Portland NORML News - Saturday, September 5, 1998

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:
feedback (letters to the editor):

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

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

There is another way to raise taxes, and more governments are trying it this

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: An Aerial War On Pot Growers
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998
Author:Phil Garlington-OCR


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: 24-Year Smuggling Sentence Upheld
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Author: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: 'Chad Had A Big Mouth'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Author: Stuart Pfeifer, Register Staff
Editor's note: Title by Hawk


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CO: Pot Petitioners Sue Buckley
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: chris@thecompassionclub.org
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Contact: letters@denverpost.com
Website: http://www.denverpost.com
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Author:: Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer


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

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

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.


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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Subject: Re: MAP: MEDIA ALERT: Will Foster on Dateline
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IA: Deputies Strip-Search Police
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Carl Olsen
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Contact: letters@news.dmreg.com
Website: http://www.dmregister.com/
Pubdate: 05 Sep 98
Author: Arthur Kane


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

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.

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

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)
Link to follow-up
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 20:43:37 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US WI: Marijuana Arrests Down In Milwaukee, But Up In Suburbs, Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: jsedit@onwis.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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Paul Wolf (paulwolf@icdc.com)
Subject: Local Man Faces Jail for Legal Weed
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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

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

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

"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" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Man says cocaine dealers took over his Laconia apartment
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:23:52 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

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" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Undercover officers to check college drinking
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:28:14 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

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

``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" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: MA man charged with possessing $100,000 worth of marijuana
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:24:57 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Attorney General Hopefuls Admit Pot Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Walter F. Wouk
Source: Times Union (NY)
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Fax: 518-454-5628
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Author: JOHN CAHER, State editor


3 out of 4 Democrats running for attorney general say they used marijuana in

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

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

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" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: NJ Troopers seize $26 million worth of cocaine at turnpike rest stop
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:22:47 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: National Guard Drug War Hits Snag
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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

Gregory Daurer
Denver, CO



National Guard Drug War Hits Snag


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

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

``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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Medical Marihuana Reconsidered
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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: addiction_research@obs-us.com
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/


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.[1]

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.[2]
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.[3] 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.[4] 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. [5]
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. [6] 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.[7]

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.


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: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: LTE: Michelle was bright and loving before drugs
Date: Sat, 05 Sep 1998 09:29:24 -0700
Lines: 34
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Toronto Sun (Canada)
Contact: editor@sunpub.com
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

Ferris Bortoletto,

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Canada: Top Cop Says Lying OK
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: chris@thecompassionclub.org
Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada)
Contact: sun.letters@ccinet.ab.ca
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Author: Jeremy Loome -- Staff Writer


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Canada: Illegal Crops Smoked Out
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: chris@thecompassionclub.org
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Sep 1998
Source: Ottawa Sun (Canada)
Contact: oped@sunpub.com
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/OttawaSun/


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

"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" (when@olywa.net)
To: "-News" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: Tribe may shape course of drug war
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 20:32:54 -0700
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

Tribe may shape course of drug war
Colombia offers opium, coca farmers alternative
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

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Locking Out the Deadly Habit
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Source: Courier Mail (Australia)
Contact: cmletters@qnp.newsltd.com.au
Pubdate: Sat, Sep 5 1998
Author: Paula Doneman, chief police reporter


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

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

* 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

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

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

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

THE Queensland Corrective Services Commission does not intend to introduce
a needle-exchange programme and is confident its drug programmes are

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

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: mgreer@mapinc.org
From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Subject: FOCUS Alert Readers Digest - A Rare Opportunity


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
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


It's not what others do it's what YOU do


Phone, fax etc.)

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


Reader's Digest
Michael Barone Senior Editor
Terry Kirkpatrick Managing Editor
Reader's Digest Rd
FAX: 914-244-7641

Email: magreplies@readersdigest.co.uk
(Please Send your letter to BOTH addresses)



[snip to avoid duplication. - ed.)

Don't miss the opportunity to bolster your letter with FACTS from


READER'S Digest MAY 1998



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

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)



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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Subject: SENT: Letter to the Editor: "Cannabis - The Truth". (FWD)
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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:



From: Andrew Byrne (ajbyrne@ozemail.com.au)
To: magreplies@readersdigest.co.uk
CC: editors@readersdigest.co.uk
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

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 ajbyrne@ozemail.com.au

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
For subscription information see:
Quick sign up for DrugNews-Digest, Focus Alerts or Newsletter:

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: WIRE: A Controversial Drug Which Can Heal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: shug@shug.co.uk
Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998
Source: Associated Press


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

It is now the sixth most important glasshouse crop in Holland, after

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Marijuana: Experts Mull Over Basics Of Cannabis Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Contact: letters@smh.com.au
Website: http://www.smh.com.au/
Pubdate: Sat, 5 Sep 1998
Page: 30
Author: Duncan Campbell, in London


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Drugs Czar Calls For Testing Of Emergency Staff
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: shug@shug.co.uk
Source: Herald, The (UK)
Contact: herald@cims.co.uk
Website: http://www.theherald.co.uk
Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998
Author: Lynne Robertson


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

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

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Highland's Magic Potion Revealed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: shug@shug.co.uk
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Website: http://www.scotsman.com/
Pubdate: 5 Sep 1998
Author: Jennifer Trueland


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

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

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



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