigation systems, with electric water pumps and timers. A dew days before the raid on Samuels' place, deputies had discovered a hanging garden, plants in pots suspended in the trees. Other cautious growers, when they hear the whop-whop of a helicopter in the neighborhood, load the 5-gallon buckets containing the plants onto flatbed trucks and drive them to safer locations deeper in the forest. But most grows are like Samuels', the water coming to the garden through gravity-fed pipe, the plants wrapped in wire to keep the deer out, and a half-empty fertilizer bag under a nearby tree. "So you could see the plants from the air," says the chagrined Samuels. Howard Lewis is one of the helicopter pilots and pot spotters. "Between 11 and 2, with the sun high, the pot really stands out," Lewis says. A Los Angeles firefighter and National Guard Reservist on two-week active duty, Lewis was coordinating the ground teams, while contract pilot Mark Gunsaul handled the tricky business of lowering two officers dangling from cables onto the almost inaccessible hillsides. STABO (short-term airborne operations) is a new wrinkle. In years past, helicopters have been limited to lowering nets into remote gardens to hoist up plants. This year, operating from an "LZ," which means any flat ground in the vicinity, the JetRanger lifts two officers at the ends of 100-foot steel cables, flies them to the suspected pot patch at 80 mph, then lowers them onto the hillside. "It's a lot more pressure," says Gunsaul. "The guys on the cable have no control. If anything happens, it's my fault." Turbulence, downdrafts and tricky winds in the canyons don't make it any easier, he says. The head of the Marijuana Eradication Team is Sgt. Steve Knight, a lanky veteran deputy who grew up in Orange before attending Humboldt State University in Arcata. "The raids have driven a lot of the pot growers indoors," Knight says. On June 23, Knight's team, acting on a tip, made the biggest indoor pot bust in state history, knocking over a grow room containing 12,000 plants. The previous record for an indoor grow was 8,000 "The two owners (warrants are out for their arrest) were pretty ingenious," Knight says. The grow room looked like a regular two-store house. It even had children's toys, a swing set and trampoline in the front yard, and flower pots in the window (although the flowers turned out to be plastic). Behind the chintz curtains, however, were plywood panels, and the interior had been gutted to make room for rows of growing trays under 250 grow lights. The county Board of Supervisors is not unanimous in supporting the pot raids. Two of the five supervisors voted against accepting the CAMP grant. Supervisor Roger Rondoni , 58, a rancher and lifelong county resident who represents southern Humbodt County, says he is "not at all thrilled by a Rambo-like paramilitary creeping into yards without warrants or probable cause." Rondoni says that while he carries no brief for pot growers, the raids have been a failure and a waste of money. Because of budget constraints, there is no basic law enforcement in much of the county, no 911 service, no resident deputies, Rondoni says. "Instead we have these guys dressed like John Wayne running roughshod over local residents." And, he adds, if anything goes wrong with the team's helicopter operations, the county would be held liable. "It's a nosebleed waiting to happen." Up on Duty Ridge, the deputies have finished piling the cut pot stalks from Samuels' garden into the back of a pickup, and the pungent weed perfumes the afternoon air. Cobine says that after 15 years of smiting pot he's perfectly aware that eradication is a hopeful rather an accurate description. "If it was up to me, I'd let anyone grow two plants," he says. "Because this isn't really any kind of war on marijuana. We're just trying to keep the lid on it."
------------------------------------------------------------------- 24-Year Smuggling Sentence Upheld ('The San Francisco Chronicle' Says A Federal Appeals Court In San Francisco On Thursday Upheld The Sentence Of Canadian Real Estate Dealer Michael Medjuck For Smuggling 70 Tons Of Hashish, The Largest Shipment Ever Seized By US Prohibition Agents) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 09:43:30 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: 24-Year Smuggling Sentence Upheld 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: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Author: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer 24-YEAR SMUGGLING SENTENCE UPHELD Court denies appeal in big hashish case A federal appeals court in San Francisco has upheld a Canadian man's 24-year prison sentence for smuggling 70 tons of hashish -- the largest shipment ever seized by U.S. agents. In dismissing the appeal by Canadian real estate dealer Michael Medjuck, the Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. prosecutors had clearly been justified in charging and trying Medjuck in this country, even though the hashish he was smuggling was bound for Canada. In an opinion issued Thursday, the court noted that part of Medjuck's preparations for the smuggling operation had been made in the United States and that a portion of the drug was scheduled to be sold in this country. Medjuck, 48, was convicted in U.S. District Court in San Francisco two years ago. He was taken into custody in Lake County in 1991 during a sting operation in which he attempted to retrieve nearly three tons of the drug from a boat controlled by federal narcotics agents. According to prosecutors, he had obtained 40 tons of the hashish in Afghanistan and had it transported to Pakistan in a camel caravan guarded by Pakistani tribesmen armed with assault rifles. From Pakistan, the hashish was loaded onto an oceangoing vessel called the Lucky Star, which took on 30 more tons of the drug in waters off the Philippine Islands. The ring was broken by undercover agents in Hawaii who were hired by Medjuck for $3.25 million to move the drug into Canada aboard a fishing boat. The undercover agents provided information that allowed federal authorities to intercept the dope-laden Lucky Star in the Pacific in July 1991. After his arrest, Medjuck made local headlines when he asked the court for permission to be ``incarcerated'' until his trial in a posh San Francisco penthouse at his own expense. The request was rejected by U.S. District Judge Eugene Lynch because he considered Medjuck likely to flee. 1998 San Francisco Chronicle Page A23
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Chad Had A Big Mouth' (According To 'The Orange County Register,' Attorneys For Two Suspects In The Beating And Strangulation Of Chad MacDonald, A 17-Year-Old Recruited By Police In Brea, California, Said Friday That The Teen-Ager Was Killed Solely Because Of His Work As An Informant) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 15:19:09 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: 'Chad Had A Big Mouth' 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: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Author: Stuart Pfeifer, Register Staff Editor's note: Title by Hawk 'CHAD HAD A BIG MOUTH' Courts: Brea teen MacDonald was killed solely because he was a police informant, suspects' lawyers say. Attorneys for two suspects in the beating and strangulation of Chad MacDonald said Friday that the teen-ager was killed solely because of his work as a Brea police informant. "Chad had a big mouth. A whole bunch of people new," said attorney Forrest Latiner, whose client, Jose Ibarra, is one of three suspects in the March 3 slaying. "Things got out of hand. They thought he was going to be snitching them off." Attorney Richard Leonard, who is representing suspect Michael Martinez, said the slaying "absolutely would not have happened if the youth was not working as a police informant." Brea police Chief Bill Lentini, who has insisted that MacDonald's informant work played no role in his death, could not be reached for comment Friday. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Ramseyer declined to comment. The lawyers didn't go so far as admitting their clients killed MacDonald, but made it clear the teen's work as an informant was the killer's motive. They said they will argue in court that the killing did not take place during a robbery or sexual assault, the special circumstances that could lead to the death penalty. MacDonald's girlfriend testified at a closed hearing this week in Los Angeles that the suspects accused the young couple of working for the police before killing MacDonald, raping her, shooting her in the face and leaving her to die. At one point during the ordeal at a Norwalk house, Martinez comforted her, the girl said. "We/re not killing your boyfriend," Martinez said, according to the girlfriend. "We're just teaching him a good lesson." Word of MacDonald's informant role led the state Legislature last week to pass a bill that restricts the use of juveniles as police informants.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Petitioners Sue Buckley ('The Denver Post' Says Coloradans For Medical Rights, Who Sponsored A Measure That Would Legalize The Medical Use Of Marijuana, Sued Colorado Secretary Of State Vikki Buckley On Friday, Claiming Buckley Has Improperly Kept The Issue Off November's Ballot) Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 04:39:57 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CO: Pot Petitioners Sue Buckley Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Denver Post (CO) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.denverpost.com Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Author:: Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer POT PETITIONERS SUE BUCKLEY Supporters of a measure that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana sued Secretary of State Vikki Buckley on Friday, claiming Buckley has improperly kept the issue off November's ballot. The lawsuit claims that an embattled Buckley, whose office has seen a spate of resignations and firings in the past few years, conducted an error-plagued review of the 88,815 signatures submitted to her by Coloradans for Medical Rights. Using a random sampling technique, Buckley ruled that only 47,960 of the 88,815 signatures were valid and did not meet the 54,242 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot. But Ed Ramey, lawyer for Martin Chilcutt, one of the initiative's proponents, said that a thorough review of the secretary of state's random sampling technique showed it was severely flawed. He noted that Buckley "issued an improper and unauthorized statement of insufficiency (not enough valid signatures) on the last possible day for issuance of such a statement,'' the 30th day after the signatures were turned in. As a result, Chilcutt and Ramey will be in court Friday where they will ask Denver District Judge Herbert Stern to place the measure on the ballot. "The argument is that if the secretary of state does not act within 30 days, the petition is deemed sufficient,'' he said. Buckley has twice missed 30-day deadlines for reviewing petitions and, as a result, two other initiatives have been placed on the ballot by default. They are initiatives on term limits and parental notification for abortions involving minors. (An item in Friday's Post incorrectly said the term-limits initiative had been found to have enough valid signatures.) The marijuana initiative would allow people with "debilitating medical conditions,'' such as cancer and AIDS, to legally possess and use marijuana as a form of treatment. Ramey said an independent review of the secretary of state's sampling technique, which included an entry-by-entry analysis, showed that of the 4,482 signatures Buckley used as a random sample, 225 signatures were determined invalid which, in fact, were valid. Ramey also noted that the independent review found other "methodological errors'' including miscalculation of the sample size, data entry errors, coding errors and corruption of the random sample by the "statistically improper practice of including the next signature line following a blacked-out signature entry.'' In actuality, the random sampling should have shown that 52,312 of the signatures are valid, or 96.4 percent of the 54,242 required, the suit contends. Under Colorado law, said the lawsuit, any time the random sample verification establishes that the number of valid signatures is greater than 90 percent but less than 110 percent, the Secretary of State is required to examine each signature collected. If Stern declines to place the measure on the ballot outright, Ramey said he will ask the judge to order Buckley to do a line-by-line review of the 88,815 signatures as required by law. But he noted that by law, Buckley must certify which measures are on the ballot 50 days before the election, or no later than Sept. 14. Because Buckley probably could not complete a review of the 88,815 signatures by then, Ramey said he may ask the judge to place the measure on the ballot anyway. Of the staff currently working in the secretary of state's elections office, only one is an experienced elections office clerk. REVIEWING PETITIONS In reviewing petitions for election ballot initiatives, the Colorado secretary of state is required to conduct a random sampling of no less than 5 percent of the signatures and never less than 4,000 signatures. If the secretary's random sample establishes that the number of valid signatures is 90 percent or less of the required number of signatures, the measure is ruled insufficient to be on the ballot. If the random sample verification establishes that the number of valid signatures is greater than 90 percent but less than 110 percent of the required signatures, the secretary of state is required to conduct a review of each signature filed. The secretary is required to rule on the sufficiency of the submitted signatures within 30 calendar days of submission. Otherwise, the measure automatically is placed on the ballot.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Will Foster On 'Dateline' (A List Subscriber Says The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Patient Sentenced To 93 Years In Prison For Growing His Own Medicine Will Be Featured Sunday Night On NBC Television) From: adbryan@ONRAMP.NET Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 09:20:41 -0500 (CDT) Subject: MEDIA ALERT: Will Foster on Dateline To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Will Foster will be on Dateline this Sunday 9-6-98. I know Will's wife, Meg, did not want anyone to contact the Oklahoma governor's office pending the outcome of his parole. Since this is going to be broadcast on Sunday, perhaps it might be OK to make calls on Monday expressing outrage over what was seen on Dateline. Any other suggestions? Alan B. *** Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 09:49:02 -0700 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: Re: MAP: MEDIA ALERT: Will Foster on Dateline Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Meg has asked that nothing be done until 9/11 to give a chance for the Gov to sign the release without any pressure being applied. (it must be signed by 9/25) After 9/11 I suspect we will begin turning up the heat. And of course Dateline will help in this regard as well.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Deputies Strip-Search Police ('The Des Moines Register' Says Police Officer Edwin Gordon Of West Des Moines, Iowa, Was Busted Friday After Some Money Disappeared During A Drug Raid) Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 22:11:16 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IA: Deputies Strip-Search Police Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Carl Olsen Source: Des Moines Register (IA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dmregister.com/ Pubdate: 05 Sep 98 Author: Arthur Kane DEPUTIES STRIP-SEARCH POLICE A West Des Moines officer is charged after some money disappears during a raid. Gordon Resigns Police routinely strip-search criminal suspects, but nearly a dozen Des Moines area officers had to strip and be searched this spring when money disappeared during a raid of a suspected drug dealer's house. Two Polk County Sheriffs deputies - one male, one female - took six or seven male officers and two female officers, one by one, into a room of Robert L. Willson Sr's, house for the strip search, said Polk County Deputy Chief Dennis Anderson. No money was found in the strip searches. The searches came after money found in the house was counted a second time. The second count indicated some of the original amount was missing. One of the officers who was searched, former West Des Moines Detective Edwin Gordon, was charged Friday with two misdemeanor theft charges, said Assistant County Attorney Steve Foritano. Gordon is accused of taking a gun and cashier's checks while on duty. Foritano would not say whether the incidents were related to the March 18 raid at Willson's house. But in a federal deposition, West Des Moines Detective Lloyd Carlson said Gordon was under investigation in connection with items taken from the search at Willson's house in March. Deputy Chief Anderson downplayed the importance of the police strip search, saying the procedure is not unheard of. "Once an officer is (allegedly) doing something like this, the other officers, who have nothing to hide, feel (the strip search is) necessary," said Anderson, whose deputies were called in for the search because they were not involved in the raid at Willson's house. "You've got to do something to ensure no evidence is leaving the scene." The strip search and criminal charges against Gordon may jeopardize the drug and weapons case against Willson. "We plan to present the evidence and let the jury decide what impact it may have in the case, who all was involved and how far it went," said Willson's attorney, Dean Stowers. Gordon, 42, resigned this summer after he was placed on unpaid leave. His attorney, Maggi Moss, said Gordon will plead not guilty. She declined further comment. Gordon is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 16. He has had at least two contacts with Willson, an east-side bail bondsman who was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on methamphetamine, other drug and weapons charges. Gordon and Carlson were part of a raid on Willson's properties in January 1997, but the case dissolved after Polk County District Judge Robert Hutchison determined that Carlson, in search warrant applications, listed three theft convictions for Willson that he didn't have, court documents show. Hutchison threw out some of the evidence in the case, and police were forced to return Willson's seized property, including $14,682, Stowers said. Stowers said some of the evidence in that case was not returned, although he refused to be specific. Gordon signed the evidence sheet containing the money in the 1997 raid, according to the warrant. After that investigation, the FBI took over the Willson case, raiding a half-dozen properties March 18, including Willson's house, at 1244 E. 2th St., where the strip searches occurred. Stowers, Willson's attorney, said he doubts, with nearly a dozen officers in Willson's small house, that it is possible that no other officers saw or knew about the alleged theft. "Their approach is that (Gordon) is like a cancerous tumor and they have to somehow excise it," Stowers said. "This is their master plan: to take it off the table and now declare that they've cleaned house and now they're clean and pure." Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Patrick O'Meara, who is prosecuting Willson, disputed the significance of the charges against Gordon. "I don't know if it will have any impact on the case I'm working on," he said. He declined further comment. Willson's attorney questioned why prosecutors waited till the Friday before a three-day holiday weekend to charge Gordon, when Foritano said they were ready for several weeks. "If they can afford that treatment to Mr. Gordon, I wish they would have for my client," Stowers said. When asked if Gordon received special treatment because he is a former police officer, Foritano answered, "No."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Arrests Down In Milwaukee, But Up In Suburbs, Report Says ('The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' Says Statistics Compiled By The Wisconsin Office Of Justice Assistance Show Arrests For The Sale Or Possession Of Marijuana In Milwaukee Declined 6 Percent Since Common Council Enacted A Decriminalization Ordinance A Year Ago, While Arrests In Suburban Milwaukee Increased 7.5 Percent)Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 20:43:37 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WI: Marijuana Arrests Down In Milwaukee, But Up In Suburbs, 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) Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: email@example.com Fax: (414) 224-8280 Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ MARIJUANA ARRESTS DOWN IN MILWAUKEE, BUT UP IN SUBURBS, REPORT SAYS MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Marijuana arrests in the city decreased in the year since officials decriminalized possessing small amounts of the drug. But state numbers show such arrests in the suburbs have climbed. Crime statistics compiled by the state Office of Justice Assistance showed arrests for the sale or possession of marijuana in Milwaukee declined 6 percent since Common Council enacted the decriminalization ordinance. From May 1997 through April 1998, Milwaukee police made 2,210 marijuana-related arrests, an decrease of 144 arrests from the same time period a year earlier. Arrests in suburban Milwaukee increased 7.5 percent, the figures showed. Milwaukee County suburban police made 1,385 arrests from May 1997 to April 1998. From May 1996 through April 1997, 1,288 people were arrested for sales and possession. Despite the reduction, experts say the figures do not necessarily mean marijuana use is declining. "I wouldn't interpret a lightened penalty in your area as affecting a change in marijuana use," said Robert MacCoun, a professor and researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. "My guess is that police are either too busy with other things or that they just see it as less of a priority now."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Local Man Faces Jail For Legal Weed ('The Brattleboro Reformer' Says George Singleton, A Dredlocked African-American From Putney, Vermont, Was Jailed In Oklahoma For 25 Days And Faces A Trial October 8 And One-Year Prison Sentence Because Oklahoma Police Say A Reasonable Person Might Think The Legal Herbs He Was Transporting As Part Of His Job Were Illegal Substances) Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 23:23:29 -0400 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Paul Wolf (email@example.com) Subject: Local Man Faces Jail for Legal Weed Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com As long as we're writing to Oklahoma media, here's a weird story to tell them about: Brattleboro Reformer, Saturday, Sept. 5, 1998. Headline: "Local Man Faces Jail for Legal Weed" By Les Kozaczek, Brattleboro Reformer staff writer PUTNEY, VT - George Singleton is African-American and he has dredlocks down to his waist, so he says he's used to being "hassled" by authorities. In fact, he said he's been stopped by police officers -- for no apparent reason -- and searched for marijuana in states such as Texas, Ohio, Virginia, and California. Those stops turned up nothing and he was allowed to go on his way. That was the scenario he envisioned when, on Feb. 27, on a business trip from California to Indiana, he was stopped by a police officer in Craig County, Okla. He admits that, though he was going 10 miles an hour below the posted 75 mph speed limit, his slowing car was above the legal speed limit for the construction zone he was approaching. He also thought that the person at the toll booth he had just passed through might have "pointed me out" to the police officer. If that were the case, then the officer might have seen in a background check a marijuana arrest and two-week imprisonment Singleton incurred 17 years ago, Singleton said. He said he has not used marijuana in years. Still, Singleton said, he knew the routine. So, when the officer asked to search his car, Singleton, having nothing in the car except for the herbs he was carrying as part of his job, assumed he would be on his way in no time. Twenty-five days later, Singleton, 49, was still in an Oklahoma prison. "The officer found some mullein and rosemary in my car. I take them for my tuberculosis," Singleton said Thursday evening. "I told him it wasn't marijuana." Despite the fact that mullein, a green-leafed, yellow-flowered plant that grows wild, looks and smells nothing like marijuana, Singleton said the officer put him in the police cruiser and drove him 10 miles, with his hands cuffed behind his back, to the hospital for a blood test. Singleton said he was arraigned on the day he was arrested and bail was posted at the unusually high $650. Three days later, test results of the blood samples taken at the time of his arrest showed that Singleton, according to the official state transcript, had "negative blood alcohol," and had "no basic drugs detected" in his blood. In most states, that would have elicited an apology and a ride to Singleton's car, so that he could go about his business as executive director of Hope LA/USA Project. But, Singleton said, Oklahoma has an unusual law under which it is illegal to possess any substance that a reasonable person might think was an illegal substance. He was not going to be freed. "When I found that out, all I could think was "isn't this America?" Singleton said. The Oklahoma prosecutor could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. Singleton, who said he holds a doctorate in herbology, makes many cross country drives carrying herbs and other organic matter, as part of his job. He said that both the "substances" that he was carrying and using are widely used and freely available over the counter and have never been shown to have any effect remotely similar to any illegal drug. Ironically, Singleton said, part of his Hope LA/USA program is to get youth off drugs. He also said he uses organic farming techniques that do away with animal products and pesticides because of their toxicity. "We transform inner city neighborhoods with agricultural methods rooted in the old ways of gardening," Singleton said. Singleton's program, which has been lauded by Los Angeles law enforcement and other institutions, brings together members of enemy gangs and other disaffected youth. Singleton said it took his mother 25 days and $800 to work with a lawyer to get his bail reduced to the more usual $125 and get him out of jail. Since then, Singleon has had to return from his Putney, Vermont office to Oklahoma twice to deal with the case. Singleton estimates the case has cost him more than $2,000 in legal, travel, and other expenses. He is scheduled to return for trial on charges of possessing imitation illegal drugs on Oct. 8. He said he faces the prospect of going to prison for a year or more and isn't too hopeful that he'll be coming back any time soon. "The prosecutor is up for election this year and I can't see him going ahead with a prosecution (possession of an imitation substance) that he thinks he isn't going to win easily. He isn't going to risk embarrassing himself publicly in an election year by by being seen losing (a case) to a black person without a (law) degree," Singleton said. Oddly, Singleton said, he has yet to receive a ticket for any traffic violation as a result of the Oklahoma incident.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man Says Cocaine Dealers Took Over His Laconia Apartment ('The Associated Press' Says Police In Laconia, New Hampshire, Made The Biggest Crack Cocaine Bust In The City After A Man Reported His Apartment Has Been Taken Over By Drug Dealers From New York And Massachusetts) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-News" (email@example.com) Subject: Man says cocaine dealers took over his Laconia apartment Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:23:52 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Man says cocaine dealers took over his Laconia apartment Associated Press, 09/05/98 15:20 LACONIA, N.H. (AP) - Police made the biggest crack cocaine bust in the city after a man reported his apartment has been taken over by drug dealers from New York and Massachusetts. Five men were charged with selling crack cocaine out of the apartment. According to police, the men told the informant if he did not repay $680 he owed them, he ``would end up dead'' or his girlfriend would be sold in New York until the debt was paid. The informant told the police the men threw him out of his apartment and were holding his girlfriend there against her will until he returned with the money. Arrested in Thursday's raid were: Robert Maider, 24, of Meredith; Curtis Burrus, 28, of Lawrence, Mass.; and two 18-year-olds from Brooklyn, N.Y., Rodney Hylton and Jarell Harris. Christopher Hein, 19, of Laconia, was arrested several hours later. Officers seized about 48 grams of crack cocaine wrapped in plastic sandwich bags, a crack pipe, marijuana and a large amount of cash in the apartment, according to the police. Officers said the cocaine was worth $5,000-$10,000. Hein has been released on personal recognizance because his family lives in the area and he is not considered a flight risk. The other four men are being held at Belknap County Jail on bails of $100,000 cash. Detectives said they began getting tips around six months ago about drugs being sold from the apartment, and they have gotten stronger leads and firmer information in the last few months. Neighbors reported carloads of teenagers and people in their 20s would often drive up, run upstairs, and leave after a few minutes, police said. On Tuesday, a man told police Maider took over the apartment in early June and eventually brought several people from Lawrence and New York City to help, according to court records. The men had been bringing 100 to 150 grams of crack cocaine from New York to Laconia each week, according to a police affidavit.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Undercover Officers Fan Out To Check College Drinking ('The Associated Press' Says As Many As 20 Liquor Enforcement Agents Worked Undercover At College Campuses Across New Hampshire This Weekend To Crack Down On Underage Drinking - A New State Law Increases The Minimum Fine For Minors In Possession Of Alcohol From $50 To $250) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (email@example.com) To: "-News" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Undercover officers to check college drinking Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:28:14 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Undercover officers fan out to check college drinking Associated Press, 09/05/98 12:40 CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - As many as 20 liquor enforcement agents worked undercover at college campuses across the state this weekend to crack down on underage drinking. Chief Aidan Moore of the Liquor Commission's enforcement bureau said assigning officers specifically to college towns is an aggressive effort against minors buying and drinking alcohol. He said the Labor Day Weekend was chosen because it's a holiday, and is an opportunity to make an impression on incoming college freshmen. ``It's an effort designed to get the school year off to a safe start'' Moore told the Valley News of Lebanon. Agents in plain clothes fanned out to patrol public areas, and to cover convenience stores and other establishments selling alcohol, in cooperation with store owners. The officers were citing people presenting false identifications to store clerks and minors in possession of alcohol. They watched for establishments selling alcohol to people who are obviously intoxicated, he said. A new state law increases the minimum fine for minors in possession of alcohol from $50 to $250. Officials at Plymouth State College and the University of New Hampshire in Durham praised the move, while Dartmouth administrators pointed out that few students are actually wandering the Big Green because the school year hasn't begun. Even with a full campus, aggressive enforcement of state liquor laws may not be the most effective answer to the timeless problem of student and underage drinking, said Robert McEwen, Dartmouth's proctor of safety and security. ``I think education and prevention are the two key components to curbing this to some degree,'' he said. ``College students will buy into that a lot quicker than they will if it becomes a strong-arm (approach).'' Classes at Plymouth and UNH began Wednesday, and administrators there welcomed the state agents' presence as a complement to their own alcohol education programs. ``Any increased law enforcement effort that helps us combat underage drinking is welcome,'' said Plymouth's director of news services, Doug Norris. ``It's good to set the tone early.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Milford Man Charged With Possessing $100,000 Worth Of Marijuana ('The Associated Press' Notes A Connecticut Businessman Faces Felony Drug Charges After Police Say He Picked Up Three Packages At A Mail Boxes Etc., Each Containing About 30 Pounds Of Marijuana Shipped From San Diego) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-News" (email@example.com) Subject: MA man charged with possessing $100,000 worth of marijuana Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:24:57 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Milford man charged with possessing $100,000 worth of marijuana Associated Press, 09/05/98 14:09 MILFORD, Conn. (AP) - A city businessman faces felony drug charges after police say he picked up a package containing $100,000 worth of marijuana. Edward Musante, 50, the owner of Eagle Telephone, was freed Friday on $50,000 bond. Musante was arrested Thursday after police said he left a Mail Boxes Etc. with three packages, each containing about 30 pounds of marijuana. ``It is the largest seizure of marijuana I personally have ever seen,'' said Assistant State's Attorney Mark Hurley, who has been a prosecutor in the Milford-Ansonia judicial district since 1989. Hurley said an employee of Mail Boxes Etc. told police Musante had picked up packages at the shop regularly for the past three years. U.S. Customs agents notified police when a drug-sniffing dog detected the marijuana before it was shipped to Milford, police said. The package was sent by an unidentified person in San Diego. Police said a search of Musante's home and business turned up an unspecified amount of marijuana and $32,000 in cash.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Attorney General Hopefuls Admit Pot Use (The Times Union' Says Three Out Of Four Democrats Running For Attorney General In New York Say They Used Marijuana In College - And The Other One Simply Won't Discuss The Subject) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 09:22:37 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Attorney General Hopefuls Admit Pot Use Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk Source: Times Union (NY) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 518-454-5628 Website: http://www.timesunion.com/ Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Author: JOHN CAHER, State editor ATTORNEY GENERAL HOPEFULS ADMIT POT USE 3 out of 4 Democrats running for attorney general say they used marijuana in college Eliot Spitzer smoked pot, and even inhaled. Catherine Abate experimented with marijuana as a college student. Evan Davis smoked some weed at a few parties. Oliver Koppell simply won't discuss the subject. At least three of the Democrats who want to be attorney general, the highest law officer in the state, admit to having broken the law -- the same admission that a decade ago forced Supreme Court nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg to withdraw from consideration for the high court. Today, however, past pot use is apparently a political irrelevancy: Gov. George Pataki recently revealed that he used to mix his marijuana in baked beans, and his running mate, Judge Mary Donohue, admits she smoked in college. And even some candidates for a top law enforcement position freely admit to one-time pot use. "Maybe three, four times, something like that, in the late '60s, mid-'60s, maybe early '70s -- I can't remember the dates -- I smoked marijuana,'' Davis said. "I never bought it. It was always at parties.'' Abate, a Vassar College student during the 1960s and an anti-war activist, admits to a similar youthful indiscretion -- and tells her 19-year-old son to do what she says now rather than what she did then. Spitzer, who vows to get rid of the ultra-harsh Rockefeller drug laws, readily admits he inhaled pot smoke while studying at Princeton: "Absolutely. With pride, at the time.'' However, Spitzer -- like Abate and Davis -- claims he never abused any other drug and no longer uses marijuana. Of the Democratic candidates, only Koppell won't say whether he did or didn't -- or for that matter, does or doesn't -- use pot. "My father said that he thinks that question is invalid and he is not going to answer it,'' said the attorney general's son and campaign aide, Jonathan Koppell. "He is not going to answer it. He doesn't like going down that road.'' The younger Koppell, however, said he'd be astounded if his strait-laced father, who "hardly takes a beer,'' ever touched an illegal drug. And what about the incumbent, Republican Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco? The man who wants to remove some of the restrictions so doctors can more easily prescribe morphine to the suffering, but opposes the medicinal use of marijuana, kept and keeps to the straight and narrow, according to his campaign spokesman. "Never,'' said Mike Zabel when asked if Vacco ever used an illegal drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Troopers Seize $26 Million Worth Of Cocaine At Turnpike Rest Stop ('The Associated Press' Notes New Jersey Police Found 1,200 Kilograms Of Cocaine Friday Hidden Inside Five Crates Of Rotting Watermelons In A Tractor-Trailer Rig Seemingly Abandoned Near The New Jersey Turnpike) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "-News" (email@example.com) Subject: NJ Troopers seize $26 million worth of cocaine at turnpike rest stop Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:22:47 -0700 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Troopers seize $26 million worth of cocaine at turnpike rest stop Associated Press, 09/05/98 15:29 HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Someone somewhere is still waiting for a very large shipment of cocaine. But it won't be arriving anytime soon. State police have it - all $26 million worth of it. State troopers assigned to the New Jersey Turnpike Friday noticed a tractor trailer parked in the Woodrow Wilson Service Plaza. The vehicle appeared to be abandoned; its engine and refrigeration units were shut off, and a foul odor was emanating from the trailer, which was leaking fluid, State Police Superintendent Carl A. Williams said Saturday in a news release. Suspicious, the troopers called in Buster, a drug-sniffing dog whose barks indicated the possible presence of narcotics in the trailer. Authorities got a search warrant, opened the trailer, and found 1,200 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside five crates of rotting watermelons, Williams said. The drugs, which would have been worth $26 million on the street, were taken to a state police laboratory for testing. Authorities say the cocaine was destined for street-level sales throughout the region. The truck also was impounded. Police are searching for the driver of the truck, and believe several others were involved as well.
------------------------------------------------------------------- National Guard Drug War Hits Snag (An 'Associated Press' Article From Pennsylvania Says That While The Overall Federal Budget For The War On Some Drugs Has Increased, President Clinton Asked Congress To Fund National Guard Counterdrug Programs At $148 Million In The Fiscal Year Starting October 1, Down $13 Million From This Year - So Guard Officers, In Direct Violation Of The Hatch Act, Have Stepped Up Their Lobbying To Restore And Increase Funding) From: GDaurer@aol.com Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 09:55:43 EDT To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: National Guard Drug War Hits Snag Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com I find it obnoxious that the National Guard has been lobbying against harm reduction, as well -- such as against a bill to authorize needle exchange in Colorado. Gregory Daurer Denver, CO *** 9/5/98 National Guard Drug War Hits Snag By ANICK JESDANUN ANNVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- With high-tech bomb-detection gear, Pennsylvania National Guard experts can help police narcotics units tell in seconds whether a car door or even a dollar bill contains traces of illegal drugs. The equipment costs more than $100,000 and requires specialized training that many police departments cannot afford. Increasingly, they have been turning to the National Guard for that and other gear, including night-vision equipment and helicopters. But counterdrug programs run by the National Guard in Pennsylvania and other states are reaching a crossroads. The outcome of a budget struggle in Washington could shape governors' future role in the drug war through troops under their command. President Clinton asked Congress to fund National Guard counterdrug programs at $148 million in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, down $13 million from this year. That would represent an 18 percent cut since 1997, when the programs got $180 million. States already have had to pull back Guard personnel assigned to counterdrug missions, and officials say they cannot absorb additional cuts without permanently losing skilled soldiers. ``It takes awhile and a lot of investment to train soldiers to do missions that call for significant skills,'' said Col. John Mosbey, director of counterdrug programs with the federal National Guard Bureau. ``If we lose those people, ... we can't get them back even if the budget later increases.'' Once publicity-shy Guard officers, used to playing a support role in the drug war while leaving the headlines to other agencies, have stepped up their lobbying. Officers from several states brought their anti-drug gear to the Capitol in March, and some have invited lawmakers and their staffs to tour the facilities at home. There are signs the campaign is working. Before beginning its August recess, the Senate passed a defense budget that adds $20 million to the president's request. The House added about $10 million in related National Guard support. Lawmakers are to work out final numbers soon. ``From a political standpoint, if you don't ask for money and show what you are doing, you're not going to get it,'' said Capt. Marc T. Arellano, a counterdrug operations officer with the New Mexico National Guard. The questions over the National Guard's funding come as the overall federal drug-control budget is climbing. Clinton proposed $17.1 billion in 1999, a $1.1 billion increase. ``They are hard questions, to decide tradeoffs in funding,'' said White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey. ``The major increases in investments are in prevention and treatment.'' McCaffrey said the Guard has a role, through a demand-reduction component that reaches 8,000 communities, but most prevention and treatment programs are run through other federal agencies. Nationwide, up to 4,000 Guard personnel support thousands of drug-control missions each year, helping to train law enforcement personnel, translate conversations from other languages, lend night-vision photographic equipment and trail suspects by helicopter. ``Most police can't afford to purchase helicopters and pay for fuel, pilots and upkeep,'' said Lt. Leigh Ramos, an officer with Oklahoma's program. ``It's something the National Guard already has.'' Guard members, in turn, get training they could apply to wartime and other emergency situations in which they may be called later to assist. The program got its start in the mid-1970s when Hawaii's National Guard was assigned to marijuana-eradication duty. Other states followed suit, and Congress made the program official in 1989 and authorized federal funding for counterdrug missions. Some guardsmen are assigned to specific police departments for months at a time, while others assist the Customs Service and the Postal Service with cargo and mail inspection. Even at current funding levels, the Guard has had to turn down hundreds of requests for assistance. Law enforcement officials say they do value whatever assistance is provided. Lt. John Goshert of the Harrisburg, Pa., Police Bureau's narcotics unit said the Guard provides a major boost. ``The one hour you are actually arresting somebody is supported by eight to 10 hours of investigation and surveillance and getting things ready for court,'' he said. ``They have the specialized equipment and personnel.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marihuana Reconsidered (An Undated But Recent Addition To The Overseas Publishers Association Web Site By Dr. Lester Grinspoon Of Harvard Medical School, An Expert On The Healing Herb, Provides A Learned Introduction To The Topic, And Explains Why Medical Marijuana Patients Might Benefit Most From The Complete Decriminalization Of Cannabis) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 09:03:06 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Medical Marihuana Reconsidered Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Thanks to a tip from the MAP Guestbook Source: The Gordon and Breach Publishing Group Author: Lester Grinspoon, M.D. Pubdate: Unknown Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.gbhap-us.com/top.htm Note: The following is an exception to our policy of not posting web based only articles. I could not identify exactly when this article was first posted on the above website, and found no evidence that it is also in print. The website posting comes in three versions, Omni, Pro and Anti. This is the Omni version. - Richard Lake, Sr. Editor, DrugSense News Service Also note: Dr. Grinspoon's website is at: http://www.rxmarihuana.com/ "MEDICAL MARIHUANA RECONSIDERED" The medical value of marihuana has become increasingly clear to many physicians and patients. There are three reasons for this. First, it is remarkably non-toxic. Unlike most of the medicines in the present pharmacopeia, it has never caused an overdose death. Its short-term and long-term side effects are minimal compared to medicines for which it will be substituted. Second, once patients no longer have to pay the prohibition tariff, it will be much less expensive than the medicines it replaces. Third, it is remarkably versatile, useful in treating a diverse array of symptoms and syndromes. As the number of people who have experience with medical marihuana grows, the discussion is turning away from whether it is effective to how it should be made available. When I first considered this issue in the early 1970s, I thought the main problem was its classification in Schedule I of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act of 1970, which describes it as having a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the United States, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. At that time I naively believed that a change to Schedule II would overcome a major obstacle, because clinical research would be possible and prescriptions would eventually be allowed. I was the first witness at a joint meeting of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration that was convened to consider a petition for rescheduling introduced by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in 1972. At that time I had already come to believe that the greatest harm in recreational use of marihuana came not from the drug itself but from the effects of prohibition. But I saw that as a separate issue; I thought that, like opiates and cocaine, cannabis could be used medically while remaining outlawed for other purposes. I also thought that once it was transferred to Schedule II, research on marihuana would be pursued eagerly, since it had shown such interesting therapeutic properties. From this research we would eventually be able to determine how prescriptions could be provided and who would be responsible for quality control. Now, 25 years later, I have begun to doubt this. Reclassification may turn out to have more symbolic than practical value. It may be only a transitional phase in the process that leads to a workable accommodation for the medical marihuana. It would be highly desirable if marihuana could be approved as a legitimate medicine within the present federal regulatory system, but it now seems to me unlikely. First, I should note that cannabis has already been a legally accepted medicine in the United States several times. Until 1941, when it was dropped after the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, it was one of the drugs listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia. If it had not been removed at that time, it would have been grandfathered into the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act as a prescription drug, just a cocaine and morphine were. Again, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, cannabis was used medically by hundreds of patients (mainly in the form of synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol) in projects conducted by several of the states for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy. This episode ended because each state program had to comply with an enormous federal paperwork burden that was more than the physicians and administrators involved could bear. The federal government itself approved the use of cannabis as a medicine in 1976 by instituting the Compassionate IND program, under which physicians could obtain an individual Investigational New Drug application (IND) for a patient to receive cannabis. This program too was so bureaucratically burdened that in the course of its history only about three dozen patients ever received marihuana, and only eight are still receiving it. When the program was discontinued permanently in 1992, the Chief of the Public Health Service gave the following reason: "If it is perceived that the Public Health Service is going around giving marihuana to folks, there would be a perception that this stuff can't be so bad. It gives a bad signal. I don't mind doing that if there is no other way of helping these people...But there is not a shred of evidence that smoking marihuana assists a person with AIDS." In effect, this action was analogous to the recall of a prescription drug, but without any evidence of toxic effects to support it. Today, even transferring marihuana to Schedule II would not be enough to make it available as a prescription drug. Such drugs must undergo rigorous, expensive, and time-consuming tests before they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for marketing as medicines. The purpose is to protect the consumer by establishing safety and efficacy. Because no drug is completely safe or always efficacious, an approved drug has presumably satisfied a risk-benefit analysis. When physicians prescribe for individual patients they conduct an informal analysis of a similar kind, taking into account not just the drug's overall safety and efficacy, but its risk and benefits for a given patient with a given condition. The formal drug approval procedures help to provide physicians with the information they need to make this analysis. This system is designed to regulate the commercial distribution of drug company products and protect the public against false or misleading claims about their efficacy and safety. The drug is generally a single synthetic chemical the company has developed and patented. It submits an application to the Food and Drug Administration and tests it first for safety in animals and then for clinical efficacy and safety. The company must present evidence from double-blind controlled studies showing that the drug is more effective than a placebo and as effective as available drugs. Case reports, expert opinion, and clinical experience are not considered sufficient. The standards have been tightened since the present system was established in 1962, and few applications that were approved in the early 1960s would be approved today on the basis of the same evidence. Certainly we need more laboratory and clinical research to improve our understanding of medicinal cannabis. We need to know how many patients and which patients with each symptom or syndrome are likely to find cannabis more effective than existing drugs. We also need to know more about its effects on the immune system in immunologically impaired patients, its interactions with other medicines, and its possible uses for children. But I have come to doubt whether the FDA rules should apply to cannabis. There is no question about its safety. It is one of humanity's oldest medicines, used for thousands of years by millions of people with very little evidence of significant toxic effects. More is known about its adverse effects than about those of most prescription drugs. The American government has conducted a decades-long multimillion dollar research program in a futile attempt to demonstrate toxic effects that would justify the prohibition of cannabis as a nonmedical drug. This is an enormously important consideration in thinking of cannabis as a medicine. One of its uses, for example, is the treatment of chronic pain. This symptom is usually treated with opioid narcotics or synthetic analgesics that are far riskier. Opioids are addictive and tolerance develops; an overdose can be lethal. The most commonly used synthetic analgesics -- aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen -- are not addictive, but they are often insufficiently powerful. Furthermore, they have serious side effects. Stomach bleeding and ulcer induced by aspirin and NSAIDs are the most common serious adverse drug reactions reported in the United States, causing an estimated 7,000 deaths each year. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage or kidney failure when used regularly for long periods of time; a recent study suggests it may account for 10% of all cases of end-stage renal disease, a condition that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Results of comparisons between cannabis and other drugs are similar, whatever medical use we consider -- anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, antidepressant, antinauseant. Should time and resources be wasted to demonstrate for the FDA what is already so obvious? As for efficacy, some believe that has been proven too, although others disagree. During the 1970s and '80s several of the state-sponsored research projects I mentioned suggested that marihuana had advantages over both oral tetrahydrocannabinol and other medicines in the treatment of nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy. But as long as the imprimatur of science can be given only to rigorous double-blind controlled studies, the case for marihuana has not been made. The assertion that it is a useful medicine rests almost entirely on case reports and clinical experience, just as it did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A double-blind controlled study may be the best way to prove the relative value of a new medicine whose advantages over established drugs are not obvious. But it is not the only way to demonstrate efficacy. The focus of controlled trials is usually statistical differences in effects in groups of patients, but medicine has always been concerned mainly with individuals,whose needs can be obscured in such experiments, especially when little effort is made to identify distinctive characteristics that affect their responses. The value of case reports and clinical experience is often underestimated. They are the source of much of our knowledge of synthetic medicines as well as plant derivatives. As Dr. Louis Lasagna has pointed out, controlled experiments were not needed to recognize the therapeutic potential of chloral hydrate, barbiturates, aspirin, curare, or insulin. The therapeutic value of penicillin was widely recognized after it had been given to only six patients. Similar evidence revealed the use of propranolol for hypertension, diazepam for status epilepticus (a state of continuous seizure activity), and imipramine for childhood enuresis (bedwetting). These drugs had originally been approved by regulators for other purposes. As early as 1976 several small and imperfect studies, not widely known in the medical community, had shown that an aspirin a day could prevent a second heart attack. In 1988 a large-scale experiment demonstrated effects so dramatic that the researchers decided to stop the experiment to publish the life-saving results. On one estimate, as many as twenty thousand deaths a year might have been prevented from the mid-1970s to the late-1980s if the medical establishment had been quicker to recognize the value of aspirin. The lesson is suggestive: marihuana, like aspirin, is a substance known to be unusually safe and with enormous potential medical benefits. There is one contrast, however; it was impossible to be sure about the effect of aspirin on heart attacks without a long-term study involving large numbers of patients, but innumerable reports show that cannabis often brings immediate relief of suffering that can be measured in a single person. Case histories are, in a sense, simply the smallest research studies, and the case reports on marihuana are numerous and persuasive. There is an experimental method known as the N-of-1 clinical trial, or the single-patient randomized trial. In this type of experiment, active and placebo treatments are administered randomly in alternation or succession to a patient. The method is often useful when large-scale controlled studies are impossible or inappropriate because the disorder is rare, the patient is atypical, or the response to the treatment is idiosyncratic.  Some medical marihuana patients we know of carried out similar experiments on themselves by alternating periods of cannabis use with periods of no use. They had such symptoms as nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, loss of vision, seizures, and debilitating pruritus (itching). It is certain that cannabis won its reputation as a medicine partly because many other patients around the world have carried out the same kind of experiment. Admittedly, in these experiments cannabis could not be administered completely at random and there was no placebo, but in any case its psychoactive effects are usually unmistakable, and few patients or observers could be deceived by a placebo. Case histories and other reports of clinical experience are sometimes disparagingly dismissed as merely "anecdotal" evidence, which is said to be irrelevant because only apparent successes are counted and failures are ignored. It is true that cannabis may be useful for some people with, say, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, or depression, and not for others. But cannabis is so safe that if even a few patients with a given symptom could get that kind of relief, they should be allowed access to it. Even if it made sense to put marihuana through the FDA process, there would be other problems in taking the conventional route to medical legitimacy. As I mentioned, FDA procedures are designed for single chemical compounds, but marihuana is a plant material containing many chemicals. Also, it is taken chiefly by smoking, and no other drug in the present pharmacopeia is delivered by this route. Thousands of people are already getting relief from cannabis,and they would not be risking severe penalties if they did not believe that it was more useful than conventional medicines. Can we expect them to put their pain and suffering on hold for years while the established procedures grind away? And where will the money to finance all this come from? New medicines are usually introduced by drug companies, which spend an estimated two hundred million dollars on the development of each product. They are willing to undertake these costs only because they hope for large profits during the 20 years they own the patent. Obviously pharmaceutical companies cannot patent marihuana, and in fact may oppose its acceptance as a medicine because it will compete with their own products. Drug companies may be interested in synthetic cannabinoids and cannabinoid analogs -- individual chemical compounds that do not have to be smoked and might be aimed at specific symptoms with little psychoactive effect. But their patentability and the costs of development would make these drugs expensive, and many patients would understandably prefer to buy or grow their own marihuana and endure (or enjoy) the psychoactive effects. Even now, the minority of cannabis-using patients who find Marinol (dronabinol, or synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol) useful generally prefer whole smoked marihuana because it is not only more effective but often less expensive despite the prohibition tariff. Only the U.S. government has sufficient resources to explore medical marihuana, but its record on the matter is, to put it mildly, not reassuring. The government has opposed any loosening of restrictions on clinical research with cannabis, including the research needed for FDA approval. The government will ultimately provide support for this research, but that will happen only gradually as public pressure increases. A proposed study of marihuana's safety as a treatment for the AIDS wasting syndrome has recently been approved and funded, but only after four years of obstruction -- and not because anything new has been learned about cannabis, but only because the political climate has changed in the wake of the recent California initiative. But just for the sake of argument, let us suppose that government resistance evaporates and marihuana is approved for, say, the relief of nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy. Furthermore, we can leave aside the issue of who would provide the marihuana (the government or marihuana farmers under contract?) and who would distribute it (pharmacies will need special facilities to keep fresh supplies). There are other reasons why making marihuana a Schedule II prescription drug would probably be unworkable in the long run. As a Schedule II drug, marihuana would be classified as having a high potential for abuse and limited medical use. Restrictions on these drugs are becoming tighter. Nine states now require doctors to make out prescriptions for many of them in triplicate so that one copy can be sent to a centralized computer system that tracks every transaction.  In 1989 New York state added the benzodiazepines (Valium and related drugs) to the list of substances monitored in this way. Research has shown that since then many patients in New York who have a legitimate need for benzodiazepines are being denied them, and less safe and effective drugs are being substituted. Increased regulation caused by fear of drug abuse has been to the disadvantage rather than the advantage of patients. Obviously, in such situations physicians are often afraid to recommend what they know or suspect to be the best medicine because they might lose their reputations, licenses, and careers. Pharmacies might be reluctant to carry marihuana as a Schedule II drug, and physicians would hesitate to prescribe it. Through computer-based monitoring, the DEA could know who was receiving prescription marihuana and how much. It could hound physicians who by its standards prescribed cannabis too freely or for "off-label" purposes the government considered unacceptable. The potential for harassment would be extremely discouraging. Unlike other Schedule II drugs such as cocaine and morphine, cannabis has many potential medical uses. Many patients might try to persuade their doctors that they had a legitimate claim to a prescription. Doctors would not want the responsibility of making such decisions if they were constantly under threat of discipline by the state. In fact, since the passage of the medical marihuana initiative in California, I have received calls from patients who say their doctors are afraid to recommend (not prescribe) marihuana because of threats from the federal government -- even though those threats have been declared by the courts to be legally baseless. There is actually no case for such restrictions on cannabis -- unless you think that third-party reefer-madness anxiety qualifies as a risk. Cannabis is not accurately described as a Schedule II drug. It does not have a high potential for abuse and, above all, it does not have limited medical uses. For example, a physician might sensibly and safely prescribe it for muscle spasms and chronic pain resulting from a variety of conditions, from paraplegia to premenstrual syndrome. If the government and medical licensing boards insist on tight restrictions, challenging physicians as though cannabis were a dangerous drug every time it is used for any new patient or any new purpose, there will be constant conflict with one of two outcomes: patients do not get all the benefits they should from this medicine, or they get the benefits by abandoning the legal system for the black market or their own gardens. In fact, the range of beneficial uses of marihuana is so broad that it may ultimately be wrong to single out the strictly medical uses for approval. We all know of people who use it to ease everyday discomforts, heighten creativity, or help them in their work. It can serve as an intellectual stimulant, and it can also enhance the appreciation of food, sex, natural beauty, music, and art. It can promote emotional intimacy. Cannabis use simply cannot be made to conform to the boundaries established by present medical institutions. In this case the demand for legal enforcement of a distinction between medical and nonmedical use is incompatible with the realities of human need. I know that to say this is to invite the charge that medical marihuana advocates are only using medicine as a stalking horse for the legalization of nonmedical use. This false accusation is actually a mirror image of the view taken by enemies of marihuana. They are unwilling to admit that it can be a safe and effective medicine largely because they are committed to exaggerating its dangers when used for other purposes. Nevertheless, it would be hypocritical to deny that there is a connection. Tolerance for marihuana use in general is growing as experience of its many medical uses becomes more widespread, because everyone understands that one important aspect of its medical usefulness is its safety. For 26 years I have been urging the legalization of marihuana for general use. That would be desirable for many reasons I cannot go into here. But at one time I thought that medical use could be treated as a distinct issue. Even people who might never see the urgency of legalizing nonmedical use would be willing to respond to medical need. Now I have come to the conclusion that this distinction may be invalid, and that on the contrary, making marihuana fully available as a medicine is another reason for general legalization. Ideally, cannabis should be available under more or less the same rules now applied to alcohol. If the present political and legal system is too ossified to accommodate that change, as I fear it is, we must at least encourage a climate of tolerance for all marihuana use, so that the laws will not be enforced in all their pointless harshness. Doctors must no longer fear that they have something to lose by recommending marihuana, even when the law is uncertain, as in the California example I just mentioned. Patients should no longer have to fear that their motives will be questioned and they will be charged with "improper" use. That will be possible only when it is clear that no one is being arrested or persecuted for any cannabis use. The full potential of this remarkable drug, and its medical potential in particular, will be realized only when, officially or unofficially, the present era of prohibition has ended. References 1.) L. Grinspoon and J. B. Bakalar, Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine, revised and expanded edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997). 2.) G. Singh, D. R. Ramey, D. Morfeld, H. Shi, H. T. Hatoum, and J. F. Fries, "Gastrointestinal Trace Complications of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis," Archives of Internal Medicine 156 (July 22, 1996): 1530-1536. 3.) T. V. Perneger, P. Whelton, and M. J. Klag, "Risk of Kidney Failure Associated With the Use of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs," New England Journal of Medicine 331:25 (December 22, 1994): 1675+1679; P. M. Ronco and A. Flahault, "Drug-induced End-stage Renal Disease," Editorial, New England Journal of Medicine 331:25 (December 22, 1994): 1711-1712. 4.) L. Lasagna, "Clinical Trials in the Natural Environment," in Drugs Between Research and Regulations, ed. C. Steichele, W. Abshagen, and J. Koch-Weser (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1985), 45-49. 5.) E. B. Larson, "N-of-1 Clinical Trials: A Technique for Improving Medical Therapeutics," Western Journal of Medicine 152 (January 1990): 52-56; G. H. Guyatt, J. L. Keller, R. Jaeschke, et al., "The N-of-1 Randomized Controlled Trial: Clinical Usefulness," Annals of Internal Medicine 112 (1990): 293-299. 6.) "State Multiple Prescription Programs," State Health Legislation Report of the American Medical Association 15 (August 1988): 35-339. 7.) H. I. Schwartz, "Negative Clinical Consequences of Triplicate Prescription Regulation of Benzodiazepines," Hospital and Community Psychiatry 43 (April 1992): 382-385; M. Weintraub, S. Singh, L. Byrne, et al., "Consequences of the 1989 New York State Triplicate Benzodiazepine Prescription Regulations," JAMA 266 (1991): 2392-2397; R. S. Hoffman, M. G. Wipfler, M.A. Maddaloni, et al.,"Has the New York State Triplicate Benzodiazepine Prescription Regulation Influenced Sedative-Hypnotic Overdoses?" New York State Journal of Medicine 91 (1991): 436-439. Copyright 1996 -- 1998 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) N.V.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Michelle Was Bright And Loving Before Drugs (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Toronto Sun' From The Mother Of A Viciously Murdered Prostitute Addicted To Heroin Blames 'The Law Of The Land,' Which Will Not Allow Addicts To Be Placed In Rehabilitation Against Their Will) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: LTE: Michelle was bright and loving before drugs Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 09:29:24 -0700 Lines: 34 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 5 September 1998 Section: Letter of the Day: Michelle was bright and loving before drugs I would like to put a human face on my daughter, Michelle Fiddick, who was viciously murdered in July, 1996. Although media reports have always referred to her as a prostitute, I am enclosing her picture to humanize her as a person, someone more than just a prostitute. Michelle was a bright, loving and generous person. She had been married and had borne two sons at a happier time in her life. Unfortunately she acquired a drug habit somewhere along the way, leading to estrangement from her family -- father, mother, five sisters and three brothers. At the time of her death, she was very much down and out, with no money or even a place to stay that night. That's not to say that prostitution was the only way out. She could have gone for rehabilitation if we had been able to place her in a centre where she could have been cured of her addiction. However, the law of the land will not allow addicts to be placed in rehabilitation against their will. That led her to being on the streets and ultimately being stabbed, her body arranged in a crucifixion position and then set ablaze with gasoline at Fraser River Park. Ferris Bortoletto, Chase
------------------------------------------------------------------- Top Cop Says Lying OK ('The Edmonton Sun' Says The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Don't Like To Advertise Their Right To Lie To Suspects) Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 10:19:29 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Top Cop Says Lying OK Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/ Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Author: Jeremy Loome -- Staff Writer TOP COP SAYS LYING OK Lying to and deceiving those involved in the Jason Dix murder investigation was necessary to build a case against him, northern Alberta's top Mountie said yesterday. Two murder charges against Dix, 33, were dismissed Thursday for lack of evidence after a four-year probe in which, court heard, police repeatedly lied to Dix, his friends and associates while trying to build a case against him. That's nothing new, says assistant commissioner Don McDermid. Mounties are allowed to lie and frequently must. "Although some may not be pleased with the techniques and methods used, no rules were broken. And until I'm satisfied that rules were broken, what can we do? If we're not lying to cause an innocent confession, then we can use it," McDermid explained. "Joe Citizen may not like it but did we really do anything but offend people who are looking at one side of the story?" Dix may fit the latter description but he said yesterday the trickery went too far. He's considering a civil suit. "I don't think it's acceptable to me. They didn't just lie to me, they lied to everybody - my ex-wife, my mom, my dad, and so on and so forth. It didn't matter to them," he said. "There has to be other tactics. I understand that the police have to use deception and trickery to catch the bad guys but it goes overboard when they start lying to my mom and dad, my wife. My wife was lied to repeatedly so that they could use her. And they did. "She said at one point that 'if he ever failed the polygraph, I'm gonna leave him.' So what did they do? They told everybody I failed." In addition to those lies, Dix was told cops had crime-scene evidence against him, had seen him burying the gun and was seen near the murder scene on the day Tim Orydzuk and James Deiter were gunned down while working at the Crown Packaging plant in Sherwood Park. McDermid said the force doesn't advertise its right to lie. "We don't put it in the books we produce for the general public to read because it diminishes our opportunities to use it to solve other crimes," he said. It also draws judicial wrath. At Dix's preliminary hearing, Judge John Maher called the lying "deplorable." "The investigation of crimes is not a game pitting one team against an accused," Maher said. "The investigation ... must remain independent, objective and fair. The fact of the matter is the police were out to get the accused." McDermid says that's their job. If they didn't use every legal means available, the public would be at least as unhappy. "It may not be morally the best thing to do, but it's not morally wrong either," he said. "If we played by the rules of a Sunday school teacher, I don't think we'd win too many cases." One officer, Cpl. Randall Marchand, was disciplined for his handling of the initial investigation, which ruled the shooting deaths an accidental electrocution. He has since retired.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Illegal Crops Smoked Out ('The Ottawa Sun' Says A Three-Month Investigation By Local Prohibition Agents Led To Two Separate Raids Yesterday Against The Booming Ottawa Valley Marijuana Cultivation Business - Police Seized Plants They Valued At More Than $1.7 Million) Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 20:20:55 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Illegal Crops Smoked Out Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 Source: Ottawa Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/OttawaSun/ ILLEGAL CROPS SMOKED OUT Regional drug squad officers gave local marijuana growers a harvest downer yesterday after a pair of raids. In two separate strikes against the booming Ottawa Valley reefer business, police seized plants worth more than $1.7 million -- the bounty of a three-month probe. The first raid was executed on property on Frank Kenny Rd. in Cumberland Twp. where detectives discovered a field of marijuana plants they say had a street value of more than $1 million. Charged with a number of drug-related offences, including production of a controlled substance, is Hoosein Moodley, 26, of Ottawa. On Thursday, acting on a farmer's tip, detectives discovered a large number of marijuana plants worth $700,000 in the middle of a cornfield. Some of the plants were three metres high. Police are still attempting to identify the persons responsible for planting the pot. Insp. Ian Davidson of the regional police said in both cases property owners were unaware pot was growing on their land. "These were extremely valuable crops, and it's extremely unusual to seize two large crops back to back," he said. In recent years, marijuana cultivation has exploded in the Ottawa Valley. "It's more prevalent for a number of reasons," Davidson said. "The main things are that the overhead is low and there's a very high rate of return." He said police occasionally do flyovers looking for marijuana crops.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tribe May Shape Course Of Drug War - Colombia Offers Opium, Coca Farmers Alternative ('The Dallas Morning News' Talks To A Small-Time Indian Farmer Who, Together With Others Like Him, Helps To Grow Half The Raw Opium And Coca Produced In Colombia, Which Supposedly Supplies 60 Percent Of The Heroin And Most Of The Cocaine Sold In The United States - Such Farmers Are At The Center Of An Expanding Debate Between The US And Colombian Governments About How Best To Stanch The Flow Of Drugs) From: "W.H.E.N. - Bob Owen" (email@example.com) To: "-News" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Tribe may shape course of drug war Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:32:54 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Tribe may shape course of drug war Colombia offers opium, coca farmers alternative 09/05/98 By Tod Robberson / The Dallas Morning News GUAMBIA, Colombia - Here on the 9,000-foot-high slopes of southeastern Colombia, the backyard gardens of Guambiano Indians like Jose and his two sons, Venancio and Jacinto, may well shape the course of the war on drugs, officials say. In the garden plot where Jose once cultivated onions and potatoes under an internationally financed crop-substitution program, hundreds of plump opium poppies are in full purple-and-red bloom. Soon Jose and his sons, who would not give their last names, will score each poppy bulb with a sharp piece of wood, then collect the white opium gum that oozes forth. Appearing oblivious to the enormous international impact of their harvest, the three men said they can sell a quarter-thimbleful of opium gum for about 50 cents - far more than they can earn from an entire sack of potatoes. The men said they were unaware that the end product of their harvest would, in all likelihood, make its way onto America's streets as heroin. In fact, they said they did not even know what heroin is. But international anti-narcotics enforcers say small farmers such as Jose are the source of half the raw opium and coca produced in Colombia, which supplies 60 percent of the heroin and most of the cocaine sold on U.S. streets. Now these farms are at the center of an expanding debate between the U.S. and Colombian governments about how best to stanch the flow of drugs. The Clinton administration argues that the most effective way to stop drug production is to hit it here at the source with chemical herbicides. The bulk of Washington's $100 million in annual anti-narcotics aid to Colombia is devoted to eradication, and the administration favors using increasingly harsh herbicides in hopes of putting farmers like Jose out of business for a long time. Colombian officials, led by President Andres Pastrana, counter that the environmental price of herbicide use is too high, that the success record is spotty, and that the best long-term solution is to use alternative-development programs to persuade farmers to give up illicit-crop production voluntarily. "The whole Colombian drug policy is being rethought," said Klaus Nyholm, chief representative in Colombia of the U.N. Drug Control Program. "We're not thrilled with fumigating small-farm cultivators." Mr. Nyholm contends, with concurrence by government officials, that most environmental damage occurs when small farmers abandon their land because of herbicide-induced devastation. It forces them to relocate to untouched jungle areas or mountain slopes, where they cut down virgin forest and begin the cycle anew. Both sides are watching closely to see whether a faltering, 13-month-old experiment with voluntary crop eradication here on the 44,000-acre Guambiano Indian reservation, in the southeastern province of Cauca, can alter the course of the war on drugs. The program's success could mean increased international funding, including aid pledged by President Clinton, to bolster the $3 million in U.N. aid that Colombia already receives each year for alternative development programs. Although the Guambianos adamantly reject the notion of police sweeps and herbicide eradication, they say the Colombian government and international community have never honored their promises to help them out financially once their opium crops were uprooted. "They promised us money, but we haven't received anything," Venancio explained. It all began on July 22, 1997, when then-President Ernesto Samper and a large international delegation arrived here to celebrate the first and only time an entire Colombian community had agreed to uproot its illicit drug crops and make a fresh, legal start. Mr. Samper called it "a historic act that we hope will serve as an example for the entire international community." With 1,300 acres of opium under cultivation, the Guambiano reservation was the source of nearly 7 percent of all opium grown in Colombia, according to U.N. data. "We were going to show the world it could be done," said Mario Calambaz, the Guambiano tribal vice governor. "We were trying to show that militarization, fumigation and occupation was not the solution." Mr. Samper promised to help the tribe make the difficult transition with nearly $1.5 million in farm credits, low-interest loans and other financial incentives. He also presented the tribe with 45 industrial sewing machines donated by China, 19 lawn mowers, two 3-ton trucks and 10 water pumps. But today, Mr. Calambaz said, only two sewing machines, one lawn mower, one truck and one pump remain. The rest were carted away by government officials shortly after Mr. Samper left. Barely $500,000 of the promised government aid has been delivered. One-third of the farmers who had given up opium cultivation have now returned to it. Tribal Governor Misael Aranda said the trend is worrisome. Before Mr. Samper's visit, roughly 80 percent of Guambiano farms were devoted to opium-poppy cultivation. The 16,000-member tribe suddenly found itself awash in drug money, flowing in at the rate of $2.2 million a year. "Fast money" had destroyed the tribe's centuries-old traditions, Mr. Aranda said. Families were falling apart. Instead of donning the tribesman's traditional calf-length purple kilt and black derby, boys were adopting Western forms of dress. Young men were racing through town on motorcycles purchased with drug proceeds. Guns were showing up everywhere. Even more than the offer of government help, Mr. Aranda said, the Guambianos decided to uproot their opium for the sake of the tribe's survival. But even that incentive apparently was not enough. "There was resistance from the beginning. Now there is much, much more," Mr. Aranda said. "The people are frustrated." Mr. Calambaz said the failure of the government to abide by its promises has made the governing council look like "patsies," and that some tribesmen have gotten so angry they have threatened violence. "The narcos are playing a role. They're pressuring people. They're coming to them and saying, 'Look at the lies that your council told you,' " he said. "We don't have any protection. Until now there has been no violence, but it is coming." Juan Carlos Palou, director of the federal alternative-development program known as Plante, acknowledged that the program is struggling. "It's a very complex subject. If the peasant farmer doesn't have access to income, then he abandons the legal route," he said. "We believe this (alternative development) is the solution over the long run, but it has to have political support. More than money, it needs political backing." During a recent trip to Guambia, Mr. Palou said he urged the tribal council not to give up. "I told them: If this fails, it's not only the Guambiano community that loses. It means failure for the whole program of peaceful elimination of illicit crops," Mr. Palou said. Despite the problems, word of the Guambianos' efforts has spread to other villages and indigenous communities in the area. About 10 miles south of Guambia, in the town of Pitayo, the governing council of the Paez Indian tribe voted late last year to embark on a similar effort. Paez leaders say they are having a lower initial success rate than the Guambianos, with only 60 percent participation so far among the tribe's 5,200 members. Olivia Velasco, treasurer of the tribal council, complained of problems similar to those of the Guambianos in resisting the constant lure of easy drug money. Standing beside his small opium field, even Jose agreed that the income from illicit crops was having a bad effect on his own people. "Some who grow this (opium) live very well. They don't want to work anymore," he said. Asked why he continues to grow opium, Jose replied, "No more hunger."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Locking Out The Deadly Habit ('The Courier Mail' In Australia Describes The Problematical Campaign To Keep Illegal Drugs Out Of Queensland Prisons - A Crackdown After Six Inmates At Sir David Longland Prison Overdosed On Heroin During One Weekend In July Has Seen Positive Drug Tests Decline From From About 27 Percent To 2 Percent, But A Critic Charges That Overcrowding, Lack Of Drug Treatment Programmes, And A Lack Of Support For Former Inmates Once They Are Out In The Community Means Prisons Can't Realistically Help Inmates With Their Drug Problems) Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 20:17:47 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Locking Out the Deadly Habit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Source: Courier Mail (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, Sep 5 1998 Author: Paula Doneman, chief police reporter LOCKING OUT THE DEADLY HABIT How do you abstain when truthfully you don't want to and even after you have completed and learnt what the courses offer and after you have spent years of your life in prison? Abstain in an environment where drugs are freely available? - Inmate's perspective A FEMALE prison officer at the Sir David Longland high-security jail picked up the smiling baby brought in by a woman visiting her partner. A bag of drugs spilled out of the baby's blanket. As officials questioned the woman, she hesitated when asked the child's name. She didn't know it. She had "borrowed" the child to smuggle in the drugs. Shortly afterwards, a man also visiting the jail asked for his baby back. His wife had "loaned" her baby to the woman - a complete stranger - to allay suspicion as she took the drugs into the jail. Such are the desperate measures resorted to by some to feed narcotics into Queensland prisons. Unofficial figures estimate that more than 80 percent of prisoners are serving time for drug-related offences - and they don't leave their addiction at the prison gate. Others develop an addiction while inside. Prison officer Jason Fairweather, who is visits co-ordinator at Sir David Longland, says it is not uncommon for visitors to use children as drug carriers or as shields from surveillance cameras and the gaze of officers when passing drugs. "It might be that the mother will go into the toilet with the child and place the drugs in the back pocket of its pants and then go back to the visits," he says. "Dad then puts the child on his lap, takes the drugs out and often will hide behind their kid to place the drugs in their mouth." Now, after a period of inaction, Queensland Corrections, the service provider for these jails, has decided it's time to get tough. Measures being taken by prison authorities are wide-ranging, and include: * Strip-searches of prisoners before and after they enter the visiting area. * A regular team of officers who can detect, from week to week, any out-of-character behaviour by prisoners or their visitors. * High-tech drug-detecting equipment, used on visitors, that can sniff out whether the person has had any contact with drugs in the previous 24 hours. * Educational signs and videos aimed at deterring visitors from smuggling drugs. * More sniffer dogs and a higher level of drug-detection training for officers. Three months ago, Brisbane Women's Prison introduced the high-tech drug detecting equipment and put up the warning signs. Visitors who are suspected of having had contact, or of carrying, drugs are given the option of going home or submitting to a possible strip and internal body search. General manager Paul Carter has reported a drop in positive urine analysis tests from about 27 percent to 2 percent. But Catholic Prison Ministry co-ordinator Denise Foley says that the get-tough measures are targeting the wrong people. She says such measures often are a knee-jerk reaction to political pressures placed on jail management and families, and inmates are penalised as a result. "While you have things like overcrowding, lack of drug programmes and a revolving-door policy because we offer nothing in terms of support once they (inmates) are out in the community, you cannot address drugs in jail," she says. Queensland Corrections established a task force to tackle the prison drug trade after six inmates at Sir David Longland overdosed on heroin during one weekend in July. Fairweather says heroin and cannabis are the two drugs most often used by inmates at the prison. "Intelligence tens us the prisoners tend to stick to heroin because marijuana stays in the system (blood) for two or three weeks and if they get tested, the THC comes up," he said. "With heroin, it stays in your system for two or three days; sometimes it is out of the system in six hours." Ironically, some of the efforts to crack down on drugs can push prisoners on to harder drugs. Fairweather and prisoner support groups say random urine tests for drugs are regularly conducted in Queensland jails and this has turned inmates to using heroin to avoid detection. But addiction alone is not the problem. Authorities say drugs are the cause of many incidents of violence in jails - murders, bashings and sexual assaults. Prisoners able to acquire and on-sell drugs are the power figures among inmates. Queensland Corrections acting chief executive officer Kevin Corcoran says sexual standovers are commonplace and often involve "heavy-duty" prisoners dealing drugs to vulnerable inmates. "The kids cannot pay the (drug) debt and then they become their sexual playthings for the remainder of their sentences," he says. "It's very hard to do much about it and very hard to control so you keep moving people around." Fairweather said it was almost impossible to control the actions of inmates' associates outside the jails. "We cannot stop them from depositing money into bank accounts or TAB accounts. Nor can you stop them pressuring families." Syringes are another form of currency, with one known to have been shared around for about five years. "They are hard to get into prison, which means prisoners often share needles -and pass on diseases such as hepatitis C." This problem is exacerbated by the decision by the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal ruling last year that to segregate HIV-positive prisoners is unlawful. Corcoran said prisoners had no way of cleaning syringes, which are illegal contraband. While some centres "unofficially" leave bleach for prisoners to use, this is not a total purifier when battling against HIV and hepatitis C. THE Queensland Corrective Services Commission does not intend to introduce a needle-exchange programme and is confident its drug programmes are comprehensive. The commission has no available data on the number of prisoners with hepatitis C but says interstate research suggests about 35 percent are infected. It has developed an educational brochure about hepatitis C aimed at reducing the transmission of it and other blood-borne diseases. "The commission also is about to trial methadone programmes at Brisbane Women's and Townsville jails to enable methadone users entering the system to continue their treatment." Prisoner legal service co-ordinator Karen Fletcher says much of the prison population is restless and confused as a result of the upheaval that Queensland jails have undergone since the mass breakout from Sir David Longland prison. "There is confusion around people's eligibility for community release programmes. The blanket response to the escapes and the sacking of the parole board last year has impacted on prisoners, giving them loss of hope and confidence in the system. They turn to hard drugs to deal with their frustrations because the goal posts keep changing. Prisons are a political football." Corrective Services Minister Tom Barton has no plans for introducing the former Coalition government's plan to allow anyone entering Queensland jails to be strip-searched and is considering revising ministerial guidelines for parole. Detective Inspector Key Robinson, general manager of the Proactive Intelligence Network, a police officer seconded to the prison service has suggested the introduction of drug-free units. His proposal would follow the example of Austria and introduce a scheme under which prisoners enter into a contract with the administration to remain drug-free. The aim is to break the drug-dependent cycle. He says benefits include higher productivity from the prison industry and a zero rate of escapes and deaths in custody.
------------------------------------------------------------------- MAP Focus Alert Number 80 - 'Reader's Digest' - A Rare Opportunity (The Media Awareness Project Asks You To Write A Quick E-Mail Letter Responding To The Egregious Propaganda About Marijuana Published In The September Issue Of The British 'Reader's Digest') Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 11:28:51 -0700 To: email@example.com From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: FOCUS Alert Readers Digest - A Rare Opportunity ***PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE*** FOCUS Alert #80 9/5/98 - Readers Digest - A Rare Opportunity Dear fellow Reformer Let's Just _DO_ It to the Readers Digest! They _asked_ us to! Readers Digest is one of the largest and most consistently pro drug war publications in existence (and one of the most consistently inaccurate on this subject). It is nothing short of a drug war mainstay and has been feeding prohibitionist propaganda to the heartland for decades. We have a rare opportunity to represent the reform viewpoint _at the request_ of this important publication. Recent challenges in the form of LTE's and when any management appear in the media including a direct challenges of Senior Editor Michael Barone regarding "High on a Lie" by Mark Greer on C-Span (May 5, 1998) may have lead to this apparent early opening to a change in mind set. The recent article READER'S DIGEST TO GET MAJOR OVERHAUL http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n234/a09.html Also indicates that they are becoming more keen to attract a younger audience. This is a huge opening for reformers. Please write to the readers Digest. WE NEED _BIG NUMBERS_ of letters to be effective. If you letter is published it will reach an incredible _16 million_ middle class subscribers. This is 8 times the circulation of the nations largest newspaper and has an ad value of more than $240 _PER WORD_ You CAN make a big difference WRITE A LETTER TODAY It's not what others do it's what YOU do *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID ( Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post your letters or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or return a copy to this address by simply hitting REPLY to this FOCUS Alert and pasting your letter in or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org *** CONTACT INFO Reader's Digest Michael Barone Senior Editor Terry Kirkpatrick Managing Editor Reader's Digest Rd Pleasantville NY 10570-7000 914-238-1000 FAX: 914-244-7641 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (Please Send your letter to BOTH addresses) *** ORIGINAL ARTICLE [snip to avoid duplication. - ed.) Don't miss the opportunity to bolster your letter with FACTS from http://www.drugsense.org/factbook/ *** RELATED ARTICLE: HIGH ON A LIE READER'S Digest MAY 1998 http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n330/a10.html *** SAMPLE LETTER (Sent) Dear Editor, Your article "Cannabis - The Truth" is an unbalanced piece of journalism. While approving the current bans on the drug, it contains all the evidence to demonstrate the futility of such an approach. The accepted dangers of cannabis, while more benign than some other common drugs, are not cogent reasons against its decrimalisation. They are, in fact, important factors favouring it. Indeed, only by controlling the suppy can we enable a reduction in the harm occurring from cannabis as has been done successfully in the cases of both tobacco and alcohol. The current bans against cannabis did not prevent any of the tragic cases you quote. Nor have the current prohibitions protected children who are virtually all exposed to cannabis before leaving school in western societies. Your review ignores the officially reported experience in Holland and South Australia which both decriminalised cannabis many years ago. There are no breakdowns of social mores in these jurisdictions and there could be no better evidence that the policy is worth closer examination rather than the out-of-hand condemnation you give it. Many community groups including medical and legal authorities have commended the policy. There have been benefits without any increase in reported cannabis use. Indeed, there is some evidence of reductions in cannabis consumption and less 'harder' drug use in these areas when compared to adjacent regions where existing probhition policies are rigorously pursued. Your review ignores the great majority of expert evidence and favours the description of a few anecdotal cases and a minority of workers in the field. Our experience involves millions of people over several thousand years of consumption of this drug. Your contention that there are more widespread dangers to be discovered is also hard to sustain. If it is true that Reader's Digest has a company policy which disapproves of 'harm reduction' principles then you have broken a rule of journalism requiring such a policy to be disclosed in a supposedly objective survey of the issue. The debate about 'harm reduction' itself is another issue you might consider covering separately. It is equally hard to argue against by the use of scientific evidence. Yours faithfully, Andrew Byrne .. (Contact info) ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR NAME CITY STATE AND PHONE - ONLY YOUR NAME AND CITY WILL BE PUBLISHED WRITE AWAY!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re - Cannabis - The Truth (A Letter Sent To The Editor Of The British 'Reader's Digest' By An Australian Physician Who Specializes In Drug Rehab Criticizes The Anti-Marijuana Propaganda In The Magazine's September Issue) Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 09:28:38 -0400 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: SENT: Letter to the Editor: "Cannabis - The Truth". (FWD) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com The following is a copy of a Letter to the Editor of Reader's Digest, UK sent in response to their article in the September issue which is at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n765.a07.html *** From: Andrew Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com CC: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Letter to the Editor: "Cannabis - The Truth". Dear Editor, Your article "Cannabis - The Truth" is an unbalanced piece of journalism. While approving the current bans on the drug, it contains all the evidence to demonstrate the futility of such an approach. The accepted dangers of cannabis, while more benign than some other common drugs, are not cogent reasons against its decrimalisation. They are, in fact, important factors favouring it. Indeed, only by controlling the suppy can we enable a reduction in the harm occurring from cannabis as has been done successfully in the cases of both tobacco and alcohol. The current bans against cannabis did not prevent any of the tragic cases you quote. Nor have the current prohibitions protected children who are virtually all exposed to cannabis before leaving school in western societies. Your review ignores the officially reported experience in Holland and South Australia which both decriminalised cannabis many years ago. There are no breakdowns of social mores in these jurisdictions and there could be no better evidence that the policy is worth closer examination rather than the out-of-hand condemnation you give it. Many community groups including medical and legal authorities have commended the policy. There have been benefits without any increase in reported cannabis use. Indeed, there is some evidence of reductions in cannabis consumption and less 'harder' drug use in these areas when compared to adjacent regions where existing probhition policies are rigorously pursued. Your review ignores the great majority of expert evidence and favours the description of a few anecdotal cases and a minority of workers in the field. Our experience involves millions of people over several thousand years of consumption of this drug. Your contention that there are more widespread dangers to be discovered is also hard to sustain. If it is true that Reader's Digest has a company policy which disapproves of 'harm reduction' principles then you have broken a rule of journalism requiring such a policy to be disclosed in a supposedly objective survey of the issue. The debate about 'harm reduction' itself is another issue you might consider covering separately. It is equally hard to argue against by the use of scientific evidence. Yours faithfully, Andrew Byrne .. *** Dr Andrew Byrne, General Practitioner, Drug and Alcohol, 75 Redfern Street, Redfern, New South Wales, 2016, Australia Tel (61 - 2) 9319 5524 Fax 9318 0631 Email email@example.com author of: "Methadone in the Treatment of Narcotic Addiction" and "Addict in the Family". *** Forwarded to this discussion list 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. More at: http://www.drugsense.org/crazy.htm We also sponsor an interactive chat room for activists. Point your web browser to: http://www.mapinc.org/chat/ And join the discussion. 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.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Controversial Drug Which Can Heal ('The Associated Press,' Noting A 'Cannabis Congress' Is Being Held In London Today To Look Into How The Legalisation Of Soft Drugs Could Be Effected, Provides Some Background Information About The Hardy Plant) Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 00:44:42 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: WIRE: A Controversial Drug Which Can Heal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 Source: Associated Press A CONTROVERSIAL DRUG WHICH CAN HEAL A "cannabis congress" looking into how the legalisation of soft drugs could work in practice was being held in London today. Cannabis sativa or Indian hemp, marijuana, pot, tea, weed, hash, ganja, dope, Mary Jane and countless other nicknames is a hardy plant which grows all over the world and has been in use for thousands of years. It is now the sixth most important glasshouse crop in Holland, after tomatoes. The active ingredient in cannabis is tetrahydrocannibol (THC). The dried leaves of the plant are smoked and, depending on the THC content, induce a mildly euphoric state. Users may also smoke crumbled resinous bits from pressed blocks of leaves and the most highly prized parts of the plant (because they contain the highest THC content) are the flowering tops. The decriminalisation debate is not new. On 24 July 1967, 65 prominent people signed an advertisement in The Times calling for cannabis legalisation. The ad began: "The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice." Cannabis sativa has been used as a medicine for centuries to treat pain, asthma, dysentry, sleeplessness, nausea, and convulsions. Medicinal use of cannabis was especially prominent in the 19th century. British doctors were allowed to prescribe cannabis as an oral tincture until 1971. More recently it has been claimed that cannabis can prevent nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy, alleviate muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis, relieve chronic pain, and help in the treatment of anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, and mood disorders. Cannabis is a "dirty drug", meaning that it contains a lot of different substances. There are more than 400 chemicals in cannabis, some of which are hazardous. At a conservative estimate, at least seven million people in the UK aged between 12 and 59 have taken cannabis at some time. Around 36% of young people under the age of 30 are likely to have tried the drug, and about 20% will have smoked cannabis in the last year.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana - Experts Mull Over Basics Of Cannabis Law (Another Account Of The London Cannabis Congress In Australia's 'Sydney Morning Herald') Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 06:07:22 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Australia: Marijuana: Experts Mull Over Basics Of Cannabis Law Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.smh.com.au/ Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 Page: 30 Author: Duncan Campbell, in London MARIJUANA: EXPERTS MULL OVER BASICS OF CANNABIS LAW REFORM If cannabis was legal, who would sell it? How would it be taxed? What restrictions would there be on advertising it? And how would its use be regulated? These questions are to be addressed in the first international conference on how cannabis should be regulated if it were legalised or decriminalised. Scientists, doctors and lawyers from Europe, Australia and North America are gathering in London for the Cannabis Congress today. The congress is being hosted by Release, the drugs advice agency and charity, and the Lindesmith Centre, a New York-based drug policy research institute funded by the financier Mr George Soros. "Most prominent scientists, medical professionals and policy experts agree that alternatives to cannabis prohibition need to be developed to both prevent further harm and protect individual civil liberties," said Mr Mike Goodman, director of Release. "Since opinion polls from around the world show growing support for decriminalisation, the purpose of this conference is to determine the best ways to regulate the distribution of cannabis." Lindesmith Centre director Mr Ethan Nadelman said: "As support for cannabis reform grows, more policymakers throughout the world are being faced with the challenge of regulating both the use and the distribution of cannabis." "This conference will address the challenge of cannabis control and seek practical alternatives as cannabis prohibition continues." The organisers say the conference marks a dramatic shift in the debate, from discussions of whether cannabis should be legalised to how it could be regulated after decriminalisation. Supporters of changes in the law argue that if cannabis was legal, it would cut crime and be a money-earner for governments, as well as allowing health risks to be monitored. Among speakers at the conference at Regent's College, in London, will be academics from the universities of Krakow, Amsterdam, Toronto and California, including experts in jurisprudence. The Guardian
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drugs Czar Calls For Testing Of Emergency Staff (Britain's 'Herald' Says Keith Hellawell, Apparently Responding To Yesterday's News That More Than 35 Percent Of The Men Physicians And 19 Percent Of The Women Physicians Who Had Graduated Recently From The University Of Newcastle Used Cannabis, Has Called On Scotland's Emergency Services To Lead The Way In The Anti-Abuse War By Introducing Screening Programmes In The Workplace) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 12:31:59 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Drugs Czar Calls For Testing Of Emergency Staff Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Herald, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theherald.co.uk Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998 Author: Lynne Robertson DRUGS CZAR CALLS FOR TESTING OF EMERGENCY STAFF DRUGS czar Keith Hellawell has called on Scotland's emergency services to lead the way in the anti-abuse war by introducing screening programmes in the workplace. The former police chief, speaking ahead of an address to Fire '98, the national firefighters' conference in Glasgow on Monday, emphasised he did not believe there was a problem within the ranks of the emergency services, but said there was a clear need for such initiatives to eradicate the drug menace across Scotland. Mr Hellawell, who was appointed Britain's anti-drugs manager last year, said the move would be in line with a blueprint to have such regulations eventually implemented through health and safety rules. Grampian Police are among those who have already introduced a drugs testing programme. Speaking exclusively to The Herald, Mr Hellawell said: "I believe that. as we move forward all organisations, particularly those who have difficult jobs that risk not only their own lives, but the lives of their colleagues who rely on them in difficult dramatic situations - such as the fire service - need to know that their colleagues are on full operating capacity and that drugs are not interfering or affecting their behaviour. "I am not suggesting many way that this is the case, but I'd like to see such organisations start to introduce voluntary drugs testing schemes for staff." Mr Hellawell emphasised the importance of introducing the testing as part of an occupational health programme, but stressed the need to involve the workforce in developing such schemes. >From the experience of forces in New South Wales, Australia, which implemented drugs testing, the drugs ambassador said: "There is a recognition that drugs testing and drugs and health programmes are necessary for the safeguard of individuals as well as the people they operate with. "People with problems should have the opportunity to work through these problems with medical staff and counsellors. Only then and after then do you start introducing mandatory drugs schemes which allows them to have a. part in developing and accepting the programme. "These sort of schemes, where they have been introduced are very successful. That's the way I would like to see Scottish industry go." He added: "I am looking for the whole industry over the next 20 years to have policies in relation to drugs that are part of their health and safety policy within the organisation. I do think those that are at the forefront of life-and-death situations ought to be introducing these policies sooner rather than later." He also restated the need for treatment programmes for addicts behind bars. and for training for GPs to ensure they can tackle drugs problems in their area. Mr Hellawell said he wanted to canvass opinion in Scotland on arrest referrals for addicts and the possible establisitient of an US-style drugs court, where offenders could he sentenced to a treatment and testing order, but brought back to court for sentence if they failed to comply with the order. He emphasised the importance of investment in a network of drugs treatment programmes and claimed low-security prisons could be a potential location for community-based schemes, offering access to addicts in and out of jail. Mr Hellawell felt there was now a recognition that the answer to tackling drugs did not lie in the courtroom. He is opposed to the legalisation of cannabis, but he did not rule out the use of a derivative of the drug for the treatment of certain medical conditions under closely controlled conditions.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Highland's Magic Potion Revealed ('The Scotsman' Says Dr Brian Moffat, An Ethnobotanist, Believes The Heath Pea, Or Lathyras Macrorhizas, A Plant Indigenous To Scotland With Properties Allegedly Similar To Coca, Once Put The Fire In Scottish Bellies, And May Explain The Origins Of Such Highland Contests As The Caber Toss) Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 10:52:33 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Highland's Magic Potion Revealed Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Scotsman (UK) Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com Website: http://www.scotsman.com/ Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998 Author: Jennifer Trueland HIGHLAND'S MAGIC POTION REVEALED Humble heath pea could be Scotland's equivalent of cocaine, botanist claims IN THE books of Goscinny and Uderzo, Asterix and Obelix thwarted the might of.the Roman empire thanks to a magic potion that gave them super-human strength. But while the pharmaceutically-enhanced struggles of that Gaulish village were fictitious, an ethnobotanist from the Borders believes that the Highlanders of the 17th century had a tonic that gave them superhuman powers. Its secret ingredient? A pea. Dr Brian Moffat. director of the Soutra medieval hospital study, reckons an indigenous plant with properties similar to the coca plant - the source of cocaine - put the fire in Scottish bellies. "The claims made for this plant quite simply mean that it falls into the superhuman category," said Dr Moffat. "Its properties are unmatched in any plant I have heard of and it has parallels with coca." The plant in question could barely look more humble. Variously called the heath pea, karemyle, carrameille, and, technically, Lathyras macrorhizas or inifolius, it is a type of pea that tastes and smells much like liquorice, and its roots used to he eaten raw, boiled or roasted, or used to make a kind of drink. Dr Moffat said it appeared that when dried the tubers enabled people to carry out enormous acts of endurance, such as working hard for days on end without the need for food and drink. The ethnohotanist, who will deliver a paper on the properties of the plant at the Orkney Science Festival next week, believes that travellers' tales describing a plant with super-energising powers might reveal an a centuries-old culture of Highland drug-taking. He quotes from a variety of 17th and 18th century texts - including writings by Sir Robert Sibbald, who was a co-founder of the Royal Botanic Garden and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, - suggesting that it could be the source of tales of exceptional derring do and energy. Though the accounts post-date William Wallace and Robert the Bruce by some centuries, they could also throw light on their incredible heroism - and could explain why strength sports like tossing the caber became a peculiarly Highland custom. "The accounts are mostly second-hand, but they are quite detailed and authoritative. According to travellers' tales, the tubers would be hung up to dry in much the same way as onions. Whenever some particularly superhuman effort was recquired, they popped two or three in their mouths." According to Dr Moffat, the claims made for this plant are so lavish that a detalled study should be carried out. His own preliminary findings - he denies having sampled it - show that the plant is incredibly sweet, with an anise-like aroma. This suggests, he says, that it contains transethanol, a substance 300 times sweeter than sugar, which could account for its energising properties. Dr Moffat believes the word of such an eminent scholar as Sir Robert means that the plant should be taken seriously. But more recent accounts do not back his claims that it could be the Scottish equivalent of the coca plant. The most recent scholarly work on the subject, Tess Darwin's The Scots Herbal, The Plant Lore of Scotland, lists much more modest properties for what she calls bitter vetch - although it had its benefits. "Islanders on Mull were inclined to drink a great deal of whisky in wet weather - a pleasant enough way to pass a dreich day when no outdoorwork could be done - and used to chew the root of this plant afterwards, to sweeten their breath and to prevent drunkenness." If it is, however, the answer to coca, then Dr Moffat is confident that it won't send drug dealers and thrill-seekers to the north of Scotland and Hebridean islands to dig up the roots. "With so many synthetic substances available, I don't really think ravers will be rushing to take up field botany." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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