------------------------------------------------------------------- Illegal, not evil (A letter to the editor of The Bulletin, in Bend, Oregon, criticizes the recent piece opposing the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act written by Michael T. Dugan, saying the Deschutes County District Attorney minimizes the very real agonies with which some people are forced to live.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 18:29:20 -0800 (PST) Subject: DPFOR: PUB, LTE: Illegal, not evil To: email@example.com, DPFOR@drugsense.org Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: the Bulletin (email@example.com) Website http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: 10-30-98 Section: My nickel's worth Page A-6 ILLEGAL, NOT EVIL From Ann Penny Bend, Or Michael T. Dugan, Deschutes County district attorney, recently submitted a piece to the Bulletin outlining why marijuana should not be used medically. He objects to the procedural elements of Ballot Measure 67, but offers nothing to argue that marijuana itself has no medical value to certain patients. Dugan writes that a patient must show that they are suffering from "severe pain" or "severe nausea," (quotation marks his). He then minimizes the very real agonies with which some people are forced to live by using illustrations from his own life. ("I stubbed my toe last week and had a great deal of severe pain," and "My wife had the flu last month and it made me nauseous.") Funny, funny stuff. To those of us who have had to live through the interminable hell-on-earth of caring for a loved one whose whole day is spent in pleading for relief, Dugan's humor is not appreciated. True suffers do not need to be mocked. By the way, just because a substance is illegal, that does not automatically make the substance evil or of no legitimate medical use. For instance, cocaine is an illegal substance but not a lot of people are aware that it is given to certain patients for certain conditions. Regulating the control and distribution of marijuana is one thing, but denying its medical potential because of its legal status is another.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Students would elect Kitzhaber, ease up on pot (An Associated Press article in The Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, doesn't give any percentages, but says a mock election this week at 108 Oregon middle and high schools found that students opposed Measure 57, which would recriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and favored Measure 67, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Another list subscriber cites The Statesman Journal version, which says students rejected recrim 55 percent to 45 percent, and endorsed medical marijuana 63 percent to 37 percent.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 20:01:40 -0800 (PST) Subject: HT: Students would elect Kitzhaber, ease up on pot To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (email@example.com) Source: the Bulletin (firstname.lastname@example.org) Webite: http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: 10-30-98 Section: Oregon and Northwest Page:A-13 Students would elect Kitzhaber, ease up on pot The Associated Press SALEM - If Oregon teen-agers are an accurate gauge of public opinion, Gov. John Kitzhaber will be re-elected, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley will keep her U.S. House seat and marijuana tolerance will prevail. That's according to results of a mock election held this week at 108 Oregon middle and high schools. The vote tallies were revealed Thrusday in a press conference at the Capitol. "I hope this has some impact on adults," said Katie Baker, 16, a junior at Cresent Valley High School in Corvallis. "Even though we can't vote, we will soon." The simulated election gave teens a chance to pick four candidates and four ballot measures. And just like the real thing, one of those initiatives - Measure 61 - wasn't counted because it has been disqualified by the Oregon Supreme Court. Roughly 15,000 ballots from Tuesday's mock vote were tallied, officials said. "I've got a hunch that our numbers are going to come out to be preety close to what we see in the county and the state," said Gerald Schierling, who teaches government at Gervias High School. Statewide, students chose Gov. Kitzhaber by a comfortable margin over challenger Bill Sizemore. But the spread wasn't nearly the landslide that some pollsters have predicted for Tuesday's election. Students leaned toward leniency in the two marijuana measures on the ballot. As they see it, marijuana should be available for medical purposes, and possession of less than an ounce of the drug shouldn't be upgraded to a misdemeanor. "I don't think that marijuana is one of our worst proplems," said 13-year old Kira Lesley of Trinity Lutheran School in Portland. "We should be focusing on criminals who are hurting other people besides themselves." *** From: "Rick Bayer" (email@example.com) To: "Rick Bayer" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: FW: Oregon Kids Vote: 57-N, 67-Y Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 20:23:10 -0800 PLEASE HELP ENCOURAGE EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE. THANKS! Sent: Friday, October 30, 1998 7:24 PM To: DRCTalk Reformers' Forum Subject: Oregon Kids Vote: 57-N, 67-Y Results of the "Oregon Kids Vote" have just been released. This is a mock statewide election involving over 15,000 high school students. According to the Salem Statesman-Journal: *** Measure 57 - Criminalizing Marijuana Possession YES: 45 % NO : 55 % *** Measure 67 - Oregon Medical Marijuana Act YES: 63 % NO : 37 % Let's see how close the kids are to the parents...
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two Drug Officers Shot, Wounded In Remote Southern Oregon (The Associated Press doesn't even mention the man who was killed after he fired at two prohibition agents from the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team who were about to serve a warrant for a suspected marijuana grow near Tiller, Oregon.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 23:00:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US OR: Wire: Two Drug Officers Shot, Wounded In Remote Southern Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar Source: The Associated Press Author: JEFF BARNARD Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Copyright: Associated Press TWO DRUG OFFICERS SHOT, WOUNDED IN REMOTE SOUTHERN OREGON TILLER, Ore. (AP) -- Two narcotics officers were shot and wounded Friday as they attempted to serve a search warrant at a home near this remote southwestern Oregon town. Their conditions was not immediately known. The officers from the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team were serving the warrant at 12:45 p.m. when "they were involved in a shooting with at least one occupant of the residence," said a release from Douglas County sheriff's office. Details of the investigation were not immediately released. More than a half-dozen police cars, ambulances and a rescue helicopter were sent to the heavily wooded area about 25 miles east of Tiller on the edge of the Umpqua National Forest. The officers were expected to be airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Roseburg, about 45 to the northwest. Diane Farris, postmaster in Tiller, said she saw six police cars heading to the area soon after Friday's shooting. She said this is the most commotion she's seen in her 14 years in the unincorporated town, which consists of little more than a church, a tavern, a store, a post office and a few scattered homes.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two narcs wounded in southern Oregon (A different Associated Press account notes the dead man suspected of growing marijuana made music boxes and grandfather clocks and had previously invited neighbors into his home. No word on whether prohibition agents found anything - apparently they needed time to plant evidence.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Two narcs wounded in southern Oregon Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:25:48 -0800 Sender: email@example.com By JEFF BARNARD The Associated Press 10/30/98 10:04 PM Eastern TILLER, Ore. (AP) -- A music box maker suspected of growing marijuana in his remote forest home stormed out shooting Friday, wounding two sheriff's deputies before being killed in a hail of gunfire. Seven officers from the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team were serving a search warrant about 12:45 p.m. when they were ambushed, said Douglas County Sheriff's Lt. Norm Nelson. Police say the suspect came out firing before the officers could get out of their vehicles. "It was a gunfight," said Jim McDonald, who lives nearby and heard the shots. "It was semi-automatic and very rapid fire. It was boom, boom, boom." The two deputies, who were clad in black and wore bullet proof vests, were flown by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, where they were listed in fair condition. Coy V. Kratz, 33, went into surgery Friday evening to remove bullet fragments from his leg. Jeffery S. Admire, 33, suffered a bruised chest from the force of the bullet hitting his flak jacket. The suspect, whose name was withheld pending notification of his family, was pronounced dead at the scene. "There's always a potential for danger when you go in for a search warrant," Nelson said. "They weren't even out of the car yet." More than a half-dozen police cars, ambulances and a rescue helicopter were sent to the heavily wooded area about 25 miles east of Tiller in the Umpqua National Forest. The property, a former homestead, is in the foothills of the Cascade range. Homes in the area are powered by generators and have no telephones. McDonald said his 16-year-old daughter, Donna, and a friend were walking on the gravel road near the suspect's house when shooting broke out. They ran back home crying. He estimates he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots. Sandy and Perry Burdic, who were deer hunting in the area, drove by the home soon after. They said the suspect's body was on the ground in front of the house, covered by a yellow sheet. Police had not removed the body by Friday evening while the investigation continued. After the shooting, police called in the Technical Response Team to search the house for other occupants. The house was empty, Nelson said. He would not say if marijuana was found, if the suspect had a record or what kind of gun was used. McDonald said the suspect had rented the house for about a year. Although he didn't know him well, he said the man once invited his wife and children inside and showed them his workshop, where he made music boxes and grandfather clocks. Once the man brought over some homemade banana ice cream after borrowing some tools, McDonald said. This is the first time an officer has been shot in Douglas County since 1978, when two deputies were wounded in the course of an arrest.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Libertarian's ad takes cues from 'South Park' (The Sacramento Bee gives a favorable review to a cable television advertisement that spoofs "South Park" while promoting the California gubernatorial campaign of Steve Kubby, the medical marijuana patient and activist.) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 00:09:13 EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: Medical MJ Featured in Political Ad Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: "Mark" (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Medical MJ Featured in Political Ad Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 11:01:25 -0800 Sender: email@example.com This is in Today's Sacramento Bee Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 07:05:06 -0800 Libertarian's ad takes cues from 'South Park' By Dan Bernstein Bee Capitol Bureau (Published Oct. 30, 1998) Gray Davis and Dan Lungren are debating once again on television, and this time they sound almost exactly alike. At least that's the impression created by a humorous, 60-second animated commercial being aired on cable television stations throughout the state by Steve Kubby, the Libertarian candidate for governor. The commercial is a not-so-subtle take-off of the popular "South Park" program on the cable network Comedy Central -- down to the killing of one of the show's cartoon characters as occurs during each episode. "As governor, I'll reduce crime, educate your children and lower taxes," announces a caricature of Republican Lungren, standing at a lectern bearing the words, "Paid for by huge corporations." "If I were governor, I'd reduce taxes, educate your children and lower crime," proclaims a caricature of Democrat Davis, standing at a lectern bearing the words, "Paid for by huge unions." When a caricature of Kubby appears on the stage, the two major party candidates attempt to shut him down. "How'd you get in here?" Lungren asks. "You don't have $40 million!" Davis protests. Undeterred, Kubby outlines his platform: "If I become governor of California, I'll work to remove power from politicians and their corporate sponsors and return it to families," he says. "People need choices when it comes to education, health care and helping their communities." The other candidates are not impressed. "Hippie," Lungren sneers. "Commie," Davis snaps. At the end of the commercial, Lungren kills a cartoon character named "Denny" by pulling an intravenous tube from his arm that is hooked up to a bottle labeled "Proposition 215" -- the medical marijuana initiative passed by California voters in 1996. Kubby was a leading proponent of that measure; Lungren was a leading opponent. Spokesmen for the Davis and Lungren campaigns were not immediately available for comment on the ad. Kubby campaign manager Gene Cisewski said the creators of "South Park" had nothing to do with the ad -- nor did the campaign seek their permission before airing the commercial. A spokesman for Comedy Central said the network doesn't intend to take legal action against the campaign.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana initiative gains support (The Las Vegas Review-Journal says a new statewide survey commissioned by the Review-Journal and KTNV-TV found 52 percent of likely voters favored passage of Question 9 on Tuesday's election ballot. Forty percent opposed passage of the medical marijuana initiative, and 8 percent were undecided.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 10:28:00 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: US NV MMJ: Marijuana initiative gains support Sender: email@example.com Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 702-383-4676 Website: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/ Pubdate: October 30, 1998 MARIJUANA INITIATIVE GAINS SUPPORT A poll finds Nevadans are favoring a proposal to allow the use of pot as a medical tool for some. By Ed Vogel and Warren Bates Review-Journal Despite the opposition of law enforcement and state political leaders, a new poll shows an increasing number of Nevadans favor passage of the ballot question to allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons. The statewide survey commissioned by the Review-Journal and KTNV-TV, Channel 13, found 52 percent of likely voters favored passage of Question 9 on Tuesday's election ballot. Forty percent opposed passage, and 8 percent were undecided. The results represented a strong gain for medical marijuana supporters following a similar poll in late September. At that time, 47 percent of the respondents backed the medical marijuana question, while 44 percent were unopposed. "I believe Nevada voters will vote to allow physicians this tool to deal with catastrophic illnesses," said Dan Hart, state leader of Nevadans for Medical Rights. "When we have asked opponents in debates specifically if they had a loved one in pain and marijuana was the only medication that would work to relieve that pain, they all said yes they would use it." Dr. Donald Vereen Jr., deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a Las Vegas appearance that the initiative "hijacks" legitimate science, which has isolated marijuana's main compound, THC, and put it in pill form for safe use. "What other medicines do you smoke? What other medicines do you vote for?" he asked. Del Ali, pollster for Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc., which conducted the poll, said the results indicated the question likely would pass. "The bottom line is over 50 percent support it," Ali said. "The precedent was set when California passed it in 1996." Similar medical marijuana initiatives are on the Tuesday ballot in four other states and the District of Columbia. Ali said his firm surveyed voters in Washington state and found they favor passage of the medical marijuana initiative 47 percent to 38 percent. In the Nevada survey, 817 registered voters were surveyed by telephone Sunday through Tuesday. The results had a 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Gov. Bob Miller, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and Nevada Highway Patrol Chief Michael Hood were disappointed by the survey results. At an afternoon news conference, Sheriff Jerry Keller called the initiative an "absolute scam." "Marijuana is still a drug; it is still a federal offense no matter what they do in Nevada," Keller said. He said passage of Question 9 would increase trafficking and that "no other drug prescribed by a doctor is prescribed by a vote of the public." Were Question 9 to pass, marijuana's unregulated yet still criminal status "would be too much of a paradox for law enforcement and prosecutors," he said. John Drew, chief of the state Division of Investigations, said drug defendants could end up clogging the courts with spurious medical defenses. Miller said passage would send "the wrong message that it is OK to use marijuana sometimes." He said, "I am not convinced it is needed as a pain relieving medicine. There are other drugs available." Passage would make stopping the use of marijuana in nonmedical instances more difficult, he said. "There would still be tremendous legal hurdles if it passes," Del Papa added. "Use of marijuana is against federal law." Hood feared passage would lead to increased drug use. He said he did not think it would be possible to restrict the use of marijuana just to sick people. Unlike in the other states, voters in Nevada have to pass Question 9 on Tuesday and again in 2000 before doctors would be allowed to recommend marijuana to their sick patients. The measure would allow doctors to recommend marijuana for patients with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, nausea, multiple sclerosis and other medical problems. In addition, the ballot question calls on the Legislature in 2001 to develop laws for the distribution and control of medical marijuana. The measure also would require the establishment of a registry for law enforcement officers to find the names of people who may use medical marijuana. Drew said medicinal marijuana backers purposely used vague language in Question 9 to open the door to recreational use. He said the question allows for treatment on "the advice of a physician," not by written prescription. He also said use by minors would be permitted. Registering with the state or law enforcement, he said, violates doctor-patient privilege. The fact that the ballot question would have to pass twice, Drew said, "is going to allow a lot of us to do a better job to explain what needs to be done" in trying to defeat the measure. Hart said the Legislature "will enact strong enough safeguards to deal with problems." "I think the worries of the law enforcement community are misplaced," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- An Unwise Exception (A staff editorial in The Daily News Miner, in Fairbanks, Alaska, opposes Ballot Measure 8, the medical marijuana initiative, saying the system envisioned by the proposed legislation is unworkable and inconsistent, given that marijuana would still remain illegal for everyone else.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 04:13:44 -0900 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles Rollins Jr) Subject: CanPat - The newsminer takes a stand Sender: email@example.com An Unwise Exception (the newsminers offical editoral on med. cannabis) Fairbanks Daily News Miner Oct-30-98 Legalizing marijuana for cancer and AIDS patients may make sense from a number of angles, but the system envisioned by ballot measure 8 is unworkable and inconsistent given the fact marijuana would still remain illegal for everyone else. People who suffer from nausea and pain caused by certain diseases do make a compelling case for medical marijuana. Compared to the legal, manufactured equivalents available by prescription, the cost, of marijuana is negligible, particularly if its grown by the user. Taxpayers who supply the money for Medicaid and Medicare and the people on private insurance programs, who help cover the cost of other people on their plans, all can understand the benefits of marijuana vs substitutes in these terms. In addition, the substitutes which come in pill form, take longer to kick in than smoked marijuana, an important consideration when a patient is having a sever bout of nausea or pain. Substitutes also take longer to wear off, which means a can end up "stoned more than is necessary or desired. This may be well and good, but so long as marijuana remains officially off limits for citizens in general, legalizing it in the manner described by this measure would be unwise. The measure authorizes patients to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana in dried form and to grow as many as six plants at one time. Home grown allowance fundamentally contradicts the system we have developed for all other drugs that are available only by prescription. Such drugs are tightly controlled and standardized when they are made available as medicine. Perhaps if marijuana were incorporated into this system in a similar manner to other drugs, it would be acceptable. But that's not what this ballot measure does. It's tempting to apply less stringent controls to marijuana because we all know it isn't as dangerous as many prescription drugs-an "over dose" isn't likely to kill or harm anyone. But that really is an argument for legalization, for giving marijuana the same status as alcohol tobacco and caffeine. Alaskans Already decided this issue a few years ago. Marijuana is illegal. until that decision is over turned. we ought to treat it that way. In the mean time, some of the problems with manufactured marijuana substitutes may fade. The price will likely come down as time goes on and manufacturers recover cost and encounter more competition. Also, manufacturers may refine the product to decrease both it's lag time and its persistence
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bainter - Buckley Lied To High Court (The Denver Post says Ric Bainter, the Democratic candidate for Colorado secretary of state, on Tuesday accused Republican incumbent Vikki Buckley of lying to the state Supreme Court about completing a court-ordered signature count for Amendment 19, the medical marijuana initiative.)Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 10:20:16 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CO: MMJ: Bainter: Buckley Lied To High Court Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Denver Post (CO) Copyright: 1998 The Denver Post Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.denverpost.com/ Author: Peter G. Chronis BAINTER: BUCKLEY LIED TO HIGH COURT Oct. 28 - Democratic secretary of state candidate Ric Bainter on Tuesday accused Republican incumbent Vikki Buckley of lying to the state Supreme Court about completing a court-ordered signature count for Amendment 19, the medical marijuana initiative. Buckley denied the allegation. On Oct. 16, Buckley reported to the Supreme Court that a line-byline count showed that the amendment lacked sufficient valid signatures. She reported that 51,904 signatures were valid and 36,911 were invalid. A total of 54,242 valid signatures were needed. During a news conference at the state Capitol, Bainter said he had been hearing from people in Buckley's office that the count had never been completed. He said a brief filed by proponents Monday with the Supreme Court "indicates that, in fact, Secretary of State Buckley did not finish the recount. . . . Her statement of insufficiency shows a number of insufficient signatures that's almost 2,000 higher than the number of actual signature entries that she turned over to the proponents.'' During an interview with a Denver Post reporter, Buckley was asked whether the line-by-line count had been done: Q: Was the count completed? A: "Yes, the count was completed.'' Q: Why the alleged discrepancy? A: "I don't know. As a matter of fact, as you know, the attorney general is handling this in the court case. I've sat down with my deputy attorney general, and we will be reviewing what the motion was that was turned in, apparently (Monday), to the district court. And what we'll be reviewing that. And what we'll be doing is reviewing the accepts as well as the rejects.'' Sam Riddle, Buckley's campaign consultant, said: "From a pure political perspective, let's face it, Ric Bainter is a desperate politician, and he's doing everything he can to keep his name before the people.'' Bainter said that each of the signatures is entered into a database as it is checked, and when the checking is finished, a list of invalid signatures is printed out. He said the fact that the list of signatures was about 2,000 short of the total number of signatures that Buckley reported to the Supreme Court indicates "that she was about 2,000 signatures short of finishing the signature check.'' "In effect, she lied to the Supreme Court about finishing that recount of Amendment 19,'' Bainter said, "lied to the people of Colorado about it, and it raises, I think, very serious concerns'' about the integrity of the ballot and the secretary of state's office.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court snuffs pot initiative's last-gasp effort - Measure to appear on ballot, but votes won't be counted (The Gazette, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says the state Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order county clerks to count votes for a proposal to legalize the medical use of marijuana, effectively ending a battle to allow voters to decide the issue Nov. 3.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:43:12 GMT To: "AMR/updates.list":; From: Dave Fratello (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CO: Gazette on Amdt. 19 The Gazette (Colorado Springs), Friday, Oct. 30, 1998 Court snuffs pot initiative's last-gasp effort Measure to appear on ballot, but votes won't be counted By Mary Boyle/The Gazette DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order county clerks to count votes cast in connection with a proposal to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, effectively ending a battle to allow voters to decide the issue Nov. 3. The measure, known as Amendment 19, will appear on the ballot. But Colorado's 63 county clerks are under orders from Secretary of State Vikki Buckley to ignore votes cast. Buckley ruled earlier this month that proponents lacked the 54,242 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. "For all intents and purposes, we will not be able to officially gain a spot on the 1998 ballot," said Luther Symons, spokesman for Coloradans for Medical Rights, which supported the pot proposal. Maurice Knaizer, a deputy attorney general representing Buckley, called the court's decision good news because it will allow an orderly election process. "That has been our main concern," Knaizer said. Proponents, however, will continue to pursue a legal challenge to Buckley's Oct. 16 ruling that disqualified pot from the ballot. They say Buckley incorrectly ruled invalid more than 2,600 signatures and failed to review nearly 7,700 additional signatures during a court-ordered review of all 88,815 signatures. Their hope in pursuing that lawsuit after Election Day is to win a spot on the ballot in 2000. "The battle is over, but not the war," Symons said. The high court's refusal to intervene was the second defeat in as many days for Martin Chilcutt, Amendment 19's main sponsor. A Denver district court judge on Wednesday also refused to order county clerks to tabulate votes for Amendment 19, largely because the state Supreme Court was considering the issue. "We're pretty much out of legal options now," Symons said. Chilcutt has been fighting to get on the ballot since Aug. 7, when he submitted signatures in support of the measure that would allow people with a debilitating illness to use pot to relieve their pain and nausea. The measure has been ruled on and off the ballot, frustrating supporters and opponents alike. The state's high court already stepped in once, ordering Buckley - at her request - to conduct a line-by-line recount of the signatures. She concluded proponents fell 2,338 short. The legal skirmishes have raised questions about Buckley's operation of her office. Two employees told The Gazette that they did not finish verifying signatures by the high court's deadline on Oct. 16. Buckley's opponent, Democrat Ric Bainter, has accused her of lying to the Supreme Court. As the legal battle has raged, the proponents have continued to advertise and campaign on behalf of Amendment 19. They say their money has not been wasted and predict the effort will pay off in 2000. Symons said Coloradans for Medical Rights is asking residents to vote on the marijuana measure, even though their ballot may not be counted. "We plan to do some sophisticated exit polling to demonstrate (the measure) would have won," Symons said. "We want to reassure our supporters in the state that this was a worthwhile effort."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Justices won't OK pot vote (The Denver Post version) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 11:23:15 -0700 (MST) From: ammo (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Colo. Sup. Ct. Rules Against AMR / Spending tops $650,000 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Justices won't OK pot vote By Howard Pankratz Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer Oct. 30 - Amendment 19 died Thursday when the Colorado Supreme Court refused to order county clerks to tally the votes cast for and against the medical marijuana initiative. The amendment will appear on electionday ballots - it is too late to remove it - but the votes will not be tallied. The Supreme Court ruling was the second defeat within 24 hours for Coloradans for Medical Rights, which had sought emergency rulings in both Denver District Court and in the Supreme Court requesting an Amendment 19 tally. Secretary of State Vikki Buckley had repeatedly ruled that Coloradans for Medical Rights, the sponsor of the amendment, had failed to present sufficient petition signatures for the matter to be placed before voters. But the group had gone to court claiming that Buckley had failed to make an accurate assessment of the validity of the 88,815 signatures submitted. The group now believes that it eventually will win a court fight based on a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Buckley in Denver District Court. The suit claims that a check of Buckley's figures shows there were 290 more signatures than constitutionally required to place the measure on the ballot. "Obviously we are very disappointed,'' said Luther Symons, spokesman for Coloradans for Medical Rights. "We tried everything we could think of. And unfortunately the courts didn't see things our way on these various emergency motions. But we think ultimately on a full trial on the merits the court will determine we were right. "We remain confident that when all is said and done that we will be able to prove that the secretary of state was wrong in her assessment of our signatures. We deserved a place on the 1998 ballot, but since we can't have that we should be awarded a place on the 2000 ballot,'' Symons said. The marijuana initiative would allow people with "debilitating medical conditions,'' such as cancer and AIDS, to legally possess and use marijuana as a form of treatment. Maurice Knaizer, the deputy attorney general who represented Buckley, said Thursday's Supreme Court ruling clears the way for Denver District Judge Connie Peterson to review the allegations made in Wednesday's lawsuit. In September, Denver District Judge Herbert Stern ordered Buckley to put the initiative on the ballot - despite her finding of insufficient petition signatures. After the ballot was printed, the Supreme Court ordered Buckley to recount the 88,815 signatures. Votes on the amendment would be tallied only if there were sufficient signatures, the court ruled. Buckley said the recount showed that there were not enough valid signatures. And that resulted in initiative supporters seeking the emergency rulings from the Supreme Court and Peterson. Knaizer said Thursday that the state believes there must be a "final and complete determination'' that enough valid petition signatures exist before an initiative can be placed on the ballot. "Basically all we wanted to do was to make sure that an orderly process was established,'' the deputy attorney general said. "We have to look not only to this case but to all future cases. "To us, the process is the most important issue,'' he said. Symons said that Coloradans for Medical Rights has spent about $650,000, including about $100,000 in legal fees. However, he said he expects the total bill to be higher because the cost of hiring dozens of temporary employees to check Buckley's work has yet to be factored in.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colorado - Next steps (A bulletin from Americans for Medical Rights confirms Amendment 19, the Colorado medical marijuana initiative, officially died yesterday. However, AMR plans to prove the initiative belonged on the 1998 ballot, which will result in its automatic placement on the November 2000 ballot. AMR also expects to initiate other actions to collect damages for this year's expenses.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 20:40:41 GMT To: ";AMR/updates.list":, From: Dave Fratello (email@example.com) Subject: CO: Next steps Yesterday the Colorado initiative, Amendment 19, officially died for 1998. The state Supreme Court denied, without comment, a series of motions seeking to preserve and/or count this year's vote, while our active protest of the signature count was pending. Now the task after election day is to succeed in the protest and prove we belonged on the 1998 ballot. Success will result in automatic placement on the November 2000 ballot, without any need to collect additional signatures. We expect to initiate other actions to collect damages for this year's expenses. - Dave Fratello
------------------------------------------------------------------- Feds Have No Business Meddling With Medical-Marijuana Initiatives (A staff editorial in The Gazette, in Colorado Springs, says the US House of Representatives was practicing medicine without a license when it passed House Joint Resolution 117 earlier this month.)Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 06:02:49 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CO: MMJ: Feds Have No Business Meddling With Medical-Marijuana Initiatives Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Gazette, The (CO) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.gazette.com/ Copyright: 1998, The Gazette Section: OUR VIEW: State prerogative FEDS HAVE NO BUSINESS MEDDLING WITH MEDICAL-MARIJUANA INITIATIVES Casually and with virtually no debate, U.S. representatives recently rejected the idea that marijuana might have a medicinal application for patients who seek relief. It is a position that ignores a growing body of evidence both anecdotal and factual. Some advocates of so-called medical marijuana would contend the congressional action borders on the inhumane. House Joint Resolution 117, passed 310-93 earlier this month, with no public hearings, is not a new law. It's simply a "sense of the Congress" resolution to the effect that Congress believes marijuana to be dangerous and addictive, and that Congress is unequivocally opposed to the legalization of marijuana for medical use. It also directs the U.S. attorney general to prepare reports on how much marijuana has been eradicated through federal efforts in recent years and the annual number of arrests and prosecutions for federal marijuana offenses. In essence, the House stuck its finger in the eye of California and Arizona voters, who recently passed initiatives to make marijuana available to patients with the recommendation of licensed physicians. The resolution also is a shot across the bow for states including our own, where similar proposals are pending on the November ballot. Even more important, the House move told thousands of patients and their doctors - who believe that marijuana can alleviate their conditions, often with less serious and dangerous side-effects than "standard" prescription medications - that Congress is pleased to see them continue to suffer or to obtain relief only at the price of becoming criminals. A smart-aleck might call it the "Congress has no compassion" resolution. The stated intention of this resolution was to chide California and Arizona voters and to weigh in on medical-marijuana initiative races in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and possibly the District of Columbia. The message? A Congress filled with lawyers should have a veto power when patients and doctors are considering the medicinal use of a plant about which the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration reported that "there are simply no credible medical records to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death." The old joke is that if "pro" is the opposite of "con," then Congress must be the opposite of progress. Sadly, Congress sometimes makes the quip seem more truth than joke. We'll withhold for now our own recommendation to voters on Colorado's pending ballot initiative on the subject. Our concern for now is twofold: Whether Congress or any body of elected lawmakers is more competent than one's own physician in deciding what should be prescribed to ease our suffering; and whether Congress, of all elected bodies, has any business at all telling individual states what to do on this issue. Though it may well be largely moot at this stage in American history to press the point, Congress was never empowered by the framers of our Constitution to meddle in such matters. That should be clear from any honest reading of the 10th Amendment under the Bill of Rights. Whatever the value of marijuana in easing pain, shouldn't the states be pondering that consideration for themselves?
------------------------------------------------------------------- For The Kids? (A staff editorial in The Gazette, in Colorado Springs, comments on the Colorado state Board of Education denouncing the initiative campaign to legalize marijuana as medicine, saying the reasoning that goes into public policy advocacy by some of our public officials is troubling. "Since when is it the place of the criminal code simply to send a message to our young? Isn't that parents' duty?") Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 10:20:16 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CO: Editorial: MMJ: OUR VIEW: For The Kids? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Gazette, The (CO) Copyright: 1998, The Gazette Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.gazette.com/ OUR VIEW: FOR THE KIDS? Pot Petition Is Pilloried Out Of Fear, And Public Policy Debate Is Muddied The Colorado state Board of Education is the latest voice to join the chorus denouncing a petition drive to legalize marijuana as a medical treatment. In a resolution earlier this month, the board cited the harmful effects of pot smoking and rising drug use among students. It won't be known until probably later this month whether the 85,000 signatures the petition's organizers turned in to the secretary of state will pass muster and secure the proposal a place on the November ballot. What's clear already is that a significant swath of the state and federal political establishment is adamantly opposed. In some cases that's perhaps predictable. Law enforcement, for example, is leery about carving out exceptions to a drug war it has been fighting for years. Groups such as the Board of Education, however, have a less clear stake. To hear some board members, they're worried about what kind of a message legalizing pot - albeit, only by prescription, to ease pain and nausea of cancer patients and others - would send kids. "It would start to legitimize the use of an illegal drug," board member Clair Orr said. "And once we start legitimizing illegal drugs, what are kids going to think?" The advisability of this proposal is another discussion for another day, though it's useful to remember, as recently noted on these pages by one of our readers, that all sorts of "illegal" drugs long have been legal for prescription use, as is now proposed for pot. What is troubling at this point in the debate, though, is the reasoning that goes into public policy advocacy by some of our public officials. Much as in the debate over taxing and advertising tobacco, a group of concerned public servants wants to restrict the behavior of consenting adults - in this case, they'd even be supervised by a physician - in the name of protecting children. Even the education board's members seem to acknowledge that, under this particular policy proposal to allow medical marijuana, the stuff wouldn't be any likelier than it is now to wind up in kids' hands. The concern expressed by those who wish to maintain the status quo is simply that kids would get the wrong message. Never mind the pivotal roles of parenthood and peer pressure in determining kids' use of booze, drugs or tobacco. Never mind, as well, that nobody's talking about loosening up the law to increase kids' access to drugs. There is strong, albeit debatable, evidence that marijuana could help physicians significantly ease suffering. Whatever role the law should play in that equation, since when is it the place of the criminal code simply to send a message to our young? Isn't that parents' duty?
------------------------------------------------------------------- Armed and Dangerous - The bloody police raid at Sallisaw - Investigators mum after cops shoot mother holding child (WorldNetDaily.com suggests prohibition agents committed an atrocity reminiscent of Ruby Ridge while rousting an innocent family in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. Pat Eymer, the mother, is in a hospital recovering from a 45-caliber hollow-point bullet that destroyed most of the bone in her right shoulder. Her children were taken by child protective services and requests to place them with grandparents were refused. Her husband, Steve, has been arrested, along with her cousin, James Hinkle, and his friend, Tammy Bedwell, after police allegedly planted marijuana as evidence. Another person who was on the scene is suspected of setting them up for the raid.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Drug cops shoot mother holding child Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:09:40 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org ARMED AND DANGEROUS The bloody police raid at Sallisaw Investigators mum after cops shoot mother holding child By David M. Bresnahan Copyright 1998, WorldNetDaily.com SALLISAW, OK -- The morning began normally with preparations for school, work and a visit from a family member in the small mobile home. Suddenly police burst in, forced everyone to the floor, and fired at an unarmed mother holding her 4-year-old. An infant was only a few feet away. A teen-age daughter passed out in fear when she saw her mother shot. First Waco, Texas ... then Ruby Ridge, Idaho ... now Sallisaw, Oklahoma? That's what many locals in a rural town on the Oklahoma-Arkansas border are wondering after an unarmed mother, holding her young child, was shot at close range in her home by police who are now accused of a setup. Pat Eymer, the mother, is in a hospital recovering from a 45-caliber hollow-point bullet that destroyed most of the bone in her right shoulder. Her children were taken by child protective services and requests to place them with grandparents were refused. Her husband, Steve, has been arrested, along with her cousin James Hinkle and his friend Tammy Bedwell. Another person who was on the scene is suspected of setting them up for the police action. The Eymers have already hired an attorney, Don George of Tulsa, to file a lawsuit against the police for damages. He has taken the case on a contingency basis because he is so confident that the police are at fault. The Sallisaw Police Department refused to comment about the incident and would give no details of what happened or which officers were involved. Chief of Police Wayne Craighead was not in to take any calls and failed to return a call to WorldNetDaily.com yesterday. An internal investigation is under way, the officer involved has been placed on routine suspension without pay, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is also investigating. The OSBI also refused to provide any details of the investigation, although spokeswoman Lorna Palmer apologized and promised to try to call back with more information. She did not. Ken Smyrl, the step-father of Mrs. Eymer, is a former police officer himself. He is angry about what happened, and said it reminded him of the incidents in Waco and Ruby Ridge. "There's not an outlaw in this country that's bad enough to warrant killing kids in order to get him," said Smyrl of the danger to the children. According to the brief news release provided by the OSBI, the Eymers and the guests in their home were charged with "possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and use of a police radio in the commission of a felony." Mrs. Eymer says that she has never been charged, and her room at the Sparks Hospital in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, has not been restricted or observed by police. She is in stable condition, but doctors do not expect her to have much use of her arm since the shoulder has been almost destroyed. "They absolutely found nothing on me or my girlfriend," said Hinkle just after he was released from jail yesterday. "They were totally in the wrong. They found nothing. He just shot her ass, OK. Straight up. Walked in the house. Shot her." Hinkle was concerned about what would happen if he expressed his views on what happened. "These police officers, they try to cover each other's butt," he said. "The next time I'm walking down the road and decide to throw a cigarette butt, I'm in jail again for littering." Mrs. Eymer, recuperating in her hospital room yesterday, described the incident from her point of view. "All I know is I didn't even know what was going on, (or) why they entered the house," she said. My husband went into the front room, and I was trying to take care of my little one -- my 4-year-old. I heard him (the police officer) say, 'Come out with your hands up.' I said, 'OK, me and my daughter's coming out, and I am unarmed.' "When me and my daughter walked out of the bedroom, I was looking right at them when they shot me in my arm," said Mrs. Eymer, who was unarmed and presented no threat to the officers. Although it was early morning and still dark outside, the inside of the home where she was standing was well lighted, according to Hinkle who was watching it all from the floor. Hinkle and his girlfriend, Tammy Bedwell, had only been in the home a few minutes when the police burst in. They are unemployed and had stopped by to borrow money for gas on their way to look for a job and go fishing. A man Hinkle identified as either Dwayne or Dwight Malcolm had also just arrived and was sitting with them. When the police arrived he went over to Mrs. Eymer and laid down on the floor in front of her in a hallway. Hinkle, and others, claim that Malcolm walked out of jail within an hour and that he had been used in some way to set up the Eymers. The police would not comment on the claim. The police banged on the door until it opened on its own, burst into the single-wide mobile home with pistols and a shotgun drawn, and ordered everyone to "freeze." "Steve dropped and hit the floor," said Hinkle. "One officer came at me and kicked me down. The other went past me. When that officer kicked me to the floor he immediately, he didn't run but quick walked, just as soon as he turned -- pow he shot. To me that did not make any sense because that other officer was already standing there with a gun drawn. When he got shoulder to shoulder with the other police officer he just shot." The unidentified officer who fired the shot claims it was an accidental shooting, according to a police dispatcher who did not wish to be identified. The officer says he was reaching for his flashlight and changing the gun from one hand to the other when it accidentally discharged. Hinkle and Mrs. Eymer do not believe that explanation. "He didn't reach for anything. He just shot," said Mrs. Eymer. Hinkle agreed. "The other cop that was beside him went 'Whoa.' He took his hands and raised the other officer's gun up," said Hinkle. No weapons of any kind were found in the house or in the possession of anyone in the house, according to all present. No weapons charges were made by police. Although the police would not disclose any names, the officer who stopped the shooter is reported to be David Betton, a veteran officer who is reportedly planning to become a minister. Betton could not be located for comment. "He said 'Are you hit?' She was in shock for a few minutes, then she said, 'Yea, I'm hit.' I thought they were going to execute us all. I really did," said Hinkle. For some unknown reason, the police delayed getting Mrs. Eymer to the hospital. They took all suspects to the local police station and booked them, then returned to the waiting ambulance. The police followed the ambulance, not to the local hospital, but to Sparks Hospital further away in Arkansas. Hinkle credits officer Betton for saving Mrs. Eymer's life. Not only did he stop the other officer from firing again, he also stopped the severe bleeding and administered first aid. Hinkle is not the only one to witness what happened. The other direct witnesses were the Eymer children. Donna, 13, passed out on the floor when she saw what happened to her mother. The 4-month-old infant was only a few feet away on the couch, and Casey, 4, was being held by her mother. "That's child abuse," said Martha Smyrl, the mother of Mrs. Eymer. Hinkle would not deny that he has used drugs in the past, but he insisted that no drugs were present in the house. He and Ms. Bedwell claim they observed the police search those present and that nothing was found. Bedwell says she saw a woman officer take Mrs. Eymer's purse out of sight, then return a few minutes later and make the comment to other officers that, "It's been done." She believes that is when evidence was planted. Hinkle also claims that he observed the strip search of each of the suspect men in the police station. He says the only person who had evidence was Malcolm, who was released within an hour. Hinkle says police found a plastic bag containing white powder on Malcolm. "I went into the house where she was shot," said Harold Scott, Jr., brother of Mrs. Eymer. "Them stinking bastards went in there and mopped that up -- the blood and stuff like that. They tore some wall paper off the side of her wall (that had blood on it)." Scott says nothing else in the house was disturbed. He said there was no indication that there was ever any search. He believes the police didn't do a search because they planted the evidence they needed and weren't looking for anything more. The house was marked off with crime-scene yellow tape only on Friday. By Saturday morning the tape was gone and the extended family has been able to enter the house. "You don't break into people's home and shoot an unarmed woman with kids," exclaimed Scott. "We're sick and damned tired of these son-of-a-bitches doing this. Look what happened down at Waco. Look what happened up there at Ruby Ridge. They killed a man's son and his wife over a sawed-off shot gun? And the undercover ATF is the one that sold him the shotgun to begin with? What's these son of a bitches doing?" He said neighbors and local residents have congratulated his family for having the courage to take on the police in a lawsuit. Mrs. Smyrl has been forced to come to Oklahoma from her home in Texas to find an apartment to meet the requirements of the child protective services. She is hopeful that she can gain custody of her grandchildren by doing so. The case workers told her that she could not have custody if the children were taken out of state. "Because I live out of state, it could take a year before I get my grandkids," she explained to WorldNetDaily.com in a phone interview yesterday after a brief visit with the children. "They're in shock," she said. The children will not be permitted back into their own home, even if the parents do not return there. Mrs. Smyrl offered to buy the home and live there with the children, but the case workers told her it would not be permitted. Neighbors claim they have been interviewed by plainclothes officers. Some say the officers are from the FBI, however this could not be confirmed. There are reports that the Eymer home has many visitors, and that the teen-age daughter has been missing school, according to some neighbors. However, no one believed the Eymers had done anything that warranted police action of any kind. All neighbors expressed shock and distrust of the police and the government, but none would speak on the record.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Farah - The cops are out of control (Syndicated columnist Joseph Farah says the recent incidents in Oklahoma, where police shot an unarmed mother holding her child in her home, in Virginia, where a SWAT team killed a watchman guarding a dice game at an after-hours club and in California, where a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid on a gun shop resulted in the death of the shopkeeper, provide some hard evidence that police in America may be getting out of control.) Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 17:16:45 -0500 From: Scott Dykstra (email@example.com) To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" (email@example.com) Subject: CanPat - [Fwd: Farah: The cops are out of control] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 19:39:20 -0500 From: E Pluribus Unum (email@example.com) To: E Pluribus Unum Email Distribution Network (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Farah: The cops are out of control The cops are out of control Until very recently, as a law-abiding person, the presence of police generally gave me a feeling of security, well-being, order. Not any more. I confess that, lately, when I see a cop in my rear-view mirror, I get a very uneasy feeling. Maybe it's the horror stories we're hearing. Maybe it's the way local and state police have become little more than appendages of the federal law-enforcement apparatus. Maybe it's the fact that so many cops have taken sides against the Constitution and the rights of the people in the name of more efficient crime-prevention. But the recent incidents in Oklahoma, where police shot an unarmed mother holding her child in her home, in Virginia, where a SWAT team killed a watchman guarding a dice game at an after-hours club and in California, where a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid on a gun shop resulted in the death of the shopkeeper, provide some hard evidence that police in America may be getting out of control I think also about columnist Geoff Metcalf's anecdote about the law-abiding man arrested and jailed for having in his possession a tire iron, which was classified as a deadly weapon. Had he brandished it? No. Had he threatened anyone? No. Had the California Highway Patrol officer awakened on the wrong side of her bed that morning? Maybe. But when you start putting all these incidents together, with the backdrop of the massacre in Waco, Texas, and the unnecessary shootout at Ruby Ridge, it's no wonder Americans like me are beginning to worry about the possibilities of an emerging police state. "Oh, it couldn't happen here," some retort. "America is different. The cops are our friends." That may have been true through most of our history. But there's one big difference today. The government no longer trusts the people. There is a move to disarm the populace and to entrust our safety solely to professional law enforcement. This is a pattern we've seen in other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. It's a prerequisite to the formation of a police state. It's what our Founding Fathers warned us about. It's why we have a Second Amendment. One of the other problems we face in America today is the increasing number of laws on the books designed to turn virtually everyone into a law-breaker. It's easier for cops today to fill their quota of arrests and citations by targeting non-threatening, non-violent citizens than it is actually chasing down violent criminals. Too often, today's cops make no distinction between hardened, professional criminals, and people who may or may not be in technical violation of the law -- perhaps even an unjust, unconstitutional law. But the biggest danger we face is the federalization and militarization of all law enforcement. Inter-agency task forces, bringing together local and state police with federal agents are now the rule of the day. Federal agencies bribe local cops with funding, equipment and training programs. America is rapidly becoming an "us vs. them" society -- with the cops and government on one side and the people on the other. Many of us don't feel the heat yet. But it's just a matter of time before we're all confronted with the harsh realities of the new emerging police state. One of these days -- and it may be sooner rather than later -- America is going to be confronted with a real domestic emergency. It's not a matter of if, but when. We've had precious few real domestic crises throughout our history, and Americans have become spoiled. Thus, we take our freedoms for granted. There are so many possibilities and excuses on the horizon -- Y2K, terrorism, the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction from rogue states as well as China and Russia. Will America respond to the next crisis in a way that preserves our civil rights and liberties? Or will we lose our tentative grasp on freedom -- giving up an illustrious tradition for the sake of security, safety, order? If we're to maintain any semblance of freedom in the worst of times, we must hold the government and police accountable in the best of times. A daily radio broadcast adaptation of Joseph Farah's commentaries can be heard at http://www.ktkz.co
------------------------------------------------------------------- Defendant Rejects Plea, Then Jumps to His Death (The New York Times says 19-year-old Derrick Smith, accused of selling crack cocaine - unlike yesterday's Associated Press version, which said he was charged with possessing marijuana - was offered a plea bargain by a judge in Manhattan Thursday entailing a three- to six-year prison sentence, but voted with his feet.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 18:36:27 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: NYT: (See note!) Defendant Rejects Plea, Then Jumps to Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: The New York Times Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Copyright: 1998 The New York Times Company Author: Michael Cooper Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Note: A reader pointed out that the AP story on this read "Smith was charged with possession of marijuana and had been offered three to six years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea." We are unsure as to why the AP story, posted earlier today, did not mention crack cocaine as did the NYT. Looks like one reporter got his facts wrong, but which one? The AP story is at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n976.a10.html DEFENDANT REJECTS PLEA, THEN JUMPS TO HIS DEATH NEW YORK -- After casting a last glance at his mother, a teen-ager accused of selling crack cocaine jumped out the window of a packed Manhattan courtroom Thursday and fell 16 stories to his death after a judge offered to give him a three- to six-year prison sentence if he agreed to plead guilty in the case, officials and witnesses said. The defendant, Derrick Smith, 19, rejected the plea bargain. Then, as court officers were leading him to a holding cell behind the courtroom, Smith, who was not handcuffed, broke free and jumped out an open window, shaken witnesses said. "I thought his mother was going to have a nervous breakdown," said John Toliaferro, 44, a legal assistant who was in court. "She kept saying, 'That's my son, that's my son."' The suicide was a jarring interruption to the daily routine at Manhattan state Supreme Court, as lawyers, judges, jurors and even defendants crowded the sidewalks at lunchtime below the building at 100 Centre St., which was once known as "the Tombs" for the faux-Egyptian architecture of a much smaller courthouse that stood there in the 19th century. It was supposed to have been a routine court date for Smith, who was arrested Sept. 19 and accused of selling crack cocaine on the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue in the East Village, according to an indictment. Since his arrest, Smith had been held on Rikers Island because no one had paid the $2,500 bail to set him free. Noting that Smith was already on probation for a 1995 drug case and that he had been arrested several times since then on charges of selling marijuana, Justice Budd Goodman of state Supreme Court in Manhattan revoked the offer of bail Thursday and ordered him sent back to Rikers Island. Then, according to a transcript of the proceedings, he told Smith that the plea offer, "for today only," was three to six years in prison. Smith's lawyer, Frank Bari, rejected the offer, setting the wheels in motion for the case to go to trial. Then Smith addressed the court. "I'm 19 years old, your honor," he said, according to the transcript. "That is terrible. That's terrible." Then Smith asked to represent himself. Bari, his lawyer, advised him against this, and Goodman ordered him to submit the next motions in the case. Alfonso Wilson, 35, who was in the courtroom with a friend who had a court date, said that Smith then turned to face his mother. "He looked at his mother," he said. "He looked very discouraged. Their eyes met." Court officers led Smith behind a glass partition that forms a sort of corridor along the outer wall of the courtroom and leads to an adjoining holding cell. The corridor is in view of at least part of the courtroom. As he passed a window, witnesses said, they heard a commotion. Toliaferro said that Smith's mother jumped up. "She ran back, behind the partition," he said. "Then she saw what happened. She saw the open window, and the court officer there alone." Smith's mother, who was not identified by the authorities, was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for trauma.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man Facing Drug Trial Leaps To Death At Court (Today's Associated Press version also says Smith was charged with selling cocaine.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 19:00:19 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: WIRE: Man Facing Drug Trial Leaps To Death At Court Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Wire: Associated Press Copyright: 1998 Associated Press. MAN FACING DRUG TRIAL LEAPS TO DEATH AT COURT NEW YORK--A 19-year-old man apparently distraught over a prison sentence offered in exchange for his guilty plea in a drug case jumped through a courthouse window Thursday and fell 16 stories to his death. "I'm 19 years old, your honor. That is terrible. That's terrible," Derrick Smith told State Supreme Court Justice Budd Goodman, according to a court transcript. Smith was charged with criminal sale of cocaine and had been offered three to six years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. He had a history of drug convictions. After Smith rejected the offer, Goodman set his trial for Nov. 25. As Smith was led from the courtroom, he ran, jumped on a bench in front of the window and leaped to his death, falling on a corrections department bus before tumbling to the ground.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Teen-ager jumps to death from NYC courtroom (A brief Reuters version also says Smith was charged with selling crack cocaine.) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 01:00:53 EST To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: CanPat - NYC courts Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 18:33:24 -0900 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Charles Rollins Jr) Subject: CanPat - NYC courts Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Heres an article from an e-mail news service I got this morning Teen-ager jumps to death from NYC courtroom NEW YORK (Reuters) - A weeping teen-ager unhappy with the offer of a three-to-six-year prison term for a drug charge threw himself to his death out a 16th-floor courtroom window in Manhattan Thursday, witnesses said. Derrick Smith, 19, of New York City, died instantly when he hit the roof of a Corrections Department bus parked behind Manhattan Supreme Court, police said. Smith's mother watched as her son went out the window and screamed, "Oh no, that's my boy. Oh, my God. My son, my son," witnesses said. Smith was arrested Sept. 19 in Manhattan's East Village and charged with the sale of crack cocaine. See http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2556840796-34d
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Proposes DOJ Establish Program To Distribute Marijuana To Sick Folks (The Legal Intelligencer, in Pennsylvania, recounts the recent news about US District Judge Marvin Katz suggesting that the government re-open the Compassionate IND program in order to settle the class-action medical-marijuana lawsuit brought by Philadelphia public interest attorney Lawrence Elliott Hirsch. Yesterday, the Justice Department asked for 60 days to think it over.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 20:50:55 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Judge Proposes DOJ Establish Program To Distribute Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: The Legal Intelligencer (PA) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Website: http://www.palawnet.com/ Note: The website for this lawsuit is at: http://www.fairlaw.org/actionclassintro.html JUDGE PROPOSES DOJ ESTABLISH PROGRAM TO DISTRIBUTE MARIJUANA TO SICK FOLKS A federal judge is urging the Justice Department to establish a program to make marijuana available to anyone whose medical condition could be improved by it. Yesterday, the Justice Department asked for 60 days to think it over. According to court papers, U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz made the suggestion as a proposed settlement in Kuromiya et al. v. United States, a class-action suit brought on behalf of citizens who claim that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional since it is the best cure for their ailments -- everything from AIDS to Lou Gehrig's disease. The 128-page lawsuit, filed by Lawrence Elliott Hirsch of the Hirsch & Caplan Public Interest Law Firm, tells the stories of about 160 plaintiffs from 49 states. Many say they have been forced to break the law and to pay exorbitant prices for the drug. Others say they simply suffer because they fear jail. Hirsch argues that enactment of laws prohibiting the use of cannabis without amending the constitution is unconstitutional. "The right to consume, ingest or smoke a plant that grows wild in nature, such as cannabis, is antecedent to, and more fundamental than the right to vote," Hirsch wrote. The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case, saying Hirsch has no chance of winning any relief. "It is well-settled that the Controlled Substances Act provisions are a valid exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause powers," attorneys Arthur R. Goldberg and Gail F. Levine of the Justice Department's civil division argued. But just two weeks after that brief was filed, it seems Judge Katz is urging DOJ to think about settling the case instead of fighting it. In a recent conference, Katz proposed a settlement under which the government would agree to establish a "carefully monitored" and "scientifically controlled" program to distribute marijuana to "individuals whose medical conditions could be improved by it," according to court papers filed yesterday. The settlement would also require the government to provide any useful, scientific research results "that would help decide whether marijuana is medically beneficial or not." According to court papers, Katz asked the Justice Department how much time it needed to consider his proposal. The answer came yesterday in a two-page court filing by Goldberg and Levine that said DOJ would need "at least 60 days." That much time is needed, they said, "to consult the appropriate management officials within the agencies and divisions of agencies implicated by the proposal." Attorney Hirsch could not be reached for comment.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Lawsuit in Philadelphia (A two-part bulletin from the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation includes the text of the federal attorneys' brief saying they will need 60 days to study the feasibility of complying with US District Judge Marvin Katz's suggestion that the government re-open the Compassionate IND program. The press release preceding the brief says it is "news" that a federal judge found the facts pleaded in this case so compelling that at the first pre-trial conference on the matter he suggested a settlement wherein the plaintiffs would receive medical marijuana. Implicit in the judge's proposal is his recognition of two key facts and a profound legal conclusion - marijuana has critical medical value for the treatment of very serious conditions and diseases, that the government recognizes this medical value because it provides marijuana to eight very ill persons, and denial by the government to seriously ill persons of the use of marijuana medically rises to the level of an unconstitutional violation of their rights.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 14:57:20 -0800 (PST) To: VOTEYES57@aol.com, email@example.com From: "Eric E. Sterling" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Medical Marijuana Lawsuit in Philadelphia October 30, 1998 RE: MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWSUIT DEAR FRIENDS: Last week U.S. Judge Marvin Katz (Eastern District of Pennsylvania) proposed that a lawsuit brought by Lawrence Elliott Hirsch of the Hirsch & Caplan Public Interest Law Firm on behalf of some 160-named plaintiffs seeking medical marijuana be settled by providing the marijuana to the plaintiffs. Following is the text of a filing by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the proposed settlement asking for time to fully and carefully consider the proposal. An article was published about this proposed settlement in The Legal Intelligencer (Philadelphia, PA), Friday, Oct. 30, 1998, by Shannon P. Duffy, "Judge Proposes DOJ Establish Program To Distribute Marijuana to Sick Folks, Judge Katz Urges Settlement". This should be of interest to concerned Americans. It is "news" that a Federal judge found the facts pleaded in this case so compelling that at the first pre-trial conference on the matter he suggested as a settlement that the plaintiffs get medical marijuana. At the conference the judge appeared to be very sympathetic to the plaintiffs' core arguments. Implicit in the judge's proposal is his recognition of two key facts and a profound legal conclusion: marijuana has critical medical value for the treatment of very serious conditions and diseases, that the government recognizes this medical value because it provides marijuana to eight very ill persons, and denial by the government to seriously ill persons of the use of marijuana medically rises to the level of an unconstitutional violation of their rights. For more information on the case contact _directly_ Larry Hirsch at 215-496- 9530. Lawrence Elliott Hirsch, Trial Counsel for Plaintiffs, Hirsch & Caplan Public Interest Law Firm, Suite 414 A, 1735 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, 215- 496-9530, Fax 215-496-9532, Email email@example.com The filing of the Justice Department follows: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA Kiyoshi Kuromiya, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) Civil Action No. 98-3439 MK ) v. ) ) United States of America ) ) Defendant. ) ) ___________________________) NOTICE OF FILING REGARDING TIME NEEDED TO CONSIDER COURT'S SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL Over 160 named plaintiffs purporting to represent a class of "at least" 97 million people seek to enjoin the enforcement of the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act ("CSA") that regulate the manufacture, distribution, and possession of marijuana. See First Amended Complaint at paragraphs 1, 198, 249. Although defendant believes that plaintiffs' complaint lacks merit and should be dismissed as a matter of law, at the October 21, 1998 conference in this case, this Court proposed that the government consider settling this case. The Court proposed a settlement under which defendant would agree to establish a "carefully monitored," "scientifically controlled" program that would distribute marijuana to individuals whose medical conditions could be improved by it, and that would provide useful scientific research results that would help decide whether marijuana was medically beneficial or not. The Court asked counsel for defendant to inform it as to the amount of time defendant would require to consider the Court's proposal. Defendant hereby states that it will require at least 60 days to fully and carefully consider the Court's settlement proposal. This amount of time is needed, in part, to consult with the appropriate management officials within the agencies and divisions of agencies implicated by the proposal. Dated: October 27, 1998 Respectfully submitted, FRANK W. HUNGER Assistant Attorney General MICHAEL R. STILES United States Attorney ARTHUR R. GOLDBERG ___/S/______________ GAIL F. LEVINE Attorneys Department of Justice Civil Division, Room 1028 901 E St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530 Tel: (202) 616-8299 Attorneys for Defendant Eric E. Sterling, President The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation 1899 L Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20036-3804 202-835-9075 Fax--202-833-8561 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cjpf.org (The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation) http://www.ndsn.org (National Drug Strategy Network)
------------------------------------------------------------------- ACLU suit to ensure vote count on medical marijuana initiative (The Associated Press notes the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday contending Congress' attempts to block the District of Columbia medical marijuana ballot measure violated residents' First Amendment rights. Ken McGhie, counsel for the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, said district employees will make no efforts to avoid tabulating the results. "Counting the ballots on the district's medical marijuana issue will take about 30 seconds of computer time," he said.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: ACLU suit to ensure vote count on medical marijuana initiative Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:31:26 -0800 Sender: email@example.com ACLU suit to ensure vote count on medical marijuana initiative By DERRILL HOLLY The Associated Press 10/30/98 8:21 PM Eastern WASHINGTON (AP) -- A medical marijuana initiative for the nation's capital has wound up in federal court before voters get the chance to weigh in on the measure. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit Friday in U.S. District Court here contending that a law blocking the referendum violates First Amendment rights. The measure prohibiting the use of any local or federal government funds to conduct the initiative in the District of Columbia was included in a $520 billion spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton last week. "They can't do that in the other states but they're trying to do that in D.C.,"' said Graham Boyd, the ACLU's special counsel. As the nation's capital, Congress has the final say on the city's budget. But ballots including the initiative were printed before Congress took final action on the federal budget bill. Ken McGhie, counsel for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, said district employees will make no efforts to avoid tabulating the results. "Counting the ballots on the district's medical marijuana issue will take about 30 seconds of computer time," he said. Five states -- Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon -- also have medical marijuana initiatives on Tuesday's ballots.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medicinal marijuana gains support (The Boston Globe says the voter initiatives on ballots around the country have the drug warriors running scared, but Congress' attempt to quash the vote in Washington, DC, has only increased public support for that measure. In the next round of elections, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, and Florida are likely to launch initiatives, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Medicinal marijuana gains support Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:37:21 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Medicinal marijuana gains support By Louise D. Palmer, Globe Correspondent, 10/30/98 WASHINGTON - It's one thing for California, with its cannabis clubs and pungent green fields of Humboldt County hemp, to legalize marijuana as medicine. It's another in the nation's capital. The Republican-controlled Congress so hated the idea that it sneaked a provision into the fiscal 1999 budget bill to kill the District of Columbia's medical marijuana initiative, creating a local uproar that has only fueled public support for the measure. The White House is worried as well, and not just about the effort in its back yard. Bankrolled by big-money donors like New York financier George Soros, such initiatives are gaining momentum from Washington to Maine and will be on the ballot in six states and the District on Tuesday. If these proposals succeed, it would bring to eight the number of states that have cast a vote for the controlled medical use of marijuana. And it may signal a subtle shift in public debate away from the punitive war on drugs that emphasized criminality to legislating a more tolerant attitude toward drug use. "The ultimate goal is to change federal policy," said David Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, a Los Angeles-based organization funded by Soros, Phoenix businessman John Sperling, and Peter Lewis, a Cleveland insurance executive. State, federal battles After their successful voter drive in California in 1996 - now stymied by an ongoing battle between state and federal officials over distribution - the organization went national, identifying states with high levels of popular support for medical marijuana. Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Alaska all have medical marijuana ballot initiatives on Tuesday. Arizona's initiative, which is not funded by Americans for Medical Rights, would reinstate marijuana provisions passed in 1996 and overturned by the state Legislature. Colorado's referendum is being challenged in court. And in the District, votes will be cast but may not be officially counted until courts decide whether Congress can legally tamper with the election. In the next round of elections, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, and Florida are likely to launch initiatives, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The apparent appeal of these measures has prompted a last-minute attempt by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to dampen public support. This week, former presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford issued a "Dear citizen" letter at the request of drug czar Barry McCaffrey in which they oppose the ballot measures because they say the measures would undercut public confidence in the authority of the Food and Drug Administration. The drug office also dispatched deputy director Dr. Donald R. Vereen Jr. to states with the ballot measure. Vereen will make the case that there is no scientific basis for prescribing marijuana for people with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and other illnesses to help stimulate appetite and control nausea and pain. He will also stress it is unsafe and irresponsible to allow patients to take a drug that has not been tested and approved by the FDA. Voting for medical marijuana sets a "dangerous precedent," Vereen warned at a rally against the initiative in the District last week. McCaffrey and other antidrug activists also believe the ballot measures are simply the first move by "legalization forces" toward the ultimate goal: making it legal to buy and smoke pot. Patients' access Americans for Medical Rights rejects that claim and says its initiatives are narrowly focused on helping people with AIDS or cancer patients on chemotherapy. "We're not about promoting marijuana but patients' access," insisted Wayne Turner, of ACT UP, the group sponsoring the District initiative. Medical opinion is divided on the health effects of marijuana, but the medical community has been mostly quiet on the issue. "The only group that has really come out against us is law enforcement, turning this into a battle of patients' rights versus law and order," noted Geoff Sugarman, director of the initiative in Oregon. But in the District, where there is a high concentration of both AIDS and drug abuse, the issue of whether to make marijuana available medically goes beyond patients' rights. "I represent a ward where open-air drug markets are thriving and where there is open warfare between drug dealers," said Sharon Ambrose, a city councilwoman. "I'm not willing to do anything that sends the message that we are relaxing our war on drugs, even though that is not what the initiative is about." This story ran on page A03 of the Boston Globe on 10/30/98. (c) Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Way To Ease Suffering (A staff editorial in USA Today endorses medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot in six Western states and the District of Columbia. The No. 1 argument against medical use of marijuana is that any opening will be exploited by those seeking to further depenalize the use of marijuana and other controlled substances. Unquestionably, the promoters of these initiatives include people whose real agenda is broader reform. But that doesn't justify a needlessly rigid ban on a doctor's sincere effort to do what's best for a suffering patient.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 23:46:21 GMT To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Dave Fratello (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: USA Today Endorses Initiatives Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org USA Today, Friday, October 30, 1998 Editorial A WAY TO EASE SUFFERING Two years ago, stirred by tales of relief from patients and physicians, not potheads, California and Arizona voted to let marijuana be used as a treatment for pain and suffering. But it never happened. In California, state and federal officials trumped voters by threatening doctors with the loss of their licenses or prosecution. They also persuaded judges to close cooperatives where patients could get quality-controlled pot. In Arizona, lawmakers overrode their own constituents, barring doctors from prescribing such drugs without federal approval. In both cases, opponents of the initiative feared any tolerance of marijuana would weaken the drug war. Now, supporters are counterattacking. Medical marijuana initiatives have multiplied threefold: They're on the ballot Tuesday in five more Western states and the District of Columbia. And Arizonans will vote yet again: on whether to affirm or repeal the legislature's roadblock to the 1996 initiative. The anecdotal evidence is compelling: Thousands of patients use pot in small doses to relieve the side effects of AIDS and cancer treatments or to treat chronic pain and glaucoma symptoms. Critics say such claims are unproved scientifically and a manufactured substitute is available. But a significant number of desperately sick people, and their doctors, say they find dosage problems in using the pharmaceutical version and the herbal form works far better for them, often in smaller amounts. The medical literature affirms the dilemma, and a 1991 Harvard survey of oncologists found almost half had recommended marijuana to some patients. By any standard, marijuana is less dangerous than amphetamines or cocaine, both of which can be prescribed in small quantities. The New England Journal of Medicine, a respected and conservative publication, has correctly labeled the government "hypocritical in forbidding doctors to prescribe marijuana while letting them prescribe morphine and (Demerol)." Physicians are leading the efforts to change the law in Washington and Oregon. The No. 1 argument against medical use of marijuana is that any opening will be exploited by those seeking to legalize drugs generally and that it sends the wrong message to youth. Unquestionably, the promoters of these initiatives include people whose real agenda is drug legalization. But that doesn't justify a needlessly rigid ban on a doctor's sincere effort to do what's best for a suffering patient. The thumping votes for change in Arizona and California and the favorable pre-election polls in most places where it's on the ballot this year suggest the public is sending an important message: "Just say no" is no answer to suffering people and compassionate physicians.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ballot-Box Prescriptions Risky (USA Today prints the boilerplate op-ed from the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, opposing medical marijuana initiatives around the United States.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 14:38:52 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: USA Today OPED: MMJ: Ballot-Box Prescriptions Risky Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Source: USA Today Section: OPED - Opposing View Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Copyright: USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.usatoday.com/ Authors: Barry McCaffrey and Donald Vereen Note: Barry McCaffrey is director and Donald Vereen, a physician, is deputy director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy. BALLOT-BOX PRESCRIPTIONS RISKY On Election Day, five states and the District of Columbia will vote on referenda that would legalize marijuana cultivation, distribution, possession and consumption, ostensibly for medical purposes. We should all seek safe and effective medicine to treat disease, but our collective interest is better served when proved, scientific processes -- not the ballot box -- minister to illness. Any purported medicine smoked in unmeasured amounts and unknown purity is suspect. Crude marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, and we know the effect of few. The active ingredient in the cannabis leaf, THC, is synthesized in measured dosages as Marinol, a prescription drug that has been available for 15 years. The Food and Drug Administration has encouraged the pharmaceutical industry to develop other methods for administering THC -- by patch, suppository or inhaler. Such developments may help more individuals realize the therapeutic benefits of THC under controlled, prescribed conditions. If components of marijuana other than THC are found to be medically valuable, the current scientific process will approve them for safe use. In fact, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is supporting a major study of marijuana by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine. The study should be completed in January. These referenda come at a time when we can't afford to send the wrong message to children about marijuana or other illegal drugs. Juvenile marijuana usage has skyrocketed in the past six years. Some kids now begin smoking pot in the sixth and seventh grades. Half of today's teens do so before completing high school. Many will suffer from decisions made while their judgment was impaired by the psychoactive effects of this drug. Indeed, marijuana is now the second-leading cause of car crashes among young people. If we lower societal barriers further, marijuana use among youth surely will escalate along with the negative consequences of drug abuse. Now is the time for concerned voters to say "yes" to their communities, their children and themselves by voting against these initiatives. Far better to be safe than sorry.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana on 7 US Ballots (Cable News Network discusses the reform initiatives facing voters in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state, Washington, DC, and Arizona.) Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 23:15:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: MMJ: Medical Marijuana on 7 U.S. Ballots Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: CNN (US) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.cnn.com/ Copyright: 1998 Cable News Network, Inc. A Time Warner Company MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON 7 U.S. BALLOTS Patients Say Pot Eases Pain WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, October 30) -- Is marijuana a helpful medicine for the desperately ill, or a scheme hatched by drug pushers hoping to harvest a new generation of addicts? Those opposing views will compete at the polls next week as voters in six states and the District of Columbia consider limited legalization of marijuana. Voters in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state and Washington D.C. will decide whether physicians, under certain conditions, can prescribe marijuana as a treatment for patients. In addition, a ballot measure in Arizona would require heroin, LSD, marijuana and certain other drugs to be authorized by the federal government before they could be prescribed as medicines. He Smokes Pot Legally While California and Arizona in 1996 passed their own state marijuana initiatives, they were effectively quashed by federal suits aimed at keeping marijuana subject to national narcotics laws. The group Americans for Medical Rights is spending more than $2 million to turn the tide back in favor of medical marijuana. The California-based organization argues that patients who smoke marijuana to relieve pain, control nausea or boost their appetites should not be made into criminals. Stockbroker Irv Rosenfeld smokes 12 marijuana cigarettes a day and doesn't consider himself a criminal. One of just eight people in the United States allowed to smoke marijuana legally, he was grandfathered into a now defunct federal program providing marijuana for medical purposes. In Rosenfeld's case, the marijuana eases the pain from a disease that attacks his joints. "To me, this is the most important aspect to life," he told CNN. He's far from alone, according to pro-medical marijuana activists. "There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of patients in the United States who could benefit from the medical use of marijuana," says Bill Zimmerman of Americans for Medical Rights. The group is funded in large part by three multimillionaire philanthropists, New York financier George Soros, Cleveland insurance magnate Peter Lewis and Phoenix educator-entrepreneur John Sperling, all of them opposed to federal government anti-drug policies from both Republican and Democratic administrations. 'Surrender Our Children To Addiction' On the other side of the issue are critics who say the medical marijuana movement promotes drug abuse and criminal behavior by ushering young people into what one judge has called "the kindergarten of the drug industry". "Those who would surrender the war on drugs surrender our children to addiction," says Gilbert Gallegos, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. The opposition also includes three former presidents who have joined the White House in urging voters to reject legalized marijuana for medical use. "These initiatives are not based on the best available science," wrote George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford this week in a "Dear Fellow Citizens" letter that closely parallels the Clinton administration's stance. The letter was requested by Barry McCaffrey, the White House director of drug control programs, who dismisses the pro-marijuana camp as trying to weaken America's anti-drug resolve. "Let's have none of this malarkey on marijuana smoking by cunning groups working to legalize drugs," McCaffrey said. Good Medicine? Americans for Medical Rights insists its purpose is humanitarian and the ballot measures for medical use are not a stepping stone to legalizing marijuana. But in the government's view, there is no official proof to back the contention that marijuana can help ease symptoms of AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases. "Smoked marijuana has not been tested (by the government)," says Dr. Don Vereen, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "We must keep an open mind about drugs with medical purposes, (but) before you vote, ask yourself: 'What other medicines do you smoke?' Smoked marijuana damages the brain, heart, lungs and immune system." While McCaffrey insists that "American medicine is the best in the world for pain management," the claim rings false for pro-medical marijuana groups in California. They have fought a long and ultimately unsuccessful battle to implement Proposition 215, the 1996 state law which allowed seriously ill people to use marijuana when advised to do so by their doctor. Under relentless federal assault in the courts, the marijuana supply clubs that sprang up to provide people with the drug have been forced to close. The last, in Oakland, shut its doors this month -- leaving its 2,000 "clients" with little option but to turn to street dealers for the drug. But even if voters support the propositions next week, the fight won't end there. Should the initiative in Washington D.C. be approved, Congress has moved to block it from becoming law. And the Justice Department has given every indication it will oppose implementation elsewhere. But for Rosenfeld, the questions of health and pain are far more basic. "Without this medicine, I would not have near the life that I have now. And I would have to become a criminal." Correspondent Pierre Thomas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Former First Lady Barbara Bush Rejects Marijuana as Medicine (A press release on Business Wire says The Drug Free America Foundation Inc., of St. Petersburg, Florida, has taped anti-medical marijuana television and radio advertisements to be distributed to opponents of medical marijuana ballot measures in Alaska, Washington and Oregon.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:22:37 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Business Wire: MMJ: Former First Lady Barbara Bush Rejects Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Fratello (email@example.com) Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Business Wire Contact: The Drug Free America Foundation Inc., St. Petersburg - Katherine Ford, 727/893-2616 or 813/893-2616 Note: Business Wire is a service that sends out press releases for those who pay for the service. Thus this is not reporting as such, but a press release. We are posting the release as an exception to our policy not to use press releases. - Richard Lake, Sr. Editor FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH REJECTS MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 30, 1998--The campaigns opposing "medical" marijuana initiatives in Alaska, Washington and Oregon are enjoying a generous boost this week, courtesy of Former First Lady Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush is featured in a series of television and radio commercials aimed at convincing voters to reject the initiatives to legalize marijuana as ``medicine''. In the spots, originally recorded as public service announcements for The Drug Free America Foundation, Mrs. Bush expresses her concern as a parent and grandparent for the growing numbers of children and youth using drugs in America today. ``Now is not the time,'' Mrs. Bush declares emphatically, ``to send the message to our young people that marijuana is `medicine'. It is not. It is a dangerous, illegal drug.'' The Drug Free America Foundation's agreement to share Mrs. Bush's message is a marketing coup for state coalitions opposing marijuana legalization. ``She is among the most recognized and highly respected individuals of our time,'' said Terry Hensley, Drug Free America's executive director. ``We think of her as our nation's grandmother; compassionate, nurturing and infinitely wise. Sharing her concerns about legalizing marijuana should persuade voters to reject so-called `medical' marijuana initiatives.'' The following is Mrs. Bush's statement opposing ``medical'' marijuana: ``Hello. I'm Barbara Bush. Some of the most rewarding experiences of my life have come from working with children. As parents and grandparents, George and I have learned first hand the joys and challenges of raising a family in today's world. That is why I would like to speak with you about an issue of great concern to us both. Over the past several years, there has been a dangerous trend of drug use by young people in our country. More and more are experimenting with illegal drugs and more are using drugs on a regular basis. That is why we are concerned about efforts to legalize marijuana and other illegal substances. Now is not the time to send a message to our young people that marijuana is medicine. It is not. It is a dangerous, illegal drug.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study Says Ecstasy Causes Brain Damage (According to the Houston Chronicle, a report published today in The Lancet says a team from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore and the National Institute of Mental Health took brain scans of 14 long-term users of MDMA and concluded that the drug damaged the nerves that release serotonin, the naturally occurring chemical that plays a role in mood, memory, pain perception, sexual desire, sleep and appetite.) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 06:49:02 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Study Says Ecstasy Causes Brain Damage 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: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle STUDY SAYS ECSTASY CAUSES BRAIN DAMAGE The "designer drug" Ecstasy, which has been associated with a number of deaths, causes long-term brain damage, researchers say. A team from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore and the National Institute of Mental Health took brain scans of 14 long-term users of methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, the chemical name for the illegal drug that reportedly induces increased awareness of emotion. Researchers found that the drug damaged the nerves in the brain that release serotonin, the naturally occurring chemical that plays a role in mood, memory, pain perception, sexual desire, sleep and appetite. In a report published today in the Lancet, one of Britain's leading medical journals, researchers said they tapped drug users' spinal fluid and found low levels of a serotonin byproduct, also evidence of damage. Dr. George Ricaurte, head of the research team, which developed an examination technique over five years, said: "This is the first time we have been able to examine the serotonin-producing nerve cells directly in the brain." Ecstasy attaches itself to the molecules that transport and reabsorb serotonin into the nerve cells. The brain probes showed that Ecstasy users had far fewer serotonin transporters than people who did not take the drug. The patients who had taken the drug most often also had lost the most transporters. Some of the volunteers had not taken the drug for years -- but there was no evidence that abstaining improved matters. "We have some indications that there may be changes in memory and cognition," said Ricaurte. "Our immediate concern is that people who use MDMA recreationally are unwittingly putting themselves at risk of developing brain injury." But Ricaurte said it is too early to tell whether the damage is permanent. Dr. John Henry, a professor at St. Mary's Hospital in London, said that Ecstasy had been shown to damage nerve terminals in every animal tested. "We have had indirect evidence that it is harmful in man. Now we have direct evidence." Users of the drug would be likely to have a higher incidence of depression in later life, he added. "Serotonin is vital ... for maintenance of mood. As we get older, our serotonin turnover drops."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ecstasy 'Harms Brain For Life' (The version in The Guardian, in Britain) Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 06:03:08 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Ecstasy 'Harms Brain For Life' 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: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 Source: Guardian, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1998 Author: Tim Radford, Science Editor ECSTASY 'HARMS BRAIN FOR LIFE' The designer drug ecstasy, which has been associated with a number of deaths, causes long-term brain damage, according to research in the United States. A team from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland, and the US National Institute of Mental Health, took brain scans of 14 long-term users of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, the chemical name for the drug that reportedly induces increased awareness of emotion. They found the drug damaged the nerves in the brain which release serotonin, the naturally occurring chemical that plays a role in mood, memory, pain perception, sexual desire, sleep and appetite. The researchers report in the Lancet today that they tapped the drug users' spinal fluid and found low levels of a serotonin byproduct, itself evidence of damage. George Ricaurte, head of the research team, which developed an examination technique over five years, said: "This is the first time we have been able to examine the serotonin-producing nerve cells directly in the brain." Ecstasy attaches itself to the molecules that transport and re-absorb serotonin into the nerve cells. The brain probes showed that ecstasy users had far fewer serotonin transporters than people who did not take the drug. Those patients who had taken the drug most often had also lost the most transporters. Some of the volunteers had not taken the drug for years - but there was no evidence that abstaining improved matters. "We have some indications that there may be changes in memory and cognition," said Dr Ricaurte. "Our immediate concern is that people who use MDMA recreationally are unwittingly putting themselves at risk of developing brain injury." John Henry, a professor at St Mary's Hospital, London, said yesterday that ecstasy had been shown to damage nerve terminals in every animal tested. "We have had indirect evidence that it is harmful in man. Now we have direct evidence." Users of the drug would be likely to have a higher incidence of depression in later life, he added. "Serotonin is vital... for maintenance of mood. As we get older, our serotonin turnover drops."
------------------------------------------------------------------- MDMA Neurotoxicity Research (The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies comments on The Lancet report about the supposed toxicity of MDMA. As usual, government "research" and mass media reporting turn out to be dubious on several counts.) Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 17:09:36 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Webster (email@example.com) Subject: MDMA Neurotoxicity Research [from MAPS list] From: RickMAPS@aol.com Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 21:00:52 EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MAPS: MDMA Neurotoxicity Research Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: RickMAPS@aol.com To All: You may have seen publicity about a new study of MDMA users that just came out in the Lancet. The study is by George Ricaurte, M.D. I spoke with him several days ago about the results and feel it is important to keep several points in mind. First, the MDMA subjects in the study feel fine. Second, it is difficult to make sure that matched controls are really matched on all dimensions. The best way to study MDMA-related serotonin changes is to test people before and after the administration of MDMA. This has yet to be done. Third, even if the serotonin transporter changes are due to MDMA, they make be entirely without significance. Brain cells can up and down regulate to function in enviroments of greater or lesser amounts of neurotransmitters. Fourth, the serotonin system does not seem to substantially decline with age. Therefore, the idea that reduced serotonin system changes that are asymptomatic will become a problem over time is not supported by the evidence about the serotonin system, or by the observation of problems of MDMA users age 60 or older, of which there are many. Fifth, there is no evidence at all that a few doses of MDMA given in a therapeutic context, or any context, would have a significant impact on serotonin levels, much less produce functional or behavioral consequences related to serotonin deficits. Thus, this research does not provide evidence sufficient to justify refusal to permit MDMA psychotherapy research. The Novartis Foundation is sponsoring a conference on the risks of MDMA, to take place in London on December 4. Dr. Ricaurte will be presenting his findings there, as will other researchers who have looked at the risk side of the equation. MAPS is paying for Dr. Charles Grob to attend the conference, and also Dr. Moshe Kotler and Dr. Adam Darnell, the MDMA researchers from Israel who are working to obtain permission to study the use of MDMA in the treatment of PTSD in a MAPS-funded study. As always, MAPS is interested in all the scientific information about MDMA, both risks and benefits. Unfortunately, ever since MDMA was criminalized in 1985, no research in the US has yet been permitted into the beneficial uses of MDMA, while probably in excess of $10 million has been spent seeking evidence of harmful effects. MAPS has been supporting Dr. Grob's efforts to initiate a study of the use of MDMA in cancer patients for many years. The FDA has taken three months to review the third draft of the protocol, with some response expected soon. What follows are some additional notes on Ricaurte's latest effort in The Lancet, by Dr. Karl Jansen. An important point to note is that the subjects were tested for psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and were all found to be normal. In other words, these reductions in transporter binding relative to the control group existed without any anxiety and depression, as established by the experimenters themselves. This is in line with animal experiments which show that considerable persistent changes do not result in persistent behavioural changes in these animals. They cannot be distinguished from controls. While E may cause some brain changes, the evidence for depression and anxiety as a long-term time bomb is entirely lacking, especially if the control group are heavy cocaine users. So far, these changes in the serotonin transporter are without proven effect. The midweek post E dip is due to an acute fall in serotonin, not same thing at all. Of course, these changes are very minor compared to those of alcoholism, which causes gross brain atrophy, difficulty walking, major depression, 10% of alcoholics commit suicide, severe memory problems, etc. etc. - somehow news of this has not been flashed around the world...I wonder why? You don't need fancy PET scans to see alcoholic damage - a pair of scales postmortem will do just fine! A major reservation I have about this study is that there has been a high degree of selection of cases. These are not 14 random cases, far from it. Ricuarte has been collecting hundreds of cases for many years. Nicholas and I sent him people who had taken over 1,000 pills. These people, including Nicholas himself (who had only taken about 100), were told by Ricuarte that they had a clean bill of health. So why aren't they in the published study?! Why indeed....These 14 cases have been carefully selected from a huge sample, which totally invalidates the statistics which have been used to show significance. In other words, people who had taken over 1,000 pills and went through Ricuarte's study with normal results have somehow not been included amongst the elect, which is very suspicious. I wonder if they didn't just select the far end of a very large bell curve to publish? I note that 400 pills was the highest in the sample, so my friends were definitely not 'in' and they were definitely told that they were O.K...Something isn't right here. The other problem is the highly questionable statement that the absence of neuropsychiatric disorder means that the low levels of transporter could not have been pre-existing. It is wholly possible that persons with lower levels of transporter and other neurochemical differences experience drives to take drugs of this nature, or to seek stimulation and novelty in other ways. Thus pre-existing, genetic differences in dopamine receptors are seen in some alcoholics, but these drives need not be met with alcohol - they can also make people more adventurous, more inclined to become innovators and explorators. To imply that they must have a 'neuropsychiatric condition' is wholly false. Best Karl Jansen *** MAPS-Forum@maps.org, a member service of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (to become a member, see www.maps.org/memsub.html). To [un]subscribe, email the message text, [un]subscribe maps-forum youraddress to firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 65 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original summary of drug policy news and calls for action, including - Announcements; Study - 13 percent of black men ineligible to vote; Mother holding child shot by police in her home; Medical marijuana goes to voters on Tuesday; Update on Initiative 59 - Washington, DC; Report from Oregon; Court ruling ends reverse marijuana sting operations; Tasmanian government wants possession of marijuana legalized; And an editorial by Adam J. Smith, The 13 percent solution) Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 07:59:11 -0500 To: email@example.com From: DRCNet (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #65 Sender: email@example.com The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #65 -- October 30, 1998 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:email@example.com for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) (This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.) PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: Drug Reform Coordination Network, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Announcements http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#announce 2. STUDY: 13% Of Black Men Ineligible to Vote http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#novote 3. Mother Holding Child Shot By Police In Her Home http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#shooting 4. Medical Marijuana Goes to Voters on Tuesday http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#thistuesday 5. Update on Initiative 59: Washington, DC http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#i-59 6. Report From Oregon http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#57-67 7. Court Ruling Ends Reverse Marijuana Sting Operations http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#reversal 8. Tasmanian Government Wants Possession of Marijuana Legalized http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#tasmania 9. EDITORIAL: The 13% Solution http://www.drcnet.org/wol/065.html#editorial *** 1. Announcements * We are pleased to make available Election '98: The Vote for Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy Reform, a report released by the Drug Policy Foundation, providing detailed discussion of the nine ballot initiatives being voted on in seven states and DC this Tuesday. Check it out at http://www.drcnet.org/election98/. DPF is online at http://www.dpf.org. * Free Giveaway -- five free copies of Mike Gray's Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out -- with a personalized autograph by the author -- enter online at http://www.drcnet.org/contest/. * DRCNet needs your help to keep our drug policy reform calendar current and complete. Check it out at http://www.drcnet.org/calendar/, and e-mail your event submissions to email@example.com. * DRCNet needs your support! Visit our member registration form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html to make a credit card donation or print out a pledge form to mail in, or just send your check or money to: DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. Contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the DRCNet Foundation to support our educational work. Another way to support the organization is the eyegive online fundraising program -- visit http://www.eyegive.com/html/ssi.cfm?CID=1060 to check it out -- just registering earns DRCNet two dollars! * The latest headlines are java-linked from our site at http://www.drcnet.org -- or if you don't have java on your browser, use http://www.drcnet.org/breaking_news/ instead. *** 2. STUDY: 13% Of Black Men Ineligible to Vote A study released jointly last week by The Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch finds that 13%, approximately 1.4 million African American men, are ineligible to vote -- many permanently -- due to their criminal records. That percentage is seven times the national average. Overall, 3.9 million Americans have been disenfranchised. Laws vary widely between states regarding a convicted felon's right to vote. 31 states restrict voting for those on probation or parole, while in 14 states, a single felony conviction can lead to lifetime disenfranchisement. In Arizona and Maryland, two-time offenders lose their eligibility for life. Marc Mauer, Assistant Director of The Sentencing Project, spoke with The Week Online. WOL: This report seems to have hit a nerve with people -- not unlike a previous Sentencing Project report which found that one in three young black males in America were under criminal justice supervision -- what kind of response has the organization gotten? MAUER: We've been very pleased with the response to this study. A lot of people were shocked to hear about these findings and the policies that created them. Most people didn't realize the level of disenfranchisement. Also, I think that there's been a recognition that harsh criminal justice policies have contributed to the explosion of these numbers over the past twenty-five years or so. WOL: Do you think that the reaction will translate into action on the ground? MAUER: We've been very happy to hear from people in a number of different states who are thinking about beginning litigation or introducing legislation as a result of the report, to try to overturn some of the state-level policies in this regard. So we're hoping to see some movement. It's encouraging to see the report spur this kind of interest. WOL: What kind of impact does this level of disenfranchisement have in the real world? MAUER: Well, we're talking about almost four million people here. So while its difficult to know what impact this has had electorally, it is a fairly substantial potential voting block. I think particularly when we look at the impact on the black community, which has been so disproportionately impacted, it really points to the fact that we as a society -- whether consciously or not -- we are diluting the voting strength of the black community through this really massive disenfranchisement. In some communities the number of disenfranchised voters is very high, and so it's likely to have both an electoral and a sociological impact. WOL: So what's the next step? MAUER: We're hoping to capitalize on the interest that the report has garnered to see if we can promote more discussion and activity in this area. Also, we'd like to stimulate discussion and research on some of the other consequences of enforcement and drug policy over the past few decades. WOL: Finally, could you tell us what impact the Drug War has had on this massive disenfranchisement? MAUER: Clearly, over the last fifteen years, drug policy has been the primary catalyst of the explosion of prison populations, particularly with regard to minority communities. It is the one area that if we could make policy changes in that area that would make an enormous impact on some of the disturbing numbers that we see. (The Sentencing Project/Human Rights Watch study, which is titled "Losing the Vote: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States," can be found online on the Human Rights Watch web site at http://www.hrw.org/reports98/vote/. The Sentencing Project is online at http://www.sentencingproject.org. The third annual conference of the Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy, a project that is affiliated with the Sentencing Project, will be held in Bethesda, Maryland on Nov. 12-14 -- for information, call (202) 628-1903, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.crimepolicy.org. *** 3. Mother Holding Child Shot By Police In Her Home Pat Eymer, mother of three, was shot once in the shoulder when a group of officers broke down the door of her trailer home. Ms. Eymer -- whose children, ages thirteen, four, and four months, all witnessed the shooting -- was holding her four year-old daughter in her arms when she was shot. Ms. Eymer's thirteen year-old daughter passed out after seeing her mother shot. The .45 caliber hollow-point bullet destroyed most of the bone in Ms. Eymer's right shoulder. She is listed in stable condition, but is not expected to re-gain much use of her arm. No guns or weapons of any kind were found in the home. The other three adults present, Ms. Eymer's husband, her cousin James Hinkle, and his friend Tammy Bedwell, were charged with "possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and use of a police radio in the commission of a felony." Mr. Hinkle, however, claims that there was nothing illegal in the home and that the evidence against them was planted by police. Both Hinkle and Ms. Bedwell told the WorldNetDaily Exclusive (http://www.worldnetdaily.com) that the police search turned up nothing, and that a female officer took Ms. Eymer's purse outside only to return in a few minutes and comment to another officer, "it's been done." Ms. Eymer has not been charged. "They absolutely found nothing on me or my girlfriend," Hinkle told WorldNetDaily. "They were totally in the wrong. They found nothing. He just shot her ass, OK? Straight up. Walked in the house, shot her." *** 4. Medical Marijuana Goes to Voters on Tuesday On November 3, voters in five and possibly six states plus Washington DC will have an opportunity to vote on the question of whether patients who choose to use marijuana for certain ailments will be legally protected, or face arrest. Voters in California and Arizona decided in favor of patients in 1996, in both cases by wide margins, leading to a reaction resembling apoplexy by some elected officials. Leading up to those elections, three former presidents, as well as Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and others came out strenuously against the initiatives. In Arizona, Senator Jon Kyl, speaking on the floor of the Senate days after the election, claimed that his constituents had been "duped" and in the Arizona state house, legislation was passed which gutted the intent of Prop. 200. Arizona's citizens will vote on Prop. 300, a bill that would maintain the legislature's changes -- no on 300 would restore Prop. 200. In California, the federal government stepped in, first to threaten doctors with loss of their prescription licenses and arrest if they discussed the benefits of marijuana with patients. After a federal judge issued a restraining order against those plans based upon first amendment concerns, the feds moved to plan B, shutting down patient cooperatives, arresting activists, and allegedly working behind the scenes with state law enforcement to defy the spirit, if not the letter of the California law. This year, the U.S. Congress passed a "sense of the house resolution" against the medicinal use of marijuana. And finally, in an act which raises important constitutional issues, the Congress, as part of the District of Columbia's omnibus appropriations bill, forbade federal monies from being used for any DC initiative which would lower penalties for marijuana. Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and former counsel to the House Subcommittee on Crime (1979-89), who said that the Constitutional implications of the provision are relevant for all Americans. "The fact is that the Congress has the power, once an initiative is passed in DC, to vote it down, nullifying its legal impact. But this act, to keep Washingtonians from even expressing themselves on the issue, seems to contravene the constitutional right of the people to petition the government for redress of their grievances. A prior restraint to interfere with the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances is something that every citizen around the country should be concerned about ... and wonder why providing marijuana to sick people could provoke such an extreme reaction by the US Congress." The Colorado initiative has also run up against problems in the weeks leading up to election day. In that state, the Secretary of State, Vikki Buckley, initially announced that petitioners had failed to present enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. (They needed 52,000 and had turned in over 80,000.) That led to a court challenge in which it was determined that the count was indeed erroneous, and that the initiative should be on the ballot. An appeal of that determination led to a decision requiring that office to do a full line by line (rather than statistical sampling) count. Buckley later claimed that the new count also showed the petitions insufficient, and so the initiative was off the ballot. But backers of the initiative went back and checked the work again, and claimed to have found thousands of errors in the count, which they will present to the court late this week. At our deadline, it was still undetermined whether or not the citizens of Colorado would have an opportunity to decide the question for themselves. But other than that, proponents of the initiatives headed into their final week of preparations confident that they would win most, if not all, of the initiatives that did make it to the ballot. Bill Zimmerman, director of Americans for Medical Rights, told The Week Online, "The polling, both our own and the polls done by TV and newspapers, indicate that the medical marijuana initiatives are running ahead in all five states and the district. But of course, our opponents are working hard to nullify the will of the voters in Colorado and also in Washington DC, which, I would mention, is not one that we have worked on. In the case of Colorado, our people have looked over the work that was done by the Secretary of State's office and have found ample numbers of signatures that were improperly disqualified, and so we are hopeful that we will be on the ballot. If not, we will seek redress through the courts." Rob Kampia, Director of governmental relations with the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington DC, has been working on the DC initiative for several months. He told The Week Online that he was "appalled but not surprised" that Congress used the backdoor of the appropriations bill in an attempt to deny the citizens of the nation's capital a chance to be heard on the issue. "This will not be successful," Kampia said. "For a representative from Georgia (Bob Barr, R-GA), three days before he goes home, to essentially legislate the people of Washington DC out of their own local decision-making process is a stunning indication of just how meaningless freedom and democracy are, as concepts, to many members of the House. This vote will be counted, and all necessary steps will be taken to make sure of that." (Medical marijuana initiatives are on the ballot in Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Oregon will also vote on recriminalization of marijuana and Arizona will vote on broader drug policy reform measures. Detailed info on all the initiatives is available online at http://www.drcnet.org/election98/.) *** 5. Forces Lined Up For and Against I-59 As noted above, DC's I-59 has already met opposition in Congress, with Election Day still four days away. Supporters of the initiative are considering how they will assure that I-59 is counted and enacted, despite anti- democratic forces in Capitol Hill. I-59, like the other medical marijuana bills, provides protection from arrest and prosecution to seriously ill or dying patients whose doctors have recommended it for primary treatment or as a mitigation against side effects of other treatments. It would prohibit discrimination or retaliation of any form against any physician who recommended the use of marijuana, and protects their identities, and would permit possession, acquisition and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana destined to be used solely by the patient for their medical needs. The bill allows patients to designate up to four primary caregivers to act as their agents in securing marijuana solely for the patient's medical needs, as well as to organize and operate not-for-profit corporations for the express purpose of providing patients with their medically-necessary marijuana. I-59 also provides that the use of medical marijuana will be no defense against any criminal actions of violence, driving under the influence, or public endangerment, would require that the District's Director of the Department of Health submit a plan within 90 days that for providing safe and affordable marijuana to Medicaid patients, and asks that the District Mayor formally request, on behalf of District citizens, the development of a federal framework for legal provision of medical marijuana. I-59 has been endorsed by the Democratic, Republican and Statehood party candidates for Mayor, and by most of the City Council members, with the exception of the member from Ward Six in troubled Southeast Washingtonm who has said she believes that medical marijuana would increase problems with the already-pervasive open-air drug markets of Washington. Supporters, however, believe that I-59 will reduce use of the black market, through the personal cultivation and non-profit cooperative provisions. Perhaps predictably, DC Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has voiced his opposition to the initiative, stating that he felt it was inappropriate to allow voters to decide medical issues best left to scientific regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration. But in a surprising announcement this week, the National Black Police Association publicly endorsed the measure. Though there has been little organized public opposition to the bill, a rider attached to the 1999 DC budget, by Congressman Robert Barr, a Georgia Republican, prohibits the use of District funds to conduct and certify a vote on medical marijuana. The ballots had already been printed when the provision went into effect; however, there is still concern that the District government could be prevented from certifying a count of the votes next week. Wayne Turner of ACT-UP DC, the sponsors of the initiative, told The Week Online, "We'll be filing our case against the federal government tomorrow (Friday, 10/30). The ACLU has taken the case, and I want everyone to know that the votes will be counted. So we want everyone to go to the polls on Tuesday and cast their votes in favor of self-rule and the rights of patients. How dare they try to take away the rights of District residents to vote on this issue. If they thought they would win, the federal legislators would be down here certifying the votes themselves. But the fact is that they are going to lose, and lose badly, and so, being bereft of good arguments for their side, they have adopted a dictatorial strategy. 'To hell with the people, they can only vote if we agree with them.' But this is America, and it just doesn't work that way." *** 6. Report From Oregon - Bear Wilner (DRCNet wishes to thank Bear for keeping our readers up to date on the goings-on in Oregon, where voters will decide on two separate marijuana-related initiatives. We hope that post-election, Bear will continue his valuable efforts for The Week Online and for the reform community at large.) With just a few days to go before November 3rd, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians have already voted on the state's two marijuana-related ballot measures. Voting by mail is more prevalent in Oregon than in any other part of the US, and another initiative on this fall's slate seeks to make it the standard for every election, doing away with the voting booth altogether. Still, there are plenty of voters left who do plan to head to the polls on Tuesday. Oregon's voter turnout rate, even in off-year elections, remains far above the national average. This is most likely an attribute that bodes well for the campaigns against Measure 57, which would recriminalize possession of under an ounce of marijuana, and for Measure 67, which would allow the medical use of marijuana under a caregiver's supervision. These campaigns have taken to the airwaves in recent days, even as absentee voting has begun. One television ad against Measure 57 depicts two highly unsavory characters being released from prison to make way for newly convicted marijuana offenders. TV ads for Measure 67, financed by Americans for Medical Rights, feature Stormy Ray, a courageous wheelchair-bound activist, and chief petitioner Dr. Rick Bayer, among others. Meanwhile, anti-Measure 67 radio ads have just started to run, with former First Lady Barbara Bush making part of the pitch. The struggle on the ground has also continued. Dr. Bayer and attorney Dave Fidanque of the Oregon ACLU debated top prohibitionist spokesperson Rob Elkins, police chief of the town of Molalla, before the City Club of Eugene recently. Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon and home to the University of Oregon, and its daily and weekly newspapers have editorialized in favor of Measure 67 while opposing Measure 57. The debate was polite but revealing. Although vehement in his denunciations of the reform position, Chief Elkins was forced to make statement after statement assuring the listeners that his side was not out to lock people up, and that their minds were not closed to potential health benefits of marijuana -- they simply felt that the risks outweighed these benefits. Although the state's largest newspaper, the increasingly conservative Portland Oregonian, made its endorsements on the anti-reform side, many other Oregon papers, such as the Albany Democrat-Herald, have joined Eugene's Register-Guard in calling for a Yes vote on 67 and a No vote on 57. The members of numerous citizen organizations, such as MAMA (Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse) have been putting in plenty of time on the effort. In general, Oregon appears to be poised to join California and Arizona in the camp of states where drug laws have been amended by the voters. *** 7. Court Ruling Ends Reverse Marijuana Sting Operations The New York State Court of Appeals dealt a blow to a controversial but popular tactic in marijuana enforcement last week (10/22) when it ruled that people arrested in reverse sting or "sell and bust" operations cannot be charged with criminal solicitation. Police, who are forbidden from selling actual marijuana, generally use a substitute such as oregano when posing as dealers to arrest unsuspecting buyers. That eliminates the possibility of charging them with possession. And because there is no official penalty for "attempted possession" of marijuana, police had been charging arrestees with criminal solicitation. The court ruled, however, that the New York Penal Code stipulates that "a person is not guilty of solicitation when that solicitation constitutes conduct of a kind that is necessarily incidental to the commission of the crime solicited." This language exists to insure that a person cannot be charged both with a crime and additionally with an act that is necessarily subsumed by the first charge. 54 defendants who had been so charged for their efforts to buy small quantities of marijuana from undercover officers had their cases dismissed. Thomas Morse, the Assistant District Attorney in this case, insisted that the legal loophole would be closed and that it would soon be a crime in New York to "attempt to possess" marijuana. He told The New York Times, "We're going to move the halls of justice to the corridors of the Legislature. We hope to find a sponsor in the next session." *** 8. Tasmanian Government Wants Possession of Marijuana Legalized Peter Patmore, Attorney General of the Australian state of Tasmania, said last week that he favors a policy under which personal possession of cannabis would be legal. He called for public discussion of the issue so that a consensus could be reached before legislation is introduced, hopefully next year. "My views on the issue are quite clear" he told The Examiner, an Australian newspaper. "Prohibition doesn't work, but there is no use having a debate which splits the community. We actually have more lenient laws in Tasmania on marijuana than in some other states, and if I can show the public a sensible approach to legal personal usage, where precious police time is not wasted, and otherwise law abiding citizens are not lumped with a criminal record, then we can take the next step." *** 9. EDITORIAL: The 13% Solution As election day approaches, a report issued by the respected organizations The Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch indicates that 1.4 million, or 13% of all African Americans, are ineligible to vote due to their criminal records. The report is a stunning reminder of the long-term impact of the nation's escalating drug war in communities of color. Intended or not, the fact is that the drug war has had a devastating impact on Black America. With its emphasis on arresting large numbers of people in order to justify its expense, enforcement will always be focused on poor and marginalized communities. It is in these communities that the drug trade operates in the open, making it far easier to sweep up dozens of low-level foot soldiers than to do the work required to arrest affluent whites whose drug deals, and drug use, occur behind closed doors. In a previous report, the Sentencing Project found that on any given day in America, fully one third of all African- American males between the ages of 18 and 29 are under some form of criminal justice supervision. It is no secret that the Drug War has contributed vastly to those numbers during the past 15 or more years. African Americans comprise an estimated 13% of the nation's drug users, but make up 55% of those convicted of drug charges. Taken together, these stark numbers indicate that black men are being systematically removed from the workforce, from their families and from the voting booth. They are also being saddled with criminal records which make them easy targets for law enforcement and the justice system should they "get out of line" in any way. If, as we dearly hope, these effects are unintended by the politicians who continue to pass harsher and harsher drug war legislation, their impact is no less ominous. By criminalizing large, almost unimaginably large segments of the black community, we have brought down official unemployment rates, forced women and children into positions of economic weakness and dependence, created prisons-as-jobs programs in rural, mostly white communities, collected surveillance data and developed networks of informants in black communities, taught a generation of young black kids that the government has coercive power over their lives, made adult males eligible for long prison terms for petty offenses or "disturbances" of any kind, and all the while whittled down the numbers of those who can make a difference at the ballot box. In short, the drug war is well on its way to re-instituting the legal status that black Americans were saddled with in the dark days of our nation's past, that of non-persons. It is a tragic devolution, embarked upon in the name of protecting America's (mostly white) children. But the truth is that we will never arrest enough Black kids to scare white kids away from drugs. And that is all the drug warriors are really trying to do. Because if one in three young white males were "in the system," or if 13% of the white population were ineligible to vote, there would likely be armed insurrection in the streets. But of course, there is no danger of that. So on we go, deleting our most vulnerable and economically expendable populations from the employment statistics, and the voting rolls, and the streets. It is a neat and evil way of controlling an entire population. And until we as a society are ready to face facts about the Drug War, to radically alter the way we confront the issues of substance use and abuse, the numbers, telling and disturbing as they are, are only going to get worse. Adam J. Smith Associate Director *** DRCNet needs your support! 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