UPwe 11/10/92 2213 Judge to decide on probation termination SAN DIEGO (UPI) -- A judge said Wednesday he will consider terminating the probation of a man infected with the AIDS virus who cultivated and used marijuana to stop nausea and other symptoms of the deadly disease. Samuel Skipper, 39, of La Mesa, pleaded guilty in 1991 to cultivating marijuana and was placed on three years probation. Skipper said he and his male lover had AIDS and used the drug for treatment. As a condition of his probation, he was ordered not to use marijuana. But Skipper continued to use the drug and was charged again with marijuana cultivation. He was acquitted Oct. 15 marijuana cultivation charges after he used the "medical necessity" defense. Skipper's attorney told San Diego Municipal Court Judge Charles Rogers that Skipper should be allowed to cultivate marijuana since the jury accepted his explanation that he needs the drug. "All Mr. Skipper wants is to be left alone," argued Juliana Humphrey. "This is a very unique situation." Deputy District Attorney David Williams told the judge not to terminate the remaining year of probation. The judge will make his decision on December 10. RTec 12/05/92 0958 DUTCH PREMIER SLAMS FRENCH MINISTER FOR DRUGS ... DUTCH PREMIER SLAMS FRENCH MINISTER FOR DRUGS COMMENTS THE HAGUE, Dec 5, Reuter - Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers condemned as "infamous" and "scandalous" a French minister's charge that the Netherlands was too lax on drug abuse, Dutch media said on Saturday. The Dutch government plans to lodge a formal protest with France at the comments made by Interior Minister Paul Quiles in London earlier this week, a foreign ministry spokesman said. Quiles was reported as saying that the Netherlands' lenient approach to drug abuse was blocking a European Community plan for a new Europe-wide police force. He accused the Dutch of obstructing the scheme by refusing to allow its first phase, a Drugs Unit, to be based in Strasbourg, France. "That was a scandalous remark," Lubbers was quoted as saying by the Dutch ANP News Agency. It was "unacceptable, untrue and infamous" and "impermissible language among member states." The Netherlands and Italy have submitted The Hague and Rome as potential headquarters sites for the project, known as Europol, which will work along the lines of the Interpol international police organisation. "The problems in France are far worse than here," Lubbers was quoted as saying by Dutch daily Trouw. "The number of deaths from drugs is far higher in France than here...We are at least equally active and effective." Both hard and soft drug use is illegal in the Netherlands, but small-scale drug use is tolerated in a belief that it is easier to control if kept visible. Soft drugs like marijuana are openly sold in so-called "coffee shops" throughout the country and the heroin substitute methadone is distributed free to addicts from special buses. RTw 12/09/92 2144 DESIGNER CANNABIS GIVES DUTCH OFFICIALS A HEADACHE By Ben Hirschler AMSTERDAM, Dec 10, Reuter - In thousands of glasshouses around the Netherlands a new crop is ripening. Home-grown "designer" cannabis, carefully cultivated for maximum potency, is estimated to be the country's sixth biggest crop after tomatoes -- and output is growing fast. Known as Nederwiet (Dutch weed), it is replacing imported cannabis as the drug of preference among discerning smokers in Dutch "coffee shops," where soft drugs are sold openly. It is proving a major embarrassment to the Dutch government, already under fire from neighbouring countries who say its lax policy will let criminals flood the European Community with drugs when internal borders are opened in January. Dutch growers counter that they are actually driving crime out of the drugs trade since their superior home-grown product is grabbing market share from foreign drug barons. "It's taken a long time to convince people that Dutch marijuana is a top quality product but the message has finally got through," said Alan Dronkers, whose Amsterdam-based seed firm has seen sales more than double in the last two years. "The Colombians and other drug traffickers have lost a market. They can't sell their stuff anymore," he said. His company produces a glossy catalogue offering 19 different hybrid varieties -- each selected for indoor, outdoor or glasshouse use -- the fruit of 15 years cross-breeding of plants from around the world. Most popular are the "skunkweeds," so named because of their strong smell. First produced in the United States in the 1970s, they have since been carefully cultivated to a potency many times that of conventional varieties. According to police figures, Dutch marijuana now contains nine to 27 per cent of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), compared with 0.5 to 14 per cent in imported drugs. Health workers say the super-strong cannabis can be a shock to the system but there is no evidence it is any more dangerous than other types of marijuana. "There have been some passing intoxications but we have seen no serious accidents," said Giel van Brussel, head of the drugs unit at the Amsterdam city health authority. "Those who suffer may experience a period of anxiety and the feeling that it was too strong, but it only lasts a few hours. It's a mild problem," he added. The National Criminal Intelligence Service (CRI), however, believes designer cannabis is a potential goldmine for the mob, and fears it is only a matter of time before drug cartels turn the Netherlands into a major drug exporter. There have already been reports of Nederwiet entering Britain. "We've been warning all along that it will be a major export product. If you allow it to be produced, people will grow it and export it," said the CRI's Ernst Moeksis. He says there are already ominous signs that production is being scaled up as bigger operators move in. "It's become much, much more professional in the last few years," Moeksis said. In 1990 police dismantled five substantial cannabis nurseries. Last year the number of sites jumped to 54, producing crops with an estimated street value of 204 million guilders ($116 million). That 1991 total has already been surpassed this year -- and police admit this is only the tip of the iceberg. Although all drugs are technically illegal in the Netherlands, possessing or producing up to 28 grammes of cannabis for personal use was reduced from a crime to a misdemeanour 15 years ago. Furthermore, growers routinely escape prosecution by claiming their crops are for legitimate agricultural use, such as the production of birdseed or fibre for making rope. Controversy over the relaxed Dutch policy was ignited again last week in a public spat with France over the location of a planned new Europe-wide police force, to be known as Europol. French Interior Minister Paul Quiles, lobbying hard for Europol to be based outside Strasbourg, accused the Dutch of pursuing a lenient drugs policy which would undermine Europol efforts to tackle drugs trafficking. Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, who wants Europol to be based in The Hague, said the allegation was "scandalous." At the same time the Dutch have shown signs of bending in the gale of recent criticism. Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch-Ballin hinted at a tougher Dutch stance in future -- at least on Nederwiet. "More intensive police attention must be paid to large-scale Nederwiet cultivation. The Netherlands really cannot permit itself to become the laughing-stock of Europe in this already precarious policy area," Hirsch-Ballin said recently. Officials say no firm decisions have yet been taken, but the government is studying a CRI proposal for a licensing system requiring growers to prove that their cannabis is destined for approved agricultural outlets. "Licences are one possibility. We have to take some measures, but what they will be is still an open question," said Justice Ministry spokesman Victor Holtus. REUTER MJM KG SJ UPce 12/10/92 1558 Corrections investigating drug overdose CHESTER, Ill. (UPI) -- Illinois Corrections officials want to know how a Menard Correctional Center inmate who died of an apparent drug overdose last month managed to smuggle a syringe into the maximum- security prison. DOC investigators are examining the Nov. 29 death of Michael LeCrone, 34, a convicted killer who was serving an 80-year sentence for a Champaign County murder and other crimes. Passing inmates found LeCrone dead on the floor of his one-man cell in the Southern Illinois prison. Randolph County Coroner Neil Birchler said the dead inmate had a makeshift tourniquet tied around his arm and there were needle tracks on his hands and feet indicating he was a longtime intravenous drug abuser. Also found in LeCrone's cell were a syringe and several rubber bags containing a white powder believed to be cocaine or heroin. Birchler believes LeCrone died of a drug overdose but won't make an official ruling until lab tests confirm the identity of the drug. Corrections officials acknowledge pills, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs often are smuggled into the state prison system, sometimes by guards and other times by visitors or prison workers. But intravenous drugs are rare and deaths from overdoses are almost unheard of, said Michael Mahoney of the prison watchdog group the John Howard Association. State law makes it illegal for any Illinoisan, in prison or out, to possess a hyupodermic syringe without a prescription unless they are a health-care provider. DOC policy also bans needles in prisoners' cells and says all inmates must go to prison infirmaries to receive injections. The state's most publicized prison drug overdose was in 1987, when a Pontiac Correctional Center inmate choked to death on a packet of cocaine as he tried to hide the drugs from guards who were moving him to another cell. Prison gangs blamed guards for the inmate's death and killed Pontiac Superintendent Robert Taylor in retaliation for the incident. The gang leader who ordered the assassination and two inmates who carried it out were sentenced to death for the crime. UPma 12/13/92 0715 Federal agents arrest wrong person LOGAN, Ohio (UPI) -- The mother of five children said her arrest on major drug charges, which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, was "the most humiliating experience" of her life. U.S. marshals from Columbus arrested Sandra Kranz at her home in Logan, believing she was a person identified as Lisa Marilyn Allen, who is sought by federal officials in Portland, Ore., on eight counts of trafficking in marijuana. Kranz, who said she doesn't smoke and hasn't had a drink in three years, said she was in bed when the marshals came to her home Friday and told her that she was Allen. "I told them I waem my ID," Kranz said. She said marshals insisted she was Allen and told her she could tell her story in court. Kranz said she had to leave her two daughters, 22 months and 2 months, with her 17-year-old son. When she reached U.S. District Court in Columbus, about 40 miles north of Logan, she was placed in a fourth-floor holding cell. Kranz said she told her story to Stephen K. O'Leary, who handles retrial services for the U.S. District Court. "If it weren't for him, I would have been there through the weekend and who knows how much longer," Kranz said. "He listened to my story, my denial and my story from birth through today." Kranz said marshals never informed her of her rights or allowed her to make telephone calls. "It was like I was a major criminal and I had no rights," Kranz said. Kranz said she got a free lunch but had to arrange her own ride home. "I held up well under the situation and pressure, but after I got on the phone I broke down and cried," Kranz said. The charge against Allen involved two marijuana shipments from Thailand, one of 8 tons and one of 7 tons, for distribution on the East Coast, authorities said. RTw 12/16/92 1131 DUTCH POLICE SWOOP ON DRUG-PEDDLING COFFEE SHOPS AMSTERDAM, Dec 16, Reuter - Amsterdam police swooped on the city's infamous "coffee shops," arrested 193 people and seized 10 kg (20 lbs) of hard drugs, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. More than 600 of the marijuana-selling coffee shops have sprung up over the Dutch capital in the last 15 years with the tacit acceptance of the authorities. But police suspect that half of the shops are also centres for an illicit trade in hard drugs, firearms and stolen goods. Tuesday's raid on 21 coffee shops led to the arrest of 48 people for possessing hard drugs and firearms. A further 145 people were detained on suspicion of being illegal aliens. Police Commissioner Foeke Wagenaar told a news conference that police would continue their crackdown. "We are determined to continue along this path, on a smaller scale but with great tenacity," he said. All drugs are technically illegal under Dutch law, but 15 years ago possession of up to 28 grams (one ounce) of cannabis for personal use was reduced from a crime to a misdemeanour. REUTER HDJ CAB PAE UPce 01/07/93 1633 Pinckney man sent to prison for 7 years for growing... Pinckney man sent to prison for 7 years for growing marijuana DETROIT (UPI) -- U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds slapped a Pinckney man with a 7-year prison term and a $3,000 fine Thursday for cultivating more than 900 marijuana plants at a farmhouse in Addison. George M. Dudek, 30, pleaded guilty to the charge on Oct. 6. In addition to the prison time and fine, Edmunds imposed a 4-yer period of supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg, who prosecuted the case, said agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 900 marijuna plants when they raided the farmhouse on Jan. 7, 1992. Hydroponic growing equipment and technical literature on marijuana cultivation also were seized, he said. Dudek pleaded guilty to one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. UPne 01/28/93 1803 Tugboat union head, daughter charged with selling pot NEW YORK (UPI) -- The 77-year-old president of a local tugboat union and his daughter were arrested Thursday on charges of conspiring to buy more than a ton of marijuana from an undercover drug agent, federal prosecutors said. Abe Klein, president of AFL-CIO local 333, the United Marine Division, representing tugboat workers on Staten Island, and his daughter, Sheryl, 43, both of Staten Island, were charged with drug trafficking. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Otto Obermaier said the two were indicted Jan. 7 along with a third individual known as "Ben" who currently is a fugitive. The three were charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 2,200 pounds of marijuana since 1989. Prosecutors said the Kleins allegedly negotiated to buy several thousand pounds of marijuana on a regular basis from an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. The trio allegedly obtained a one-pound sample of the pot from the agent as part of the sale negotiations. Klein and his daughter were scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 4. in U.S. District Court. If convicted, both face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison, as well as more than $4 million in fines. APn 01/28/93 1224 Anti-Oregano Copyright, 1993. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Cooking Italian could endanger your freedom in Arkansas. A bill introduced in the legislature could make possession of oregano illegal, and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The bill in the state House of Representatives would make it a felony to create, deliver or possess "counterfeit" marijuana. Under the proposal, coupled with definitions in current law, a person could be arrested if the "counterfeit substance" looks like marijuana and is packaged in a manner normally used for delivery of the drug -- usually a plastic bag. Dried, crumbled oregano leaves look much like marijuana, and the flavorful herb has occasionally been passed off as the costlier marijuana. And oregano is sold in bulk at health food stores, where customers package it in plastic bags. "That's insane," Gary Eklund, owner of Beans and Grains and Things in Little Rock, said of the proposed legislation. Supporters of the bill contend that an arrest would occur only if someone were trying to sell oregano as marijuana. But Deputy Attorney General Jack Gillean said that such a representation wouldn't be required. "If the police found someone who was involved in the (drug) trade and they happen to be in possession of oregano packaged that way, clearly conditions would be met," Gillean said. "He is going to have to convince police he is making a big pot of spaghetti or something." Sensible application of the law would depend on the common sense of police and prosecutors, Gillean said. Conviction could bring a sentence of three to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. UPma 01/28/93 0806 Man indicted on drug charges PITTSBURGH (UPI) -- An Allegheny County man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge involving narcotics violations. Robert Hazlett, 44, of Natrona Heights, was named Wednesday in the one-count indictment. Hazlett is charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana plants. If convicted, Hazlett faces a possible sentence of not less than 10 years in prison to a maximum of life and a fine up to $4 million. UPce 02/05/93 1643 Chesterton man arrested on marijuana charges INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- A 25-year-old was arrested Friday on charges he was growing more than 100 marijuana plants at Bloomington. The federal grand jury indictment of Joseph Lee Hunt, currently of Chesterton, came down Jan. 5, but the information was not released until his arrest. U.S. Attorney Debroah Daniels said a tip from Hunt's Bloomington landlord led to the investigation and indictment of the man. If convicted, Hunt faces a possible prison term of 40 years. APn 02/06/93 0109 Marijuana-Birds Copyright, 1993. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By SCOTT LINDLAW Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- This marijuana is for the birds. All 608 tons of it. That's the amount of marijuana seeds imported last year -- all of it legal -- to feed pet birds. Packers say the seeds are high in protein and fat and make for shiny feathers. "It is not used to excite the birds," said Kathy Schneider, technical service coordinator for Kaytee Products in Chilton, Wis., which packages marijuana seed. "It is a nutritional source." The Drug Enforcement Agency allows six U.S. companies to import marijuana seeds that end up as feed for parakeets, parrots, cockatiels and pigeons. Pigeon owners favor feeding their birds the seeds before shows because they improve appearance, Schneider said. The seeds aren't the kind that would intoxicate a bird, let alone a human. But to discourage would-be pot gardeners, the DEA makes sure the life is baked out of them in a heat treatment before they hit U.S. shores. Under DEA rules, the seeds must be "non-viable," or incapable of producing marijuana plants, when they arrive in this country. If tests show they are viable, they get another heat treatment. Schneider said a few seeds will bloom into plants even after the treatment, but won't mature or bear seeds. Most of the seeds are imported from Hong Kong and mainland China, said Joel Fries, deputy chief of the drug operations section of DEA's Office of Diversion Control. Why not let the seed companies grow marijuana and harvest the seeds? That would be illegal, Fries said. So would using seeds confiscated in drug busts, because the seeds are often viable. "Anyway, we destroy the stuff as fast as we can and it's hard to store," he said. WP 02/07/93 For Ex-Defendant, The Nightmare Continues BY COURTLAND MILLOY Harry Davis had been in bed that morning a year ago when he heard a knock on his apartment door in Fort Washington. He got up, put on his pants and opened the door. Fifteen police officers, carrying assault weapons and dressed in black garb that looked like some kind of ninja outfits, stormed in, knocked Davis to the floor and held him there with a shotgun to his head. "They run through the house and pull my girlfriend out of bed with no clothes on, and then they spread her legs out like she was hiding something up in her," Davis said. "I'm wearing pants and no shirt and she's naked, and they open the windows. It's winter. We're freezing. Then they proceed to destroy the place." Davis was arrested in a crackdown on the "P Street Crew," an alleged cocaine distribution ring operating in Northwest Washington. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Sporkin dismissed the case against him. "The evidence did not have him in any actual drug transaction," said Justin Williams, an assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the case. "All I can say is that there is nothing further pending against him." Except harsh recollections of the United States mocking its constitutional ideals. During the raid on Davis's apartment, police tore out the walls and crushed family photographs in their frames. They confiscated his automobile and seized his car-leasing business. When the charges were dropped, Davis asked for his car and was told that it had been forfeited back to the bank because he had not kept up his monthly payments. He was told that his business papers would be returned, if government clerks could find them. But he would not be compensated for the damage to his apartment and personal belongings. Police had charged that Davis, 49, used his business to launder $100 million in drug money. Inside his apartment, they found $8,000 in deposits from customers who had leased cars from him. There were no drugs, no guns or any evidence of the dirty millions that he was supposed to have washed. Nevertheless, then-Attorney General William Barr held a spectacular news conference at the Justice Department and announced that 450 law enforcement officials from as far away as New York had smashed the notorious P Street Crew. Davis was implicated as the mastermind and portrayed on television every night for nearly a week as yet another so-called black coke kingpin in handcuffs. The law does not always respond this way. In 1989, Anne Arundel County police seized seven pounds of cocaine, more than 60 pounds of marijuana, five pounds of hashish, $70,000 in cash and numerous weapons from the home of two National Security Agency psychologists. They did not destroy the house, nor confiscate property. In fact, police were careful to allege that the drug operation was run by the couple's 21- year-old son. The parents were not charged. To add insult to Davis's injury, police then transported him and the other 17 P Street defendants across state lines to have their cases tried in Virginia, where juries are whiter and reputedly harsher on black defendants. U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan saw their arrival for what it was, a charade, and he ordered the defendants returned to D.C. Before his arrest, Davis had worked part time as an amateur boxing referee and trainer at a gym in suburban Maryland. There he met some of the youths who also were arrested and later plea bargained for three-year sentences in the P Street case. Davis said he had tried to help one of the youths "get his act together" by giving him a job as an office cleaner and messenger in his car-leasing company. According to Davis's attorney, the relationship was distorted by an informer who was bargaining with police in a desperate bid to keep himself out of prison. After being released on bond, Davis found work as a car salesman. "A customer recognized me as `that man from the P Street Crew,' " Davis recalled. "My employer checked my record and found this `felony arrest.' " He was fired. During court proceedings dismissing the drug charges last week, prosecutors reserved the right to refile charges against Davis. "I'm still a suspect?" Davis asked. "It's not a word we would be using," Williams said later. Judge Sporkin had said that refiling charges against Davis would be "unwise." But the request by prosecutors had the effect of leaving Davis's innocence in question. That the government had acted immorally, however, was beyond the shadow of a doubt. "What about my reputation? I have done nothing wrong," Davis said in court. "You break into my home, humiliate my friend, destroy my business and after investigating me for a year, just drop the charges. What can you say to me?" "You're free," the judge told him. "Next case." UPn 02/08/93 0016 As Rasta culture spreads, faith may be waning By JOHN OTIS KINGSTON, Jamaica (UPI) -- Ridiculed for their beliefs, feared for their matted, ropy dreadlocks, and jailed for smoking marijuana, Jamaica's Rastafarians used to be social misfits. These days, however, members of the religious sect have become doctors, teachers and lawyers. Rastafarian-tinged reggae music blares out of boomboxes around the globe. In Kingston, dreadlocks are more common than neckties. Yet even as Rastafarian culture goes mainstream, many observers say the religion's original tenets are being left behind. "The faith has become very diluted. For many, it is just a hair style," said Flo O'Connor, a human rights activist who has worked on behalf of Rastafarians. The movement began when Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican back-to-Africa advocate, forecast the crowning of a black king in Africa. Garvey's statement resonated in Jamaica, a former slave colony where 78 percent of the population is black. When Haile Selassie I was named Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, thousands of Kingston slum dwellers declared him the black savior. They became known as Rastafarians, after Selassie's baptismal name, Ras Tafari Makonnen. Many Rastafarians let their hair grow into long, unruly tresses and considered marijuana a sacred herb. They called Jamaica "Babylon," or hell on earth, and pledged to return to Africa. Police considered the movement subversive, and they jailed hundreds of Rastas on drug and vagrancy charges. Yet with its tenets of self- sufficiency and black pride, the faith caught on and helped propel the island's black power movement in the 1960s. "They persuaded the society to look in the mirror and confront their blackness. They gave the black struggle tremendous impetus and pushed it along," said Rex Nettleford, a professor at the University of the West Indies in Kingston who has written a history of the movement. Through the music of reggae stars like Bob Marley -- a devout Rastafarian -- the faith took hold in the United States, England, Japan and Africa. Abroad, more people recognize the red, green and gold Rastafarian banner than the Jamaican flag. Still, those who believe in Selassie's divinity are a tiny minority compared with the legions who have plugged into the faith's cultural trappings. Jamaica's image as a Rasta paradise is so pervasive that self-styled "rent-a-dreads" hang out at the tourist resorts offering marijuana- laced tours of the local nightlife. Tony Soyemi, a reggae producer, said he has run into snags cutting deals with U.S. record company officials because he wears short hair. "The first thing they say is, 'He ain't got dreadlocks,"' Soyemi said with a laugh. Mutabaruka, a Rastafarian poet, observes, "You see Rasta flashin' them dreadlocks on MTV. You see Rasta all over the place. But when you start telling people Haile Selassie is God, they don't want to hear that." Because the movement lacks structure and a defined hierarchy, no one knows just how many true Rastafarians exist in Jamaica or elsewhere, said Abraham Peddie, chairman of the Rastafarian community in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, violence and famine in Ethiopia have led many Rastas to view the pilgrimage back to Africa as more of a metaphor than a goal, and Selassie, overthrown by Marxist rebels in 1974, is viewed by many Jamaicans as a hapless autocrat. In years past, many Rastas lived in tightly knit communes on the outskirts of Kingston. Elders exercised a moral authority, and those who strayed from the code of conduct had their dreadlocks shorn off. But Jamaica has an oral tradition, and the elders rarely put anything on paper, O'Connor said. Furthermore, as Rastas moved up the economic ladder, many moved out of the communes. "Most people don't know the roots," said Minnie Phillips, a Rastafarian who runs an Ethiopian restaurant in Kingston. "Our forefathers were more spiritual. They weren't interested in money. They did not mix with society." Peddie denies the faith is waning. Even so, he wants to revitalize the original teachings by publishing a series of Rasta texts written in the 1930s, as well as a new manuscript called "The Rastafarian Bible." But for now, pop culture -- the music, the attitude, and the aura surrounding the sect -- remains the most effective way of spreading the faith, according to Sandra Alcott, a Rastafarian lawyer. "It helps open the door," Alcott said. "We have to take advantage of the magnetism." UPne 02/13/93 1911 Parish apologizes for marijuana charges SAN ANTONIO, Texas (UPI) -- Boston Celtics center Robert Parish on Saturday apologized to his team and his fans for allegedly having possession of marijuana at his Weston, Mass. home. Parish, playing with the Celtics on the road in San Antonio, read a statement in which he apologized to his team for what he called a "stupid mistake." "I made a mistake, and I've embarrassed family and friends of mine," Parish said. Parish, 39, and a female companion, Heather Graves, 24, of Atlanta, face arraignment on March 3 in Waltham District Court, on one count each of possession of marijuana. If convicted, Parish could face a maximum of six months in prison, and-or a $500 fine. Officials say they doubt the nine-time NBA All-Star will be sentenced to jail, because it is his first offense. A 2-ounce package of marijuana addressed to Parish was found at a Federal Express office in San Francisco Wednesday by federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents. The unopened package was flown to Massachusetts where another drug- sniffing police dog confirmed the contents before a warrant was obtained to open it. The package was then delivered to Graves at Parish's home early Thursday afternoon. Police returned to the house about 10 minutes later with a search warrant and found the package inside, along with another 3 ounces of marijuana, a spokesman for the Middlesex County District Attorney said. APn 02/13/93 1206 Drug Forfeiture Copyright, 1993. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By JOHN ENDERS Associated Press Writer MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) -- When Carl and Mary Shelden sold their home and agreed to carry a $160,000 note, they had no idea they were about to be trapped in a government web that would cost them almost everything they owned. In 1979, the Sheldens made the mistake of selling their $289,000 house in Moraga, Calif., to a man later convicted under a federal law that permits the government to seize his property as the product of his ill-gotten gains. The fact that the Sheldens had nothing to do with the crimes and were the legal owners, courtesy of the unpaid mortgage, meant nothing. After a 10-year court battle, they are virtually bankrupt. They got back the house, but it was so badly damaged that it made little difference. "Everything we worked for was in that house," said Carl Shelden, 52, a disabled shoe salesman. "And this is the United States. We don't know whether we want to stay in this country anymore." The Sheldens are not unique. Authorities across the nation are coming under fire from citizens whose homes, cars, cash and other property were seized in America's War on Drugs. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials insist the program, included in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, is helping them fight the drug war. They say the seizures hurt dealers where it counts -- in the pocketbook. "This is a very powerful law enforcement weapon," said Cary Copeland, who heads the Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. "We think it is being operated well." But alleged abuses make big headlines. A small-town Southern sheriff seizes a Rolls-Royce from a drug dealer and uses it as his personal car. Local police in Little Compton, R.I., net $3.8 million in a drug bust and outfit their cars with $1,700 video cameras and heat detection devices for a police force of seven. The owner of a sailboat loses the craft after a crew member is caught with a small amount of marijuana. Since 1985, federal authorities have confiscated almost $3 billion worth of cash and other property under the 9-year-old federal Asset Forfeiture Program, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Under federal civil forfeiture statutes, police may seize money and property presumed to be connected to illegal drug profits. But a growing number of critics, including citizens, defense attorneys and civil rights advocates in California, Missouri, Florida and other states, say the law violates the U.S. Constitution and a basic tenet of the criminal justice system. They say people whose assets are seized are treated as guilty and must prove themselves innocent to get their property back. "Once the American public finds out what's been going on under their noses without them knowing about it, they are going to be horrified," said Brenda Grantland, a San Francisco attorney who spent 10 years defending forfeiture victims in Washington, D.C. Grantland serves as counsel to a group called Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, or FEAR, with chapters organizing in New Jersey, Virginia, California and Massachusetts. "They treated the criminal better than they treated the innocent lienholder in this case," said Grantland, who is representing the Sheldens in their damage suit against the government. Another case involved Jorge Lovato Jr., a computer reseller in Morgan Hill, Calif., and Rey Sotelo, a motorcycle shop owner in nearby Gilroy. Both have previous drug convictions, once had ties to a suspected drug dealer and probably do not elicit much sympathy from most people. They say they, too, have been victims of a law that is out of control. In July, agents swept down on Sotelo's home and both men's businesses, seizing company records and a Harley-Davidson motorcyle for sale on consignment at Sotelo's bike shop. They later seized $120,000 in cash from a safe-deposit box rented to Lovato. Police said they suspected the money was illegal drug proceeds and the motorcycle was stolen. Neither Lovato nor Sotelo was charged with a crime. Lovato said he keeps large amounts of cash available because he deals in cash purchases. He and Sotelo both think police targeted them because of their former ties with the key target in the raids -- a man with whom they were partners in a failed export business. Five months and $10,000 in lawyers' fees later, Lovato got his money back. "If you have a good lawyer, you have the power to fight them," he said. Sotelo, too, is bitter. "I'm not the most desirable person to look at," he said. "I have tattoos, long hair and drive a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. After this ordeal, I believe no one is safe in this country." Lovato says publicity surrounding the raid has hurt his business. And Sotelo claims the emotional trauma caused his pregnant wife to miscarry the day after the raid. Both threatened to sue the government. According to Department of Justice statistics, seizures have increased dramatically each year since the forfeiture program began. In fiscal year 1991, the federal government gave $289 million to local and state agencies under the program. Although prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, civil forfeiture can occur when there is probable cause to believe the property was connected to a crime -- a far less rigorous standard. Christy A. McCampbell, in charge of the regional office of the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, said the law is a great tool for law enforcement and most people who claim to be innocent are not. "We don't seize assets unless we can connect the drug dealing to those amounts of either cash or properties," she said. "If they can show the money was gained legitimately, then the money is returned." In the case of Lovato and Sotelo, she said, "We had a lot of evidence connecting them all, but the district attorney felt there was not a solid enough connection." Attorney Dave Michael, who specializes in getting forfeited property returned to its owners and who represented Lovato last year, said the problem is the law. "It completely shifts the burden of proof," he said. "Law enforcement just runs willy-nilly." This and other cases are part of a wave of opposition to the law that appears to be sweeping the nation. Several legislatures are considering changes to their state forfeiture laws, most of which are modeled after the federal statute. In September, a hearing before the House Government Operations Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., heard testimony from a number of the law's victims. Listening to their stories, Conyers said last month that he was "outraged" and plans further hearings in late February or early March and to eventually introduce legislation to change the law. "The cornerstone of our system of justice is a presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty. As far as I know this is the only part of our criminal justice system that ignores the presumption of innocence," Conyers said. "The time has come to change the law." RTw 02/16/93 0148 Australian farmers given a legal taste of cannabis Copyright, 1995 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The following news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Reuters Ltd. By Belinda Goldsmith SYDNEY, Feb 16 (Reuter) - Farmers in South Australia are being told to take a long, hard, legal stare at cannabis, which is being touted as the most environmentally sound crop of the 1990s. South Australia on Thursday became the second of Australia's six states to give the green light for trial plantings of industrial hemp, which is already grown in some other countries. South Australian Health Minister Michael Armitage said the hemp was a close relative of the marijuana plant but with low doses of the narcotic ingredient THC and is ideal for making fibre for rope, clothing and paper. "In due course these trials may pave the way for new primary and processing industries in this state," Armitage said in a statement on Thursday. Laws governing marijuana vary between Australian states and territories from being totally illegal to allowing a person to possess enough for personal use. Hemp was widely used around the world until the 1920s for a variety of purposes, including ship sails, in medicines and as a fuel in lamps. Hemp lost much of its popularity as the smoking value of the plant sparked anti-drug campaigns, which eventually saw the plant outlawed in many countries, including Australia. Now, Armitage said, the South Australian government, following the lead of island state of Tasmania, recognises the need for agricultural diversification where farmers have been fighting one of the nation's worst droughts. "It (hemp) competes very favourably with cotton as a fibre producing up to three times more fibre than cotton without the attendant requirement of intensive irrigation and pest control programmes," Armitage said. Hemp has been widely hailed as the super crop of the 1990s as no pesticides or chemicals are used in its growth and the amount of chemicals used in processing is cut by 80 percent. Managing Director Marco Bogaers of Australia's largest cannabis clothing company, Slaam Streetwear, said the plants used to produce cannabis cloth are genetically altered to promote long woody stems superior for making fibre and less foliage and seeds and, importantly, less THC.. "The level of THC in the cloth is extremely low, about 0.01 percent, and you'd have to smoke about five pairs of jeans to feel any effect," Bogaers told Reuters on Thursday. "But people have this fear the plant is a drug and would be exploited if grown commercially," he said. Bogaers said cannabis cloth is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, Britain and the United States for jeans and tops. He said the use of oil from the plant's seeds in cosmetics, shampoo and even as a fuel was becoming popular. Slaam, which set up two years ago with a cannabis leaf motif on its clothing, has an annual turnover of A$2 million (US$1.5 million) and now exports to Japan and New Zealand. Bogaers said Slaam imports its cannabis cloth from Hungary and India with cloth also available from Afghanistan and China, but is looking at investing in a plantation in Vietnam. "We use the fact it's made of cannabis as a marketing ploy," Bogaers said, "and people come and smell it and taste it. "But really it's just another fabric but stronger and about 15 percent more expensive than cotton." REUTER RTw 02/18/93 0943 BRITISH FARMERS TO GROW CANNABIS -- LEGALLY LONDON, Feb 18, Reuter - The British government said on Thursday that its farmers could grow cannabis, as long as it was the variety known as hemp, used to make rope and paper products. The Home Office (interior ministry) said this would bring Britain into line with other European Community farmers who have been cultivating hemp, a member of the cannabis sativa family, for more than 20 years. Home Office minister Michael Jack said in a statement that the crop would be subject to strict licensing controls to minimise the risk of illegal cannibis cultivation. He said strains which met EC requirements -- those bred to contain low narcotic levels -- had been grown in continental Europe for more than 20 years without any problems. One British company has already applied for permission to grow hemp. Farmers will even be able to claim an EC grant of about 250 pounds ($360) an acre (nearly half a hectare). REUTER SB PAE WP 02/18/93 Valentine Day Massacre By Richard Cohen NEW YORK - On Feb. 14, 1929, several of Al Capone's gang, some of them disguised as cops, wheeled into the Chicago garage used as the headquarters of the rival Bugs Moran organization, simulated a police raid and gunned down seven men with sub-machine guns as they faced the wall waiting to be frisked. "I'm gonna send Moran a Valentine he will never forget," Capone had said. Never mind Moran, it was America that did not forget. The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre remains a staple of gangster lore. But precisely 64 years later - on yet another Valentine's Day - six people in the Bronx, all Hispanics, were lined up face down on the floor and shot once in the head, execution style. Three of the dead were adults, three were teenagers. In a way, this most recent Saint Valentine's Day massacre was even more horrible than its Chicago predecessor. It appears that the motive was drugs. It appears also that only one of the victims was involved in the drug business. The others were innocent bystanders. "They probably just didn't want to leave any witnesses," the brother of one victim told the New York Times. Maybe my knowledge of American gangsters has been romanticized by Hollywood, but I doubt even Capone, a sociopath if there ever was one, would have murdered five innocent bystanders. Many victims of drug battles are innocent bystanders, including the teenage girlfriend of one of the murder victims. Yet, this particular massacre was hardly New York's worst. In 1984, 10 people were slain in Brooklyn's East New York section. It was another holiday: Palm Sunday. The repeal of Prohibition largely put an end to bootlegging and the inter-gang warfare for its profits - an estimated $50 million a year to Capone alone. Now, the lucrative contraband is drugs, and America has made the same mess of it that it once made of illegal alcohol - by treating it as mostly a criminal problem. If anything, though, the profits now are even greater, and the weaponry is both more lethal and more easily available. The consequences of such a policy are all around us: an incredible toll in lives lost and the corruption of our youth as they have become inured to violence. From time to time, someone or some organization questions the logic of such a policy, and for a moment or two the nation discussed de-criminalizing what are now illegal drugs. Either that, or someone wonders if we are not placing too much emphasis on law enforcement and interdiction and not enough on rehabilitation. Almost always, though, the debate is brief, and the critics are dismissed as either kooks or cranks. But whether the proposed prescription is decriminalization (at least, say, of marijuana) or whether it's changing the funding mix so that education and rehabilitation get more money, the debate is always short-lived. By framing drug usage mostly in moral terms and invoking martial metaphors - War on Drugs, for instance - we have produced a debacle. It's certainly not a success. The availability and usage of drugs fluctuate - and not, it seems, in relation to any government policy. Worse, the American system of justice has been corrupted by a national panic about drugs. Laws have been strengthened to the point where they do violence to the spirit of the Constitution; Draconian mandatory sentences are handed down for what, sometimes, are petty offenses; property is seized before trial, as if the guilt of the suspect was already determined, and politicians casually propose the death penalty for drug-related crimes - as if drug pushers were not already operating in an environment where capital punishment, unencumbered by lengthy appeals, is commonplace. But maybe the most pernicious aspect of our national drug policy can be gleaned from two newspapers. The Times played the story of the Bronx massacre on the front page. But it was a local story and on a slow news day at that. The Washington Post, by contrast, gave it all the prominence of a bus plunge in Bangladesh, six paragraphs on page A10. The conclusion is inescapable: We have become so accustomed to a truly horrific level of violence - especially in the inner city - that we pay scant attention. (Imagine, though, if six white suburbanites had been massacred.) In comparison, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre outraged the nation. The federal government, spurred by President Hoover, ultimately got Capone on tax evasion charges, and shortly thereafter Prohibition was repealed. Since Prohibition, we have tolerated a substantial alcohol-abuse problem, however most of us see it as a health, not a moral or criminal, problem. But the most recent Saint Valentine's Day massacre has stirred little interest and no real outrage - certainly no calls from politicians to reconsider our national drug policy or even to wonder whether it has contributed to the incredible violence of our inner cities. Instead, to the tune of about $12 billion a year, the federal government wages a so-called war on drugs in which, as the Bronx massacre shows, the victims too often are innocent bystanders and the greatest damage has been done to our capacity for indignation. RTw 02/18/93 2207 CANADA CALLED HOTHOUSE FOR GOURMET MARIJUANA By Jon Ferry VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb 19, Reuter - It is widely accepted that this Canadian port city has one of the most scenic mountain backdrops of any in the world, but police say Vancouver has a high of another sort -- the world's most potent marijuana. They say the basements and spare bedrooms of the community of 1.7 million house cannabis plants genetically engineered to produce a gourmet drug, the Maui Wowee of the 1990s, sought up and down North America's west coast. Police say the average commercial-grade marijuana grown out of doors contains between two and five per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. But the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently seized marijuana in an indoor Vancouver "grow house" that had a THC content of 29 per cent. "It's a phenomenally high rate. I don't know of any that has been higher anywhere in North America," says Staff Sergeant Jack Dop, a 20-year veteran of the war against drugs. Dop says buyers in San Francisco have been trading two pounds (0.9 kg) of Canadian cannabis for one pound (0.45 kg) of cocaine. "This is the first time that I've heard of people trading cannabis for cocaine in a major way," he says. Marijuana now is believed to be British Columbia's biggest single cash crop and Dop says children as young as 10 are using the powerful new drug, grown with sophisticated hydroponic gardening methods. "It's kind of a gateway drug. There are 10-year-old kids who have access to it. Everybody just throws C$5 (US$4) in for a gram of hydroponic," Dop says. Dop says the growers "breed" their plants meticulously. They discard the leaves and stalks, from which cannabis used to be made, and retain the buds. They pick only female plants which they improve through a cloning process. The business is hard to police because the artificial lights and beds do not require much space. "We've even seen marijuana being grown in a covered-over trench in a backyard," he says. Sergeant Jens Linde of the Vancouver city drug squad says police have found warehouses with thousands of plants. "The Vancouver area is known as the hub of marijuana cultivation in North America. The drug lab says the indoor pot is triple, quadruple, the THC strength of even the old, good stuff like Maui Wowee," he says. One former grower told a local radio station she made C$50,000 (US$40,000) annually, tax-free, during the four years she ran her basement plantation of 200 smaller plants. Describing herself as a well-educated, 50-year-old professional, the woman said most growers are not involved in organised crime. "I wouldn't deal with people that, you know, have guns or cheat or steal or lie or any of that," she said. But Dop believes the woman has seriously underestimated both her profits and the evil of the marijuana trade. "They're criminals, they're not ageing hippies. They're not just people growing some dope. Weapons are involved to protect your crop, to try to collect debts that are owing," he says. He says marijuana profits are enormous. "You're looking at an average profit on maturity of C$1,000 (US$800) ) a plant and you can do it (grow a crop) every three or four months," he says. Allowing for 10 per cent of the plants to be spoiled, a grower with a 100-plant operation can earn more than C$270,000 (US$215,000) a year, he says. Criminologist Neil Boyd agrees marijuana-growing is a big local industry. "There are literally just thousands of people in the city of Vancouver who make their living from the distribution and growing of marijuana," he says. But the Simon Fraser University professor disagrees the high-strength pot is as harmful as police are making it out to be. "There is no evidence the damage is multiplied," he says. Boyd says enforcement of anti-drug laws in North America is clouded in hypocrisy. A high percentage of lawyers, judges and policemen have used marijuana and know it is benign. "It's much less dangerous than either alcohol and tobacco," he says. Boyd says official U.S. figures estimate 350,000 Americans die prematurely from tobacco and 150,000 from alcohol each year. Fewer than 100 die from marijuana. He says that in the Netherlands where marijuana has been decriminalised for years, casual use has declined. Cannabis possession in Canada is still punishable by up to seven years in jail and traffickers can receive life in prison. In 1991, 27,000 Canadians were charged with simple cannabis possession. "That's three-quarters of all drug charges. So basically the war on drugs is fundamentally a war on marijuana possession," he says. Lincoln Clarkes, a 35-year-old Vancouver photographer, says he has smoked marijuana since he was 13. "I grow it. I smoke it and I'm not afraid to say so. Marijuana is less harmful than tobacco and Twinkies (pastry). I think a lot of people should actually be smoking it. It would straighten them right up," he says. Clarkes does not grow his marijuana hydroponically, but has visited a hydroponic operation and agrees the pot is incredibly strong. "One toke and it's there," he says. REUTER JF ZM UPwe 02/18/93 2006 City official arrested SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- Federal authorities arrested the assistant general manager of San Francisco's Social Services Department and two others Thursday for their alleged part in a conspiracy to import 40,000 pounds of marijuana from Southeast Asia. A DEA spokesman identified the city official as Michael Hancock, 52, who was taken into custody in his City Hall office. The two others were identified as Glenn Boisselle, 42, and Paul Leake, 43, both of San Frnacisco. The men face up to life in prison and a $4 million fine. The three were among 13 people named in a sealed indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco last year. RTw 02/18/93 1256 COURT UPHOLDS BAN ON MARIJUANA MEDICINAL USE (Eds: Updates with news conference on potency) WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuter) - A federal appeals court Friday upheld the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) decision in refusing to make marijuana legally available for medical purposes. In a 3-0 decision written by Judge James Buckley, the court rejected the challenge by three private groups which had opposed the 1992 decision by the head of the federal drug enforcement agency to keep marijuana from patients. The groups -- the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, the Drug Policy Foundation and the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- had argued that marijuana should be reclassified to allow doctors to legally prescribe it. The reform organisation later held a news conference to contradict reports that the marijuana of the 1990s was more potent than that grown previously. They said marijuana has eased nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, has lessened muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and has reduced eye pressure for glaucoma patients. The groups cited testimony from a number of patients and physicians who said that marijuana can be used safely and effectively. The first request by the groups to make marijuana available for medical purposes was filed in 1972, and the case has produced four previous decisions by the appeals court. Buckley in the 12-page opinion rejected the argument that the DEA chief had been unfairly biased, reflecting the agency's long history of anti-marijuana prejudice. He said DEA's decision did not appear unfair on the grounds that there was only anecdotal evidence rather than rigorous scientific proof supporting the use of marijuana. The DEA's decision "recites the testimony of numerous experts that marijuana's medicinal value has never been proven in sound scientific studies," he said. David Fratello, a spokesman for the Drug Policy Foundation, was unable to say if the ruling would be appealed, but added, "This puts the ball into the Clinton administration's court." He noted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced it would review the issue and said, "DEA is the wrong agency to make these sorts of decisions." Later, Richard Cowan, director of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws told a news conference that the reports of a more powerful marijuana result from an alleged government propaganda campaign. John Morgan, a medical doctor and professor of pharmacology of the City College of New York, told the news conference that marijuana potency has remained relatively stable. Morgan produced a report from the University of Mississippi that has conducted marijuana potency studies for the U.S. government since the 1970s to dispute the potency contentions. The study, Morgan said, shows that of 20,000 samples of seized marijuana analysed since 1974, the average potency level as measured by a chemical, delta-9-THC, found in marijuana has been 2.93 percent. The highest year for potency was 1984 at 3.96 percent and the latest full year, 1992, was 1.9 percent, Morgan said, displaying the study. REUTER "Why of course the people don't want war... It is the leaders...who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along...all you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. -- Hermann Goering From: (MORRISR@ucs.indiana.edu)
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