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Without further ado, please enjoy the news: circa 06/30/94 Police in a pickle over plastic pot plant CHELTENHAM, England (Reuter) - Hairdresser Rob Andrews sparked a police raid when he put a plastic pot plant in his salon window. Officers were tipped off that the plant was marijuana but quickly realised the mistake when they raided the premises in this western English town. "They went over to it and realised straightaway that it was plastic. I don't think they were very amused," Andrews said after the police had left. - - - - RTw 06/30/94 PLASTIC POT PLANT PUZZLES POLICE CHELTENHAM, England, June 30 (Reuter) - Hairdresser Rob Andrews sparked a police raid when he put a plastic pot plant in his salon window. Officers were tipped off that the plant was cannabis but quickly realised the mistake when they raided the premises in this western English town. "They went over to it and realised straightaway that it was plastic. I don't think they were very amused," Andrews said after the police had left. REUTER RTf 07/04/94 U.K. to promote non-food crops for industrial use LONDON, July 4 (Reuter) - Britain will step up its help to farmers to develop land for producing non-food crops for industry, Agriculture Minister Gillian Shephard said. "Opportunities are beginning to emerge that will enable farmers to use the land productively for renewable raw materials as well as the food we need," Shephard told a gathering at the annual Royal Show at Stoneleigh in central England. Land set aside from food production under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) could be used to produce industrial oilseeds -- for paints and pharmaceuticals -- and fibres like flax and hemp for use in paper and textiles, she said. Shephard announced an increase in her ministry's research and development budget on such crops to nearly 1.3 million stg a year. She also announced a new consultation document on such crops and the creation of a special unit in the farm ministry to coordinate links between growers, researchers and industry. "The U.K. can take an early lead in developing new crops for uses other than food," Shephard said. About a sixth of U.K. arable land -- or some 600,000 hectares -- are set aside, of which about 125,000 may have been used for non-food crops, the ministry said. --London Newsroom +44 71 510 8065 REUTER APn 07/04/94 Drugs-Drivers' Licenses By CAROLYN SKORNECK Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The goal was to crack down on drug use by coercing states into yanking drivers' licenses from all drug offenders, no matter how minor the infraction. The stick wielded by Congress was a threatened loss of federal highway funds. But it hasn't worked out that way. Thirty states have defied that pressure, opting for a congressionally sanctioned alternative: Their legislatures passed resolutions declaring opposition to mandatory six-month license suspensions for drug offenders, and governors of these states supported that position, the Federal Highway Administration says. Only 14 states have complied by requiring the license suspensions. Federal action is pending for another six states, putting at risk a portion of their federal highway funds this year. These states, including four that have moved to suspend licenses, can still get their full allotment if they comply by Oct. 1, said Mila Plosky, an FHWA official. "It's turned out much better than I expected," said Kevin Zeese of the Drug Policy Foundation, which opposed the legislation and advocates treating drug abuse as a medical problem, not a crime. "Back in 1990, when it was passed, I would have bet that less than five states would pass resolutions saying, `No, thank you,'" Zeese said in a recent interview. But the legislation's sponsor is also happy with the results. "It's worked out very, very well," said Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y. The 14 states that imposed mandatory suspensions, he said, "are major population states." They include six of the 10 most populous states: New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey. Even though 30 states rejected his plan, Solomon said, "We have made our point. We have gotten every state in the union to focus in on this terrible problem." Although the legislation passed in 1990, at the height of then-President Bush's war on drugs, states did not risk losing money until the current fiscal year, which began last Oct. 1. States not in compliance were to lose 5 percent of their share of the four biggest highway programs. After Oct. 1, 1995, non-complying states are to lose 10 percent. Of the $17.5 billion the FHWA planned to give to states this year, California and New York were slated to get the biggest chunks, with California up for $1.6 billion and New York, $908 million. California is at risk to lose $51.8 million. The legislation, tucked into the fiscal 1991 transportation appropriations bill, applied to all illegal drugs, all drug offenses and all states, including the 10 that had decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana but still considered it an infraction of the law. The two most populous of such states, California and New York, were Solomon's primary targets. New York responded by passing a law requiring the suspensions of drug offenders' drivers' licenses, effective last Sept. 30, a day before the deadline. Two years ago, California's Democratic-dominated legislature passed a resolution opposing a law requiring the license suspensions, but Republican Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed it. Wilson came back with a "smoke a joint, lose your license" measure. It went nowhere last year, but the state Assembly passed a revised version, 46-13, in early June. State Senate action is pending. Of the other five states that are not in compliance officially, four have passed legislation requiring the license suspensions and one has passed a resolution saying it would not do so. The federal highway agency is reviewing these actions. If federal officials accept these efforts, 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will require license suspensions for drug offenders and 31 states will not. The National Governors' Association opposes the federal requirement. "It's not fair to have a mandate imposed that would withhold highway funds," said the NGA's Lydia Conrad. "States face 19 mandates on their highway funds if they don't meet a variety of requirements," ranging from control of junkyards to using recycled material in asphalt, she said. UPn 07/05/94 Two Europeans could face death penalty MANILA, July 5 (UPI) -- The Philippine authorities Tuesday charged a German and a Swiss with illegal possession of five million pesos ($185, 000) worth of hashish and the two could face the death penalty if convicted. Helmut Herbst, 46, of Germany and Remo Dalla Corte, 31, of Switzerland were arrested in April in the beach resort town of Puerto Galera for possessing 159 pounds (72 kg) of hashish, a drug derived from marijuana resin. State Prosecutor Emmanuel Medina said the "unshaken statements" of the Bureau of Immigration operatives who apprehended the two suspects would be the key piece of evidence in the trial. Herbst and Corte have pleaded not guilty. Drug trafficking is a non-bailable offense with a maximum penalty of death under the country's capital punishment law that went into effect Jan. 1. The Philippines now has one of the broadest death penalty laws outside the Muslim world, allowing the execution of criminals convicted murder, drug trafficking, rape, arson, kidnapping, treason and the large-scale looting of government funds. Sen. Ernesto Herrera, chairman of the committee on illegal drugs, has said the two Europeans should be executed "as a warning to international drug traffickers operating in the country." RTf 07/06/94 Psychemedics (PCMCO) hair drug test gets patent CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 6 (Reuter) - Psychemedics Corp said it was granted a patent for its proprietary hair analysis method for drug testing. The company said its test can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines and PCP use by examining a small hair sample. -- New York Newsdesk, 212-603-3310. REUTER UPn 07/06/94 Thai MP threatens U.S. over drug charge By JOHN HAIL BANGKOK, July 6 (UPI) -- A senior Thai member of parliament suspected by the United States of drug dealing threatened legal action Wednesday if his accusers fail to produce evidence against him within one week. Wattana Asavahame, deputy leader of the opposition Chat Thai Party, livened an otherwise routine budget debate in parliament with an impassioned speech about the narcotics allegations. According to a statement issued July 1 by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, the longtime member of parliament and former deputy interior minister was denied a U.S. visa because "there is reason to believe he is or has been an illicit trafficker in a controlled substance." "You know how these accusations have damaged me," Wattana told his fellow parliamentarians. "I strongly condemn such action by the U.S. authorities against me." He said the accusations were "an insult to the Thai Parliament." Wattana, 58, called on the House of Representatives and the government of Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai to take legal action against the U.S. government. He said if the Americans fail to produce concrete evidence against him he would have "no choice" but to sue the U.S. for material compensation for the damage to his reputation. On Tuesday Chavalit Yodmanee, chief of Thailand's Narcotics Control Board, met with senior U.S. Embassy and Drug Enforcement Administration officials and quoted them as saying they had evidence against Wattana. But he said the American officials did not disclose the nature of the evidence. Wattana is the third Thai politician to be publicly accused of drug dealing by the United States in the past two months. Another Chat Thai MP, Thanong Siriprechapong, was accused in May of exporting nearly 50 tons of Thai marijuana to the U.S. West Coast over a ten-year period. Shortly afterward, Mongkol Chongsuttanamanee, an MP from the opposition Chat Pattana Party, also was hit by American drug dealing charges. The accusations have prompted opposition leaders to accuse the government of leaking the allegations for political purposes. Chat Thai Party leader Banharn Silapa-archa was quoted by party members as advising other Chat Thai MPs to refrain from applying for entry visas to the U.S. because they might fall victim to the "smear campaign." Because of the drug allegations, the Chat Thai and other opposition parties boycotted a U.S. Embassy party celebrating the 4th of July. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Chuan, whose ruling coalition has not been tainted by the drug scandal, played down any possible damage it might have to bilateral relations with the U.S. "Relations between Thailand and the United States are not at stake," he said. "The U.S. is Thailand's single biggest trading partner, with whom we have a huge trade surplus. That's why we should try to prevent personal affairs from affecting bilateral relations." UPn 07/07/94 China says English prisoner ``content'' BEIJING, July 7 (UPI) -- An English drugs trafficker, languishing in a Chinese jail for attempting to smuggle marijuana into Japan, says he is well treated and content, the official media said Thursday. "I am content with life here and the warders treat me well," 31- year-old Mark Baber told Xinhua news agency. "On my birthday, the prison specially baked a cake for me," he said, adding "I watch TV in the evening and read the China Daily." Baber was arrested at the port in Shanghai for trying to smuggle "several kilos" of marijuana out of China and into Japan. "I violated Chinese law and was obliged to bow to the justice of the Chinese authorities," he told the news agency. Baber, a graduate of Oxford University, has one year to serve of his four-year term and plans to remain in China when he is released. He has learnt Chinese in prison and wants "to do business in China in the future," the news agency reported. Baber has his own cell, is allowed to play football and sunbathe and has special vegetarian food cooked for him, Xinhua news agency said. Chinese prisoners however are not so fortunate. China's jails are generally cramped and prisoners are subject to fierce discipline. Human rights groups have accused China of torturing prison inmates, forcing them to work 15-hour days and feeding them gruel. In a report released in May, Human Rights Watch-Asia claimed China cleaned up an entire wing of Beijing's No. 2 Prison for an anticipated visit of the Red Cross. Glass was put in window frames, menu boards were changed to show meat and rice dishes instead of dough buns and watery soup, the group said. UPwe 07/08/94 Raids net 2,070 marijuana plants SANTA ROSA, Calif., July 8 (UPI) -- Sonoma County authorities announced Friday they have staged a series of raids in California's infamous Emerald Triangle marijuana growing region, seizing 2,070 plants worth more than $6 million and arresting an alleged grower. Lt. Mike Brown, of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, said the raids were undertaken over a three-day period ending June 7. "It's harvesting time," Brown said. "There should be a great of action up here for the next few months." The first raid began early Tuesday with agents sweeping a site south of the Gualala River, 4 miles south of the town of Gualala. Authorities said 1,003 plants ranging in size up to 3 to 4 feet were destroyed. Brown said the plants had a street value of $3 million. On Wednesday, two sheriff's deputies and a Fish and Wildlife game officer stumbled onto several small marijuana farms near Annapolis and saw a Jon Gregory Patrick riding a camouflage-covered all terrain vehicle in the fields. A chase ensued with Patrick observed reaching into his waistband several times. Once apprehended, it was discovered Patrick was carrying a semi-automatic pistol loaded with hollow point bullets and equipped with a laser sight. Patrick was taken into custody and is being held in Sonoma County Jail. Officers also seized 103 marijuana plants with a street value estimated to be $300,000. The final raid took place on Thursday when officers destroyed 964 plants found growing near Sea Ranch. The plants, ranging in size from 3 to 6 feet, had a street value of $2,982,000. circa 07/08/94 [untitled - Sickle Cell Patient Arraignment] 8 a.m. -- Los Angeles -- Arraignment for Sister Somayah Moore-Kambui, a sickle cell patient who uses marijuana and hemp seed oil to abate pain from the disease, on charges of possession of a marijuana plant. Criminal Courts Building, Div.30. Contacts: Lynnette Shaw or Sister Somayah at 213-234-8701. RTw 07/09/94 SINGAPORE TO HANG MALAYSIAN FOR DRUGS - NEWSPAPER SINGAPORE, July 9 (Reuter) - Singapore's high court on Friday sentenced to death a Malaysian for importing into Singapore nearly 1.4 kg (just over three pounds) of cannabis, The Straits Times said on Saturday. He had pleaded not guilty. Under Singapore's strict anti-drugs laws, the death sentence is mandatory for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than 15 grams (half an ounce) of heroin, 30 grams (one ounce) of morphine or 500 grams (18 ounces) of cannabis. The court found Ibrahim Yaacob guilty of bringing in the drugs in the boot of a car driven from the neighbouring Malaysian city of Johor Baru in September last year. The newspaper said the court rejected the 31-year-old salesman's denial of oral and written confessions he was alleged to have made earlier to the Central Narcotics Bureau. It did not accept the accused's plea he was coerced into making the statements. Singapore has hanged 59 people for drug trafficking since it introduced its anti-drug laws in 1975. REUTER RTw 07/09/94 IRISH POLICE SEIZE $15 MILLION CANNABIS CARGO DUBLIN, July 9 (Reuter) - Irish security forces seized more than a ton of cannabis with an estimated street value of $15 million when they intercepted a yacht in Galway Bay on Saturday, police said. Security and customs officials watched the yacht for 10 days and moved in as it was about to be unloaded at a beach in Connemara on the west coast of Ireland. Four Irishmen on shore were detained. The yacht, named by police as the "Nikoletto," had been chartered in France or Spain and had come from North Africa, a police spokesman said. REUTER RTw 07/10/94 INDONESIA UNCOVERS MARIJUANA FIELD JAKARTA, July 10 (Reuter) - The Indonesian military has uncovered a 37-hectare (90 acre) field of marijuana in northern Sumatra's Aceh province, the official Antara news agency said on Sunday. A local military commander was quoted by the agency as saying 59 tons of marijuana were seized in a raid earlier this week. The owner of the drugs and his workers escaped. REUTER RTw 07/11/94 ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN WORKING, LEBANON MINISTER SAYS DAMASCUS, July 11 (Reuter) - A campaign launched in 1992 to rid Lebanese land of narcotics production is succeeding with help from Syrian troops stationed in the country, Lebanon's interior minister has said. The minister, Bechara Merhej, said in an interview with the Syrian official newspaper al-Baath published on Monday: "There is no new cannabis production now. There might still be some stocks that we have not found yet, but we are continuing our drive to discover them. "In 1992 an area of 5,680 hectares (more than 14,000 acres) planted with cannabis was destroyed ... our drug-fighting units have proof that there are no areas planted with drugs in 1994," the minister said. He said the campaign was conducted with full cooperation from Syrian troops operating in Lebanon. Syria has some 35,000 troops stationed mainly in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where most of the narcotics planting has occurred. "The Syrian army has helped us in confiscating and destroying operations and we called mayors in the Bekaa Valley to request their full cooperation to uproot opium poppy planting," he added. He said cooperation with Syrian troops led to confiscation of some 7,500 kg (about 16,500 pounds) of stored hashish in February 1992. The government had also stepped up airport and harbour checks to halt drug smuggling, and measures had been adopted with help from the United Nations to rehabilitate addicts and compensate farmers who used to plant drugs. But Merhej said the $3.5 million in U.N. aid was not enough to provide full compensation. REUTER UPce 07/15/94 Leader of drug ring sentenced to 40 years EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (UPI) -- A Belleville man is in jail (Friday) after being sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for a number of convictions stemming from his leadership of a drug ring that sold hundreds of pounds of marijuana. A federal jury convicted Timothy Gibbs of numerous drug and conspiracy charges in May. UPma 07/16/94 Democratic party leader arrested AKRON, Ohio July 16 (UPI) -- The first vice chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party and Sheriff David Troutman's personnel director, Calvin Brown, has been arrested for allegedly possessing cocaine and marijuana after leaving a suspected crack house in Akron. Also arrested along with Brown was Lisa Stevens, 35, who lives in the house. Troutman said police officers had watched the house for several months and had observed Brown's car there on several occasions. Troutman said the FBI was notified of Brown's potential involvement. He says more arrests are expected in connection with the case. Brown, 40, of Akron, was arrested Thursday and pleaded innocent Friday to one count of felony drug abuse. He was released from jail after posting a $5,000 signature bond. Stevens is free on a $2,500 signature bond. Troutman, who hired Brown in 1987, said he had a good relationship with Brown and found it difficult to arrest him. "Throughout the course of being here, he became a friend. It's disappointing," Troutman said. Troutman said Brown told him that he plans to resign from his $50, 000-a-year job. Brown was responsible for hiring personnel, implementing an employee drug and alcohol assistance program, and handling personnel grievances. Troutman said Brown had bought the cocaine Thursday for personal use and there was no evidence that Brown had been dealing drugs. When Brown won the 1992 election to the first vice chairmanship, he became the highest-ranking black in the Summit County Democratic Party leadership. He was re-elected to a second term at the party's meeting in May. Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Treichler says the party would not seek to remove Brown based on the arrest. "I would assume if he's convicted, he'd resign," said Treichler. RTw 07/17/94 BOB DYLAN MEETS HAVEL, DAZZLES CZECH AUDIENCE PRAGUE, July 17 (Reuter) - Czech President Vaclav Havel added to his list of meetings with visiting entertainers this weekend when American folk and rock legend Bob Dylan made his first concert appearance in Prague. Others to be greeted by Havel since the overthrow of communism here in in 1989 are the British Rolling Stones group and American singer Paul Simon. Dylan, 53, and Havel, 57, met backstage on Saturday before the American singer captivated an ecstatic crowd of 15,000 for 100 minutes at an ice hockey arena in the Czech capital. No details of what was described as a private chat appeared in a statement issued by Havel's office. Clouds of cigarette and marijuana billowed in the air of the arena, where heat-wave-driven temperatures edged towards 40 degrees centigrade (about 100 fahrenheit). The 15 songs Dylan performed included the 1960s' hits "Maggie's Farm," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Love Minus Zero" and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" as well as "Tangled Up In Blue" and "The Simple Twist of Fate" from the 1970s. He finished a three-song encore with the folk anthem "Blowin' In the Wind," his first hit 32 years ago. Dylan is on a European tour that has already taken him to France and Austria. His next stops will be Poland and Germany. REUTER circa 07/17/94 [untitled - Sunday Telegraph Reports Bill Clinton Inhaled] UK CLINTON (LONDON) London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper says US President BILL CLINTON was a regular consumer of cocaine and marijuana when he was governor of Arkansas and took part in wild parties. The main evidence in a series of interviews comes from 41-year-old JANE PARKS, who lived next door to CLINTON'S brother, ROGER, in Little Rock, Arkansas, for two months in 1984. PARKS told the newspaper she heard through the adjoining wall the CLINTON brothers discussing the quality of marijuana or cocaine they'd used. WP 07/17/94 Let's Get Soft On Criminals!; Put the Nonviolent to Work By Charles W. Colson I WAS once federal prisoner 23226: a resident of Dormitory G at the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Alabama. I was surrounded by 45 criminals - I should say other criminals - a collection of human beings as pathetic and forlorn as I've encountered anywhere. To be sure, the camp contained a handful of stereotypical thugs: burly, tattooed men who had committed violent crimes. But most were like Cecil, a white-haired, Kentucky mountaineer who could not write and could scarcely read. Cecil's chosen occupation was making whiskey. It was an altogether honorable profession in his part of the country, but the revenuers took a different view of it. And so Cecil was quietly doing his time, as had several of his friends and an older brother before him. Then there was Pete. He was doing his third stint for passing bad checks and other penny-ante scams. Pete was a pudgy-faced fellow with a wonderful laugh. He pursued his illicit profession apparently out of sheer enjoyment. "I can't help myself," he told me. "It's so easy - and fun." After my release I kept in touch with Pete for a while; like a compulsive gambler, he kept returning to prison. One of the brighter personalities I met was Jerry, a handsome young man who had been raised by his mother and a succession of her male companions. Jerry managed to land a scholarship to a state junior college, where he was caught transporting $30,000 worth of drugs. A first offense, it got him three years. Jerry was typical of many young men behind bars: not smart enough to be a successful crook, not bold enough to do any big-time stuff and not rich enough to snare a good lawyer to get him off the hook. None of the boys of Dormitory G would have committed a violent crime. Night after night, I listened as they replayed their cases, fervently protesting their innocence. Many received Dear John letters from wives or girlfriends. They lost touch with their children. Those who had careers saw their life's work slip through their fingers. And over time they grew bitter. Many talked about getting even with "the system" when they got out, or outsmarting it the next time around. I served my sentence nearly 20 years ago, but today's prisons are still filled with the same kind of low-level criminals I knew. The dirty little secret of the American prison system is that two out of three of prison inmates are sentenced for nonviolent offenses. The cost of their incarceration is high. Taxpayers shell out an average of $20,000 per year per inmate in state prisons, roughly $30,000 in the more modern and humane federal prisons. Looking around at my prison mates, I wondered at the time why our system fails to distinguish between the hardened, dangerous criminal and the nonviolent offenders I was rubbing shoulders with. Yes, society must punish lawbreakers; justice requires it. But is prison really the most effective way to punish nonviolent offenders who pose no direct threat to the community? Many states have strictly supervised, successful, community-based programs where offenders can work, support their families and compensate their victims. Why can't many more? In prison I manned the laundry alongside a man named Doc Crenshaw. Doc had been an eminently successful obstetrician, a former chairman of the American Medical Association. A cultured man in his late fifties, his big mistake was to serve on the board of a bank that misused depositors' funds. The entire board went down. Behind bars, Doc repeatedly begged to be allowed to work in the local hospitals, which suffered from a shortage of obstetricians. He was told to shut up and do his time. So taxpayers footed the bill for a trained obstetrician to spend two years folding undershorts. Doc Crenshaw is the quintessential example of an offender who should have been sentenced to community service. Alternatives to prison save money and reserve prison space for truly dangerous offenders. They also serve a powerful redemptive function. My group, Prison Fellowship, runs scores of community service projects put nonviolent prisoners to work with hammer and nails, renovating houses for poor families. I've talked with hundreds of inmate patients who say they feel good about the chance to help others, to contribute in a positive way to society, instead of sulking in a cell like the men I knew in Dormitory G. Sensible as these policies may sound, they are not likely to strike a chord in today's climate of panic over crime. In response to the public's fear of crime, politicians are doing what politicians always do: talking tough and proposing tough new laws. Therefore we have the budget-busting, billion-dollar omnibus crime bill. In a perverse way this bill may compound our current prison problem, producing a lot more places like Dormitory G. While some funds are earmarked for alternative forms of punishment, the overall thrust is for more police, more prisons, longer sentences. For example, the Senate version expands mandatory minimum sentencing. But mandatory minimums toss people into prison with no regard for individual circumstances. Take the case of Richard Anderson, a 48-year-old longshoreman with no previous record, no evidence of drug use and 24 years of employment. In return for $5 in gas money, Anderson drove a friend to a fast-food restaurant where the friend sold drugs to a DEA agent. Under a mandatory sentencing law, the judge had no choice but to give Anderson a 10-year prison sentence with no possibility of parole. Later, Anderson's sentence was reduced; not all prisoners are as lucky. Even the chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge William Wilkins, has said mandatory minimums lead to "unfair sentences." Under current federal law, every year 3,200 first-time offenders are given minimum sentences of five years or longer. Do we really want to increase the number of laws that impose such draconian sentences? If so, we'd better be prepared to build a lot more versions of Dormitory G. Still, the most dangerous aspect of the proposed crime bill is the brazen federal takeover of state systems. The bill provides for 10 new regional prisons for violent offenders. That sounds good until you read the fine print. To transfer inmates to the regional prisons, states must first qualify by bringing state sentencing policies in line with federal practices - precisely the kind that put people away 10 years for a $5 offense. Today the federal system holds a much higher percentage of nonviolent offenders than do the states. But under the new system, the feds will require states to follow suit, filling their already glutted prisons with Cecils, Jerrys and Docs. A study conducted for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association found that the new regional prisons will absorb an average of 375 prisoners from each state - but the state will have to add 12,000 new prisoners to its own system. The upshot is that for every $1 of federal help, states will have to shell out $30. Not much of a bargain. Since serving my own sentence, I have worked in prisons for 20 years, visiting 600 prisons in 35 countries, and I have discovered that the old strategies for getting tough on crime don't do the job, no matter how politically attractive they may be. For far less money, we could create tough, supervised community work programs for nonviolent offenders - programs with teeth, holding offenders accountable and requiring them to pay compensation to their victims. As for the real predators in our communities, we'd then have the prison space to keep them locked up for a good long time. Take it from Prisoner 23226. If the House and Senate conferees want to break their deadlock and produce an effective crime bill, they should talk with the boys in Dormitory G. Charles Colson, convicted in 1973 of Watergate-related crimes, founded Prison Fellowship, the world's largest prisoner outreach, in 1976. He is the 1993 winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. UPn 07/18/94 Burmese burn mountain of drugs RANGOON, July 18 (UPI) -- Burmese military authorities Monday staged their eighth annual public burning of seized illegal drugs, vowing to crack down on the "scourge of drug abuse." Under a gloomy, overcast sky, the leaders of the ruling military junta and Rangoon-based foreign diplomats clapped their hands and cheered as four large piles of drugs were put to the torch. The Exhibition of Destruction of Narcotics Seized by Law Enforcement Agencies, as the ceremony was officially billed, took place at 9 a.m. in the compound of the Police Department's Victory guesthouse in North Rangoon. Military Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, widely regarded as the most powerful figure in the junta, led the government delegation at the ceremony. Before the huge bonfire of narcotics was ignited, two steamrollers rolled back and forth to crush about 6,000 bottles of seized phensedyl, teradyl and phencodine that had been placed in rows on two rectangular patches of ground in the heavily guarded compound. The drugs destroyed included 2,846 pounds (1,291 kg) of opium, 357 pounds (162 kg) of heroin, 11 pounds (5 kg) of opium oil, 4 pounds (2 kg) of liquid opium and 582 pounds (264 kg) of marijuana. In a speech, police Col. Ngwe Soe Tun, joint secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, said Burma had made great sacrifices in the fight against narcotics since the mid-1970s. He said that in the current military campaign against Shan warlord and reputed narcotics kingpin Khun Sa, the Burmese army had suffered huge losses, including the deaths of 196 soldiers and the wounding of 357 in a single battle. Ngwe So Tun said Burma has been cooperating with the United Nations Drug Control Program and with neighboring China, Thailand and Laos to suppression the narcotics trade. "The scourge of drug abuse has become an international concern, a global problem," he said. "So only with the united efforts of all nations can this danger be averted." RTw 07/19/94 NEARLY TWO TONNES OF DRUGS TORCHED IN BURMA BANGKOK, July 19 (Reuter) - Burmese leaders, foreign diplomats and United Nations officials watched as nearly two tonnes of drugs were put to the torch at a ceremony outside the Burmese capital, Burma's state-run media reported. Burmese television, in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok late on Monday, said the ceremony was the eighth in which drugs seized by police and customs agents were destroyed. Among the drugs destroyed on Monday were 162 kg (360 lb) of heroin, 1,292 kg (2,840 lb) of opium and 264 kg (580 lb) of marijuana. The country is the world's main source of illicit opium and heroin. Burma's military intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt was among the Burmese officials at the ceremony. U.S. officials say 60 per cent of heroin in the United States comes from the Burmese section of the Golden Triangle, the mountainous region where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet. Burma was always ready to act against narcotics and cooperate with others in solving one of the most serious problems facing mankind, police Colonel Ngwe Soe Tun, joint secretary of Burma's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control said in a speech at the ceremony. But the country has faced criticism for not making serious efforts to stem the flow of drugs from its territory and some Rangoon-based diplomats have said the burning ceremonies were largely a public relations exercise. "The government of Burma has not undertaken serious or sustained narcotics control efforts since 1988, despite frequent public statements and some law enforcement actions," the U.S. State Department's narcotics bureau said in a report released in April. The United States cut off all aid to Burma, including narcotics suppression assistance, following the 1988 crushing of a democracy uprising. REUTER APn 07/19/94 Marijuana Ban By LAURAN NEERGAARD Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dying patients can't get individual prescriptions for marijuana under a Clinton administration decision to uphold the ban on the medicinal use of the illegal drug. But the Public Health Service's decision Monday left open the possibility of privately funded studies to finally prove whether marijuana has health benefits. "Sound scientific studies supporting these claims are lacking despite anecdotal claims that smoked marijuana is beneficial," Assistant Health Secretary Philip Lee wrote members of Congress who support medicinal marijuana. "This is a bureaucracy that is too dumb to figure out whether a weed could help AIDS patients survive," responded Robert Randall, the first person to legally receive medicinal marijuana under a government program. Starting in 1976, certain patients who didn't find relief in traditional medications could apply to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to use marijuana. The FDA allowed medicinal marijuana to ease nausea and loss of appetite caused by cancer and AIDS treatments, ease muscle spasms for people with spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis and alleviate the eye pressure that blinds glaucoma sufferers like Randall. Some studies showed marijuana helped those diseases, but others disagreed. President Bush in 1992 banned the medical testing or use of marijuana, saying it could harm patients who had safer alternatives. The 15 people then receiving the drug, including Randall, were allowed to continue; eight are still alive. Advocates pushed President Clinton to allow medicinal marijuana, citing the pleas of dying patients who believe it could help and noting that various groups, including the legislatures of California and Missouri, support lifting the ban. Lee announced in January that he was reviewing the policy. In Monday's letter, he concluded that there are legal drugs to help all the diseases marijuana advocates fear but that marijuana studies aren't scientifically sound. But, Lee wrote, private groups who want to test marijuana can apply to do so. They will be subject to the same regulations governing safety and effectiveness that FDA requires of any other medicines, he said. The Drug Policy Foundation of Washington already is discussing such trials, said president Arnold Trebach. "But while that is being settled -- and it could take a while -- there is no reason in the world to say to a patient who is suffering from AIDS or cancer that you cannot try this drug." circa 07/19/94 [untitled - Mexico Seizes 4 Tons of Pot] MEXICO CITY (AP) -- More than four metric tons of marijuana was seized in Baja California state and marijuana fields were found in two other northern states, Sonora and Durango, in recent operations, the government said Monday. The Attorney General's office said the dried and packed marijuana was seized from a truck, apparently bound for the United States, during a roadcheck on the highway between San Luis Colorado and Mexicali. Federal agents burned the marijuana fields, it said in a statement.
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