Portland NORML News - Sunday, September 6, 1998

Police Intimidate Oregon State Fairgoers Away From Portland NORML Booth
(An E-Mail From Portland NORML Director TD Miller At The State Fair In Salem
Indicates The Cops Are Trying To Quash Portland NORML's First Amendment
Rights While Campaigning For Measure 57 And Against Measure 67)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:29:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com)
Subject: Cops interfering with our booth?

From the state fair:

Two policeman are right now outside of the PDX NORML booth in the Central
Canopy area. They are the same two policemen who, two hours ago, we asked
security to have move from the proximity of our booth. They had stayed
directly across from our booth for over an hour passing out decals of a
policeman's badge. Since our booth passes out literature on Measure 57 and
67, both opposed by the Police Chiefs Association, we have to wonder if
this is some form of intimidation to those who would come by and pick up
literature on the two ballot measures. They arrived for the second time at
8:40 pm and have nearly been here for 25 minutes.

Additionally, there seems to be an abnormally large number of state
troopers here. As I left to go to another area of the fair I saw over ten
different officers roaming the fair. I have no clue as why tonight we have
a large number of officers present. I suspect that there is no crime
anywhere that can be solved so all have converged here.

The officers names are Trooper Smartt and Officer Plummer.

It has now been 30 minutes for a total of 90 minutes across from our
booth. As an additional note, we have no donuts.

[Terry Miller, Director Portland NORML]


Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:12:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Miller (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
Subject: Re: Police in helicopters at Oregon State Fair (fwd)

It's now been nearly 40 minutes.


>From the state fair:
> Two policeman are right now outside of the PDX NORML booth in the Central
> Canopy area. They are the same two policemen who, two hours ago, we asked
> security to have move from the proximity of our booth. They had stayed
> directly across from our booth for over an hour passing out decals of a
> policeman's badge. Since our booth passes out literature on Measure 57 and
> 67, both opposed by the Police Chiefs Association, we have to wonder if
> this is some form of intimidation to those who would come by and pick up
> literature on the two ballot measures. They arrived for the second time at
> 8:40 pm and have nearly been here for 25 minutes.


Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:43:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Terry Miller (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
To: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com)
Subject: Re: Police in helicopters at Oregon State Fair (fwd)

On Sun, 6 Sep 1998, Anti-Prohibition Lg wrote:

> I'll forward this to the chapter list. Should I send it to press and
> media too?


After 50 minutes, I contacted security who told me to go to the Lt. of the
State Troopers to see about getting the State Troopers to move on. Does
this sound a little strange to anyone? The Fair closes in a few minutes
and now the troopers have moved on. All that has happened is apparently
moot now.


> On Sun, 6 Sep 1998, Terry Miller wrote:
> > Its now been nearly 40 minutes.
> >
> > TD


Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 09:44:30 -0700 (PDT)
To: pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org
From: [name deleted to protect source]

I was there last night when the state police were stationing themselves across
from the NORML booth. It was pretty blatant, pretty fucked-up.

Re - Dr. No Strikes Again (A List Subscriber Confirms An Article
In Wednesday's 'Willamette Week,' Which Shows Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Has Flip-Flopped Again And Now Says He Will Vote Against Measure 57,
The Referendum To Recriminalize Possession Of Less Than One Ounce
Of Marijuana - Kitzhaber Could Have Killed The Bill Last Year But Signed It
After First Pledging Not To Do So)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 12:16:41 -0700 (PDT)
To: dpfor@drugsense.org
From: Phil Smith (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
Subject: DPFOR: Re - Dr. No Strikes Again
Cc: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-dpfor@drugsense.org
Reply-To: dpfor@drugsense.org
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/

Is this a misquote? I thought voting "No" on Measure 57 (recrim) was what we
wanted. Below, Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber says he'll do just that. Since he
signed the recrim bill, why would he vote against it? Do we really want
people to vote "yes" on it? Is 'Willamette Week' trying to confuse the
voters? What's going on?

Phil Smith


[snipped to avoid duplication. Follow link to original article - ed.]


Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 12:18:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: Re: Re - Dr. No Strikes Again
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

VOTE NO on MEASURE 57! That is correct, that's what we want. A "YES"
vote would re-criminalize pot, a "NO" vote keeps it decriminalized.

It should be Dr. Flip-flop. I called Joshua Schrag, the WW writer who
did this piece. He verified the guv's No on 57. (Even though Kitzhaber
signed the bill after passed by the Legislature last year, just before we
stopped it with nearly twice the number of required signatures needed to
do so.)

I was actually more surprised by the no on 67 positition he took.
Schrag told me that the guv is voting no on it because he doesn't think
it's workable, that it would be too easy for pot to be misdirected... All
this must be kind of embarasing to the Yes on 67 campagin, the new glossy
literature says he endorses it.


On Sun, 6 Sep 1998, Phil Smith wrote:

> Is this a misquote? I thought voting "No" on Measure 57 (recrim) was what we
> wanted. Below, Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber says he'll do just that. Since he
> signed the recrim bill, why would he vote against it? Do we really want
> people to vote "yes" on it? Is 'Willamette Week' trying to confuse the
> voters? What's going on?

Should Mark McGwire's Use Of Performance-Enhancing Drugs Disqualify Him
As A Role Model? (Pro And Con Staff Editorials In The Vancouver, Washington,

The Columbian
701 W. Eighth St.
Vancouver WA 98666
Tel. (360) 694-2312
Or (360) 699-6000, Ext. 1560, to leave a recorded opinion
>From Portland: (503) 224-0654
Fax: (360) 699-6033
E-mail: editors@columbian.com
Web: http://www.columbian.com/

In Our View: Sunday, Sept. 6, 1998

Face to Face - Columbian editorial writers beg to differ

Should Mark McGwire's use of performance-enhancing drugs disqualify him as a
role model?

Yes: Mark McGwire is a big, strong guy. He has been that way for years. In
his rookie season of Major League Baseball more than a decade ago, he jacked
the ball out of the park an amazing 49 times.

So why does McGwire, now poised to surpass Roger Maris' all-time season
record of 61 home runs, feel the need to take androstenedione, an
over-the-counter steroid linked to sterility, liver and heart problems?
Maybe those 35-year-old biceps aren't as thump-worthy as they used to be.
Perhaps McGwire, hungry for his spot in the record books, just wanted a
little extra insurance.

Androstenedione is legal in big league baseball, but not in a lot of other
sports. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Paul Wiggins has been suspended for four
weeks for taking the same drug.

The message McGwire is sending to young athletes around the country? If
talent, training and dedication aren't enough to make you a winner, then by
all means resort to a magic pill, even if it means risking your health --
not to mention your credibility.

-- Michael Zuzel

No: After purists get done disqualifying would-be role models for breaking
any rule or otherwise falling short of perfection, there will be no role
model left.

Of course young boys should not be taught that it is all right to ingest
chemicals that may enhance their natural talents. Clearly short-term
benefits are more than offset by long-term effects.

Role modeling should not be about total behavioral recapitulation, however.
Babe Ruth was the worst of all possible role models in that sense. Whole
generations of baseball players and other achievers supposed they too could
excel while staying drunk, getting fat and being beastly to women. A few
were lucky enough to model their efforts on Ruth's dogged determination and
basic dedication to his team.

The androstenedione Mark McGwire started taking shortly before he set off on
his current string of blasting baseballs into orbit was not ruled out by his
sport. That he took determination to win over a line that some find
distasteful should be kept in context.

-- D. Michael Heywood

Physicians Beware (An Op-Ed In 'The Oakland Tribune' By John Jabobs,
Political Editor For McClatchy Newspapers, Recounts The Disturbing Revocation
Of The Medical License Of Dr. Robert Sinaiko, A San Francisco Internist
And Allergist)

Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 10:47:36 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Physicians Beware
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: Oakland Tribune
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 1998
Author: John Jacobs


When a physician has his or her license to practice medicine taken away, it
is usually a personal tragedy, sometimes the result of alcohol or drug
addiction, sometimes incompetence, greed or worse. But it is also, usually,
a social good, a determination by the disciplinary body that this doctor is
a danger to the community and should no longer be free to practice.

Unfortunately, the case of Dr. Robert Sinaiko, a San Francisco internist
and allergist, is not quite so simple. Sinaiko, 53, is an impressively
credentialed physician whose practice consists of treating difficult cases
involving complicated environmental and other allergies with experimental
therapies. He works on the frontiers of medicine, where there are no easy
or well-trod paths to clinical success.

Sinaiko's license was revoked last month by an Oakland administrative law
judge after a 25-day hearing. The decision was approved by the Medical
Board of California. He also was fined $99,000 for the cost of the
proceeding. No patient complained about Sinaiko's treatment. No patient
testified against him. No patient was shown to have been harmed.

Judge Ruth Astle ruled that Sinaiko was practicing "fringe" medicine
because he was prescribing experimental drugs in four specific cases,
including drugs for "off-label" uses -- that is, for things other than what
the label calls for. This, she said, constituted" an extreme departure from
the prevailing standard of practice among the community of licensed
California practitioners," even though many physicians assert that they do
this all the time. In the case that triggered the initial investigation by
the attorney general's office, Sinaiko was caught in the cross-fire of a
divorce and child custody dispute in which the parents differed over the
treatment he prescribed for their hyperactive child.

He has appealed the decision to the Medical Board, which has granted a stay
until Sept. 14, when it will decide the appeal. If this decision is allowed
to stand, Sinaiko's attorney, Richard Turner, wrote in his petition, "All
doctors who say to a patient,'I'm not sure what's wrong with you. Let's try
this,' now risk losing their license. All progress in medicine through
clinical observation of patients in day-to-day medicine will become too

The license revocation has outraged many in the medical community, who have
come to Sinaiko's defense, including the California Medical Association,
highly reputable medical school physicians and even San Diego attorney
Robert Fellmeth of the Center for Public Interest Law, which has often
challenged the Medical Board for going too easy on disciplining bad
physicians, The grounds cited for revocation, they say, threaten and chill
every doctor who practices medicine in California.

One of Sinaiko's defenders is Dr. Phillip Lee, a former chancellor of the
UC San Francisco medical school. One of the most respected physicians in
the nation. Lee until last year served four years as U.S. assistant
secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lee was one of some 10 expert witnesses who testified for Sinaiko. All of
their testimony was dismissed by Astle with one sentence in a 27-page
decision. These experts, who testified on such things as chronic fatigue
syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, multiple chemical
sensitivity and other areas at the crux of his practice, "were of
questionable credibility in that their testimony was not based on generally
accepted scientific and medical principles," she concluded.

"Absolutely no analysis was given to these experts individual, and no
explanation was offered as to where or how their testimony failed to be
based on 'generally accepted scientific principles,'" CMA President Robert
Reid wrote in a blistering letter to the Medical Board this week.

"There were no patient injuries, no patient complaints, and much of the
medicine alleged to be inappropriate by the Medical Board.," Reid wrote,
"apparently has ay least a significant, if not a majority, following among
the medical profession.

"The Medical Broad's decision does not inspire confidence," Reid continued.
"The decision fails to show how the Medical Board proved by clear and
convincing evidence that Dr. Sinaiko was guilty of the charges alleged."
Indeed, Reid said, the board's action "raises a question as to exactly why
the Medical Board went after Dr. Sinaiko with such vengeance, a vengeance
reflected amply in its ($99,000) cost recovery bill. If the Medical Board
just wants to 'get the doctor' it any cost, this decision shows how its
(sic) done."

Unrepentant because he believes he has done nothing wrong, Sinaiko faces
bankruptcy, professional ruin and years of expensive legal appeals. "This
is an abuse of the Medical Board's authority," said Lee. "The judge went
to extremes to dismiss our testimony as though it had no legitimacy. We
have alcoholic doctors and drug-addicted doctors. We put them in rehab and
suspend their license for a month. Here we take his licence away. The
remedy far exceeds the alleged infraction."

So why did the Medical Board pursue Sinaiko so vindictively?

John Jabobs is political editor for McClatchy Newspapers. His e-mail
address is jjacobs@sac-bee.com OR jjacobs@sacbee.com

Los Angeles Cops Accuse A Colleague (A 'San Jose Mercury News' Story
About The Bust Of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rafael Antonio Perez
For Stealing Three Kilograms Of Cocaine From An Evidence Locker
Claims The LAPD Has Long Held Itself All But Immune To Graft)
Link to earlier story
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 10:59:47 -0700 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US CA: L.A. Cops Accuse a Colleague Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com) Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: letters@sjmercury.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 Author: New York Times L.A. COPS ACCUSE A COLLEAGUE Officer charged: An alleged drug theft rocks a police force that, whatever other controversy dogged it, long held itself all but immune to graft. LOS ANGELES -- As a police officer in the LAPD's busiest precinct, near downtown Los Angeles, Rafael Antonio Perez was responsible for investigating gang crimes and testifying against suspects in court. Last month, it was Perez who entered the courtroom in handcuffs and a blue county jail jumpsuit to hear charges against him: stealing three kilograms (about 6 1/2 pounds) of cocaine from an evidence locker at the Los Angeles Police Department. Perez, 31, a nine-year employee who was arrested by his fellow officers Aug. 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of drug possession, grand theft and forgery. The felony complaint against Perez contends he checked out, and never returned, the cocaine from the property room March 2 by forging on the evidence log the signature of another police officer with the same last name. If convicted, Perez, who is still in jail, faces a maximum sentence of more than eight years in prison. Contrary to reputation While the brazen nature of the theft, according to the charges, is surprising enough, it is made all the more so by the Los Angeles Police Department's reputation for being intolerant of graft. The department has had no shortage of problems over the years, accused by civil rights advocates and others of poor treatment of minorities, political spying and use of excessive force, most publicly in the beating of Rodney King. But even the department's harshest detractors say it is relatively incorruptible. ``If anything, it's been a consistent theme that the LAPD has done a good job when it comes to that issue,'' said Paul Hoffman, a civil rights lawyer and former legal director of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. That has not always been the case. Through the early half of the 20th century, the department, in tandem with City Hall, was known for accepting payoffs from gambling dens and prostitution houses, shaking down unions and business owners, even dynamiting the car of a former officer who had begun documenting police misdeeds. A change of heart Backlash against those years of corruption eventually resulted in the recall of Mayor Frank Shaw and a revision of the city charter that made the department virtually autonomous from City Hall. It also brought about the rise of William Parker, who became chief of the department in 1950 and is given credit for purging it of corruption. Another part of his legacy is a paramilitary style of law enforcement that did not shy from use of force. It was a theme carried on under Chief Ed Davis, who took over from Parker, and then under Daryl Gates, who was chief from 1978 until 1992. ``Their credo was, `Bust somebody's head and we'll back you up, but if you lie, cheat or steal, you're in trouble,' '' said Joe Domanick, author of the book ``To Protect and to Serve'' (Simon & Schuster, 1994), a critical history of the department. New chief's project To be sure, the department has had some high-profile corruption cases over the years, including thefts of radios from shops along Hollywood Boulevard in the 1980s and the convictions of three officers in the late '80s in a murder-for-hire scheme. The investigation of Perez, one police official said, has been driven by the current chief, Bernard Parks, who took over last year. In a bail hearing last week, Deputy District Attorney Richard Rosenthal said that in addition to stealing the narcotics, Perez tried to sell a kilo of cocaine through a confidential informer last December. Rosenthal also told the judge that Perez lied in court to obtain leniency for two drug dealers, one of whom he was having a romantic relationship with. The authorities now suspect that dealer distributed the three kilograms of stolen cocaine, Rosenthal said. Perez's lawyer, Winston McKesson, said that his client ``categorically'' denied the charges and that a search of his home revealed no evidence of drug dealing. McKesson also said that Perez's fingerprints were not found on the evidence-room ledger that contained the forged signature. Perez's case is not the only one proving nettlesome for the department's reputation. Another officer, David Mack, is awaiting trial in federal court on charges of robbing $722,000 from a Bank of America branch with the help of a girlfriend who worked at the bank. Mack has pleaded not guilty. Considered an anomaly But police officials, who are now investigating ``everything that surrounds'' Perez, say they believe the cocaine theft is an anomaly. ``The department wanted to show that we can police our own,'' Cmdr. Dan Shotz said. ``But there's a lot of disappointment, and it's embarrassing. We got our highs, and this is one of our lows.''

Controversial Marijuana Question On November Ballot (KRNV,
A Nevada MSNBC Affiliate, Notes A Medical Marijuana Initiative
Will Face State Voters In November)

Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 18:46:56 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NV: Controversial Marijuana Question On November Ballot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Patrick Henry (resist_tyranny@mapinc.org)
Pubdate: 6 Sep 1998
Contact: krnv@brigadoon.com
Website: http://www.msnbc.com/local/KRNV/default.asp


RENO, NV September 6 - If you're planning on voting in November, you may
want to start considering both sides of the medical Marijuana issue. The
controversial question will appear on Nevada's November ballot. The
Secretary of State's office released the official list of statewide ballot
questions for the November general elections and the question whether to
allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was designated as number
9 on that list.

Those aiming to approve the use of marijuana for medicinal use argue that
scientific research indicates marijuana has medicinal value for some
patients and that safeguards are built in to prevent abuse. On the other
side, those arguing against medicinal marijuana say there are other
medicines that can do the job and that the plan would open the door to more
widespread illegal use of marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Is Ballot Question 9 (A November Election Preview
In 'The Las Vegas Sun')

Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 05:25:36 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NV: Medical Marijuana Is Ballot Question 9
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: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Contact: letters@lasvegassun.com
Website: http://www.lasvegassun.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 1998


CARSON CITY (AP) - "Prescription Pot" will be Question 9 on Nevada's
November ballot.

The Secretary of State's office on Friday released the official list of
statewide ballot questions for the November general elections.

The Secretary of State's office numbers the questions, writes explanations
of each one as well as arguments for and against non-legislative

The question whether to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes was
designated as number 9 after a list of legislatively approved questions.

Arguments for passage include scientific research indicating marijuana has
medicinal value for some patients and that safeguards are built in to
prevent abuse.

The arguments against say there are other medicines that can do the job and
that the plan would open the door to more widespread illegal use of

Also on the ballot is term limits for federal congressional offices.

Term limits has already been approved by Nevada voters once. If approved
again in November, it will require that Nevada's congressional delegation
and state legislators impose term limits on themselves and other members of
the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

The state already has term limits for members of the Nevada Legislature.

There are no questions on the ballot numbered 10-16. The term limit issue is
Question 17 because the Nevada Constitution requires questions be put to
voters two times in consecutive general elections with the same number and

The marijuana question would allow a patient, on advice of a doctor, to use
marijuana to relieve symptoms of major diseases including cancers, glaucoma,
AIDS, multiple sclerosis and the effects of treatments such as chemotherapy.

It would create a confidential registry of patients authorized to use the
drug so police could make sure a user had a valid medical reason. General
use of the drug would still be illegal in Nevada.

Questions 1-8 are all legislatively approved changes that range from cutting
off legislative sessions at 120 days to making Nevada Day a floating
three-day holiday instead of fixed at Oct. 31.

Question 5 was proposed to cut down the growing length of Nevada's biennial
legislative sessions. Nevada hasn't had a Legislature end in less than 120
days since 1977. The 1997 session cost a record $15.5 million before
adjourning after 169 days. The proposal would make any legislation passed
after 120 calendar days void.

Question 2 would remove the Supreme Court from control over the Judicial
Discipline Commission, which investigates complaints against judges in

Question 6 authorizes a property tax break for water conservation and allows
district courts in the state to meet in cities other than the county seat.

Governmental stores would have to impose and collect sales taxes to make
their prices closer to private companies under Question 7. And the
lieutenant governor would lose his post as President of the Senate if
Question 8 passes.

Question 1 sets up a system to resolve unintentional problems caused when
one constitutional amendment causes problems with another part of the

Iowa's Forfeiture Law Takes The Profit Out Of Crime
('The Des Moines Register' Examines Forfeiture As Practiced In Iowa,
Where The Police Take About $1 Million A Year Just In Cash, And Get To Keep
90 Percent Of It)

Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 14:39:00 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Iowa's Forfeiture Law Takes The Profit Out Of Crime
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: 06 Sep 98
Author: Jonathan Roos, Register Staff Writer
Fax: (515) 286-2511


Millions in cash and property have been seized by police and sheriffs

Samuel Vallejo lost more than his freedom when authorities nabbed him for
drug dealing. They also seized four vehicles, $7,000 in cash, a cell
phone and pager from a rural Polk County residence.

"It'll put him out of business for a while," said Chief Deputy Dennis
Anderson of the Polk County Sheriff's Department, which plans to sell the
vehicles at a public auction next month.

Vallejo, 25, is not alone in feeling the sting of Iowa's forfeiture law.
Police and sheriff s departments across the state have used the law to
acquire millions of dollars in cash, cars and other property from people
involved in drug dealing or other crimes.

While Iowa law enforcement agencies don't come across art deco mansions and
powerful cigarette boats like you might find in South Florida, authorities
say the property seizures are a significant tool in their war against drugs.

Critics, though, complain that the law is not fair and can lead to abuses.

Here is a rundown on the property that's been seized in recent years:

* Since January 1992, Iowa has tallied 3,350 cases in which money was
forfeited. The total amount of cash seized each year has averaged nearly
$1 million.

* More than 1,000 vehicles have been confiscated since 1992. Polk County
has led the way with 339 vehicle seizures.

* Contrary to images of drug lords driving expensive sports cars, the
newest vehicle seized under Iowa's forfeiture law this year was a 1995
Chevrolet. The oldest was a 1972 Ford.

Older cars are typical, said Doug Marek, Iowa deputy attorney general for
criminal justice. Drug dealers use them to transport drugs and often
modify them with false paneling and hollowed-out areas in seats.

* Smaller items too numerous to count also have been seized. Examples from
recent cases include a scanner, coffee maker, computer, VCR and a Chinese
assault rifle.

Sometimes you never know what will turn up, like a stuffed toy monkey that
was filled with cash, Marek said.

Seizures of real estate under the Iowa law have been infrequent, he said.
In recent years, law enforcement agencies sold four forfeited properties
for about $277,000.

One was a bar-restaurant in Marshall County where drugs were being sold out
of the bar, Marek said. Another was a Jasper County acreage where drugs
were being sold from a trailer home. In a third case, rural property in
Sioux County was being used to grow marijuana.

The vast majority of forfeiture cases are related to drug dealing, Marek
said. But drugs had nothing to do with the fourth real estate case: a
home in Scott County that was purchased with the proceeds from schemes to
defraud people.

In major drug cases in which real estate, airplanes or heavy equipment are
involved, federal officials are more apt to initiate forfeiture actions
because they are better equipped to handle the property.

Under lowa's law, property can be forfeited if authorities are able to show
it was used to commit an indictable crime other than a driving offense or
was purchased with the proceeds from such a crime.

In the case of Samuel Vallejo, he was transporting methamphetamine from the
southwestern United States, said Anderson. He made trips with different
pickup trucks so that he would not be easily recognized.

Anderson said the sheriff's department expects to receive "a reasonable
amount" of money from the sale of the vehicles, which were forfeited in April.

Vallejo pleaded guilty in February to federal charges of possession with
intent to distribute methamphetamine. In May, he received a 10-year prison
term that subsequently was reduced to about seven because he cooperated
with authorities.

Iowa law enforcement agencies typically get to keep 90 percent of the cash
that is forfeited, the rest goes to the Iowa Department of Justice. The
money has to be spent for something that is outside the agency's regular
budget and it must be used to enhance law enforcement efforts. That can
take the form of undercover drug buys, training or equipment.

Police and sheriffs departments also can use or sell forfeited property.
Cars, for example, may be useful for police surveillance work.

The state has had a comprehensive forfeiture law since 1986, but it was
revised in 1996. Marek said the changes made the law more workable and
consistent with other states' forfeiture laws, and they addressed perceived
abuses. One of the changes is that forfeitures no longer can be based on
simple misdemeanor offenses. On the other hand, the law was expanded to
allow the forfeiture of a person's homestead.

A legislative committee recently reviewed rules proposed by Iowa Attorney
General Tom Miller that outline procedures for using, distributing or
destroying forfeited property. The rules are expected to be adopted.

Supporters of the law say it takes the profit out of crime.

"I don't know if it's a deterrent, but it's an additional punishment," said

The law also turns the criminal's resources against him. "It gives us the
ability to generate the money we can use to investigate and apprehend the
drug dealer without turning to the taxpayer," Anderson said of the money
used for undercover drug buys.

But critics of the law say it has made the property of people accused of
crimes a tempting target of law enforcement agencies.

Marty Ryan, a lobbyist for the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, said the newer
version of the law is an improvement, but abuses are still possible. "There
are still ambitious law enforcement officers who look with envy upon
somebody's goods and say, 'I'd like to have that.' "

Ryan noted that not even a conviction or charge is necessary before
property can be forfeited. The courts have ruled that "it's the property
committing the crime and not the person, and property has no constitutional
rights," he said.

Seized property * Iowa law enforcement agencies have used the state's
forfeiture law to seize millions of dollars in cash, cars and other
property from people charged with crimes, especially drug-dealing. Here is
a look at the crime-related property that has been forfeited since 1992:

Cash $6.3 million

Motor vehicles 1,053

Real estate $277,000

Other items - cell phones, pagers, scanners, computers, guns, drug

NOTE: Figures for Iowa do not include property forfeitures approved by
federal courts.

SOURCE: Iowa Attomey General's Office

Matthew Chatterley / The Register

Reporter Jonathan Roos can be reached at (515) 284-8443 or

The Des Moines Register

Two Drug-Enforcement Standards ('Des Moines Register' Columnist Rekha Basu
Suggests Two Recent Cases - Along Interstate 80 And In The Tony Suburb
Of Clive, Iowa - Illustrate How The Same Drug Laws Apply Differently
To The General Public And Public Officials)

Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 21:25:12 -0500
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: "Carl E. Olsen" (carl@COMMONLINK.NET)
Subject: Two drug-enforcement standards - September 6, 1998
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org


The Des Moines Register, Sunday, September 6, 1998, Page 6AA

Two drug-enforcement standards


[clive-3.jpg (15411 bytes)]

This is a tale about drug enorcement - two different kinds.

One is set in the tony suburb of Clive, another on the highways of
Iowa and the inner-city streets of Des Moines.

One applies to the general public, the other to public officials.

Worst of all, your support for one kind might wane when you hear
about the other.

If you happened to drive on I-80 east this summer, you might have
come up against a mobile flashing sign warning, in about these words: "Drug
Enforcement Ahead: Be Prepared to Stop."

Of course, if you know your Fourth Amendment rights, you'd be
suspicious, since stops and searches of cars without probable cause are

As you kept going, however, you'd discover it was a ruse sponsored
by the Iowa Department of Public Safety in collaboration with county
attorneys. No actual stop, just a ploy to make you panic, so that if you
had drugs, you might do something rash like try to dump them at the nearest
rest area or jump the median.

Some might call that clever. Others might call it entrapment.
Marty Ryan, assistant director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, calls it
"very sleazy." He encountered one such sign about 4 miles east of Altoona
last week, and worries they might force people to pull off in search of a
side road, fearing they'll be unnecessarily detained.

"If this was a business, the attorney general would be all over them
for false advertising," he said.

The jury was still out, Public Safety Commissioner Paul Wieck told
me earlier this sumnier, as to how successful the approach was in its debut
appearance in Iowa. But it did send some people to jail, so I suppose, by
some measure, it worked.

When I first heard about it, though it sounded kind of deceptive, I
decided to wait and see. It didn't seem like law enforcement was breaking
any laws. Iowa's got a growing methamphetamine problem and the state's
highways apparently are a conduit for some major trafficking.

But by last week, my tolerance had worked itself into outrage when I
read of something unrelated but very relevant. An off-duty state trooper
attending a late July party in Clive had witnessed a group, possibly
including Clive City Council member John Schiefer and Dave Ennen of the
planning and zoning commission, smoking what he believed to be marijuana.
He neither arrested them nor confiscated the alleged drugs. Instead he went
off and filed some sketchy report with his patrol district, in Mason City,
later telling City Manager Dennis Henderson he didn't think he had enough
information for criminal charges.

You could argue - and I'd agree - that marijuana is relatively
benign. But it is sending other people without the same official protection
to jail.

I spoke to the girlfriend of one young man who spent the night in
the Scott County Jail because of the so-called drug stops. She'd believed
the state's drug crackdown was on meth and cocaine, but people were being
hauled into jail for marijuana. Yet a trooper from the same public safety
team is virtually handed three drug arrests, and he walks away.

By week's end, Ennis and Schiefer had quit their posts, without
admitting any wrongdoing, as the city manager's office closed in on them
with its own investigation. But that doesn't erase the cynicism that there
are two sets of law-enforcement standards, and one is for public officials
protecting their own.

It has barely been long enough for wounds to heal from the case of
Urbandale Officer James Trimble, the 18-year police veteran who pleaded
guilty to a Class C felony for possession and intent to distribute after
being stopped driving around in a poor part of town with $20,000 worth of
meth in his van. The drugs were stolen from a police department evidence

He could have gotten 10 years in prison, but he got probation, a
$1,000 fine and community service. The police department never even pressed
charges for the theft.

Meanwhile, last Wednesday's paper had a spread on the drug crackdown
in Des Moines' near-north side. As usual, the pictures showed young
African-American men being stopped by police for questioning. Try
convincing them the law works the same for everyone.

Either drug enforcement is serious business warranting extreme
measures or it isn't. Either minor marijuana possession should result in
arrests or it shouldn't. If we can't all play by the same rules, let's drop
the charade.

can be reached at (515) 284-8208
or basur@news.dmreg.com

The Des Moines Register
Sunday, September 6, 1998, Page 6AA

Marijuana Arrests Drop In City, Up In Suburbs (An Article
In 'The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' Of Interest To Oregon Voters
Who Will Cast Ballots In November On Measure 57, A Proposal
To Recriminalize Possession Of Marijuana, Says A Year After Officials
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Decriminalized Possession Of Small Amounts
Of Marijuana, Newly Released State Figures Show Marijuana-Related Arrests
Declined In The City While Similar Arrests In The Suburbs Continued
To Increase)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 07:16:26 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: Marijuana Arrests Drop In City, 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)
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Pubdate: 6 Sep 1998
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Author: James H. Burnett III, Journal Sentinel staff


A year after Milwaukee officials decriminalized possession of small amounts
of marijuana, newly released state figures show the number of
marijuana-related arrests, both criminal and non-criminal, has declined in
the city while similar arrests in the suburbs continue to grow.

City officials, academics and police officers disagree as to why there was
a 6% drop-off in the number of pot arrests, while police activity in the
suburbs against marijuana use rose 7.5% over the same period.

One suburban police detective speculated that decreasing city figures
indicate that arrests for sale and possession have taken a lower priority
in Milwaukee to more serious crimes.

A suburban police chief said marijuana-related arrests continue to increase
outside of Milwaukee because suburban police forces aggressively pull
vehicles over for traffic violations and marijuana is found in many of
those instances.

The head of the Milwaukee Police Association believes that
decriminalization has demoralized police efforts to curb drug use, a
contention that a top police official said was untrue.

Yet others said it was simply too early to judge the impact of
decriminalization. They view the dip in Milwaukee arrests as meaningless.

Ald. Michael J. Murphy, who introduced Milwaukee's decriminalization
measure last year, questioned the significance of the numbers. He pushed
for the new law to balance penalties with those in the suburbs where
marijuana possession is generally a non-criminal offense.

"The numbers are not statistically significant to make any trend analysis
right now," said Murphy. "I'd like to see an evaluation at the end of the

Whatever bent is taken on the decline in city arrests, none of the experts
interviewed believed it showed that marijuana use was declining.

According to crime statistics compiled by the state Office of Justice
Assistance, arrests for the sale or possession of marijuana in Milwaukee
declined by 6% since the enactment of the decriminalization ordinance by
the Common Council last year.

From May 1997 through April 1998, Milwaukee police made 2,210
marijuana-related arrests -- 1,651 adults and 559 juveniles -- a drop of
144 arrests from the same time period a year earlier when 1,785 adults and
569 juveniles were arrested.

In comparison, Milwaukee County suburban police made 1,385 arrests from May
1997 through April 1998, which was a 7.5% increase over the previous 12
months. From May 1996 through April 1997, 1,288 youth and adults were
arrested for sales and possession.

Robert MacCoun, a professor and researcher at the University of California
at Berkeley, said that growing suburban marijuana use was only "normal."
Yet declining arrests in Milwaukee do not mean that drug use has fallen.

"I wouldn't interpret a lightened penalty in your area as affecting a
change in marijuana use," MacCoun said. "My guess is that police are either
too busy with other things or that they just see it as less of a priority

Bradley DeBraska, president of the Milwaukee Police Association, said that
he wasn't surprised by the dip in arrests.

"One of our concerns was that when the City of Milwaukee chose to
decriminalize the statute, that we would likely see some type of reduction
in the arrests," DeBraska explained. "This seems to be directly related to
the city's legislative effort."

But police Capt. Ray Susik of the vice control division disagreed. Susik
said the numbers aren't significant and do not accurately reflect the
intensity of the department's drug enforcement effort.

Other police officials in Milwaukee County say Milwaukee's decline in
marijuana arrests has more to do with the high number of serious emergency
calls in the city.

"(Milwaukee police) are extremely busy. Not that we aren't (busy), but we
just aren't taking as many calls as them," said Andre Antreassian, an Oak
Creek narcotics detective.

"I would say the suburbs are probably enforcing more traffic laws. Since
narcotics are obviously being transported in cars, we're probably just
coming across it more."

Glendale Police Chief Thomas Czarnyszka agreed. He attributed most of his
city's marijuana-related arrests to traffic stops and subsequent searches
of vehicles. Pot arrests also are made at hotels in the city, he said.

"We have a very active hotel interdiction program that is responsible for a
good many of these arrests," Czarnyszka said, "and that program has only
been in place a few years."

Milwaukee's decriminalization marijuana law, enacted in 1997, makes
possession of marijuana in amounts of 25 grams or less a city ordinance
violation rather than a crime. Penalties range from $200 to $1,000.

Most suburbs have had decriminalized pot laws for more than 10 years.

Larry Ganschow, a drug-addiction counselor at Aro Counseling Center in
Greenfield, offered his own explanation as to why marijuana-related drug
arrests have continually climbed in the suburbs.

"It's much easier today to produce homegrown marijuana, especially in the
suburbs. Everything is so wide open," he said.

Ganschow, a recovering addict himself -- clean for 14 years -- described
how suburban pot users have great access to farm fields and undeveloped
land on which to grow marijuana. He said the sprawling nature of the
suburbs gives drug users a lesser chance of encountering police, unless, of
course, they are transporting it by car.

Ganschow said marijuana, although relatively easy to find anywhere, is just
not a major inner-city issue anymore.

"My argument is that (marijuana) is just easier to get in the suburbs now,"
he said.

Delaware Resident Faces Jail Time For Medicinal Marijuana
('The Delaware State News' In Dover Describes The Heartbreaking Story
Of William R. Powell Of Townsend, An AIDS Patient Facing Prison
After His Third Arrest In Less Than A Decade For Growing
And Possessing Marijuana)

Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 08:57:10 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DE: Delaware Resident Faces Jail Time For Medicinal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Sunday, 6 Sep 1998
Source: The Delaware State News (Dover)
Contact: bmccann@newszap.com
Website: http://www.newszap.com/
Author: Tom Eldred, Staff writer
Note: Tom Eldred can be reached at 302-741-8212 or at teldred@newszap.com


TOWNSEND - William R. ''Randy'' Powell desperately wants to stay out of jail.

But prison may become reality. Mr. Powell is facing his third arrest in
less than a decade for growing and possessing marijuana.

''If I'm incarcerated, I will die,'' he said during a recent interview at
his home in Townsend. ''I will just commit suicide. Period. And I believe
the system could care less.''

Mr. Powell, 40, has AIDS. He smokes marijuana as part of his own personal
battle against the deadly disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

Diagnosed HIV-positive in 1992, Mr. Powell was told the following year he
had ''full-blown AIDS.'' He thinks he may have been infected as early as
1990. One doctor gave him only two years to live.

He's alive today, he emphatically believes, because his endless, regular
diet of aggressive AIDS medications also included - by his own doing -
smoking marijuana daily.

But growing and possessing marijuana is a crime in Delaware.

''I knew it was illegal, but it gave me a peace and it kept me calm,'' Mr.
Powell said. ''It was a conscious decision on my part. I knew I needed it,
in spite of the law.''

Honors in school and college degrees

Mr. Powell was born the youngest of five children to Edward L. and Cora B.
Powell on the family's farm in Townsend. His father died in 1979. His
mother is 81 years old. His oldest sibling, Barbara E. Armstrong, 62, lives
in Clayton. She ha been a strong supporter in the battle with AIDS.

''We all had chores to do on the farm when we were growing up,'' said Mrs.
Armstrong. ''The only excuse to miss chores was church activities. We had a
religious upbringing. We were taught the right way to go in life.''

Mr. Powell attended Townsend Elementary School and graduated from
Middletown High School. He was an honor student and class valedictorian.

He went to Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn., earning
degrees in psychology and religious education. He taught school for a year
in York., Pa., before returning to Delaware, where he began studying
towards an MBA degree at Wilmington College.

During the 1980s, Mr. Powell worked in several corporate marketing jobs.
But everything shuddered to a stop when he had a nervous breakdown.

''I just felt like I couldn't deal with life anymore,'' he said. ''I'd
tried to be a pillar of strength to everybody. I was a perfectionist. I
just broke. I just couldn't keep the cup full anymore.''

''You were the only one out of five children that went to college,'' Mrs.
Armstrong pointed out. ''You were trying to be so perfect and live up to
all the expectations your family had of you. You were on a pedestal you
placed yourself on. All of a sudden you couldn't cope.''

Booze, marijuana and AIDS. Villain or victim?

By 1990, Mr. Powell's life had changed dramatically.

''I started meeting people, there were parties,'' he said. ''It actually
took a medical person to get me to smoke a joint for the first time. I
smoked that joint and I said, 'Oh my God, that's what relaxation is all
about.' ''

There was also drinking. Lots of drinking.

''I was introduced to alcohol at the parties,'' Mr. Powell said. ''I still
think alcohol is the most dangerous drug. I think alcohol is what
contributed to my AIDS. It shuts down your memory, it shuts down your
thought waves, it causes blackouts. It's a horrible drug.''

As time wore on, Mr. Powell fought bouts of depression, alternating with
anxiety attacks, mounting stress and a general feeling of approaching
sickness. ''I knew I was sick,'' he said. ''It was like a big mix.''

Marijuana became more important. ''I found that by using marijuana, I was
at least able to perform,'' he said. ''I was finally able to relax, to slow
myself down. It gave me a chance to stop and think. It gave me a peace.

''In 1991, I met a friend. I told him my dream was to build a grow-room,
some place I could grow pot, just for me. I didn't want to involve anybody
else. I decided to do it secretly, in the middle of my house, underground.
He showed me how to grow it.''

Working by hand, Mr. Powell scooped out a 12-foot-by-12-foot space under
the house. The entry was a hidden door in his bedroom closet.

''It became my little secret world,'' he said. ''I loved it. I could go
into my bedroom, go through the hatch, and nobody would know. I could
actually grow and produce something that could help me.''

The secret world collapsed Nov. 27, 1991.

Delaware State Police learned the friend was a fugitive and was staying at
Mr. Powell's residence. Troopers raided the home, collared the friend, and
by chance discovered Mr. Powell's marijuana growing operation.

They confiscated 49 live marijuana plants, more than 100 grams of dried
leaves and buds, and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Mr. Powell was arrested and indicted on drug charges, including five felonies.

Ten days later, he learned he was HIV-positive.

Represented by Dover attorney Barry W. Meekins, Mr. Powell negotiated a
guilty plea to one count of growing marijuana. He got three years' probation.

''The thing that really got me is they took away my drivers' license,'' he
said. ''Why? what's the point? It was such an inconvenience for a sick
person who had to go get medication.''

The loneliness and stigma of AIDS; more marijuana

''I was so lonely and cold that winter,'' Mr. Powell said. ''My mother was
the only one I told. I knew I was dying. I had no hope, no future, no
money. I had to rely on my family to take me to the doctor.''

Unwilling to admit his plight, Mr. Powell and his mother developed a cover
story. ''We decided to tell everybody I had Lyme disease,'' he said. ''I
was able to get disability and Social Security, but the family still didn't

Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory illness, transmitted by ticks. It can
be fatal if left unchecked.

''I remember I rented the movie, ''Philadelphia Story'', and watched it
maybe 20 times,'' Mr. Powell said. ''I would cry and cry to myself. I
really just wanted to die, but inside I wanted to live.''

He joined an experimental AIDS program in Wilmington for people without
health insurance. ''I became a guinea pig, a literal pin cushion for more
and different medicines,'' he said. ''I never knew if it was a placebo or
an actual medication.''

The pills - averaging 20 to 30 a day - produced nausea, lack of appetite,
vomiting and pains in his joints and legs. ''It was extreme sickness,'' he
said. ''It exhausted my whole body. I couldn't be normal.''

Except with marijuana.

''The marijuana helped me eat,'' Mr. Powell said. ''It helped me relax. It
helped me so much with the side effects of the medication. I believed I had
to prolong my life somehow, in some way. So I started another grow-room. I
told the doctors I smoked pot. They basically said, 'Do whatever you have
to do.' My psychiatrist said it was wrong. But she was wrong. She didn't
know my mind.''

Busted again

On May 12, 1995, with the help of an undercover police informant, troopers
raided Mr. Powell's home a second time.

''I was naked. I had just gotten out of the shower,'' Mr. Powell said. ''I
went down into the grow-room. They were ordering me to come up. I thought
maybe I would do myself in right there. Just take the (electric) wires and
electrocute myself.''

Police said Mr. Powell refused to exit, despite repeated demands. Finally,
they said, he was flushed out with a pepper-based irritant called Cap-Stun.
They said he resisted arrest. He was taken outside, still naked, where he
was hosed down to remove the Cap-Stun.

Troopers said they could not give Mr. Powell his clothes because of the
Cap-Stun gas in the house. The fire department came to ventilate the home.

''That was the first time I openly said I had AIDS,'' Mr. Powell said. ''Oh
my God, you should have seen the cops. They were afraid to touch me. When I
told them, the rubber gloves came out. There were rubber gloves everywhere.''

Besides fire and police personnel, a group of neighbors and family members
gathered near the home.

Mrs. Armstrong was there. ''As far as I could see, it was just a big public
display,'' she said. ''They had these big lights on and everything. It was
a very horrible time. We weren't even allowed to go to him.''

A fireman threw him a blanket. ''They were seeing an injustice being
done,'' Mr. Powell said. ''Here I had been brought out of my house, totally
nude, in front of all those people. I was humiliated beyond belief.''

Police reported an ''abrasion'' on Mr. Powell's head from an ''unknown
source.'' He claims officers roughed him up and knocked out one of his teeth.

He was indicted on drug-related charges and resisting arrest. On the
recommendation of the prosecutor, after documenting his AIDS, he was
allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges. The sentence, once again, was

Staying alive; marijuana, but no grow-room

Although he never reopened the grow-room, marijuana remained a part of his
life. ''After I got that probation, I believed even stronger of my need for
marijuana,'' he said. ''It kept me alive.''

Doctors, for the first time, added Marinol to his medical diet. Marinol, a
synthetic derivative of marijuana in pill form, is a legal prescription drug.

Mr. Powell said Marinol has some benefit, but is not nearly as effective as
natural marijuana.

''I didn't want to tell the hospital it didn't work as well,'' he said.
''It was the only proof of the pudding of my need for marijuana.''

A three-time loser?

Mr. Powell was arrested for a third time Aug. 20. Court records said
troopers confiscated 555 grams of marijuana, ''both in plant form and in
the dried form and ready to smoke,'' along with drug paraphernalia. He is
now free on unsecured bond and the case is pending in New Castle Superior

''I believe now I have a future I thought I never could have,'' Mr. Powell
said. ''I believe marijuana has been a substantial part of keeping me
alive. I want to see the archaic laws regarding marijuana changed.

''I believe I'm the voice of tens of thousands of people who can't have a
voice or who don't have a voice,'' he continued. ''They're scared to talk
about it. I worked in the corporate world, I know.''

If he avoids jail a third time, will he continue to smoke pot - in defiance
of the law?

''With my life at stake, and respecting the law, I can't really answer
that,'' Mr. Powell said. ''I will say, though, that I want very much to
live, as long as I am able to.'

Pot Legalization Tough Issue For Delaware ('The Delaware State News'
Interviews A Variety Of Officials From A Number Of Different Groups
On The Prospects For Statewide Medical Marijuana Reform)

Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 08:56:59 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DE: Pot Legalization Tough Issue For Delaware
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: Sunday, 6 September1998
Source: The Delaware State News (Dover)
Contact: bmccann@newszap.com
Website: http://www.newszap.com/
Author: Tom Eldred, Staff writer
Note: Tom Eldred can be reached at 302-741-8212 or at teldred@newszap.com


DOVER - Should marijuana be legalized for medical use? Like many
controversial issues, it depends on who's talking.

One side claims ''pot'' has positive therapeutic medicinal value for an
array of diseases, including cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis,
depression and AIDS.

On the other side are the federal government, most state governments and
many people who strongly believe any change in current regulations will
only increase public dependency on a drug that they deem dangerous,
unhealthy and evil.

At issue is whether marijuana - which was actually legal in the United
States until 1937 - should be reclassified from a Schedule I drug (possibly
addictive, with no medical use) to a Schedule II drug (possibly addictive,
with medical use) so that it can be legally prescribed by physicians for
medical purposes.

Federal officials staunchly defend the present status, warning that
liberalizing the law could lead to increased drug abuse across the country,
especially among the young. A recent survey by the Partnership for a
Drug-Free America found 44 percent of teenagers say they have already used

Currently - with the exception of recent marijuana-for-medical-use
initiatives passed in California and Arizona, and an Alaska law permitting
possession of small amounts of an ounce or less - possessing and using
natural marijuana is illegal in Delaware and other states.

Dr. Samuel B. Hoff, a political science professor at Delaware State
University, favors a change to permit strictly-controlled marijuana use,
specifically for medical purposes.

''The exception should be for those who can document the medical need for
marijuana,'' Dr. Hoff said. ''There are obvious advantages to medical
marijuana. Because its use is certainly valid, it would have to be
prescribed legally through doctors.''

Dr. Hoff pointed to the irony of a now-defunct federal program, initiated
in 1975, that provided select patients with legal marijuana for medical
purposes. Although the program was discontinued in 1992, eight Americans,
who were ''grandfathered'' when the program stopped, still receive 300
marijuana cigarettes a month from the federal government.

Dr. Hoff said Delaware's marijuana laws probably won't see any substantial
change soon because ''most legislators won't touch that issue with a
10-foot pole,'' mainly due to concerns about crime.

''It really is going to take some courageous and forward-looking
individuals,'' Dr. Hoff said. ''But at the same time, people shouldn't have
to go to Alaska the get the drug necessary to alleviate their pain.''

Capt. Raymond W. Hancock is commanding officer of the Delaware State Police
Criminal Investigation Unit. As he spoke last week, troopers were unveiling
a giant 72-pound marijuana stash confiscated along Interstate 95 in New
Castle County. The supply, Capt. Hancock said, has a wholesale value of

''We are against any legalization of marijuana in the state,'' Capt.
Hancock said. ''We stand behind the existing Delaware marijuana laws.''

Heidi A. VanGilst, 21, is a case manager for AIDS Delaware in Wilmington,
an organization offering free and confidential testing at seven locations
in New Castle County, as well as a statewide hotline.

''I don't see a lot of clients using marijuana,'' Ms. VanGilst said.
''Marijuana is a starter drug that leads to stronger drugs. We don't
encourage marijuana use because we don't want clients going on to other
drugs. We like them to see their doctors and we like to see their doctors
prescribe other drugs.''

She said many of her contacts in the medical community also express fears
that any liberalization of current marijuana laws could easily lead to
other addictions, such as crack cocaine and heroin.

''I personally have never used marijuana,'' Ms. VanGilst said. ''My fear
would be that it would be used for other purposes. Where would the legality
lead to?''

But Nolan W. Brinkley, 47, an outreach specialist for AIDS Delaware,
offered a different analysis.

''I've been a recovering person for nine years after 25 years of drug use,
so what I'm saying may be considered a bit radical,'' Mr. Brinkley said.
''But I'm inclined to say - if it helps prolong a life, I think it's OK. If
everything else has failed, who am I to be judgmental?''

He said he's worked with AIDS patients during the past four-and-a-half
years who list marijuana as a vital component of their treatments. ''I've
seen where the other drug therapies, the drug ''cocktails'', just didn't
work,'' he said. ''Even as a recovering person, I'd vote to for that kind
of legalization. I don't see anything in my personal beliefs against that.''

Richard J. Schimelfenig of Wilmington is president of the Delaware Cannabis
Society and the Delaware chapter of National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws. He's a self-described ''activist.''

Mr. Schimelfenig, 47, has glaucoma. He also has bone spurs on his feet and
spine, along with chronic back pain and spasms from an accident when he was

''I started using marijuana when I was younger for recreational purposes,''
Mr. Schimelfenig said. ''When I was diagnosed with glaucoma in 1988, I
found prescription medications caused more problems than they were solving.
On the other hand, I was able to get through the whole day after smoking a

As part of his personal battle to make therapeutic marijuana legal, he
joined approximately 200 other plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed
this summer against the federal government in U.S. District Court in
Philadelphia. The lawsuit claims laws regulating marijuana are
unconstitutional and that citizens should be free to use marijuana for
health purposes without control or interference by the government.

He's also helping to organize a ''medical marijuana march'' scheduled to
kick off in Boston Oct. 3 and pass through Newark Oct. 31.

''We're trying to get the public to realize that it's not a war on drugs,''
Mr. Schimelfenig said. ''It's a war on users.''

Attorney General M. Jane Brady is the top law enforcement officer in
Delaware. The responsibility of the Attorney General's Office, she said, is
to prosecute those who break the law - even if an individual breaks the law
because he's convinced it's a medical necessity.

''If he wishes to use marijuana for medical purposes, he needs to get the
law changed to permit that,'' Ms. Brady said.

Mark A. Meister, executive director of the Medical Society of Delaware,
said the society has not taken a stand on the issue. ''We don't have a
formal position on it as a medical society,'' Mr. Meister said. ''But I
would say physicians in Delaware don't tend to recognize the therapeutic
value of marijuana.''

Dr. Susan Szabo, medical director of the HIV program at the Christiana Care
Center at Christiana Hospital, pointed out the legal alternative to
marijuana - a synthetic derivative called Marinol - has proved successful
as an element of AIDS therapy.

''We use it not as a treatment, but as an adjunctive, to control nausea and
weight loss,'' she said. ''However, with the newer, more-potent therapies
available now, weight loss is not as great as it was in the past.''

Dr. Szabo acknowledged she's heard some patients say Marinol is not as
effective or quick-acting as natural marijuana.

Would she favor legalization under strict medical guidelines?

''I think it is a very difficult issue, a societal issue,'' she said. ''But
if it were legalized, I think I would use it, under strictly-controlled
circumstances, as a drug of intervention. The active substance (of
marijuana) does have some medical value.''

Dover attorney Barry W. Meekins represents Townsend resident Randy Powell,
an AIDS patient who has been arrested three times for violating the state's
marijuana law. Mr. Meekins called the law a ''major piece of hypocrisy.''

''These people are in a fight for their lives,'' Mr. Meekins said. ''These
people want to live. This is not a Jack Kevorkian-type program. This is a
fight for life. I am anti-drug. I do not smoke, I do not drink. I don't
even take aspirin. But I'm pro-life too. If a person is in a fight for
their life, I'm not going to throw out the first rock.''

The hypocrisy, Mr. Meekins said, lies within a society that permits - and
often promotes - other so-called ''evils'' to exist, with mere strokes from
lawmakers' pens - but continues to legislate, and prosecute, people who
believe they need marijuana to save their lives.

''What about your booze in college?'' he asked. ''Your crime was OK, wasn't
it? Was it for your amusement? Your coming of age? Randy Powell wants to
live, so he smokes marijuana. His 'crime' is a desire to see the sun come
up tomorrow.

''Politics is the business of whores . . . That's exactly what's going on
here. It's like asking someone on board the sinking Titanic for a passport.''

Finally, Mr. Meekins referred to the Constitution: 'Life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.'

''What great societal harm is Randy Powell doing to deny him his right to
life?'' Mr. Meekins asked. ''Where is the horrendous moral tragedy here? Is
it because others abuse it? Is that why we legislate against it? We tried
that once with alcohol, didn't we?''

General Assembly Examines Marijuana Use (Contrary To Its Headline,
'Newszap! The Delaware State News,' In Dover, Quotes Several Legislators
Who Suggest The Delaware General Assembly Is Not Likely To Legalize Marijuana
In The Near Future, Or Even To Discuss The Issue)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:17:28 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DE: Delaware General Assembly Examines Marijuana Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Sep 1998
Source: Newszap! The Delaware State News (Dover)
Contact: bmccann@newszap.com
Website: http://www.newszap.com/
Author: D.L. Bonar


DOVER - The Delaware General Assembly is not likely to legalize
marijuana in the near future, according to legislators who have
studied the issue.

"We began to look at the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
several years ago," said retiring Rep. Jane P. Maroney, R-Talleyville.
"I was on the study committee with the late Sen. Herman R. Holloway, a
Wilmington Democrat, who felt there was room for this change in law."

Rep. Maroney who, although a Republican, calls herself a "bleeding
heart liberal" said she read a great deal about the subject as the
measure was discussed, but that no decision was ever reached by
legislative action.

"With all of the new drugs on the market and experimentation going on,
I don't know as I'd support it today," she said. "On the other hand,
watching people with things like full blown AIDS and cancer die a
slow, painful death makes me wonder if something couldn't be done."

Rep. Maroney said the entire idea of using marijuana for strict
medicinal purposes is popularly viewed as a possible gateway to its
legalization. Even noted conservatives like William F. Buckley are
today open to the issue, she said.

Other drugs are commonly used for medicinal purposes while remaining
illegal for use outside that purpose.

"Morphine is illegal for non-medicinal purposes," said Rep. Richard A.
DiLiberto, Jr., D-Newark. " But there are several people who are able
to use it to relieve pain, through prescription.

''Before we can begin again to look at the medicinal use of marijuana,
I would need to get a full update from the Delaware Medical Society
and consider all of the evidence," he said. "Obviously we don't want
people using this as an excuse to use marijuana or any other illegal

''Throughout history, new science comes along to alter the way
substances are looked at, but I would never rely on the testimony of
just one patient to make a decision of this magnitude."

"I would think you would have to look at the issue very closely," said
Rep. Charles W. Welch, R-Dover, majority whip of the House of
Representatives. "The immediate question is whether there is a
legitimate medical use for the substance and if so, what alternatives
are available. We obviously don't want someone using a medical
loophole to purchase an illegal substance then selling it to others.
There would have to be some very stringent controls."

According to Rep. Maroney, the issue died several years ago and has
not been revisited on any significant basis since.

D.L. Bonar can be reached at 302-741-8228 or at daverpa@newszap.com

Quarterly Potency Reports (One List Subscriber Seeks The URL
For Marijuana Potency Statistics Regularly Reported By NIDA,
The National Institute On Drug Abuse - Another List Subscriber Provides It,
And A Third List Subscriber Provides A Summary For The Years 1975
Through 1996 Showing The Average Potency Of Marijuana Seized
In The United States Ranged From 1.38 Percent To 3.5 Percent,
With The Most Recent Figures Hovering Around 2.9 Percent)

From: adbryan@ONRAMP.NET
Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 12:29:53 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Quarterly Potency Reports
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

Has anyone ever seen the quarterly reports referred to below? They
don't seem to have made it to the NIDA's website.

If no one has seen these reports, I'll track 'em down. I think they'd
make a great addition to the online library.

>Dr. Elsohly said he didn't think you would find much information on
>potency testing from the 60's. The testing program here began in the
>l970's, and all of the potency monitoring tests have been done here in the
>NIDA Marijuana Project laboratory. All of the results from research done
>here is forwarded to NIDA in quarterly and annual reports, therefore NIDA
>would definitely be the best source since they would have to release the

Alan B.


Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 22:38:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: "katrina.lee" (katrina.lee@mci2000.com)
Subject: Re: Quarterly Potency Reports
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)

the price/potency reports can be found in exhibit e-9 of nida's quarterly
guide to assessing drug abuse within and across communities.

try going to the following:


>Has anyone ever seen the quarterly reports referred to below? They
>don't seem to have made it to the NIDA's website.
>If no one has seen these reports, I'll track 'em down. I think they'd
>make a great addition to the online library.


Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 01:31:31 -0400
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Jon Gettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net)
Subject: Re: Quarterly Potency Reports
Reply-To: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

Source: Quarterly Report #59, Potency Monitoring Project, Research
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mississippi. NIDA
Contract #N01DA-4-7404.

Table 5. Domestic Cannabis Samples by Year Seized

Year		Seizures		%THC

1975		 17			1.99
1976		 3			1.77
1977		 7			1.38	
1978		 18			2.32
1979		 9			3.50
1980		 73			2.78
1981		 81			1.64
1982		 144			2.22
1983		 406			2.02
1984		 330			2.57
1985		 846			2.21
1986		 801			1.84
1987		 553			2.38
1988		 651			2.56
1989		 511			2.00
1990		 475			2.58
1991		 943			2.57
1992		1025			2.96
1993		1346			2.75
1994		1210			3.02
1995		 992			2.93
1996		 417			2.91

Total		10,942			2.56		

Failing Grade For Safe Schools Plan ('The Los Angeles Times,' While Noting
The Number Of Homicides At Public Schools Has Declined Over The Last
Five Years From 55 Annually To 45, Says The US Department Of Education
Has Poured Nearly $6 Billion During The Last 12 Years Into The Ambitious
But Flawed Safe And Drug-Free Schools And Communities Act, Billed
As The Federal Government's Largest Program To Deter Student Drug Use
And Aggression - Records And Interviews Show That With Virtually No Strings
Attached, Much Of The Money Has Been Spent On Initiatives That Are Either
Ineffective Or Appear To Have Little To Do With Reducing Youth Violence
And Substance Use)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 10:34:28 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Failing Grade For Safe Schools Plan
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 1998
Author: RALPH FRAMMOLINO, Times Staff Writer



U.S. has given $6 billion to combat drugs, violence. With little oversight,
money has gone for marginally successful programs, investigation finds.

WASHINGTON--Over the last dozen years, the U.S. Department of Education has
poured nearly $6 billion into an ambitious yet flawed program that has
fallen far short of its mission to control violence and narcotics abuse in
the nation's public schools.

Billed as the federal government's largest program to deter student drug use
and aggression, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act provided
an average of $500 million annually to local school districts with virtually
no strings attached. The result: Much of the money has been spent on
initiatives that either are ineffective or appear to have little to do with
reducing youth violence and substance abuse, records and interviews show.

"We are wasting money on programs that have been demonstrated not to work,"
said Delbert S. Elliott, director of the University of Colorado Center for
the Study and Prevention of Violence.

The program's track record takes on added import in the wake of half-a-dozen
school shootings during the past year in which 16 people were killed and 50
wounded. The crackle of gunfire in schoolyards from Oregon to Kentucky not
only riveted public attention to the problem of youth violence but exposed
gaping holes in government attempts to ensure safe schools.

A Times investigation found that taxpayer dollars paid for motivational
speakers, puppet shows, tickets to Disneyland, resort weekends and a $6,500
toy police car. Federal funds also are routinely spent on dunking booths,
lifeguards and entertainers, including magicians, clowns and a Southern
beauty queen, who serenades students with pop hits.

The program illustrates how Washington sometimes deals with vexing social
issues: Politicians pass reform legislation that steers federal funds into
their districts, then unleash a torrent of speeches and press releases
promising immediate action.

Yet few notice how the money is actually spent or what gets accomplished.
Left to thrash about for any strategy that works, local officials scatter
federal money in all directions and on unrelated expenses. If the problem
persists, many lawmakers resort to a familiar solution: More money.

"Every elected official wants these programs in their district," said Rep.
George Miller (D-Martinez), a member of the House Committee on Education and
the Workforce. "Once you succumb to that pressure, you're just dealing with
a political program.

You're not dealing with drug prevention or violence prevention." The Los
Angeles Unified School District used some of its $8-million grant last year
to purchase a new car, four guns, ammunition and an ultrasonic firearms
cleaner at the request of a detective who rarely steps foot on school
grounds. After The Times raised questions about the purchases, district
officials last week decided to return the money.

In Richmond, Va., where a ninth-grader shot and wounded a basketball coach
and a teacher's aide two days before school let out in June, state education
officials spent $16,000 to publish a drug-free party guide that recommends
staging activities such as Jell-O wrestling and pageants "where guys dress
up in women's wear." Although critics say the spending is a waste of federal
money, it is permitted under the general guidelines of the Safe and
Drug-Free Schools program. And some school administrators contend the
activities, which represent a fraction of their expenditures, help reinforce
the anti-drug and violence themes that are taught in the classroom.

A cottage industry of consultants, publishers and small-time "edutainers"
has grown up around the program, competing for the attention of school
officials with slick promotions and networks of commissioned sales reps.

"This is big business," said Mathea Falco, president of Drug Strategies, a
nonprofit institute in Washington that has analyzed dozens of school drug-
and violence-prevention programs.

Nonetheless, a pair of highly critical reports released last year--one done
for the Department of Justice and the other commissioned by the Education
Department itself--all but pronounced Safe and Drug-Free Schools a failure.

Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office suggested eliminating the program
as part of its annual recommendations for reducing federal spending in 1997.
The proposal was rejected.

Even critics agree that eradicating drug abuse and violence in the nation's
schools is a critical issue that should command the attention of the federal
government. It is for this reason that most experts say the program needs to
be cured, not killed.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said the program has succeeded in
"taking a national interest in a problem" and sending money to local school
districts to fix it "without controlling how they do it." But Riley
acknowledged in an interview that he is "concerned" about the results,
particularly in the wake of his own department's study. His concern is
shared by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the Clinton administration's drug czar.

The program simply "mails out checks" without holding anyone accountable,
McCaffrey said in an interview. He added: "There are almost no constraints
on it." Program Aimed at Preventing Violence The official purpose of the
Safe and Drug-Free Schools program is to help schools "offer a disciplined
environment that is conducive to learning" by the year 2000.

To that end, the act directs money to support a wide range of student,
teacher, parental and community programs aimed at "preventing violence in
and around schools and . . . strengthening programs that prevent the illegal
use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs . . . ."

Since it was launched in 1987, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools effort has
paid out $5.7 billion. Nearly all of the country's 14,881 school districts
participate in what Education Department literature calls the federal
government's "primary vehicle for reducing the demand for illicit drugs
through education and prevention activities." Top department officials admit
they have no idea how much of the money is spent on programs, training, even
metal detectors, because all of the decisions are made by state and local
officials. But it is the way the money is distributed that hurts the cause,
say experts and lawmakers.

Congress wrote into the law a per-capita spending formula that spreads the
prevention money so thin that six out of every 10 school districts get
$10,000 a year or less. In some cases, small districts receive only $200 to
$300--far less than the estimated cost in staff time to fill out application
forms. Governors are given 20% of their state allotments to award as grants.

"The funds are so spread out that some school districts really don't get
enough money to make a difference, and that's a problem," Riley said.

In Northern California's Humboldt County, the tiny Greenpoint Elementary
School District was awarded $53 last year. Principal Kelaurie Travis said
that she held on to the paltry sum for a year, hoping to scrape together at
least $100 to spend on an anti-drug speaker or a field trip for her
20-student district.

"It's crazy," Travis said.

Questions about the program's shortcomings prompted Congress to slash
funding by 25%, from $624 million in 1992 to $465 million in 1995. Since
then, however, spending has risen and the Clinton administration is seeking
a raise to $605 million next year.

Within the past year, the two federal examinations gave the program poor

The Justice Department study, which reviewed 78 government-financed juvenile
delinquency programs, found that Safe and Drug-Free Schools "funds a
relatively narrow range of intervention strategies, many of which have been
shown either not to work . . . or to have only small effects." That finding
was echoed in a report by the Department of Education that tracked 10,000
students for four years and concluded that "few schools employed program
approaches that have been found effective in previous research." The study's
bottom line: The attitudes and behaviors of youths enrolled in the
prevention programs "mirrored national trends," in which drug use has
increased sharply since the early 1990s.

"If you ask from a taxpayer's standpoint, most people in the Department of
Education say they are very disappointed . . . ," said Judy Thorne, the
study's principal investigator. "[The program] is not doing what Congress
intended it to do." Nationwide, drug statistics show that students continued
to experiment with drugs at earlier ages, with the number of eighth-graders
trying marijuana more than doubling, from 10.2% to 23%, since the early

Under the first year of a federal law requiring all kids carrying weapons to
be expelled, 6,093 students were disciplined during the 1996-97 academic
year for toting firearms, mostly guns but also rockets and grenades.

Still, U.S. education officials insist the program is worthwhile and that
schools are safe, with 90% of the nation's campuses never reporting any acts
of serious violence.

Recently the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington criminal justice
research group, lashed out against media coverage of the school shootings
that all but ignored the fact that the number of school homicides has
actually dropped over the last five years, from 55 annually to 45.

Even those who were touched by the tragedies say no amount of federally
financed instruction on anger management or impulse control could keep a gun
out of the hands of disturbed kids. "A school program wasn't going to do
it," said Kathryn Henderson, a prevention coordinator who served on a
Springfield, Ore., emergency response team in the days after Kip Kinkel,
then 15, was accused of killing four people and wounding 22 others in a May
shooting spree.

Rather, top education officials warn against making the program a scapegoat
for problems beyond the schoolhouse door--among them broken homes, the
waning influence of churches, easy access to drugs, and TV programming that
exposes children to 11,000 murder scenes by age 16.

"We do not believe--and I say this strongly--we do not believe this is a
school problem alone," Gerald N. Tirozzi, assistant secretary for elementary
and secondary education, told more than 300 school prevention coordinators
at a Washington conference in June. "It is a community problem." But the
head of the Education Department's 28-member Safe and Drug-Free Schools unit
conceded in an interview that the program has produced "mixed results,"
adding that it is difficult to pinpoint any effect on student behavior.

William Modzeleski, the program director, said: "If the drug use goes down,
it's not an indicator that we've been successful, just as if the drug use
goes up, it's not an indicator that we've been a failure." Frustration in
Congress Rises Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who chaired a House Education
and the Workforce subcommittee that examined the program last summer, said
there is widespread frustration among legislators and educators.

"Most of the numbers on Safe and Drug-Free Schools will tell you that the
federal program has failed miserably. . . . Lots of strange things happen
with this money." Federal funds have gone for uses that appear to have
little to do with encouraging kids to stay off drugs or resolve their
conflicts peacefully, according to interviews, records and legislative

Months before the March rampage that left five people dead and 11 wounded at
a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school, local officials spent part of their
federal dollars to hire a magician.

Police in Hammond, La., recently spent $6,500 in prevention funds to buy a
3-foot replica of a police car, a prop featured prominently in anti-drug
talks at elementary schools.

"It breaks the mold of a big, bad policeman talking to them if you can bring
something that the students can play with," Capt. Kenneth Corkern said
about the remote-controlled toy.

In Eureka, Utah, 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Tintic School
District officials spent $1,000 last year for a new unit in their
drug-prevention curriculum: fishing. The district purchased poles, tackle
boxes and bait so that 33 students could accompany health teacher Tom Taylor
on a field trip to nearby Burston's Pond.

"The thought was, I love to fish, and if I could get that feeling into a lot
of these kids, I figured that . . . instead of spending their time being out
and drinking and trying drugs, they could go out to the mountains and go
fishing," Taylor said.

Plans for next year: Pay for fly-tying kits "because I'm going to teach a
course on that," he said.

In Virginia, Safe and Drug-Free funds paid for lifeguards in Virginia Beach
and dunking booths in Pittsylvania County, all part of a statewide effort to
promote drug-free activities to students during graduation week. At the
state Capital last November, the Virginia Department of Education published
the sixth edition of a drug-free party guide that explains how to make
decorations, conduct cow chip bingo and hold Jell-O wrestling matches.

"Jello should be lemon-flavored," the guide says. "Red flavors stain
everything." Sometimes the money doesn't get anywhere near the students it
is supposed to help. Schools in Virginia's Fairfax County spent $181,400 in
prevention funds to send 876 county supervisors, school board members,
community members and a contingent of business leaders to a series of
weekend "coalition building" sessions at a resort four years ago.

Although no federal laws were violated, auditors concluded the trips were
"excessive, unnecessary and social in nature," according to a U.S.
Government Accounting Office report. The trips ceased.

In Michigan, complaints from the state's former drug czar ignited a series
of audits and hearings from 1992 to 1994 that revealed questionable
expenditures by schools throughout the state, including $1.5 million for
full-scale models of the human torso; $81,000 for sets of large plastic
teeth and toothbrushes, and $18,500 for recordings of the "Hokey Pokey."
"They taught everything from brushing teeth to combing your hair to sex ed
and self-esteem," said Robert E. Peterson, who brought the questionable
expenditures to light as Michigan's former top drug official.

"I went down to the U.S. Department of Education for years but they didn't
want to hear it," said Peterson, now a New York consultant to philanthropic
organizations. "All they wanted to do is save the program and spend the
money." Secretary Riley declined to say whether these and other federal
prevention expenditures disclosed by The Times were proper.

"I don't want to sit up here in Washington and say some program is a crazy
program and I don't know that much about it . . . ," Riley said.

But Riley didn't hesitate to mince words when it came to federally funded

"It doesn't sound like a good use to me," he said.

Guns, Car for L.A. School Police Records show that the Los Angeles Unified
School District used Safe and Drug-Free Schools funds to purchase four Glock
Model 26 handguns, four magazine clips, a $22,000 Pontiac Grand Prix and an
ultrasonic firearm cleaner for the district's police force.

The request came from Norm Clemons, a detective who helps coordinate
undercover drug sting operations at high schools.

Clemons said he asked for the items because the district's security unit
didn't have the money. Clemons said he specifically requested the Glock
model because he wanted a "more modern weapon" to carry as a backup than his
bulky .38-caliber revolver.

"I just thought under the circumstances . . . that the older I get, I need a
little protection," said Clemons, whose surveillance operations take place
in neighborhoods surrounding school sites.

He's now making the rounds in the Grand Prix.

In the wake of questions raised by The Times, Supt. Ruben Zacarias sent a
memo July 28 informing school board members that he would review the
effectiveness and "fiscal integrity" of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools

Last week, Zacarias directed officials to reimburse the federal program for
the guns and car out of LAUSD's general fund.

"I think that when people start to find out about [the purchase], they're
going to start to criticize it . . . ," said Deputy Supt. Francis Nakano.

Ruth Rich, director of the district's Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Education
Program until her retirement last month, said she reluctantly approved the
gun purchase last year at the general direction of her bosses and because
federal guidelines permitted it.

"You know what?" Rich said in an interview. "I'm damned if I do and I'm
damned if I don't." Her boss at the time, John Liechty, recalled encouraging
Rich to "bring some support" to the district police. But Liechty said he
didn't learn until recently that prevention money was used to buy weapons
and a new vehicle--purchases he now questions.

"Obviously, that sounds terrible," said Liechty, now assistant
superintendent for instruction in the San Fernando Valley. "In hindsight, if
that was going to be a discussion, I would have said, 'Wait a minute guys.
Drug-Free money? Why are we buying guns?' " If any school district typifies
how a well-intentioned federal program plays out in the classroom, it's Los
Angeles Unified, which scatters money in many directions.

As one of the urban, high-crime school districts favored by the Safe and
Drug-Free Schools funding formula, the 660,000-student Los Angeles Unified
system received $8 million last year--an average of more than $12 per
student, compared with the national average of $8.

The bulk went for training, books and salaries. Other expenditures included
$15,000 worth of Dodger tickets and $850 in Disneyland passes. Rich said
these were intended as rewards for students who participated in last
summer's recreational programs and made pledges such as cleaning up school
grounds, obeying their mothers--even learning to swim.

"You need after-school sports and you need all these programs, as
questionable as they may be," Rich said. "To do nothing is unconscionable."
Far and away the biggest share of the district's money--$4.5
million--purchased instructional materials, including $3.3 million in
character education books sold by Young People's Press, a small, privately
held San Diego area firm that largely owes much of its existence to federal
prevention dollars.

Most of the books were "Lessons in Character," a series of brightly
illustrated, multicultural stories targeted at second-to fifth-graders. The
objective is to teach "pillars" of character--virtues such as respect,
responsibility, fairness and trustworthiness. The curriculum calls for
teachers to weave the lessons into regular classroom instruction for a
minimum of 24 40-minute sessions during the school year.

Another set of books, called "Americans of Character," seeks to influence
sixth-graders through a set of short biographies about notable historical
figures, such as Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and the late Pittsburgh
Pirates baseball great Roberto Clemente.

The district paid $2.2 million for teachers and administrative salaries to
help administer the program. The amount includes a $1,000 annual bonus
awarded to teachers who serve as program coordinators at each of the
district's schools.

Nearly $900,000 was set aside in substitute pay to replace 2,354 regular
teachers who missed classes to attend seminars on how to inculcate character
in elementary school students or lead discussion groups of "at-risk" middle-
and high-school students.

The use of these so-called student assistance groups--an approach that
gobbles up about half of the national Safe and Drug-Free Schools budget,
according to the Justice Department report--forms the backbone of prevention
efforts for many districts, including Los Angeles.

In all, LAUSD organized about 2,450 student groups at 141 middle, high and
continuation schools, records show. Run by specially trained teachers, each
group included up to 10 students who were pulled out of one regular
classroom period a month to discuss personal problems ranging from drug use
to alcoholic parents.

But it is exactly these kinds of attempts that often backfire, according to
a 1997 University of Maryland review of government-funded juvenile
delinquency programs.

"Treatment students reported significantly more drug use," said the report,
written for the Justice Department. The reason: Such support groups "brought
high-risk youths together to discuss--and therefore make more salient to
others--their poor behavior." Gail Bluestone, who serves as coordinator for
20 student counseling groups at LAUSD's Sun Valley Middle School each year,
said the program works. "I've seen kids who were doing so poorly and had
such poor self-esteem, who were using [drugs] and were ready to drop off the
face of the earth," she said. "I've seen them come back and make it." But
one former Los Angeles High School teacher, who has led 30 such counseling
sessions since early 1996, said the counseling program is ineffective.

Part of the difficulty, said Robin Neuwirth, is that teachers are
ill-prepared to deal with the enormity of the problems that surface during
the in-school counseling sessions. Five days of training and a script on
drug use are no match for heart-wrenching situations better addressed by
professional psychologists, she said.

But the biggest problem, Neuwirth said, is that "the kids will lie and tell
me that they're sober when they really are not.

"I've never had a successful drug-alcohol group, where I've gotten the kids
to stay off drugs or the kids have actually told me the truth. I don't
really find that it changes their behavior." One student agreed. Guelda
Voien, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, said she
didn't take the anti-drug and violence instruction she received in
elementary and junior high school seriously.

"I don't think many of my peers did," Voien said. "It was kind of like a
chore--we have to go through this and answer the questions but we're going
to disregard it anyway." Merchants Make Money Off of Program Other districts
use Safe and Drug-Free Schools money to bolster school security--a move
educators acknowledge is necessary to ensure the safety of students.

Federal guidelines permit local schools to spend up to 20% of their annual
allotments for safety measures such as installing metal detectors and hiring
security guards. In El Paso, for example, one metal detector company that
caters to the school market has been overwhelmed with new orders during the
last six months. The demand at Ranger Security has been so overheated that
the firm expects to sell more than 300 portable walk-through detectors this
year, about triple its normal volume.

Security merchants are just the latest to join the network of entrepreneurs
seeking to make money off the Education Department's prevention program.

Most are publishers, consultants and behavioral experts who compete in an
increasingly crowded field for the opportunity to sell off-the-shelf
curricula to needy schools. The textbook business, in particular, has taken
off since 1994, when Congress approved the use of Safe and Drug-Free funds
to purchase violence-prevention materials.

"Edutainers"--motivational speakers, puppeteers, improvisational theater
troupes and other small-time entertainers--also have found work on what is
tantamount to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools vaudeville circuit.

At Los Angeles Unified, Rich said she received frequent solicitations from
"people who are trying to make a living" off the federal program. "Sometimes
recovering addicts will call me.

We'll have people with shows, plays, musical stuff." Mette Boving, the 1997
Miss Louisiana, has been paid with prevention funds to give anti-drug talks
at schools, where she has occasionally serenaded students with the love
theme from "Titanic" and Elvis Presley's "If I Can Dream." California school
districts have used prevention funds for a variety of speakers. The Galt
district near Sacramento paid $400 for a biographical portrayal of Dylan
Thomas, the Welsh poet who died an alcoholic. Elitha Donner Elementary
School in nearby Elk Grove brought in former Harlem Globetrotter Spinny
Johnson, who attempts to underscore the themes of respect and staying off
drugs while bouncing a basketball off his head.

Joe Romano of Washington makes a full-time career as an "illusionist" by
giving 200 drug awareness shows each year on the East Coast. He estimates
that 25% of his fees are paid through Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

"We might cut a girl in half and talk about drugs damaging a body," Romano
said of his 45-minute show, which costs $500 and up.

Fellow magician Tim Moss of Arlington, Va., says that school officials are
becoming increasingly leery about booking anti-drug entertainment.

So this summer, Moss piled his family into a motor home and drove across the
country to drum up business in an emerging market: year-round schools.

"I have some dates in North Carolina and Colorado so far," Moss said before
departing. "I'm also looking to book in Texas and Utah as well." New
Requirement on Spending It wasn't until July 1 that the Education Department
required school districts to spend the federal funds on effective,
"research-based" strategies--a move that critics point out came more than a
decade and $5.7 billion after the program began.

The change took place as the spate of schoolyard shootings heaped even more
political pressure on the program to produce. Riley said the tragedies "have
caused everybody in the country, including us, certainly to step up our
interest in the program." Now, education officials are scrambling to bolster
the program by redirecting federal dollars to strategies that show results.

Last month, Riley convened a task force of 18 national experts to figure out
how to define a "research-based" approach. The panel also will be charged
with creating a list for school officials of what strategies fit the bill.

But as recent research indicates, the list for now may be relatively short.
An examination of 450 school and community prevention programs by the
University of Colorado last year found that "80% have had no credible
evaluations," said Elliott, director of the school's Center for the Study
and Prevention of Violence.

Yet enough scientific data exist to upset conventional wisdom and point the
way to a new generation of promising programs, Elliott said. Of the 450
programs included in the Colorado study, 10 were deemed to be scientifically

"We know what works and other popular programs that do not work," Elliott

The best prevention programs teach "social competency skills" to students
who often resort to cigarettes, booze and drugs to resist peer pressure and
overcome shyness in social situations, the research indicates.

"Kids need a set of skills to navigate their way through the treacherous
shoals of adolescence," said Gilbert J. Botvin, a Cornell University Medical
School professor who has studied substance abuse prevention for 20 years.

Botvin's own program, Life Skills Training, made the top of both the
Colorado and Maryland lists for effective programs with staying power. A
1995 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. showed
that kids who went through Botvin's course in seventh grade were 66% less
likely to use tobacco, alcohol and drugs as high school seniors.

San Diego Unified School District officials applied for and received a
special $1-million federal grant last year to implement Botvin's program in
its middle schools, a move they hope will break the cycle of marginal
success that has plagued prevention programs.

On Aug. 27, President Clinton unveiled a government guide to help teachers,
parents and fellow students recognize potentially violent youths and respond
to early warning signs.

"We have worked hard, especially in the schools with the Safe and Drug-Free
Schools program," Clinton said during an address on school safety in
Worcester, Mass. "But it's not enough, as we know from the recent rash of
killings in our schools all over the country." Next month, Clinton and Riley
will host the first White House Conference on School Safety.

"We have to do a much better job of making sure that what we are doing is
effective," Riley said in a recent speech. "There is a science of
prevention, and we need to use it." Times staff writers Judy Pasternak and
Erin Trodden and researchers John Beckham in Chicago, Lianne Hart in
Houston, Edith Stanley in Atlanta and Anna M. Virtue in Miami contributed to
this story.

Copyright 1998 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved

Notion Of Prozac-Dependent Nation Relies On Heavy Dose Of Myth
('The Chicago Tribune' Suggests Several Reasons Why Many Americans
Who Need Anti-Depressants Aren't Getting Them, While Many Others
Get Prescriptions They Don't Need)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:28:19 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Notion Of Prozac-Dependent
Nation Relies On Heavy Dose Of
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young 
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Sept 1998
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/
Author: Bob Condor
Section: Woman News


Whether Americans take too many anti-depressant medications is less
clear-cut than some might think.

Data show anti-depressants are underprescribed for patients with
severe clinical depression, said Laura Miller, psychiatrist and chief
of the Women's Services clinic at the University of Illinois at
Chicago Medical Center. Yet too many women with mild depression and
life problems are helping to make best sellers of anti-depressants
such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox.

Even as researchers work to eliminate these contradictions, they find
many explanations for them.

For those who perhaps should be taking anti-depressants but aren't, a
likely reason is that people simply don't get medical attention for
their problem. "There is a stigma attached to seeing a psychiatrist,"
Miller said.

Doctors also may undertreat depression because many stick to the
belief that people can lift themselves out of it without drugs.

Complicating matters is that anti-depressants don't work for
everyone--about 30 to 40 percent of patients don't respond to them,
said Eva Redei, researcher and associate professor in the psychiatry
and behavioral sciences department at Northwestern University Medical
School. If the medication is effective--which requires two weeks to
two months to find out-- the patient should stay on the regimen for at
least 6 to 12 months to reduce the risk of the depression returning.

Even if the drugs do help with the depression, they can affect the
body in other undesired ways. Common side effects (affecting about 10
to 25 percent of patients) include nausea, diarrhea and sexual

The drugs also can seem to erase feelings altogether rather than help
patients to modify behavior and emotions.

"Lots of women eventually complain about feeling flat when using
anti-depressants," Redei said.

Women represent about two-thirds of patients who are diagnosed with
depression, estimated to affect more than 17 million Americans.
Theories that more women are diagnosed because of willingness to
consult doctors have not been confirmed in recent studies. There also
are hypotheses that today's U.S. women are stretched emotionally by
work and family roles. A landmark cross-cultural research project,
however, showed similar gender ratios for depression across ethnic
groups and among 10 industrial nations.

To help determine whether anti-depressants are necessary, Miller said
women need to distinguish between depression and normal life problems.
Midlife can create a series of new challenges for women, especially
hormonal fluctuations and role changes in the family.

"Anti-depressants are not intended as a way to make more friends or
address an unhappy or unfulfilled life," Miller said. "Women should
insist on a thorough evaluation (from a psychiatrist) and maybe even
allow a spouse or loved ones to be interviewed."

Any physician seemingly too quick to write a prescription for
anti-depressants should be suspect. Miller said depressive illness has
numerous variations that are difficult to analyze in a short visit.

"For someone whose depression can be traced to stress or a traumatic
event, psychotherapy will typically be more effective than
medications," Miller said. "But if the depression is chronic, a course
of anti-depressants might prove beneficial."

A recent meta-analysis of 19 anti-depressant studies published in New
Scientist magazine showed that the placebo effect plays a greater role
in treatment results than drug companies report. Industry-sponsored
studies show anti-depressants result in 40 percent greater relief of
symptoms (decreased energy level, sleep disruption, appetite changes),
while researchers Irving Kirsch of the University of Connecticut and
Guy Sapirstein of Westwood Lodge Hospital in Needham, Mass., reported
the drugs were 25 percent better than dummy pills.

"Depression is far from solved (by today's medications)," Redei said.
"We need to develop more specific drugs and study more closely
depression in women, who are significantly more prone during their
reproductive stages of life. Finding out why can provide clues for
better drugs used more narrowly."

It's OK To Elevate Our Pleasure With Viagra - But Not Marijuana
('The Province' In Vancouver, British Columbia, Says A Recent Survey
By The Fraser Institute Of The Canadian Media's Drug Policy Coverage
Uncovered A Surprise - The Bulk Of Editorials And Columns - 82 Percent -
Called For An End To The So-Called War On Drugs)

Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 17:48:09 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Canada: It's OK To Elevate Our Pleasure With Viagra - But Not
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Herb
Source: The Province (Vancouver, B.C.)
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Website: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 6 September 1998
Authors: Patrick Basham and Tracey Nicholls


A recent survey of the media's drug coverage uncovered a surprise; the
bulk of editorials and columns called for an end to the so-called war
on drugs.

Of 1,336 statements in newspapers or on television during
1997, 82 per cent of the coverage advocates reform (i.e. legalization,
decriminalization, or harm reduction) while 18 per cent advocated
continued criminalization.

The Fraser Institute's research found the media put forth the following
reform arguments:

First, current legislation is hypocritical, sending mixed messages about
drugs alcohol is an acceptable "party" drug, but cocaine isn't. Cigarette
smokers are tolerated, yet marijuana smokers can be jailed.
Mood-enhancement drugs like Prozac, and lifestyle enhancement drugs
like Viagra, are cited as evidence of society's ability to improve our
well-being; heroin, on the other hand, is evidence of the moral
depravity of its users.

According to one opinion writer, "It may be that drug users are fools,
maybe they are immoral, but as long as its legal to drink and smoke
yourself to death, it makes no sense to
imprison some of our immoral fools and not others."

Second, prohibition has been an abject empirical failure. It has not
stemmed the drug supply, reduced drug use, or minimized social costs
(addiction and crime) associated with drug abuse.

According to one national paper, the escalating violence among biker
gangs and other drug organizations makes prohibition " a state-dictated
subsidy to gangsterism." One that actually fuels the availability of
illicit drugs.

Thirdly, since the Opium Act of 1908,our drug laws have been based on the
rationale that government is obliged to curtail Canadian's drug use for
their own good. But many people today say drug use is a matter of personal
choice and individual responsibility.

Fourth, considering the high costs of overdose, AIDS and hepatitis
infection among intravenous drug users,curbing the use of drugs is a
public-health issue, not a criminal one.

Surveys of countries that offer heroin maintenance programs show
that homelessness, unemployment, crime, disease transmission, and
anti-social behaviour among addicts lessen under a system in which
drug use isn't criminalized. Such programs are also attractive
financially - the cost-per-patient is less than that of current
enforcement and public-health costs. Taxpayer dollars currently
allocated to health and policing would go a lot farther and do a lot
more if our drug laws were revamped.

But no matter how one prioritizes the arguments, the fact remains; the
war on drugs is unwinnable. The media got that one right.

The authors are researchers at The Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based
economic think-tank.

* Should drug use be removed from the Criminal Code? Give us your
comments at 605-2029 or fax us at 605-2786.

Unholy Trinity (A Letter To The Editor Of 'The Edmonton Sun' Says Police,
Press And Politicians Co-Operate To Bamboozle The Public
Into Supporting Drug Prohibition)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Unholy Trinity
Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 09:04:41 -0700
Lines: 30
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada)
Contact: sun.letters@ccinet.ab.ca
Pubdate: 09/06/1998
Author: Pat Dolan

Comment: Parenthetical remarks by the Sun editor, headline by hawk

KIM BRADLEY'S report, "Top cops want bucks to fight organized crime"
(Aug. 25) is another example of how that unholy trinity of police,
press and politicians co-operate to bamboozle the public. I wonder who
stands to gain by spreading scare stories like this one? Obviously,
the police - to pad the budget. And the press - nothing better to sell
newspapers with than a nice, juicy, police-backed scare story. And the
politicians - enough already! All these articles have one thing in
common: the common-sense solution is never mentioned.

Andy Scott knows what to do: "Tackle the problem with a nationally
organized police force set up to hit them where it hurts the most - in
the pocketbook." Well, why aren't the bikers shooting each other for
control of the liquor trade? Obviously, because the government controls
the liquor trade. If Scott and the police were really concerned, they
could put the gangs out of business tomorrow by taking control of the
drug trade. It would put a real dent in their pocketbooks. It might
involve having to admit society's regulators were wrong. As we know,
presidents and politicians would rather start or continue a war than do
that. So don't look for this one to end any time soon.

Pat Dolan

(Sadly, the drug trade would find a way to get around the rules.)


Date: Mon, 07 Sep 1998 13:56:00 -0700
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Pat Dolan (pdolan@intergate.bc.ca)
Subject: Re: Canada: PUB LTE: Unholy Trinity

The Letters Editor of the Edmonton Sun did rather a messy job. I crave a
few moments indulgence to set the matter straight:

Her version:

"If Scott and the police were really concerned, they could put the gangs out
of business tomorrow by taking control of the drug trade.

It would put a real dent in their pocketbooks. It might involve having to
admit society's regulators were wrong."
(An obvious non-sequitur and stylistically repugnant.)

I wrote:

"If the police and politicians were really concerned, they could put the
gangs out of business tomorrow by taking control of the drugs trade. It
seems to me that would put a real "dent in their pocket-books."

That might involve having to admit they were wrong, of course, and as we
all know, presidents and politicians would rather start - or continue - a
war than do that. So don't look for this one (the WoD) to end any time soon.

A closing thought: Christine Silverberg said the public needs to understand
'the crippling effects of organized crime'. Much more deadly, in my view,
are the crippling effects of ignorance and public apathy."


Thank you for your patience.


Re - Ailing Prison Drug-Smuggler Gets Jail Time (A Letter Sent To The Editor
Of 'The Winnipeg Free Press' Wonders Why A Sick Old Garbageman
Who Smuggled Marijuana And Cocaine Into A Prison Was Sentenced To 26 Months
In Jail, But The Prohibition Agent Who Supplied Contraband For The Sting
Earned $150,000)

Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 12:42:18 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: Re: Ailing prison drug-smuggler gets jail time

Sent to the Winnipeg Free Press, at letters@freepress.mb.ca.

To the editor:

Re: Ailing prison drug-smuggler gets jail time (Friday, September 4, 1998)

I'm confused -- an agent who supplies drugs that are brought into a prison
gets $150,000 tax dollars for her efforts, but an old, frail man who
actually smuggles the very same drugs into the prison gets jail time?

If drugs are so dangerous, what on earth are our law enforcement
organizations doing in paying someone huge amounts of money to help smuggle
them into prison? Do they not have to follow the same laws as everyone
else? Are they really that careless with drugs, and our tax dollars?

Where is the outrage at this truly troubling series of events?

Dave Haans

Feeble Law Hasn't Stopped Trade In Khat (A Letter To The Editor
Of 'The Toronto Star' Says That Since Last Fall, When Khat Was Added
To The Canadian Controlled Substance Act, Making It Illegal, The Price
Has Increased By A Factor Of 10 And The Khat Business Is Flourishing,
Openly Traded In The Markets Of Major Canadian Cities, Especially Toronto)

Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 11:52:05 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: PUB LtE: TorStar: Feeble law hasn't stopped trade in khat
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: The Toronto Star (Canada)
Pubdate: Sunday, September 6, 1998
Page: E5
Website: http://www.thestar.com
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com

Feeble law hasn't stopped trade in Khat

Khat is a green leaf grown in Kenya and Ethiopia. It is chewed while fresh
and its bitter juice swallowed.

Khat, which is addictive, is mainly used by East Africans, especially
Somalis. In Somalia, khat chewing is socially acceptable.

After the arrival of Somali refugees in Canada a few years ago, khat became
a hot-selling commodity among the Somali population, estimated at about
80,000 in the Toronto area.

Since last fall, khat is under the Controlled Substance Act, which means it
is illegal and being convicted of possessing it carries a sentence of up to
three years and a $1,000 fine.

That said, one hopes that this law will put an end to the khat trade in
Canada. But that is not what is happening; khat is openly traded in the
markets of major Canadian cities, especially Toronto.

Many more shops are opening and the khat business is flourishing. Now
people chew in their homes, on the streets and even behind the wheel.

The irony of the situation is the indifference of the federal government to
the khat trade. Khat is confiscated only at major entry points into the
country (airports and at the border with the United States).

Once khat hits the streets, the traders have nothing to worry about,
because there is no one who will go after them. They sell, trade and
distribute as they wish.

This "do-nothing" attitude of the government benefits only the khat traders.

Let me give you an idea. One hundred to 150 grams of the stuff costs as
little as 75 cents Canadian in Kenya, where the plantations are.

The same amount sells for about 2 (roughly $6 Canadian) in the United
Kingdom, where khat is legal and where the bulk of khat consumed in Canada
comes from.

In Canada, the same 100 to 150 grams fetches about $65 to $70 Canadian. It
is rumoured that most of the khat proceeds end up in the accounts of the
Somali warlords in Rome.

It is known that traders use a network to bring khat into the country. One
way is to use mules, mainly white Canadian and British citizens, who carry
the stuff through airports. Another way is to use the cargo system and the
last method is to smuggle it through the border using tractor trailers.

The government and the media ignore this problem as long as it affects an
obscure segment of society. Why does the government pass a law that it
can't enforce?

Most of the law enforcement agencies do not know what khat is or what it
looks like.

The federal government should implement its law regarding khat more
diligently and consistently or else repeal the act so khat can be regulated
and taxed and generate some revenue, as most European nations do.

If the government will do that, the khat price will be $7 and not the $70
that the traders charge now.

Farah Jacma


Thai Monks Might Take Urine Tests ('The Associated Press'
Says Thailand's Ministry Of Education Wants Men
Applying To Become Buddhist Monks To Submit
To Urine Tests For Drug Use And HIV)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 21:11:18 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Thailand: WIRE: Thai Monks Might Take Urine Tests
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Sun, 6 Sep 1998
Source: Associated Press

Thai Monks Might Take Urine Tests

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Thailand's Ministry of Education wants men
applying to become Buddhist monks to submit to urine tests for drug
use and the virus that causes AIDS, a ministry spokesman said Friday.

More than 60 complaints have been filed with Thai police in the past
two years involving drug abuse at Buddhist temples, the spokesman said.

Amphetamine abuse is soaring in Thailand. The country is also the
epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in Southeast Asia.

Traditionally, almost all Thai Buddhist men become a monk for a brief
period at some point during their lives to make religious merit.

Education Minister Akhom Engchuan has asked the Religious Affairs
Department, which the ministry controls, to study the proposal before
submitting the recommendation to the Sangha Supreme Council.

The council, made up of the education minister and the country's top
Buddhist monks, oversees policies pertaining to Buddhism and temple

Under the plan the abbot of each temple will be held responsible for
making sure that those who wish to become monks must obtain the
required medical documents.

Cannabis Congress Explores How To Legalise (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday'
Describes The Conference Yesterday In London, 'Regulating Cannabis - Options
For Control In The 21st Century,' Attended By Delegates From Europe, Australia
And The United States)

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 07:16:07 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Congress Explores How To Legalise
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 1998

Independent on Sunday
1 Canada Square
Canary Wharf, London
E14 5DL, England


A UNIQUE symposium on the future of drugs legislation across the world
brought more than 150 prominent scientists, sociologists and lawyers to
London yesterday, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Delegates from Europe, Australia and the United States met to discuss
"Regulating Cannabis: Options for Control in the 21st Century".

The event was specifically designed to take the debate into new territory
and develop "blueprints for post-decriminalisation regulation".

It had been billed by its organisers as the first conference to concentrate
on the practical problems of administering liberalised drug laws rather
than simply looking again at the arguments for change.

"This conference marks an historic turning point in the cannabis debate,"
said Mike Goodman, director of Release, the UK-based drug policy
organisation which co-hosted the symposium. "We now expect the debate to
shift away from 'should it be decriminalised?' to 'How cannabis should be
regulated responsibly'."

Mr Goodman believes yesterday's discussions were the first time that the
alternative and fringe groups involved in drugs law campaigning have met
with academics to work out a practical future.

Speakers included Dr Nicholas Dorn of the Institute for the Study of Drug
Dependence and Dr Geoffrey Guy, the British doctor whose company, GW
Pharmaceuticals, was granted a groundbreaking licence to farm cannabis for
scientific research purposes earlier this year.

They were joined by representatives of many of the smaller British groups
that have campaigned for change in the drugs laws for the last 30 years.
Academics from universities in Germany, Holland, Canada and Australia also
attended and the conference was addressed by Benedikt Fisher, the
co-ordinator of the Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto.

The symposium was run by Release in tandem with the New York-based drugs
policy research institute, the Lindesmith Center, itself established in
1994 by the philanthropist George Soros and his Open Society Institute.

The founder and director of the Lindesmith Center, Ethan Nadelmann told
delegates that he saw the conference as an inevitable step forward from the
campaign stage. "As the public demands legal access to cannabis for both
therapeutic and other responsible uses and as policy makers are forced to
take up the challenge of cannabis regulation, we plan to advise them on how
the drug can best be regulated."

The symposium was dubbed by delegates as the first international cannabis
congress and it had been prompted by recent moves towards decriminalisation
both in Britain and the United States.

Speakers from the Lindesmith Center explained how the situation for
therapeutic cannabis users in California has recently improved.

The city council in Oakland has given designated "cannabis buyers clubs"
special immune status as "officers of the city" in order to protect their
suppliers from federal prosecution.



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