------------------------------------------------------------------- The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release (Increasing Marijuana Reform Legislation Anticipated In 1999 State Legislatures) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 17:53:30 EST Subject: NORML WPR 12/17/98 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org email@example.com December 17, 1998 *** Increasing Marijuana Reform Legislation Anticipated In 1999 State Legislatures December 17, 1998, Washington, D.C.: Marijuana law reform will be a key issue of debate within several state legislatures this year, NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. predicted today. Stroup said that key political gains made by reformers in 1998 will likely persuade many state legislatures to take a hard look at all aspects of marijuana law reform, including medical marijuana, industrial hemp, and decriminalization. "The rising tide of public opinion in favor of reforming our nation's marijuana laws -- as was evident at the November elections and elsewhere -- will not go unnoticed by our state legislators," he said. "It is time for the marijuana reform constituency to reassert ourselves politically, and 1999 marks our best opportunity in several years to move forward with progressive legislation." Already, several state legislators have announced their intentions to push for marijuana reform in 1999. In Hawaii, Gov. Ben Cayetano announced that he will back legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. New Hampshire Rep. Timothy Robertson (D-Keene) said he will spearhead similar legislation, and also endorsed a proposal to decriminalize simple marijuana possession. "It is silly to prosecute someone because they have a different lifestyle than I do," he said. The following summaries examine some of the events of 1998 that may likely serve as catalysts for marijuana reform in 1999. INDUSTRIAL HEMP REFORM The hemp legalization movement took several pivotal steps forward this year. In Canada, for the first time in over 50 years, hundreds of farmers cultivated and harvested commercial quantities of hemp. In the United States, two large-scale research studies released this year definitively documented hemp's potential as an economically viable domestic cash crop. A state-sponsored study by North Dakota State University ("Agricultural Economics Report No. 402: Industrial Hemp as an Alternative Crop in North Dakota," Kraenzel, et al., July 23, 1998) recommended legislators amend state law to allow for the legal cultivation of hemp for research purposes. A second study by the University of Kentucky ("Economic Impact of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky," Thompson, et al., July 1998) concluded that legalizing hemp production in that state could lead to hundreds of full-time jobs and millions of dollars in worker's earnings. Authors speculated that hemp would rank second only to tobacco products as a cash crop to state farmers, and could yield profits as high as $600 per acre. Legislators in twelve states debated reform bills this year. Proponents are hopeful that this year's political gains at home and abroad will persuade several states next year to finally pass effective hemp reform legislation. "The studies undertaken in North Dakota and Kentucky demonstrate that research supporting hemp legalization is sound, and the Canadian example serves as a model for implementation," NORML's Stroup said. "These developments provide an ample base for any supportive legislator who wants to enact domestic hemp reform." MEDICAL MARIJUANA REFORM Voters approved every medical marijuana proposal put before them on the November ballot, overwhelmingly demonstrating their support for legalizing medical marijuana in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state. This strong showing will likely inspire legislators in additional states to move forward with medical use legislation in 1999. It may also encourage legislators in those states with existing, yet dormant, medical marijuana laws, to devise ways to activate those laws to protect patients. "National polls and the November vote clearly demonstrate that a majority of Americans from all political backgrounds support legalizing medical marijuana," Stroup said. "This is a politically safe issue for state politicians that is strongly supported by their constituents." DECRIMINALIZATION Voters in Oregon voted 2 to 1 in November to reject a proposal that sought to impose criminal penalties for the simple possession of marijuana. The voters retained a 1973 state law decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses. "The resounding vote by Oregon's citizens rejecting criminal penalties for marijuana smokers should ignite a long-overdue national debate over our current marijuana policies that result in the arrest of over half a million marijuana smokers each year," Stroup said. Presently, ten states have decriminalized minor marijuana offenses. These laws remove criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession and replace them with a small fine. The last state to approve decriminalization was Nebraska in 1978, and the last state to engage in any serious debate on the subject was New Hampshire in 1997. NORML TO PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE IN 1999 Stroup said that NORML plans to play a supportive role in several states' marijuana reform efforts next year, and anticipates providing guidance and expert witnesses at legislative hearings on the issue. Presently, NORML is mailing legislative handbooks outlining strategies on lobbying for effective marijuana law reform to sympathetic state politicians . For more information on state marijuana reform legislation, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Act: Don't Act Yet (Stat, the newsletter of the Oregon Medical Assocation, says that despite the passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, Oregon physicians should not "take action" until "all the issues" are resolved - like maybe a thousand years from now - even though the new law requires only that a physician express the opinion on a patient's chart that marijuana may help the patient's condition.) Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 10:28:13 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: MMJ: Medical Marijuana Act: Don't Act Yet Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Fratello (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 Source: STAT, the newsletter of the Oregon Medical Assocation Volume: XXVIII, No. 11 MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: DON'T ACT YET Although Oregon's medical marijuana law passed by the voters last month became effective last week, physicians are advised against taking action until all issues are resolved. It may be months before the Health Division adopts rules laying out exactly how the act will be implemented. Meanwhile, a task force called into session by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is studying a multitude of thorny enforcement issues the law presents. OMA, along with the Health Division and the Board of Medical Examiners, is participating in the process. At this point there is insufficient guidance for physicians called upon to provide written documentation for the issuance of a registry card. More significantly, the federal government has not announced what it will do with respect to those who aid in the growing, possession, delivery, and use of this controlled substance. The Oregon law does not immunize physicians from either federal criminal exposure or from revocation of their DEA certificates. OMA director of medical legal affairs Paul Frisch advises, "At this point it would be mistake for physicians to participate in an activity which may or may not be the subject of conflict between state and federal law, much less a complicated scenario currently lacking an administrative rule infrastructure. Physicians who are willing to participate in the medical marijuana process would be well advised to wait until the Health Division makes its rules and the federal government takes an official position on the act itself".
------------------------------------------------------------------- Re: Medical Marijuana Act: Don't Act Yet (Dr. Rick Bayer, a chief petitioner for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, comments on the advisory from Paul Frisch, the Oregon Medical Association's director of medical legal affairs. When the federal threat no longer looms large, the OMA will mellow. By spring, things will work out if reformers keep up their educational efforts.) From: "Rick Bayer" (email@example.com) To: "Rick Bayer" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: OREGON MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: DON'T ACT YET Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 11:05:56 -0800 Friends This is from the official newsletter of the OMA that I have been getting regularly for almost two decades. The goal of the OMA with this article is to protect doctors from federal penalties, such as loss of the doctor's ability to prescribe controlled substances (a federal rather than a state license). When that threat no longer looms large, I think the OMA will mellow (like they did with Death With Dignity). Even the most empathetic docs don't want to lose their license and the feds can be nasty. In the mean time, please keep educating everyone about med mj. If you know someone who won't read much, at least try to get them to go to http://www.teleport.com/~omr and link to the bibliography and read the JAMA paper by Dr. Grinspoon (or download it and give it to your doctor and/or friends). We should continue to educate and bolster public opinion. The Oregon attorney general has provided a reasonable set of guidelines and the OHD rules will start being developed next month with a May 1, 1999 deadline. We sincerely hope our Oregon legislature does not betray voters like they did with Measure 16 (Death With Dignity). Nevertheless, my opinion is that the real bottleneck is the feds and by the Spring, things will work out if we keep at it. Although people need access to med mj now and no law (including M67) is perfect, I sincerely believe that Oregon patients are better off now since M67 passed than they were before we won our victory. Things will get better as the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act *evolves* into a permit system and the feds figure out their gameplan (which will give the OMA and Oregon docs some direction), but as mentioned, it will take several months. In the meantime, let us keep up our educational efforts. Thank you very much for your continued support and have some great holidays. Rick Rick Bayer, MD, FACP 6800 SW Canyon Drive Portland, OR 97225 503-292-1035 (voice) 503-297-0754 (fax) mailto:email@example.com *** > Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 > Source: STAT, the newsletter of the Oregon Medical Assocation > Volume: XXVIII, No. 11 > > MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: DON'T ACT YET [snipped to avoid duplication. - ed.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Trooper thankful to escape close call (The Oregonian interviews an Oregon state trooper who is trying to recover from a devastating wreck caused by a drunken driver. The drunk got 60 days for maiming a state trooper - a lot less time than most convicted marijuana growers.) The Oregonian letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Trooper thankful to escape close call * Motorists are asked to turn on their lights to remember those killed by drunken drivers Thursday, December 17 1998 By Michelle Roberts of The Oregonian staff Oregon State Trooper Bob Rosage guesses he's pulled about 1,100 drunken drivers off the road during his two-decade career in law enforcement. But it was the one who took him off the road two months ago that he'll never forget. On Oct. 24, Rosage was waiting along the shoulder of northbound Interstate 5 near Albany for a suspected drunken driver when the suspect rear-ended his patrol car, pushing it forward 115 feet. "It was pretty scary," Rosage said. "It made me realize that anything can happen to you at any time. You really don't realize that until you come that close. It's just a half a heartbeat between being one place and being another." Rosage, 47, escaped the accident with only minor injuries. Oregon State Police are asking drivers to remember victims who were not so lucky. This weekend will mark the eighth annual observance of "Lights on for Life," in which Oregon State Police and law enforcement agencies nationwide ask travelers to drive with their headlights on in remembrance of those who have been killed by drunken drivers. The effort will run morning through night on three consecutive days, beginning Friday and ending Sunday. During last year's observance, six people were killed in five separate traffic crashes in Oregon. In 1996, one person was killed. Last December alone, 49 people died in car crashes. Of those accidents, 16 were alcohol-related, according to state police records. Rosage said he plans to participate in the remembrance that could easily have included him. "I was just looking at some pictures of (the patrol car wreckage) this morning," Rosage said. "It's hard to believe I am still here. If I rolled up on that accident, I would expect somebody to be dead." Rosage was trapped in his demolished car for half an hour after the crash. "I was knocked out. In fact, there was a bunch of radio traffic between me and the dispatch center that I have absolutely no recollection of," Rosage said. "When I finally came to, there was a nurse sitting in the car with me telling me, 'Everything's going to be OK.' " Rosage returned to his patrol work almost two weeks ago, but he still battles headaches caused by whiplash. He goes to physical therapy once a week. "I just can't stress to people how drunk driving can change lives in an instant," he said. The driver who slammed into the back of Rosage's patrol car, Erik Alan Lund, 29, of Portland, was sentenced earlier this month to 30 days in jail and 30 days compensatory service by telling others the lesson he's learned about driving drunk. Lund told police he drank five beers before deciding to drive home from the University of Oregon-UCLA football game. He pleaded guilty to charges of drunken driving, reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault. In addition to the jail time and compensatory service, Lund was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay fines and restitution of $33,701, including replacement of the patrol car and a $5,000 payment to Rosage for psychological trauma. It was the second time during his career that Rosage was struck by a drunken driver. While working for the Lane County Sheriff's Office in 1976, a drunken driver in Springfield hit Rosage head on. "I've been working real hard on DUIs for a long time," Rosage said. "I was a primary investigator on 13 fatal accidents in one year, and all of them involved impaired drivers. When you start putting people in body bags every weekend, you start getting a little concerned." Rosage said he holds no anger toward Lund, whose wife, Suzette, suffered a broken leg in the accident. "I'm glad nobody got killed," Rosage said. "As far as any personal feelings against him, there are none. I never saw him that night, so he's just a name in the paper to me -- another drunk driver."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Advocates seek assurance of adequate pain treatment (The Oregonian says the Portland-based Compassion in Dying Federation is leading other advocacy groups in pushing the federal government to assure that patients entering hospitals clearly understand their right to request adequate pain treatment.) The Oregonian letters to editor: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Web: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Advocates seek assurance of adequate pain treatment * Compassion in Dying leads a campaign urging a federal agency to ensure patients are told of their right to request painkillers Thursday, December 17 1998 By Erin Hoover Barnett of The Oregonian staff Advocacy groups are pushing the federal government to assure that patients entering hospitals clearly understand their right to request adequate pain treatment. Led by the Portland-based Compassion in Dying Federation, the effort targets the federal Patient Self-Determination Act and the way it is applied in California. But the groups hope the issue will be addressed nationwide. A recent national study found that 50 percent of patients who died in hospitals had suffered moderate to severe pain. The Patient Self-Determination Act, passed by Congress in 1990, requires federally financed health care facilities to offer patients the option of filling out an advance directive when they are admitted. Patients use an advance directive to describe the care they would want if they became unable to communicate. The patient advocacy groups are asserting that the Patient Self-Determination Act also requires patients to be told of their right to request pain medication. The groups sent a letter Wednesday to the Health Care Financing Administration outlining their view. "Our belief is if patients were better informed about their right to request pain medication, they would be more likely to make such a request, and would thereby increase the likelihood that their pain is properly and adequately treated," said the letter to the federal agency. It was signed by B. Kirk Robinson, president of the Compassion in Dying Federation, and Kathryn L. Tucker, the organization's director of legal affairs. Backing the letter are five national organizations focused on end-of-life issues, including Americans for Better Care of the Dying and the American Pain Foundation. The American Bar Association, an early supporter of the Patient Self-Determination Act, and two California hospice and cancer-pain groups sent separate letters to the federal agency making the same point. The groups are making California their test case. Their letter asserts that the right to know about pain-control options is particularly well defined in California in that state's Pain Patient's Bill of Rights. The groups assert that patients in California are not uniformly told of their options for aggressive pain management. "It's not as if there's a single facility that is in noncompliance. There is no facility that is doing what we are urging be done," Tucker said. "I don't think providers have even thought that this is something they are obliged to do." California caregivers see the need for change. "Pain is a common problem, and it's very prevalent and undertreated. Documents like the Patient Self-Determination Act should reflect the real, everyday clinical issues," said Betty Ferrell, chairman of the Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative, which sent its own letter. The groups suggest that the federal government require written information -- brochures and posters, for example -- describing patients' rights to request pain drugs, choose opiate medication and be referred to a pain specialist. The Health Care Financing Administration issued a statement Wednesday: "While we would need to see the letter before being able to comment on it, we want to make sure Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries have access to the highest quality health care and can participate in decision-making about their care."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Acquittal shows difficulty of prosecuting gang murder suspects (The Associated Press says it took a jury just 30 minutes Wednesday to find a Portland man not guilty of murder in a 1995 gang shooting after two key witnesses refused to cooperate with prosecutors during the trial.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Acquittal shows difficulty of prosecuting gang murder suspects The Associated Press 12/17/98 11:07 AM PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The speedy acquittal of a suspect in a gang killing shows the difficulty prosecutors have in getting witnesses to help in such cases for fear of retaliation. A jury took just 30 minutes Wednesday to find a Portland man innocent of murder in a 1995 gang shooting after two key witnesses refused to cooperate with prosecutors during the trial. The witnesses now face possible jail sentences themselves. Tyrone Anthony Thurman, now 19, was accused of shooting Troy Alex McCollum, 16, in the head in what prosecutors described as a retaliatory killing between Crips and Bloods gangs. McCollum died shortly after the Jan. 25, 1995, shooting, which occurred about a block from the police department's Northeast Precinct. Two of McCollum's friends, James Cortez Wade Jr., 20, and Dwayne Tyrone McClinton, 21, were with him the night of the shooting. But Wade testified Wednesday that he would refuse to answer questions about the case. His lawyer, Stephen Houze, told Multnomah County Circuit Judge Ellen Rosenblum that Wade feared for his safety and that of his family. Houze said someone shot at Wade's father after the McCollum killing, perhaps as a warning or thinking that they were shooting at Wade. "He is simply unwilling to put his life and the lives of his family at risk," Houze said. Houze said Wade is so frightened that he ignored the urgings of his mother, Victoria Wade, a Portland police officer, who tried to persuade him to testify. James Wade Jr. is serving a 10-year prison sentence in the August 1996 beating death of a woman in a park. After Wade refused to testify, Rosenblum ruled that he was in contempt of court. She is scheduled to sentence him Thursday. He faces an additional six months in jail. McClinton repeatedly answered "No" when Senior Deputy District Attorney Marilyn Curry asked whether he remembered telling detectives about the killing. McClinton's attorney, Brendan Dummigan, told Rosenblum that McClinton also feared for his life. Prosecutors are considering perjury charges against McClinton, Curry said. He could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison if convicted, Curry said. McClinton is in jail on a probation violation. Police arrested Thurman the night of the shooting, but he was released before a grand jury indicted him. He fled to the East Coast, where he was arrested in April. Curry told jurors that killing McCollum was a continuation of a dispute that started the previous day, when Thurman, a Crip, allegedly fired two shots at a car McClinton was driving. The next evening, McClinton saw Thurman and Domanick D. Campbell, 21, near on the street. McClinton told Wade and McCollum to flee, Curry said. The three fled, and Thurman allegedly chased them on a bicycle, shooting McCollum, a Blood, in the forehead, she said. Thurman's attorney, Scott Raivio, told the jury that the murder case against Thurman was weak because no witnesses placed him at the scene or with the gun. In addition, witnesses gave conflicting stories about what the shooter was wearing. "To convict a young man of murder on this evidence would be a wrong beyond belief," Raivio said. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Please Send Dave Herrick a Card or Letter in Jail (A list subscriber notes this is the second Christmas behind bars for the California medical marijuana martyr and former San Bernardino County deputy sheriff.)From: "ralph sherrow" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Fwd: Please Send Dave Herrick a Card or Letter in Jail Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 23:53:19 PST From: WBritt420@aol.com Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 02:46:03 EST To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Please Send Dave Herrick a Card or Letter in Jail This is Dave's SECOND Christmas behind bars. I'm sure he could use a card or letter to help lift his spirits. His address is: David Herrick P-06857 B-5-B-229U P.O. Box 5500 Wasco, Ca 93280-5500 Bill
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Tucson cop indicted on charges stemming from corruption probe (The Arizona Daily Star says Jose Ernesto "Ernie" Medina was indicted yesterday on charges stemming from a federal investigation into corruption in the Tucson police department.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Ex-Tucson cop indicted on charges stemming from corruption probe Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 20:34:17 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 17 December 1998 Ex-Tucson cop indicted on charges stemming from corruption probe By Hipolito R. Corella The Arizona Daily Star A former Tucson police officer was indicted yesterday on charges stemming from a federal investigation into corruption in the department, law enforcement sources say. Although the federal grand jury indictment was not available last night, charges against Jose Ernesto ``Ernie'' Medina, 32, could mirror those of Medina's friend, Arturo Fred Heuser. Last October, a federal grand jury indicted Heuser, 30, on bribery and aiding and abetting charges. Authorities say Heuser promised an undercover narcotics agent $5,000 to help him get his driver's license reinstated. Authorities were expected to arrest Medina today in Phoenix. He's been living there since his resignation from the Tucson Police Department last summer. Investigators targeted Medina as part of a police corruption investigation. It began last spring after another former officer approached an undercover agent about a kickback for help in getting a friend's car out of impound. The undercover agent was pretending to be on the take as part of the federal investigation, sources have said. Heuser, a self-employed car salesman and long-time acquaintance of Medina, is free on $5,000 bond. A second former Tucson police officer still is being investigated for his part in the case, officials say. That officer was on the force about 10 years before he quit in June 1997. Federal authorities say Heuser paid all but about $1,000 of the money he promised the undercover officer in return for getting a new driver's license, according to a federal complaint and investigators. According to his indictment, the alleged bribery occurred between April and Oct. 9, the day Heuser was arrested. Local and federal officials have maintained tight control of information in the case, but police sources have said that Heuser and Medina had maintained a friendship despite warnings from superiors that Heuser's business dealings might be questionable. Medina was still on the force when police say he introduced Heuser to the undercover narcotics agent. The investigation focused on whether Medina and the other officer tried to bribe the undercover agent to perform various ``services'' - such as destroying police reports. No reports were altered, officials have said. Medina was hired by the Tucson Police Department in 1989. He made headlines in 1994 when he and another officer were fired for allegedly padding their overtime. He was rehired a year later and received back pay. Medina maintained that any mistakes he made on his overtime slips were unintentional. Also in 1994, Medina was reprimanded after a complaint to internal affairs officers from the former boyfriend of a woman - a topless dancer - Medina was dating at the time, according to his department personnel file. The ex-boyfriend complained that he was being ``targeted and harassed'' by Medina and another officer because of his past relationship with the dancer. He said the two officers repeatedly stopped him for various traffic violations, the file shows. Medina's punishment was not more severe because the ex-boyfriend admitted to police that some of the traffic stops were warranted, according to the file. Still, Medina was to be suspended for eight hours for insubordination because he had ignored orders to stop taking strippers on ride-alongs during his patrols. The suspension was not implemented because Medina had been fired as a result of the overtime investigation. Medina returned to the force in the spring of 1995, but began a medical leave in August 1996. After he exhausted his time off three months later, the department kept him on unpaid leave until he was ordered to return to work in September 1997. That month Medina filed for ``accidental disability retirement.'' His claim was rejected last January, records show. The public safety retirement board approved a temporary disability retirement for Medina in March, contingent on his leaving the department. Personnel records do not indicate why he qualified for a disability retirement. Medina resigned in July, about four months after the federal investigation started.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Court upholds cash forfeiture of $9 million (The Houston Chronicle says the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the forfeiture of more than $9 million in cash deposited in a Houston bank by Mario Ruiz Massieu, a former Mexican official who was in charge of investigating drug cartels.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Court upholds $9 mil cash forfeiture Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 20:37:22 -0800 Sender: email@example.com December 17, 1998, 08:39 p.m. Court upholds cash forfeiture of $9 million By ED ASHER Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle A federal appellate court has upheld the forfeiture of more than $9 million in cash deposited in a Houston bank by a former Mexican official who was in charge of investigating drug cartels. A jury last year determined that the money deposited by Mario Ruiz Massieu, a former deputy attorney general of Mexico, was earned by drug trafficking. The money was deposited by a Ruiz Massieu associate in a Galleria-area branch of Texas Commerce Bank between March 1994 and February 1995. In an April 1997 decision, a civil jury agreed with the government that it was drug money. The jury decided Ruiz Massieu had to forfeit $7.9 million to the U.S. government but could keep $1.1 million that he claimed came from the sale of a beach house in Mexico. U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas later ruled that the government could seize all $9 million. Ruiz Massieu, who claimed the money came from his brother, appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals contending that Atlas had made many procedural errors. But that court ruled Wednesday that Atlas had made no procedural or legal errors and said the seizure of all $9 million was proper.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Find $1 Million During Traffic Stop (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in Missouri, says two police made the largest seizure of suspected drug money in St. Louis County's history after stopping a man on Interstate 44 for two moving traffic violations and because one of his headlights wasn't working.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:02:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MO: Police Find $1 Million During Traffic Stop Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: MMcNamara@bridge.com (McNamara, Mark P.) Source: Saint Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.stlnet.com/ Forum: http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/index.nsf/forums Copyright: 1998, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Pubdate: 17 Dec 98 Section: METRO Author: Lance Williams POLICE FIND $1 MILLION DURING TRAFFIC STOP St. Louis County police seized more than $1 million in suspected drug trafficking money in a weekend traffic stop on Interstate 44. The seizure is the largest in St. Louis County's history and one of the largest in this area, authorities said Wednesday. Two patrol officers, James Hilderbrand and Todd Isermann, stopped a 1993 Ford Explorer about 9:51 p.m. for two moving traffic violations and because one of the headlights wasn't working. The vehicle was pulled over on westbound I-44 near the St. Louis County line. I-44 is a major drug shipment route connecting Mexico and the southwestern United States to the Northeast. After talking with the driver, the officers became suspicious and asked if they could search the vehicle. The driver allowed them to do so. Hilderbrand checked the inside lining of the roof and found the money. "There really wasn't much too it," said Hilderbrand, who has worked with the department for six years. "Once the liner was pulled down, it exposed everything." Police found 38 bundles of money in vacuum-sealed bags, wrapped in masking tape and connected with rope. The currency ranged from $5 to $100 bills. Hilderbrand said drug traffickers often tie the bundles together so they can remove the money all at once without damaging the roof liner. Hilderbrand said the driver and passengers denied knowing anything about the money or where it came from. The driver and passengers, who were traveling from Chicago to cities in the southwestern United States, were detained for about two hours and all information about them was passed on to federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigators. The vehicle was returned to the driver. The DEA is now investigating the case, but no charges have been filed. St. Louis County police will probably receive a major portion of the money under U.S. forfeiture laws. St. Charles and St. Louis police also aided in the investigation Friday night and could share in the forfeiture. The U.S. Department of Justice will decide how to divide the money. Hilderbrand was involved in the county's largest previous forfeiture of $179,000 about a year ago. "I was extremely happy and shocked when I found out how much money we found," he said. This weekend's incident was one of several large seizures in the area in the past year. In April, the Illinois State Police found $2.8 million, the largest highway cash seizure in the department's history, during a traffic stop in April along Interstate 57 near Effingham. They also found cocaine residue in the vehicle during that stop. Interstate 44 was also the site of another major seizure in July near Springfield, Mo. Authorities had been told to watch for a suspicious tractor-trailer at a particular weigh station. When they looked inside they found $2.9 million.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Suburban Drug Force Disbanding (The Chicago Tribune says the Cook County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, an alliance of state, county and local police that for years was some suburban cities' only weapon against small-time drug dealers, will disband at the end of the month after 21 years. Reasons for the group's slow death over the last two years include the proliferation of law-enforcement task forces at the county, state and federal levels - some of whose duties overlap those of MEG. As these task forces have formed, some of the local departments that assigned officers to MEG pulled them out and redeployed them to the other groups. The reason is economics: By having officers take part in task forces that seize more assets, local departments typically get more money.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:02:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IL: Suburban Drug Force Disbanding Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: 17 Dec 1998 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Section: Metro McHenry Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Author: Eric Ferkenhoff and Brad Webber SUBURBAN DRUG FORCE DISBANDING The Cook County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, an alliance of state, county and local police officers that for years was smaller suburbs' only weapon to battle drug dealers, announced Wednesday that it will disband at the end of the month after 21 years. Talk of MEG's demise had surfaced before, including in 1990, when the General Assembly dramatically cut the group's state funding. Its future fell into further question over the past two years, as the number of officers assigned to the group dwindled from 48 to 25. But the final blow came during a closed meeting Wednesday, when Illinois State Police made official their intention to pull nine of its 10 officers from the alliance on Dec. 31. With that, the group's policy board voted unanimously to close down. Except in emergencies, the Cook County MEG will quit taking new cases beginning Jan. 1, though the group will keep a skeleton staff on duty to wrap up pending cases. For all practical purposes, however, several top MEG officials acknowledged Wednesday that the group, begun in 1977, is dead unless a rescue plan can be devised. "There has been a steady decline in personnel and equipment," said Col. Tom Yokley, head of operations for the state police. "When you come to a point in time when you're not effective, you can get to the point where you put officers' safety in danger. I'm not saying we're there yet, but we're headed in that direction." He added: "The bottom line is you have to make business decisions. This has been coming for some time. This was not a decision by just the state police." MEG is a state-funded task force that chiefly works on undercover cases throughout Cook County and targets smaller drug operations that don't meet the threshold for federal agencies to become involved. The Cook County group, one of about a dozen MEGs statewide, is composed of officers from 10 Cook County suburbs, including Palatine, South Holland, Hazel Crest and Mt. Prospect, as well as from state police, the Cook County sheriff's department and the Cook County Forest Preserve District police. Yokley said the board's decision to shutter the Cook County MEG will have no effect on the state's other MEG units, including those in DuPage and Lake Counties. The Cook County group, which has made nearly 340 arrests so far this year and recorded drug seizures totaling more than $100 million through September, receives about $388,000 in state funds. It also receives membership fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 from about 50 local departments that call on the group for investigative help but that don't lend any of their own officers. Officials gave many reasons for the group's slow death over the last two years, including the proliferation of law-enforcement task forces at the county, state and federal levels--some of whose duties overlap those of MEG. Often, said Lynwood Police Chief David Palmer, the chairman of MEG's policy board, these larger task forces focus on more lucrative drug traffickers selling higher volumes of drugs. As these task forces have formed, some of the local departments that assigned officers to MEG pulled them out and redeployed them to the other groups. The reason, said Palmer, is simple economics: By having officers take part in task forces that seize more assets, local departments typically get more money. The other task forces, he added, "have worked very well. But in some cases, they're wrecking the efforts of local law enforcement because the bodies are shrinking at the local level." Some MEG officials on Wednesday privately questioned the timing of the state police decision, coming just a month before governor-elect George Ryan takes office and in the absence of a permanent state police director. But Yokley said: "The diminishing resources pretty much dictated this." In MEG's absence, officials said, other task forces at the county and state levels likely will fill the void. "We'll survive," said Bartlett Police Chief Dan Palmer. "We'll still deal with the issues. (But) I prefer the status quo." Others were less certain. "We will lose the capability of fighting drugs on the street level," said Hazel Crest Police Chief Peter Fee. The smaller dealers, he said, are "the most visible. That's what citizens see. If somebody sees what they believe to be a drug transaction in their community, they want that stopped. MEG has been our tool."
------------------------------------------------------------------- County Drug Unit Loses Officers, May Shut Down (The version in The Daily Herald, in Arlington Heights, Illinois) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:01:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: County Drug Unit Loses Officers, May Shut Down Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Daily Herald (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dailyherald.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Daily Herald Company Pubdate: 17 Dec 1998 Author: Steve Warmbir Section: Sec. 1 COUNTY DRUG UNIT LOSES OFFICERS, MAY SHUT DOWN A special unit of police officers targeting small and mid-level drug dealers in suburban Cook County won't be investigating any new cases and may soon be closed for good. The decision of the board overseeing the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Cook County came after the Illinois State Police decided to remove nine of its 10 officers from the unit and deploy them elsewhere in Cook County at the end of the year. That leaves 15 officers in the unit, most assigned by municipal police departments. "We're trying to keep it alive," said Warren Millsaps, deputy director of the group. "The state police are certainly stinging us." "This is pretty much like the last two bullets in the body that's already been shot four or five times," Millsaps said. The MEG board will meet again in mid-January to see if an expected change in the state police administration, after George Ryan becomes governor, will make any difference. Local police departments also are expected to say then if they are willing to increase their manpower commitment to the unit. At least until the January meeting, the MEG unit will continue its investigations and wrap up cases. MEG includes such Northwest suburban towns as Bartlett, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect and Palatine. The state police pullout is the latest step by a police agency to remove people from the unit, which has been dwindling in manpower in recent years. Local police departments, for instance, have cut down their commitments to the unit. Master Sgt. Lincoln Hampton said the state police decided to pull its officers out because MEG wasn't running that efficiently given its lack of manpower. Also, without enough people, officer safety was an issue, Hampton said. The state police had been questioned why it was seemingly making the decision just before a new administration would be put in place. "It's a loose thread," Hampton said. "Why leave this around now for the next administration?" "We're still concerned about drug activity in Cook County," Hampton said. MEG suffers from competition with other police units targeting drug dealers, said Lynwood Police Chief David Palmer, chairman of the MEG policy board. Some local police departments are more quick to loan officers to units that target bigger operations because police departments see more money from seized assets. MEG is important because it goes after small and mid-level drug operations, the kinds of cases other units aren't interested in, Palmer said. "MEG is not outmoded," Palmer said. "We have chosen, for the community good, to stay at the street and mid-level (dealers)."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Policeman Accused Of Running Drug Ring (The Orange County Register version of yesterday's news about Joseph Miedzianowski, the veteran Chicago police officer who was charged Wednesday with running a drug ring that allegedly distributed millions of dollars worth of cocaine and heroin between Chicago and Miami.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 10:52:29 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IL: Policeman Accused Of Running Drug Ring Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 12-17-98 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1998 The Orange County Register POLICEMAN ACCUSED OF RUNNING DRUG RING A veteran Chicago police officer was among 10 people charged Wednesday with running a drug ring that allegedly distributed millions of dollars worth of cocaine and heroin between Chicago and Miami. Joseph Miedzianowski, 45, was arrested Wednesday as he reported to work at the Chicago police department's gang crimes unit. Miedzianowski, an officer for 27 years, brokered drug deals, served as a go-between with feuding drug lords and eventually took over daily control of the operation, prosecutors said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cop Charged In Drug Ring (The Chicago Tribune version) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:01:48 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: Cop Charged In Drug Ring Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Pubdate: 17 Dec 1998 Author: Matt O'Connor and Steve Mills Section: Metro Chicago COP CHARGED IN DRUG RING A veteran Chicago gang crimes officer was arrested Wednesday on charges that he was part of a cocaine and heroin operation that stretched from Chicago to Miami, offering it protection for a year but then, boldly, taking control of its local business. The arrest represents the first part of a three-part investigation that, according to sources, is focusing on several police officers who are suspected of shaking down or robbing drug dealers of money and cocaine--charges similar to those in the Austin and Gresham Districts that rocked the department two years ago. The officer charged Wednesday, Joseph Miedzianowski, 45, allegedly made hundreds of thousands of dollars over three years as he alerted drug traffickers to police investigations, robbed and extorted from dealers and even brokered cocaine deals, court documents contend. When dealers would fly from Florida to Chicago to deliver cocaine or heroin, sources said, the officer would flash his badge to escort them through the airport security and ensure the drugs were delivered. Federal officials said Miedzianowski of the 8500 block of West St. Joseph Avenue also funneled guns to drug dealers and stole ammunition from the Cook County sheriff's shooting range with inside help. Miedzianowski, an officer for 22 years, and 11 other suspects--some of whom are alleged to be gang members--were charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine and heroin. Miedzianowski was the only police officer charged. The arrests broke now, according to sources, because a telephone operator in Miami misread wiretapping orders and called Miedzianowski, letting him know he was under investigation and his calls were being recorded. Sources said Miedzianowski, whose home phones and beeper were bugged, then began to contact cohorts, forcing police to arrest him. They had planned to continue the investigation into January. FBI agents are investigating whether other Chicago officers interfered with cases involving drug suspects by falsely claiming to other officers that they were informants assisting with investigations. U.S. Atty. Scott Lassar said the investigation of Miedzianowski began only a few months ago, although Police Supt. Terry Hillard acknowledged that complaints Miedzianowski had shaken down or robbed drug dealers in the past had been examined by internal affairs investigators. The complaints could not be substantiated, and Hillard said he would order a review of those internal investigations in light of the federal charges. A supervisor at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where Miedzianowski worked on a task force in the early 1990s, also has alleged he stole from drug dealers in a lawsuit she filed against him. The federal suit, filed in 1995, is pending. According to the charges, Miedzianowski began working for two "large-scale" drug traffickers in 1995, earning $12,000 a month for warning them about investigations. The traffickers were identified as Mohammed S. Omar and Juan Martir. Omar was charged. Martir was named as an unindicted co-conspirator; he is cooperating with prosecutors, sources said. In the summer of 1996, according to the charges, Miedzianowski took another step in the organization and began acting as a middleman between dealers. He allegedly brokered drug transactions, buying between 1 and 2 kilograms of cocaine every week or 10 days, according to the charges. By year's end, after Martir had moved to Miami, Miedzianowski had taken control of the Chicago drug operation, according to the charges. It was a status that Lassar said was unusual, if not unheard of, for a crooked police officer, and one that raises questions of how he could run a drug operation without his colleagues--or internal affairs--finding out. "You work with a partner only eight hours a day. . . . These guys aren't married to their partners," said Hillard at a news conference. He added: "If there were red flags up and we didn't know, that's what I need to find out." When Martir was arrested in Miami in February, according to the charges, Miedzianowski allegedly persuaded Martir not to cooperate in other investigations. Miedzianowski, according to other officers, was hardworking and aggressive. "He's one of the best policemen I've ever worked with, and we were on the same team together," said George Figueroa, a gang investigation specialist who's worked with Miedzianowski. "He's smart. He has a lot of informants." In the mid-1980s, Miedzianowski and his longtime partner, John Galligan, were suspended for roughing up a minister who was a supporter of Mayor Harold Washington. The two were cleared and later sued the city, getting their jobs back and an $80,000 settlement. Galligan declined to comment Wednesday. Miedzianowski and nine of the other defendants made initial appearances in federal court Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors Brian Netols and Jonathan King said they will seek to hold them pending trial, saying they are dangers to the community and risks to flee. Miedzianowski, who made $55,000 a year as a police officer, had a share of at least two businesses--a Harlem Avenue salon called Sanctuary of Hair and a Belmont Avenue tattoo parlor. At Sanctuary of Hair, 5445 N. Harlem Ave., owner Irek Marciniec said he has known Miedzianowski for about a year. He said FBI agents searched the shop for 3 1/2 hours on Wednesday and left with several boxes of files. Among the other places searched was the home of a Cook County sheriff's officer suspected of supplying Miedzianowski with ammunition stolen from the sheriff's shooting range. At Miedzianowski's modest, one-story home, dozens of federal officers spent the day loading an unmarked blue van with material they had gathered. Sources said they seized a large numbers of weapons and ammunition.
------------------------------------------------------------------- $750,000 Awarded In False Arrest Case (The Miami Herald notes the war on some drug users just got more expensive locally Wednesday as a federal jury in Broward awarded the judgment to a man in Hollywood, Florida, after a judge ruled his civil rights were violated by two police officers in a 1996 drug arrest. In a rare decision, U.S. District Judge Wilkie Ferguson Jr. held Sgt. Jeff Marano and former Officer Tony Fernandez responsible for violating Dwight Edman's rights before the jury could even deliberate the matter. The judge based his verdict Tuesday on Marano's admission that police had no probable cause to arrest Edman.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:13:22 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US FL: $750,000 Awarded In False Arrest Case Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.herald.com/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?mherald Copyright: 1998 The Miami Herald Author: COREY DADE, Herald Staff Writer(email: firstname.lastname@example.org) $750,000 AWARDED IN FALSE ARREST CASE Hollywood cops, city held liable A federal jury in Broward on Wednesday awarded $750,000 to a Hollywood man after a judge ruled his civil rights were violated by two police officers in a 1996 drug arrest. The 10-member jury announced the award to Dwight Edman, 21, after a rare decision by U.S. District Judge Wilkie Ferguson Jr. to hold Sgt. Jeff Marano and former Officer Tony Fernandez responsible for violating Edman's rights before the jury could even deliberate the matter. The judge based his verdict Tuesday on Marano's admission that police had no probable cause to arrest Edman. "We are obviously extremely grateful that the jury understood and appreciated the significance of what Dwight Edman endured, and appreciated the gravity of the violations," said Edman's attorney, Hugh Koerner. For his part, Marano was ordered to pay Edman $200,000 in damages; Fernandez $75,000. The city of Hollywood was ordered to pay $275,000 for damages stemming from false arrest, and another $200,000 for violating state notary laws regarding flawed arrest records. The jury dismissed a battery charge against the city. Edman likely will have difficulty collecting the entire award. In most instances, a city indemnifies its officers for any court judgments. The Hollywood Commission must decide whether to pay the officers' portion. City Manager Sam Finz declined to comment until he read the verdict. State law may prevent Hollywood from paying its full portion. Florida caps monetary court judgments against municipalities at $100,000 and only the state Legislature can authorize more. Attorney Bruce Jolly, who represented Marano and Fernandez, couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday. Nor could Hollywood Assistant City Attorney Dan Abbott, who defended the city, or acting Police Chief Al Lamberti. Edman, then 18, and his friend Jerome Watson, then 19, were arrested Jan. 31, 1996, as they left the Ventura Motel, 720 N. Federal Hwy., to buy a pizza. The area is a hotbed of drug trafficking and prostitution. Police charged them with delivering a fake cocaine rock to Marano, who was working undercover. Koerner said Edman, who had long disputed police descriptions of a drug deal, was strip-searched. Edman claimed in the lawsuit that Fernandez squeezed pressure points behind his ears in interrogating him. A psychologist testified during the five-day trial that Edman suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from the ordeal, a contention Jolly relentlessly attacked. Edman's parents, including his father, Barrington Edman, an 18-year Miami-Dade Corrections sergeant, testified that their son had become depressed and easily angered. Still living in Hollywood, Edman said he feared retaliation from police after filing the suit last year. "I have been worried not knowing if I'd have a run-in with these guys," Edman said. "I always felt like now that they have my name, that they might have a little grudge; if they pulled me over, something might have happened. "I'm happy with the jury's decision but more grateful that it has brought closure to all of this, and I can move on." Prosecutors dropped charges against Edman in June 1996 when Marano admitted the arrest was a mistake and that a probable-cause affidavit by Fernandez was incorrect. The affidavit, in which officers are supposed to swear the information included is true, was one of several blank forms signed in bulk by police before the arrests were made. Marano admitted the affidavit was presigned with his name in violation of state laws requiring a notary to witness such signatures. Watson spent nearly two months in jail because he couldn't raise the $1,000 bail, said Raag Singhal, Watson's lawyer at the time. He eventually pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation. Marano and his subordinates arrested Edman and Watson as members of the controversial street crimes unit known as the Raiders. Then-Police Chief Rick Stone disbanded the Raiders in February 1997 and dispersed its members between the patrol division and an expanded community-oriented policing team. In April of that year, Stone publicly exonerated the unit and announced he was closing a yearlong internal probe into a dozen allegations ranging from brutality to false arrests to sexual battery, which also were being investigated by Broward prosecutors. Stone said allegations against officers were sustained in only one case -- the Edman arrest. He placed formal reprimands in both Marano's and Fernandez's personnel files and ordered them to take a test on department procedure. Citing another lawsuit filed days after Edman's, Stone earlier this year yanked Marano from the street and placed him on desk duty. Fernandez was fired in May for repeatedly violating department rules shortly after wearing a sexually explicit T-shirt to a sensitivity and diversity training session.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Human Body Makes Own Version of Chemicals Found in Marijuana (A scientifically illiterate but nonetheless interesting article from Knight Ridder News Service in The Salt Lake Tribune grapples with the belated realization that our brains and bodies are flooded with a natural form of cannabis. Called cannabinoids, after the euphoria-inducing plant Cannabis sativa, this family of compounds blocks pain, erases memories and triggers hunger. Newer studies show they also may regulate the immune system, enhance reproduction and protect the brain from stroke and trauma damage.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 15:09:43 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: US WIRE: Human Body Makes Own Version of Chemicals Found in Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Source: The Salt Lake Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sltrib.com/ Pubdate: Thursday, December 17, 1998 HUMAN BODY MAKES OWN VERSION OF CHEMICALS FOUND IN MARIJUANA KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE WASHINGTON -- Amid this year's clamorous battles to legalize medical marijuana stands this little-known fact: Our brains and bodies are flooded with a natural form of the drug. Called cannabinoids, after the euphoria-inducing plant Cannabis sativa, this family of compounds blocks pain, erases memories and triggers hunger. Newer studies show they also may regulate the immune system, enhance reproduction and protect the brain from stroke and trauma damage. Discovered in humans just a few years ago and, until recently, virtually unstudied, the compounds have become one of the looming mysteries of the nervous system -- and a field of exploding scientific interest. Already, scientists are testing cannabinoids with hopes of harnessing the medical power of marijuana to treat pain without its high, smoke or political baggage. A key challenge is separating the curing power of the compounds from their mind-altering side effects. ``That's the Holy Grail of this field,'' said Steven Childers, a pharmacologist at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. Because cannabinoids are so numerous in the brain, they also could help explain the workings of some of our body's most complex, and least understood, systems. The scientists who discovered the cannabinoids in the brain called the substance anandamide, Sanskrit for eternal bliss. Our brains contain receptors that interact with the anandamide we produce. In an accident of nature and chemistry, compounds in pot are shaped similarly and therefore trigger similar but more potent effects. The same is true of the plant drugs nicotine and cocaine. Now, scientists are beginning to understand just what natural cannabinoids might be doing in the human body. ``We're opening doors now we couldn't even have predicted existed,'' said Childers, president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. For example: -- This week Herbert Schuel and Lani Burkman of the University of Buffalo in New York reported that cannabinoids help control the exquisite synchrony of timing during reproduction by slowing overeager sperm if they try to approach an egg before it's ready for fertilization. This may also explain why heavy pot users, both men and women, are sometimes infertile. -- Cannabinoids have been found to suppress and enhance the body's defenses against diseases and tumors, a duality that has researchers puzzled. ``It's a science clearly in flux,'' said Thomas Klein, an immunologist at the University of South Florida. ``The more we learn, the more confused we are.'' -- While pot warnings -- ``This is your brain on drugs'' -- have long spotlighted the drug's damaging effects on the brain, research last summer from the National Institute of Mental Health shows cannabinoids protect brain cells from stroke or trauma damage. -- Last year, scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego showed that cannabinoids block the formation of new memories in slices of animal brain tissues. This power to forget might keep brain from filling up or getting overwhelmed with unimportant memories. Cannabinoid research in animals already has scientists considering drugs that might be quite powerful in exploiting an untapped chemical system within the brain to solve an array of medical problems. ``While no one wants a drug that disrupts memory, maybe you could boost memory by blocking cannabinoids,'' said Billy Martin, a professor of pharmacology at the Medical College of Virginia and one of a handful of people who have studied cannabinoids since the 1970s. Blocking the effects of cannabinoids might also be a route to a weight-loss drug. ``If marijuana gives you the munchies, maybe blocking cannabinoids will be helpful in treating obesity,'' he said. ``It's hard to say what's ahead.'' Researchers' largest hopes are focused on using a synthetic form of cannabinoids to block pain, including chronic nerve pain that can't be adequately blocked with existing drugs. Animal studies show cannabinoids can block other kinds of pain almost before they begin -- stopping the pain signals before they reach the spinal cord or brain, working as well as morphine. That power suggests they could be substituted for morphine, which is addictive and must be used in increasing doses over time. Cannabinoids enhance morphine's power; combining the drugs could vastly reduce the dosages needed to kill pain, offsetting problems of addiction and drug tolerance. Cannabinoids also counteract nausea, another plus for patients with cancer and AIDS. ``It might be possible to manipulate levels of the body's own cannabinoids. You could create drugs like Prozac that block the body's reuptake of cannabinoids or inhibit their breakdown so they stay active longer,'' said Andrea Hohmann, who previously worked with Walker and now researches pain at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. ``These kind of manipulations may not have the unwanted side effects of marijuana and aren't going to carry the same kind of political baggage.'' Medicinal marijuana has its supporters -- including voters in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Washington state who said in referendums this fall that they favored that use for the drug. But many physicians argue that proof of marijuana's beneficial effects is hazy and that pot smoke, more toxic than cigarette smoke, is too great a health hazard. Use of pot is favored by some doctors for treatment of pain and wasting from cancer and AIDS. It also has been recommended to reduce the damaging effects of high fluid pressure within the eye. But a study in the Archives of Opthalmalogy last month calculated that a glaucoma sufferer would have to smoke about 3,000 joints each year to bring the pressure down. And it's unknown which of the plant's many chemicals are helping. (c) Copyright 1998, The Salt Lake Tribune
------------------------------------------------------------------- Natural Form Of Marijuana In Humans A Medical Mystery (A lengthier version in The Chicago Tribune) Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 20:26:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Natural Form Of Marijuana In Humans A Medical Mystery Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Pubdate: 18 Dec 1998 Section: Sec. 1A Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Copyright: 1998 Chicago Tribune Company Author: Usha Lee McFarling NATURAL FORM OF MARIJUANA IN HUMANS A MEDICAL MYSTERY WASHINGTON -- Amid this year's clamorous battles to legalize medical marijuana stands this little-known fact: Our brains and bodies are flooded with a natural form of the drug. Called cannabinoids, after the euphoria-inducing plant Cannabis sativa, this family of compounds blocks pain, erases memories and triggers hunger. Newer studies show they also may regulate the immune system, enhance reproduction and even protect the brain from stroke and trauma damage. Discovered in humans just a few years ago and, until recently, virtually unstudied, the compounds have become one of the looming mysteries of the nervous system, and a field of exploding scientific interest. Scientists are testing cannabinoids with hopes of harnessing the medical power of marijuana to treat pain without its high, smoke or political baggage. A key challenge is separating the curing power of the compounds from their mind-altering side effects. "That's the holy grail of this field," said Steven Childers, a pharmacologist at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. Because cannabinoids are so numerous in the brain, they also could help explain the workings of some of our body's most complex, and least understood, systems. "It's obviously important because there's so much of it. And we never knew it existed before," said J. Michael Walker, a Brown University psychologist who has conducted some of the first studies of how cannabinoids block pain. "It could help us understand movement, it could help us understand memory, it could help us understand pain. We don't really know how any of these things work." There has always been evidence, from the intoxicating effects cannabis evokes in smokers, that it contains powerful compounds. The sticky, flowering buds of the plant have been harvested as medicine for centuries. Five thousand years ago, Chinese physicians used the plant to treat malaria, absent-mindedness and "female disorders." African tribes used it to treat snakebite and the pain of childbirth. Indian physicians prescribed it for headaches. Sifting through the plant's chemical stew in the early 1960s, Israeli pharmacologist Raphael Mechoulam discovered more than 60 cannabinoids in marijuana, including the famous and psychoactive compound THC. In 1992, a team led by Mechoulam and William Devane trumped that discovery by showing that humans produced their own cannabinoids. They called the substance anandamide (Sanskrit for "eternal bliss"). Our brains contain receptors that interact with the anandamide we produce. In an accident of nature and chemistry, compounds in pot are shaped similarly and therefore trigger similar but more potent effects. The same is true of the plant drugs nicotine and cocaine. Now, scientists are beginning to understand just what natural cannabinoids might be doing in the human body. "We're opening doors now we couldn't even have predicted existed," said Childers, president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. For example: - This week Herbert Schuel and Lani J. Burkman of the University of Buffalo reported that cannabinoids help control the exquisite synchrony of timing during reproduction by slowing anxious sperm if they try to approach an egg before it's ready for fertilization. This may also explain why heavy pot users, both men and women, are sometimes infertile. - Cannabinoids have been found to both suppress and enhance the body's defenses against diseases and tumors, a duality that has researchers puzzled. "It's a science clearly in flux," said Thomas Klein, an immunologist at the University of South Florida. "The more we learn, the more confused we are." - While pot warnings--"This is your brain on drugs" - have long spotlighted the drug's damaging effects on the brain, research last summer from the National Institute of Mental Health shows cannabinoids protect brain cells from stroke or trauma damage. - Last year, scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego showed that cannabinoids block the formation of new memories in slices of animal brain tissues. This power to forget might keep the brain from filling up or getting overwhelmed with unimportant memories. Cannabinoid research in animals already has scientists considering drugs that might be quite powerful in exploiting an untapped chemical system within the brain to solve an array of medical problems. "While no one wants a drug that disrupts memory, maybe you could boost memory by blocking cannabinoids," said Billy Martin, a professor of pharmacology at the Medical College of Virginia and one of a handful of people who have studied cannabinoids since the 1970s. Researchers' largest hopes are focused on using a synthetic form of cannabinoids to block pain, including chronic nerve pain that can't be adequately blocked with existing drugs. Animal studies show cannabinoids can block other kinds of pain almost before they begin, stopping the pain signals before they reach the spinal cord or brain, working as well as morphine. That power suggests they could be substituted for morphine, which is addictive and must be used in increasing doses over time. Cannabinoids enhance morphine's power; combining the drugs could vastly reduce the dosages needed to kill pain, offsetting problems of addiction and drug tolerance. Cannabinoids also counteract nausea, another plus for patients with cancer and AIDS. "It might be possible to manipulate levels of the body's own cannabinoids. You could create drugs like Prozac that block the body's reuptake of cannabinoids or inhibit their breakdown so they stay active longer," said Andrea Hohmann, who previously worked with Walker and now researches pain at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Just Say 'Wait a Minute' (The New York Review of Books discusses "The Fix," by Michael Massing, and "Drug Crazy - How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out," by Mike Gray. Malcolm Gladwell writes, "Drugs" really aren't that much fun - at least not in the way that straitlaced adolescents and anxious parents think that they are. This is a critical point, but so often overlooked that it is worth examining in more detail.) Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 07:02:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The New York Review of Books [fwd] To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subj: US: Just Say 'Wait a Minute' 'The Fix' and 'Drug Crazy' From: Peter Webster Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 17:53:25 -0800 Newshawk: Peter Webster Pubdate: 17 Dec 1998 Source: The New York Review of Books Copyright: 1998 The New York Review of Books Page: p4 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nybooks.com/nyrev/ Author: Malcolm Gladwell Note: Our newshawk writes: "The NY Review of Books has usually ignored books on drugs and drug policy, so this review, the first item in the issue, is unusual. As for Letters to the Editor, they seldom publish any except from well-known persons. But anyone with some credentials after his name, please do write on this one to at least encourge the them to follow up with more such reviews." JUST SAY 'WAIT A MINUTE' a review of: The Fix by Michael Massing 335 pages, $25.00 (hardcover) published by Simon and Schuster Drug Crazy: How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out by Mike Gray 251 pages, $23.95 (hardcover) published by Random House 1. On a hot, muggy night in the summer of 1976, Ron and Marsha "Keith" Schuchard held a thirteenth-birthday party for their daughter in the backyard of their suburban Atlanta home. The Schuchards were English professors, comfortably middle class, and they worried about their daughter. Her personality had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. She was moody and indifferent and only wanted to hang out with her friends. When she asked for a party, the Schuchards were briefly encouraged, because they thought she was coming out of her shell. But as the night wore on, they grew more and more alarmed. The "guests" - many of whom they had never seen before - kept to the shadows of the backyard. Cars pulled up in the driveway, with teenagers yelling "Where's the party?" One girl tried to use the phone but seemed to have difficulty dialing. Looking out on the gathering from their upstairs window, the Schuchards could see little flickers of lights in the corners of the lawn. Finally, when the last of the kids had gone home, the couple went outside in their pajamas and crawled around in the backyard grass with flashlights, trying to figure out what had happened. They found beer cans and empty wine bottles. But what they also found - and what bothered them the most - was marijuana butts and roach clips. That teenagers occasionally do things - and ingest things - that do not meet the approval of their parents is not, of course, all that unusual. But this particular case was different. In fact, in his new book, The Fix, Michael Massing locates the beginning of what he calls the drug counterrevolution at that moment, late at night, in the suburbs of Atlanta. The Schuchards decided that the reason for their daughter's disaffection was not normal adolescent angst, nor was it the malt liquor and the wine. It was the marijuana. "We had a sense," Keith Schuchard would say later, "of something invading our families, of being taken over by a culture that was very dangerous, very menacing." The next morning, Schuchard demanded that her daughter give her the names of everyone at the party, and called each parent in turn. She began researching the dangers of marijuana. She fired off a letter to Robert DuPont, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and so impressed him when they met that he asked her to write a handbook on parents and drug abuse. She obliged with Parents, Peers, and Pot, a vitriolic attack on the drug culture that claimed pot did everything from causing "enlarged breasts" among adolescent boys to destroying the immune system. It was the biggest best seller in NIDA history, with more than a million copies printed. By this point, Schuchard had hooked up with a neighbor, Sue Rusche, and formed Families in Action, the country's first antidrug parents' group, and was intensively lobbying the president's drug adviser. By 1980, she and other concerned parents had joined together to form another, still larger antimarijuana group, the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth (NFP), and by January of the following year, with the election of Ronald Reagan, the NFP became one of the most powerful grass-roots lobbying groups in the land. "The dream we dared to speak of rather timidly three years ago in this auditorium," Schuchard said at a national drug abuse convention in the spring of 1981, "seems well on its way to realization - that is, the growth of the parents' movement for drug-free youth from a handful of scattered individuals and groups to an increasingly cohesive, articulate, and powerful national movement." To Massing, American drug policy has never really recovered from the rise of the likes of Keith Schuchard. In the 1970s, during the Nixon administration, American drug policy had followed a strict medical model. The focus was on the hard-core user of drugs like heroin, not casual users of "soft" drugs like marijuana. Millions of federal dollars were spent on providing on-demand treatment for heroin users and liberalizing access to methadone. Drug policy was directed by psychiatrists, and users were patients. The parents' movement turned that policy upside down. Their concern was not with inner-city addicts, but with suburban teenagers, not with heroin but with pot, and not with treatment but with "zero tolerance." The NFP helped to re-create Nancy Reagan as antidrug crusader. They successfully pushed for the appointment of Carlton Turner as the White House drug adviser, and Turner represented the antithesis of the old drug policy. As Massing writes: To start, Turner rejected their idea of distinguishing between hard-core and occasional users. In his view, there was no such thing as "casual" or "recreational" drug use. Nor did he accept the distinction between "hard" and "soft" drugs. To his mind, that was "a very smooth public relations ploy to get the American public to accept all kinds of drugs. It was like soft drinks - you can drink them with impunity if you don't mind a few cavities." From now on, Tuner asserted, all types of drugs were to be regarded as equally dangerous, and all types of drug use as equally reprehensible. In the Reagan years, the budget for treating drug addicts was cut to about a quarter of what it had been just ten years earlier, while billions of dollars were added to the budget for drug reinforcement, overseas interdiction, and prisons. The key outside strategist, pushing the new director, was now another NFP activist, the group's treasurer, a middle-aged Massachusetts businessman named Otto Moulton. Moulton, Massing writes, was a "giant teddy bear" of a man, with a "round belly, fleshy face, and flock of curly locks," who was obsessed with the threat posed to American civilization by marijuana. In his basement he had a huge collection of drug literature and paraphernalia, and he would regularly fire off "Otto Bombs" - letters packed with extensive documentation - to public officials. Moulton, Massing writes, came to "exercise a sort of veto power over what people said and wrote about drugs." Nancy Reagan's office would send him materials for approval. Moulton, meanwhile, would try to use his contacts to cut off federal money for drug treatment clinics. The parents hated the government's emphasis on heroin - which they considered a marginal menace. They hated the idea that addicts might be treated as patients, and they pressured Nancy Reagan into spending her time with schoolchildren and to stop meeting with recovering addicts. Then, with the election of George Bush, came the appointment of William Bennett as drug czar. He was an English professor and a moralist who knew nothing whatsoever about drugs, which, according to the perverse logic of the counterrevolution, made perfect sense, because the point of the counterrevolution was to take control of the fight against drugs away from the professionals and give it to the parents, and to transform it from a medical crusade into a moral one. In the late 1980s, even as the crack epidemic was first starting to explode in inner cities, Bennett and his drug office remained stubbornly focused elsewhere. "Our office was created not because of the hard-core user problem, but because of concern about exploding drug use in the suburbs and among young people," Massing quotes Bruce Carnes, one of Bennett's top aides, as saying. "It was not directed at hard-core addicts. They consumed the vast bulk of the drugs, and contributed a significant part of the crime, but they weren't the main threat to your kids becoming drug users." The drug war was all about "our kids" now. 2. The Fix is about the consequences of this counterrevolution. It is the story of what was lost when the parents' movement turned our attention away from treatment and hard drugs. In particular, it is the story of an improbable, all-too-brief golden age in American drug policy, a period of no more than two or three years in the middle of the Nixon administration, when America, in Massing's eyes, suddenly got it right. His heroes are two young men on Nixon's staff, Jeff Donfeld and Bud Krogh (the White House fixer who would later get swept up in the Watergate scandal), and Jerome Jaffe, a liberal psychiatrist who in the 1960s pioneered some of the most success-ful drug treatment programs in the country. Donfeld was one of Nixon's domestic policy staff, and his portfolio was drugs. He was a "brash conservative" who despised the 1960s counter-culture. But before long he became fascinated with the success of an experimental methadone treatment in Chicago, the Illinois Drug Abuse Program (IDAP), which had shown great success in reducing crime, unemployment, and heroin use. Donfeld turned to Krogh, who had been given the responsibility for attacking the crime problem in the District of Columbia, and convinced Krogh that it might be worth trying out the Chicago program in the District. "The District of Columbia became a laboratory in my mind," Massing quotes Krogh as saying, a place where we could put more funding into treatment and see what happened.... The administration's emphasis had been so overwhelmingly on the law-enforcement side, that I concluded that if we could get a substantial portion of the addict population into some kind of treatment program, where they would have a chance to function and not be driven to commit street crimes, that would be a very important contribution to the law-enforcement side. The plan worked. Early results from the D.C. pilot project showed stunning drops in criminal activity among those enrolled in treatment. Emboldened, Krogh went to John Ehrlichman, arguing that the program should be instituted nationally, and by the summer of 1971 - after a complex round of bureaucratic maneuvering - Nixon called a bipartisan group of congressmen to the White House and announced that he was appointing Jaffe to head "a new, all-out offensive" against drugs, using treatment as its principal weapon. To fund the effort, Nixon more than doubled the federal money available for treatment programs, to $105 million. By 1973, the total drug budget would reach $420 million, eight times greater than the amount when Nixon had first taken office. Most of that money was put directly into creating drug treatment and methadone replacement programs for heroin users, creating, for the first - and, as it turned out, the last - time in American history, treatment on demand for intravenous drug addicts. "By the spring of 1973," Massing writes, (excerpt)so many [drug treatment] slots had been created that some cities had excess capacity, and Jaffe, seeking to take advantage, was setting up mechanisms to coax more addicts off the street.... [He] was urging cities to create outreach teams to scour copping zones. To make it easier for addicts to gain access to programs, Jaffe was issuing contracts to cities to set up IDAP-like central intake units. And, to help get more drug offenders into treatment, he was expanding [his agency's] Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime program.... The results, at least as reflected in national crime statistics, were impressive. In 1972 crime fell nationally for the first time in 17 years. Crime was down 4.1 percent in Chicago, 4.5 percent in Philadelphia, 8.8 percent in Boston, 15.8 percent in Detroit, and 19 percent in San Francisco. In the District of Columbia, where treatment on demand had been in place longest, crime fell 26.9 percent in 1972. In New York the crime rate fell 18 percent, even though drug arrests and incarceration rates were down sharply that year. The administration that was known for its conservatism and its insistence on law and order had taken the most liberal approach possible to the drug program - and it had worked. So what happened? Massing gives a number of explanations, but the gist of each is the same: that the drug treatment community never succeeded in explaining its ideas to the general public. Jaffe wanted resources devoted entirely to reducing the demand for drugs, and giving up on the fruitless game of reducing the supply. But that's a hard sell at the best of times, and as the country drifted steadily rightward in the early 1980s it became all but impossible. Nixon coined the phrase "drug war" in introducing the Jaffe plan. But later presidents would discover that the true political power in that phrase lay in taking it literally: in fighting drugs at the source with guns and soldiers and helicopters. Jaffe's approach also involved creating a hierarchy of illicit drugs, in which heroin was at the top of the list and commanded most of the attention and marijuana was at the bottom. But by the end of the 1970s the drug treatment fraternity, through sheer arrogance or laziness or both, had allowed the message that heroin was the most dangerous of drugs and marijuana the least dangerous to be distorted into something even less publicly palatable, namely that heroin was bad and that marijuana was good. Massing, for example, retells the extraordinary story of how the Carter administration's drug adviser - Peter Bourne - was forced to resign. In December 1977, Bourne decided to attend a party headed by NORML - the pro-marijuana lobby group headed by Keith Stroup. If nothing else, Keith Stroup knew how to throw a good party, and the event, held in a posh Dupont Circle townhouse, drew several hundred lawyers, congressional aides, politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists, plus assorted marijuana growers and paraphernalia merchants. Waiters carried silver trays bearing caviar and thick joints rolled from the finest grass. Around ten o'clock, a charge went through the crowd: Peter Bourne had arrived. Mobbed by well-wishers, he was quickly escorted upstairs to a private room where the inner circle was gathered. Among those present were Hunter Thompson, David Kennedy (Robert's son), and Keith Stroup. A small, bulletlike container of coke was being passed among the people in the room. Bourne stayed for a short while, then headed back downstairs and left. When six months later this story emerged - that the White House drug czar had been to a party where cocaine was used - Bourne was forced to resign. Bourne maintained, in his own defense, that he didn't use the drug at the party. But that was hardly the issue. What was he doing at a NORML party to begin with? Should it surprise anyone that parents like Keith Schuchard - confronting marijuana use in their children for the first time - would read about this in the paper and conclude that federal drug policy didn't, exactly, reflect their concerns? There is a more fundamental problem here, though, that goes beyond politics. It wasn't just that the parents' movement and the counterrevolution felt that their interests were being slighted by a hard-drug, treatment-based approach, or that the public, in the end, finds interdiction much more satisfying than more passive demand-reduction measures (such as methadone treatment). It was that the parents felt that a treatment-based approach was incompatible with a true war on drugs. For the parents, Massing writes, "the notion of recovery meant that addicts could get well - a message that, they felt, undermined their warning to young people not to use drugs." Treatment, to the hard-liners, is part of the problem. Massing quotes Carlton Turner: "Under President Reagan, I didn't believe that our philosophy should be that it's all right for kids to use marijuana, cocaine, PCP, and Quaaludes, that - 'Hey, that's all right, go do it, and then when you wake up and become a heroin addict, we'll put you on methadone.' That's not what this country is all about." It is hard to overestimate the gulf between these two positions. They are so irreconcilable, so intractable, that they have made it almost impossible to discuss drug policy in this country in an understandable and rational manner. This fall, for example, when President Clinton's drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, announced that he wanted to make methadone more widely available, one of the first to attack the plan was New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who argued that instead of replacing one kind of addiction with another the goal should be to "try to make America drug free." This, of course, is a strange position for someone as obsessed with law and order as Giuliani. How does he think the 30,000 addicts in New York currently taking methadone would finance their habits if the government were suddenly to take their free methadone away? By getting jobs at McDonald's? But then, Giuliani's position is hardly stranger than McCaffrey's previous decision to dramatically escalate the drug war in Mexico. McCaffrey has stated on several occasions that he doesn't think the United States can do much to stop the flow of drugs across the border, but he has channeled millions of dollars toward hardening the border anyway because, as he told Massing, if smugglers are forced out to sea "there'll be less murder and corruption of democratic institutions in Mexico and the United States." Thus has the drug debate descended into incoherence. We have a drug czar who does not believe in practicing interdiction practicing interdiction and a mayor who prides himself as a crime fighter opposing the one drug strategy that has been proven to fight crime. 3. One way to appreciate just how far apart these two positions are is to consider a relatively simple question. How much fun are drugs? One of the principal claims of what used to be called the "drug culture" was that drugs are really, really fun, and the parents' movement has always taken that claim at face value. Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was about abstinence because the assumption was that, to the overwhelming majority of teenagers, even the smallest initial exposure to pot or cocaine or heroin would prove irresistible. This same assumption is behind the drug counter-revolution's hostility to treatment. William Bennett, Massing writes, simply didn't believe that anyone addicted to drugs would voluntarily decide to try to end their addiction. The addict, as Bennett put it in one of his early speeches, "is a man or woman whose power to exercise such rational volition has already been seriously eroded by drugs, and whose life is instead organized largely - even exclusively - around the pursuit and satisfaction of his addiction." Bennett would never have used the word "fun," of course, in connection with drug use, but that's essentially what he's implying. Drugs are so appealing that why would anyone want to give them up? There is something poignant about this attitude. The great unspoken anxiety of those who do not use drugs as adolescents (and I'm assuming Nancy Reagan and William Bennett fall into that category) is that they are missing out on something fabulous, and, of course, it is this very same anxiety that drives those who are using drugs toward even more extravagant claims on their behalf. It is a mutually reinforcing loop, but it has no particular grounding in reality because, of course, drugs really aren't that much fun - at least not in the way that straitlaced adolescents and anxious parents think that they are. This is a critical point, but so often overlooked that it is worth examining in more detail. Earlier this year, for example, a group of researchers at the University of Michigan led by the psychiatrist Ovide Pomerleau published a short report in the journal Addiction. Pomerleau and his colleagues polled four separate groups of people about how they felt when they first experimented with cigarettes: heavy smokers, light smokers, ex-smokers, and never-smokers. What they found is that there are huge differences in how much pleasure people derived from their first few cigarettes. In fact, the amount of pleasure neophyte smokers experienced correlates closely with how heavily they ended up smoking later in life. Of the people who experimented with cigarettes a few times and then never smoked again, only about a quarter got any sort of pleasant "high" from their first cigarette. Of the ex-smokers - people who smoked for a while but later managed to quit - about a third got a pleasurable buzz. Of people who were light smokers, about half remembered their first cigarette well. Of the heavy smokers, though, 78 percent remembered getting a good buzz from their first few puffs. How much people smoke depends, in other words, an awful lot on how much they like smoking. Put that way, the conclusion of the study sounds really obvious and almost silly. But it's an important point. We often assume that the reason most teens don't take up smoking is that we have successfully armed them against the powerful lure of nicotine: convinced them that it is a dangerous and filthy habit, made cigarettes hard for minors to buy, made it impossible to smoke inside buildings or in restaurants. What Pomerleau is suggesting is that for an awful lot of us - not all of us, of course, but many of us - cigarettes don't present a powerful lure at all. We don't start smoking because smoking makes us feel sick. This is true, in some sense, for nearly all addictive drugs. In the 1996 Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1.1 percent of those polled said that they had used heroin at least once. But only 18 percent of those had used it in the past year, and only 9 percent had used it in the past month. That is not the profile of a universally likable drug. The figures for cocaine are even more striking. Of those who have ever tried cocaine, less than 1 percent - 0.9 percent - are regular users. Some of that other 99.1 percent are, no doubt, recovered addicts, people who painfully reclaimed their lives from the grip of the drug. But an awful lot of them are people who snorted once or twice and were left either ambivalent or nauseated. Even a drug as mild as pot evokes as many negative reactions as positive: some people find it delightful. Lots of others complain it makes them paranoid or simply puts them to sleep. The only drug that gets consistently high marks is Ecstasy. Ecstasy is wonderful. It makes you love everyone without reservation. But that's also why the appeal of Ecstasy is necessarily limited. Who really wants to love everyone without reservation? The first - and only - time I used cocaine was at a New Year's Eve party in Toronto, in the late 1980s. Someone pulled me into a back room and offered me a line. I snorted half of it, and waited for my world to explode. When it didn't, I snorted the second half, and for my pains all I got was an itchy nose and a bad headache. This is not to say that no one likes drugs. Of course, some people do. It's just that what is most striking about almost all drugs is how extraordinarily selective their appeal is. 99.1 percent of cocaine experimenters don't go on to become users. We, as a society, take that as evidence of something intrinsically problematic with cocaine. But doesn't it really suggest that there is something intrinsically problematic with those 0.9 percent who become regular users? This is really the issue at the heart of the great, irreconcilable difference between the Jaffe camp and the parents' camp. It isn't just that the parents think that drugs are fun - when they are not - it's that parents think the problem is about drugs, when it is really about users. This same mistake is made by those who take the libertarian position on drugs, and who believe that most of the problems associated with drugs are the result of the fact that they are illegal. In his new book Drug Crazy, Mike Gray paints a lively and quite convincing portrait of all the corruption and futility of drug prohibition. He makes a devastating argument against interdiction, for example, pointing out that all of the heroin consumed in the United States every year can fit inside a single steel cargo container. (To put that in perspective, in a typical month the port of Los Angeles alone processes about 130,000 cargo containers from incoming ships, of which customs inspectors have the time and resources to inspect only about 400.) These are fine arguments. But when Gray starts to actually talk about the people who use these drugs, he - like so many on the exact opposite end of the spectrum - starts to lose his way. Gray tells the story, for instance, of Dr. William Stewart Halsted, one of the founders of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Halsted was a world-famous surgeon, renowned for his skill and ingenuity, a happily married man with an "exemplary" private life. He was also, unbeknownst to almost everyone, a morphine addict for all of his adult life, and despite years of trying, was never able to cut his addiction to less than 180 milligrams of morphine a day. Halsted's story, Gray writes, is revealing not only because it shows that a morphine addict on the proper maintenance dose can be productive. It also illustrates the incredible power of the drug in question. Here was a man with almost unlimited resources - moral, physical, financial, medical - who tried everything he could think of to quit, and he was hooked until the day he died. The first of these three sentences is undoubtedly true. Halsted was taking morphine to break his previous addiction to cocaine, the same way that addicts today take methadone to break their addiction to heroin, and these kinds of maintenance regimens can, under ideal circumstances, permit addicts to lead normal lives. That was part of the logic behind the Jaffe model. The second sentence, however, is simply wrong. Halsted's addiction tells you nothing whatever about the incredible power of the drug in question, because there are plenty of people who are able to quit cocaine without the need of additional drugs, and plenty more who would have found it possible to break a morphine habit. All Halsted's addiction tells you is something about Halsted: that he was one of those people - like the 0.9 percent of cocaine experimenters who take up the drug regularly, or the handful in Pomerleau's study who took their first puffs and liked it - who have some kind of intrinsic affinity for addictive drugs. We don't really know, of course, what precisely this intrinsic affinity is. Some of it is probably genetic. There are also probably certain environmental effects that can powerfully reinforce these addictive tendencies. The point is simply that addiction is not a universal response to drugs. Massing brackets his discussion of the politics of the drug war with a detailed and fascinating profile of a drug treatment referral center in Harlem. He follows, in particular, a woman named Yvonne Hamilton, charting, over the course of several years, her ultimately successful battle against cocaine addiction. Two of Yvonne's siblings, Massing tells us, turned out well: one was a pastor in Queens and another a high school teacher. But Yvonne was in trouble from the beginning. She was sampling her mother's tranquilizers and bottles of liquor while barely into her teens. In junior high, she began smoking pot. In high school, she took LSD, and then after school, while working, she developed a drinking problem. When, in 1985, she first freebased cocaine, her life changed forever. "At once," Massing writes, "she felt a burst of pleasure go off in her brain. It quickly surged down her body, tingling her skin, roiling her stomach, grabbing her groin. 'I'll do this drug until the day I die,' she told herself." Yvonne Hamilton is different from most of us: different from her family, and different from most people in East Harlem, for whom the abundantly available drugs on the street there hold no particular appeal. What the parents do not understand is that the key to the drug war is not about broadcasting antidrug messages, or teaching kids how to say no, or crawling around your backyard looking for roach clips. It is, as Massing argues persuasively, about understanding precisely what makes people like Yvonne Hamilton different, and giving her the kind of help and attention her difference demands.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Can Affect Fertility, Damaging Sperm, U.S. Study Says (A Reuters article in The Toronto Star uncritically passes along Tuesday's news about the latest drug-warrior junk science from the United States suggesting cannabis may have medical utility as a birth-control adjunct - plus commentary from list subscribers, including a letter to The Toronto Star faulting the newspaper for publishing propaganda from US ideologues.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 09:37:29 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: TorStar: Marijuana can affect fertility, damaging sperm, U.S. study says Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Thursday, December 17, 1998 Page: A34 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Marijuana can affect fertility, damaging sperm, U.S. study says WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Scientists say they have shown how active ingredients in marijuana can affect fertility by damaging sperm function. Natural body compounds known as anandamides, similar to compounds found in marijuana, may be important for helping sperm get to and fertilize an egg, Herbert Schuel and colleagues at the University of Buffalo in New York said yesterday. And cannabinoids in marijuana are similar enough to anandamides to confuse the body. Human sperm contain receptors, a kind of chemical doorway, that the active ingredients in cannabis can use. "We've known for 30 years that very heavy marijuana smoking has a drastic effect on sperm production within the testis, which can lead to higher rates of infertility," Schuel said. "Our new findings suggest that anandamides and THC in marijuana smoke may also affect sperm functions required for fertilization in the female reproductive tract." It was known for years the cannabinoids in marijuana are similar enough to anandamides to use the same chemical doorways into brain cells. Schuel's group found sperm also carry receptors for anandamides, and cannabinoids will attach themselves to these receptors, given a chance. *** Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 10:32:41 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: Sent to the Star's Ombud: A few questions I sent this off to the Toronto Star's Ombud, regarding the article they published today. If you'd like to try to get through to the Star that these articles are really misleading, and shouldn't be reprinted, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Every time there is a major screw-up by The Star (or even just something that irks a lot of people), the Ombud publishes a column explaining the Star's position. Sent message: Hi! I have a few questions regarding the article, "Marijuana can affect fertility, damaging sperm, U.S. study says" (Thursday, Dec 17, 1998). Every time the results of one of these studies is published, it is clear that there is a lot of information which is left out. As a graduate student with a primary interest in drugs and drugs policy, I often find that the information left out is critical to the integrity of the study. In this case, the name of the journal wasn't even published. That's information which is *always* available in other medical or science articles. How sure is The Star in this case that the research wasn't simply written on a chalk board or napkin in Buffalo? :) A further problem is that these articles are never immediately available to researchers who may be interested in looking at the original source. It seems to be a continuing tradition of anti-drug 'researchers' to report their findings in a journal that won't be available for weeks, or sometimes months -- allowing the often misrepresented or purely ludicrous findings to be accepted without criticism. If you needed a reason to *not* reprint these articles (which are always news service articles originating in the U.S.), this is it. Getting to the point, the present article does not say in which journal the report was (or will be) published; it does not say whether this is an animal or human study; it does not say what the sample size was; it does not say whether these results are even applicable to humans! In fact, a quick search on the Internet shows that Dr. Schuel is primarily interested in the effects of marijuana-like substances on the sperm of sea urchins -- I have included the information from his own university below, as Note 1. It is quite likely that the present study has also used sea urchins as subjects -- a major point that was not included in the Reuters article. If I may indulge you further, you may recall that I raised similar concerns about a Star article (Teenagers at risk from marijuana, U.S. study says -- April 1, 1998). As it turns out, the newspaper article made the claim that marijuana was dangerous for at-risk youths. After finally being able to read the source article, I found that the subjects involved were referred to the study by justice workers; they all had a history of severe substance abuse problems (over 50% had, by age 15, consumed heroin, cocaine, tobacco, alcohol, and hallucinogenics -- clearly not 'typical' youth); and that the article failed to make a strong case for marijuana's 'dangerousness' -- especially in light of the serious poly-drug use these teenagers were experiencing. All of these factors (and these aren't the only ones) seriously damage the acceptability of the findings. So, we read another article that makes some bold claims, yet doesn't give even a minimum of information needed to determine whether what the article says is true, or another case of U.S. drug war propaganda. The fact that the article states that "we've known for 30 years that very heavy marijuana smoking has a drastic effect of sperm production in the testis, which can lead to higher rates of infertility" is an example of a claim that has not been substantiated. In fact, there have been no epidemiological studies which have shown increased infertility in marijuana-using *humans*, and studies of overall reproductive rates have found no reduction of reproductive rates in countries where a higher rate of marijuana use is found. In short, the claim above is unfounded, and misleads the reader as a matter of course. I would be very interested in your views on this. It seems to me that The Star would not publish articles which are known to include false or even seriously misleading information -- however, The Star has indeed published many articles following the same broad outline as this one. Since a drug, and not a person, is involved, The Star may be less likely to be critical of these types of articles. However, The Star still should, in my opinion, seriously evaluate its science reporting in cases of articles like this -- does The Star want to try to make sure it gets its facts right, or does it prefer to expend less energy, and continue to be used to transmit U.S. drug war propaganda? I feel that this is a valid question to ask. Cheers, Dave Haans Contact info: [snip] Note 1: From: http://wings.buffalo.edu/smbs/acb/anafacul.html#Schuel SCHUEL, Dr. Herbert Analysis of the processes of fertilization and early embryonic development using sea urchin gametes as a model system; acrosome reaction in sperm; reduction of sperm fertility by cannabinoids; exocytosis of the cortical granules in eggs; the prevention of polyspermy; and assembly of the fertilization envelope. 1. Schuel, H., Berkery, D., Schuel, R., Chang, M., Zimmerman, A.M., and Zimmerman, S. Reduction of the fertilizing capacity of sea urchin sperm by cannabi-noids derived from marihuana. I. Inhibition of the acrosome reaction induced by egg jelly. Mol. Reprod. Devel., 29:51-59, 1991. 2. Chang, M., and Schuel, H. Reduction of the fertilizing capacity of sea urchin sperm by cannabinoids derived from marihuana. II. Ultrastructural changes associated with inhibition of the acrosome reaction. Mol. Reprod. Devel., 29:60-71, 1991. 3. Chang, M.C., Berkery, D., Laychock, S.G., and Schuel, H. Reduction of the fertilizing capacity of sea urchin sperm by cannabinoids derived from marihuana. III. Activation of phospholipase A2 in sperm homogenate by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Biochem. Pharmacol. 42:899-904, 1991. 4. Schuel, H., Chang, M.C., Berkery, D., Schuel, R., Zimmerman, A.M., and Zimmerman, S. Cannabinoids inhibit fertilization in sea urchins by reducing the fertilizing capacity of sperm. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav., 40:609-615, 1991. 5. Chang, M.C., Berkery, D., Schuel, R., Laychock, S.G., Zimmerman, A.M., Zimmerman, S., and Schuel, H. Evidence for a cannabinoid receptor in sea urchin sperm and its role in blockade of the acrosome reaction Mol. Reprod. Devel. 36:507-516, 1993. 6. Schuel, H., Goldstein, E., Mechoulam, R., Zimmerman, A.M., and Zimmerman, S. Anandamide (arachidonylethanolamide) , a brain cannabinoid receptor agonist, reduces sperm fertilizing capacity in sea urchins by inhibiting the acrosome reaction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 91 pp. 7678-7682,1994. Dave Haans Graduate Student, University of Toronto WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/ *** Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 16:29:17 -0600 From: PatCohoe (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: marijuana can affect fertility us study says I heard this story more than 20 years ago when I was still in high school, and I believed it then. I don't believe it now. This was on CBC radio. This is one of the more despicable lies told by the drug warriors, a story told by big brother to frighten us helpless little children. I am very impressed how virtually every anti marijuana study comes with no references while the activists who respond to this nonsense usually has some good references. These jerks who publish this propaganda (the press) do not serve the public, they help big brother muddy the waters. The greater the mass of conflicting information the harder it is to make informed decisions, and the easier it is for big brother to feed us his shit. Is the Star article an indication of how well researched most press reports are? This is a deeply disturbing thought. Pat Cohoe *** Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 20:57:59 -0500 From: Stephen Carpenter (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertility Mail-Followup-To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Wooo hooo A great Anti-oxident.... one of the best anti-emtics in the world. Helps pain control, relaxing... and it has been shown to help with birth control! woo hoo....I think this is a definite positive to add to the list of medicinal uses :) -Steve *** Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 13:56:32 -0600 From: David C Dalton (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertilit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org This is especially nice, considering that birth control pills commonly cause "moodiness" and loss of libido. I've never known marijuana to cause either of these problems. ; ) Tussis *** From: "email@example.com" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 02:22:50 "GMT" Subject: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertility Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com I haven't read the study described here, but from all the evidence given, it seems that any effect cannabinoids might have on fertility is temporary. Assuming the research is sound, I think this article is important in clearing up misconceptions the public may have regarding cannabis and fertility. Knowing that cannabinoids can affect fertility by mimicking the body's natural anandamide, means that we know it is not the result of some mysterious and undescribed "toxicity". Regards Ken *** Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 21:45:26 -0700 (MST) From: bryan krumm (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: marijuana and fertility Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com It stands to reason that if the endogenous cannabinoid sysytem is tied to normal reproductive function, that dysfunction of the endogenous cannabinoid system may lead to infertility which can only be corrected through the use of exogenous cannabinoids. Perhaps marijuana smoking will some day be found to cure certain types of infertility. I'm tired of researchers making half-assed claims when we are just beginning to understand the health related implications of the endogenous cannabinoid system. Bryan *** Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 20:57:40 -0900 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: email@example.com (Charles Rollins Jr) Subject: Re: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertility Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org I have always wonder why the US, and other WOD researchers seem to make a lot of noise about Cannabis's natural estrogenic properties. Do they say at least 300 plants also can claim the same. Plants like Oats, Rice and Coffee also have estrogen mimickers in them. What about research led by Jaques Auger? His research showed that males decrease sperm quantity in progressing generations of the world's male population. A possible reason why, is no one in power really discuses this phenomenon is, if you look at the research and take all factors into account we can not blame cannabis. The most obvious reason for male sexual disfunction is toxic waste. Waste that the world population is being exposed to at increasing levels. If people started realizing this, then the same people whose industries have bought our elected officials in DC would be held accountable. They (the offending industries) have spent too much money to let that happen. *** From: CroneSpeak@aol.com Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 16:41:54 EST To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertility Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org In the Fall of '94, The Discover Channel did a special presentation of this subject titled Assault on the Male. What was suggested is that the scientists who are investigating world wide various phenomena associated with this assault are pointing fingers at our petro-chemical industry. Plastics extruded from oil are leaching estrogen into our air, even happening with plastic test tubes in labs, according to this presentation. Run-off into our waterways from petrochemically produced pesticides is increasing levels of estrogen in our water to the point that male alligators are becoming female alligators. : ) The conclusion, as I recall it, was a scientist shaking his head in despair saying that the assault on the male is as serious as if we had been bombed with nerve gases daily for 50 years with the only difference being that the public would at least be aware of the planes overhead bombing them and are not aware of the implications of this assault. What amazed me after seeing this, is that it was never picked up by mainstream media to warn the public. I was more naive in '94 about media than now. : ) Then, in '96, I think, I saw an article in Eugene Weekly, our local alternative newspaper, on this subject pretty much duplicating the information from the TV documentary. Hmmmm...if we adopt the premise that everything is as it should be and the Universe is unfolding perfectly and on time, then would the presence of such high levels of estrogen in water and air be the planetary adjustment to testosterone driven practices which threaten the integrity of the entire biosystem? ; ) Blessed Be Linda Lee *** Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 01:48:16 -0900 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles Rollins Jr) Subject: Re: U.S. study shows marijuana can affect fertility Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Robert, >I'm not sure whether you're making a joke, Chuck. If not, what's so >obvious about that? No I am not making a joke, the one factor that has increased in the past 50 years is the earths inhabitants exposure to toxins. Between 1940 and 1982 the production of synthetic chemical increased around 350 times. The decrease in the sperm count in the word male population was pretty well documented several years back. Further more animal studies done by Dorothea Sager at the University of Wisconsin showed that animals who were exposed to PCB's at an early age generally were unsuccessful in reproducing even though the males sperm appeared normal. I realize that pretty much all of this is still theory. But the evidence supporting this theory is continuing to mount. Don't you believe it's strange that the government makes so much noise about cannabis and fertility especially since (from what I have seen) most of their research was done in the 1970's. Yet, this same government is ignoring mounting evidence, evidence that has repeatedly been reproved over the years linking exposure to toxins and infertility? See ya Chuck *** From: HSLotsof@aol.com Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 22:47:48 EST To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: fertility/toxicity Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Within the last few months it ws reported on national TV news that a UK study had found in all UK rivers and in some signficantly that fish, previously normally sexed, were now being found to be hermaphrodites. The science presenters considered this research to be of major importance, thugh it immediately disappeared from popular disucssion. The researchers could not determine the cause of the sexual changes but, speculated one cause could be the use by women of birth control pills, the active ingredients of which were cleared via urine which after disposal through the sewerage systems may have contaminated the rivers. I am not necessarily agreeing with the conclusions but, we as a species are certainly making a mess of this planet. Of course, the conclusion allowed men to blame it on women. Howard Lotsof
------------------------------------------------------------------- MPP's view of the Monitoring the Future survey data (A press release from the Marijuana Policy Project, in Washington, DC, critiques the federally funded survey to be released tomorrow, and says the MPP's newly released online report, "Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents," examines the government's data and concludes that criminal penalties have had no effect on adolescent marijuana use rates. "When teen marijuana use is down, the drug warriors say, 'Our policies are working, so let's stay the course.' When use is up, they say, 'We blame the legalizers! We must stay the course.' They can't have it both ways. It's time for the drug warriors to take full responsibility and admit that prohibition is a useless, wasteful, cruel strategy.") Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 17:51:02 -0500 From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG) Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Reply-To: MPP@MPP.ORG Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MPP's view of the Monitoring the Future survey data To: MPPupdates@igc.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DECEMBER 17, 1998 MPP Offers an Opposing Viewpoint to the Government's Spin of the Monitoring the Future Survey Data WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Citing the Monitoring the Future survey's perennial finding that adolescent marijuana use is exceedingly high, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, accused the government's prohibitionist marijuana strategy of failing to achieve its stated goals. MPP's newly released report, "Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents," examines the government's data and concludes that criminal penalties have no net effect on adolescent marijuana usage rates. (MPP's report is available on-line at http://www.mpp.org/adolescents.html) "Simply put, arresting adults does not prevent kids from smoking pot," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. MPP's report found: * "Monitoring the Future surveys since 1975 have consistently found that about 85% of the nation's high school seniors consider marijuana easy to obtain. Fluctuations in the severity of penalties and the number of arrests during this time period have had no effect on availability." * "The removal of criminal penalties for marijuana possession in several states `has had virtually no effect either on the marijuana use or on related attitudes' among young people, according to government-funded researchers." "Marijuana prohibition is a fraud," said MPP's Chuck Thomas. "The drug czar's claim that criminal penalties are necessary to prevent adolescent marijuana use is simply not credible." "Prohibition exists to fund prisons and drug enforcement bureaucrats -- period," said Thomas. "Teens are the victims, because the government spends valuable resources on the criminal justice system instead of on effective education." "When teen marijuana use is down, the drug warriors say, `Our policies are working, so let's stay the course.' When use is up, they say, `We blame the legalizers! We must stay the course'," said Thomas. "They can't have it both ways. It's time for the drug warriors to take full responsibility and admit that prohibition is a useless, wasteful, cruel strategy." There have been more than 10 million marijuana arrests in the United States since 1970, with a record-breaking 695,201 arrests in 1997. About 85% of all marijuana arrests are for possession -- not manufacture or distribution.  _National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1995_, L. Johnston, J. Bachman, and P. O'Malley; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Washington, D.C.: USGPO, 1996.  "Marijuana Decriminalization: The Impact on Youth, 1975-1980," _Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper 13_, L. Johnston, J. Bachman, and P. O'Malley; Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 1981; Pp. 27-29.  FBI Uniform Crime Reports, _Crime in the United States: 1997_, published in November 1998. - END - *** HOW TO SUPPORT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: To support MPP's work and receive the quarterly newsletter, "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 http://www.mpp.org/membrshp.html 202-232-0442 FAX
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stripped in search, teens sue police (The Toronto Sun says two Toronto high school students are alleging they were strip-searched, assaulted, threatened and falsely imprisoned while being investigated for possessing marijuana.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: Stripped in search, teens sue police Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 08:21:58 -0800 Lines: 56 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thursday, December 17, 1998 Author: Sam Pazzano Stripped in search, teens sue police Two Toronto high school students are alleging they were strip-searched, assaulted, threatened and falsely imprisoned while being investigated for possessing marijuana. The then 15-year-old and 16-year-old Downsview Secondary School students are suing the officers involved, the police force, North York school board, principal Meredith MacFarquhar and vice-principals Fred Faber and Nancy White for $250,000 in total damages in the Feb. 12, 1998 incident. Their lawyer, Sandra Antoniani, said they are suing for assault, battery, negligence and false imprisonment. "One of the defendant police officers indicated he would beat the 16-year-old if he shook his socks while removing them," their statement of claim states. The 15-year-old was forced to strip down to his underwear and had his genitals observed and touched by officer Ricky Ramjattan in the presence of White, a woman, the suit alleges. The claim states the teen felt threatened when Ramjattan, said to the other officers, "Did anyone remember to bring the rubber gloves?" "No," replied the other two. Then, an officer "further assaulted the teen by taking hold of his underwear, pulling open the front area and looking at the genitals, and then pulling the back and looking at his buttocks, the claim states. "He suffered embarrasment and humiliation at the hands of the defendants (the police) and in being interrogated in a demeaning and aggressive manner," the suit states. "The parents were mortified because they were not advised and by the way this was handled," Antoniani says. No charges were laid and the police "had no basis in law for arresting, confining or strip-searching the teens," the suit alleges. It claims they were never told they were under arrest. The police deny any improper touching or threatening of the teens and school board spokesman Ross Parry says, "School officials did not do anything improper." Copyright (c) 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Woman Drops Pants In Airport After Customs' Smuggling Claim (According to The Edmonton Sun, workers at Pearson Airport in Toronto say a Toronto woman, 20, who arrived on a flight from Jamaica was accused by a Customs officer of smuggling drugs in her body cavities. The irate woman suddenly removed her pants and underwear in front of about 30 stunned people and bent down in front of the officer to show she had no drugs, workers said.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:02:12 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Woman Drops Pants In Airport After Customs' Smuggling Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Thursday, 17 December 1998 Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/ Forum: http://www.canoe.ca/Chat/home.html Copyright: 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership. Author: Tom Godfrey WOMAN DROPS PANTS IN AIRPORT AFTER CUSTOMS' SMUGGLING CLAIM TORONTO -- Canada Customs officers are looking into an incident in which a black woman stripped below the waist in a public area of Pearson airport after being accused of drug smuggling. "It appears she disrobed voluntarily. It was a voluntary act in a very public area," Customs spokesman Mark Butler said yesterday. Butler said there was little he could say since the woman wasn't charged, but sources said the incident happened three weeks after Customs officers were accused of targeting black people for drugs upon returning from Jamaica. Airport workers said a Toronto woman, 20, arrived on the flight about 11 p.m. last Monday and a Terminal 2 Customs officer accused her of smuggling drugs in body cavities. The irate woman suddenly removed her pants and underwear in front of about 30 stunned people and bent down in front of the officer to show she had no drugs, workers said. "There's no drugs and there's no need to search me," the angry woman told the officer. The workers said the woman was told to put back on her clothes and was then taken to a local hospital to undergo drug checks before being released. Butler said X-rays and stool sample would be the usual drug checks at hospital. He said there's no report the woman was singled out or harassed, but Customs officials are looking into the incident. "We don't target passengers based on their ethnic background," Butler said of searching Jamaican flights. But he added, "certain parts of the world pose a higher risk for drugs."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Huge Pot Bust York's Largest (The Toronto Sun says prohibition agents raided two homes in Markham yesterday and shut down what police estimate was the largest-ever pot-growing operation in York Region, with 6,000 plants.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:02:14 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Huge Pot Bust York's Largest Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Thursday, 17 December 1998 Source: Toronto Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/ Copyright: 1998, Canoe Limited Partnership. Author: George Christopoulos HUGE POT BUST YORK'S LARGEST 6,000 plants seized Afternoon raids at two Markham homes yesterday shut down what police estimate was the largest-ever pot-growing operation in York Region. Narcotics officers found the basements, and the main floors of two rented homes filled with nearly 6,000 marijuana plants. The noon bust all but shut down the estimated $6-million-a-year pot-growing operation, Sgt. John Sheldon said last night. "This has put a major dent in the drug-trafficking trade in York Region," he said. "It's a relief that none of this stuff hit the streets." One home on Soho Cres., in the McCowan Rd.-16th Ave. area, had nearly 1,700 plants growing in the basement alone. "It was an elaborate, sophisticated operation," Sheldon said. A 37-year-old Toronto man was arrested at a nearby Hewlett Cres. home where officers discovered a second hydroponic marijuana-growing operation. His name was being withheld until later today for investigative reasons. The man is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of producing a controlled substance. "There was one floor that was for pot seedlings," Sheldon said. Home-grown marijuana contains on average about 25% THC, the chemical that causes the high. Field-grown Mexican dope, by comparison, averages 5%. Sheldon could not say how potent the seized pot was.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Today in the history of the drug war (A list subscriber notes in 1973, the Canadian deputy minister of health confirmed that Health Department officials had been ordered to make no comment on the the LeDain Report.)From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: MAP: Today in the history of the drug war Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 08:20:48 -0800 Lines: 5 December 17, 1973 Dr. Maurice LeClair, deputy minister of health, confirmed that Health Department officials had been ordered to make no comments on the final report of the LeDain commission on the non-medical use of drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Zealand Select Committee Report Recommends Law Review (A press release from New Zealand NORML says New Zealand's parliamentary inquiry into the mental health effects of cannabis has resulted in a recommendation that "the Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use and reconsider the legal status of cannabis.")Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 17:09:27 +1300 From: The Hemp Store (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: NZ: select committee report recommends law review! To: NORML NZ (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org This is it - the one we have been waiting for, and its good! Everyone - this means YOU! - get on the phone to talkback radio, write letters to your MP, the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, Leader of the Opposition Helen Clark, Clem Simich (Minister of Police), Bill English (Minister of Health), write to newspapers, do whatever you can to publicise this report and make the legislative review a reality. The full report should be at Bennet's Government Bookshops tomorrow (Friday 18/12). I don't know yet if it will be on the net. Check http://www.parliament.govt.nz/ or http://www.executive.govt.nz/ or http://www.moh.govt.nz/ As soon as I can track down an electronic version of the report - or type it in - I'll send it out to you all. NORML NZ's press release follows.... kia kaha, Chris Fowlie *** NORML National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, New Zealand Inc. PO Box 3307 Auckland NZ Tel: (09) 302-5255 Fax: (09) 303-1309 MEDIA RELEASE -- DECEMBER 17, 1998 INQUIRY INTO THE MENTAL HEALTH EFFECTS OF CANNABIS NORML welcomes recommendation to review the law and demands an immediate moratorium on arresting cannabis users and legislative change from the Government The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws today welcomed the report of Parliament's Health Select Committee that has recommended "the Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use and reconsider the legal status of cannabis." "On behalf of taxpayers and cannabis users, we call upon the Minister of Police to tell his troops to stop arresting responsible cannabis users, and let them concentrate on real crime. We have the second highest drug arrest rate in the world - a cannabis bust every 35 minutes - and that's something the Government and the police force should be ashamed of." "We sincerely hope the Government will heed the recommendations of the Inquiry, which we note is the first held here since 1973. We've had sixty years of prohibition, and all it's done is cause more problems than it's solved. If they do not take action on these matters, including reviewing the legal status of cannabis, then it will reveal that they really do not care about the health and well-being of New Zealanders. "We need legislative change in order to fully address the problems raised by the report. It is only through an environment of tolerance and compassion, rather than persecution and punishment, that we can help people who experience problems related to their drug use. "NORML recommends allowing cannabis users to grow their own plants, and the development of a legally-comtrolled and regulated market for cannabis products, similar to the Dutch-style cannabis cafes. After twenty years of tolerance, drug use in the Netherlands is now amongst the lowest in the world, and their health professionals are much better placed to deal with any problems that do arise. "It should be noted the committee's recommendations were almost all related to improving education, research and treatment services. The only recommendation relating to the criminal status of cannabis is that that should be reviewed. NORML has been lobbying for such a review for decades, and we would be only too pleased to help the Government formulate a new approach to cannabis use in New Zealand. "This Inquiry heard that many of the harms often associated with cannabis use are actually created by its prohibition, while the actual harms presented by cannabis have been exaggerated" he said. "The justification for arresting cannabis users is simply not valid. We need to stop punishing all cannabis users, help those who have problems, and leave the rest alone. "The Health Committee are saying cannabis should be a health issue, not a criminal law enforcement issue. This is something NORML has been saying for years, and we recommended that to the Inquiry, as did numerous other groups such as the Ministry of Health and the NZ Drug Foundation. "Prohibition only serves to divert police from real crime, creates additional crime and violence, and drives cannabis use underground and away from health professionals. Cannabis prohibition has not stopped anyone from using cannabis, but it has created unnecessary harm." said Chris Fowlie. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR ADDITIONAL COMMENT: NORML spokesperson Chris Fowlie 09 302-5255 Health Committee Chair Brian Neeson 04 471-9999 Health Committee Clerk David Wilson 04 471-9524 *** NORML NZ P.O. Box 3307 Auckland New Zealand Office: +64 9 302-5255 Fax: +64 9 303-1309 NORML New Zealand http://www.norml.org.nz NORML TV on the net http://www.ntv.co.nz Subscribe to NORML News Online! send mailto:email@example.com with 'subscribe' in subject line
------------------------------------------------------------------- Parole Officers Back Heroin Trial (An op-ed in The Daily Telegraph, in Australia, by Greg Oates, the president of the Probation and Parole Officers' Association of New South Wales, says "We are filling our jails in NSW faster than they can be built. There is no hope of stemming the flow of illicit drugs into the country. People are not safe on the streets and parents mourn their children, dead or imprisoned. It is a disaster. We believe all political parties have a moral obligation to stop politicking on this subject and to introduce an on-going inquiry into how to combat the use of illicit drugs with emphasis on early intervention, treatment and harm minimisation. We support a heroin trial.") Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:01:42 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: OPED: Parole Officers Back Heroin Trial Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Russell) Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia) Page: 12 Author: Greg Oates PAROLE OFFICERS BACK HEROIN TRIAL GOOD on the Lord Mayors for their stance on a heroin trial (Daily Telegraph, December 15). There is another aspect to the heroin problem which they have highlighted. Our members deal with thousands of people who have become the criminal flotsam and jetsam of prohibition policies. We are often unable to assist them to live within the law, because of meagre resources, and have little choice but to bring about their incarceration or their return to prison when they fail again. We are filling our jails in NSW faster than they can be built. There is no hope of stemming the flow of illicit drugs into the country. People are not safe on the streets and parents mourn their children, dead or imprisoned. It is a disaster. We believe all political parties have a moral obligation to stop politicking on this subject and to introduce an on-going inquiry into how to combat the use of illicit drugs with emphasis on early intervention, treatment and harm minimisation. We support a heroin trial. GREG OATES President, Probation and Parole Officers' Association of NSW
------------------------------------------------------------------- Alcohol And Drug Problems Rife In Jails (The Advertiser, in Australia, says a national study conducted by the Australian Medical Association has found that up to 83 per cent of the nation's prisoners continue to suffer from alcohol and other drug problems while in jail, and as many as one in four inmates continues to use heroin when in jail, while half of all prisoners suffer from hepatitis C and hepatitis B.) Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:01:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Alcohol And Drug Problems Rife In Jails Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Russell) Source: Advertiser, The (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.advertiser.com.au/ Pubdate: 17 Dec 1998 Page: 7 Author: Mark Steene ALCOHOL AND DRUG PROBLEMS RIFE IN JAILS UP TO 83 per cent of the nation's prisoners continue to suffer from alcohol and drug problems while in jail, the Australian Medical Association says. Up to one in four inmates continue to use heroin when in jail, while half of all prisoners suffer from hepatitis C and hepatitis B, a national study conducted by the AMA has found. The study's findings will be used as the basis for a meeting soon between the State Human Services Minister, Mr Brown, and the AMA'S South Australian president Dr Rod Pearce. Mr Brown said yesterday: "The Government is very conscious of the health risks in prisons and has already implemented a number of policies to try to reduce the transmission of disease." "We're also very aware of the need to provide health and medical treatment to cope with the special problems of prisons. "One particular problem is the very high proportion of Aboriginal prisoners who need specialist services." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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