Hemp News No. 29

Compiled by Paul Stanford

        The following news wire stories are provided as a public service by
Tree Free EcoPaper, makers of hemp (cannabis) paper and other nonwood papers,
pulps and fibers. 
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hemp paper products, made with European hemp fiber, beginning in January 1995.
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Without further ado, please enjoy the news:

WP   01/27/95      When the Feds Come Crashing In

By Nat Hentoff

   On the night of Aug. 22, 1992, Donald Carson was asleep in his home in Poway,
Calif. A few minutes after midnight, Drug Enforcement Administration agents
burst into his house. Carlson dialed 911 for help, not realizing -- since there
had been no identifying knock at the door -- that the danger was from law
enforcement agents. To defend himself, he grabbed his gun. DEA agents shot him
three times, twice when he was on the floor, obviously disabled. 
       No drugs -- or anything else incriminatory -- were found in the house or
 the garage. Carlson, after seven weeks in intensive care, survived. The Fourth
Amendment, however, still remains in intensive care, and not only because of
this case. 
       On Sept. 5, 1991, no fewer than 60 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, the National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service and the
ever-ready DEA broke into the homes of Sina Brush and two neighbors near
Montainair, N.M. Nobody in this expeditionary force bothered to announce himself
by knocking beforehand.
     As the agents kicked in the door of the bedroom, Mrs. Brush and her
daughter, in their underwear, were handcuffed and commanded to kneel while the
searchers went through the house. No drugs were found. 
     In both cases, the invaders did have a warrant -- based, it turned out, on
 false information by what later was called an unreliable informant. (Some
"police informants" cited to get a warrant from a judge are, in my experience as
a reporter, quite imaginary.) 
     Anyway, even if the raiders acted in good faith on bad information, did
that justify what they did to Donald Carlson and to Mrs. Brush and her daughter?
     These two cases, among others, are included  in a letter to the president
from a notably ecumenical coalition of protesters -- ranging from the ACLU to
the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the National
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Rifle Association
Institute for Legislative Affairs. 
     Pointing out that federal agents now make up 10 percent of the nation's
total array of officials empowered to make arrests and carry firearms, the
 petitioners to the president are calling for systematic oversight of federal law
enforcement in the field.
      They are asking for a national commission to look into "improper use of
deadly force; physical and verbal abuse; use of `no knock' entrances without
justification; inadequate investigation of allegations of misconduct; use of
unreliable informants without sufficient verification of their allegations; and
use of `contingency payments' to informants, giving them an incentive to
fabricate information, since payment is usually contingent upon a conviction."
     The letter to Bill Clinton also cites what federal agents did to the Branch
Davidians in Waco, Tex. Those killings were reviewed by both the Justice and
Treasury Departments with  the conclusion that while errors were made, there was
no way to avoid armed confrontation. Yet, Prof. Nancy Ammerman of Princeton
 University, an independent expert on this kind of impasse, has disagreed with
that official finding. According to the ecumenical letter to the president, "she
notes that the FBI did not consult `a single expert' on the Branch Davidians or
on other marginal religious movements. . . . 
       "She also noted that the psychological tactics employed by the FBI,
including the sounds of dying rabbits, use of floodlights and helicopters
hovering overhead, were not favored by the Bureau's own Behavioral Science
Services Unit. In fact, the unit advised that the `ever-increasing tactical
presence . . . could eventually be coun\terproductive and could result in loss
of life.' "
       I do not recall that this FBI behavior science unit was commended for
having not yielded to the high anxiety of those in command, very much including
 Attorney General Janet Reno who became, briefly, a national hero for her
"decisiveness" in trying to save the children in the compound. But hardly all
were saved. All might still be alive had she listened to other voices than those
who were urging bullets. 
     There was a national commission to explore raids on the Constitution by
enforcers of federal laws. In 1929, George Wickersham, a former U.S. attorney
general, was appointed by Herbert Hoover to head an 11-member National
Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement. 
     Four years later, its report, "Lawlessness in Law Enforcement," illuminated
widespread federal police brutality and other offenses and led to reforms that
made federal law enforcement more lawful. 
     But after more than 60 years, some federal officers have come to believe
 that because they wear the white hats, they are entitled to do their jobs by any
means necessary. And whatever mistakes they commit are, of course, made in good
faith. The letter to the White House asking for a new national commission was
sent a year ago. The Justice Department finally agreed to meet with the
coalition. There have been no substantive results.


By Mark Thomas, PA News
   Police apologised to an elderly couple today after smashing their way into
the wrong house on a drugs raid.
   Grandparents Barnie and Anne Walker were asleep when plain clothes officers
with a search warrant broke through the front door of their home in Grinshill
 Close, Toxteth, Liverpool, before dawn.
   Angina and emphysema sufferer Mr Walker was in bed connected to a breathing
machine and was unable to comply with their instructions to go downstairs.
   "God knows what the shock could have done to him," said Mrs Walker, 58, a
chronic asthmatic.
   She recalled waking to find a man standing by the bed and police swarming
   "They were not in uniform and (were) scruffily dressed," she added.
   "When they realised that they had got it wrong they did apologise to us."
   The warrant, signed by a magistrate, authorised police to search for cocaine,
heroin, cannabis and amphetamines. The only drugs found were angina pills, blood
pressure tablets and heart medicine.
    A Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed: "The premises were entered and
unfortunately it was found to be the wrong address. There were two pensioners
   "We view this as very regrettable and we are sorry for what has happened."
   Police are arranging for the couple's smashed front door to be replaced.
   It was not clear which house officers had intended to raid.

APn  02/02/95      Clinton-Drugs

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Clinton added four countries Thursday to the
list of those considered to be major drug transit points or producers of illicit
drugs: Vietnam, Taiwan, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
   At the same time, Clinton removed Belize from the list because he said
eradication programs have reduced its marijuana production to negligible levels.
   The listing has no effect on U.S. aid to the countries, and is not based on
whether they are cooperating in attempts to curb drug trafficking.
   This spring, the United States will release its annual evaluation of
 international cooperation on the anti-drug front. If a country is deemed to be
uncooperative, it can be barred from receiving U.S. assistance or U.S. support
for loans from international lending institutions.
   Clinton's letter to congressional leaders listed 29 countries as major
drug-producing or drug-transit sites. The others are Afghanistan, the Bahamas,
Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India,
Iran, Jamaica, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Syria, Thailand and Venezuela.

APn  02/02/95    Sheriff-Drugs

   JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A former county sheriff has been charged with
accepting tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to protect marijuana growers
from raids.
   Joe Newmans, who was Baker County sheriff for 20 years until he lost a
re-election bid in 1992, pleaded innocent Wednesday to drug distribution,
conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
   He was released on a $100,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in
prison and a $6.2 million fine.
    Newmans is accused of accepting $70,000 from marijuana smugglers and growers
from 1985 to 1993 in exchange for telling them when drug enforcement authorities
were planning to conduct airborne searches for marijuana patches.
   Newmans is the second north Florida sheriff to be indicted on drug charges in
recent years. In 1993, former Nassau County Sheriff Laurie Ellis was sentenced
to 16 years in prison for distributing drugs from his department's property

RTw  02/03/95      French panel disagrees on legalising soft drugs

PARIS, Feb 3 (Reuter) - A commission appointed by the French government to
study whether to legalise "soft" drugs for personal use reported on Friday that
its members were split on the issue.
     The commission, composed of doctors, sociologists and policemen, said nine
members favoured legalising such drugs as hashish and marijuana while eight were
      Its report failed to make a recommendation because of the lack of
unanimity, officials said.
     The report outlined the arguments of members, including those in favour of
legalising soft drugs who said courts rarely convicted users nowadays and even
more rarely jailed them.
     Specialists estimate that between one and five million French people use
soft drugs occasionally.
     The law calls for jail sentences of between two months and a year but only
about 4,200 people were convicted in one recent year and three-quarters of them
received suspended terms.
     Commission members opposing legalisation argued that, while only five to 10
percent of soft drug users went on to harder drugs, they would not have done so
 if they had not started with soft drugs in the first place.
     Those in favour of legalising soft drugs did say a ban should be maintained
on their use by youths under 16, air crews and train drivers.
     The commission was also split nine-eight in favour of maintaining tough
penalties for use of hard drugs such as heroine and cocaine.


   SYDNEY, Feb 5 AAP - A group of activists left Nimbin in northern  New South
Wales today to travel to Canberra to petition Prime  Minister Paul Keating on
the value of hemp products.
   Describing themselves as "the forest dwelling people" of the  Nimbin Hemp
Embassy, the delegation planned to take to Mr Keating  news of a "middle ground"
on woodchipping.
   In a statement the group said they saw this middle ground as the  development
of alternative sustainable resource industries based on  hemp crops.
    MHR Harry Woods would meet Mr Keating's representative on the  steps of
Parliament House tomorrow morning when a "hemp showbag"  would be presented for
the Prime Minister.
   The bag will contain samples of fabric, paper and rope - all  products which
the embassy claimed could be derived from hemp  crops.
   A spokesman for the group said hemp was ideal for Australia's  cleared land,
with one acre of hemp - also known as cannabis sativa  - producing as much paper
as four acres of forest.
   Hemp was not a plant native to Australia, however the Embassy  said it did
not damage the environment.
   AAP lc/lm/pjw


   By Tim Dornin, AAP National Motoring Correspondent
   ADELAIDE, Feb 7 AAP - Luxury car manufacturer Mercedes Benz has  turned the
clock back by using ingredients from centuries past to  produce the cars of
today and possibly those of the 21st century.
   The company has begun using flax and sisal fibres in door  panelling in its
C-Class range and is investigating introducing  other natural materials
including banana, jute, ramie and Indian  hemp.
   The company said the materials made vehicles more  environmentally friendly
 yet still satisfied the safety,  technological and performance expectations of
   "Renewable raw materials help reduce consumption of traditional  energy
resources such as coal, natural gas or oil," said Guntram  Huber, head of
bodywork development at Mercedes Benz.
   "In this way we can also cut down harmful emissions of carbon  dioxide from
the combustion of fossil fuels."
   This year Mercedes Benz will use about 350 tonnes of flax and  sisal which
produce a door panel 20 per cent lighter than  conventional synthetic material
but stronger, with good crash  stability and easy to recycle.
   The company's switch has also created a booming industry in  Germany, where
the cultivation of flax in Bavaria has risen from  two hectares 10 years ago to
 1,700 hectares today.
   In other uses of natural materials, Mercedes Benz has introduced  cotton and
coconut fibre in backing structures, cushions and head  rests, and for sound
   As to the more unusual materials still under investigation, the  company said
some had potential for use either as raw material for  components or as
reinforcement for plastic parts.
   In some cases glass fibre reinforced plastics might be able to  be replaced
by biological plastics produced from vegetable oils  such as castor oil and
reinforced with natural fibres including  flax or coconunt.
   AAP tjd/mk


By Rowan Dore, Parliamentary Staff, PA News
   Champagne socialists who pass round "joints" at dinner parties are giving
disastrous signals to the young, Home Office Minister David Maclean warned in
the Commons today.
   The Government and Opposition both confirmed they had no intention of
 legalising soft drugs such as cannabis.
   Mr Maclean said at question time: "I have read articles in trendy newspapers
suggesting that some champagne socialists can pass round pot at dinner parties
quite safely.
   "No doubt there are some people who can safely handle some drugs and know
when to stop, but there are an awful lot more who do not.
   "The signal it would give to young people in particular that it is somehow
safe and trendy to participate in soft drugs would be absolutely disastrous. 
   "It would lead to the use of harder drugs. It would make the fight of the
police against drugs infinitely more difficult. 
   "The police are opposed to the legalisation of soft drugs, all right-thinking
people are opposed to it, and the Government remains opposed to it."
    Shadow home secretary Jack Straw reaffirmed Labour's position: "We have made
clear our opposition to the legalisation of cannabis and that remains the case."


  The drug has been made available through agreement by the  federal, state and
territory governments, including the Northern  Territory where doctors would
also need health authority approval.
   Dr Black said it was not clear exactly when the official steps  to make it
available would be completed, but he expected the drug  to become legally
available in certain circumstances sometime this  year.
   "It will happen, it's been agreed," he said.
   S9 drugs are prohibited and cannot be prescribed as medicines,  whereas S8
 drugs such as morphine can be prescribed under  restricted circumstances.
   Dr Black said the decision to change dronabinol's status was  made to bring
Australia in line with the international convention  on psychotropic drugs.
   Dr Pethebridge said the decision was "a phenomenal breakthrough  as it is an
acknowledgment that cannabis does have medicinal  properties".
   "I would say this medication could be of some benefit in 60 to  70 per cent
of HIV infections."
   The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and state AIDS  councils have
supported the push to make the drug available.
   AAP cat/jds/de



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