------------------------------------------------------------------- Voters favor medical marijuana, oppose recriminalization (The Oregonian says a statewide poll conducted Sept. 30 through Oct. 6 suggests 59 percent support Measure 67, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, and 54 percent oppose Measure 57, which would recriminalize possession of less than one ounce of the herb.) Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 17:36:14 -0700 From: Paul Freedom (email@example.com) Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" (email@example.com), Cannabis Patriots (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CanPat - Voters favor medical marijuana-Oppose Recriminalization Sender: email@example.com The Oregonian Voters favor medical marijuana-- (Oppose Recriminalization ) A statewide poll shows 59 percent support Measure 67 and 54 percent oppose Measure 57, which would recriminalize possession of the drug Sunday, October 11 1998 By Patrick O'Neill and Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff Most Oregon voters are comfortable with the idea of marijuana as medicine, and a majority doesn't agree that possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use should be a crime. A statewide poll conducted for The Oregonian and KATU (2) shows voters strongly favor Measure 67, which would legalize marijuana use by people with certain diseases. A slightly smaller majority opposes Measure 57, which would reinstitute criminal penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. "Oregon tends to be a more libertarian kind of state,'' said Rep. John Minnis, R-Wood Village, one of Measure 57's sponsors. "I kind of think Oregon is stuck in the '60s. There's an attitude of 'Leave me alone, let me smoke my grass, let me do my own thing.' Until that changes, we probably won't see much support for this." In the poll, 59 percent of those surveyed said they would vote to legalize medical marijuana, and 54 percent said they oppose the recriminalization measure, which was passed by the Oregon Legislature last year and forced to the Nov. 3 ballot after opponents started a signature-gathering campaign. Since then, Measure 57's opponents have raised $637,000 to defeat it, drawing large contributions from such wealthy benefactors as billionaire George Soros and insurance magnate Peter Lewis of Ohio. They are opposed by Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle and an array of law enforcement backers who have raised less than $300,000. Oregon is one of five states this fall with medical marijuana measures on the ballot. The campaigns are being coordinated by Americans for Medical Rights, which helped lead successful efforts to legalize medical marijuana in California and Arizona. The poll suggests there is broad support for use to control pain and nausea from chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Measure 67 would set up a permit system, requiring a doctor's written proof, that exempts patients with a "debilitating medical condition'' from prosecution under marijuana laws. "Some people claim it helps them," said Clinton Tracy, a retired heavy-equipment mechanic. "And you just about have to believe them if that's what they say." Although Tracy said he will vote for Measure 67, he said he remains concerned that medical marijuana could be abused. "It has to be handled real carefully," he said. "It should be controlled closely." Greg Steward, a Beaverton accountant, said he is suspicious about what's motivating the measure's supporters and will vote against it. "Most of the people who were out petitioning for that make me a little suspect," he said. "They looked like they were more likely to use this for recreational purposes." Steward said he thinks alternatives to marijuana - such as Marinol, a prescription anti-nausea drug made from the active ingredient in marijuana - make it unnecessary to smoke marijuana to gain the same medical benefit. The survey found support for the measure in the Portland area and in the Willamette Valley. The strongest opposition was in Eastern Oregon, where 62 percent of people polled said they would vote no. Dr. Richard Bayer, a Portland internist and a chief petitioner for Measure 67, said the poll shows that "Oregon voters are realizing that this is a health issue, as much as our opponents are trying to spin this as a law enforcement issue." But Noelle charged that while the proponents cast the issue in a medical light, "long term, this isn't about medicine or compassion. . . . This is about legalizing marijuana and ultimately about legalizing drugs.'' "This measure will effectively end law enforcement's and prosecution's ability to deal with (marijuana-growing) operations," he said. Opponents of Measure 57 say that it won't deter marijuana use and that it will divert money away from treatment programs that would be more effective. But some voters seem to agree with Minnis that the issue turns on personal responsibility and freedom. "I just don't feel it should be a crime to have just a small amount of it," said William Lacey, 47, of Gresham, who was among those polled. "It's really a personal decision." Voters "understand Measure 57 is not going to be effective in dealing with drug use by youth," said state Rep. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, a Measure 57 opponent who is a prosecuting attorney. "Too many of my colleagues in the Legislature told me behind closed doors that this was an inappropriate means for drug control, but they felt because they were in the public eye they had to take a tough approach to marijuana use." Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is now a noncriminal violation on par with a traffic ticket. If Measure 57 passes, it would become a Class C misdemeanor with a potential jail term of 30 days and a $1,000 fine. The poll found no clear preference among likely voters for Measure 61, an attempt to crack down on property crime offenders by setting longer, mandatory sentences. Results come just days after the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the signature verification process used to qualify the measure for the ballot, casting its future in doubt. Secretary of State Phil Keisling has said he will ask the court to reconsider on Monday. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said they support the measure, a nearly equal number said they are opposed, and nearly one-fourth are undecided. "Given the timing of the poll, a lot of folks haven't received their Voters' Pamphlet material yet. We think they'll swing in support once they read up on it," said former state Rep. Kevin Mannix, R-Salem, a co-sponsor of the measure. "But it's still a horse race." The statewide telephone survey of 618 likely voters was taken Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. *** [p. A5:] "Tell me if you would favor or opposed medical use of marijuana in this particular situation" A) When a patient has chronic pain from a nonlife threatening condition such as glaucoma or multiple sclerosis. Y = 60 N = 33 undecided = 6 B) When a patient has pain or discomfort from a life threatening illness such as AIDS or cancer. Y = 73 N = 24 undecided = 3 C) When a patients suffers from psychological problems such as depression Y = 17 N = 76 undecided = 7 [Davis & Hibbitts telephone poll of 618 likely voters conducted Sept. 30 - Oct. 6. Margin of error plus or minus 4 percentage points on statewide, higher on subcategories.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man quits chewing tobacco after using computer game (The Associated Press says Steve Guard of Springfield, Oregon, quit chewing tobacco with the help of a prototype program developed by Herbert Severson, a behavioral scientist at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, who has been studying "smokeless" tobacco addiction for a decade. Severson collaborated with computer programmer Tom Jacobs and producer Steve Christiansen of Intervision, a Eugene-based multimedia company, with support from a grant by The National Cancer Institute.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Man quits chewing tobacco after using computer game The Associated Press 10/11/98 5:38 PM EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- After 19 yars of chewing tobacco, Steve Guard finally kicked the habit with the help of a computer game. Using the program is about as easy as playing a video game and it takes around half an hour to complete. A baseball diamond serves as a map to the stages of quitting. "I was chewing about a can every two days. It is a pretty addictive habit," said Guard, 34, of Springfield, who estimates nearly half of his co-workers at a sawmill chew tobacco. But Guard quit chewing tobacco with the help of a prototype program developed by Herbert Severson, a behavioral scientist at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, who has been studying "smokeless" tobacco addiction for a decade. He collaborated with computer programmer Tom Jacobs and producer Steve Christiansen of Intervision, a Eugene-based multimedia company. They were supported by a grant from The National Cancer Institute. Prompted by a narrator, program users answer questions about their level of addiction and reasons for quitting. The program creates and prints a detailed personal game plan based on the answers. Are nicotine patches or chewing gum advisable? How do you deal with withdrawal cravings? Along the way, program users can click on their computer screens to consult videotaped interviews with other tobacco quitters. In once interview, the father of two boys explains his reasons for wanting to stop: "If Dad chews then maybe they would think its OK. Maybe they would think it's cool. I don't want them to think that." Another man talks about how much money he regrets wasting on chewing tobacco in 43 years. "Me and my wife decided to put a pencil to what it cost," he says. "I've probably spent between $6,000 and $7,000, which I wish I had right now." Severson said the project makes counseling and advice available to people even in remote towns. "When you are dealing with smokeless tobacco, most of these are rural guys and there are no formal cessation programs where they live," he said. Severson said he hopes to develop a CD-ROM version of the game that could be used in medical and dental offices, places of employment, or at home. He is also seeking funding to develop an Internet version of the program. Guard says he believes the program works. "You have to want to quit," he said. "But I think if someone really wants to give it up, it definitely helps." (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- I-692 A Proper Use For Marijuana (A staff editorial in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer strongly endorses Initiative 692, the Washington state medical marijuana ballot measure, saying the case for medical use of marijuana is compelling.) Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 16:29:09 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WA: Editorial: I-692 A Proper Use For Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sunday, 11 October, 1998 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Contact: email@example.com I-692 A PROPER USE FOR MARIJUANA There are two simple motives for voting yes on Initiative 692 Nov. 3. They are compassion and common sense, two solid virtues possessed by the majority of Washington voters. Initiative 692 would decriminalize the medically approved use of marijuana by people with terminal or debilitating diseases. Its passage would mean that people who pursue this widely recognized surcease from pain and suffering would no longer be criminals in the eyes of the state. Its passage would require the state to see them in the same way most of us do: as people who deserve to be helped, not prosecuted. It's important that voters not make the mistake of confusing this initiative with the vastly different one that Washingtonians so soundly - and correctly - trounced at the polls in 1996. The opposition campaign has in fact adopted the slogan "We said No!" in reference to the former effort. That is too clever by half. The new initiative, I-692, is narrowly and specifically drawn. It applies to those who have medical need and physician's approval for possessing, producing and consuming marijuana, the physician who gives that approval and to those who help the patients. Under I-692, no physician is required to authorize the use of marijuana. Health insurance providers aren't required to pay for it. Employers aren't required to accommodate marijuana use at work. Driving under the influence of marijuana is not exempted from prosecution. Public consumption is not permitted. Those who use fraud to take advantage of the new law would face felony prosecution. The case for medical use of marijuana is compelling. In 1988 the federal Drug Enforcement Agency commissioned Administrative Law Judge Francis Young to review the medical efficacy of marijuana. Young ruled that marijuana did not meet Schedule I criteria. That is, it did not belong in the same category as heroin and cocaine. Young wrote: "The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people and doing so with safety under medical supervision. . . . " In January of last year, The New England Journal of Medicine editorialized in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes, calling the threat of federal government sanctions against patients and physicians in states that had legalized medical marijuana "misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane. . . . Whatever their reasons, federal officials are out of step with the public," wrote Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the journal's editor. The medical community is, or course, hardly unanimous on the efficacy or risks of marijuana. Critics of the initiative in the medical community argue that it contains no controls or safeguards over the dosage, potency or purity of the drug patients might consume. They point out that marijuana has not passed FDA evaluation and would not be issued by prescription but by "authorization" by the physician, with no liability. While possession and consumption of marijuana would be decriminalized under state law, sale would still be illegal, and the federal laws against sale, possession and consumption would remain in place. But the fact is that some patients and physicians have found help for nausea, loss of appetite, glaucoma and intractable pain in the use of a substance that has been legally and politically demonized. Removal of marijuana from the DEA's Schedule 1 list would be sensible federal policy. In the meantime, decriminalizing the medical use of marijuana is sensible policy for Washington state. Decisions involving personal health and private suffering are best made by patient and physician, not police, politicians and prosecutors. I-692 would help put those decisions where they belong.
------------------------------------------------------------------- To Make Narcotics Legal Defies History And Science (The Baltimore Sun runs a three-book review by historian Jill Jones, author of "Hepcat, Narcs, and Pipedreams" and the curator of the new DEA Museum opening in Washington, DC, this year. A classic drug warrior, Jones thinks drug courts are the best thing to happen in the drug treatment industry since methadone. Because of her editorializing, you won't learn much about the import of Mike Gray's "Drug Crazy - How We Got Into This Mess, How We Can Get Out"; conservative Republican Dirk Chase Eldredge's "Ending the War on Drugs - A Solution for America"; and "The Fix - Under the Nixon Administration, America Had an Effective Drug Policy - We Should Restore It - Nixon Was Right," by Michael Massing.) From: GDaurer@aol.com Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 11:40:12 EDT To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Why does she say that? Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org I don't often pull a specific story from MAP and suggest people write letters to the newspaper. But here's an exception. Why does the author, Jill Jones, feel the way she does about legalizing drugs? Check ($) out the tagline at the end of the column. Gregory Daurer Denver, CO *** Pubdate: 11 October, 1998 Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Copyright: 1998 The Baltimore Sun Author: Jill Jones, SPECIAL TO THE SUN TO MAKE NARCOTICS LEGAL DEFIES HISTORY AND SCIENCE Supporters of decriminalization of hard drugs, on the political right and left, ignore both bad and good news It has become very much the fashion on the left and the right to denounce the "war on drugs" as a failure so abject that the only possible solution is to legalize drugs. The legalizers have taken to speaking of drug "Prohibition," as if cocaine and heroin were comparable to alcohol, and insisting that the big problem is, and always has been, not the drugs themselves but our drug laws. The latest entry from the left is Hollywood filmmaker Mike Gray's "Drug Crazy. How We Got Into This Mess, How We Can Get Out" (Random House, 251 pages, $23.95). The latest entry from the right is conservative Republican Dirk Chase Eldredge's "Ending the War on Drugs: A Solution for America" (Bridge Works Publishing Co., 224 pages, $22.95). Legalizing drugs is one of the few issues that unites those on both the far left and the far right. The legalizers tend to be people with little firsthand experience with the hard-core drug culture. This allows well-meaning people like Republican Eldredge to assert that, "If illegal drugs were legalized ... there is no reason to expect an increase in the number of people whose value systems or psychological profiles destine them to substance abuse." Any addiction expert will tell you that availability and exposure are key. I certainly understand the simple allure of saying just legalize drugs, because I too once assumed, like many baby boomers, that this would be a nice, clean answer. But the horrors of the crack epidemic and a dozen years spent immersed in the history and policy of drugs have thoroughly persuaded me that drugs are just too addicting, complex, dangerous and corrupting to be made yet more available. Moreover, there is highly promising news on the anti-drug front that the legalizers choose to ignore: drug courts, the fastest-growing and most successful development in decades. More on that later. The legalizers, in arguing that illegal drugs are really not so much worse than alcohol, reconfigure both history and medical experience to advance their cause. Mike Gray in "Drug Crazy" argues that American addicts were happily using such new drugs as heroin and cocaine at the turn of the century, and causing no pain to themselves or society. Yet as early as 1895, Scientific American was writing, "Cocaine habitues are utterly unreliable and disregard all personal appearance, going about unkempt, bedraggled and forlorn. The cocaine habit Is & swift road to destruction." Moreover, claims Gray, our first federal drug law, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, was foisted upon an unwary nation. He glosses over the hard fact that American cities and states had been steadily passing local anti-drug laws from 1875 on. Why? Because even then Americans could see how easily people became addicted and then anti-social. Heroin, for instance, had been a popular street drug for only a few years when a Manhattan doctor working in the prison system wrote in 1914, "The increase in the number of people addicted to habit forming drugs has been extraordinary within the last five years. The greatest increase has been within the last year." The legalizers also like to ignore the 50 years when our drug laws worked quite well. I would argue that-the laws were so successful that drugs became a marginal social problem, removed from our public policy radar screen until the 1960s. Yet, "Drug Crazy" author Gray declares all events post-Harrison Narcotics Act "a brutal eighty-year conflict that has produced the opposite of what was intended." In fact, we were doing fine keeping drugs off limits until the late 1980s. But the Cold War gave national security precedence and we winked at Cold War allies --like the French -- who did little as their gangsters steadily escalated the postwar heroin trade. By the late 1960s, this growing heroin trafficking set off an inner-city epidemic. At the same time, many baby boomers decided that getting high on illegal drugs was a fun way to express social rebellion and perhaps even achieve a better, more interesting self. By the time the middle-class began to relearn history's lesson that the down side to drugs is far bigger than the up side, driven home by basketball player Len Bias' death from cocaine in 1986, the Colombian cartels were busy shipping in 300 tons of cocaine a year. When the middle-class turned away, the Colombians refocused on the poor, setting off the crack epidemic, adding more than 3 million crack addicts to the existing half-million heroin addicts. Are alcohol and illegal drugs really comparable? Medical science shows that alcohol is moderately addicting. It is also legal. We have about 10 million alcoholics. Medical science shows that heroin and cocaine are highly addicting. They are illegal. We have about 4 million drug addicts. The reality is that making drugs illegal keeps a great many people from trying and using them. If these extremely seductive substances became legal, we could expect our addict population to triple, if not quadruple. In "The Fix: Under the Nixon Administration, America Had an Effective Drug Policy. We Should Restore It; (Nixon Was Right)," by Michael Massing, (Simon & Schuster, 275 pages, $25), the author, who spent many years as a reporter immersed in the drug culture, is also unconvinced by what he terms the legalizers' "revisionist" view that drugs are not so much worse than alcohol. Listen to the experience of one of the major characters in "The Fix": "Before trying crack, Yvonne Hamilton was no angel, nonetheless, the drug unhinged her in a way even drinking had not. 'Alcohol is a depressant,' she' observed. 'You're down. Drinking allowed me to open up to other people, to venture into new things. Drinking, I never would have thought of robbing people. Crack gave me the confidence to do that. I was very self-centered and selfish, and drugs intensified that. It made me feel smarter than the rest of the world. It made me become very physically aggressive. I did a lot of things under the influence of crack that I otherwise would not have." Multiply Yvonne by the millions who used and still use crack and we can understand why the quality of life has crumbled in so many neighborhoods. Which brings us to drug courts. We now have an awful drug problem that needs serious attention. In Massing's book he performs a highly valuable service recounting how the Nixon administration, when confronted with the fast-escalating heroin epidemic of the late 1960s, put together the best drug policy of any postwar administration. Notably, the White House brought in psychiatrist Jerome Jaffe (a Baltimore resident) to set up 80,000 methadone maintenance treatment slots. For the first time ever, there was meaningful help for heroin addicts. Equally important, though Massing doesn't emphasize it, was the dismantling of the French Connection. We got the Turks to stop growing opium poppies and the French finally cracked down on their heroin traffickers. Heroin availability would remain low for another 15 years. Massing also then tells the depressing tale of how Jaffe's whole treatment system was subsequently so underfunded that while addiction soared sixfold thanks to crack, treatment slots barely grew. What is puzzling about Massing's book, which rightfully proposes that treatment should be greatly expanded, is that he barely mentions drug courts, the most promising development in treatment since methadone. We have gone from one drug court in Dade County in 1981 to 500 drug courts all over the country supervising 90,000 addict-offenders (still a fraction of the total problem). There is a simple reason for the exploding interest. The 200 oldest drug courts have shown twice as much success in rehabilitating hardcore addicts as the regular treatment system. How is this done? Drug court participants are intensively supervised, expected to work, go to school and remain drug-free or face escalating court sanctions, ranging from sitting in court all day to time in jail. Most offender-addicts are with the drug court at least a year. If indeed our hardcore addicts consume three-quarters of the illegal drugs, a vastly expanded drug court system could seriously diminish demand and the whole drug scene. Why not start here in Baltimore? While we've had a drug court since 1994, It only has 600 slots to deal with its offender-addicts in a city said to have 50,000 addicts. How about it, Mayor Schmoke? Jill Jones became interested in narcotics while writing a history of the South Bronx. That led her to write "Hepcat, Narcs, and Pipedreams," published by Scribners in 1996 and soon to be released as a paperback by Johns Hopkins University Press. She has a doctorate in American history and is historian and curator for the DEA museum, scheduled to open in Washington this year .
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Makers in Hot Race to Find the Next Prozac (The New York Times writes about the competition among pharmaceutical companies to come up with the next big antidepressant. Sometime in the next five years, Eli Lilly's patents on Prozac will expire, so giant pharmaceutical companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the hope of developing the drug that supplants it as the market leader. However, the company that develops the next big antidepressant must be able to sell it, so it looks like research into cannabinoids is out of the question.) Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 11:49:42 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: NYT: Drug Makers in Hot Race to Find the Next Prozac Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Arthur Livermore Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Author: DAVID J. MORROW DRUG MAKERS IN HOT RACE TO FIND THE NEXT PROZAC It began one morning 12 years ago, when Matthew, then 24, could barely crawl out of bed. He persevered at podiatry school in Chicago for six months while becoming increasingly nervous and agitated. Finally, he saw a psychiatrist. The diagnosis was chronic depression, and the doctor wrote a prescription for an antidepressant. Such medications -- Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil are the most widely used -- have truly been wonder drugs, becoming as much a staple of daily life as Big Macs or Tylenol as they have helped lift the gloom from the lives of many of the nearly 18 million Americans who the National Institute of Mental Health says are affected each year by depression. But they do not work for everyone. Matthew, who spoke on the condition that his last name not be used, is one of about 3.6 million depressed people who doctors say get no help from existing medications. After spending $15,000 of his own money on doctor fees and medication to learn only that lithium is white, Depakote orange and Prozac yellow and pale green, Matthew, now a medical technician in Ocean Township, N.J., wonders if he will ever find a cure. "I'm not that optimistic that a company can develop a drug that can help me," he said, "but I'm willing to wait and see." He may not have to wait long. Sometime in the next five years -perhaps as soon as 2001 -- Eli Lilly & Co.'s patents on Prozac will expire, and Lilly and a half-dozen other giant pharmaceutical companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the hope of developing the drug that supplants Prozac as the market leader. Sales of antidepressants, meanwhile, are expected to reach $8 billion in the United States at about the time Lilly loses its exclusive rights to Prozac. So, "there clearly is a lot at stake here," said Bruce L. Downey, the chief executive of Barr Laboratories, a drug maker involved in a legal fight with Lilly over the right to produce a generic version of Prozac. Speaking of Barr's fight with Lilly -- but in a comment that could refer to the whole, bruising race -- he added, "I can guarantee you that in this battle, no stone will be left unthrown." Still, it is not guaranteed that the Next Big Thing in antidepressants will be a boon for the industry -- or even much help for people like Matthew. Many industry analysts say they expect that any new brand-name best seller will be a drug that is no more effective than Prozac, but simply has fewer side effects. Moreover, the introduction of generic Prozac may lead cost-cutting managed health care companies to require doctors to prescribe it rather than the more expensive antidepressants under development. Either of those scenarios would fall short of the hopes of many doctors. To satisfy them, the ultimate antidepressant would work immediately in every patient, have no side effects and allow patients to follow simple dosage regimens. It could also be given to manic-depressives without causing a manic episode. "People are used to taking Tylenol and feeling better shortly thereafter, not weeks later," said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "If someone is suicidal, you may not have weeks." It is unclear which, if any, of the drugs under development will be Hyman's aspirin for depression. Some drug makers are taking entirely new approaches to combating depression; the entries from Novartis, Warner-Lambert and Pfizer are so young they have yet to be named. In any event, drugs from giant companies are akin to children of blue-blood families: they tend to succeed even when they are mediocre. The market is certainly enormous; this year, sales of antidepressants in the United States are expected to hit $6.3 billion, according to IMS Health, a health care consulting firm. Depression costs American businesses $23 billion a year in lost work time and productivity, according to the National Foundation for Depressive Illness, making it one of the nation's most expensive ailments. It is also one of the most painful. People who cannot be helped by medication are often forced to live with insomnia, fatigue and a pervasive feeling of despair. Lilly's corporate headquarters in Indianapolis is on the front lines of the antidepressant battle. Walk into just about any meeting room there, and one is likely to find executives scratching their heads over how to survive "Year X" -- when Prozac loses its patent protections. Exactly when that will happen is unclear, because the separate patents on the drug's chemical makeup and how it works with a chemical in the brain expire three years apart, beginning in 2001. Barr Laboratories has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to make a generic Prozac, and Lilly has sued, contending patent infringement. Such legal battles can last for years -- particularly when a product as valuable as Prozac is at stake. Seldom has one brand been so central to a company's success. This year, Prozac will contribute nearly 30 percent of Lilly's estimated $10 billion in worldwide sales, making it one of the best-selling drugs ever. To replace the revenue that will be lost once Prozac's patents expire, Lilly plans to introduce several new drugs, including two antidepressants and a compound that would relieve the complications of diabetes. "We have plenty of strategies in place to prosper in Year X," said Sidney Taurel, Lilly's chief executive. "The worst scenario that I'm expecting is for earnings gains to fall into the single digits during Year X and then climb back to double digits the year after." If the company falls short, however, investors may want a word with Taurel. Many analysts contend that the race to supplant Prozac should never have begun. Instead, they say, LIlly should have maintained its stranglehold by developing a replacement for Prozac sooner. "Several pharmaceutical companies have had a problem replacing the drug that made them famous," said Neil Sweig, a pharmaceuticals analyst with Southeast Research Partners, a research firm. "It's a hard thing to do. One thing in Lilly's favor, though, is that none of the antidepressants that have come out recently are better than Prozac. This is a fight that is just beginning." For Lilly shareholders, the big question is how soon Year X will arrive. Sweig forecasts that Lilly earnings will rise to $2.958 billion in 2000, up nearly 70 percent, excluding extraordinary charges, from last year's levels. If Prozac has no generic competition in 2001, he says, Lilly's earnings will increase 16 percent in 2001 and 15 percent more in 2002. But if generics are able to eat away 50 percent of Prozac's sales, Sweig says Lilly's earnings will be flat in 2001 before falling about 15 percent a year later. The introduction of Prozac in 1988 ushered in a new class of drugs that were much more effective and had fewer side effects than older antidepressants like Elavil and Tofranil. The new drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, bolster serotonin, a brain chemical believed to be deficient in some depressed people. The drugs they largely displaced, a class called tricyclics, had operated by bolstering the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain but sometimes caused severe side effects. No one, including Lilly's top executives, could have predicted Prozac's effect on the world. In less than 10 years, it played a huge role in making depression a socially acceptable illness. In 1988, only 130.7 million prescriptions were written in the United States for psychotherapeutics, which include antidepressants and antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs. Prozac, or fluoxetine hydrochloride, had 1.45 million of the total, according to IMS Health. By last year, the category had expanded to 232.6 million prescriptions, with Prozac contributing 9.88 million. With that success, it appears, it was easy for Lilly to get complacent. "It is a valid criticism that we have a gap in our pipeline," said Dr. August M. Watanabe, executive vice president for science and technology at Lilly. "But the reason we call Prozac's expiration Year X is because we are not certain when it is. And we may have plenty of time to develop new drugs." Lilly has several options to protect Prozac's market, but none are easy. Industry analysts have long expected the company to license a new version of Prozac from Sepracor Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company in Marlborough, Mass., known for improving existing drugs largely by eliminating their side effects. Such a deal, analysts say, could secure Lilly's franchise, minimizing any potential loss of sales. Lilly's chief executive, Taurel, declined to discuss the likelihood of an agreement with Sepracor, and Sepracor officials also declined, perhaps because no alliance is in the offing. Last week, David P. Southwell, Sepracor's chief financial officer, said the company was pondering several options for its purified form of Prozac. Sepracor itself might market the drug, for example, or license it to one of Lilly's rivals, including Schering-Plough or Johnson & Johnson. "We have 65 salespeople now," Southwell said. "We didn't have any two months ago. When we looked at the revenue stream -- we try to get royalties from our products instead of taking cash up front -- we discovered we'd make more money selling it with this little sales force than if we licensed it to another company. But we are studying several possibilities." Another potential problem for Lilly is Barr's challenge on the Prozac patents. If Barr is successful, it will be allowed to sell a generic version of the drug exclusively for six months before other competitors can crowd in. Downey expects generic Prozac to take 75 percent of the brand's sales -- about $2.25 billion -- in those first six months on the market. Taurel dismissed the notion that Lilly could lose Prozac's patents before 2003. But if he thought he might lose to Barr in court, he probably could afford to buy himself a little leeway. Because Barr is relatively tiny, with only $377 million in annual sales, analysts have long speculated that Lilly could settle the dispute, giving Barr a cash payment of $50 million or so and the right to make generic Prozac sometime before 2003, but not as soon as if Barr had prevailed in court. However, a settlement appears unlikely. Downey, who spent 25 years as a trial lawyer, said on Friday: "My goal is to win and launch. If there is a settlement, that will be up to the other side." Taurel declined to comment on any of these possibilities. Any deal-making that sustains Prozac's hold on the marketplace could leave many psychiatrists dissatisfied. Although doctors generally agree that SSRIs are the best antidepressants yet, they have complaints about every drug in the category -- Prozac in particular. Paxil, by SmithKline Beecham; Zoloft, Pfizer's entry in the category, and Celexa, a new SSRI by Warner-Lambert and Forest Laboratories, can take as long as five weeks to take full effect. Prozac can, too -- but it takes as long as four weeks to wash out of a patient's bloodstream after use is discontinued, meaning that doctors must wait that long before prescribing another drug. Prozac can also cause anxiety at first use. Moreover, all four drugs, which together control about 96 percent of the American antidepressant market, can cause sexual dysfunction. Adding to that misery, SSRIs have no therapeutic effect in 20 percent of all cases and cannot be safely mixed with several other commonly used medications. Prozac "has not always been effective with people on either end of the scale, the ones who are barely impaired and those who are very ill," said Dr. Donald Klein, director of research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. "But Prozac is very effective with people in the middle." Few drug makers can afford to stumble in the race for a new best-selling antidepressant. Investors have come to expect quarterly earnings gains of 20 percent or higher from the big pharmaceutical companies, leaving little room to write off hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development costs for a drug that does not work. To avoid such losses, drug companies typically try to develop multiple uses for a single compound. The trailblazer is this regard was Glaxo Wellcome's antidepressant Wellbutrin, which last year also began sales as Zyban, a smoking-cessation medication. With Prozac coming off patent, Lilly has learned to play this game, too. One of its two new antidepressants is also under development as a treatment for incontinence, an ailment that appears to be medically unrelated. The drug, duloxetine, is expected to be released in 2001 as an anti-incontinence pill and a year later as an antidepressant. Some Lilly rivals say that the plans for duloxetine are a sign of desperation -- that it is a lackluster antidepressant being trotted out to market only because the company lacked a more formidable replacement for Prozac. Lilly officials acknowledge that they took another look at duloxetine because of the approach of Year X, but they say the later, more accurate tests proved the drug a more effective antidepressant than had been originally believed. Lilly says it also hopes that duloxetine will take effect more quickly than Prozac. But it is unlikely to be as popular. Watanabe described duloxetine as similar to Effexor, the new antidepressant of American Home Products. Yet, Effexor has earned less than 4 percent of the national antidepressant market since its introduction in 1993. The problem, doctors say, is that when patients are satisfied with an antidepressant they often refuse to switch, even to something that is better. Lilly's other new antidepressant is a combination of Prozac and Zyprexa, its enormously successful antipsychotic drug. In a pilot study of 30 people who had been treated unsuccessfully with two antidepressants, one group received Prozac, another was given a placebo and a third group was given the Prozac-Zyprexa combination. The group receiving the combination had a sharply higher response, Lilly discovered, than those who had been given Prozac alone or a placebo. But the FDA gives closer scrutiny to any combination of drugs because of possible interactions, so combining Zyprexa with Prozac could invite regulatory delay. Two other drugs under development appear to offer more hope of being the kind of compound desired by both market analysts and doctors. Merck and Novartis are among the companies working on one of them, which would introduce a completely new class of antidepressant. Instead of raising levels of certain chemicals in the brain, as the SSRIs and other antidepressants do, this type of drug blocks receptors of a chemical, known as Substance P, that is believed to affect depression. Scientists discovered that by blocking the Substance P receptors, they might treat everything from migranes to anxiety. In the initial phases of trials on humans, Merck's drug has shown promising results. In a recent six-week study, 213 people with moderate to severe depression were given the Substance P blocker, a placebo or Paxil. Merck's drug reduced depression as effectively as Paxil, without many of the side effects -- notably sexual dysfunction. "It's a novel way of treating depression, but we are still in the early days of the program," said Dr. Scott Reines, vice president for clinical research at Merck. "It's too early to tell if it will work with severely depressed people. And there's no way we can say when it will be coming out." The other contender appears to be Sepracor's new purified Prozac compound, even though some doctors are skeptical about its effectiveness. The drug has two enormous advantages: It will always be known as improved Prozac, regardless of which company sells it. And it has a better chance of approval by the FDA, given that the original version of Prozac has been safely administered to millions of patients in the last 10 years. "Hopefully, it will be have a quicker wash-out and substantially less drug-to-drug interaction," Southwell, the Sepracor official, said. Still, the company that develops the next big antidepressant must be able to sell it. Sepracor's sales force of 65 is hardly competition for Lilly's troop of 2,400. Now that the FDA is permitting direct-to-consumer advertisements of prescription drugs, any major pharmaceutical company could drum up a market for a new antidepressant with a big advertising campaign. Sepracor lacks the deep pockets for that, but Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, with which Sepracor may reach a licensing deal, are both shrewd television marketers. Schering used television ads to build a market for its Claritin antihistamine, which is expected to have $3 billion in sales this year, with 58 percent of the American antihistamine market. Johnson & Johnson is one of the best known and respected consumer brands in the world. Lilly, by contrast, with far less background in consumer marketing, ran its first television ads on depression two months ago. But Taurel says he is ready to take more risks and may advertise more ot its wares where appropriate, to prop up Lilly's sales. Doctors are watching the corporate dogfight with amusement. Lilly had no clue that Prozac would be such an enormous success, and the owner of the next giant antidepressant will probably not instantly grasp the full value of its test-tube contents, either. "You may never know where the next antidepressant may come from," Hyman said. "So don't be so leery of a drug that is an antidepressant now when it was originally created to treat something else. One of the first antidepressants, iproniazid, was originally invented to treat tuberculosis."
------------------------------------------------------------------- CIA Did Not Tell All About Contras' Drug Activities, Report Says (The Associated Press version in The Houston Chronicle of Thursday's news about the CIA's latest account of its role in the CIA-Contra-cocaine scandal uncovered by The San Jose Mercury News.) Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 11:54:32 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: CIA Did Not Tell All About Contras' Drug Activities, Report Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: (c) 1998 Houston Chronicle Website: http://www.chron.com/ Author: JOHN DIAMOND, Associated Press CIA DID NOT TELL ALL ABOUT CONTRAS' DRUG ACTIVITIES, REPORT SAYS WASHINGTON -- The CIA failed to fully inform Congress and law enforcement agencies of reports that Nicaraguan Contras were involved in drug trafficking, according to a newly declassified agency study. While congressional oversight committees got some briefings during the U.S.-backed Contra wars of the 1980s, "CIA did not inform Congress of all allegations" linking Contras to drug trafficking, the CIA Inspector General L. Britt Snider concluded. "No information has been found to indicate that any U.S. law enforcement entity or executive branch agency was informed by CIA of drug trafficking allegations" concerning 11 Contra-related individuals who worked with the CIA, the report said. The 410-page declassified version of the report, posted on the CIA's Web site late Thursday, provides new insights into U.S. intelligence during the Reagan years as it aided the anti-Communist Nicaraguan Contra forces. Throughout those years, House and Senate Democrats -- then the majority party in Congress -- regularly questioned the CIA about persistent rumors that the Contras were trafficking in narcotics to finance their effort to overthrow the Sandinista government. In classified briefings on Capitol Hill, CIA officials typically acknowledged only one major case of narcotics involvement by an anti-Sandinista group -- the so-called ADREN 15th of September group, which had been disbanded in 1982. But the newly declassified report links to drug allegations 58 other individuals belonging to various Contra groups. For example, the CIA had information connecting 14 pilots and two other individuals involved in transport to drug trafficking. In 1984, the CIA broke off contact with one member of the Contra Sandino Revolutionary Front linked to known drug trafficker Jorge Morales but "continued to have contact through 1986-87 with four of the (other) individuals involved with Morales," the report said. In the fall of 1986 and all of 1987, Congress prohibited the Reagan administration from funding any Contra group with members known to be involved in drug smuggling. In response, the IG report says, the CIA did not investigate such allegations and thus avoided invoking the funding cutoff. At a time when CIA files contained numerous cases of suspected drug trafficking by Contra-connected individuals, Alan Fiers, then chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force, was telling the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1987, "We have uncovered no indications that any of these individuals are involved or have been involved in narcotics trafficking." In 1988, Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., were pressuring John Helgerson, the CIA's chief liaison to Congress, to produce information on alleged Contra drug activity. In a memo to senior CIA officials, Helgerson wrote, "Realistically, we are likely to have to respond somehow -- fairly quickly -- to the Kerry and Pell requests regarding when we knew what." But Helgerson advised against passing on "raw reporting or operational traffic" to the lawmakers. The CIA apparently had allies on the Senate Intelligence Committee who "were not `taken' with the topic and were very frustrated by the tasking from Senators Kerry and Pell," the IG report said. Current CIA Director George Tenet and Inspector General Snider were then on the committee's staff. Then-acting CIA Director Robert Gates did try to get tough regarding contacts with drug traffickers. The IG report describes an April 9, 1987, memo from Gates to his operations chief, Clair George. Gates said it was "absolutely imperative" that the CIA and its Central American operatives "avoid any kind of involvement with individuals or companies that are even suspected of involvement in narcotics trafficking." Apparently the memo never made it past George. "No information has been found to indicate that this memorandum, in its entirety, was disseminated to anyone at CIA headquarters other than DDO George," the report states. This IG report grew out of a CIA inquiry following a newspaper series that alleged a connection between the agency and Contra-connected crack cocaine dealers. The CIA has disavowed any such connection, and the inspector general did as well in an earlier report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cafe raid sparks backlash - From California to Nova Scotia, opinions pour in (The Vancouver Courier in British Columbia says the recent police raid on Vancouver's Cannabis Cafe and Hemp BC has raised a storm of criticism by Internet users who are critical of the city's brutal use of police to enforce political repression.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Cafe raid sparks backlash [from the net] (fwd) Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 08:19:39 -0700 Lines: 106 -------- Forwarded message -------- Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 06:13:05 -0800 From: Cannabis Culture Magazine (muggles2@CMEDIA.NET) Vancouver Courier Sunday, October 11, 1998 Cafe raid sparks backlash From California to Nova Scotia, opinions pour in By Alison Appelbe Reaction to a recent police raid at the Cannabis Cafe illustrates Vancouver's high international profile on the issue, and the power of the Internet. The Courier is among the media that received letters and e-mail from overseas and around North America after police confiscated drug-related paraphernalia on Sept. 30, and temporarily held seven protestors. Sean Wilson, a 20-year-old Californian, argues in an e-mail that a Rolling Stone magazine article several years ago extolling Vancouver's "remarkable tolerance" toward soft drugs persuaded him to make two trips north. "Vancouver is the cleanest and most attractive city that I've ever been to," Wilson writes. "If it were not for Hemp BC, I probably never would have visited. Hemp BC has become a global destination hot spot and to continue police raids against a peaceful establishment would cause a much larger loss than some may suspect." Other correspondents take issue with the so-called War on Drugs (WOD). "Whose dark and diseased and unholy mind ever conceived of such a state of vexation as that of the WOD," asks David d'Appollonia, a Dartmouth, N.S. father of five. D'Appollonia credits former cafe owner Marc Emery with pioneering drug police reform on this continent. David Stincic, of the Ohio-based Academy of 21st Century Thinking, supports premises like the Cannabis Cafe that "entice pot smokers [users] indoors... for the purpose of intellectual enlightenment." A Vancouver Island man even links the fight to legalize marijuana with the struggle for gay rights. Others object to what they describe as excessive police force. "I'm pissed off, so the residents of Vancouver must be really mad," writes an Albertan. "The police officers are the ones who should be arrested. They acted like barbarians." Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan said excessive force was not used, and that no formal complaints have been made. Drennan also dismissed Hemp BC lawyer Brent Lokash's charge that the raid was unjustified. She cited to Criminal Code prohibitions against the possession of "instruments for the use of narcotics or illegal drug use." (She also alleged that people were smoking when the raid took place.) Lokash, however, argued that common objects like Coca-Cola bottles, knifes and needles are used for drug taking, and predicted that the law would be struck down in court. "Anne Drennan is not a lawyer. She should watch what she says," he said. Lokash is among those who argue that targeting the Cannabis Cafe and other marijuana-related businesses diverts police from dealing with cocaine and heroin trafficking on East Hastings Street. "Police should be directing their resources to those that harm our society," Lokash said. "How is Hemp BC harming our society?" Downtown Eastside Residents Association co-ordinator Frank Gilbert said the Cannabis Cafe raid was a slap in the face. "Half a block away they're dealing crack cocaine and heroin, and uppers and downers. Are [police] saying to this community they don't give a damn? That's certainly the message that comes through." Drennan said police operate both a "hard drug" unit as well as a "soft drug" unit that deals with marijuana grow operations and businesses like the cafe. She said the work of one does not affect the other. Sha also said that high-grade Lower Mainland-grown cannabis is traded in the U.S. for cocaine, which is then sold in the Downtown Eastside. Drennan called decriminalization advocated "masters of public relations." "When we raid Hemp BC and Cannabis Cafe, within 10 minutes there will be a well-organized demonstration outside, with about 100 to 150 people, and each time we go down there the group of demonstrators becomes more and more aggressive," she said. Photographs provided by Hemp BC show police wrestling several protestors to the ground, and pushing them into a police van. Drennan said that while seven people were arrested for breach of peace, they were released at another location without charge. Finally, Drennan insisted that the city is not viewed elsewhere as lenient towards drugs. Meanwhile, Cannabis Cafe and Hemp BC continue to operate with business licenses. City lawyers agreed to a request from owner Shelley Francis to postpone a hearing on that issue until after criminal charges are heard next week in B.C. Supreme Court. *** Dana Larsen (email@example.com) Editor, CANNABIS CANADA MAGAZINE, "The Magazine of Canada's Cannabis Culture" #504 - 21 Water St., Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5B 1A1 tel (604) 669-9069; fax (604) 669-9038; http://www.cannabiscanada.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors Told To Inform On Patients (Scotland on Sunday says the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland has recently recommended that patient confidentiality should not be protected in cases where injury could result from drivers or pilots impaired by alcohol or other drugs.) Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 15:31:52 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Doctors Told To Inform On Patients Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 Source: Scotland On Sunday Contact: email@example.com Author: Mike Merritt DOCTORS TOLD TO INFORM ON PATIENTS Drink and drug drivers must not be allowed to put the public's safety at risk, says BMA DOCTORS are being warned they must break patient confidentiality and turn in drink-driving patients to the police or face disciplinary action themselves. Both the British Medical Association and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland say GPs are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of patients who are being treated for drink or drug problems but still drive cars. A medical newspaper has even reported the case of an anonymous airline pilot who was on powerful tranquillisers while flying passenger jets. The defence union, which acts as a legal advice centre for 20,000 members, has recently recommended that patient confidentiality should not be protected in cases where injury could result. Dr George Fernie, legal adviser at the MDUS, contacted members after studying 500 cases in his work as a surgeon with Strathclyde Police. He said that if GPs and dentists did not report a patient who was driving under the influence - and subsequently caused death or serious injury - they faced possible action from the General Medical Council, which could result in them losing their medical licences. "One would not breach patient confidentiality lightly but we are clearly answerable to the GMC," he said. "If somebody is driving under the influence of drink or drugs the GP should speak to the patient first and say they will report them to the authorities if they persist. But there are difficulties with that. The patient may leave or, worse, become violent towards the doctor. "GPs must not put their own safety at risk and in those circumstances would be justified in reporting the patient without their knowledge. We know of patients who are being treated for drink or drugs who even drive away from the surgery car park. If a doctor knows that a patient is endangering the public it may be appropriate to pass on that information. It is also not about when a patient seeks help for drug or drink abuse. It is also when they are coming off a drug - they can be just as much a danger driving then too. It is a dilemma for doctors. If you had not responded in a professional way and somebody died, you would have that on your conscience - as well as possibly problems with the GMC." Dr Brian Potter; Scottish Secretary of the BMA, agreed with the advice being circulated by the MDUS. "Confidentiality should only be broken in circumstances where a third party may be hurt. If a GP is in possession of such information he should pass it on he said. "An increasing number of doctors are reporting their patients, but in a way it reflects the increase in drug and drink abuse in society." Sheila MacLean, Professor of Medical law and ethics at Glasgow University gave her backing to the controversial proposals. "This plan is an extension of the rule that doctors can breech confidentiality if there is an issue of public interest at stake," she said. "In this case there is a powerful argument. The death and harm that could be caused by someone driving under the influence of drink is very much in the public interest. "Many would agree that it is wrong for someone, who is breaking the law and could go out and kill another person, to hide behind confidentiality." However, MacLean said the downside of the proposals could be a decline in the number of patients coming forward for dependency because of fears that doctors could report them.
------------------------------------------------------------------- MPs Move To Outlaw Sale Of Cannabis Seeds (The Telegraph, in Britain, says police have lobbied for, and Home Office ministers favor, outlawing the possession of cannabis seeds and the equipment necessary for their cultivation.) Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 10:21:36 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: MPs Move To Outlaw Sale Of Cannabis Seeds Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 Source: Telegraph, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Author: David Bamber, Home Affairs Correspondent MPS MOVE TO OUTLAW SALE OF CANNABIS SEEDS THE possession of cannabis seed and the equipment necessary for the cultivation of the drug are to be outlawed, under proposals favoured by Home Office ministers. The Government is looking "sympathetically" at a demand from Britain's chief constables for an end to the legal traffic in cannabis seeds. Ministers think banning the seeds and equipment would send out a strong signal that they are prepared to be tough on drugs. The move follows intense lobbying from detectives who think it is an "absurd loophole" in the current law that anyone can legally buy cannabis seeds which can then be cultivated. Malcolm George, the secretary of the drugs sub-committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "We would like some sort of offence brought in to remove this anomaly. There's only one thing you can do with cannabis seeds and that's grow cannabis plants."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Plant Patent Pits Scientists Against Indian Activists (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says 12 years ago, California scientist and entrepreneur Loren Miller founded the International Plant Medicine Corp. and took out a US patent on a variety of ayahuasca, a sacred hallucinogen among Amazonian Indians. Miller started testing the plant for uses in psychotherapy and treating cancer. A few years ago, indigenous leaders learned of the patent, and relations between plant collectors and South American tribes have been headed downhill since.) Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 12:54:22 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Ecuador: Plant Patent Pits Scientists Against Indian Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) Section: NEWS Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.stlnet.com/ Copyright: 1998 Post Dispatch Author: Bill Lambrecht Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau PLANT PATENT PITS SCIENTISTS AGAINST INDIAN ACTIVISTS QUITO, ECUADOR This drug is for the doctor, not the patient. It's potent enough to stir threats, shut down bioprospecting and end U.S. aid to South American Indians. The drug is named ayahuasca and it looks like any bushy tree. But to Amazonian tribes, it is a sacred hallucinogen whose name translates to "vine of the soul." Using the bark from ayahuasca (pronounced eye-uh-WAHS-cuh), shamans concoct a potion that propels them into a world inhabited by spirits, alongside the forces of sickness and death, they say. It's also popular with middle-age North Americans seeking a reprise of their psychedelic years and among young Europeans hunting thrills in South America. Twelve years ago, California scientist and entrepreneur Loren Miller founded the International Plant Medicine Corp. and took out a U.S. patent on a variety of ayahuasca. He started testing it for uses in psychotherapy and treating cancer. A few years ago, indigenous leaders learned of the patent, and relations between plant collectors and South American tribes have been headed downhill since. "It has become a symbol of gringos ripping off the Indians," said David Neill, a Missouri Botanical Garden staff member in Ecuador. To outraged Indian activists, the patent amounts to a violation of a sacred tradition. Word spread that healers wanting to use ayahuasca would need Miller's permission, which is untrue. In the highly charged atmosphere since, several Amazon nations have refused new permits for bioprospecting. Miller was declared "an enemy of indigenous peoples" by an organization called COICA, which stands for Coordinating Body for Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin. The group banned Miller and his associates from the region and warned in a statement in 1996 that tribes "will not be responsible for the consequences to their physical safety." Miller took those words as a death threat, and the U.S. Embassy in Quito regarded it seriously enough to issue a statement earlier this year calling the warning "a repugnant illegal action." The Inter-American Foundation, a U.S. government agency, cut off aid to COICA this year; the group had received $500,000 up to now. The tribes won't back down. A COICA spokeswoman said last week that reactions in Amazonian lands "are more and more strong" against the patent. The group may challenge its legality. Miller, 49, a pharmacologist by training, declined to be interviewed, saying that he fears for his life. Tests have found no properties in ayahuasca suitable for drug development, and the patent that has changed the tenor of bioprospecting in Latin America sits in a drawer. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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