------------------------------------------------------------------- War On Drugs Has Failed (The Province, in Vancouver, British Columbia, says Canadian and US civic officials at a conference in Seattle agreed that the war on some drug users has been a dismal failure and new tactics are needed. However, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell probably spoke for a lot of derelict public officials when said he didn't wish to "inflame the situation" by suggesting that drug use be decriminalized.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:41:38 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WA: War On Drugs Has Failed Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Pat Dolan Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 Source: The Province (B.C. Can) Section: p.A25 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://vancouverprovince.com Copyright: Pacific Press 1998 WAR ON DRUGS HAS FAILED The War On Drugs Has Failed, Mayors' Meeting Told Seattle -- The war on drugs has been a dismal failure and new tactics are needed, Canadian and U.S. civic officials agree. "We can't afford the police, we can't afford the gaol time and we can't afford the costs," Seattle Mayor Paul Schell told a Cascadia Mayors' Council conference that included Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen. Schell added he didn't wish to "inflame the situation" by suggesting that drug use be decriminalized. Owen told the conference that 5,000 addicts in Vancouver spend approximately $1.5 million Cdn each day to support their habits.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Losing The Border War On Drugs (An Associated Press version in The Herald, in Everett, Washington) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 17:47:14 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WA: Losing The Border War On Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Thu, 12 Nov, 1998 Source: Herald, The (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Daily Herald Co. Author: Associated Press LOSING THE BORDER WAR ON DRUGS U.S., Canadian mayors demand a new approach (AP) SEATTLE - United States and Canadian city officials are in agreement that the war on drugs has been a dismal failure on both sides of the border and new strategies need to be considered. "We can't afford the police, we can't afford the jail time, and we can't afford the costs," Seattle Mayor Paul Schell told a Cascadia Mayors' council here Tuesday, which included Vancouver, British Columbia, Mayor Philip Owen. But Schell added he didn't want to "inflame the situation" by suggesting that drug use be decriminalized. Before becoming mayor last year, Schell was an advocate of Western Europe-style open borders between the U.S. and Canada. but the drug trafficking along the I-5 corridor has posed a major obstacle. Owen estimated about 5,000 addicts in Vancouver spend some $1.5 million (Canadian) each day to support their habit. He noted that British Columbia grows high quality marijuana, much of which is smuggled across the border. Some of it is exchanged for heroin, which is smuggled back into Canada, he said. Owen noted that the treatment of drug users in British Columbia has been shortchanged while money is poured in law enforcement. He said he is developing a "holistic approach, a continuum of care" toward the drug problem. The strategy would include teaching children about drug dangers from their earliest schooling and expanding treatment for addicts who want to kick the habit, he said. But he said Vancouver was not ready to adopt Switzerland's model of heroin maintenance, whereby addicts are supplied with the drug so the business is kept out of criminals' hands. Vancouver will be tougher with major traffickers, giving them mandatory 25-years-to-life terms, he said. On the issue of guns and crime, also main topics of discussion at the conference, several U.S. officials voiced envy of their counterparts in Canada, where gun laws are much stricter. "You don't have to go to Asia to experience a lower crime rate," said Bellingham Police Chief Don Pierce. "Just cross the border." Schell wondered whether U.S. mayors might take the lead in distributing gun locks to cut down on misuse of firearms by children. But Portland Police chief Charles Moose said gun locks should be provided by gun manufacturers, not cities' general funds. He suggested Northwest cities join New Orleans, which has sued gun manufacturers to recover costs of gun-related violence. The Cascadia Mayors' Council is the latest step in an eight-year effort by government officials, business groups and regional think tanks to promote cross-border cooperation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stinging The Defense (A staff editorial in The Orange County Register notes Marvin Chavez's trial on 10 counts of marijuana sales - or, depending on your point of view - of trying to implement Proposition 215 - resumes today, although Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris has already ruled that the defense may not use a Prop. 215 defense on the first two charges. On four other charges the defense will argue that police engaged in illegal entrapment.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 19:29:41 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Stinging The Defense Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 STINGING THE DEFENSE The Chavez Trial Marvin Chavez's trial on 10 counts of marijuana sales - or, depending on how you view matters, of trying to implement Proposition 215, whereby voters gave patients with physicians' recommendations the right to use marijuana - resumes today, with an evidentiary hearing and more prosecution witnesses. Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris has ruled that the defense may not use a Prop. 215 defense on the first two charges, which involve chronic back pain patient Greg Hoffer, because the judge was not convinced there was enough evidence that Mr. Chavez was Mr. Hoffer's "primary caregiver." He had previously decided not to allow a 215 defense on three charges involving Jerry Pollard, because Mr. Pollard was a caregiver for another patient (now deceased), and Judge Borris believes transactions among caregivers (real or alleged) are not covered by the law. The defense is still trying to establish a caregiver relationship between Mr. Chavez and Shirley Reaves of Chico. So the concept of "primary caregiver," imprecisely defined in the proposition and still up in the air as far as the courts are concerned, continues to be a central issue. Regarding the four remaining charges arising from Mr. Chavez's furnishing small amounts of marijuana to undercover law-enforcement operatives, the prosecution is expected to argue that this was a standard drug dealer case, and the defense will argue that the way the police handled the case constituted illegal entrapment. However the case turns out, it could help to set guidelines for patients who have a legal right to possess and use marijuana under the California law, but don't know how to acquire it. Whether the outcome of this trial and other actions will spur state or local officials to set up clearer protocols for implementing Prop. 215 is an open question.
------------------------------------------------------------------- SCU law professor tackles another high-profile issue (A San Jose Mercury News feature article focuses on Gerald Uelmen, the Santa Clara University law professor who is helping the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative appeal a federal shutdown order, and also aiding in the defense of Peter Baez, the co-founder of a San Jose medical marijuana dispensary.) From: Remembers@webtv.net (Genie Brittingham) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:03:49 -0800 (PST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DPFCA: PETER BAEZ Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ From: email@example.com (PETER BAEZ) Date: Fri, Nov 13, 1998 Subject: PETER BAEZ Published Thursday, November 12, 1998 in the San Jose Mercury News SCU law professor tackles another high-profile issue BY BRANDON BAILEY Mercury News Staff Writer For his role on O.J. Simpson's controversial criminal defense team, Santa Clara University law Professor Gerald Uelmen drew a measure of national attention -- and a handful of letters from alumni who thought he brought disgrace on the school. Wait 'til they hear he's joined the battle over medicinal marijuana.``I love a good fight,´´ says Uelmen, 58. In the next few weeks, the generally soft-spoken professor will be helping the Oakland cannabis cooperative appeal a federal shutdown order. He'll also try to persuade a Santa Clara County judge to throw out criminal charges that local prosecutors brought against San Jose medicinal marijuana club co-founder Peter Baez. Last week, voters approved ballot measures allowing marijuana-smoking for medicinal purposes in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and the state of Washington. But even though California voters approved a similar initiative two years ago, the issue is still a legal minefield. The Oakland case in particular is part of a federal action that could determine the future of medicinal marijuana in this country. ``From my perspective, it was going to be a cutting-edge, intellectually challenging case,´´ Uelmen says of his decision to help marijuana club operators resist the federal crack-down. On top of that, he added during an interview at his modest university office, ``I had a lot of sympathy with what they were trying to do.'' Known as `The Cobra´ Uelmen´s office is decorated with books, papers and cobra statuettes. ``The Cobra´´ was Uelmen´s nickname when he was a federal gang-buster decades ago, prosecuting organized crime and gambling cases. These days, he´s better known as a liberal academic and advocate for the defense. As a professor and former dean of the Santa Clara University law school, Uelmen has published both scholarly texts and newspaper commentaries on constitutional issues and the state Supreme Court. He's defended affirmative action and criticized the death penalty. But the cause that brought him to national attention, at least for a short while, was the televised O.J. Simpson trial that millions watched with bizarre fascination. For some critics, the Simpson trial fit all the stereotypes of a legal system subverted by money, race and grandstanding. Uelmen, who concentrated on issues of evidence and constitutional law, was usually overshadowed by more flamboyant members of the so-called ``Dream Team´´ defense. Yet some of the notoriety stuck. Even today, some of Uelmen´s students shake their heads sheepishly when the case comes up. But despite a few alumni complaints, students and colleagues say they endorse his off-campus forays. ``The university supports faculty engagement in major issues confronting society,´´ said Provost Stephen Privett. He added: ``Jerry is passionately committed to the advocacy system. He´s going to make the system prove itself.´´ Though Uelmen clearly relished the legal battles in the Simpson case, he says that wasn't the only benefit. Since the trial ended, he's published both a personal memoir and a textbook -- ``The O.J. Files: Evidentiary Issues in a Tactical Context.´´ It´s easier to teach rules of evidence, Uelmen says, when students are already familiar with the case. ``Being out in the courtroom,´´ he adds, ``makes me a better law professor.´´ Proud to be involved His latest opportunity came early this year, when the attorney for a Santa Cruz medicinal marijuana club invited him to help fight the federal government's effort to shut the program down. ``I´m really proud to represent people like this,´´ Uelmen told a group of SCU students who gathered to hear him discuss both cases during a lunchtime session on public interest law. ``They´re the kind of heroes who bring change in society, by being willing to get out in front of an issue.´´ Many involved in the medicinal marijuana issue say they´re motivated by personal experience with friends or relatives who have suffered from cancer or AIDS. That's not the case with Uelmen. But as a longtime critic of other federal drug policies -- such as the unequal prison sentences handed out for crimes involving crack and powder cocaine -- Uelmen said he's been skeptical of the government's unwillingness to tolerate marijuana use for medicinal reasons. He contends that federal policies are too often driven by politicians' fear of doing anything that could be labeled as ``soft on drugs.´´ By enacting Proposition 215 in 1996, California voters approved the use of marijuana by patients with a doctor's recommendation. But the Clinton administration says distributing marijuana is still a crime under federal law. The government filed suit in March to shut down distribution centers in Oakland, Santa Cruz and three other cities. South Bay officials, meanwhile, had pledged to work with Peter Baez and Jesse Garcia when they opened a medicinal marijuana clinic in San Jose. But relations soured when Santa Clara County authorities charged Baez with selling marijuana to patients without a doctor's recommendation, running a drug house and committing grand theft. Uelmen joined the lawyers representing the Oakland center after the Santa Cruz club decided to close. A short time later, a university colleague approached him on behalf of folk singer Joan Baez, who was looking for legal counsel to help her cousin Peter. Following the Simpson model, Uelmen has again joined forces with some high-powered courtroom gladiators. In the Oakland case, he and marijuana club attorney Robert Raich have teamed with James Brosnahan, a leading San Francisco litigator. For the Baez case, Uelmen recruited Thomas Nolan of Palo Alto, one of the top-ranked defense lawyers in the South Bay. While some of his expenses are covered by grants and donations, Uelmen said he's charging ``substantially less´´ than his usual rate of $350 an hour. Complementary skills Veteran attorneys say it makes sense for Uelmen to work with experienced trial lawyers, whose practical skills complement his knowledge of legal precedents and theory. But the lineups in both cases have already prompted derisive references to so-called ``Dream Teams.´´ After the Baez team missed a routine court appearance last month, thanks to a scheduling mix-up, Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu quipped: ``I think the Dream Team fell asleep.´´ Still, she praised both Uelmen and Nolan, while saying she has no doubt her office will prove Baez violated the law. Her biggest worry, Sinunu said, is that jurors will be tempted to acquit Baez out of sympathy for the defendant and the social issues behind the case. While Uelmen agrees Baez and his clients have a sympathetic story, he contends the defense will show Baez acted lawfully under Proposition 215. The trial, on December 4th at 1:30pm could have some fireworks, if the defense is unsuccessful in getting the case thrown out of court next month. Uelmen said he may subpoena Mayor Susan Hammer, former Police Chief Lou Cobarruviaz and other city officials to testify about the city's policy toward cannabis clubs. Unusual approach In the Oakland case, meanwhile, the defense team has already tried a novel tactic. Citing a legal provision that lets narcotics officers handle drugs as part of their duties, the attorneys asked city officials to deputize marijuana club workers as ``officers of the city.´´ The city council supported the move, but federal Judge Charles Breyer said he wasn´t persuaded. Last month, Breyer ordered the Oakland club to shut down. Uelmen and his co-counsels are now drafting papers for the court of appeal. Though he acknowledged their arguments are untested and ``creative,´´ Uelmen said he hopes they will persuade the court to carve out some new guidelines that would allow medicinal marijuana centers to operate on at least a limited basis ``We´re certainly fighting an uphill battle,´´ he conceded. But that seems to be OK with him.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoke From The West - Five States Now Demand Medicinal Marijuana (The Sacramento Bee says the favorable votes for medical marijuana this month in Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Nevada make a "congressional confrontation" seem unavoidable.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 05:45:03 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: EDITORIAL: Smoke From The West: Five States Now Demand Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Copyright: 1998 The Sacramento Bee Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 SMOKE FROM THE WEST: FIVE STATES NOW DEMAND MEDICINAL MARIJUANA A congressional confrontation seems unavoidable between the long-standing federal law that finds no medicinal purpose for marijuana and five Western states that strongly disagree. Joining California's existing medicinal marijuana law, voters this month in Arizona voiced (again) their support of restricted use of medicinal marijuana. So did the voters of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. While the Clinton administration would prefer to ignore this trend, voter acceptance of medicinal marijuana is billowing. As a growing pile of court cases in California has made abundantly clear, state laws legalizing medicinal marijuana are no match against existing federal laws that provide no leeway for such use. Communities sympathetic to medicinal marijuana have tried seemingly every loophole possible, such as Oakland's attempt at designating operators of a cannabis club with the same "agent" status as narcotics officers who are allowed to handle marijuana. None of the fancy legal footwork has succeeded. That leaves Washington with no good choices. It can continue the awkward status quo under the rationale that marijuana's alleged medicinal benefits are unproven. The federal government is beginning to fund more studies. Until there is more solid data to substantiate claims that marijuana, for example, helps to relieve pain or enhance appetite, marijuana is not medicine. The status quo, however, becomes more unacceptable the more the public prefers a policy of providing access to marijuana to the seriously ill, particularly the dying, if these patients feel they receive some benefit. States already regulate the practice of medicine by licensing physicians and other health care providers. Why shouldn't states be allowed to regulate the use of medicinal marijuana as well? That is the question Washington now faces.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco-Tax Backers Claim Victory (The San Jose Mercury News says propoents of California's Proposition 10, which raises cigarette taxes 50 cents a pack beginning Jan. 1, declared victory Wednesday and began anticipating their spoils. At the same time, it was reported that tobacco firms had tentatively agreed to raise the price of a pack 35 cents nationally as part of a $200 billion deal to settle lawsuits against them, meaning the average $2.55 cost of a pack of cigarettes in California could soon hit $3.40.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 05:17:31 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Tobacco-Tax Backers Claim Victory Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center Author: Steve Johnson TOBACCO-TAX BACKERS CLAIM VICTORY Cigarettes could cost $3.40 a pack as result of Proposition 10, industry agreement Wednesday wasn't a good day for smokers like Mary Palacios of San Jose, but child advocates were cheering. Citing a commanding lead in a tally of absentee ballots, supporters of Proposition 10 -- which raises cigarette taxes 50 cents a pack beginning Jan. 1 -- declared victory while the tobacco-industry-backed opposition conceded defeat. At the same time, it was reported that tobacco firms had tentatively agreed to raise the price of a pack 35 cents nationally as part of a $200 billion deal to settle lawsuits against them. Altogether, the average $2.55 cost of a pack of cigarettes in California could soon hit $3.40. ``That's too much money to be paying for cigarettes,'' said the 73-year-old Palacios. ``I don't smoke that much, but my husband does. He's already sick about it.'' On the other hand, tobacco critics and child advocates hailed two big benefits. As the cost of cigarettes rise, studies indicate, smokers -- particularly the young -- tend to quit. Moreover, Proposition 10 is expected to raise up to $750 million a year statewide -- and nearly $38 million a year in Santa Clara County -- for a variety of programs aimed at youngsters under 6. ``When you have those kinds of funds you have an opportunity in this county to really take care of children,'' said Kay Walker, chief executive officer of Via Rehabilitation Services in Santa Clara, which helps kids and adults with disabilities. ``It's a tremendous opportunity.'' No one was happier than filmmaker and actor Rob Reiner, Proposition 10's chairman and chief proponent -- especially since he raised only about $7 million compared with the $29 million that tobacco interests contributed to defeat it. ``This is a great day for the children of California,'' he said in a prepared statement. ``California voters saw through Big Tobacco's smoke screen and voted to improve the future of California's children rather than protecting tobacco company profits.'' In conceding defeat, Matt Taggart, a spokesman for the Committee Against Unfair Taxes, No On Proposition 10, issued a statement characterizing the race as ``one of the closest statewide initiative campaign'' efforts ever. ``The voters have sent a clear message that they are weary of the cynical use of anti-tobacco rhetoric to advance their self-interest causes.'' Lead has grown The secretary of state's office has until Dec. 1 to officially certify the election result. As of Wednesday, about 530,000 absentee and provisional ballots had been counted with about 200,000 more to go. But with more than 7.6 million ballots cast, Proposition 10's slender lead has grown from about 13,000 on election night to about 57,000. The initiative sets up a statewide commission and up to 58 county commissions to determine which early childhood development programs should get the money. The statewide body -- dubbed the California Children and Families First Commission -- will divvy up 20 percent of the revenue, based on a formula that allocates specific amounts to such things as child care, children's health services and discouraging pregnant women from smoking. Its seven voting members will be chosen by the governor, the speaker of the Assembly and the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. How to spend the rest The proposition is less clear about how to spend the remaining 80 percent. That money will be parceled out by the county commissions, which will consist of at least five but not more than nine members appointed by county boards of supervisors. One commission member will be a supervisor, and the rest made up of such people as local school representatives, health officials and child-care experts. Mike Roos, Proposition 10's campaign director, said one of the first things likely to happen under the measure is that the state's Board of Equalization will begin to calculate how much each county should get. That will depend on the number of children born in each area, based on the most recent reporting period. Once that is determined, Roos expects money to begin flowing through the county commissions in late 1999 or early 2000. Some officials in Santa Clara County already have urged that a portion be spent on child care -- particularly for low-income residents. Walker's organization also would like to obtain some of the money to screen young children in existing subsidized child-care programs for language and other learning disabilities. That way, children with problems can be identified and given help at an early age, she said. Sparky Harlan, executive director of the Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara, which provides youth and family services, thinks her center's program to help pregnant teens also might qualify for some of the tobacco tax money. ``We have about 30 teens and their children in that program, so I think we probably might be looking at something for that population.'' And Andrew Weisser, an official with the American Lung Association of California, said he hopes counties will set up programs designed to educate people about the dangers of smoking and encourage those who already smoke to quit. Even without such programs, the association has estimated that Proposition 10's 50-cent-per-pack increase will result in a 25 percent drop in the number of young people in the state who smoke. Smokers' opinions Smokers questioned Wednesday about Proposition 10's effect on them offered conflicting opinions. ``It doesn't really bother me,'' said 25-year-old Kwame Fitts of San Jose. ``It's only 50 cents. . . . I don't know anybody who smokes cigarettes who will stop because of that.'' But Javier Vasquez, 40, of San Jose, seemed rattled by the news about Proposition 10's apparent victory. And he wasn't too happy about the other 35-cent price increase being discussed for the tobacco settlement. After mulling over what the price of a puff is going to cost in the future, he finally concluded in a voice full of resignation, ``I just better quit.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Officers Will Be Exonerated (A letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle about the six Houston prohibition agents who were let off by a grand jury after breaking into the home of Pedro Oregon Navarro without a warrant and killing the innocent man suggests nobody is safe because police know such episodes will be white-washed.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 17:33:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: PUB LTE: Officers Will Be Exonerated 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: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Author: Byron Cloud OFFICERS WILL BE EXONERATED In reply to Donna C. Pendergast's Nov. 6 Viewpoints letter, "Won't run from uniform": She must be out of touch with reality. We have rogue cops totally out of control; police shooting unarmed civilians and more than ever high-speed chases that end in shootings. If six people, claiming to be police but not in uniform, break down my door in the early morning hours while I am sleeping, I will have a gun in my hands. Just saying you are a policeman doesn't make you one. I believe any citizen with a gun will try to defend their family in their home when they feel threatened. Even if it is the police, how do we know they will not shoot first and then wait for their internal affairs department to investigate the incident, knowing that the whole episode will be white-washed? It makes no difference whether it is in Houston or Bellaire or somewhere else, the officers will be exonerated -- they can do no wrong. Byron Cloud, Houston
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Smokers Vs. Uncle Sam (The Hartford Advocate, in Connecticut, describes the class-action lawsuit filed by Philadelphia civil rights attorney Larry Hirsch seeking to end the US government's ban on medical marijuana.)Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 10:20:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CT: Pot Smokers Vs. Uncle Sam Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski and Matt Briscoe Source: Hartford Advocate (CT) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/ Copyright: 1998 New Mass. Media, Inc. Pubdate: 12-19 Nov 1998 Author: Ken Krayeske Note: The website for the class action suit is http://www.fairlaw.org/ Note: Inset box, large: "In addition to justice, the important compassion issue is involved. What are our values in terms of government interference into our personal lives?" -- Larry Hirsch POT SMOKERS VS. UNCLE SAM Philadelphia civil rights attorney Larry Hirsch scoured every state in the country for the right mix of medical marijuana patients to join a class action suit against the government of the United States of America. He found women and men, AIDS patients and hemophiliacs, Vietnam vets and hemp activists. A few miles down the road from Ledyard, in a wildlife refuge in Quaker Hill, Hirsch found Mark Braunstein, a 47-year-old paraplegic, college librarian and vegetarian. "I've sat on my duff long enough. I hereby stand up for my medical rights," Braunstein says as petitioner number 32 in the suit entitled The Action Class for Freedom from Government Prohibition of Therapeutic Cannabis. Braunstein is one of 181 medical pot users named as plaintiffs. The 123-page suit alleges that the federal government exceeds its authority in prohibiting marijuana for medicinal use for ailments ranging from muscle spasms and glaucoma to AIDS wasting syndrome and arthritis. Such laws, the suit claims, violate the First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and 10th amendments. "We seek a judgment against the government that the laws are unconstitutional as they apply to cannabis," Hirsch says. "In addition to justice, the important compassion issue is involved. What are our values in terms of government interference into our personal lives?" Braunstein is one of the few petitioners to avoid arrest for using medicinal cannabis. He attributes his freedom to the 1970 Connecticut law legalizing medical marijuana for glaucoma and nausea from chemotherapy. The law sits on the books untested, Braunstein says, because no doctor or pharmacist wants to take the risk. Under federal law, doctors face sanctions for even discussing marijuana with patients, a situation being redressed in state-by-state referendums. So far Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Alaska and California residents have voted to allow the medicinal use of marijuana, although the federal government is fighting many of those decisions. Medicinal marijuana never crossed Braunstein's mind until his 39th birthday, when he dove into shallow water and suffered spinal cord injuries that paralyzed him from the waist down. A strict vegetarian, Braunstein also eschews alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, white flour, white sugar, white salt, vitamin pills, and recreational or pharmaceutical powders. Pot for medicinal uses, however, is another matter. Knowing that prescription drugs may have side effects and generate industrial pollution, Braunstein decided, after much research, that organic marijuana was the best medicine for the pain and muscle spasms he regularly endures. "Cannabis relaxes spinal cord injury spasms more effectively than tranquilizers, and relieves spinal cord injury pains more safely than do narcotics," he says in the suit. "It is the one medication that treats both the spasms and the pains." The course of the suit, filed on July 3, 1998, in United States District Court in Philadelphia, has Braunstein optimistic. "It seems promising rather than the typical waste of time," he says. Drawing somewhat sympathetic Judge Marvin Katz was a good first step, according to Hirsch. "We happened to get one who isn't a politician," he says. Katz set aside the Justice Department's September motion to dismiss the suit, giving Hirsch until Nov. 26 to amend the claim. In the meantime, on Oct. 21, Katz proposed a settlement for the government to provide medical-grade marijuana to plaintiffs the same way it does now to eight people in accordance with the federal 1978 compassionate use policy. Katz also suggested that the plaintiffs submit to research studies, a notion that Hirsch says his class would accept. Attorneys from the Department of Justice are reviewing the idea, according to spokesman Gregory King, who ways the government will respond by the end of the year. He cannot comment on preliminary leanings, although he says the two lawyers working on the case consult regularly with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He is unaware of any talks between the Justice Department and the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy. Calculating the costs associated with defending the suit are impossible, King says. So, too, is his ability to speculate on the repercussions of any settlement. But Hirsch, an experienced class action litigator, likes dreaming about the implications of a win. "The government could provide that it is legal for people to cultivate themselves to use for their own health purposes, whatever they may be," he says. "Or if they decided they had some legitimate right to regulate cannabis, then they would have to start the legislative process to see what the rationality of those laws would be."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Get Your Hands Off Those Ballots (Washington Post columnist Steve Twomey again blasts Congress for prohibiting the release of results for Initiative 59, the District of Columbia medical marijuana ballot measure. "A city that sought to settle an issue by the most democratic means possible, a vote of its people, has been thwarted by 535 men and women who surely view themselves as the very symbol of liberty." Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr., the Georgia Republican who proposed the amendment that aborted Initiative 59, didn't return a phone call seeking clarification of how Congress might square the murder of an election with America's image as the model of modern democracy. But why should Barr call back? He doesn't have to explain himself to city residents. They're not his constituents.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:10:58 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (email@example.com) Subject: US DC WP MMJ STEVE TWOMEY: Get Your Hands off Those Ballots Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Washington Post Contact:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: November 12, 1998 GET YOUR HANDS OFF THOSE BALLOTS By Steve Twomey Thursday, November 12, 1998; Page D01 Good morning, and welcome to Democracy Held Hostage, Day 9. My fellow Americans, who'd have thunk that the results of a free and fair vote held nine days ago right here in the United States of America, the land of the free, would be unknown to this day -- would be impounded, in fact -- because Congress canceled the ballot initiative in question? Flat out told the national capital to kiss its sweet electoral dreams goodbye? As they say, if you live long enough, you see everything. "Every single moment this vote is not counted is an injury to you, to me, to everyone in this room," John M. Ferren, the District's corporation counsel, told a federal judge on Monday, trying to coax him into ruling that Congress had committed democracide and to let the city's results go. Free the District 137,523! That was the number of city citizens who went to the polls, foolishly assuming they, too, were Americans who could decide for themselves -- as Alaskans, Arizonans, Nevadans and state of Washingtonians did last week -- whether doctors ought to be able to recommend the use of marijuana to ease the pain of serious illness, the issue posed by Initiative 59. By now, we've long since heard answers from Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Washington state (yes, everywhere), but only silence leaks from the District. "Nobody heard us," Ferren told the judge, adding in reference to the four states, "We'd like to be in their company." It just doesn't get any better than this. In the long and sorry history of Congress slashing the rights of District residents -- because it can, not because it's right -- this is the encapsulating moment. A city that sought to settle an issue by the most democratic means possible, a vote of its people, has been thwarted by 535 men and women who surely view themselves as the very symbol of liberty. And do you hear any screams from beyond the city's confines? If some junta in some banana republic canceled an election, you can bet that the networks, the newsweeklies and the big and famous newspapers would be all over that puppy, reporting the shocking insult to basic human rights. But Alice P. Miller, the executive director of the Board of Elections and Ethics, says no out-of-town media heavies have queried her about how 137,523 citizens of this country have had their votes snuffed. That denial is "an offense to us as human beings," Ferren told the judge. It started with U.S. Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr., a Georgia Republican perhaps better known for craving the impeachment of President Lewinsky. Barr proposed an amendment to stop the District from using money to conduct the marijuana portion of the Nov. 3 election. Even though Miller says that the cost of printing, advertising and tabulating Initiative 59 would be less than $500, the amendment passed. Barr didn't return a phone call seeking clarification of how Congress might square the murder of an election with America's image as the very model of the modern major democracy. But why should Barr call back? He doesn't have to explain himself to city residents. They're not his constituents. They're nobody's, at least nobody with formal power on the Hill. Unfortunately for him, and Congress, final passage of the amendment didn't come until after the city's ballots were printed, Miller says, so it was too late to keep citizens from encountering Initiative 59 in the voting booth and deciding it up or down. But it wasn't too late to stop the release of the results. Miller & Co. told the election board computer to skip Initiative 59 as it disgorged results on Election Night for mayor, council and the other races Congress somehow forgot to cancel as well. The board felt that not releasing the results was a neutral act, and it's supposed to be neutral. Besides, producing a tally could be construed as breaking the law, even though that would require spending, oh, a dime's worth of paper. Congress might get mad and do something terrible to the District. Something additional, I mean. So no human knows the outcome of the vote, Miller said. Only the computer does. It sits in a locked, darkened, glass-walled cubicle at the election board at One Judiciary Square. It isn't talking. Here's the best part: Congress didn't need the Barr Amendment. Any initiative passed by District residents must be reviewed by Congress anyway. Maybe Congress felt that to exercise that power and overturn certified election results would look ugly. But if there was no election at all, no cold, clear numbers reflecting the wishes of real humans, it would look better. It doesn't. Ferren and the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court Monday that Congress has violated the First Amendment by denying District residents the right to speak freely. That is what an election is: collective speech, the sum of a community's thoughts about issues and candidates. In the District's case, Congress can reject that speech after the fact by overturning a law or an initiative -- an outrage, but legal -- but it shouldn't be able to prevent the speech from taking place, which is what it did. Well, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts wasn't bummed. He refused to order the results released. He boldly scheduled a hearing. It'll be Dec. 18. That'll be Democracy Held Hostage, Day 45. To reach me on the Internet: email@example.com (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Home Rule And Initiative 59 (A letter to the editor of The Washington Post says the District of Columbia Election Board is mistaken that the congressional rider in the fiscal 1999 DC budget prevents funding to count ballots for the medical marijuana initiative. The appearance of Initiative 59 on the ballot is purely an election matter having nothing to do with implementing the law. It is strictly a matter of voter rights at this point.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:26:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US DC: MMJ: PUB LTE: Home Rule And Initiative 59 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Colo. Hemp Init. Project) Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 Source: Washington Post (DC) Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Washington Post Company Author: Steven Kennedy HOME RULE AND INITIATIVE 59 The Election Board is mistaken that the congressional rider in the fiscal 1999 D.C. budget banning funding for the medical marijuana initiative prevents counting ballot results. The appearance of Initiative 59 on the ballot is purely an election matter having nothing to do with implementing the law. It is strictly a matter of voter rights at this point. If applied this way, the rider is unconstitutional because it denies voters' rights. If Congress legally can thwart Initiative 59 at the ballot box, it effectively can deny all democratic processes to the District by forbidding funds to be used for any elections at all. The votes for Initiative 59 should be counted, and this witch hunt against those who use marijuana medicinally must end immediately. STEVEN KENNEDY Alameda, Calif.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Focus Alert No. 88 - the NORML Conference on C-Span II (DrugSense alerts you to a broadcast likely to be repeated later in the day, and gives you what you need to send a "thank you" to the network for featuring the reform event.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 07:03:39 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: DrugSense FOCUS Alert The NORML Conference on C-Span II Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE DrugSense FOCUS Alert #88 11/12/98 The NORML Conference on C-Span II *** To my surprise and delight the NORML conference is being carried live on C-Span II. It is likely to repeat later today. It's too bad we weren't aware of this national coverage ahead of time as we could have capitalized on it more effectively. I was particularly pleased about this as I took C-Span to task 2 weeks ago in a letter to C-Span for covering the DEA birthday party which was filled with propaganda and nonsense while ignoring reform issues. I don't know if my efforts, NORML's, our extensive media efforts over the last couple of years, last weeks election or a combination of all were responsible for this important coverage but suffice it to say that no past such conference (including DPF's) ever got such national coverage that I know of. We just keep on getting better! Please watch and be sure to send a letter of encouragement to C-Span Contact info below. *** PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID ( Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post your letters or report your action to the MAPTalk list if you are subscribed, or return a copy to this address by simply hitting REPLY to this FOCUS Alert and pasting your letter in or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org *** C.P.A. 400 North Capitol St. NW Suite 650 Washington DC 20001 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org FAX 202 7376226 Show suggestions Fax info to Doug Johnson 202 737-3220 TALK TO SOMEONE *** From: Ty Trippet (TTrippet@sorosny.org) To: TLC_ACTIVIST (TLCACT@sorosny.org) Subject: NORML Conference live on C-SPAN2 Now... Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 11:22:45 -0500 Sender: email@example.com The NORML conference in Washington, DC is being broadcast live until 12:15PM Eastern Time. It included speeches by Keith Stroup of NORML and Ethan Nadelmann of The Lindesmith Center. Currently, the State Initiatives and Referenda on Marijuana panel is airing. It features Bill Zimmerman and Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights, Wayne Turner of ACT-UP DC and sponsor of Initiative 59, the medical marijuana initiative in DC. Dail Gieringer of California NORML is moderating this panel. This broadcast will likely repeat tonight or over the weekend. Check http://www.c-span.org to check exact listings. Ty Trippet Director of Communications The Lindesmith Center 400 West 59th Street New York,NY 10019 212-548-0604-phone 212-548-4670-fax mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.lindesmith.org *** Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:34:41 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: NORML Conference Replays at 5PM ET on Cspan II Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com The NORML conference in DC will Repeat this afternoon on C-Span II at 5:00 PM Eastern time. Don't miss it. Ethan is _excellent_ as are many of the speakers. In case you miss it, Rolf Ernst will likely have it on the web via RealVideo at http://www.legalize-usa Look under Multimedia likely in the last index in the list. Should be up by this weekend. Mark Greer Executive Director DrugSense MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.drugsense.org http://www.mapinc.org *** Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 06:39:31 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: Done - Rest of the NORML CSPAN coverage online Go to: http://www.legalize-usa.org/TOCs/video.htm Richard Lake
------------------------------------------------------------------- $200 Billion Tobacco Settlement Expected (The San Jose Mercury News says sources close to the negotiations between a group of attorneys general from eight states, including California, and four companies said the deal would call for the companies to pay about $200 billion over 25 years, including a large upfront payment, in part to cover costs associated with Medicaid treatment of sick smokers. In related news, tobacco companies won a key legal battle Tuesday as a federal appeals court refused to reconsider a decision barring the US Food and Drug Administration from regulating cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:25:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: $200 Billion Tobacco Settlement Expected Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: 12 Nov 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center $200 BILLION TOBACCO SETTLEMENT EXPECTED NEW YORK -- Tobacco stocks were mixed Wednesday after reports that the industry is nearing a $200 billion settlement in the class-action suits brought by dozens of states and Puerto Rico. Industry analysts said the mixed reaction came because there were few surprises in details reported about the pending settlement. Tobacco stocks have risen in recent days in cautious anticipation of a settlement announcement, they said. Sources close to the negotiations between a group of attorneys general from eight states, including California, and four companies said the deal would call for the companies to pay about $200 billion over 25 years, including a large upfront payment, in part to cover costs associated with Medicaid treatment of sick smokers. The deal -- now being circulated among other states considering joining the settlement -- also includes restrictions on advertising and marketing. The deal could be announced as early as Friday. Participating states are said to have been given until Nov. 20 to sign on or walk away. RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. owns R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the No. 2 tobacco company and maker of the Camel, Winston and Salem brands; Loews Corp. owns Lorillard Inc., which makes Newport and True; and British American Tobacco's Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. makes Lucky Strikes and Kools. Last year, states negotiated a $368.5 billion settlement with cigarette companies that also resolved class-action suits and limited recovery of damages in individual suits. But the deal fell apart when Congress refused to back it amid widespread criticism from health groups and some politicians who called it too lenient on the industry. That proposal had ballooned to more than $500 billion and included financing a host of programs not directly related to smoking. The new agreement would not be subject to approval by the Congress. Further weakening government's hand, tobacco companies won a key legal battle as a federal appeals court late Tuesday refused to reconsider a decision barring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from regulating cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The full Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 6-3 not to review a three-judge panel's ruling that struck down the FDA's power in August. The decision leaves only the possibility of U.S. Supreme Court intervention in the path of major legal victory for American cigarette makers, who fear FDA authority over tobacco could eventually allow regulators to dictate how cigarettes are made. The Justice Department said it would ask America's highest court to consider the case.
------------------------------------------------------------------- States Strike $200 Billion Tobacco Deal (The Arizona Republic version) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:21:17 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AZ: States Strike $200 Billion Tobacco Deal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Arizona Republic (AZ) Contact: Opinions@pni.com Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/ Copyright: 1998, The Arizona Republic. STATES STRIKE $200 BILLION TOBACCO DEAL WASHINGTON -- Negotiators for states with lawsuits still pending against Big Tobacco have struck a $200 billion, 30-state settlement and say it as the best deal they can get after the collapse of a national agreement earlier this year. Arizona would receive a minimum of $2.67 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement, with no restrictions on the money's use. The settlement agreement also would sharply restrict cigarette advertising, help curtail youth smoking, and fund research and countermarketing. The agreement is expected to be announced Monday. The package, a draft version of which was obtained by ``The Arizona Republic,'' is a diminished version of the $368 billion national deal hammered out by state attorneys general in June 1997. Gone are nicotine regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, whistleblower protections, industry funding of classes to quit smoking and severe penalties for failures to reduce youth smoking. Yet, it's a good deal, and one that Arizona will sign, said Attorney General Grant Woods, one of the lead negotiators of the failed national settlement and a key figure in the recent talks. ``When we weigh our two options now -- settlement or go to trial -it's clear this is the way Arizona should go,'' Woods said. ``We're getting a lot of things we could never get in a lawsuit.'' A jury could award only money, and probably a lot less than the roughly $100 million per year the state will receive for the near future under the agreement, Woods said. The advertising and marketing restrictions, youth-smoking research, lobbying curbs, document repository and other details of the settlement could not be won in a trial and would be difficult to achieve in any settlement arrived at by Arizona on its own, he said. Arizona's lawsuit is set for trial in March. It's still not a done deal. Tobacco companies want a ``critical mass'' of states to agree to the proposal, particularly the population-heavy states of California and New York, before they'll sign it. The states are reviewing the proposal over the weekend. Woods said there is ``widespread consensus'' among the states in support of the agreement. The tobacco companies were more circumspect. ``We are declining to comment on any speculation or reports of any settlement agreement,'' said Jan Smith, spokeswoman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in North Carolina. The Clinton White House was pleased with the progress, saying Thursday that from what it knows of the agreement, it's ``a real step in the right direction.'' A spokesman said the administration will ``continue to push Congress to enact comprehensive legislation to substantially reduce youth smoking.'' According to the draft agreement, other provisions would: Create a national foundation to reduce teen smoking funded by $25 million per year for 10 years. Create a national public education fund with $1.45 billion over the next five years, largely to pay for counter-marketing targeting youth smokers. Limit tobacco companies to one brand-name (such as Marlboro or Winston) event sponsorship per year. Ban ads in stadiums and arenas, outdoor ads larger than a poster, and cartoon figures. Human figures would be permitted. Ban distribution and sale of gear -- hats, shirts, etc. -- imprinted with brand logos after July 1, 1999. Disband the Council for Tobacco Research, the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Indoor Air Research, but preserve their records. Create a user-friendly World Wide Web site stocked with the industry's smoking and health-related documents. In Arizona, John Rivers, head of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, said health advocates likely will accept the agreement. ``Most of us were chagrined that some zealots in public health community weren't satisfied and, because of that overzealousness, we have an agreement that's not as good as the one we had last June,'' he said. Matt Madonna of the Arizona office of the American Cancer Society said that he applauds the settlement, but that it's only a beginning. He said he will monitor the Legislature to try to ensure the money goes for public health, and he'll comb through the agreement out eement began to unravel. By the time legislators were done piling on under pressure from health care advocates on one side and tobacco farmers on the other, the lead tobacco bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had grown to $516 billion. The industry balked at the onerous provisions and the bankrupting cost, and that proposal died in June of this year. ``We did our best to do everything we could think of regarding tobacco, and the Congress and the president were unable to get the job done,'' Woods said. He said he and other attorneys general will try to get McCain and other lawmakers to pass legislation to ``fill in the gaps'' between the new deal and the old one. McCain was in Asia and could not be reached, according to a spokeswoman. Since the June proposal died, the legal climate has changed. Big Tobacco has settled with four states for nearly $40 million total: Mississippi, the first state to sue to recover costs from treating sick smokers, Florida, Texas and Minnesota. The tobacco companies drew the line with Washington state, which was in poor position to win good terms because of unfavorable pretrial decisions, and refused to settle. Settlement talks resumed however, when Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire joined other state attorneys general in a renewed effort to get an agreement.
------------------------------------------------------------------- JAMA theme issue on alternative medicine (A list subscriber posts the URL for this week's special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, noting all of the articles are relevant to cannabis.)Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 20:30:32 -0800 (PST) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Hadorn) Subject: JAMA theme issue on alternative medicine Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org This week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is devoted to the phenomenon of "alternative medicine". It's very good and includes an interesting case report of valerian withdrawal, an excellent essay on alternative medicine and science, and many other interesting items. All are relevant to cannabis in one way or another, but sadly no mention is made of this fact. http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/journals/most/recent/issues/jama/toc.htm
------------------------------------------------------------------- Researchers take a serious look at herbal therapies (The Oregonian version) The Oregonian letters to editor: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Researchers take a serious look at herbal therapies * A new study on echinacea exemplifies growing interest in understanding the effectiveness of alternative therapies Thursday, November 12, 1998 By Erin Hoover Barnett of The Oregonian staff Before you buy that bottle of echinacea to fend off a cold this winter, consider a new study on the top-selling herbal supplement published today in the Archives of Family Medicine. The study showed that extracts from two popular species of this flowering plant were no better at preventing the common cold than a dummy pill, or placebo. The study is part of a growing trend toward determining the effectiveness of alternative medicine through scientific research. And it illustrates how much further that research has to go. This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association and its sister publications, including the Archives of Family Medicine, are publishing research on alternative medicine. Their effort acknowledges the need for reliable information in this vast health care arena in which four of 10 Americans now dabble. "There is no 'alternative' medicine. Treatments either work, or they don't," Dr. George Lundberg, editor of JAMA, said this week in a statement already being quoted by doctors in Oregon and elsewhere as an emerging attitude toward the therapies. Echinacea is one of those bellwether alternative therapies that has gained vast popularity with the public. Nearly one in five Americans (17 percent) use herbal therapies, according to a national study published this year. And echinacea, or coneflower, a native North American plant, has been a top-selling supplement in health food stores for several years. Research in Germany -- home of most substantive research on echinacea -- suggests that echinacea increases the number of white blood cells and buoys the body's ability to gobble up invading organisms. But scientists are unsure which of the eight species of echinacea might be most effective, what part of the plant should be used and how high a dosage is needed. Echinacea, found in stores' health food sections, comes in pill or tincture form and contains one, two or more species, often using the root. Or it may be mixed with other ingredients such as zinc. It even comes as Super Echinacea, an Herb Pharm supplement out of Williams, Ore., that throws together echinacea root, flowers, leaves and seeds. The Archives of Family Medicine study is an attempt to begin sorting out what works and what doesn't. A team of medical doctors in Germany conducted the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study with 289 healthy participants. The study used two species of echinacea -- Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea. One group of participants took the angustifolia, one group took the purpurea, and a third group took a placebo. The study found that: * The average time it took participants to get an upper-respiratory infection was similar among the three groups: 66 days for the first group, 69 days for the second and 65 days for the placebo group. * There were no significant differences among the groups in the number, severity or duration of upper-respiratory tract infections. * A higher percentage of participants -- but not significantly higher -- got infections in the placebo group. In the placebo group, 36.7 percent got sick, compared with 32 percent in the angustifolia group and 29.3 percent in the purpurea group. The study's authors emphasized the need to do more research on echinacea. Indeed, more studies are under way. Researchers at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland and Oregon Health Sciences University will finish a two-year study in 1999 of echinacea's ability to prevent colds in about 300 student participants. Their study combines the two species of echinacea -- angustifolia and purpurea -- a preparation often sold in health food stores. The study measures that combination against a second mixture of several different herbs and a placebo. "We have very little information on which to base any sort of strategy," said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, an associate professor of family medicine at OHSU and a co-investigator on the study. "We don't know what dose, what preparation, for how long, whether there might be some populations of individuals who benefit from this and others who don't." Goldberg cautioned against putting too much weight on today's study out of Germany. He said the key will be having multiple, well-designed studies from which to draw conclusions. More studies on alternative medicine appear to be on the horizon in the United States. The omnibus spending bill that Congress approved last month gave the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine a big shot in the arm -- increasing its annual budget from $20 million to $50 million. The office has delivered little completed research on alternative therapies in its six years of existence. That is expected to change with the bigger budget and a redesignation as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Tom Hoggard, a Portland family practice physician and president of the Oregon Medical Association, supports the trend toward additional research. "All medical doctors want to do what's right, and we want to prescribe things that work, and we want to say if something doesn't work," Hoggard said. He estimated that about a quarter of the patients at his practice use alternative therapies in conjunction with standard medicine. Hoggard has looked into research on echinacea and St. John's Wort and tells his patients that more research is needed. But he feels comfortable recommending both of these herbal supplements for appropriate patients.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana for Christmas? (List subscriber Dave Ford publicizes a special deal on his widely praised book, "Marijuana - Not Guilty As Charged.") From: "Dave Ford" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: MARIJUANA FOR CHRISTMAS??! Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 16:27:08 -0800 Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com SPECIAL CHRISTMAS OFFER! My hardback book, MARIJUANA: NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED, is doing extremely well. It's received numerous positive reviews and endorsements. The most recent from a German magazine. (The blistering foreword against the federal government is written by Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D., is magnificent! Tod is recognized as one of the world's foremost medical mj authorities. He calls the book "brilliant") Author William Chapin, whose book WASTED, was nominated for a Pulitzer prize, wrote: When I wrote WASTED (McGraw-Hill), the story of my son's drug addiction, I thought marijuana was a stepping-stone to heavier drugs. I'm now convinced that pot had nothing to do with it. MARIJUANA: NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED is a valuable and honest book---a "must read" for anyone who wants to know the truth. David Ford also presents ample evidence that marijuana IS medicine. It's a compelling book, and it often reads like a spicy novel. - William Chapin, Author Great Christmas present for you, and friends! The book sells nationally for $24.95, plus tax (CA) = $26.82. With shipping, about $29.95. If you write directly to the publisher, your cost INCLUDING SHIPPING, is ONLY $20. TOTAL. Either check or money order is OK. Send to: Good Press, PO Box 1771 Sonoma, CA 95476 Happy holidays, Dave Ford
------------------------------------------------------------------- Reviews of "The Fix," by Michael Massing (A list subscriber posts several critiques gleaned from amazon.com, the online bookseller. "The Fix" makes a case for the return of the community-based drug treatment clinic model that was a cornerstone of US drug policy under President Nixon.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 16:07:25 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Gerald Sutliff (email@example.com) Subject: Reviews of The Fix by Michael Massing Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Dear Talkers, These reviews of "The Fix" by Michael Massing were harvested from Amazon.com: "When, back in 1988, the New York Review of Books sent me to Columbia to write about the Latin American cocaine trade," notes Michael Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and 1992 recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, "I had little notion that the issue of drugs would engross me for so many years." The "War on Drugs," arguably, has been the United States' most futile and expensive social campaign. In 1998, the federal drug budget was more than $17 billion--over ten times its 1981 allocation--and yet the corresponding population of drug offenders in the nation's state and federal prisons has increased tenfold within that same period. What to do? The Fix makes a case for the return of the community-based drug treatment clinic model that was a cornerstone of U.S. drug policy under Richard Nixon. While Nixon's personal distaste for illegal drugs may have been most evident in his decision to ignore evidence indicating that marijuana use did not lead irreparably to harder drugs, his pragmatism helped him recognize that the problem of narcotics was far more cost-effectively approached as a health issue rather than one strictly of law enforcement. In a narrative that alternates between descriptions of a drug-ridden neighborhood in Harlem and policy makers in the nation's capital, Massing compellingly argues that the most effective battle against addiction is the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive national treatment system. --Patrizia DiLucchio *** The New York Times Book Review, David F. Musto . . . a balanced and significant analysis of the American drug problem that carries specific, practical recommendations for reform. *** Commentary, Daniel Casse The Fix does an admirable job of illustrating the unglamorous and destructive nature of drug abuse; its portraits of abject addicts and unspeakably cruel dealers are vividly drawn and deeply disturbing. Yet as a history of U.S. drug policy the book is seriously flawed, and as a set of policy prescriptions even more so. One set of difficulties arises with Massing's policy recommendations. His favored program corresponds in every respect to the conventional wisdom of the "treatment community" - the loose collection of physicians, psychotherapists, and miscellaneous Ph.D.'s who believe that drug addiction should be handled on a voluntary basis by public-health authorities rather than coercively by the criminal-justice system. But the remedies offered by the treatment community are only partial at best. *** From Booklist , October 1, 1998 "It would be hard to think of an area of U.S. social policy that has failed more completely than the war on drugs," declares Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and 1992 MacArthur fellow. Yet this is not another legalization argument; instead, it urges that the Nixon administration's emphasis on drug treatment worked and that government attention and funding should be shifted from the supply side to the demand side of the nation's drug problem. Massing spent time with addicts and counselors in Spanish Harlem and researched 30 years of federal drug policy, which shifted from treatment to interdiction in the Reagan years. Many of the core concepts Massing proposes - from blends of approaches, including, for heroin addiction, both methadone maintenance and therapeutic communities, to recognition that programs should be focused on hard-core, not casual, users - are sure to be controversial. But The Fix is a thoughtful, well-reasoned analysis of a social problem that the war on drugs does not adequately address. Mary Carroll Copyright (c) 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved *** From Kirkus Reviews , September 1, 1998 This is a persuasive and well-supported argument that readily available treatment is the way to combat the massive problem of drug abuse in the US. Massing knows of what he speaks. As a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books (he was also a 1992 MacArthur fellow), Massing has been reporting on US drug policy for ten years. He finds, as do most others studying the topic, that we are losing the war on drugs. Despite spending billions of dollars every year, drug production, distribution, sales, and use continue to flourish. Our current policy, focused on interdiction and punitive measures, has not worked; yet neither, for the author, will legalization nor harm-reduction or maintenance (how does one maintain a crack addiction?). What will work, because it has worked in the past, is a nationwide network of clinics providing treatment for all who want it. Surprisingly perhaps, this is precisely the drug policy we had under the Nixon administration, but under the Reagan administration, for ideological and budgetary reasons, a treatment approach was largely abandoned. It's the detail Massing provides that makes this such an effective work. He travels from the street world of the addict in New York's Spanish Harlem and treatment programs that work there, in particular one called Hot Line Cares, to the insulated and distant world of Washington drug policymakers. He discusses the personalities and processes that brought the Nixon policy into being and those that led to its dismantling. Massing finds that drug policies formulated in Washington have little to do with the reality of drug use in the street; his book is an attempt to bring the two worlds together. The passion and care of the writing make this an important contribution to the debate on what our drug policy should be and how it should be formulated. -- Copyright (c)1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. Book Description In America's twenty-five-year war against drugs, only one national policy achieved some success. That was the Nixon Administration's program for treating heroin addicts, which was dismantled by the Reagan Administration. In The Fix, Michael Massing exposes the political and ideological narrow-mindedness that have made national drug policy a failure, and demonstrates convincingly why we should reinstate the policy that worked. Drawing on scores of interviews with federal officials charged with directing the drug war and on years of on-the-street reporting, Massing offers a fresh new way of looking at the drug problem. The heart of that problem lies not with recreational users of marijuana, as many politicians and journalists maintain, but with hard-core users of heroin, crack, and cocaine. Numbering about three million, these addicts are concentrated in the nation's inner cities and account for most of the demand for drugs and most of the crime associated with their use. Given the number of addicts and the tenacity of their habit, putting them in jail is not an affordable or effective longterm solution. And, given the tendency of addicts to engage in destructive behavior, legalization would simply encourage more of it. A far more effective policy, Massing argues, would be to recognize that drug use is a public health problem, and to use the government's resources to create a national network of clinics offering addicts treatment on demand. Massing shows that drug treatment works by describing the success that street workers have had in reaching out to addicts in Spanish Harlem and placing them in the few treatment programs now available. Further evidence that treatment can reduce the demand for drugs comes from the Nixon years. Confronted with a raging heroin epidemic in the early 1970s, President Nixon responded by allocating hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a nationwide network of methadone clinics and other drugtreatment facilities. The program was a striking success, and, if revived today, it could go a long way toward reducing the rate of drug-related crime in the United States. Among Massing's findings: Even as Nancy Reagan was traveling around the country urging people to "just say no" to drugs, her husband was sharply cutting the federal drug-treatment budget. When the crack epidemic hit in the mid-1980s, those treatment facilities that remained were completely overwhelmed, and many addicts who wanted help were forced back onto the street. The Reagan Administration's policies made the crack epidemic far worse than it need have been. The greatest influence on drug policy in the last twenty years has been the "parent movement," a little-known network of strong-willed mothers and fathers that sprang up in suburbs across the country in the late 1970s. Panicked over their kids' use of marijuana, these parents pioneered such concepts as zero tolerance and a drug-free America, while at the same time stymieing all efforts to help innercity addicts. The only federal official in recent years to make a genuine bid to revive the Nixon model and treat addicts in a humane fashion was Lee Brown, the former New York City police chief who became President Clinton's first drug czar. But Clinton, despite promises to support Brown, eventually abandoned him out of fear that he would look soft on crime. Clinton's drug policy is no less hawkish than that of his Republican predecessors, and every bit as ineffective. Instead of relying on foreign governments to hunt down drug lords, or on building more prisons to warehouse addicts -- approaches that are expensive, wasteful, and ineffective -- we should restore our once and only successful program of treatment for hard-core addicts. It's our only hope for winning the war against drugs. The publisher, Simon & Schuster , October 21, 1998: *** The Sun (Baltimore), Oct. 11, 1998: Performs a highly valuable service recounting how the Nixon administration . . . put together the best drug policy of any postwar administration. *** The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 1998 Well-written and lively.... In contrast to many recent books and articles raging against the drug war, THE FIX is balanced.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Book Review - "Ending the War on Drugs - A Solution for America," by Dirk Chase Eldredge (A list subscriber posts a couple of articles, from Booklist and Kirkus Reviews, about a conservative Republican's proposal for carefully controlled "legalization.") Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 16:23:58 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Gerald Sutliff (email@example.com) Subject: Book Review: Ending the War on Drugs : A Solution for America by Dirk Chase Eldredge Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Dear Talkers, Here is several book reviews of "Ending the War on Drugs : A Solution for America" by Dirk Chase Eldredge (who is a Ronald Reagan, Republican, yee Gods!!) (;~)] vty, jerry sutliff *** From Booklist , September 15, 1998: To turn the perceived problem of the unquenchable thirst for illicit substances into a vehicle of societal uplift, Eldredge proposes legalization and distribution of drugs by the states. This strategy would remove the profit motive for malefactors while raising money for government drug education and rehabilitation programs. Although Eldredge wants states to control drug distribution and profits, he also wants to avoid "balkanization" of the drug problem, whereby states that decriminalize drugs attract drug users from elsewhere. Considering a drug-legalizing constitutional amendment a hard sell, Eldredge proposes that Congress pass legislation allowing states to legalize drugs; when "35 states [assure] that they will adopt legalization, the policy change can be implemented by all." Sounds like a quick and simple way to achieve a monumental sociopolitical change--and like a constitutional amendment procedure. Remember the ERA? Implausibilities aside, Eldredge marshals facts and much creative argumentation in making his case. Mike Tribby Copyright(c) 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved *** From Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1998: A slim but helpful volume examining the inadequacy of current US drug policies and how these policies might be changed. In the view of the author, an entrepreneur, onetime Reagan campaign chairman, and son of an alcoholic, prohibition as the foundation of our approach to controlling drug use has failed. ``The need,'' he maintains, ``is for education, not incarceration, treatment, not torment.'' Drugs should be legal and state-controlled, with the profits from sales going to education programs on the harm drugs may do, treatment for addicts desiring it, and research into the causes of addiction. There is nothing particularly new here; amid a growing literature calling for an end to drug prohibition, many of Eldredge's themes are often better, more deeply covered elsewhere. Still, two things are notable. The first, as he emphatically declares, is the fact that Eldredge is a ``white, conservative Republican who has passed the Medicare milestone.'' No liberal or aging hippie is he, indicating perhaps how widespread is the discontent with current US drug policies. The second item of note is the author's excellent analysis of what these current policies have done or may do to civil liberties. In the name of ``zero tolerance,'' Congress proposed a law to create an arctic gulag for convicted drug offenders (fortunately, never passed). Warrantless searches and the unconstitutionalto the authorseizure of property take the place of due process. The random and capricious use of drug testing, though of course not always unreasonable, further threatens our individual liberties. The author concludes with the simple points that people have always wanted mind-altering substances and always will, and that this demand will always be met, either legally or illegally. Given these truths, the prohibition approach to drug control is not worth the cost to our civil liberties. A good summary of and introduction to a libertarian perspective on drugs, freedom, and the role of the state. -- Copyright (c)1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. Synopsis: A conservative Republican examines how and why America is losing the war against illegal drugs--and presents a case for carefully controlled legalization. The implications for crime and public health, overburdened courts and prisons, official corruption, civil rights, and other elements of society are thoughtfully and provocatively analyzed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Book Review - "Romancing Mary Jane" (FFWD Weekly, in Calgary, Alberta, says "Romancing Mary Jane - A Year in the Life of a Failed Marijuana Grower," by Michael Poole, recounts the author's immersion in the cannabis culture of British Columbia and paints a markedly different picture than that of your local police force.) Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 23:33:54 -0700 Subject: FFWD Bk Reveiw: Romancing Mary Jane From: "Debra Harper" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: mattalk (email@example.com) Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: FFWD Weekly (Calgary, Alberta) Date: Nov 12, 1998: Vol. 3 #46 BOOKS by Mark Sproxton There are two trains of thought on marijuana in Canada, although one could be hard-pressed to find examples of balanced representation on the issue. The loudest voice is the typical police/political line that marijuana is the root of all things evil and must be kept out of public hands at all costs. The other, and seldom told, side of the story defies that malicious, criminal, seedy underworld stereotype. In Romancing Mary Jane: A Year in the Life of a Failed Marijuana Grower, Michael Poole immerses himself in the cannabis culture of British Columbia and paints a markedly different picture than that of your local police force. Never taking the promoter's role in the marijuana debate, Poole argues persuasively that marijuana use, growth and production is a civil liberties issue worthy of much debate, not an issue to automatically default to the dictums of those in power. "I wanted this book to be useful, and I wanted it to be accessible," Poole says while in town on a cross-country book tour. "Also, I wanted to de-mystify marijuana because the war on drugs is a real war with bullets and blood. And like all real wars, it has propaganda. "And the propaganda has all been coming from one side. We need some countervailing voices badly. What they're saying (the police) is a propaganda line. It has no basis in fact because they're not educated in that way, they're indoctrinated." While Poole's book comes off a bit too much like the cathartic exercise it was - part of a program to relieve the suffering from burnout after 30 years as a documentary filmmaker - he paints a clear picture of what the world of marijuana growing, harvesting and selling is all about. On many levels his cannabis culture resembles the hippie world of the 1960s and '70s, and in a way, this book is Poole's form of civil disobedience. Perhaps surprisingly, marijuana growing is back-breaking, labor-intensive, stress-filled work, Poole shows. He documents the arduous tasks of hauling soil, planting the seeds, watering the garden and then struggling to keep it hidden from thieves, animals and police. While he's optimistic that attitudes toward marijuana will change over time, proof of just how long it may take comes from this book tour. While in Toronto, the wanna-be American city that pretends it's the sophisticated place to be, Poole was only interviewed twice. "The media ran for cover and admitted it was running for cover," he says. "The publisher's representative there was told over and over again: 'We do not talk about marijuana.'" But the issue should be discussed, he insists. "There's no evidence that the use of marijuana is a societal problem, but the police would quote chapter and verse the propaganda line because the media in this country still takes at face value whatever the police or the government say about drugs. "(Marijuana) is an agent of enlightenment that's there for people to use if people choose to use it that way. That's its real significance." The veteran marijuana user spent three years researching and writing this book, which debunks many of the myths surrounding the plant, shows the problems of half-way legislation in the Netherlands (it's legal to smoke marijuana, but not legal to grow and distribute it) and contains some tips on what to do if arrested with marijuana. Although Poole never achieved the commercial success he hoped from this cultivating experience, don't let the subtitle fool you. "I'm having a little fun with that, because I think our situation with regard to drug laws and our whole drug situation in the country is ridiculous," he says. "The appropriate response is ridicule. The most withering thing for any government, any politician to resist is laughter." Copyright (c) 1998 All Rights Reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colombia Fires Air Force Officers (The Associated Press says five members of the Colombian air force were arrested Thursday after US authorities seized a Colombian air force plane in Florida carrying more than 1,600 pounds of cocaine.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 01:48:04 -0800 From: Paul Freedom (email@example.com) Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots To: Cannabis Patriots (Cannabis-Patriots-L@teleport.com) Subject: CanPat - Colombia Fires Air Force Officers Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Colombia Fires Air Force Officers NOVEMBER 12, 23:50 EST-AP BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Five members of the Colombian air force were arrested Thursday after U.S. authorities seized a government plane in Florida carrying more than 1,600 pounds of cocaine. Agents from the federal prosecutor's office detained the intelligence chief of the military airport in Bogota, Maj. Gonzalo Noguera, and four aviation technicians. The seizure also led to the retirement of airport commander Col. Arturo Duenas and his second-in-command. ``Their presence was not desirable,'' Defense Minister Rodrigo Lloreda said Thursday. Duenas had resisted a request by President Andres Pastrana to resign. Thursday's developments brought to eight the number of air force officers who have left the service since the drugs were discovered, a major embarrassment for Pastrana. Air force commander Gen. Jose Manuel Sandoval resigned on Tuesday after U.S. authorities disclosed the seizure of 1,639 pounds of cocaine in a Colombian air force C-130 cargo plane at Fort Lauderdale's international airport.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Brit Panel Backs Medical Marijuana (The Associated Press version of yesterday's news about the report released by the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology recommending that physicians be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis.) From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 03:19:39 EST To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: Brit Panel Backs Medical Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: AOLNews@aol.com Subject: Brit Panel Backs Medical Marijuana Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 01:10:47 EST Brit Panel Backs Medical Marijuana c The Associated Press LONDON (AP) -- Doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for pain relief, a new House of Lords committee report says, but persuading the British government to do so could prove difficult. The report Wednesday from Parliament's upper house said marijuana should be used to relieve the suffering of those with cancer and multiple sclerosis. They recommended it be made available immediately rather than waiting years for the results of clinical trials. The government responded, however, that clinical trials and safety tests would have to be conducted before marijuana could be offered by prescription. ``It would be totally irresponsible to say, `It's OK to use it, but there is no scientific evidence it will work,''' Home Office Minister George Howarth said. The British Medical Society, which represents Britain's doctors, rejected the report, saying the move could prevent new, more effective drugs from being developed. Marijuana now can only be used in research in Britain. AP-NY-11-12-98 0109EST Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Pills (The Times version) Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 12:14:52 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Editorial: Cannabis Pills Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Thur, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Times, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/ CANNABIS PILLS The case for returning the law to 1973 A woman, crippled by multiple sclerosis, is in agony. She tries a number of drugs, yet finds only one that eases the pain: cannabis. So the woman's husband, desperate to lessen his wife's suffering, grows it himself. The police hear reports of strange plants seen growing in the couple's garden, and pay them a visit. The husband is arrested. The wife loses her painkiller. It became illegal to use cannabis for medical purposes in 1973. For the preceding two millennia, it had been used as a herbal remedy, the earliest known reference being Assyrian tablets of the 7th century BC. But, after a decade of soaring drug abuse, the Medicines Control Agency found there was "insufficient evidence" to support cannabis's medical use. Declared a Schedule One drug, its use was banned "except for scientific and very limited medical purposes". Cocaine, morphine, heroin, amphetamines and pethidine were listed under Schedule Two, permitting their prescription to named patients. Earlier this year, the Government issued a licence for a British company to investigate the uses of cannabis as a medicine. Although its trials have yet to begin, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee believes the law should be changed immediately. After a lengthy inquiry, the committee concluded that cannabis "almost certainly does have genuine medical applications", and that the Government should act now to allow doctors to give cannabis to named patients, before clinical trials have been completed. They justify their haste on compassionate grounds: why delay and prolong people's agony, when so much anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis can alleviate pain? The committee speaks with authority. Chaired by a pharmacologist, its members include a Nobel prizewinning chemist and a former president of the General Medicine Council. Yet neither the Government, nor the British Medical Association, is persuaded. Cannabis is a toxic mixture, containing over 60 cannabinoids and other ingredients. Giving patients impure, crude cannabis would be similar to administering opium, instead of its derivative, morphine. Allowing doctors to prescribe the drug now, before trials show which cannabinoids are therapeutic and which are harmful, would put patients at risk and could undermine the development of a drug based on scientific research. Such a reaction may appear harsh. Many Britons would agree with the inhabitants of Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, who voted to allow cannabis to be given to patients with severe or terminal illnesses. If the results of the research do not question the select committee's report, the Government should not hestitate to allow doctors to prescribe effective derivatives of cannabis to named patients. Until then, anyone found taking the drug for proven medical reasons should be treated with the compassion they deserve.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lords' Call For Medical Cannabis Rejected (The Times, in Britain, says George Howarth, the Home Office Minister, ruled out a call from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee for doctors to prescribe cannabis now. The peers said thousands of people suffering muscle spasms and terminal cancer could benefit from the drug's painkilling properties.) Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 12:21:12 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Lords' Call For Medical Cannabis Rejected Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Thur, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Times, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/ Author: JAMES LANDALE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT LORDS' CALL FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS REJECTED THE Government yesterday rejected fresh demands for the immediate legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes. But ministers gave a small ray of hope to sufferers by indicating that doctors might be allowed to prescribe the drug after extensive clinical trials. George Howarth, the Home Office Minister, ruled out a call from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee for doctors to prescribe cannabis now. The peers said thousands of people suffering muscle spasms and terminal cancer could benefit from the drug's painkilling properties. Mr Howarth said: "It would be irresponsible to say it's OK to use it but there is no scientific evidence it will work." While the Government's position angered patients' groups and some politicians, the British Medical Association approved, saying that said making cannabis available on prescription could delay development of more effective drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Warns Against Lifting Cannabis Ban (Yahoo! News says Old Bailey Judge Graham Boal QC was presiding over the case of a 27-year-old man who smoked the herb heavily on a daily basis who was charged with butchering a young artist with a kitchen knife in an unprovoked attack outside a London pub. Commenting on the report issued by the House of Lords, the judge said, "In the current debate on whether cannabis should continue to be a prohibited substance, perhaps more attention should be given in some quarters to cases such as this." The defendant was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1989.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: UK Judge Warns Against Lifting Cannabis Ban Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 18:31:32 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Yahoo! News Pubdate: Thursday November 12 Judge Warns Against Lifting Cannabis Ban An Old Bailey judge has warned against rash moves to decriminalise cannabis, just hours after a House of Lords call to legalise the drug for medical use. Judge Graham Boal QC spoke out after hearing how cannabis helped to turn Thai-born Arnat Boonprasit into a psychotic killer. Government officials and doctors have already rejected the newly-published Lords committee proposals which would make cannabis available on prescription to fight serious illness. Judge Boal told Boonprasit: "In the current debate on whether cannabis should continue to be a prohibited substance, perhaps more attention should be given in some quarters to cases such as this." The comment came after Judge Boal heard how the 27-year-old, who smoked the drug heavily on a daily basis, had butchered a young artist with a kitchen knife in an unprovoked attack outside a London pub. Boonprasit, who came to Britain aged nine and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1989, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and placed under a restriction order without a time limit. Earlier, the Lords Science and Technology committee published their report calling for immediate action to give cancer patients and multiple sclerosis sufferers cannabis to combat pain. Committee chairman Liberal Democrat Lord Perry of Walton said clinical trials could take up to five years and that was too long for sufferers to wait. "We felt that the evidence of benefit to these patients with very distressing symptoms was such that we shouldn't make them wait that long," he said. Patients' groups, politicians and even anti-drugs campaigners welcomed the committee's conclusions. But the Government ruled out any change in the law until clinical trials are completed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Warns On Cannabis (The version in The Irish Independent) Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 12:21:12 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Judge Warns On Cannabis Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Thur, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Irish Independent (Ireland) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.ie/ JUDGE WARNS ON CANNABIS A BRITISH judge yesterday warned against rash moves to decriminalise cannabis, just hours after a House of Lords call to legalise the drug for medical use. Judge Graham Boal spoke out after hearing how cannabis helped to turn a Thai-born man into a psychotic killer. Government officials and doctors have already rejected the Lords committee proposals, published yesterday morning, which would make cannabis available on prescription to fight serious illness. The comment came after Judge Boal heard how 27-year-old Jan Boonprasit, who smoked the drug heavily on a daily basis, had butchered a young artist with a kitchen knife in an unprovoked attack outside a London pub. Boonprasit, who was brought to Britain aged nine and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1989, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was placed under a restriction order without a time limit. Earlier, the Lords Science and Technology committee published their report calling for immediate action to give cancer patients and multiple sclerosis sufferers cannabis to combat pain.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin On Prescription As Addiction Solution Urged (According to The Irish Times, a member of the National Drugs Strategy Team, Father Seen Cassin, said yesterday that a Swiss project prescribing heroin to addicts had "significantly good" results, and the Government should consider new approaches to the drug problem, including prescribing legal heroin.) Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:25:27 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Ireland: Heroin On Prescription As Addiction Solution Urged Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 Source: Irish Times (Ireland) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: The Irish Times, 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407 Website: http://www.irish-times.ie/ Copyright: 1998 The Irish Times Author: Catherine Cleary, Drugs and Crime Correspondent HEROIN ON PRESCRIPTION AS ADDICTION SOLUTION URGED The Government should consider new approaches to the drug problem, including prescribing legal heroin, according to a member of the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST). Father Seen Cassin, former head of the Merchants Quay project, told a Deil Committee yesterday that a Swiss project prescribing heroin to addicts had claimed "significantly good" results. The NDST is the statutory agency set up to co-ordinate the work of local drugs task forces. "We're not in favour of anybody using or injecting drugs," Father Cassin told the Joint Committee on European Affairs. "But today some 10,000 injecting drug users are going to take heroin, they're going to inject it and find or rob or steal the materials necessary to inject it." The Swiss experiment involved around 1,100 heroin users over three years, he said. "There was a significant reduction in the level of crime. One third actually went into drug-free treatment and a further third went on to maintenance programmes of oral alternatives to heroin." Father Cassin said one criticism of the Swiss project had been that it had picked those addicts more likely to succeed. "We have a situation here in Dublin at the moment where the use of cannabis is, in reality, decriminalised." If the i Garda pursued all cannabis users then the system would be overwhelmed, he said. So a pragmatic approach was taken in Dublin, where heroin was the main concern. Mr Fergus McCabe of the NDST told the committee that the debate about such projects could "lead to all kind of hysterical and irrational responses." "We can't have good policies, rational or effective policies, unless we have information," he said. There was an "urgent need" for a national drugs advisory board, he said. "In every other jurisdiction in Europe there is an advisory group or council there." Ireland's drug policy had been the result of health policy on the prevention of AIDS, he said. Mr Tony Gregory (Independent) said the Swiss experience was that heroin crossed all social classes. Mr Gay Mitchell (FG) criticised the Eastern Health Board for its response to the problem. "Inchicore was devastated by people coming from all over the city to one chemist to get their methadone." Senator Brendan Ryan (Independent) said the Swiss police "had the peculiar role of having to deliver heroin to the clinics," because of security considerations. And a report, almost completed by members of the committee would be about "neither liberal nor conservative solutions, but what has been seen to work." Father Cassin said politicians were afraid to decriminalise drugs. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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