Portland NORML News - Saturday, November 14, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

DARE Right to be Dropped (A letter to the editor of The Statesman Journal,
in Salem, Oregon, applauds the decision by the Salem-Keizer School District
to reduce the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 05:38:33 -0800 From: Paul Freedom (nepal@teleport.com) Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots To: Cannabis Patriots (Cannabis-Patriots-L@teleport.com) Subject: CanPat - DARE RIGHT TO BE DROPPED-Published Letter to the editor Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@smtp.teleport.com The Statesman Journal 11-14-98 letters@statesmanjournal.com Published Letter to the editor----- DARE RIGHT TO BE DROPPED The DARE program has been proven ineffective by several studies. It has been removed by some big cities due to its ineffectiveness. Police officers are not trained health professionals. Their training is in law enforcement. Drug education should be left to health professionals. DARE has also been compared to the tactics of totalitarian regimes in which friends and relatives are encouraged to turn folks in for marijuana. From a study I undertook, I found that almost all of the high school age students I interviewed considered DARE a huge waste of time and money, and support dropped dramatically once students reach high school age. Does anyone else remember that the DARE program was created by former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates? This man told Congress that the casual drug user should be shot! There are certainly questions about his competence as evidenced by his controversial years as police chief. There are many questions as to the competence of the DARE program as well. Paul Stone Salem, Oregon *** I was pleased the way the Statesman Journal merged parts of my long and short version together. Paul Freedom To join our discussion list cannabis-patriots e-mail me at nepal@teleport.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Grand jury returns no indictment in death (The Oregonian
notes law enforcement officials are still able to get a grand jury
in Portland to do anything they want, including sanctioning
the murder of a mentally ill man.)

The Oregonian
letters to editor:
letters@news.oregonian.com
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Groups want to snub out

Grand jury returns no indictment in death

The panel decides Portland police were not criminally culpable in the death
of Richard C. "Dickie" Dow in their custody

Saturday, November 14 1998

By Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff

A grand jury on Friday unanimously declined to indict Portland officers in
the death of Richard C. Dickie Dow, a mentally ill man who died last month
in police custody.

As police welcomed the outcome, and Dows attorney, family and neighbors
criticized the decision, Police Chief Charles Moose appointed two committees
to re-examine whether officers need additional training in CPR, or training
in alternative tactics for handling suspects with extreme violent tendencies.

"I understand the necessity to continue to learn and grow, Moose said.
Certainly this incident has brought those two issues to the forefront.

Dow, 37, a paranoid schizophrenic, collapsed in police custody Oct. 19 as
officers tried to restrain him. Two officers attempted to do CPR, police
said. Paramedics soon arrived and revived Dow, but he died the next morning
at Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

The grand jury met for six days and heard 35 witnesses, including several
whose accounts contradicted police testimony, Multnomah County District
Attorney Michael Schrunk said.

The Portland police investigative report on Dows death, released Friday
night after the grand jury was dismissed, continued to point up
discrepancies between what officers and witnesses said was done to assist
Dow once he stopped breathing.

Schrunk said it was not a matter of the jurors believing one side over
another but a consideration of the cumulative facts.

"Obviously my clients are concerned about such a conclusion, and don't agree
with it, said Forrest Rieke, an attorney for Barbara and Ted Vickers, Dows
mother and stepfather. He said his investigators are continuing an
independent inquiry. Federal officials also will examine the police
investigation to determine whether civil rights violations occurred.

Schrunk made it clear that the grand jury decided only that there was no
criminal culpability. It did not decide whether officers violated Portland
Police Bureau policy or used excessive force, whether officers might be
liable in a civil lawsuit or whether police procedures and training are
appropriate.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Larry Lewman ruled Dow died of positional
asphyxia, or sudden death syndrome, in which a persons body position
interferes with respiration, resulting in suffocation. The condition usually
occurs during forcible restraint involving someone with a mental illness or
who has used an excessive amount of drugs.

Portland officers are trained to assess whether a suspect is likely to
suffer from the syndrome. When possible, they are trained to limit the
suspects physical exertion.

Police said Dow was uncontrollable, flailing his arms and kicking officers
even as they used pepper spray, struck him with batons and took him to the
ground in an attempt to control him.

Dr. Peter Kohler, president of Oregon Health Sciences University, will lead
a committee examining whether police need better training on how to
recognize or react to sudden death syndrome.

"Do most officers want a prettier, simpler solution than beating a guy down
with a baton or putting him down on his chest? Yes, said Tom Mack,
secretary-treasurer of the Portland Police Association. If the bureau or
citizens can come up with something that works better, then were all for that.

Fire Chief Robert Wall will head a committee on emergency medical response
that will evaluate whether police should have continual CPR training, what
type of medical equipment they should carry and how much new training or
equipment would cost.

Portland police receive CPR training when they join the bureau as part of
basic academy courses, but the bureau eliminated annual refresher training
in 1992 because of budget and staffing shortfalls.

According to the Portland police investigative report released Friday, the
incident began when Dow made threatening remarks to two men outside the
Winchells Donut House on North Lombard Street. One of the men called 9-1-1
after Dow threatened to poke one in the eye with a screwdriver.

Portland School Officer Dennis McClain was the first to respond. Once he got
out of his car, he said, Dow grabbed his wrists and dragged him about 150 feet.

McClain called for emergency backup. Six officers tried to restrain Dow, but
he continued to flail and kick officers as they tried to subdue him with
pepper spray and their batons, the report says.

Officer Steven Andrusko grabbed Dow in a bear hug and took him to the
ground. Once he was face down on the ground, with his head to the side,
officers managed to cuff Dows hands. As they crossed his ankles and bent
them to his buttocks, they noticed he had stopped breathing.

Police immediately removed the handcuffs and rolled him over.

Officers Kathleen Pahlke and John Rebman attempted CPR, but the effort did
not go smoothly because of problems with a protective mask, documents show.

Pahlke screamed for an officer to get her a protective mask as she bent Dows
head back to clear his airway. The mask is a device with a bag attached that
allows artificial respiration without actual mouth-to-mouth contact.

"I started to do CPR, applied a couple of chest compressions, and Officer
Pahlke said we need to get some air in, get, get him breathing first, Rebman
told investigators. About that time, the mask showed up. We attempted to
give him a couple of breaths, three, four real good hard breaths with that.
And I never saw his lungs inflate at all. So, about that time, we kind of
briefly stopped.

Rebman, who received CPR training in 1991 but has had no refresher course
since, said he had trouble snapping on an airway piece attached to the
protective mask that sealed off Dows nose and mouth.

"From my training many years ago, I kinda remember that you snap that onto
the fixture inside of the mask, and then that airway goes down inside the
mouth, he told investigators. I just couldn't get it on. So rather than to
continue fighting with it, I made an effort to just use the mask without
that and see if it wouldn't work.

Paramedics told investigators that when they arrived, they did not see
police providing emergency medical care. Several neighborhood witnesses also
said they never saw officers perform CPR.

Some were disappointed with the outcome of the grand jury.

"Im not terribly surprised, but I'm very angry, said Deborah Howes, who said
she offered to perform CPR at the scene the night of the incident but was
told to move away. Police, in their report, said Howes probably did not see
officers perform CPR because she went into her home briefly to shut off
running bathwater.

"Im mostly angry that they're trying to discredit me, Howes said Friday.
Were not happy that there isn't justice in this system.

The Portland police investigation included accounts of several prior
altercations Dow had been involved in, including a 1995 unprovoked assault
against a Fred Meyer food department manager.

At the time of that incident, Dows sister confided to store security that
Dows family never knew how he would act when he was off his medication. His
mother and stepfather have said Dow had not been using medication for months.

Nine officers involved in the Dow incident took three days of paid
administrative leave after Dows death, and all have returned to work. Two
received hate mail. Some told investigators the incident was terrifying.

"I was afraid, said Officer James Darby, who was blinded by pepper spray
used against Dow. When you're involved in an encounter like this, and
everything that you're taught to be true is suddenly not, and nothing you're
doing is working, and this person is still coming at you and still attacking
you . . . that's a terrifying position to be in.

Moose said his decision to review police training and procedures is not a
reflection on the officers who were involved.

"I think we have a ruling that certainly tells me that they all performed
very admirably, he said. Yes, its a tragedy, but there is no one here to be
blamed.

Neighbors and friends of the Dow family plan a candlelight vigil Friday
where Dow collapsed, marking one month since his death.

David R. Anderson of The Oregonian staff contributed to this story.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

WSU hosts conference on alcohol and violence (The Associated Press
says people at more than 100 colleges and universities in 41 states
and one Canadian province tuned in Friday to a national conference
originating at Washington State University in Pullman that focused on
recent campus riots related to alcohol. One speaker noted the first reference
to a student alcohol riot was in 1355, when students and townspeople
in Oxford, England, rioted for three days after accusing a tavern owner
of watering down the wine.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: WSU hosts conference on alcohol and violence
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 11:57:42 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net

WSU hosts conference on alcohol and violence
The Associated Press 11/14/98 8:21 PM Eastern

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Booze and violence are major problems on college
campuses around the country, speakers said at a national conference
originating from Washington State University.

People at more than 100 colleges and universities in 41 states and one
Canadian province tuned in Friday to hear a panel discussion that focused on
campus riots at WSU, the University of Colorado and the University of
Wisconsin.

Student alcohol riots aren't new, said panelist Alan Lizotte, executive
director of the Consortium for Higher Education Campus Crime Research.

Lizotte, who tracks campus crime data, said the first reference to a student
alcohol riot was in 1355 when students and townspeople in Oxford, England,
rioted for three days after accusing a tavern owner of watering down the
wine.

More recent university alcohol problems appeared to occur at universities
with a profile similar to WSU, said Lizotte: rural campuses with large
numbers of students, large dormitory populations and a large Greek system.

Richard Keeling, director of university health services at the University of
Wisconsin, said binge drinking can be embedded into university culture
because it is associated with opinion leaders and peer pressure.

It is also tied to important events such as graduation and homecoming, and
brings economic benefits to bars, restaurants and supermarkets, he said.

Andy Boyd, president of the WSU Inter-Fraternity Council, said a May riot at
WSU, which caused injuries to two dozen law officers and thousands of
dollars of damage, was a combination of warm weather, alcohol and boredom.

"We need to factor in here where we're located. There's nothing really to do
here," he said of the Pullman area.

But George Bettas, WSU associate dean of students, called Boyd's comment a
"cop-out.

"I don't agree with that. There's a lot to do here without getting involved
in abusive drinking," he said.

Bettas is teaching a graduate course in which students are researching the
reasons and effects of the WSU riot by speaking to students involved.

The second thrust of the teleconference was how to stop alcohol-fueled
violence.

Officials must see binge drinking as a public health challenge and by taking
steps to create a cultural change, Keeling said.

Steps Keeling outlined included involving the community to set appropriate
guidelines, investigating issues such as the number of bars in one area and
the drink specials provided at bars and restaurants and providing
alternative entertainment options.

Boyd said WSU fraternities and sororities are already working with alumni
and advisers to create programs that do not include alcohol.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Tobacco Settlement Would Give State $4.02 Billion (The Seattle Times
says that's how much Washington state stands to gain over the next 27 years
from the nation's biggest tobacco companies under a 30-state, $200 billion
agreement that is being negotiated to settle fraud and antitrust lawsuits.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:37:14 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WA: Tobacco Settlement Would Give State $402 Billion
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Seattle Times Company
Pubdate: 14 November, 1998
Author: James V. Grimaldi, Seattle Times Washington bureau

TOBACCO SETTLEMENT WOULD GIVE STATE $4.02 BILLION

NEW YORK - Over the next 27 years, Washington state stands to gain about
$4.02 billion from the nation's biggest tobacco companies under a 30-state,
$200 billion agreement that is in the final, frenzied stages of
negotiations to settle fraud and antitrust lawsuits, Washington Attorney
General Christine Gregoire said yesterday.

The amount, which would be paid through 2025, is about $1 billion more than
the state would have received in the June 1997 proposed settlement, though
the agreement would provide no money to the federal government and would
not include agreements for the regulation of nicotine by the Food and Drug
Administration.

The proposed settlement also does not have penalties if tobacco companies
fail to reduce teen smoking.

The deal would include a wide range of public-health requirements for the
tobacco industry, including curbs on cigarette advertising and marketing
giveaways, said Gregoire's spokesman, Fred Olson, in New York yesterday for
talks.

It would also require the tobacco companies to spend about $1.45 billion on
advertising to persuade youths not to start smoking. Plus, the cigarette
industry would spend $250 million over the next decade to create a national
foundation to reduce teen smoking.

The foundation would pay for scientific studies researching factors that
influence youth smoking.

The settlement would end the current trial of the tobacco industry in King
County Superior Court.

The draft settlement also would limit tobacco companies to sponsoring one
sporting event a year using a brand name, such as Winston or Marlboro.

Advertising in sporting stadiums and arenas would be prohibited and outdoor
ads larger than 14 square feet would be banned.

In ads, cartoon figures would be banned, but human figures would be allowed.

The deal also prohibits, after July 1, the giveaway and sale of clothing
and merchandise - such as hats, shirts and backpacks - imprinted with brand
logos.

The deal also includes a promise to disband the Council for Tobacco
Research, the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Indoor Air Research but
preserve their records for use in future litigation. The $200 billion
settlement would cover the nation's biggest cigarette makers, Philip
Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Lorillard
Tobacco.

Four states - Mississippi, Minnesota, Texas and Florida - already have
reached settlements of their lawsuits against the industry to recover
Medicaid spending on smoking-related illness and to cut the number of smokers.

Those deals were worth a total of $36 billion.

Seattle Times staff reporter Matthew Ebnet contributed to this report
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Tobacco Accord Would Aid SJ (The San Jose Mercury News
says a proposed $200 billion nationwide settlement with the tobacco industry
would generate an estimated $23 billion for California over the next
25 years, including roughly $287 million for San Jose.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:37:43 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: CA: Tobacco Accord Would Aid SJ
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center
Author: Howard Mintz
Pubdate: 14 November 1998

TOBACCO ACCORD WOULD AID S.J.

A proposed $200 billion nationwide settlement with the tobacco industry
would generate an estimated $23 billion for California over the next 25
years, a figure that would be divvied up by cities and counties across the
state, including San Jose and Santa Clara County.

San Jose would receive roughly $287 million, and Santa Clara County's share
might exceed $500 million over the life of the agreement, according to
lawyers who have analyzed the tentative settlement, which is expected to be
announced formally Monday.

The deal now being completed has been hashed out by attorneys general of
eight states, including California, and representatives of the nation's
four leading cigarette manufacturers. The $200 billion would flow to the
states to help pay their smoking-related health costs, according to a
partial draft of the deal.

The proposal restricts cigarette advertising and marketing. All cigarette
billboards and merchandise with cigarette logos would disappear. Tobacco
companies would foot the bill for ads discouraging youth smoking.

In California, the settlement would be distributed under a 17-page
agreement ratified in August by the California Attorney General's Office
and the major cities and counties pushing five separate court battles
against the tobacco industry.

Under that accord, California will turn over 50 percent of any recovery
from the tobacco industry to cities and counties. With the tentative
settlement providing about $23 billion to California, roughly $11.5 billion
would go to local governments, based on the August pact.

Cities' special status

San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego have special status
under the pact because they are cities large enough to pursue litigation
under the state law being used in court against the tobacco companies. The
formula worked out in the August memorandum, which gives the four cities 10
percent of the amount that goes to local governments, entitles San Jose to
its $287 million share.

``That's the figure as I understand it,'' San Jose City Attorney Joan Gallo
said Friday. ``Everything I have heard makes it sound imminent. We are very
pleased with the agreement.''

Meanwhile, the agreement with the state calls for the 58 counties to divide
the remainder of the tobacco payout. San Francisco Deputy City Attorney
Andrew Chang, a member of his city's tobacco team, said Santa Clara County
should receive about $500 million.

County Counsel Ann Ravel said that figure appeared to be close to her
office's estimates. Ravel plans to recommend the deal to the board of
supervisors.

``It ensures that we will be able to recover when the likelihood of
recovery from the litigation was not clear,'' Ravel said.

Santa Clara County participated in a statewide case initiated by San
Francisco, which sued the tobacco companies on behalf of the state's cities
and counties, seeking reimbursement for the public health costs associated
with treating smoking-related illnesses.

To resolve five cases

Overall, the settlement, if approved, would resolve five pending cases now
joined in state court in San Diego, including one brought by Governor-elect
Gray Davis. At least one of those cases sought to force tobacco companies
to relinquish their profits from selling cigarettes in the state under the
theory that the public had been deceived about the dangers of smoking.

A spokesman for Attorney General Dan Lungren declined comment Friday,
saying there would not be discussion of the pact until Monday. A
spokeswoman for incoming Attorney General Bill Lockyer also declined
comment. Lockyer recently urged Lungren to accommodate a public debate on
any settlement with the tobacco companies.

San Francisco expects to receive more than $500 million under the
settlement. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the city and
county of Los Angeles expect to recover as much as $3 billion.

For the tobacco companies, the settlement terms could have been far worse
-- a fact likely to be pounced upon by potential critics of the deal. Just
five months ago, cigarette makers were staring down legislation in
Washington that could have cost them $516 billion and regulated everything
from the manufacturing to the marketing of tobacco.

Only a week to decide

Once the deal is announced, attorneys general of those states that were not
directly involved in negotiations are expected to have about a week to
decide whether they will take part or take their chances in a courtroom.
The deal eventually could cover 46 states.

The cigarette makers also aren't bound to the deal. They are expected to
wait to see if enough states participate to make it worth absorbing the
large financial hit.

If companies finance the plan's cost by raising cigarette prices, the cost
of a pack would increase 35 cents over the next five years. Some makers,
however, for competitive reasons, may choose to raise prices less and
absorb the cost themselves.

The companies at the table are Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Co., Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and Lorillard Inc., the nation's
four top cigarette makers.

Key states are California and New York. Both attorneys general played lead
roles in the five-month talks that have led up to this agreement, and they
are expected to go along.

``I am optimistic that enough states will agree with this settlement and
sign on,'' said Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher, another one of
the lead negotiators.

Holdouts are expected. In Alabama, for instance, Gov. Fob James said
Thursday that even though the deal could mean almost $3 billion to his
state, he will pursue a lawsuit against the industry in hopes of getting
more money.

Public health groups have decried the short timetable for the deal.

``If this is a binding agreement that we're going to be living with for the
next 30 years, then we ought to at least have 30 days to review it,'' said
Lynn Carol Birgman, an anti-smoking activist in Kentucky.

One tobacco-control organization pledged Friday to ask judges in many of
the states to withhold approval of any formal settlements until public
health groups and others have had an opportunity to review it.

``If ever the devil was in the details, this is such a case -- and
literally millions of lives and trillions of dollars are at stake,'' said
Executive Director John Banzhaf of the group Action on Smoking and Health.

Gail Gibson and Raja Mishra of Knight Ridder Newspapers and the New York
Times contributed to this report.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Top Marijuana County Now Has Sympathetic Views In High Places
(An Associated Press article in The Herald, in Everett, Washington,
notes voters in Mendocino County, California, recently elected Norman Vroman,
an ex-con, as the new district attorney, and Tony Craver as the new sheriff,
who also backs the decriminalization of cannabis.)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 11:44:10 -0800 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US CA: Top Marijuana County Now Has Sympathetic Views In High Places Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Source: Herald, The (WA) Contact: letters@heraldnet.com Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Daily Herald Co. Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 Author: Associated Press TOP MARIJUANA COUNTY NOW HAS SYMPATHETIC VIEWS IN HIGH PLACES UKIAH, Calif. -- The rule of law seems to have a weak hold in this county of spectacular forests, canyons, rocky coastal cliffs and some of the finest marijuana in the world. In Mendocino County, pot is the biggest cash crop and the new district attorney is an ex-con. "People tell me one of two things," said District Attorney-elect Norman Vroman. "It's either, 'I wish I had the guts to do what you did against the IRS,' or it's 'How in world do you believe you can be the top prosecutor if you've served time in federal prison?"' Vroman, a lawyer, served nine months behind bars during the early 1990s for failing to pay several thousand dollars in income taxes. Last week, Vroman, running on a platform that included decriminalization of marijuana, defeated a three-term incumbent who was president-elect of the California District Attorney Association. This rugged county of 52,000 people 100 miles north of San Francisco also elected a new sheriff, Tony Craver, who also backs decriminalization. In Vroman's case, voters were displeased with the incumbent's handling of a big murder case in which a sheriff's deputy on stakeout was shot to death. The defendant was acquitted. But the folksy and engaging Vroman also was seen admiringly as a rebel. And Craver has a blunt, genial manner that went over well with people and was seen as having deeper roots in the county than the previous sheriff, who spent a decade in Los Angeles County. A lanky, mustachioed, by-the-book sheriff's officer, the 61-year-old Craver has busted drug dealers and growers for years in an area where the famously potent marijuana retails for $5,000 a pound. But he also believes marijuana use should be decriminalized. Decriminalization could reduce marijuana use from a misdemeanor under state law, which can bring a jail term, to the equivalent of a traffic offense, which normally carries only a fine. Commercial growers and traffickers should be prosecuted, but "if you light up a joint in your home, who are you hurting?" Craven said. However, both he and Vroman said their personal views on marijuana use will not affect their official duties. "It's illegal. If he arrests them, I'll prosecute them," Vroman said. Mendocino County has produced more marijuana since 1995 than any of California's 57 other counties. Last year, state and local agents in helicopters and ground squads raided 340 pot plantations in Mendocino County and seized $204 million worth of weed. Authorities believe that for every plant they find, there are perhaps 10 more out there. The county's isolated hollows are ideal for secret pot gardens that yield marijuana highly prized by aficionados. "It's considered about the best in the world, if not the best. It's about 10 to 25 times more potent than the marijuana of the 1960," said state Justice Department spokesman Mike Van Winkle.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

California County's DA, Sheriff Hold Soft Stance On Pot (The Associated Press
version in The Dallas Morning News)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 11:54:10 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: California County's DA, Sheriff Hold Soft Stance On Pot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/
Copyright: 1998 The Dallas Morning News
Author: John Howard / Associated Press

CALIFORNIA COUNTY'S DA, SHERIFF HOLD SOFT STANCE ON POT

But both say their personal views won't be a factor in how they do their
jobs

UKIAH, Calif. - The rule of law seems to have a weak hold in this county of
spectacular forests, canyons, rocky coastal cliffs and some of the finest
marijuana in the world.

In Mendocino County, pot is the biggest cash crop. And the new district
attorney is an ex-con.

"People tell me one of two things," said District Attorney-elect Norman
Vroman. "It's either, 'I wish I had the guts to do what you did against the
IRS,' or it's 'How in world do you believe you can be the top prosecutor if
you've served time in federal prison?' "

Mr. Vroman, a lawyer, served nine months behind bars in the early 1990s for
failing to pay several thousand dollars in income taxes.

Last week, Mr. Vroman, running on a platform that included decriminalization
of marijuana, defeated a three-term incumbent who was president-elect of the
California District Attorney Association.

This rugged county of 87,000 people 100 miles north of San Francisco also
elected a new sheriff, Tony Craver, who backs decriminalization.

In Mr. Vroman's case, voters were displeased with the incumbent's handling
of a big murder case in which a sheriff's deputy on stakeout was shot to
death. The defendant was acquitted.

But the folksy Mr. Vroman also was seen admiringly as a rebel. And Mr.
Craver has a blunt, genial manner that went over well with people and was
seen as having deeper roots in the county than the previous sheriff, who
spent a decade in Los Angeles County.

The two men's stance on marijuana figured in both campaigns in this county
of mountain folk, ex-hippies, yuppies and refugees from big cities.

"It was a hot issue. Up until now, there has been a 'don't ask, don't tell'
policy. They have not harassed us, but on the other hand, they have not
cooperated with us," said Marvin Lehrman, who runs a 200-member medical
marijuana club. "Vroman's slogan was 'It's time for a change,' and that's
what we want."

A lanky, mustachioed, by-the-book sheriff's officer, the 61-year-old Mr.
Craver has busted drug dealers and growers for years in an area where the
potent marijuana retails for $5,000 a pound.

But he also believes marijuana use should be decriminalized.
Decriminalization could reduce marijuana use from a misdemeanor under state
law, which can bring a jail term, to the equivalent of a traffic offense,
which normally carries only a fine.

Commercial growers and traffickers should be prosecuted, but "if you light
up a joint in your home, who are you hurting?" Mr. Craver said.

However, both he and Mr. Vroman said their personal views on marijuana use
will not affect their official duties.

"It's illegal. If he arrests them, I'll prosecute them," Mr. Vroman said.

Mendocino County has produced more marijuana since 1995 than any of
California's 57 other counties.

Last year, state and local agents in helicopters and ground squads raided
340 pot plantations in Mendocino County and seized $204 million worth of
weed. Authorities believe that for every plant they find, perhaps 10 more
are out there.

The county's isolated hollows are ideal for secret pot gardens that yield
marijuana highly prized by aficionados.

"It's considered about the best in the world, if not the best. It's about 10
to 25 times more potent than the marijuana of the 1960s," said state Justice
Department spokesman Mike Van Winkle.

Mr. Vroman, who said he moved to Mendocino County in 1975 to escape the
pressures of Southern California, has worked as a prosecutor, a fill-in
judge, a defense attorney and a public defender. In fact, the last three
district attorneys in Mendocino County had also been public defenders.

"I don't know whether it's because people are suspicious of authority, but I
think a lot of it has to do with people not wanting the D.A. to be tough on
lightweight crimes. They don't like wasting money," said retiree George
McClure of Ukiah.

Mr. Vroman has piled up $1.3 million in tax liens and filed for bankruptcy
twice. In 1991, he was sent to prison.

"They cited the Internal Revenue Service Code, but there is no law that says
you have to file a return," he said. "They use fear. That's how the IRS
works."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Tobacco Sellers Near State Line Welcome Prop 10 (An Associated Press article
in The San Jose Mercury News says California's new ballot measure
adding 50 cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes could raise the price
of a 10-pack carton to as much as $30. Because cartons are available
for around $21 at several businesses just across the state line, retailers
in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon expect Californians will start buying
and smuggling cigarettes.)

Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 16:28:09 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Tobacco Sellers Near State Line Welcome Prop 10
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Saturday, 14 Nov 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Author: TIM MOLLOY, Associated Press

TOBACCO SELLERS NEAR STATE LINE WELCOME PROP. 10

Crush of tax-weary smokers anticipated

Jesse Uras smokes half a pack of cigarettes a day and says he wouldn't
think twice about driving a few miles out of his way to save money on
them.

``If you're talking about 50 cents a pack, it would make quite a
difference,'' said Uras, manager of a Chevron station in Yuma, Ariz.,
just across the state line from California.

Uras is one of several retailers looking toward a 50-cent-a-pack tax
hike, courtesy of Proposition 10, in January. The retailers are hoping
for a windfall from Californians they expect will drive to Arizona,
Nevada or Oregon to stock up and save.

Proposition 10 was approved by a margin of 57,070 votes among more
than 7.6 million ballots counted.

Backers expect it to raise $700 million annually for social services
aimed at families with children under age 5, including prenatal care,
stop-smoking programs, immunizations and domestic-violence prevention.
It raises prices on all tobacco products, not just cigarettes.

Ann Wright, spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society in Sacramento,
one of the chief supporters of the initiative, said the tax could
raise the price of a 10-pack carton to as much as $30 in California.
Because cartons are available for around $21 at several businesses
just across the state line, retailers there expect Californians will
be eager to make the drive.

Proposition 10 opponents argued it would cause black market cigarette
sales in California. Mark Smith, spokesman for the Louisville,
Ky.-based Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., said people will cross
state lines to buy cartons and re-sell them in California. He said his
company is trying to discourage such action.

``You'll probably see record levels of contraband in the state,'' he
said.

Wright said the increase targets young smokers who don't have the
means to leave California.

``I don't see any 11- or 12-year-olds driving to Nevada,'' she
said.

Backers hope the price increase will persuade smokers to quit, not
cross state lines, she added.

But Paul Garcia, manager of the Avi Smoke Shop on the Fort Mojave
Indian Reservation near Laughlin, Nev., said many of his California
customers already have promised to visit more often because of the tax
increase.

``They said they're going to start coming out here once a month to
enjoy themselves and pick up cigarettes, too,'' he said.

Mike Eittreim, manager of Cy's Supermarket in Malin, Ore., less than
two miles across the California state line, said a Philip Morris
representative visited his store Wednesday with plans to help him snag
California smokers.

``They're even giving us promotional dollars to try to get some
California business,'' Eittreim said.

Until January, the company will pay Eittreim $3 for every 10-pack
carton he sells so that he can lower prices from $23.89 to $20.89 a
carton, Eittreim said. Several other area stores are getting the same
deal, he said.

Brendan McCormick, a Philip Morris spokesman, said he didn't know what
any individual representative might be doing but that the company was
not making any effort to draw Californians across state lines. He said
Eittreim's price break may have been part of a national promotion by
the company.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Suit filed over pot initiative (The Denver Post says backers of a medical
marijuana ballot initiative filed suit late Friday against Colorado Secretary
of State Vikki Buckley, requesting that she be ordered to immediately certify
the measure for the 2000 general election ballot. The lawsuit in Denver
District Court claims proponents submitted 56,067 legally valid signatures
earlier this year, 1,825 signatures more than the constitutionally required
minimum to have it placed on the Nov. 3 ballot.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:58:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Terry Miller (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
To: pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org
Subject: Colorado M.P. (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:42:37 -0700
From: scott schlegel (gnuwest@mail.teleport.com)
To: pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org
Subject: Colorado M.P.

As you may know, Colorado now has a Republican-controlled
legislature and executive branch. Apparently, Ms. Buckley
is an imcompetent who can't be voted out.

Scott

***

Suit filed over pot initiative

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Editor

Nov. 14 - Backers of a medical marijuana ballot initiative filed suit late
Friday against Secretary of State Vikki Buckley, requesting that she be
ordered to immediately certify the measure for the 2000 general election
ballot.

The proponents of the initiative claimed in the Denver District Court suit
that they have found that they submitted 56,067 legally valid signatures
earlier this year to Buckley - 1,825 signatures more than the
constitutionally required minimum to have placed it on the Nov. 3 ballot.

In the months before the Nov. 3 election, Buckley repeatedly said that the
backers of the initiative had failed to present sufficient signatures to
have the initiative on the 1998 ballot. But in various court proceedings,
the measure's backers claimed that Buckley was in error. At one point in
the long legal battle, they were able to obtain a court ruling ordering
Buckley to place the measure on the ballot.

However, after it was added, Buckley again ruled that it shouldn't be there
and the votes cast for and against the measure weren't tallied, despite two
last-ditch attempts by initiative proponents to get them counted. The final
blow to the amendment came Oct. 29, when the Colorado Supreme Court refused
to order county clerks to tally the votes.

Throughout the process, Buckley and Maurice Knaizer, the deputy attorney
general who represented Buckley, said that if another review of the
petitions revealed sufficient signatures, Buckley would certify the
initiative for the ballot in 2000.

The marijuana initiative would allow people with "debilitating medical
conditions,'' such as cancer and AIDS, to legally process and use marijuana
as a form of treatment.

In their lawsuit Friday, the backers said that a review of the Buckley
report that ultimately kept the matter from voters showed that Buckley
listed 46,155 names accepted as legally sufficient and 35,161 names
rejected. That made a total of 81,316 names - 7,499 fewer than the 88,815
names Buckley reported she reviewed in the line-by-line count ordered by
the Colorado Supreme Court.

A further review of the report showed that of the signatures stricken as
invalid by Buckley, 4,163 were actually valid or never listed as an
accepted signature or a rejected signature - but on voter records
nonetheless.

"Thus, instead of the 51,904 names found to be sufficient by the secretary,
the petition contained no fewer than 56,067 legally valid signatures, 1,825
signatures more than the constitutionally required minimum,'' said the
lawsuit.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

No Threat From Oregon (A letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle
says the Houston prohibition agents who broke into the home
of Pedro Oregon Navarro without a warrant and shot him 12 times from behind
used the innocent man for target practice.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 18:45:06 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: PUB LTE: No Threat From Oregon
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle

NO THREAT FROM OREGON

I take great offense to District Attorney Johnny B. Holmes' statement,
"If it's OK to kill a guy dead, it is OK to kill him dead, dead, dead"
(Chronicle, Nov. 5).

I understand that deadly force can be used when police have reasonable
cause to believe someone is in imminent danger. But if someone is dead or
incapacitated, there is no imminent danger. A gravely wounded man, lying on
the floor with a gun in his hand, could pose a continuing threat to police,
but that has not been alleged in the Pedro Oregon Navarro case. What
Holmes' statement condones is using a man who presents no immediate threat
for target practice.

Jim McMahon, Houston
-------------------------------------------------------------------

FBI Chief Meets With Oregon Family (The Houston Chronicle
says FBI Director Louis Freeh met with the family of Pedro Oregon Navarro
Friday about the federal investigation into his fatal shooting by Houston
police. Freeh said he didn't know when the FBI and federal grand jury
investigation would be completed.)

Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 05:19:25 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: FBI Chief Meets With Oregon Family
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle
Author: JO ANN ZUIGA

FBI CHIEF MEETS WITH OREGON FAMILY

Freeh says review of shooting by police will be thorough, fair
`The only thing I am asking for is a fair investigation'

FBI Director Louis Freeh met here Friday with the family of Pedro Oregon
about the federal investigation of his fatal shooting by Houston police.

Freeh said he didn't know when the FBI and federal grand jury investigation
will be completed.

"We'll do it as quickly as we can, but as carefully as we have to, to assure
that it's a full investigation and a fair one," said Freeh, who met with
local agents, officials and civic leaders on other issues.

He also met with the family of Laura Smither, the 12-year-old Friendswood
girl abducted last year and later found dead.

Freeh said Smither's family "had a very supportive message to us that law
enforcement needs to ensure that these cases receive the very best resources
and priority in investigations."

The Oregon investigation has been under way for about three weeks, he said.

Freeh said the FBI would provide additional training to Houston officers in
handling certain life-threatening situations if the city requests such
assistance.

Meanwhile, five of the six officers involved in Oregon's shooting appealed
their terminations with the city Civil Service Commission Friday.

The arbitration process of trying to regain their jobs could take several
months, said their attorney, Chad Hoffman of the Houston Police Officers'
Union.

Police Chief C.O. Bradford fired all six last week, calling the shooting an
"egregious" case of official misconduct.

An internal police investigation found that the officers had violated HPD
policies and state and federal laws, but a Harris County grand jury cleared
five of them and charged the sixth with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.

On July 12, the officers, though lacking a search warrant, burst into
Oregon's residence on a tip that drugs were being sold. They fired about 24
shots at Oregon, 22, after Officer David R. Barrera accidentally fired his
weapon, striking a fellow officer.

Oregon was hit 12 times, including nine in the back. Only Barrera, who fired
most of the shots, has not appealed his termination and is not expected to
do so.

"I wanted the director to meet directly with the family of Pedro Oregon,"
said U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who organized the meeting.
"There is a commitment by the director that an investigation will not cease
until every stone is unturned."

Oregon's mother, Claudia Navarro, said, "The only thing I am asking for is a
fair investigation."

Her attorney, Paul Nugent, said that if civil rights violations are found, a
possible federal trial could still bring prison time for the officers.

"Director Freeh pledged to the family a thorough and independent
investigation to get to the tragic truth of what happened to Pedro Oregon,"
Nugent said.

"It's not going to be a rubber stamp of the local investigation."

Hoffman said the five officers filed appeals because "there is no question
they were acting in their official capacity. They feel they were correct in
what they were doing."

Mexican Consul General Rodulfo Figueroa, newly arrived in Houston, said he
will continue moral support of the Oregon family, immigrants from Mexico.

"This federal intervention shows the state is not capable of handling this
case," Figueroa said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Shooting Probe Still Devoid Of Solutions (A staff editorial
in The San Antonio Express-News says the new Congressional report
on the killing of Ezequiel Hernandez Jr., a 19-year-old goatherd in Redford,
Texas, by US Marines on a drug interdiction mission, won't prevent future
tragedies if the problems identified in the report aren't addressed.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 18:47:37 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Shooting Probe Still Devoid Of Solutions
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Contact: letters@express-news.net
Website: http://www.expressnews.com/
Copyright: 1998 San Antonio Express-News

SHOOTING PROBE STILL DEVOID OF SOLUTIONS

How many people and members of Congress will have to find fault with the
federal investigation of the border shooting death of a 19-year-old
goatherd before there is a remedy?

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R- San Antonio, and chairman of the House
immigration subcommittee, jumped into the fray shortly after the May 20,
1997, shooting of Redford resident Ezequiel Hernandez Jr.

The teen was shot by a Marine patrolling the border with an anti-drug unit.

After an 18-month inquiry, Smith's subcommittee was left with many of the
same questions that many observers, including this newspaper, have put to
officials overseeing the Marines' actions.

Principally, the Justice and Defense departments have failed to address
policy questions involving the training and supervision of soldiers
assigned to such patrols.

Neither federal nor state grand juries returned indictments against the
four Marines who were part of the patrol that fateful day in May. But that
doesn't mean there isn't a place to lay blame. There are many.

The Marine Corps investigation, for example, cited troops' lack of training
for domestic operations and resulted in reprimands of supervisory personnel.

The Marines' review also criticized apparently poor radio communication
between U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service officials in Marfa and
the patrol they were supervising 70 miles away on the border, near
Hernandez's home.

Further, both Smith and retired Marine Maj. Gen. John T. Coyne, who
conducted the Marine review, found that the border mission was seen by
military commanders mainly as a training exercise, with apparent little
regard or knowledge about the local border scene.

Smith said the Justice and Defense departments "simply did not do their job."

That has long been apparent. The realization won't bring Hernandez back to
his family. Neither will it prevent future tragedies if the concerns are
not addressed.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Bellaire Files Lawsuit to Force Slain Teen's Family to Accept Offer
(The Houston Chronicle says the parents of 17-year-old Travis Allen
signed a $90,000 settlement on July 25 in the wrongful death suit they filed
in 1996. But two days later, the Allens and one of their lawyers,
Graydon Wilson, told US District Judge David Hittner that the parents
were bullied into accepting the ostensibly meager sum by the mediator
and the opposing lawyers. A police officer in Bellaire, Texas, fired
two shots into the boy's back while he was immobilized, allegedly
under the influence of "drugs.")
Link to earlier story
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 10:44:56 -0800 From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Subject: MN: US TX: Bellaire Files Lawsuit to Force Slain Teen's Family to Accept Offer Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Contact: viewpoints@chron.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle Author: Ron Nissimov BELLAIRE FILES LAWSUIT TO FORCE SLAIN TEEN'S FAMILY TO ACCEPT OFFER The city of Bellaire has filed a lawsuit in state court to try to force the family of a slain teen-ager to accept a settlement proposed during mediation of a federal suit. Noel and Rebecca Allen of Houston, parents of 17-year-old Travis Allen, signed the $90,000 settlement on July 25 in the wrongful death suit they filed in 1996. But two days later, the Allens and one of their lawyers, Graydon Wilson, told U.S. District Judge David Hittner that the parents were bullied into accepting the ostensibly meager sum by the mediator and the opposing lawyers. The mediator, M.A. "Mickey" Mills, and Bill Helfand, the attorney for Bellaire and the two police officers who were sued, strongly denied the charges. Helfand told Hittner the agreement should be enforced like any other contract, but Hittner said a federal court does not have jurisdiction to determine the validity of a contract between two parties who live in Texas. On Nov. 5, Hittner ordered the wrongful death case be delayed until a state court resolves the settlement dispute. Helfand said Friday that he hopes the state suit, which was filed Monday in the court of state District Judge Pat Mizell, can be resolved before the end of the year. Helfand also represents officers Michael Leal and Carle Upshaw. On Aug. 13, Mills, the mediator, told Hittner that Wilson urged the Allens to sign the agreement after acknowledging he would have a difficult time winning the federal suit. Wilson said the Allens realized they did not want the proposed settlement "probably within one hour of walking out of the (mediation) room." He said there are several reasons the signed agreement is not valid: Although it was signed July 25, the settlement said it would have to be finalized by Bellaire City Council on Aug. 3. This meant it was not a valid contract until Aug. 3, and the Allens withdrew their support of the settlement on July 25. The settlement was made on behalf of a third party who was not at the mediation, Gracie Allen, the Allens' daughter. According to Wilson, Gracie Allen rejected the settlement before the Aug. 3 council vote. The language of the settlement was indefinite. One paragraph outlined the terms of the settlement, while a later paragraph said if any disputes arose, there would be further mediation. Bellaire City Council violated Texas open meetings laws by conducting an executive session prior to the mediation and discussing the settlement in closed session Aug. 3 before voting on it in open session. Helfand said Wilson's contentions are absurd. Helfand said that according to state law, a contract is valid when "there is a meeting of the minds," which occurred July 25. He said Gracie Allen's name is not mentioned anywhere in the settlement. He said the city later agreed to put the money that would go to the Allens under a trust fund set up for Gracie, which he assumed was established to avoid paying taxes on the settlement. Wilson had accused Helfand of sending a letter to the Allens warning them they might have to pay the attorneys' fees for the city and the officers in the federal case if they lost. Helfand said he always advises adversaries in legal proceedings that they may have to pay his fees if he feels their claims are without merit. Helfand said the real tragedy in the contract dispute is that under Texas law, the Allens will have to pay the attorneys' fees if they lose. He said if this happens, as much as $20,000 could be deducted from the $90,000 settlement. Travis Allen was on drugs when he smashed through the patio door of a Bellaire home in the 4400 block of Acacia about 1:10 a.m. July 15, 1995. The teen-ager was injured and bleeding on the floor when police responded to an intruder call from the homeowner, the Allens contend. The family said Upshaw's foot was on the teen's back, immobilizing him, when Leal fired two shots into the boy's back. A grand jury declined to indict the officers on any criminal charges. Helfand said Friday that the Allens received a $108,000 settlement this spring in a state lawsuit they filed against Sharon Reed, the owner of a house where Travis attended a party the night he was shot.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Hemp Legalization Attempt (The San Jose Mercury News
says the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday sent Woody Harrelson's
marijuana possession case back to Lee County District Court, agreeing
that Kentucky's ban on industrial hemp was too broad, but leaving
unanswered a question about whether the seeds planted by Harrelson
were capable of producing cannabis plants.)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 18:35:37 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US KY: Hemp Legalization Attempt
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center

HEMP LEGALIZATION ATTEMPT

Woody Harrelson's attempt to have Kentucky courts recognize a legal
distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp is going to have to start
all over again.

The Court of Appeals on Friday sent Harrelson's case back to Lee County
District Court, where he was first cited for marijuana possession after he
planted four hemp seeds in June 1996. Before his trial began, Harrelson
argued that the statute outlawing marijuana possession was unconstitutional
because it made no distinction between marijuana plants and their
industrial cousin, which contains minute amounts of the drug THC.

The district judge agreed that the statute was too broad, but left
unanswered a question about whether the seeds planted by Harrelson were
capable of producing marijuana plants.

The appeals court said prosecutors appealed the judge's decision
prematurely and it's up to the district court to decide whether the seeds
were illegal.

From Mercury News wire services
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Woody Harrelson Hemp Case Returned To Lee District Court
(The Lexington Herald-Leader version)

Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 08:23:38 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US KY: Woody Harrelson Hemp Case Returned To Lee District Court
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: agfuture@kih.net
Pubdate: 14 Nov 1998
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader
Contact: hledit@lex.infi.net
Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/
Copyright: 1998 Lexington Herald-Leader

WOODY HARRELSON HEMP CASE RETURNED TO LEE DISTRICT COURT

Frankfort - Actor Woody Harrelson's efforts to legalize hemp hit a snag
yesterday.

The three-member state Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Harrelson's
case should be sent back to Lee District Court, which previously found that
the state law outlawing marijuana is too broad. The actor was cited in Lee
County in June 1996 for marijuana possession after he planted four hemp seeds.

"The appellate ruling is kind of a win for us," said Harrelson's attorney,
Charles E. Beal II of Lexington. "We don't know yet if we will appeal this
to the Kentucky Supreme Court to try to get some ruling more quickly on the
state law." If the case is not appealed to Kentucky's highest court, it
would go back to Lee District Court, and the case would start anew. The
high court could review the state's marijuana law and decide on its
constitutionality.

Lee County Attorney Tom Jones said yesterday that the plans to ask the
Supreme Court to review the appellate court ruling. "I'm very disappointed
that the appeals court did not rule on the state law," he said.

Hemp proponents claim the plant has a wondrous future in medicine, fiber,
fuel and food, but opponents contend it's difficult to differentiate from
marijuana.

Harrelson argues that the state law outlawing marijuana possession is
unconstitutional because it makes no distinction between the plant that
contains THC, which gives marijuana smokers their high, and its industrial
cousin, which contains minute amounts of the drug. Lee District Court found
in January 1997 that the state law was too broad. But it also left
unanswered a question about whether the seeds planted by Harrelson were
capable of germination or producing plants that produced marijuana.

Jones appealed the district court ruling, which was upheld by Lee Circuit
Court.

The Court of Appeals said there is no provision for the prosecution to
appeal an adverse ruling by a district judge.

"We appreciate that this case involves issues of significant interest to
the parties and to the public at large," Judge William Knopf said. "It is
not this court's intention to cause undue delay in the adjudication of this
case upon its merits."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Court - Delete pot smoking expulsions from student's records
(Tampa Bay Online says the 2nd District Court of Appeal found Friday
that the Pinellas County school system in Florida had not "even a scintilla
of evidence" that two St. Petersburg High School seniors went to class
intoxicated when it expelled them for smoking marijuana on the way to school.
In the past two years, 90 Pinellas high school students were disciplined
for violating the school district's zero-tolerance policy on alcohol.
Numbers were not immediately available for other drug violations.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "_Drug Policy --" (when@hemp.net)
Subject: FL Court: Delete pot smoking expulsions from student's records
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 11:56:55 -0800
Sender: owner-when@hemp.net
Newshawk: ccross@november.org
Source: Tampa Bay Online
Pubdate: 11/14/98
Online: http://www.tampabayonline.net/news/flor100t.htm

Court: Delete pot smoking expulsions from student's records

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Two youths were wrongly expelled after smoking
marijuana on the way to school because officials had no proof they went to
class high, an appellate court has ruled. The Pinellas County school system
has a zero-tolerance policy that can mean expulsion for a student who takes
drugs or even a sip of wine before or during school events.

School officials took no tests to determine whether St. Petersburg High
School seniors Marc Crawley and Zachary Moser were high while they were on
school property, but still suspended them for being ``under the influence.创

Both students insisted they were not. Circuit Judge Crockett Farnell had
declined to overturn the expulsions, but the 2nd District Court of Appeal
found Friday that the school district had not ``even a scintilla of
evidence创 Moser and Crawley were under the influence at school.

Without declaring the zero-tolerance policy unconstitutional, the court
ordered the School Board to delete the expulsions from school records.

``This ruling says (to the School Board) you can磘 have a zero-tolerance
policy and apply it the way you磖e applying it,创 said Tampa attorney J.
Meredith Wester, who represented the students for free.

``This is not condoning drug use. The issue here is who has the right to
discipline your kids. I磎 a parent, and I don磘 want the School Board coming
to my home to discipline my kids for something they did off school
property.创

The decision caught School Board attorney John Bowen by surprise.

``I don磘 see how they can reach that conclusion,创 said Bowen, who wondered
whether students should be made to walk straight lines or take urine tests
before they can be disciplined for violating the ``under the influence创
provision.

``I don磘 think that should be the standard in a public school setting. It磗
imposing criminal standards on school districts that heretofore courts have
not been willing to do,创 Bowen said.

In the last month of Crawley and Moser's high school career, the two
B-students skipped school and smoked marijuana with friends in the morning.
Moser returned to school about two and one-half hours later and Crawley
returned five hours later. School officials had been tipped off.

``We understand the School Board磗 concern and the basis for its
zero-tolerance policy. However, that policy does not override the need for
proof of a necessary element of the charged violation,创 the court wrote.

Bowen said he remains confident the district is on solid ground with its
zero-tolerance policy. He said school officials would review the ruling
before deciding whether to ask for reconsideration or appeal to the state
Supreme Court.

The zero-tolerance policy came under renewed scrutiny recently after an East
Lake High senior interning at a decorating company was suspended after
drinking sangria during a toast by her employers. School officials said
sipping sangria during a school-sponsored work internship is akin to sipping
it on campus. Honor student Jennifer Coonce now has to take classes from
home.

In the past two years, 90 Pinellas high school students have been
disciplined for violating the zero-tolerance policy on alcohol. Numbers were
not immediately available for drug violations.

As for Moser and Crawley, the discipline apparently had little long-term
impact. Both graduated from other high schools and are attending St.
Petersburg Junior College.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Medical Marijuana Research News (A bulletin from the Multidisciplinary
Association for Psychedelic Studies says NIH, the National Institutes
of Health, has rejected Dr. Ethan Russo's second MAPS-supported
application to study the use of marijuana in the treatment of migraine
sufferers.)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 11:15:30 +0000 To: vignes@monaco.mc From: Peter Webster (vignes@monaco.mc) Subject: News Item From: maps (maps@vnet.net) To: maps-forum@maps.org Subject: MAPS: Medical Marijuana Research News Sender: owner-maps-forum@maps.org Reply-To: maps (maps@vnet.net) Medical Marijuana Research News Despite the elation of the medical marijuana victories at the ballot box, research seems no easier to initiate. Dr. Ethan Russo just learned today that the NIH has rejected his second MAPS-supported application to study the use of marijuana in the treatment of migraine sufferers. We will decide soon whether to try a third and final time to obtain NIH permission for his research. NIH only permits three applications for the same basic study. *** MAPS-Forum@maps.org, a member service of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (to become a member, see www.maps.org/memsub.html). To [un]subscribe, email the message text, [un]subscribe maps-forum youraddress to majordomo@maps.org
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marijuana Benefits Disputed (The Globe and Mail, in Toronto,
notes the propaganda published recently about cannabis and glaucoma,
in the Archives of Ophthalmology, by Keith Green, a professor
of ophthalmology at the Medical College of Georgia.)

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:28:22 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: MMJ: Marijuana Benefits Disputed
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: carey.ker@utoronto.ca
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Page: A22
Copyright: 1998, The Globe and Mail Company
Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca
Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/
Author: AP

MARIJUANA BENEFITS DISPUTED

AUGUSTA, Ga. A person with glaucoma would have to smoke a marijuana
cigarette every two hours -- about 4,000 a year -- to experience any
medical benefits from the drug, according to new research.

In a study published yesterday in the American Medical Association
journal Archives of Ophthalmology, Keith Green, a professor of
ophthalmology at the Medical College of Georgia, attacks what he calls
"the fallacy that marijuana is of any value at all in the treatment of
glaucoma."

Voters in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and Washington last week
approved measures allowing use of marijuana for medical reasons. Those
reasons include reducing side effects of cancer chemotherapy and
treating glaucoma, a degenerative eye diease.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Colombian Says US Mishandled Bust (An Associated Press article
in The Houston Chronicle says Colombian President Andres Pastrana
accused the United States of mishandling a drug bust on a Colombian air force
plane in Florida, saying US officials should have told his government before
the plane took off from Colombia that it carried cocaine. Pastrana also
questioned why US authorities seized the plane at the Florida airport,
rather than trying to gain more information by tracking the shipment
to its final destination.)

Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 05:19:25 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombian Says U.S. Mishandled Bust
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Copyright: 1998 Houston Chronicle
Author: Associated Press

COLOMBIAN SAYS U.S. MISHANDLED BUST

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- President Andres Pastrana accused the United States
of mishandling a drug bust on a Colombian air force plane, saying U.S.
officials should have told his government before the plane took off from
Colombia that it carried cocaine.

Customs officials at the international airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
said Tuesday that they found 1,639 pounds of cocaine and 13 pounds of heroin
hidden on the C-130 aircraft and detained the six-man crew.

"Why, if they knew about this cargo, didn't they tell us first?" Pastrana
said in his first public comments on the incident, which has been an
international embarrassment for his 3-month-old administration.

U.S. drug agents in the past have been loathe to share information with
Colombia, fearing the intelligence would be leaked to drug traffickers.

Pastrana also questioned why U.S. authorities seized the plane at the
Florida airport, rather than trying to gain more information by tracking the
shipment to its final destination.

"We're truly sad that an incident like this once again blemishes the image
of an entire country," said Pastrana, who took office vowing to step up the
fight against drug traffickers.

A spokesman for the U.S. Customs Service in Miami, Mike Sheehan, said the
drugs were discovered in "a routine inspection, like those we have conducted
many times in the past."

In Colombia, the seizure has led to multiple arrests and a command shake-up
in the 12,000-member air force.

Federal prosecutor's agents on Thursday detained six air force members,
including Maj. Gonzalo Noguera, the intelligence chief of the Bogota
military airport from which the plane took off, as well as a lieutenant and
four aviation technicians.

Noguera and two other officers were forced into retirement. Air force
commander Gen. Jose Manuel Sandoval resigned.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cannabis Beats Fags, Grog (The NT News, in Australia's Northern Territory,
notes the influential British medical periodical, The Lancet, says the
evidence indicates cannabis is less of a threat to health than tobacco
or alcohol.)

Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 07:12:35 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Cannabis Beats Fags, Grog
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: kenbo01@ozemail.com.au (Ken Russell)
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: NT News (Australia)
Contact: Fax: +61 8 8981 6045
Website: http://www.thelancet.com/

CANNABIS BEATS FAGS, GROG

LONDON: Latest evidence indicates cannabis is less of a threat to health
than tobacco or alcohol.

But it is not without risk, influential British medical periodical The
Lancet said yesterday.

It's editorial said: "On medical evidence, moderate indulgence in cannabis
has little effect on health, and decisions to ban or to legalise it should
be based on other things."

The opinion piece followed a call by members of Britain's House of Lords for
cannabis, of which marijuana is a derivative, to be made legally available
as a pain reliever for those suffering from multiple sclerosis or cancer.

A ban on recreational use should remain in place, the Lords committee said
in a report released last Wednesday.

The Lords drew on the views of Australian researchers Wayne Hall and Nadia
Solowij from the Sydney-based National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre,
which were also published in The Lancet.

Hall and Solowij said doctors could advise patients about the most likely
ill-effects of using cannabis.

These included the risk of an accident while driving, if cannabis is used
with alcohol, respiratory complications, possible dependence with daily use,
and a risk, with regular use, of subtle impairment of perception and
reasoning.

Among groups at higher risk of experiencing adverse effects are "people with
asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, schizophrenia, and alcohol or other drug
dependence, whose illnesses may be exacerbated by cannabis use."

The Lords committee argued the medical benefits of the drug, banned in any
form in Britain for more than 25 years, justified an easing of the law.

Pain

The committee recommended doctors and pharmacists should be allowed to
supply it on prescription to help patients in pain, and urged an immediate
change in the law rather than waiting several years for the results of
clinical trials now under way.

The Lords called for research into other ways of taking cannabis than the
traditional way of smoking it, and said there was enough evidence of the
toxic effects to justify the ban on recreational use.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Heroin Trials Urged (The Advertiser, in Australia, says a group of state
and federal politicians, as well as the nation's lord mayors, came together
for the first time yesterday in Adelaide to issue a united call
for controlled heroin-maintenance trials. The group will compile a direct
submission to Prime Minister Howard, urging him to relax his opposition.)

Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 06:19:51 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Heroin Trials Urged
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: kenbo01@ozemail.com.au (Ken Russell)
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Contact: advedit@ozemail.com.au
Website: http://www.advertiser.com.au/
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Page: 10
Author: Annabel Crabb, Political Reporter

HEROIN TRIALS URGED

A JOINT group of State and federal politicians - and the nation's lord
mayors - have issued a united call for controlled heroin trials.

The group, which came together for the first time yesterday in Adelaide,
will compile a direct submission to the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, urging
him to relax his opposition to the trial.

The chairman of the Capital City Lord Mayors Conference, Brisbane Lord
Mayor Mr Jim Soorley, said drug law reform was long overdue in Australia's
cities.

"It's on the streets of the capital cities, where the crime, the violence,
the overdoses and the real victims are," he said.

Adelaide's Lord Mayor, Dr Jane Lomax Smith, said the group was working from
estimates that a heavy drug user needed $40,000 to $50,000 a year to
support the habit - generally funded by crime and prostitution.

But treatment for users, including prescription trials and alternative drug
strategies, would cost an estimated $3000 to $4000 a year.

"It really makes economic sense to provide alternate drugs," Dr Lomax Smith
said.

The mayors each agreed to seek improved access to rehabilitation in their
cities.

They will lobby Mr Howard directly in conjunction with their State and
Federal Government colleagues from the Australian Parliamentary Group for
Drug Law Reform. A spokesman for the parliamentary group, SA Democrats
Leader Mr Mike Elliott, said the principle of harm minimisation was driving
the proposed reforms. Hobart's Lord Mayor, Dr John Freeman, said Mr Howard
was "not well advised" when the Federal Government blocked proposed ACT
heroin trials last year.

"We believe the politicians are behind public opinion," he said.

Before announcing the campaign yesterday, the joint meeting was addressed
by health and drug experts and Assistant Commissioner Paul White of SA Police.

Dr Freeman said information from the session would go into a submission to
Mr Howard early next year.

Associate Professor Steve Allsop, director of the National Centre for
Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University, endorsed harm
minimisation programs such as the drug trials, counselling and needle
exchange facilities.

"What the community must realise is that none of these programs condones
such behavior as drug use," he said.

"Instead harm minimisation for drug users promotes many levels of
intervention - and can include abstinence."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

UK Report Recommends Medical Trials Of Cannabis (The British Medical Journal
notes a report published this week by the House of Lords Science
and Technology Committee recommended that cannabis should be reclassified
as a schedule 2 drug, allowing research and prescription by doctors
on a named patient basis.)

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 22:10:36 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: BMJ: UK Report Recommends Medical Trials Of Cannabis
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: hadorn@dnai.com (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Saturday, 14 Nov 1998
Source: British Medical Journal 1 (Volume 317, Issue 7169)
Copyright: 1998 by the British Medical Journal
Section: News
Contact: bmj@bmj.com
Website: http://www.bmj.com/
Author: Hugh Matthews, BMJ

UK REPORT RECOMMENDS MEDICAL TRIALS OF CANNABIS

Britain's House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recommended in a
report published this week that cannabis should be reclassified as a
schedule 2 drug, allowing research and prescription by doctors on a named
patient basis.

The report called for clinical trials of cannabis in the treatment of
multiple sclerosis and chronic pain but recommended that doctors should be
allowed to prescribe cannabis before its benefits are proved. The
recommendations follow an eight month inquiry, which concluded that
although there was no conclusive proof of the medical value of cannabis,
there was enough anecdotal evidence of its benefits for trials to be
started "as a matter of urgency."

Professor Leslie Iversen, specialist adviser to the committee, said: "As
scientists, we would like to have had objective evidence from clinical
trials," but he added that the weight of anecdotal evidence had led to the
recommendations being made for the medical use of cannabis on compassionate
grounds. However, the committee emphasised the need for alternative routes
of administration, as the dangers of smoking made it an unsuitable route
for a licensed medicine.

Under the misuse of drugs regulations, cannabis cannot be prescribed by
doctors, and clinical trials require a Home Office licence. The government
has said that it would be prepared to permit prescription if medical
benefit was proved, but this could take several years. The House of Lords
report has circumvented this delay by recommending reclassification of
cannabis, allowing research and prescription by doctors on a named patient
basis, although it would remain unlicensed. A spokesman for the Multiple
Sclerosis Society welcomed the report's call for trials to take place but
said that the drug should be evaluated like any other before the society
could recommend its general use (see p 1397).
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Lords Reckon It's High Time For A Change (The New Scientist version)

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:36:35 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Lords Reckon It's High Time For A Change
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Source: New Scientist (U.K.)
Contact: letters@newscientist.com
Website: http://www.newscientist.com/
Pubdate: 14 Nov 1998
Author: David Concar
Section: "This Week" Page 24

LORDS RECKON IT'S HIGH TIME FOR A CHANGE

BRITISH law should be altered to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and
pharmacists to supply it, according to an influential House of Lords
committee.

At present, doctors in Britain are not permitted to prescribe cannabis, and
patients who want it to relieve the symptoms of diseases such as multiple
sclerosis must turn to the black market for supplies.

In an unexpectedly forthright report, the House of Lords Select Committee
on Science and Technology concludes that this "exposes patients and in some
cases their carers to all the distress of criminal proceedings".

In recommending that doctors be allowed to prescribe herbal cannabis,
rather than merely chemicals extracted from the plant, the Lords go further
than other expert groups.

This is bound to provoke opposition from ministers and the medical
establishment. Last year, the British Medical Association called for more
research into the main active ingredients of cannabis and recommended that
these cannabinoids be made available to a wider range of patients.

Pointedly, however, the BMA did not advocate prescribing cannabis in herbal
or resin form. Several scientific witnesses who testified to the Lords
committee agreed, given the absence of conclusive evidence that smoking
cannabis offers patients more relief than taking individual cannabinoids.
And the British government has repeatedly said it will only consider
changing the law if such evidence emerges.

"The problem with this policy is that it will take several years at least
for this to happen," concludes the report. "In the meantime, 85 000 people
in this country will continue to suffer the very unpleasant symptoms of
multiple sclerosis."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Website Of The Week - http://www.ukcia.org/ (The British Medical Journal
recommends the site of UK Cannabis Internet Activists. Edited by partisans,
but responsibly, it incorporates links to information from many reputable
sources. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act site also gets a mention.)

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 21:34:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: BMJ: Website Of The Week http://www.ukcia.org/
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: hadorn@dnai.com (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Saturday, 14 Nov 1998
Source: British Medical Journal 1 (Volume 317, Issue 7169)
Copyright: 1998 by the British Medical Journal
Website: bmj@bmj.com
Contact: http://www.bmj.com/
Reviewer: Douglas Carnall

BMJ 1998;317:1394 (14 November)

Reviews WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

http://www.ukcia.org/

The UK Cannabis Internet Activists met on line back in 1995, taught
themselves HTML (the markup language used by all web browsers), and got to
work on building a site that is clearly organised and nice to look at. A
site edited by partisans must be interpreted with caution, but the approach
seems responsible and incorporates links or references to information from
many reputable sources.

These include the BMA, whose report recommending a change in the law to
allow research on the use of cannabinoids in chronic illness, published
almost a year ago to the day, has plainly been influential. This week the
House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee concurs (p 1337), and
there seems little doubt that change in the law will follow. Events in the
United States are moving in the same direction, following pressure from
groups such as the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp
(http://www.crrh.org/ ). A total of seven states covering a fifth of the
nation's population have directly contradicted federal drug laws in recent
referendums. Far more sites argue for reform than for the status quo:
despite an assiduous morning's browsing on a high speed network, anti-drug
sites proved elusive. On the internet at least, those fighting the war on
the "war on drugs" are definitely winning.

While advocacy abounds, hard scientific evidence about cannabis is hard to
find. There are, for example, no trials reported at
http://www.controlled-trials.com/, although its presence refutes earlier
reports ( http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/317/7167/1258/c ) that the
website does not exist. Hint for press officers: if you want to publicise
your website take care to supply the correct URL.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dangerous Habits (A staff editorial in The Lancet says the British scientific
journal is qualifying its opinion of three years ago, that cannabis smoking,
even long-term, is harmless. The medical evidence available still suggests
moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health,
but decisions to ban or to legalise cannabis should be based on other
considerations.)

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:19:47 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Lancet: Editorial: Dangerous Habits
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Lancet, The (UK)
Volumne: 352, Number 9140
Contact: lancet.editorial@elsevier.co.uk
Website: http://www.thelancet.com/

Editorial

DANGEROUS HABITS

3 years ago, a Lancet editorial began, "The smoking of cannabis, even long
term, is not harmful to health" (Nov 11, 1995); an assertion criticised by
many readers as encouraging an indulgence that is illegal in many
countries. Predictably, the legalise-cannabis lobby seized on The Lancet's
apparent endorsement of this substance's safety. This week we publish a
seminar on the adverse effects of cannabis (p 1611) . Wayne Hall and Nadia
Solowij conclude that the most likely adverse effects of smoking cannabis
are bronchial irritation, the risk of accidents when intoxicated,
dependence, and possible cognitive impairment with heavy, long-term use.

The evidence summarised in this seminar was considered by a committee of
the UK House of Lords which reported on Nov 11 . The committee recommended
that clinical trials be done on the effects of cannabis in multiple
sclerosis and in chronic pain, and that the UK Government should reclassify
cannabis so that it can be prescribed by doctors under certain
circumstances.

The debate about whether or not cannabis, taken for recreational rather
than medical reasons, should be legalised in countries where it is banned
will rumble on, and further complicate scientific assessment of the
therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. The arguments advanced by each side
are well-rehearsed, but usually fail to consider the problems presented by
cannabis in a wider perspective. We would, perhaps, have been wiser to have
begun our editorial 3 years ago with a less provocative statement; but, on
the evidence summarised by Hall and Solowij, it would be reasonable to
judge cannabis less of a threat to health than alcohol or tobacco, products
that it many countries are not only tolerated and advertised but are also a
useful source of tax revenue. The desire to take mood-altering substances
is an enduring feature of human societies worldwide and even the most
draconian legislation has failed to extinguish this desire--for every
substance banned another will be discovered, and all are likely to have
some ill-effect on health. This should be borne in mind by social
legislators who, disapproving of other people's indulgences, seek to make
them illegal. Such legislation does not get rid of the problem; it merely
shifts it elsewhere.

One aspect of taking mood-altering substances may require legislation: the
protection of others from annoyance and harm. Whether or not a person's
indulgence poses a threat to others has been used as a guide to define the
limits of socially acceptable behaviour; although to do so begs the
question of people's responsibility for themselves. Should it be, for
example, permissible for people deliberately to put their lives or health
at risk through participating in dangerous sports such as boxing or motor
racing? Do people have the right to decide for themselves what risks to
take, irrespective of any expense and inconvenience to others when the
risks come home? Is it reasonable to say "It is my life, I shall do as I
choose", when almost everyone shares their lives with friends or family who
would be damaged by their illness or death? Whatever the answers to these
questions, there is one aspect that is indisputable: people have the right
to know what are the risks to themselves and to others.

2 weeks ago, we published evidence that the sustained use of
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("Ecstasy") was associated with a
decrease in serotonin neurons in the brain (Oct 31, p 1433) . This is
information that any user of Ecstasy has a right to know; just as users of
cannabis should be aware of its possible hazards. Because the debate about
use of cannabis arouses strong emotions, there is, as Hall and Solowij
note, no "consensus on what health information the medical profession
should give to patients who are users or potential users of cannabis."
Doctors called upon for advice about use of cannabis will find the authors'
last paragraph a useful source of dispassionate information. The advice is
little different from that appropiate for many other mood-altering
substances: do not drive motor vehicles whilst intoxicated and do not
overindulge.

We will qualify our opinion of 3 years ago and say that, on the medical
evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect
on health, and that decisions to ban or to legalise cannabis should be
based on other considerations.

The Lancet
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Adverse Effects Of Cannabis (The Lancet publishes an Australian review
of the medical literature on the adverse effects of cannabis, which finds
a lot of evidence that cannabis is harmless, but rehashes discredited
"research" from Sweden and other drug warrior bastions - unreplicated
elsewhere and unsubstantiated by the epidemiological literature - suggesting,
for example, that cannabis just might cause an increase in automobile
accidents or a significant increase in schizophrenia cases.)

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 13:20:17 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: UK: Lancet: Adverse Effects Of Cannabis (part 1)
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Martin Cooke (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Nov 1998
Source: Lancet, The (UK)
Volume: 352, Number 9140
Contact: lancet.editorial@elsevier.co.uk
Website: http://www.thelancet.com/
Copyright: Lancet, The (UK)
Author: Wayne Hall, Nadia Solowij

SEMINAR

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre,
University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia

(part 1)
Cannabis The Drug
Patterns Of Cannabis Use
Acute Effects Of Cannabis
Effects Of Chronic Cannabis Use

(Part 2)
References
Further Reading

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in many developed societies.
Its health and psychological effects are not well understood and remain the
subject of much debate, with opinions on its risks polarised along the
lines of proponents' views on what its legal status should be. An
unfortunate consequence of this polarisation of opinion has been the
absence of any consensus on what health information the medical profession
should give to patients who are users or potential users of cannabis. There
is conflicting evidence about many of the effects of cannabis use, so we
summarise the evidence on the most probable adverse health and
psychological consequences of acute and chronic use. This uncertainty,
however, should not prevent medical practitioners from advising patients
about the most likely ill-effects of their cannabis use. Here we make some
suggestions about the advice doctors can give to patients who use, or are
contemplating the use, of this drug.

In many western societies, cannabis has been used by a substantial
minority, and in some a majority, of young adults, even though its use is
prohibited by law.1 Debate about the justification for continuing to
prohibit cannabis use has polarised opinion about the seriousness of its
adverse health effects.2 In addition, the possible therapeutic effects of
cannabinoids have become entangled in the debate about prohibition of
recreational cannabis use (see Further reading). The health effects of
cannabis use, especially of long-term use, remain uncertain because there
is very little epidemiological research and because of disagreements about
the interpretation of the limited epidemiological and laboratory evidence.2
Here we summarise the evidence on the most probable adverse health effects
of cannabis use acknowledging where appropriate the uncertainty that
remains.

CANNABIS THE DRUG

Cannabis preparations are largely derived from the female plant of Cannabis
sativa. The primary psychoactive constituent is -9-tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC).3 The THC content is highest in the flowering tops, declining in the
leaves, lower leaves, stems, and seeds of the plant. Marijuana (THC content
0=B75-5=B70%) is prepared from the dried flowering tops and leaves; hashish
(THC content 2-20%) consists of dried cannabis resin and compressed
flowers; and hashish oil may contain between 15% and 50% THC.3 Sinsemilla
and Netherwood varieties of cannabis may have a THC content of up to 20%.3
Cannabis may be smoked in a "joint", which is the size of a cigarette, or
in a water pipe. Tobacco may be added to assist burning. Smokers typically
inhale deeply and hold their breath to maximise absorption of THC by the
lungs. Marijuana and hashish may also be eaten, but cannabis is mostly
smoked because this is the easiest way to achieve the desired psychoactive
effects.2

A typical joint contains between 0=B75 g and 1=B70 g of cannabis. The THC
delivered varies between 20% and 70%,2 its bioavailability ranging from 5%
to 24%.3 As little as 2-3 mg of available THC will produce a "high" in
occasional users, but regular users may smoke five or more joints a day.

Cannabinoids act on a specific receptor that is widely distributed in the
brain regions involved in cognition, memory reward, pain perception, and
motor coordination.3 These receptors respond to an endogenous ligand,
anandamide, which is much less potent and has a shorter duration than THC.3
The identification of a specific cannabinoid antagonist promises to improve
our understanding of the role of cannabinoids in normal brain function.3

PATTERNS OF CANNABIS USE

Cannabis has been tried by many European young adults and by most young
adults in the USA and Australia.1 Most cannabis use is intermittent and
time-limited: most users stop in their mid to late 20s, and very few engage
in daily cannabis use over a period of years.4 In the USA and Australia,
about 10% of those who ever use cannabis become daily users, and another
20-30% use the drug weekly.1,4

Because of uncertainties about THC content, heavy cannabis use is generally
defined as daily or near daily use.2 This pattern of use over years places
users at greatest risk of adverse health and psychological consequences.2
Daily cannabis users are more likely to be male, to be less well educated,
to use alcohol and tobacco regularly, and to use amphetamines,
hallucinogens, psychostimulants, sedatives, and opioids.5

ACUTE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS

Cannabis produces euphoria and relaxation, perceptual alterations, time
distortion, and the intensification of ordinary sensory experiences, such
as eating, watching films, and listening to music.2 When used in a social
setting it may produce infectious laughter and talkativeness. Short-term
memory and attention, motor skills, reaction time, and skilled activities
are impaired while a person is intoxicated.2

The most common unpleasant side-effects of occasional cannabis use are
anxiety and panic reactions.2 These effects may be reported by naive
users, and they are a common reason for discontinuation of use; more
experienced users may occasionally report these effects after receiving a
much larger than usual dose of THC.2

Cannabis smoking or ingestion of THC increases heart rate by 20-50% within
a few minutes to a quarter of an hour; this effect lasts for up to 3 h.2
Blood pressure is increased while the person is sitting, and decreased
while standing.2 These effects are of negligible clinical significance in
healthy young users because tolerance develops to them.2

The acute toxicity of cannabinoids is very low.2 There are no confirmed
published cases worldwide of human deaths from cannabis poisoning, and the
dose of THC required to produce 50% mortality in rodents is extremely high
compared with other commonly used drugs.2

Psychomotor effects and driving

Cannabis produces dose-related impairments in cognitive and behavioural
functions that may potentially impair driving a motor vehicle or operating
machinery.6 These impairments are larger and more persistent for difficult
tasks that depend on sustained attention.6 The most serious possible
consequence of acute cannabis use is a road-traffic accident if a user
drives while intoxicated.2

The effects of recreational doses of cannabis on driving performance in
laboratory simulators and standardised driving courses have been reported
by some researchers as being similar to the effects when blood alcohol
concentrations are between 0=B707% and 0=B710%.2 However, studies of the
effects of cannabis on driving under more realistic conditions on roads
have shown much more modest impairments,7,8 probably because cannabis users
are more aware of their impairment and less inclined to take risks than
alcohol users.7,8

Results of epidemiological studies of road-traffic accidents are equivocal
because most drivers who have cannabinoids in their blood also have high
blood alcohol concentrations.2 In two studies with reasonable numbers of
individuals who had only used cannabis, there was no clear evidence of
increased culpability in these drivers.9 The separate effects of alcohol
and cannabis on psychomotor impairment and driving performance in
laboratory tasks are roughly additive,9 so the main effect of cannabis use
on driving may be in amplifying the impairments caused by alcohol, which is
often used with the drug.2

EFFECTS OF CHRONIC CANNABIS USE

Cellular effects and the immune system Cannabis smoke may be carcinogenic;
it is mutagenic in vitro and in vivo.10 Cannabinoids impair cell-mediated
and humoral immunity in rodents, decreasing resistance to infection, and
non-cannabinoids in cannabis smoke impair alveolar macrophages.11 The
relevance of these findings to human health is uncertain because the doses
of THC used in animal studies have been very high, and tolerance may
develop to the effects on immunity in human beings.12

A few studies that have pointed to the adverse effects of cannabis on human
immunity have not been replicated.12 There is no conclusive evidence that
consumption of cannabinoids impairs human immune function, as measured by
numbers of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, or macrophages, or immunoglobulin
concentrations.12 Two prospective studies of HIV-positive homosexual men
have shown that cannabis use is not associated with an increased risk of
progression to AIDS concentrations.13,14David

Summary of adverse effects of cannabis

Acute effects

* Anxiety and panic, especially in naive users.

* Impaired attention, memory, and psychomotor performance while intoxicated.

* Possibly an increased risk of accident if a person drives a motor vehicle
while intoxicated with cannabis, especially if cannabis is used with
alcohol.

* Increased risk of psychotic symptoms among those who are vulnerable
because of personal or family history of psychosis.

Chronic effects (uncertain but most probable)

* Chronic bronchitis and histopathological changes that may be precursors
to the developmentof malignant disease.

* A cannabis dependence syndrome characterised by an inability to abstain
from or to control cannabis use.

* Subtle impairments of attention and memory that persist while the user
remains chronically intoxicated, and that may or may not be reversible
after prolonged abstinence.

Possible adverse effects (to be confirmed)

* Increased risk of cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, and oesophagus;
leukaemia among offspring exposed in utero.

* Impaired educational attainment in adolescents and underachievement in
adults in occupations requiring high-level cognitive skills.

Groups at higher risk of experiencing these adverse effects

* Adolescents with a history of poor school performance, who initiate
cannabis use in the early teens, are at increased risk of using other
illicit drugs and of becoming dependent on cannabis.

* Women who continue to smoke cannabis during pregnancy may increase their
risk of having a low-birthweight baby.

* People with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, schizophrenia, and alcohol and
other drug dependence, whose illnesses may be exacerbated by cannabis use.

Respiratory system

Chronic heavy cannabis smoking is associated with increased symptoms of
chronic bronchitis, such as coughing, production of sputum, and
wheezing.15,16 Lung function is significantly poorer and there are
significantly greater abnormalities in the large airways of marijuana
smokers than in non-smokers. Tashkin and colleagues16,17 have reported
evidence of an additive effect of marijuana and tobacco smoking on
histopathological abnormalities in lung tissue.

Bloom and colleagues15 reported similar additive effects on bronchitic
symptoms in an epidemiological study of the respiratory effects of smoking
"non-tobacco" cigarettes in 990 individuals aged under 40 years in Tucson,
Arizona, USA. Non-tobacco smokers reported more coughing, phlegm
production, and wheeze than non-smokers, irrespective of whether they also
smoked tobacco. Those who had never smoked any substance had the best
respiratory functioning, followed in order of decreasing function by
current tobacco smokers, current non-tobacco smokers, and current smokers
of both tobacco and non-tobacco cigarettes. Non-tobacco smoking alone had a
larger effect on respiratory function than tobacco smoking alone, and the
effect of both types of smoking was additive.15

In 1997, Tashkin and colleagues18 reported that the rate of decline in
respiratory function over 8 years among marijuana smokers did not differ
from that in non-smokers. This finding contrasted with that of a follow-up
of the Tucson cohort,19 in which there was a greater rate of decline in
respiratory function among marijuana-only smokers than in tobacco-only
smokers and additive effects of tobacco and marijuana smoking. Both studies
showed that long-term cannabis smoking increased bronchitic symptoms.

In view of the adverse effects of tobacco smoking, the similarity between
tobacco and cannabis smoke, and the evidence that cannabis smoking produces
histopathological changes that precede lung cancer,17 long-term cannabis
smoking may also increase the risks of respiratory cancer.20 There have
been reports of cancers in the aerodigestive tract in young adults with a
history of heavy cannabis use.21,22 These reports are worrying since such
cancers are rare among adults under the age of 60, even those who smoke
tobacco and drink alcohol.20 Case-control studies of the role of cannabis
smoking in these cancers are urgently needed.

Reproductive effects

Chronic administration of high doses of THC to animals lowers testosterone
secretion, impairs sperm production, motility, and viability, and disrupts
the ovulatory cycle.23 Whether cannabis smoking has these effects in human
beings is uncertain because the published evidence is small and
inconsistent.2

Cannabis administration during pregnancy reduces birthweight in animals.24
The results of human epidemiological studies have been more equivocal.2 The
stigma of using illicit drugs during pregnancy discourages honest
reporting,25 and when associations are found, they are difficult to
interpret because cannabis users are more likely than non-users to smoke
tobacco, drink alcohol, and use other illicit drugs during pregnancy, and
they differ in social class, education, and nutrition.26 Several studies
have suggested that cannabis smoking in pregnancy may reduce birthweight.2
In the best controlled of these studies, this relation has persisted after
statistical control for potential confounding variables,27 but other
studies28 have not shown any such association. The effect of cannabis on
birthweight in the studies that have found an association has been small
compared with that of tobacco smoking.26

That cannabis use during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects is
unlikely. Early case reports have not been supported by large
well-controlled epidemiological studies. For example, the study by
Zuckerman et al27 included a large sample of women with a substantial
prevalence of cannabis use that was verified by urine analysis, and there
was no increase in birth defects.

There is suggestive evidence that infants exposed in utero to cannabis have
behavioural and developmental effects during the first few months after
birth.26 Between the ages of 4 and 9 years, children who were exposed in
utero have shown deficits in sustained attention, memory, and higher
cognitive functioning.29 The clinical significance of these effects remains
unclear since they are small compared with the effects of maternal tobacco
use.29

Three studies have shown an increased risk of non-lymphoblastic
leukaemia,30 rhabdomyosarcoma,31 and astrocytoma32 in children whose
mothers reported using cannabis during their pregnancies. None of these was
a planned study of the association; cannabis use was one of many potential
confounders included in statistical analyses of the relation between the
exposure of interest and childhood cancer. Their replication is a priority.
Behavioural effects in adolescence

There is a cross-sectional association between heavy cannabis use in
adolescence and the risk of leaving high-school education and of
experiencing job instability in young adulthood.33 However, the strength of
this association is reduced in longitudinal studies when statistical
adjustments are made for the fact that, compared with their peers, heavy
cannabis users have poor high-school performance before using
cannabis.33,34 There is some evidence that heavy use has adverse effects on
family formation, mental health, and involvement in drug-related crime.33
In each case, the strong associations in cross-sectional studies are more
modest in longitudinal studies after statistical control for associations
between cannabis use and other pre-existing characteristics that
independently predict these adverse outcomes.34

A consistent finding in the USA has been the regular sequence of initiation
into drug use in which cannabis use has typically preceded involvement with
"harder" illicit drugs such as stimulants and opioids.5,33,35 The
interpretation of this sequence remains controversial. The less compelling
hypothesis is that cannabis use directly increases the use of other drugs
in the sequence. There is better support for two other hypotheses--namely,
that there is a selective recruitment into cannabis use of non-conforming
adolescents who have a propensity to use other illicit drugs, and that once
recruited to cannabis use, social interaction with drug-using peers, and
greater access to illicit-drug markets, they are more likely to use other
illicit drugs.2,34

Dependence syndrome

Animals develop tolerance to the effects of repeated doses of THC,36 and
studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect the same reward systems as
alcohol, cocaine, and opioids.37 Heavy smokers of cannabis also develop
tolerance to its subjective and cardiovascular effects,36 and some report
withdrawal symptoms on the abrupt cessation of cannabis use.36,38

There is evidence that a cannabis dependence syndrome occurs with heavy
chronic use in individuals who report problems in controlling their use and
who continue to use the drug despite experiencing adverse personal
consequences.2,39 There is some clinical evidence of a dependence syndrome
analogous to that for alcohol.2 In the USA, cannabis dependence is among
the most common forms of illicit-drug dependence in the population.40 About
one in ten of those who ever use cannabis become dependent on it at some
time during their 4 or 5 years of heaviest use.40 This risk is more like
the equivalent risk for alcohol (15%) than for nicotine (32%) or opioids
(23%).40

Cognitive effects

The long-term heavy use of cannabis does not produce the severe or grossly
debilitating impairment of memory, attention, and cognitive function that
is found with chronic heavy alcohol use.2 Electrophysiological and
neuropsychological studies show that it may produce more subtle impairment
of memory, attention, and the organisation and integration of complex
information.41-43 The longer cannabis has been used, the more pronounced
the cognitive impairment.41 These impairments are subtle, so it remains
unclear how important they are for everyday functioning, and whether they
are reversed after an extended period of abstinence.2 Early studies that
suggested gross structural brain damage with heavy use have not been
supported by better controlled studies with better methods.41 Research in
animals has shown that chronic cannabinoid administration may compromise
the endogenous cannabinoid system3,41 (its function is unclear, but it has
roles in memory, emotion, and cognitive functioning, as mentioned above).
These results are consistent with the subtlety of the cognitive effects of
chronic cannabis use in human beings.41

Psychosis

Large doses of THC produce confusion, amnesia, delusions, hallucinations,
anxiety, and agitation.44 Such reactions are rare, occurring after
unusually heavy cannabis use; in most cases they remit rapidly after
abstinence from cannabis.2

There is an association between cannabis use and schizophrenia. A
prospective study of 50 000 Swedish conscripts45 found a dose-response
relation between the frequency of cannabis use by age 18 and the risk of a
diagnosis of schizophrenia over the subsequent 15 years. A plausible
explanation is that cannabis use can exacerbate the symptoms of
schizophrenia,2,46 and there is prospective evidence that continued use
predicts more psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia.47 A
declining incidence of treated cases of schizophrenia over the period when
cannabis use has increased suggests, however, that cannabis use is unlikely
to have caused cases of schizophrenia that would not otherwise have
occurred.48 This observation suggests that chronic use may precipitate
schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals, an effect that would not be
expected to change incidence.45

Premature mortality

There have been two prospective epidemiological studies of mortality among
cannabis users. A Swedish study of mortality during 15 years among male
military conscripts showed an increased risk of premature death among men
who had smoked cannabis 50 or more times by age 18.49 Violent and
accidental death was the main contributor to this excess. However, the
association between mortality and cannabis use disappeared after
multivariate statistical adjustment for alcohol and other drug use.49

Sydney and colleagues50 reported a 10-year study of mortality in cannabis
users aged between 15 and 49 years among 65171 members of the Kaiser
Permanente Medical Care Program. The sample consisted of 38% who had never
used cannabis, 20% who had used fewer than six times, 20% who were former
users, and 22% who were current users. Regular cannabis use had a small
association with premature mortality (RR 1=B733), which was wholly
explained by increased deaths from AIDS in men, probably because marijuana
use was a marker for male homosexual behaviour in this cohort. It is too
early to conclude from the study that marijuana use does not increase
mortality because the average age at follow-up was only 43 years, and
cigarette smoking and alcohol use were only modestly associated with
premature mortality.50

Possible effects of increased THC content of cannabis

The average THC content of cannabis has probably increased over the past
several decades, but without good data by how much is unclear.2 This
situation probably reflects a combination of an increased market for more
potent cannabis products among regular users,2 and improved methods of
growing high-THC-content.3 The net health consequences of any increase in
potency are uncertain.2 Among naive users, higher THC content may increase
adverse psychological effects, including psychotic symptoms, thereby
discouraging some from continuing to use. Among those who continue to use
cannabis, increased potency may increase the risks of developing
dependence, having accidents if driving while intoxicated, and experiencing
psychotic symptoms. If experienced users can regulate their dose of THC,
the respiratory risks of cannabis smoking may be marginally reduced.

Health advice for cannabis users

Uncertainty about the adverse health effects of acute, and especially
chronic, cannabis use, should not prevent medical practitioners from
advising patients who use cannabis about the most probable ill-effects of
their cannabis use with emphasis on the uncertainty. In the absence of
other risk factors, this should include advice about the possibility of
being involved in a motor-vehicle accident if patients drive while
intoxicated by cannabis; the higher risk of an accident if they drive when
intoxicated by both alcohol and cannabis; the respiratory risks of
long-term cannabis smoking, which are substantially increased if they also
smoke tobacco; an increased risk of developing dependence if they are daily
users of cannabis; and the possibility of subtle cognitive impairment if
they use regularly over several years.

We thank Greg Chesher for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

SEMINAR:

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS

(Part 2)
References
Further Reading

REFERENCES

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effects of cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

2 Hall W, Solowij N, Lemon J. The health and psychological consequences of
cannabis use. National Drug Strategy Monograph Series no 25. Canberra:
Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994.

3 Adams IB, Martin BR. Cannabis: pharmacology and toxicology in animals and
humans. Addiction 1996; 91: 1585-614.

4 Bachman JG, Wadsworth KN, O'Mally PM, et al. Smoking, drinking and drug
use in young adulthood. Malwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
1997.

5 Kandel DB, Davies M. Progression to regular marijuana involvement:
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6 Chait LD, Pierri J. Effects of smoked marijuana on human performance: a
critical review. In: Murphy A, Bartke J, eds. Marijuana/cannabinoids:
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7 Robbe HWJ. Influence of marijuana on driving. Maastricht, University of
Limberg: Institute for Human Psychopharmacology, 1994.

8 Smiley A. Marijuana: on road and driving simulator studies. In: Kalant H,
Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R, eds. The health effects of cannabis. Toronto:
Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

9 Chesher G. Cannabis and road safety: an outline of research studies to
examine the effects of cannabis on driving skills and actual driving
performance. In: Road Safety Committee, Parliament of Victoria. The effects
of drugs (other than alcohol) on road safety. Melbourne: Road Safety
Committee, Parliament of Victoria, 1995: 67-96.

10 Leuchtenberger C. Effects of marihuana (cannabis) smoke on cellular
biochemistry of in vitro test systems. In: Fehr KO, Kalant H, eds. Cannabis
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11 Munson AE, Fehr KO. Immunological effects of cannabis. In: Fehr KO,
Kalant H, eds. Cannabis and health hazards. Toronto: Addiction Research
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12 Hollister LE. Marijuana and immunity. J Psychoactive Drugs 1992; 24: 159-64.

13 Coates RA, Farewell VT, Raboud J, et al. Cofactors of progression to
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in a cohort of male sexual contacts of
men with human immunodeficiency virus disease. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 132:
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14 Kaslow RA, Blackwelder WC, Ostrow DG, et al. No evidence for a role of
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15 Bloom JW, Kaltenborn WT, Paoletti P, et al. Respiratory effects of
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16 Tashkin DP, Fligiel S, Wu TC, et al. Effects of habitual use of
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17 Fligiel SEG, Roth MD, Kleerup EC, et al. Tracheobronchial histopathology
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18 Tashkin DP, Simmons MS, Sherrill DL, Coulson AH. Heavy habitual
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19 Sherrill DL, Krzyzanowski JW, Bloom JW, Lebowitz MD. Respiratory effects
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20 Tashkin DP. Is frequent marijuana smoking harmful to health? Western J
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21 Caplan GA, Brigham BA. Marijuana smoking and carcinoma of the tongue. Is
there an association? Cancer 1989; 66: 1005-06.

22 Sridar KS, Raub WA, Weatherby NL, et al. Possible role of marijuana
smoking as a carcinogen in the development of lung cancer at an early age.
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23 Bloch E. Effects of marijuana and cannabinoids on reproduction,
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24 Abel EL. Effects of prenatal exposure to cannabinoids. In: Pinkert TM,
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25 Richardson GA, Day NL, McGauhey PJ. The impact of prenatal marijuana and
cocaine use on the infant and child. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1993; 36: 302-18.
26 Fried PA. Prenatal exposure to tobacco and marijuana: effects during
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319-36.

27 Zuckerman B, Frank D, Hingson R, et al. Effects of maternal marijuana
and cocaine use on fetal growth. N Engl J Med 1989; 320: 762-68.

28 Shiono PH, Klebanoff MA, Nugent RP, et al. The impact of cocaine and
marijuana use on low birth weight and preterm birth: a multicenter study.
Am J Obstet Gynecol 1995; 172: 19-27.

29 Fried PA. Behavioural outcomes in preschool-aged children exposed
prenatally to marijuana: a review and speculative interpretation. In:
Wetherington CL, Smeriglio CL, Finnegan L, eds. Behavioural studies of drug
exposed offspring: methodological issues in human and animal research. NIDA
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30 Robison LI, Buckley JD, Daigle AE, et al. Maternal drug use and the risk
of childhood nonlympholastic leukemia among offspring: an epidemiologic
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31 Grufferman S, Schwartz AG, Ruymann FB, Mauer HM. Parent's use of cocaine
and marijuana and increased risk of rhabdomyosarcoma in their children.
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32 Kuitjen RR, Bunin GR, Nass CC, Meadows AT. Parental occupation and
childhood astrocytoma. Cancer Res 1992; 52: 782-86.

33 Newcombe T, Bentler P. Consequences of adolescent drug use: impact on
the lives of young adults. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications,
1988.

34 Fergusson D, Horwood J. Early onset cannabis use and psychosocial
adjustment in young adults. Addiction 1997; 92: 279-96.

35 Yamaguchi K, Kandel DB. Patterns of drug use from adolescence to
adulthood: II--sequences of progression. Am J Public Health 1984; 74:
668-72.

36 Compton DR, Dewey WL, Martin BR. Cannabis dependence and tolerance
production. Adv Alcohol Subst Abuse 1990; 9: 128-47.

37 Wickelgren I. Marijuana: harder than thought? Science 1997; 276:
1967-68. 38 Weisbeck GA, Schuckit MA, Kalmijn JA, et al. An evaluation of
the history of marijuana withdrawal syndrome in a large population.
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39 Stephens RS, Roffman RA, Simpson EE. Adult marijuana users seeking
treatment. J Consult Clin Psychol 1993; 61: 1110-04.

40 Anthony JC, Warner LA, Kessler RC. Comparative epidemiology of
dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances and inhabitants:
basic findings from the National Comorbidity Study. Clin Exp
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41 Solowij N. Cannabis and cognitive functioning. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1998.

42 Fletcher JM, Page JB, Francis DJ, et al. Cognitive correlates of
long-term cannabis use in Costa Rican men. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996; 53:
1051-57.

43 Pope HG, Yurgelun-Todd D. The residual congitive effects of heavy
marijuana use. JAMA 1996; 275: 521-27.

44 Chopra GS, Smith JW. Psychotic reactions following cannabis use in East
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45 Andreasson S, Allebeck P, Engstrom A, Rydberg U. Cannabis and
schizophrenia: a longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet 1987; ii:
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46 Turner WM, Tsuang MT. Impact of substance abuse on the course and
outcome of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bull 1990; 16: 87-95.

47 Linszen DH, Dingemans PM, Lenior ME. Cannabis abuse and the course and
outcome of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bull 1990; 16: 87-372.

48 Der G, Gupta S, Murray RM. Is schizophrenia disappearing? Lancet 1990;
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49 Andreasson S, Allebeck P. Cannabis and mortality among young men: a
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FURTHER READING

General

Hall W, Solowij N, Lemon J. The health and psychological consequences of
cannabis use. National Drug Strategy Monograph Series no 25. Canberra:
Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994.

Hollister LE. Health aspects of cannabis. Pharmacol Rev 1986; 38: 1-20.

Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R, eds. The health effects of cannabis.
Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Programme on Substance Abuse, WHO. Cannabis: a health perspective and
research agenda. Geneva: Division of Mental Health and Prevention of
Substance Abuse, WHO, 1997.

Pharmacology

Adams IB, Martin BR. Cannabis: pharmacology and toxicology in animals and
humans. Addiction 1996; 91: 1585-614.

Compton DR, Harris LS, Lichtman AH, Martin BR. Marihuana. In: Schuster CR,
Kuher MJ, eds. Pharmacological aspects of drug dependence. Berlin: Springer
Verlag, 1993,

Pertwee RG. Pharmacological, physiological and clinical implications of the
discovery of cannabinoid receptors: an overview. In: Pertwee RG, ed.
Cannabinoid receptors. London: Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Patterns of cannabis use

Bachman JG, Wadsworth KN, O'Malley PM, et al. Smoking, drinking and drug
use in young adulthood: Malwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
1997.

Hall W, Johnston L, Donnelly N. The epidemiology of cannabis use and its
consequences. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects
of cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Driving

Chesher G. Cannabis and road safety: an outline of research studies to
examine the effects of cannabis on driving skills and actual driving
performance. In: Road Safety Committee, Parliament of Victoria. The effects
of drugs (other than alcohol) on road safety. Melbourne: Road Safety
Committee, Parliament of Victoria, 1995: 67-96.

Robbe HWJ. Influence of marijuana on driving. Maastricht, Institute for
Human Psychopharmacology, University of Limberg, 1994.

Smiley A. Marijuana: on road and driving simulator studies. In: Kalant H,
Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects of cannabis. Toronto:
Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Terhune KW. Problems and methods in studying drug crash effects. Alcohol
Drugs Driving 1986; 2: 1-13.

Immune system

Hollister LE. Marijuana and immunity. J Psychoactive Drugs 1992; 24:
159-64. Klein TW. Cannabis and immunity. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W,
Smart R. The health effects of cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research
Foundation, 1998.

Respiratory effects

Tashkin D. Effects of cannabis on the respiratory system. In: Kalant H,
Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects of cannabis. Toronto:
Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Taylor FM. Marijuana as a potential respiratory tract carcinogen: a
retrospective analysis of a community hospital population. South Med J
1988; 81: 1213-16.

Wu T, Tashkin DP, Djahed B, Rose JE. Pulmonary hazards of smoking marijuana
as compared with tobacco. N Engl J Med 1988; 318: 347-51.

Reproductive effects

Fried PA. Prenatal exposure to tobacco and marijuana: effects during
pregnancy, infancy and early childhood. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1993; 36:
319-36.

Fried PA. The Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study (OPPS): methodological
issues and findings-its easy to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Life Sci 1995; 56: 2159-68.

Richardson GA, Day NL, McGauhey PH. The impact of prenatal marijuana and
cocaine use on the infant and child. Clin Obstet Gynecol 1993; 36: 302-18.
Adolescent use

Chen K, Kandel DB. The natural history of drug use from adolescence to the
mid-thirties in a general population sample. Am J Public Health 1995; 85:
41-47.

Hall W, Johnston L, Donnelly N. The epidemiology of cannabis use and its
consequences. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects
of cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Kandel DB. Issues of sequencing of adolescent drug use and other problem
behaviors. Drugs Soc 1988; 3: 55-76.

Osgood DW, Johnston LD, O'Malley PM, Bachman JG. The generality of deviance
in late adolescence and early adulthood. Am Social Rev 1988; 53: 81-93.

Dependence

Channabasavanna S, Paes M, Hall W. Psychiatric and behavioural effects of
cannabis. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects of
cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Reseach Foundation, 1998.

Jones RT, Benowitz N, Herning RI. The clinical relevance of cannabis
tolerance and dependence. J Clin Pharmacol 1981; 21: 143S-152S.

Stephens RS, Roffman RA. Adult marijuana dependence. In: Baer JS, Marlatt
GA, MacMahon RJ, eds. Addictive behaviors across the lifespan: prevention,
treatment and policy issues. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications,
1993.

Cognitive effects

Pope HG, Gruber AJ, Yurgelun-Todd D. The residual neuropsychological
effects of cannabis: the current status of research. Drug Alcohol Depend
1995; 38: 25-34.

Solowij N. Cannabis and cognitive functioning. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1998.

Psychosis

Allebeck P. Cannabis and schizophrenia: is there a causal association? In:
Nahas GG, Latour C, eds. Physiopathology of illicit drugs: cannabis,
cocaine, opiates. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1991.

Channabasavanna S, Paes M, Hall W. Psychiatric and behavioural effects of
cannabis. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W, Smart R. The health effects of
cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation, 1998.

Thomas H. Psychiatric symptoms in cannabis users. Br J Psychiatry 1993;
163: 141-49.

Tien AY, Anthony JC. Epidemiological analysis of alcohol and drug use as
risk factors for psychotic experiences. J Nerv Mental Disorder 1990; 178:
473-80.

Thornicroft G. Cannabis and psychosis: is there epidemiological evidence
for an association? Br J Psychiatry 1990; 157: 25-33.

Therapeutic effects

British Medical Association. Therapeutic uses of cannabis. Amsterdam:
Harwood Academic, 1997.

Hartel C. Therapeutic uses of cannabis. In: Kalant H, Corrigal W, Hall W,
Smart R. The health effects of cannabis. Toronto: Addiction Research
Foundaton, 1998.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Report on the possible medical uses of
marijuana. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health, 1997.
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Marijuana Special Report: Let's chill out (New Scientist, in Britain, says
the biggest obstacles everywhere to the reform of medical marijuana laws are
political.)
Link to New Scientist's 'Marijuana Special Report' index
New Scientist Britain 14 November 1998 http://www.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/marijuana.html Marijuana Special Report: Let's chill out * Despite pressure to let sick people use marijuana, governments are wary The strength of President Clinton's revival at the ballot box last week surprised everyone. But then, so did the number of votes cast in favour of the drug Clinton famously never inhaled. In Alaska, Nevada, Washington and Arizona, voters all approved ballot paper motions asking that the smoking of marijuana should be made legal for people with certain illnesses. And in Britain this week, an inquiry launched by the House of Lords said that doctors should be allowed to prescribe cannabis on a named-patient basis. So is the tide of opinion finally turning for the evil weed? Not yet. The British government has not changed its view that relaxing the law on prescribing marijuana will require rigorous evidence of its effectiveness from clinical trials. Of course, scientific studies, long stifled by both British and US governments, should be carried out. But the Lords point out reasonably that anecdotal evidence of its value in relieving the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and other conditions argues for a more immediate, compassionate approach. The objection that prescription marijuana might end up being sold on the black market seems implausible. Allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana would actually make it easier to distinguish between medical and recreational users. And as the report rightly points out, doctors in Britain have been allowed to prescribe heroin for people in chronic pain, yet there is no evidence that this heroin ends up on the black market. The biggest obstacles everywhere are political. In California, the state voted in favour of legalising marijuana for certain illnesses two years ago. And what happened? Federal law enforcers moved in to close down the growers' clubs that sprang up to supply patients. The US drugs tsar, Barry McCaffrey, continues to argue that the medical use of marijuana will send the wrong message to teenagers and encourage drug abuse. In the US, proponents of medical marijuana are now full of talk about a new era. And in Britain, the Lords report is being welcomed. But there is a way to go before either country can really be rational about the issue. From New Scientist, 14 November 1998
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Drugs - Cacophony in the European Union (A translation of an article
from Le Figaro, in France, seems surpised that, on the eve of the European
Week for the Prevention of Drug Addiction, which begins Monday
and continues through the 22nd of November, legislation varies from one
country to the next. In France, the debate on decriminalisation of certain
substances has never been able to be conducted calmly.)

Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 08:30:18 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: European Union: Drugs: Cacophony in the European Union
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Peter Webster
Pubdate: Sat-Sun, 14-15 November, 1998
Source: Le Figaro (France)
Page: Section "Notre Vie"
Website: http://www.lefigaro.fr/
Copyright: Le Figaro 1998
Translation: Peter Webster (from French)
Note: some of the statements in this article seem a little dubious, but it
is not a result of poor translation.

DROGUE: CACOPHONIE DANS L'UNION
[Drugs: Cacophony in the European Union]

[sub-headlines]: On the day before the opening of the European Week for the
Prevention of Drug Addiction, legislation varies from one country to the
next. In France, the debate on decriminalisation of certain substances has
never been able to be conducted calmly.

Even though the European Week for the Prevention of Drug Addiction (SEPT)
begins Monday and will continue through the 22nd of November, the member
states of the European Union have still not succeeded in harmonising their
legislation concerning illegal drugs.

The only exceptions concern the traffic in drugs and money laundering. From
1999, the Treaty of Amsterdam will permit an effective collaboration
between the various police forces, customs, and fiscal authorites of the
countries of the European Union. But concerning the use of drugs, penal
sanctions, and the sale of drugs, the law varies from one country to the
next. Between the Dutch indulgence and the French intransigence, some of
our neighbors have found a middle way. Their aim, more or less long-term:
to let legislation evolve calmly in a way considered by many as inadaptive.

Thus the Germans can smoke cannabis without fear, since April 1994, with
the condition that it is in small quantity and for private use. Last week
the Green Party, now an active part of the government, had hoped to move
quickly in proposing that "soft" drugs be legalized. Their hopes were
dashed, but for how long will this continue?

In Belgium in the past few months, tolerance for cannabis smoking is now
established. Consumption is not decriminalised, but repression is avoided.
In Denmark, cannbis users are also tolerated.

A Controversial Experiment

Spain and Italy, more comprehensively and permissively, have simply
decriminalised personal consumption of any and all drugs. In the U.K. and
Ireland, consumption of drugs is likewise authorised, with the exception of
opium. Holland, the leader in this domain, has established a distinction
between soft and hard drugs that began 22 yers ago. Cannabis enthusiasts
can buy between 5 and 30 grams in the "coffee-shops". As for hard drugs,
they are tolerated with the condition that one has no more than 5 grams.

The Swiss, though they are not part of the European Union, will vote at the
end of November for or against the legalisation of consumption and commerce
in all the now-illegal drugs. This small country has been a pioneer in the
controlled distribution of heroin to addicts. This controversial
experiment, certain aspects of which have attracted the attention of the
French Secretry of Health, Bernard Kouchner, has also begun in Great
Britain and Holland.

And finally, France remains with Portugal, Luxembourg, Greece, Finland and
Sweden as one of the most repressive regimes concerning drugs.

In France, the law of 1970, often severely criticised by specialists,
forbids and punishes the use of drugs. The detractors of the law do not
cease in their insistence that it is obsolete and should be revised,
especially when one in three young people admit having tried hashish.
[note: in French, "haschisch" is ofetn used to indicate cannabis in
whatever form.] On Februry 3, 1995, the report of the Henrion Commission
pleaded for a controlled legalisation of cannabis and recommended the
modification of the law concerning hard drugs, all the while maintaining
the principle of punishment: "In three years, the situation has not
improved," Professor Henrion bitterly insists. "Cannabis users are more and
more numerous, and the use of ecstasy and synthetics has exploded (see
included graphs). But the subject remains taboo."

And it is regrettable that the politicians confuse the decriminalisation of
use, and the repression of traffic: "The facts remain only very dimly
recognised by our contemporaries. But is is time to force some recognition
of the situation. Rather than having a symbolic law which is not always
applied, it would be more intelligent to design regulations for those over
16 yers old, while warning them of the risks they might encounter by the
regular use of cannabis."

Stop Demonising Drugs

Last June, the report of Professer Roques upset Prohibitionist convictions
when it revised downward the negative effects of cannabis and classed
alcohol as a hard drug.

Along with the prime minister Lionel Jospin, Bernard Kouchner has always
been against decriminalisation. Contrarily, he favored regulations which
established a distinction between hard and soft drugs, taking into account
alcohol, tobacco, and tranquilisers. It would not be surprising that the
report just submitted to the prime minister by Nicole Maestracci, president
of MILDT (Inter-minister project for the fight against drugs and
addiction), in office since last June, continues with this idea. The former
magistrate preaches a better objectivity toward different substances.

"If we desire some progress", she confides to her partners, "we have to
change our practices. The law, subject to international treaties on drugs,
cannot be radically changed, but we can perhaps make recommendations. To
open the debate freed from taboo and prejudice would be a good start, as
well as separating the issue as it concerns children and adults. We must
stop demonising drugs, without at the same time under-estimating the
problems presented by drugs. We should simply tell the truth to the young."

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[End]

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