All Politics Is Local
A more-or-less chronological record
of what's happening in Portland and Oregon
For lots more local and regional news, check out
Portland NORML's 1998 Daily News archive.
Scoreboard - Losers, from Willamette Week, November 25, 1997. Seven of the 11 lawmakers assigned to the Republican-controlled Oregon legislature's interim committee responsible for implementing the successful doctor-assisted-suicide initiative voted for its repeal.
Former prosecutor pleads guilty to drug violation, from The Associated Press, November 25, 1997. A former Multnomah County deputy district attorney pleads guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance (whether cocaine or marijuana is not clear from the report) and is fined $100.
Medical Marijuana Outlet Walks Fine Line, by The Associated Press, November 20, 1997. Unlike in Portland, authorities in Seattle "have no particular issue with" the Green Cross Patient Co-op, the Puget Sound-area medical-marijuana club co-founded by Joanna McKee.
Push is on to assess DEA clout on suicide, from The Oregonian, November 13, 1997. After more than 60 years of a relentless war on some drugs in Oregon, people with chronic pain problems would sometimes rather die than continue to put up with those who block their access to effective medicines such as opiates or cannabinoids. The people and lawmakers of Oregon are so brainwashed and have so little compassion that they will stand up for sick people's right to die, but not for their right to live - if their life or health should depend on opiates or cannabinoids. Ironically, by standing up for people's right to die, the people of Oregon have pitted themselves against the Drug Enforcement Administration and the federal government as surely as Californians and Arizonans did when they voted for Propositions 215 and 200, respectively, in November 1996. Inasmuch as the controversy helps to reveal how state and federal officials would respond to an Oregon medical-marijuana initiative, or another initiative such as OCTA, Portland NORML will post this and other occasional articles on Oregon's unique new assisted-suicide law. There is at least one more interesting parallel between the two issues of assisted suicide and drug policy. Portland NORML has been saying for years that The Oregonian is the most ignorant and biased newspaper in the world, and that it typically tries to manipulate rather than to reflect the opinions of the people of Oregon. During the campaign for Measure 51, the huge monopolistic daily spewed the same sort of copious misinformation, bias and tendentiousness it traditionally expends on drug-policy issues. But despite the whole-hearted support of The Oregonian and its socially conservative, Roman Catholic publisher, Fred Stickel, voters in November rejected two-to-one Measure 51's attempt to repeal Oregon's assisted-suicide initiative. The Oregonian no longer controls the debate.
While clerks were denied help, arrest warrants kept piling up, from The Oregonian, November 4, 1997. While the District Attorney and Sheriff's offices have been allocating large amounts of their budgets investigating, arresting, jailing, prosecuting (and as a result killing some) members of Portland's medical-marijuana community, an alleged shortage of staff (that is, funding) since summer has resulted in 6,000 unprocessed warrants in Multnomah County - putting police and the public at risk from real criminals. This site has documented previously that Multnomah County allocates proportionately more of its limited law-enforcement resources to drug enforcement than Seattle or any other city in the Northwest, and probably has the highest rate of indoor-marijuana-growing busts in the nation. What's important to know is that Portland-area law enforcement takes the lead in the nationwide war on some drugs despite contemporary research and the testimony of veteran law-enforcement officials which shows that in the past, allocating so many resources against illegal-drug trafficking has been futile and actually increased violent crime and crimes against property - by wasting police resources on an impossible task. As a result, Portland is ranked the 174th most dangerous city out of 202 in the United States, more dangerous than New York, Los Angeles and many other cities stereotyped as having high crime rates.
Budding Revolution - The Battle Over Medicinal Marijuana, a four-part news series broadcast by KOIN Channel 6 News Oct. 30-Nov. 1 & 6, 1997 about patients' struggle for medical marijuana.
Police arrest marijuana club chief, from The Oregonian, October 30, 1997. Police arrest Diane Densmore at the Alternative Health Center in Portland, and three other people at a North Portland home. Contrary to the assertions of The Oregonian, it is not true that "Personal use of marijuana was all but legal before (the state legislature voted to again make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a misdemeanor) - with police limited to issuing citations to marijuana smokers." It would be just as accurate to say that exceeding the speed limit in Oregon is "all but legal." (Actually, the $500 minimum fine for pot possession is a considerably stiffer punishment, and if you don't pay it, they lock you up.)
Police search marijuana clinic; four arrested, including organizer, by The Associated Press, October 30, 1997. Portland police search a clinic that claims to dispense the drug for medicinal use, arresting its organizer and three others on drug charges.
Portland policeman arrested on marijuana charges, from The Associated Press, October 29, 1997. A seven-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau is arrested and charged with bribery, drug dealing and official misconduct. How many aberrations does it take until you see a pattern?
The Police vs. the Hemp Fests, from PDXS, October 24, 1997. Portland and Oregon are part of a police state. If you ever had any doubts, just try to organize a hemp festival there. Jeff & Siouxsie Crawford recount police state interference with the constitutional right to free assembly during their production of hemp festivals in Portland for the past three summers, in 1995 through 1997.
Criminal Injustice - The Politics Of The War On Marijuana, from PDXS, October 24, 1997. If Oregon voters in November 1998 throw out the legislature's ill-advised 1997 law recriminalizing small amounts of cannabis and forfeiting any property involved in any marijuana offense, Oregon will be the first state to oppose a general anti-drug law. The state would be bucking a nationwide trend toward more arrests, more prosecutions and more jails. (A small factual correction should be made - Phil Smith, who was elected Assistant Director of Portland NORML after his indictment for marijuana cultivation in January 1997, admitted he was growing cannabis for others' medical use as well as his own.)
Marijuana Law Headed For Ballot, from PDXS, October 24, 1997. Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement call their successful referral of the Oregon legislature's marijuana recriminalization bill an important step towards undoing a serious legislative mistake.
Outlaw Medicine, from PDXS, October 24, 1997. A patient's account of goings-on at the Alternative Health Center, the Portland medical marijuana dispensary raided and shut down by Portland police on September 24, 1997.
Fight The War On Pot, from PDXS, Oct. 24, 1997. A real newspaper reports on the Alternative Health Center raid. This is the online-only version.
Private Affairs, Willamette Week, October 22, 1997. An interesting follow-up to the Oct. 9 Associated Press report linked below, "Reports of sex between staff, Oregon inmates at Arizona prison." "In the beginning," says one Oregon inmate, "we were performing strip dances for them and they would slip joints or cigarettes underneath the door." Some inmates eventually had intercourse with the guards and she performed oral sex. While she doesn't claim that the sex was "forcible," she says she felt coerced by the men. "They said if you're not going to do this, we're going to shake down your room," she explained. "This was after they had already given us the joints." She also feared for her personal safety. The guards "often entered the cell with their hands on their cans of mace" - just one more chemical used against pot smokers in the war on some drugs.
Pot referendum gets its money from out of state, The Oregonian, October 21, 1997. Three men with deep pockets contribute most of the cash for a measure to overturn Oregon's marijuana recriminalization law. Even if one disregards the xenophobic bias evidenced by the headline, since when is a Reed College alumnus considered an out-of-stater? If the paper agreed with John Sperling, you can bet it would treat him like the returning hero, etc.
Measure to repeal pot law qualifies for 1998 ballot, as reported by The Oregonian, October 16, 1997. We're glad to see The Oregonian finally admit that "Supporters of the recriminalization of marijuana [are] mostly law enforcement officials."
Tell it to Dave Peters, from PDXS, mid-October, 1997. An essay by the publisher on the mindless law-and-order tone of Willamette Week's 'Soft on Drugs,' the cover story in the once-alternative newsweekly's October 1 issue.
Grand jury to hear case of inmate who died after tranquilizer used, by The Associated Press, October 14, 1997. Apparently the irony of the government pumping a drug-war prisoner (we assume a pot smoker - most of them are) full of really dangerous drugs until he's dead is too obvious to draw attention to in the news article. Talk about destroying the village in order to save it. If anyone else kidnapped somebody and subdued them with lethal drugs that accidentally killed them, you can bet they'd serve some serious prison time. Sheriff Noelle, however, will undoubtedly be allowed to continue practicing medicine without a license, and his warnings about the dangers of "drugs" and the need to wage war on them will of course continue to go unchallenged by the mass media.
Reports of sex between staff, Oregon inmates at Arizona prison, by The Associated Press, October 9, 1997. Even with almost 9,000 in-state prison beds, Oregon officials rent hundreds of beds out-of-state in a valiant effort to bankrupt taxpayers and lock up the minimum estimated 150,040 Oregon pot smokers. Think these prisoners will smoke less pot when they get out? And how can "inmates confined in the center's disciplinary segregation unit" be capable of consenting to "non-forcible sexual contact"?
Rulings raise costs of initiatives, from The Oregonian, October 6, 1997. Oregon Employment Department officials make up their own rules in an attempt to stymie signature gatherers for such groups as The Real Joint Ways and Means Committee, whose campaign sought to repeal the legislature's bill to recriminalize possession of marijuana. Of course, if you're as popular as Bill Sizemore, whose initiatives have sponsored more prisons and supposedly fewer taxes, the old rules still apply.
Marijuana Petition Sends Law To Voters, from The Statesman Journal[Salem, Oregon], October 4, 1997. Opponents of HB 3643 turn in almost twice the number of signatures needed to force a November 1998 vote on recriminalizing marijuana possession. There's no fool like an old fool. When will the lying mass media stop referring to reformers as "marijuana proponents"? How long did it take them to stop referring to abortion-rights activists as "abortion proponents"? As for the paper's ensuing editorial, which opines, "We are troubled by the fact that outsiders have pushed Oregon to this point," it is odd that one of the state's larger daily papers would suggest that 95,000 registered Oregon voters are "outsiders."
Petitioners expect to suspend law recriminalizing pot, from The Oregonian,October 4, 1997. Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement say they have turned in 95,032 signatures to the state Elections Division to repeal HB 3643, which would recriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. The successful petition campaign will suspend the new legislation and force a statewide vote on the issue in November 1998.
Recriminalizing Marijuana in Oregon, from National Public Radio,October 3, 1997. The momentum to roll back the Oregon law started in 1994, when for the first time in 40 years, conservative Republicans gained control of both houses of the state legislature. Note that Republican state senator Randy Miller is unable to document his assertion herein that an "awful lot of people who have studied drug problems, drug usage, have declared that marijuana is the gateway drug, and it is the beginning of irresponsible behavior." The evidence from all the major surveys suggests the vast majority of Americans who have ever smoked marijuana (or snorted cocaine or shot heroin) first tried tobacco and/or alcohol. The only reason tobacco and alcohol aren't considered "gateway" drugs is not because they are legal - for kids, they aren't. It's because politicians, survey takers and mass media have the incredible gall to perpetuate the myth that tobacco and alcohol are not "drugs." (Surveys also show that most people who try marijuana don't like it and use it only once or a few times.) And by the way, since Portland Police Chief Charles Moose is quoted herein telling parents to teach their kids pot is just as dangerous as cocaine and methamphetamine, it's only fair to note the chief's own 17-year-old son was recently arrested with a bag of crack cocaine rocks during an Old Town jaywalking shakedown. Sigh. It's always sad to see people sacrifice their own children - and common sense - on the altar of a failed policy.
Group says it has signatures to block recriminalization law, by The Associated Press, Sept. 26, 1997. Formed less than one month ago, a group associated with recent medical-marijuana reforms in California and Arizona says it has enough signatures to stall a new Oregon law that recriminalizes possession of small amounts of the herb. Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement claim to have raised about $100,000 for a referendum effort to block the law from going into effect until voters can decide the issue in November 1998.
Clinic operator vows to keep providing marijuana to the sick, by The Associated Press, Sept. 26, 1997. The woman who ran a clinic that dispensed marijuana until it was raided by police this week says she plans to continue providing the drug as medicine to people who need it. "This is a serious business I'm in," she said Wednesday at the small third-floor clinic. "It's not 'everybody gets high' and it's not a party. We are here to heal." The marijuana was dispensed only to people who had a letter from a doctor documenting a patient's illness, she said.
Marijuana campaign would halt Oregon bill, from The Oregonian, Sept. 25, 1997. Formed less than one month ago, Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement say they have raised about $100,000 for a referendum effort to overturn a bill passed by the 1997 Legislature that would recriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Previously the mouthpiece for Oregon's rich and fatuous, The Oregonian now blames "businessmen Peter Lewis, John Sperling and Geroge Soros" for funding the initiative, asserting they "largely bankrolled the campaigns last year in California and Arizona." For the record, most of the contributions for the campaigns in Arizona and California came from within those states, from ordinary citizens. What the worst newspaper in America fails to ask is, if the War on Some Drugs is so popular, how could less than $5 million in those two states be more persuasive than propaganda costing 10 times that much funded every year by government, "educators" and mass media?
Police raid clinic that dispenses marijuana as medicine, by The Associated Press, Sept. 24, 1997. Not reported: the number of deaths that will result. Note how Diane Densmore, identified in the article as "an advocate for medicinal marijuana who runs the clinic," is quoted in such a way as to make her appear to plead guilty to the charges that she "was selling marijuana to a variety of customers, healthy or not." If law enforcement officials and the media are so confident, why won't they tolerate a jury trial to determine Densmore's guilt?
Double Vision, from Willamette Week, Sept. 17, 1997. A second campaign is launched to repeal the Oregon legislature's bill to recriminalize less than one ounce of marijuana. With characteristic disdain for the facts, Willamette Week states that marijuana has been legal in Oregon since 1973, as if most people in Oregon jails and prisons now weren't pot offenders. The report also errs in stating that The Real Joint Ways and Means Committee petition leads in the competition for signatures. Finally, if, as the newspaper opines, marijuana advocates in Oregon have been effective at little more than comic relief, it's only because Oregon's mass media in the same period have covered drug-policy news with the most willfully ignorant and biased reporting since William Randolph Hearst first spearheaded the campaign to outlaw hemp in the 1930s.
Trashing a Career, from Willamette Week, Sept. 10, 1997. Word around Portland's legal community is that police were able to obtain a warrant to search a Multnomah County deputy prosecutor's home for illicit drugs by citing evidence they obtained from a warrantless search of his curbside garbage.
Drug net catches deputy prosecutor, from The Oregonian, Sept. 3, 1997. A Multnomah County deputy district attorney resigns his job after 10 to 12 police officers search his home and find cocaine residue inside a straw, small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, including a bong and other marijuana-smoking pipes. One almost needs a calculator to count all the instances of hypocrisy in this story.
New marijuana law aids police, from The Oregonian, August 12, 1997. The Oregon legislature's new bill to recriminalize marijuana widely broadens police search-and-seizure powers. "Technically, they can take your home for less than an ounce of pot," points out state Sen. Bill Dwyer, D-Springfield, who opposed the legislation. It is not true, however, as the article states, that "marijuana will be treated like any other drug once the law takes effect, allowing broader searches." Possessing alcohol or tobacco (which together kill about 500,000 Americans a year) generally will not lead to a police search or seizure of property. Possessing over-the-counter drugs or pharmaceutical drugs will not allow police to search or seize property. The good news for real criminals is that you can still use your house, car or business in the course of killing, maiming, raping or robbing somebody and not have those seized.
Parole Violation, from Willamette Week, June 18, 1997. A Multnomah County parole officer is allegedly caught selling drugs to a gang criminal whom he was supposed to be monitoring. Although the law-enforcement community normally does everything it can to make other such suspects unemployed and homeless as soon as possible, in this case the alleged wrongdoer is entitled to $654 a week on paid administrative leave pending a criminal investigation. Not mentioned - Multnomah County law-enforcement employees are not subject to urine tests. Their union has more clout than yours.
The True Price of Prisons, from The Register-Guard, June 8, 1997. Ed Whitelaw, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon, examines Oregon's 23-year-old prison-building binge and concludes "We didn't get tough on crime. We got tough on children. On crime, we got dumb." While Whitelaw explains important truths that police and media such as The Oregonian have endeavored to misrepresent, he fails to challenge the "official forecast and analysis [which asserts that] about two-thirds of the increase [in Oregon's prison population] - 4,438 - stems from Ballot Measure 11." But it's not Measure 11 that is behind Oregon's prison-fueled drive to bankruptcy. It's the war on drugs, and the myriad subterfuges by which law-enforcement officials reclassify and mischaracterize drug-war prisoners as something other than what they are - for example, "parole violators" who have failed junk-science urine tests for cannabis metabolites. As the author states, violent crime is not increasing. What the author doesn't mention is the proportion of prisoners who have been convicted of violent crimes - a small fraction of the overall number. Therefore, the increase in such sentences will take years to translate into a dire need for more prison beds. Another issue Whitelaw glosses over: Why have Oregon mass media been filling people's heads with frightful misconceptions? Why have Oregon media in fact spearheaded the campaign to cut educational funding in order to spend "$1.7 billion on the increase in . . . prison population since 1974," not to mention the $1 billion in new prisons expected in the next decade? Cancel your subscriptions. Kill your TV set. Boycott such media or you are morally complicit.
How to fight recriminalization in the Oregon Legislature, featuring news and direct-action requests sent out to those on Portland NORML's now-defunct activist e-mail list. Previous alerts with additional background information are appended chronologically, from most recent to least.
City reviews ways it fights drugs, from The Oregonian,May 3, 1997. Officials say they are making the best of a defeat in court April 24 that crippled the city's experiment with drug-free and prostitution-free zones. Multnomah County Circuit Judge John A. Wittmayer ruled that the city could either exclude suspects or criminally prosecute them. To do both constitutes double jeopardy, being punished twice for the same offense, which violates state and federal constitutions, he ruled. To control open-air drug markets downtown, city officials are considering keeping the 90-day exclusions and dropping arrests for first-time offenders. "I think it sends the message that the system is overwhelmed," said Stacy Cooper of the Boise neighborhood in Northeast Portland.
Rogue of the Week, from Willamette Week, April 30, 1997. The 43 members of the state House who passed a bill to recriminalize possession of a joint deserve a Rogue this week. The overwhelming support for the legislation wasn't the result of reasoned debate. It was pure politics that wasted a lot of time and energy while ignoring real issues about drug abuse.
Bill would criminalize marijuana once again, from The Oregonian, April 30, 1997. Note the flat-out lie by Darin Campbell, lobbyist for the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police (uncorrected by the paper), that "In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Other states followed but later reversed themselves, leaving Oregon alone in its permissiveness." Excuse us? During the 1970s, 11 states adopted various versions of marijuana decriminalization that preclude felony charges and prohibit police from immediately jailing people found in possession of small amounts of cannabis. Only one of those states, Alaska in 1990, has recriminalized marijuana.
White Collar Drugs - Professional People Fuel the Drug Trade, from Our Town, April 28, 1997. The Portland newsweekly's table of contents reads (highlighted with a bong photo by Michele Smith): "Americans are more willing to discuss their children's drug problems than their own." According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the occupations with highest rates of illicit drugs among men include: writers, artists, entertainers, athletes, food handlers and construction workers. Among women, the occupations with the highest rates of illicit drug use are: food handlers, social workers, psychologists and the legal professions, including lawyers and legal assistants.
House committee approves toughening marijuana law, from The Oregonian,April 20, 1997. One might expect a major newspaper to report both sides of such an important issue, but typically, Oregon's largest daily paper serves here as minister of propaganda for the forces of darkness. "I don't see anybody doing 30 days in jail," says the bill's sponsor, Rep. John Minnis. So why does his bill include a "potential jail term of up to 30 days"? And they say pot smokers have denial....
Pot cultivates dilemma: get sick or go to jail, columnist Margie Boule´, in The Sunday Oregonian, March 30, 1997. To Todd Meszaros, who is HIV-positive, it was a clear choice: commit a felony or get sicker and perhaps die. He hated both options. But dying was more frightening than breaking the law. When two policemen knocked on Todd's door last August and said they wanted to discuss drugs in the neighborhood, Todd let them in. "I assumed it was about crack," he says. "But then they told me they believed there was a marijuana-growing operation here, which shocked me. They had to walk past the crack dealers to get to my door." Text file.
Banishment comes under legal attack, from The Oregonian, March 27, 1997. Defense attorneys are successfully attacking Portland's drug-free zones. They contend the ordinances that banish suspected criminals from certain areas are unconstitutional in that they violate the ban on double jeopardy. The stakes are high here at Ground Zero in America's war on some drugs. Since September, police have arrested and excluded more than 1,200 suspected controlled-substance buyers and sellers just along the transit mall.
Prison population forecasts scaled back, The Oregonian, March 21, 1997. An optimistic update on past follies fails to note that the savings will all happen in the next millennium. "Four prisons have been sited: three more will be this year." Also not mentioned are the costs of running the new prisons, which have not yet been budgeted. And how is it that state and local politicians invariably run on platforms calling for the arrest of at least 194,858 Oregonians for controlled-substance violations, yet the state has only 8,561 prison beds? Finally, when will political leaders demand an accounting of how many prisoners are really locked up for marijuana offenses?
Hard time hits bottom line, The Daily Astorian, March 6, 1997. Ballot Measure 11, passed by Oregon voters in 1994, was supposed to heap stiff mandatory-minimum sentences on a menacing horde of predatory violent criminals. Instead, Measure 11's enabling legislation, Senate Bill 1145, is exposing Measure 11 as a state-facilitated fraud. Fiscally, Measure 11's primary impact is on nonviolent prisoners (mostly marijuana smokers and growers charged with everything from parole violations to "endangering the welfare of a minor"), as noted in the section "Who's Behind Bars?," containing profiles of the nine Clatsop County residents incarcerated under SB 1145 so far this year.
Salem police shooting ruled justified, The Oregonian, March 6, 1997. Luis Carrasco-Flores, 45, was the father of a dozen children in Mexico. There was no evidence that Carrasco-Flores was either a dealer or user, said Deputy District Attorney Stephen Dingle. "The guy was an innocent victim," said Salem attorney Brian Whitehead.
Oregon House Bill 2900, a text file of the medical-marijuana bill introduced to the 1997-1998 Legislature by Rep. George Eighmey, D-Portland. H.B. 2900 would allow seriously ill Oregon patients to grow their own marijuana for therapeutic use. Under the bill, a patient would need a doctor's statement - not a prescription - saying that the patient might find some relief in smoking marijuana. Patients would then apply to the Board of Pharmacy to find out the amount of marijuana they could grow at home for therapeutic use. The patient would have to consent to inspections by state police, who would monitor whether patients were misusing the authorization. How to lobby your state representative and request: 1) that he or she co-sponsor H.B. 2900; and 2) that he or she support holding a hearing on H.B. 2900.
Clinic sells marijuana as medicine, The Sunday Oregonian, February 23, 1997. Defying the law and mainstream medical practice, an outlaw clinic in downtown Portland is dispensing marijuana to sick and dying people. "It's obvious what we are trying to do here. It might be illegal, but it sure is not immoral," said Joe, 34, who has the AIDS virus. Another Portland-area cannabis-buyers group fell apart because of internal disagreements about how the group should operate. The emphasis this time is on harmony and caring. Text file.
Turning Up The Heat, KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8, Feb. 12, 1997. This public-relations piece for the drug war, in which the police are the only ones interviewed, celebrates the Portland City Council's largest expansion of the city's Drug-Free Zones in five years. The new ordinance increases the downtown Drug-Free Zone by about 30 percent and adds two entirely new Zones along Beech and Alberta streets in North and Northeast Portland. One police officer who helped engineer the downtown Drug-Free Zone cruises through "the bus mall ... infested with drug sellers and buyers" and says "he is pleased that the city's Drug-Free Zones have just grown larger." If the problem is worse than ever, how is doing more of the same going to improve things? Could the politicians on the city council and the police - the only ones who have benefited from the Zones - have their causes and correlations mixed up? Note the prosecutions of those who violate the Drug-Free Zones are reported not as drug-related crimes, but as trespassing violations.
How many editors does it take to see the light? The Oregonian, Jan. 9, 1997. A reader responds to the paper's ignorant "Choosing to fight" staff editorial of Jan. 3, 1997, which stated, "The Clinton administration maps out the right course in battle over medical-marijuana initiatives" (by threatening to prosecute doctors who recommend cannabis to their patients).
Drugs May Be The Cause, But Illegal Re-Entry Is The Charge, from the Dec. 26, 1996 Oregonian As discussed occasionally on this page and in the "Body Count" regularly featured in the Portland NORML Weekly News Release, nobody really has any idea how many inmates in Oregon are locked up on drug charges. Because the official tallies are based on a very narrow definition of what constitutes an illegal-drug offense, the only thing one can be sure of is that the official figures are gross underestimates. Just one of the many ways public officials maintain the cover-up is illustrated by this piece of original research, which reports that 212 of 715 federal felony defendants in Oregon so far in 1996 were charged with illegal re-entry, technically a non-drug offense. However, "Almost all of the illegal re-entry defendants are men who illegally immigrated to the United States from Mexico and were convicted of drug charges in state courts." Not mentioned - when one adds the 212 illegal re-entry cases to the 174 illegal-drug violations, the total - 386 - constitutes 53.9 percent of all 715 cases. Even discounting a small number of illegal re-entry cases not generated by the illegality of certain drugs, the percentage of federal cases that do involve illegal drugs is probably even greater - for example, note the 23 "Probation transfers from other districts." Of course, the larger issue is ignored by this article. Everyone from politicians to corrections officials - and yes, the media - seems committed to obscuring the real number of people increasingly locked up on drug charges and quashing any discussion of its significance.
Silencing Hemp Radicals, from PDXS, last half of September 1996. Under the guise of the War on Drugs, a kaleidoscope of government agencies is waging an almost unprecedented war against the civil liberties of Portlanders.
Priorities in prison Nov. 24, 1996. "How come, in a state where people regularly vote for prisons and against schools, nobody wants to live near a prison, and everybody wants to live near a school?" Sunday Oregonian columnist David Sarasohn links Oregon's prison boom to a decline in state funding for education, but, characteristically, fails to point out how ending marijuana prohibition would reverse the trend. The false claim that Oregon's prison boom "reflect[s] the clear priority decisions of Oregon voters" will be exposed two years down the road, in November 1998, when voters reverse the legislature's attempt to recriminalize possession of marijuana. Similarly, the sometime restaurant critic says "the decisions that led to siting seven new prisons came directly from the citizens of Oregon against the advice of most of state government," but fails to note The Oregonian and other regional mass media gave little or no coverage to such advice, and instead heavily promoted the views of law enforcement officials and others who sought more prisons.
This Week's Question - What can be done to stop minors from drinking? from The Oregonian, Aug. 29, 1996. Here's an interesting statistic - "Last year in Oregon, 134 people under age 21 were killed in traffic accidents - nearly one-fourth of all traffic fatalities in the state. Of the minors killed, 43 - nearly one-third - had been drinking or were in vehicles where the driver had been drinking." While the 134 deaths were just 49 fewer than the total of 183 Oregon deaths attributed to all illegal drugs in the same year, and exactly the same number as all Oregonians killed by heroin, Robert Landauer, a staff editorial columnist for The Oregonian, wrote a piece titled "The myths of the young give parents nightmares," reporting that "Police in Multnomah County prefer not to arrest young people for booze-related infractions." In the same column, Landauer noted that "From 1986 through 1994, 439 Oregon youths under 21 were involved in alcohol-related fatalities. That's four dozen a year. The tricounty metropolitan Portland area had 129; Multnomah County, 70." Why are police and their bosses so eager to "protect" youngsters by enforcing adult marijuana prohibition yet reluctant to enforce the laws against minors themselves using alcohol, when that is obviously much more hazardous? According to the Portland-based Regional Drug Initiative's 1996 "Drug Impact Index," the number of "Alcohol-involved traffic deaths" in Oregon in 1995 was 228 - 43 more than the number of Oregonians - 185 - killed by all illegal drugs the same year.
Number of inmates doubles in 10 years, from The Oregonian, Aug. 19, 1996. The number of Americans in jail or prison climbed to nearly 1.6 million in 1995 - one out of every 167 Americans. The total has risen 113 percent since 1985. The local sidebar, "In Oregon," paints an even grimmer picture: Oregon's 13.7 percent increase to 7,826 inmates in 1995 was the seventh biggest nationally, twice the average of 6.8 percent. Since "The increase in Oregon came even before the state could feel the full force of tougher sentencing laws adopted by voters in 1994," guess who filled the biggest portion of new beds? The story doesn't say, but most likely it was drug offenders and those who violated probation by failing junk-science urine tests. The news report does not mention the number of Americans on parole or probation, or the rate of their increase, but the previous year's press release from the Bureau of Justice, "The Nation's Correctional Population Tops 5 Million," suggests how much longer the arm of the law is in the United States than in the world's other big prison state, Russia, where parole and probation are less extensive and rigorous.
Medford police kill drug suspect, from The Oregonian, Aug. 6, 1996. The officially-sanctioned open hunting season on drug suspects leads to yet another cold-blooded execution of the unarmed. Note that it barely discloses the killers, for all their efforts, collected just "a small amount of suspected drugs in the [victim's] motel room."
Salem police kill man in raid, from the Salem Statesman Journal, Aug. 3, 1996. The latest collateral casualty in the war was 63, hard-of-hearing, spoke no English and was just fixing breakfast. Includes other related news articles.
Drug-free zone: It's all or nothing from The Northwest Examiner, July 1996. In Portland, the drug-free zone has not been a popular idea with the Northwest District and Goose Hollow neighborhood associations. For years they have complained that the Old Town drug-free zone merely displaced dealers and other social problems westward into their neighborhoods. So in order to get the Goose Hollow group to endorse expanding the DFZ as far as Northwest 21st Avenue, Deputy District Attorney Suzanne Hayden simply mischaracterized the Northwest District Association's position. (Is this a police state or what? Since when is it so easy for prosecutors and other law-enforcement officials to generate new laws?)
Reversal of Fortune, from PDXS, June 28, 1996. The owner of the City Nightclub wants a chance to rebut police charges that drugs are sold on the premises. The city of Portland and Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge George Joseph instead just take the word of police. Nobody is charging that the owner or his employees sold drugs - only, apparently, that their enforcement efforts did not meet some unwritten standard other nightclubs are not held to. Is anyone's business safe when the police can close it without due process because of alleged actions by third parties?
Small-time drug users can avoid felony rap, from The Oregonian, June 25, 1996. As of May 1, people charged in Multnomah County for small amounts of cocaine or methamphetamine no longer have to face felony charges if they plead guilty. Although the impact on cannabis consumers is nil, the story reveals some interesting details. For example, the district attorney's office made the change because of Measure 11, the 1994 initiative that set mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes. Already, one deputy district attorney has left the drug unit to work on Measure 11 cases, leaving 10 prosecutors to handle about 4,500 drug cases a year. According to Norm Frink, chief deputy district attorney, "Even after the new policies, we are being more aggressive and more wide-ranging than other jurisdictions we were able to find." Last year, Multnomah County's 4,500 drug cases contrasted with 2,500 cases in much more populous King County (Seattle).
Prisons become growth industry in Oregon, from The Oregonian, June 20, 1996. With 3 million people, the state plans to build 10 prisons in the next nine years, for a total of 22 such facilities. This article, written as if for Sunset magazine, studiously avoids giving any hard numbers showing how much all these prisons will cost taxpayers - interest and construction costs are not necessarily included in the state's current reported $481 million two-year corrections budget. However, one state official is quoted admitting "You're going to be approaching a billion [dollars] eventually." OK, do the math. The article says there are currently 8,278 inmates statewide, and that it is costing "$175 million to convert the Snake River institution in Ontario to a 3,000-bed megaprison" from 648 beds, that is, to add 2,352 beds at $74,404.76 per bed. Assuming the reported 19,066 inmates in 2005, that means 10,788 new inmates at $74,404.76 per bed = $802,678,550, or more than $800 million just for construction costs. (It's not clear if the reported cost of $175 million includes interest.) If current operating costs are $481 million every two years for 8,278 inmates, that is $240.5 million per year divided by 8,278 = $29,052.91 per year per inmate. The same figure ($29,052.91) multiplied by the projected 19,066 inmates in 2005 = $553,922,780 per year or more than $1.1 billion per biennium by 2005 - over one-eighth the state's current reported $8.2 billion two-year budget.
State plans huge prison expansion, from The Oregonian, June 19, 1996. The Oregon Department of Corrections plans to build 10 prisons at eight new sites and expand four existing prisons by 2005 to deal with the state's rapid increase in prisoners. Department officials will present their plan to the Legislative Emergency Board on Thursday and Friday, at which time they will seek approval and about $14 million to begin locating land for the new prisons. Officials will also seek about $25 million from the Emergency Board to deal with the prison population increases through July 1997.
Murmurs, from Willamette Week, June 19, 1996. Undaunted by the government's own estimate of at least 31,806 illegal-drug users in Multomah County, Sheriff Noelle - who is on record as favoring a return to alcohol Prohibition - wants to lift the court-ordered ceiling on county jail populations. ("The county's jail population is capped at 1,371" according to a Feb. 25,1996 column in The Oregonian by Steve Duin, "The inmates aren't running the asylum, just running out of it," p. D1.)
Former Clatsop DA should be disbarred, lawyers' panel rules, from The Oregonian, June 18, 1996. One of the weirder drug frame-up cases from the annals of Oregon legal history nears conclusion.
Prosecutor says gang foe ordered murder, from The Oregonian, June 14, 1996. A woman who served on an anti-gang task force actually organized a gang and sent two members to commit Eugene's first gang murder. (As reported, it sounds much more like eliminating a witness than a "gang murder.")
Inmate-work law unworkable, report says, The Oregonian, June 12, 1996. A new state report shows that implementing Measure 17, the state's prison labor program written into the constitution by voters in 1994, will cost "an extra annual $94 million to $138 million by 2003" (none of it yet budgeted). Gov. Kitzhaber says the implementation of Measure 17 could come at the expense of other areas funded by the state, such as education. Nevertheless, Ben de Haan, Corrections Department deputy director, says "We intend to work as hard to get as far with it as we can."
Prison Troubles KATU Channel 2 News, Tuesday, June 11, 1996. Oregon's prison population will increase from 7,200 inmates to 19,000 by 2005, and is growing so fast that the Oregon Corrections Department is asking the Legislative Emergency Board just this month for $20 million to speed up prison construction. Channel Two News has obtained the list of new prisons the state wants built in that time. First, expand the Snake River prison in Eastern Oregon - that's already underway; build a major new women's prison; and build five - that's right, five - new men's prisons. The plan also calls for two new minimum security facilities and the expansion of existing prisons. All of the new construction for those new prisons, and all of the people that will have to be hired to run them, will cost about a billion dollars over the next 10 years. A billion dollars that will go to prisons, a billion dollars that will not go to schools. (Not mentioned - marijuana offenders and parole violators who fail unscientific urine tests for cannabinoids make up the largest proportion of offenders.)
The Task Force, from The Columbian, June 2, 1996. Surveillance at the American Agriculture store in Southeast Portland is standard operating procedure for the 15-employee Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force, whose jurisdiction is across the Columbia River from Portland. Of the 49 raids the task force made in 1995, four searches yielded no illegal drugs and one search somehow produced "uncertain" results. To obtain at least one warrant, two experienced detectives swore in an affidavit they smelled marijuana from outside, then broke down the door and found nothing. Another woman is suing after the task force smashed in her door, traumatizing her but again turning up nothing. Other fruitless search warrants were based on a drug-sniffing dog and lying informants. Sometimes the police sell drugs to dealers, then bust them for possession. "You've got to come up with a creative way to break in," says Sgt. Rex Gunderson, a Vancouver police officer.
Save Our City, from PDXS, May 24, 1996. The Portland Police want to shut down the City Nightclub under the municipal "drug house ordinance" because the police say drugs are sold on the premises. Owner Lanny Swerdlow wonders why the police did not try to shut down other all-ages clubs which have had worse problems in the past.
'Books and crooks' OK with county voters, The Oregonian, May 22, 1996. The Oregonian spearheaded a campaign for new Multnomah County jails, running one fear-mongering crime story after another in the weeks before the election, even though the overall crime rate was down. While the daily paper printed several staff editorials endorsing the new-jail and levy measures just in the week leading up to the May 21 election, without ever mentioning the $297.5 million total cost, not a single "letter to the editor" opposing the measures was printed, ever. Other major Portland print and broadcast media also failed to give the public any information or opinions that would undermine support for new jails. This article reports that - surprise! - voters endorsed the new jails, 55 percent to 45 percent.
Vernonia boy loses appeal on drug test, from The Oregonian, May 21, 1996. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will not reconsider James Acton's case, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Marijuana: New Study KATU Channel 2 News, 6:30 pm Friday, May 17, 1996. An example of the biased news coverage dished out to the public by the local broadcast media.
School Board Torn on Drug Policy The Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, May 15, 1996. The Salem-Keizer School Board's zero-tolerance policy threatens to bankrupt it, since the district is still required to educate the students it expels. The expulsion rate (among the very kids who have been exposed to emotional "Just Say No" campaigns all their lives) has "soared from a handful of students five years ago to 260 so far this year."
3,000-bed prison goes up near Ontario The Sunday Oregonian, April 28, 1996. Oregon corrections officials try to put a friendly spin on it, comparing it to "a giant Legos set" but the state's first "mega-prison ... one of the largest public works projects" in the state's history, is costing $77,826.08 per cell (even before the state has budgeted its complete operating expenses or interest on bond payments).
Pot Bust Suspects KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8, 6 pm April 18, 1996. Police have made a big splash about some multimillion-dollar marijuana busts lately but they haven't arrested anyone - yet. In both cases, the people police are focusing on have roots in the community and police don't think they'll run away. Despite the admitted lack of threat to the public, police say they've delayed filing charges so their suspects eventually are sentenced to "as much time as we can possibly ask for."
Young lives have already been taken Willamette Week, April 10, 1996. The Oregon National Guard earns rogue status for perpetuating one of the oldest urban legends in the book.
Making prisons top state industry is not in our interest by Russell Sadler of Cascadia NewsNet, April 8, 1996. Oregon's new growth industry is not tourism. It is not high technology. It is not service industry. It is prisons. Socially conservative legislators force up tuition and refuse to appropriate more money to colleges and universities because a $25,000 a year subsidy to students is too much. The same conservatives are willing to house more inmates who cost Oregon taxpayers $38,000 a year to guard.
Prison population grows 10.5% in a year The Oregonian,March 30, 1996. The March prison population of 7,832 is 10.5 percent larger than at the same time last year. The number of prisoners in Oregon will grow 158 percent in the next decade.
Out of Room, KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8, March 29, 1996. By the year 2005, Oregon's prison population will go from its present 8,182 to 19,500. Four new prisons are on the drawing boards but there is no money to pay for the new beds.
The myths of the young give parents nightmares, from The Oregonian, March 24, 1996. From 1986 through 1994, 439 Oregon youths under 21 were involved in alcohol-related fatalities. That's four dozen a year. The tricounty metropolitan Portland area had 129; Multnomah County, 70. Yet "police in Multnomah County prefer not to arrest young people for booze-related infractions" and ignore the letter of the law as routinely as they enforce it against marijuana offenders. Among the small number of kids who are busted and referred to a diversion program, "many, maybe most, ignore the diversion offer and suffer no consequences."
Official says officer's gun went off accidentally in killing, from The Oregonian, March 23, 1996. A police officer was using his loaded gun to break through a window in a suspect's car when the gun went off and the suspect was killed.
Nervous? Threatened? Fire when ready and hang the grand jury, by Steve Duin of The Sunday Oregonian, March 17, 1996. Prosecutors and district attorneys like to complain about the Fully Informed Jury Association and others who espouse the right and obligation of jurors to judge the law itself as well as the facts in a case. However, the truth is that prosecutors nullify the law themselves every chance they get.
Marijuana Task Force to Lose Funding However, the task force is applying for additional federal funding through the Oregon Department of Justice-administered Marijuana Eradication Program. Includes a March 11, 1996 letter from Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller to Mayor Katz, explaining why the task force does more harm than good.
Vehicles Built for All Terrain in Drug Raids from the Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal, March 1, 1996. Without provocation, the military is enlisted in civilian law enforcement as Oregon police agencies get the use of armored craft from the Oregon National Guard.
1 in 3 violent crimes gets resolved, The Oregonian, Feb. 25, 1996. Since about 60 percent of all felons sentenced to jail or prison by Multnomah County courts are controlled-substance offenders, there's not much question what the public safety budget is really being spent on.
Survey of teens in Oregon finds AIDS ignorance, from The Oregonian, Feb. 23, 1996. The latter part of this article is what's relevant here. It reports the results of the biennial Oregon Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 1995. One might view its methodology skeptically, but the survey found that in the previous month, 47 percent of students in grades nine through 12 drank alcohol, 24 percent smoked tobacco and an insignificantly greater 25 percent smoked marijuana. (So much for the "gateway" myth. ... All three substances are equally illegal for teens, suggesting at least 47 percent of respondents did not believe in prohibitionist laws - a higher rate than among adults. The proportion is almost certainly larger unless the 47 percent of students who drank fully comprised the other two groups.) "The one category in which a statistically valid increase occurred was in marijuana use." (And this from the first generation raised on know-nothing, Just Say No fear-mongering sermons from teachers, television, comic books, sports heroes, video-game screens and countless other sources.) Not mentioned is the possibility that students are increasingly aware that pot is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, and that decreasing social opprobrium over its use may have encouraged students to report their behavior more honestly than in the past. Note too in the last sentence, before the list of survey results, how the survey-takers seem to have tuned out what they didn't want to hear. Regarding students' slight decrease in knowledge about AIDS, state health officer Dr. Grant Higginson says, "It might be that teachers themselves need more information on the best ways to teach students about AIDS." Could the same be true about teachers needing better ways to teach students about the drawbacks to non-medical drug use?
Oregon sets high in '95 for drug-related deaths, from The Oregonian, Jan. 26, 1996. Prohibition-related deaths from illegal drugs have tripled in the decade since Nancy Reagan began telling Americans to "Just Say No," and the war on some drug users radically escalated. Not mentioned: Marijuana killed 0.
Police hit downtown drug dealers, from the Jan. 25, 1996 Oregonian. A three-week sting nets 116 indictments and 82 arrests, but Hispanics protest that they're being unfairly targeted. (Ten years ago when Congress and the Reagan administration ratcheted up the drug war, such "brazen" commercialism was unheard of in Portland. One can only sympathize with the put-upon merchants, but aren't these the same people who should be pointing out that the laws of supply and demand are more powerful than the laws of governments? The Oregonian also fails to note that historically, the drug laws were not passed to protect public health or public safety - they were passed as expressions of intolerance for racial and religious minorities, so in this case the drug laws are really just doing what they were designed to do.)
One more for the road, from The Oregonian, Dec. 29, 1995. "How many times can someone get caught driving drunk in Oregon and not go to prison?" A Salem woman "has had 11 drunken driving convictions since 1989 - more than anyone else in Oregon. But she has never been imprisoned for drunken driving." While The Oregonian later in the article admits "They sent her to jail" for a short time, the point is well made that "drunken driving is not considered a major crime." As always, The Oregonian refuses to examine the issue in light of the larger contradictions in current drug policy. Why do we pack our jails and prisons with victimless marijuana offenders and other illegal-drug violators, while we ignore the demonstrable harm caused by a socially acceptable, legal but much more dangerous drug, alcohol? In a society with limited resources to spend on public safety, why shouldn't all drug-users be held to equitable standards of responsibility? Is the public really better protected when the legal status of a drug is more important in determining who goes to jail or prison than the actual harm or even risk that irresponsible use may cause to others?
Prison Blues, from Willamette Week,Dec. 27, 1995. An audit finds the state's inmate work program isn't working.
Oregon will build juvenile boot camp on Tillamook site, from The Oregonian, Dec. 21, 1995. Though the boot camp is supposedly "designed for nonviolent property offenders," one supposes drug offenders will outnumber such delinquents just as they do in county and state jails and prisons for adults. While boot camps are often advocated as "cheap" alternatives to prisons, the $2 million cost of 52 beds comes to $38,461.53 per bunk. With a biennial budget of $3.2 million, taxpayers will also spend $30,769 a year to maintain each bed - about the cost of a year at a private college.
Report says half Oregon '93 deaths premature, The Oregonian, Dec. 11, 1995. Tobacco was the leading contributor, linked to 6,000 deaths. Poor diet and sedentary lifestyle killed 4,000 Oregonians and alcohol killed 1,000. (Not mentioned: Pot killed 0, and all other illegal drugs killed only 138 people.)
An early ticket home, The Oregonian,Nov. 2, 1995. A retroactive change by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in the method of calculating mandatory minimums frees more than 900 marijuana growers sentenced to federal prisons since 1989, including more than 70 Oregonians.
Drug War Hits Home, from PDXS, Oct. 22, 1995. Soldiers in combat camouflage accompanied by armored vehicles, including a National Guard M-113 armored personnel carrier, roll into a Southeast Portland cul de sac. An Oregon State Police Special Weapons and Tactics team quickly and forcibly enters private homes, where residents are subjected to nearly an hour of obscenities and insults as the team ransacks (and pockets) their personal effects. Before he can respond, Johnny Senteno, an innocent bystander, is shot. The first impact strikes his chest. The second shatters his arm. The spoils? "Only a small amount of marijuana" - and a $100,000 settlement against city taxpayers.
Imprisoned marijuana growers get a break, from The Oregonian, Oct. 13, 1995. The U.S. Sentencing Commission decides retroactively to assign all marijuana plants a 100-gram weight instead of the 1,000-gram weight previously assumed for growers who exceeded 49 plants. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Baker in Portland said that in her 17 years as a prosecutor she had never seen a change that affected such a large number of prisoners' sentencings. Of the approximately 950 cases being reviewed around the country, about 150 cases - one out of every six or seven cases - involve Oregon pot growers. Or, as the paper puts it, "The change will have particular significance in the Northwest, which is one of the nation's centers for marijuana growing and has a high percentage of the cases affected by the new sentencing calculations."
Prisons get new bulge in 1996, from The Oregonian, Sept. 30, 1995. Oregon's inmate population is up 15 percent from a year ago, admissions are up 25 percent and the state prisoner population is expected to grow from 7,800 in October 1995 to 18,168 in July 2005 - yet officials report "the steep population growth in Oregon's prisons is expected to ease in coming years. ... 6 percent ... in 1996 ... and 3 percent ... in 1997." (Apparently The Oregonian saw no contradiction in these statements.) The state says the "unanticipated" increase to date is attributable to "a startling 45.7 percent increase in inmates admitted for violating probation or parole." (Mostly for positive urine tests for cannabis metabolites.)
Marijuana smoking by youths goes up, from The Oregonian, Sept. 13, 1995. Ever sensationalist, The Oregonian begins by charging that kids' use of marijuana has "nearly doubled." Only later on page A14 are readers told the doubling is "to 7.3 percent ...in 1994, up from 4 percent in 1992." Meanwhile, "Nearly 30 percent of eighth-graders and 42 percent of 11th-graders reported drinking at least once in the last month. Cigarettes were the next most commonly used drug." Since cigarettes kill about 400,000 Americans a year, alcohol 100,000, and pot zero, it would appear The Oregonian is more concerned with fear-mongering than public health. The paper also parrots an illusory correlation postulated in the preliminary 1994 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (which incorporated the Oregon survey), that the alleged "increase" is "due in part to an increasing perception by youngsters that the drug can't hurt them." While NORML is opposed to minors' non-medical use of cannabis, the fact is, pot is among the safest of all psychoactive drugs, and despite the best efforts of the government and The Oregonian, people are finding that out. The solution isn't to try to scare young people with lies. The Dutch reduced their teens' use of cannabis to one-fith the rate of American teens after implementing a drug-education program that dispassionately taught the scientific truth about all drugs, de-emphasizing the outlaw/taboo stereotypes that actually increase illicit drugs' appeal to some kids.
Reefer Madness: Portland Wages a New War on Pot, from Willamette Week, March 29, 1995. Public officials fight "crime" by unleashing a Marijuana Task Force on indoor pot growers in the five-county region, even though "'there's probably one grow on every city block,' says task force member Kim Keist."
Other pro-militia group has different philosophical bent, from the Vancouver, Washington Columbian, November 13, 1994. The Northwest Independent Militia Training Association supports the Constitution and gun ownership but also advocates the decriminalization of drugs.
America's #1 Crop - Marijuana Tops the Charts, from High Times, April 1986. Oregon's domestic marijuana crop is estimated to be worth $1 billion to $1.15 billion. Includes subsequent research showing the DEA's 1992 nationwide estimate of the the domestic marijuana harvest had more than doubled NORML's 1986 figures, suggesting Oregon's 1992 harvest was worth at least $2 billion to $2.3 billion. However, additional comments by former national NORML Director Jon Gettman explain that NORML during the same period gradually reduced its estimates of the value of domestic production to figures far below the government's, primarily due to the DEA's optimistic assumption that each sinsemilla plant produced two pounds of commercial pot. It might help while perusing this file to remember that almost every figure herein is based on conjecture. So long as prohibition continues, nobody can estimate proscribed behaviors or amounts of supposedly "controlled" substances with any confidence. Still, it's only natural to try. We've done our best here with the documents at hand, but truth is an approximation. [NORML finally updated its estimate in 1998.]
History of Oregon Reform Efforts A collection of articles from a variety of sources.
Oregon Services Plundered for Drug War, a variety of news articles illustrating why Oregon taxpayers need the revenue promised by the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.
Portland NORML News Releases, lots more local news and information for the period from 1996 through 1997. Additional, more recent Portland and Oregon news can be found in the 1998 Daily News archive, linked to the same page.
Who To Lobby Badly outdated now, once the most complete and current directory of addresses, telephone and fax numbers, email and World Wide Web links for Portland, tricounty, Oregon and federal officials responsible for perpetuating cannabis prohibition and locking up nonviolent, victimless marijuana offenders.
The State of Oregon Constitution, as of 1995. This is rather long, 244 kilobytes.
The articles Portland NORML has posted here are generally copyrighted by the source publications. They are reproduced here under the Fair Use Doctrine (17 U.S.C., section 107) for educational purposes. NORML is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The views of the authors and source publications are not necessarily those of NORML. These transcriptions are not for sale or resale.
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