------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Foundation Weekly News Release (Dutch Marijuana Use Half That Of America, Study Reveals; One In Seven Drug Prisoners Serving Time For Marijuana Offenses; Pot Use No Higher Among California Kids After Passage Of Prop. 215, State Study Finds; Washington Lieutenant Governor Busted For Illegally Opposing Drug Reform Initiative) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 19:40:17 EST Subject: NORML WPR 1/7/99 (II) NORML Foundation Weekly News Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org firstname.lastname@example.org January 7, 1999 *** Dutch Marijuana Use Half That Of America, Study Reveals January 7, 1999, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Americans consume marijuana at rates more than double those of their Dutch counterparts, according to a study published Tuesday by the Center for Drug Research (CEDRO) of the University of Amsterdam. "These findings illustrate that criminalizing marijuana does little, if anything, to discourage use," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of The NORML Foundation. He noted that Dutch law allows citizens over 18 to buy and consume marijuana in government-regulated coffeeshops. The study found that 15.6 percent of Dutch persons aged 12 and over had tried marijuana. Of these, 4.5 percent reported using marijuana in the past year, and 2.5 percent said they used the drug during the past month. By contrast, 32.9 percent of Americans admit trying marijuana, and nine percent report using the drug in the past year. Slightly more than five percent of Americans say they use the drug monthly. The study's authors concluded that "a repressive [marijuana] policy as in the U.S. does not necessarily result in less drug use. The availability of drugs is no determining factor for levels of drug use in a country." The study, financed by the health ministry and conducted by Amsterdam University and the Central Bureau of Statistics, is the first to document national marijuana use rates. Data previously compiled by the Dutch National Institute of Health and Addiction (NIHA) determined that Dutch adolescents use marijuana at significantly lower rates than Americans. The agency reported that 21 percent of Dutch adolescents admit trying the drug compared to 45 percent of American high school seniors. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. To view a summary of the CEDRO report online, please visit: http://www.frw.uva.nl/cedro/. *** One In Seven Drug Prisoners Serving Time For Marijuana Offenses January 7, 1999, Washington, DC: One in seven drug prisoners is behind bars for marijuana-related offenses, newly released data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals. "Jailing thousands of marijuana offenders is a tremendous waste of judicial resources and taxpayer dollars that would be better spent targeting violent crime," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. He estimated that taxpayers spend approximately $900 million annually to incarcerate marijuana offenders. Nearly 40,000 Americans are presently incarcerated in state and federal correctional facilities for marijuana violations. Of these, 28,650 marijuana offenders are state inmates, and 10,538 are federal prisoners. In all, marijuana prisoners compose 14 percent of all state and federal drug inmates. The newly released figures appear in the January 1999 Department of Justice report: Substance Abuse and Treatment, State and Federal Prisoners, 1997. Previous DOJ reports omitted data regarding the number of marijuana offenders behind bars. The report did not determine what percentage of the estimated 600,000 inmates in local jails are serving time for marijuana offenses. For more information on marijuana incarceration rates, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. Federal data regarding annual marijuana arrest rates is available from The NORML Foundation upon request. *** Pot Use No Higher Among California Kids After Passage Of Prop. 215, State Study Finds January 7, 1999, Sacramento, CA: Statewide marijuana use among adolescents has not increased since the passage of Proposition 215, according to data released last week by the Attorney General's office. "These figures belie claims of Prop. 215 opponents, led by former Attorney General Dan Lungren and Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, that the approval of medical marijuana will lead to an explosion of teen marijuana use," California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer said. The report cites statistics from the 1997-98 California Student Substance Abuse Survey that found fewer high school students using marijuana than in previous years (1995-96). The report did note a statistically insignificant increase in marijuana use among 7th graders. Statistics previously released in August by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) reported that California teens used marijuana at lower rates than the national average. "The findings of these two surveys, the first to cover the post-1996 period, flatly contradict claims that legalizing medical marijuana sends a dangerous message to children," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858. Preliminary copies of the study are available from the Attorney General's press office @ (916) 324-5500. *** Washington Lieutenant Governor Busted For Illegally Opposing Drug Reform Initiative January 7, 1999, Olympia, WA: The state Executive Ethics Board fined Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen $7,000 for illegally spending taxpayers' dollars to oppose a 1997 statewide drug reform initiative, The Seattle Times reported last week. "Federal law prohibits state officials from using public funds to influence the outcome of an initiative," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "Lieutenant Governor Owen used taxpayer moneys in 1997 and 1998 to oppose initiatives legalizing medical marijuana. His actions clearly undermined the democratic process." The ethics board contends that Owen used public employees, equipment, federal grant money, and his own working hours to illegally campaign against Initiative 685, "The Drug Medicalization and Prevention Act of 1997." The initiative sought to legalize the medical use of marijuana, and mandated alternative sentencing for non-violent drug offenders. Voters rejected the measure by a vote of 60 to 40 percent. Drug reform proponents allege that Owen also misused federal funds in 1998 to oppose Initiative 692. Months before the election, Owen's office received approximately $200,000 in federal moneys from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to fund a statewide anti-drug campaign focusing chiefly on the alleged dangers of marijuana. The grant also helped pay for the establishment of an anti-medical marijuana website. Despite Owen's efforts, 59 percent of voters backed the initiative, which became state law on December 3. "The fine against Owen should put all elected officials and anti-drug bureaucrats, from Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey to local sheriffs or narcotic officers, on notice," St. Pierre said. "Public funds may not be used to influence public opinion in advance of an election or initiative. It is hard to imagine a more repugnant and threatening specter than a government willing to spend taxpayer's dollars to actively campaign against free elections." For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or visit the website MarijuanaNews at: http://www.marijuananews.com. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tokin' Enforcement (A San Diego Union Tribune article about the local impact of Proposition 215 notes Steve McWilliams, who runs Shelter From the Storm, a fledgling cannabis club providing the herb to about a half-dozen sick San Diego residents, will test the legal limits of the medical-marijuana law when he goes on trial in San Diego Superior Court with Dion Markgraaff Feb. 10 on felony charges of cultivating and selling marijuana. It will be the first such case to go before a jury locally since California voters approved the law in November 1996.) Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 11:14:52 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Tokin' Enforcement Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Chuck Hundley Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Page: E-1 Copyright: 1999 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ Forum: http://www.uniontrib.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Mark Sauer TOKIN' ENFORCEMENT Clouds Of Smoke Surround Legal Parameters Of The Medical Marijuana Proposition Exhaling a deep lungful of cannabis smoke, Steve McWilliams smiled at the news last week that new state Attorney General Bill Lockyer is making medical marijuana a top priority. "We're ecstatic! This is the very best possible news for people like us," McWilliams said. "If Lockyer would simply agree to sit down with us in good faith, we can solve this problem." The "problem" is the workings of Proposition 215, the 2-year-old law intended to allow seriously ill people in California to use marijuana as medicine -- a law for which Dan Lungren, the state's newly departed chief law-enforcement officer, had little use. Joining forces with Clinton Administration officials, Lungren was tireless in efforts to close the state's several dozen "cannabis buyers clubs" through raids and court action, seeking to enforce federal laws against marijuana distribution. What Lockyer will do remains to be seen, of course. But last week, the new attorney general vowed to make Proposition 215 work. "I think (Lungren) was overly zealous in continuing to oppose (the medical marijuana law) even after the people had adopted it," Lockyer told reporters. So on a sunny winter day, McWilliams, who displays a doctor's note verifying that he suffers chronic pain from a series of car accidents, re-lit his emerald-green bong and sat back to contemplate changes the new year might bring -- for him and for the medical marijuana movement. He runs Shelter From the Storm, now a fledgling cannabis club providing the quasi-legal herb for about a half-dozen sick San Diegans. Operating out of an upstairs apartment behind the Hemp Store in Hillcrest, McWilliams has eight pot plants growing on the balcony and many more under high-intensity lamps indoors. And he doesn't care who knows it, even though he soon will go on trial for cultivating cannabis. McWilliams and fellow medical marijuana booster Dion Markgraaff of Ocean Beach will test the legal limits of Proposition 215 when they go on trial in San Diego Superior Court Feb. 10 on felony charges of cultivating and selling marijuana. It will be the first such case to go before a jury locally since California voters overwhelmingly passed the medical marijuana initiative in November 1996, said Deputy District Attorney Dave Songco, who is prosecuting McWilliams and Markgraaff. But while there have been no trials in San Diego involving Proposition 215, there have been several interesting developments regarding marijuana in the two years since Californians took their historic vote, including: A full 20 percent of the American electorate has now passed medical marijuana legislation, with voters in Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Washington following California's lead in last November's election. (District of Columbia voters also approved medical marijuana, according to exit polls, but Congress won't allow voting results to be revealed.) The district attorney in San Francisco refused to take action against the several cannabis clubs operating there, but they were closed anyway following court action instigated by Lungren and federal officials. City officials in Oakland tried to circumvent the court and have the city's one club remain open by deputizing club leaders so they could lawfully handle pot; a judge nixed that idea. Meanwhile, 1997 saw a record number of marijuana offenses in the United States -- 695,201, 87 percent of which were for possession, according to the FBI. In San Diego, felony arrests for marijuana fell in the five-year period from 1993 to 1997 (down 30 percent for adults and 21 percent for juveniles). But misdemeanor arrests skyrocketed, climbing 27 percent for adults and 47 percent for juveniles during that time. Songco said that a few San Diego defendants charged with marijuana offenses have tried using Proposition 215 as a defense in pre-trial maneuvering, but until now their claims did not pass muster and all wound up in plea bargains. "From what I read, the defense isn't raised very often with any legitimacy anywhere in California," said Songco. "I did refuse to prosecute one case that police had referred because it looked to me that the suspect had a legitimate need for the marijuana and was trying to comply with the law," he continued. Songco said many individuals may be discreetly and quietly "out there using marijuana as medicine and complying with the law under Prop. 215, but I have no way of knowing how many. Nobody does." "The cases we're prosecuting are for large amounts and it's very clear the defendants are trying to use Prop. 215 as a shield," he said. "We're not concerned with legitimately sick individuals trying to comply with the law." But trying to comply with the law is precisely the problem, according to McWilliams and others in his club. Among the questions they raise are: - How much marijuana is too much to be considered an individual's medicine? Who can legally cultivate cannabis? Who can legally distribute it? How can it be legally distributed? If it is sold, may the seller earn a reasonable profit? If you are cultivating a large quantity to share with other sick people, are you subject to arrest and trial? - Tacked on the wall at Shelter From the Storm are about a half-dozen letters from doctors authorizing the therapeutic use of cannabis for individual club members, including McWilliams' letter. - He was arrested last January and authorities confiscated more than 400 marijuana plants and seedlings McWilliams says he was growing for members of Markgraaff's San Diego medical marijuana club, who numbered in the hundreds before the club officially disbanded following the pair's arrests. - McWilliams said he is anxious to get his case, which has been delayed several times, in front of a jury because he is confident he will be acquitted under the spirit and letter of Proposition 215. But Songco said large amounts of marijuana such as McWilliams cultivated for distribution is a clear violation of the law. McWilliams counters that some sick individuals may consume a pound or two of the leafy "medicine" over the course of a year and several hundred "desperately sick people were depending on those plants." Those individuals, former members of the San Diego cannabis club, are waiting to see if the upcoming trials serve to establish some kind of medical marijuana protocols that "we can all live with -- they're waiting for the smoke to clear, so to speak," said McWilliams. "It is incumbent upon prosecutors to tell people what the law is," continued McWilliams, who notified sheriff's deputies of his cultivation operation in Valley Center long before being busted there last year. "The real crime here is keeping this law vague and to keep harassing and arresting people. "I've never been convicted of anything in my life, but now I could go to jail for almost five years and have a felony on my record forever, even though I've got all my documentation from doctors and have tried to comply with the law. Police should have better things to do than go around looking for people who use marijuana for medical reasons." Oddly enough, local law officers tend to agree. "We're not hanging out at AIDS-treatment facilities seeing who's walking out with a lid of pot," said Bill Baxter, a San Diego Sheriff's Department lieutenant assigned to the county's narcotics task force. "And we're not kicking down doors like the Gestapo because we heard grandma and grandpa are in the back tokin' a joint for their arthritis. We've got better things to do." But Baxter echoed other law officials in saying that Proposition 215 does not legalize marijuana. In fact, he said, from the police point of view the law has had little practical impact these past two years. "If you are stopped in the sheriff's jurisdiction and discovered to have an ounce or less of marijuana, it will be confiscated, we will write you a citation and that case will proceed just as if 215 hadn't happened," Baxter said. And if it's more than an ounce, misdemeanor or felony charges could be filed, depending on the circumstances, he added. Capt. Larry Moratto of the San Diego Police Department's narcotics division agreed that the new law's impact has been "negligible." Those growing large amounts of marijuana remain at risk for felony prosecution, he said, despite claims by people such as McWilliams that the law entitles them to grow pot for their sick club members. Baxter said the sheriff's department is "talking right now about more definitive guidelines" regarding Proposition 215. He noted that Lockyer's vow to make the medical marijuana law work will certainly affect such guidelines. "But I wouldn't look for any immediate clarification," Baxter said. "There are so many complications no matter how you look at this issue, regardless of whether you are a conservative or a liberal. "In order to get something that is good and workable and equitably enforced is still going to take awhile."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Public Hearings on the Environmental Impact of Federal Paramilitary Marijuana Eradication Raids in Humboldt County - Mateel Community Center, Redway, Jan. 18-19, 1999 (A bulletin from California NORML says retired Appellate Court Judge William Newsom will preside over unprecedented hearings where the public will be allowed to comment on the draft of a handbook - URL included - prepared by the US Bureau of Land Management for its law enforcement officers, detailing appropriate conduct in the pursuit of marijuana in Northern California.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 09:05:15 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Humboldt MJ Eradication Hearings Jan 18-9 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Public Hearings on the Environmental Impact of Federal Paramilitary Marijuana Eradication Raids in Humboldt County Mateel Community Center, Redway, Jan. 18-19, 1999 REDWAY, Humboldt County CA: The Mateel Community Center will be the venue for an unprecedented public hearing on the environmental impact of paramilitary marijuana eradication operations this Jan. 18-19. The hearing, which begins Jan. 18 at 10 a.m., will be conducted like a formal court proceeding with retired Appellate Court Judge William Newsom presiding. The hearing is a result of a recent court settlement pursuant to a suit filed against government agencies which participated in the 1990 marijuana eradication program in Humboldt County known as "Operation Greensweep," in which armed troops and helicopters raided a remote wilderness area, disturbing local residents and the environment. The suit was filed on behalf of local residents, the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project and the Drug Policy Foundation. Alleged were civil rights and environmental violations by the participating law enforcement agencies. The court dismissed the civil rights allegations but the environmental claims were compelling enough to foster the settlement. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was the lead agency in the raids and it is the agency the litigants are settling with. In an unprecedented ruling, the BLM was ordered to issue a handbook for its law enforcement officers, detailing appropriate conduct in the pursuit of marijuana operations in Northern California. It is the first known handbook on how law enforcement officers must behave in the course of planning marijuana eradication. It is also the first time a government agency has been compelled to consider the environmental impact of its raids. The draft of the handbook, or guidelines, became available in December of 1998. There is a 60 day public comment period to allow feedback on the draft guidelines for officers. Members of the public are invited to comment specifically on the guidelines as written in the draft, or on the impact of raids generally on the environment and its human or animal denizens. Written statements will be accepted from those unable to personally testify and those will be entered into the public record. The draft of the guidelines, as currently written, contains certain assumptions that local citizens may want to challenge. Two examples are how "small scale" or "large scale" operations are defined, or the assumption that helicopter or fixed wing overflights are something that occur often in Southern Humboldt, apart from law enforcement efforts. Similarly, residents may want to affirm BLM's mandate that its officers maintain a 500-foot ceiling on its aircraft elevations, and the "officers take the most direct route to the target areas" while avoiding other homesteads along the route. Copies of the draft guidelines are available at the offices of Ron Sinoway, Alternative Energy, Signature Coffee, the Used Book Store, and Pomegranate Video in Redway; at CLMP, Blue Moon, Orange Cat, EPIC, the Mateel Gallery, Hand to Land and Back in a Flash in Garberville; at the law offices of Manny Daskal and the Pacific Justice Center in Eureka; and at public libraries in Ukiah, Eureka, McKinleyville, Susanville, Alturas, Cedarville, and Humboldt State University in Arcata; and at BLM field offices in Alturas, Arcata, Cedarville, Redding, Ukiah, and Susanville. Questions concerning one's participation in the hearings can be directed to Ron Sinoway's office (923-3905) or the CLMP office in Garberville. (923-4646). On the web: www.ca.blm.gov/norcal/marea-d.html *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // firstname.lastname@example.org 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Sixties Drug Is In Again (According to the Orange County Register, police say 'magic mushrooms' have made a comeback, and they are claiming - without any scientific evidence whatsoever - that psilocybin mushrooms are addictive and deadly. In what is believed to be the department's largest mushroom bust in at least 12 years, Orange County sheriff's narcotics investigators in December seized 20 pounds with a street value of $80,000 to $100,000.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 15:44:05 +0000 To: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  Sixties Drug Is In Again Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Pubdate: Thur, 07 Jan 199 Author: Mai Tran-OCR SIXTIES DRUG IS IN AGAIN Crime: 'Magic Mushrooms' have made a comeback,and police say they can be addictive or even deadly. Ben Thomas put hallucinogenic mushrooms on his pepperoni pizza. He mixed them into Lipton tea, or ate the nasty-tasting drugs with loads of potato chips. "All I wanted to do was get high," said Thomas, 19, of Newport Beach, who says he has been straight for almost a year. "All my friends were into it." Like bell-bottoms and platform shoes, psilocybin mushrooms are making a comeback with teens and young adults. The so-called "magic mushrooms," popular in the 1960s and 1970s, these days are a drug of choice at rave parties - all-night gatherings held secretly in warehouses and other industrial sites, police say. The strongest of hallucinogenic mushrooms, psilocybins have made their biggest resurgence in the past two years, said Walter Allen, special agent in charge of the Orange regional office of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. "A lot of these young kids are getting into it," Allen said. "But they don't know what they're getting into. It's unfortunate." In what is believed to be the department's largest mushroom bust in at least 12 years, Orange County sheriff's narcotics investigators in December seized 20 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms - with a street value of $80,000 to $100,000, sheriff's Lt. Hector Rivera said. Three people, from Fullerton and Mission Viejo, were arrested for allegedly storing and selling the mushrooms. The mushrooms have a street value of $40 for one-eight of an ounce, police said, though the price fluctuates with supply and demand. The drugs are chewed, sucked or placed in drinks. The "trip" lasts two to six hours. Mushrooms, which are physically addictive, can cause nausea, vomiting and distort comprehension of time and space. Use can lead to severe liver dysfunction and failure, Allen said. Moods, good or bad, are intensified. Experts say the trip depends on the drug taker's mindset. Sometimes, death can result. "People try to do some impossible feats under the influence of the drugs," Rivera said. "Some try to jump off a building or stand in front of a car." The mushrooms often come from the Pacific Northwest, though sometimes they sprout up closer to home. "Some hydroponic gardens are set up in garages or bedrooms," Anaheim police Sgt. Joe Vargas said, referring to plants grown in nutrient solutions. "They can easily be home-grown." Police usually seize the drugs in small quantities during larger marijuana and cocaine busts, Rivera said. La Habra police stumbled onto the largest batch of cultivated psilocybin mushrooms in the county last year when officers responded to a disturbance call at an apartment complex. Police seized 176 pounds of mushrooms - valued at more than $1 million - being grown throughout the apartment, said La Habra police Sgt. Phil Stufflebean, supervisor of the special enforcement unit. A college student who learned how to grow mushrooms on the Internet was arrested and has pleaded guilty to possession and cultivation, Stufflebean said. Mushroom users say the drug is preferable to LSD because it is cheaper and easier to get, and the high isn't as intense or as long-lasting. And the mushrooms don't show up during standard drug screening. Thomas, who began taking the drug at 14, said he ate mushrooms nearly a dozen times every month for three years. He sold his compact discs or stole, even from his parents, to get $10 for a quick high, he said. "They're not that cool," he said. Kelly Wilson, a drug recovery specialist, recalled taking mushrooms at a party, after which, she said, the walls began to move in and out. She saw the carpet lift from the floor. She watched as music come out of the speakers. "I felt connected to people, a lot of love for everybody," recalled Wilson, 35, who did drugs for six years until she stopped in the late '80s. "It was a fun party thing to do." But she and other former users also know the downside. Once while high on mushrooms, Thomas fell and broke four front teeth and cut his lips. Thomas said getting drug counseling at the Hope Institute in Costa Mesa has changed his life. "I feel better about myself," said Thomas, who now attends Orange Coast College and works at a coffee bar to pay for his new car and apartment. "I got to buy my family presents for the first time ever this Christmas. The only way for me is total abstinence."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Attacking The Drug/Crime Link (A patronizing and intellectually dishonest article in the Los Angeles Times claims that new studies show that "half of all substance abusers have been arrested at some point for crimes ranging from burglary and auto theft to assault and murder," but doesn't cite any reference, doesn't define "substance abusers," and doesn't explain how the purported drug/crime link could exist when even the government admits at least 70 million Americans have tried marijuana.) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 23:40:27 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Peter Webster (email@example.com) Subject: Attacking The Drug/Crime Link Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/ ATTACKING THE DRUG/CRIME LINK With new studies showing that half of all substance abusers have been arrested at some point for crimes ranging from burglary and auto theft to assault and murder, the link between drugs and crime is clearer than ever. Incredibly, most law enforcement officials let these captive audiences go without so much as a sermon on the dangers of illegal drugs. The California prison system, for instance, can provide intensive substance abuse treatment and education to only about 3,000 of the estimated 120,000 inmates with substance abuse problems. On Tuesday, President Clinton proposed doubling federal spending for rehabilitating prisoners with drug problems. Congress should strongly support the president's initiative, for data show that proven substance abuse programs in prison significantly reduce recidivism rates and thus crime overall. The trick comes in ensuring that federal dollars flow to the most effective use. A 1978 study showing that many of California's substance abuse programs were ineffective led legislators to shut down inept and effective programs alike. The new head of the state Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, Robert Presley, should take a balanced approach, directing dollars to where they can do the most good. One model should be the Amity program at Donovan, a medium-security state prison east of San Diego. According to a 1997 federal study, only 16% of inmates who completed Donovan's program were rearrested within one year of their release, as opposed to 65% of Donovan inmates who did not participate. The program works because it demands that prisoners attend hours of drug rehabilitation treatment each day and that they submit to intensive drug testing and counseling when they are on parole. A link between crime and drugs is unassailable. Last year, the Legislature set aside $10 million for prison-based substance abuse programs. If Congress embraces Clinton's proposal to distribute $120 million for similar programs nationwide, California will gain even more resources. The challenge will be to maximize the benefits.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexican Cardinal's Killers Sentenced (UPI says three gang members from San Diego, California, have been sentenced to federal prison terms for the murder of Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Posadas-Ocampo in a hail of gunfire outside the Guadalajara, Mexico, airport in 1993.) Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 09:19:28 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Mexican Cardinal's Killers Sentenced Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International Note: Headline by MAP Newshawk MEXICAN CARDINAL'S KILLERS SENTENCED Religion and Lifestyles Three San Diego, California, gang members have been sentenced to federal prison terms for the murder of a Roman Catholic cardinal. Cardinal Juan Posadas-Ocampo was killed along with six other people in a hail of gunfire sprayed outside the Guadalajara, Mexico, airport in 1993. Federal prosecutors said suspects Carlos Garcia-Martinez, Adolfo Marin Cuevas and Jose Mendez-Torres were hit men hired through the Arellano-Felix drug cartel and were preparing to open fire on a rival drug lord when the cardinal and his entourage arrived. Posadas-Ocampo was an outspoken critic of the Mexican drug cartels. The sentences for the three men range from more than 16 years to nearly 20 years.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Straight Dope - Don't Expect Your Physician To Say 'Smoke Two Joints, And Call Me In The Morning' (The Arizona Republic interviews a cancer patient whose life was undoubtedly saved by medical marijuana, and an addiction specialist who says people don't need medical marijuana and won't suffer without it - plus a science update on medical marijuana research.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 01:25:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: The Straight Dope-Don't Expect Your Physician To Say..... Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thur, 07 Jan 1999 Source: Arizona Republic (AZ) Contact: Opinions@pni.com Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/ Forum: http://www.azcentral.com/pni-bin/WebX?azc Copyright: 1999, The Arizona Republic. THE STRAIGHT DOPE- DON'T EXPECT YOUR PHYSICIAN TO SAY 'SMOKE TWO JOINTS, AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING' In October 1995, Josh Burner was reeling from nausea triggered by massive doses of radiation to treat the cancer eating away at his jaw, tongue and soft palate. No medications could abate his queasiness. He was too sick to eat. One afternoon, he got a call from some Navajos he had met while working undercover as a private investigator. They invited him to meet them at a park in Tempe. They had heard about his troubles. At a secluded spot in the park, the men gave Burner a hand-carved pipe depicting four spirits and filled with marijuana. For a half-hour, they smoked. First, Burner felt a sense of well-being. Then, his nausea disappeared. "It was very cool," he says. He went into a nearby Mexican restaurant and ordered a pint of refried beans and a pint of salsa, mixed them together, and gulped it down. He topped that off with a milkshake from Dairy Queen. "I hadn't eaten in three days," he says, "and I haven't thrown up since." During last fall's campaign to legalize marijuana for medical use in such illnesses as cancer and AIDS, Burner became the poster boy for legalization, starring in pro-pot TV ads. He continues to smoke, eat and drink marijuana to keep his nausea and cancer pain at bay. It works, he says, and he wants the illegal weed to be available to other suffering patients. Whether that happens remains to be seen. Although Arizona voters in November approved the medical use of marijuana for the second time in two years, doctors fear their privileges to prescribe medication will be revoked if they promote pot, thanks to the shadow of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA is not amused by states' efforts to look the other way when sick people do dope, and it has rejected smoking crude marijuana as medicine. For their part, Arizona law-enforcement officials have generally turned a blind eye to such patients, especially if they carry documented permission from their doctors - a quasi "prescription." Much of the time, politics and the fears of those who oppose any easing of drug laws cloud the real issue: Is marijuana a legitimate weapon in the arsenal against debilitating side effects of cancer treatment and in the battle against other diseases? In the 1920s, marijuana cigarettes were sold legally in drug stores as a treatment for such ailments as asthma, migraine headaches and to ease the pain of childbirth. During Prohibition, it was smoked recreationally to ease the hunger pangs for outlawed liquor. Today, marijuana is generally illegal in America, except in some cases where it can be used medicinally, with opponents of liberalized drug laws branding it as the gateway drug to harder substances such as cocaine and heroin. However, some doctors and patients despair that not enough legal medications exist to ease suffering. Why not allow one more? Prescription drugs for nausea and vomiting, the major side effects of radiation treatment, include Compazine, Phenergan, Tigan and Zofran. The arsenal also includes marinol, the extract in pill form from tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Only marijuana - smoked or incorporated into foods and beverages - delivers a "high" along with relief of symptoms, as does marinol. The exhilarating effects of marinol, in fact, appear to last longer than the effects of marijuana itself. For patients depressed by their illness, this can mean a welcome emotional lift. "When you have a patient dying of cancer or AIDS, there's a lot going on besides nausea," says Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a Phoenix surgeon who deals with cancer patients and favors the medical use of marijuana. "Its tranquilizing effects are one of the beneficial aspects." And patients, devastated by their disease, are not primarily in search of euphoria or the novelty of being allowed to smoke joints, Singer says. "When a person's dying, they don't worry about being cool." Marijuana also has a reputation for stimulating the appetite, a benefit for patients wasting away from cancer or AIDS. Burner, who says he now smokes a couple of joints a day - more when he's not feeling up to snuff - dropped to 141 pounds from 193 before he discovered the appetite-enhancing effects of marijuana. Now, consuming pot in cigarettes and such foods as milkshakes, meatloaf, cookies and macaroni and cheese, the former high-school athlete and Vietnam War veteran weighs in at 183. The munchies, he says, saved him. In addition to alleviating the effects of cancer and AIDS treatment, marijuana has been used to relieve muscle spasms and spasticity in spinal cord patients and those suffering such collagen-vascular diseases as lupus. It may ease phantom limb pain after amputation. How does it work? Volker Sonntag, a neurosurgeon with the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, says the mechanisms by which marijuana affects the brain are still unclear. Scientists believe the brain houses two receptors for the active substances, called cannabinoids, present in marijuana. These are called CB1 and CB2. They might work like a key in a lock, Sonntag says. Marijuana also seems to work as an analgesic. From a neurological perspective, it's not certain whether pot is harmful, Sonntag says. Long-term use does appear to impair cognitive function, although the effects are difficult to quantify and vary between individuals. Sonntag says patients report that smoking marijuana is "a pleasant way of dealing with the pain" and that it seems to have few side effects. If the drug were legal, Sonntag would not hesitate to prescribe it. He said he believes many other doctors feel the same way. Until it is legalized, he will not discuss it with patients because he fears "I would be in trouble." Although the extraction of THC, or marinol, from the marijuana plant is seen as the proper and legal way to derive THC's benefits, Jeffrey Singer says it might not be that easy. About 400 compounds have been identified in pot that might work in concert to deliver the desired effects. THC alone may not do the trick. Because marinol comes in pill form, it loses its effectiveness for the nauseated patient who can't keep anything down. Medication that is vomited is useless. Marinol also suffers from inconsistent delivery, sometimes coming on too strong and sometimes failing to be properly absorbed, leaving the patient under-medicated, says Dr. Paul Consroe, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona's University Medical Center. Smoking a joint, he says, is gentler, and it is easier for the patient to control the dosage. "You can take just as much as you need," he says. THC also is more quickly absorbed when it is smoked, he says. The lungs have a rich supply of blood vessels to deliver the drug into the body. In the 1980s, six state health agencies conducted studies on the therapeutic use of marijuana under research protocols endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Scientists tested whether the drug could be an effective anti-emetic (vomit preventer) for cancer patients. The consensus was that it was effective. California: More than 74 percent of subjects reported that marijuana was more successful in relieving their nausea and vomiting than other drugs tried previously. Georgia: THC pills and smoked marijuana were found to provide anti-emetic relief for patients who had not responded to other medications, with a success rate of 73.1 percent. Michigan: Of patients who received marijuana, 71.1 percent reported results ranging from no emesis at all to moderate nausea and increased appetite. About 90 percent chose to continue using marijuana as an anti-nausea therapy. New Mexico: More than 90 percent of patients who smoked marijuana and had failed at least three other anti-emetics reported "significant or total relief from nausea and vomiting" with no adverse side effects. New York: Three hospitals involved in the research reported that patients who claimed significant benefits of marijuana therapy reported success rates of 89.7, 92.9 and 100 percent at the respective locations. Tennessee: Patients who had failed on other therapies, including THC pills, found an overall success rate of 90.4 percent when marijuana was smoked. Given such numbers, marijuana would seem to be a wonder drug. However, there is another side to the pot issue. Dr. Philip Kanof, medical director of the substance-abuse program at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tucson and an associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, is an outspoken opponent of the medical use of marijuana. "Why do people consider this medically necessary?" he asks, dismayed that a substance he believes leads to use of harder drugs could be on the threshold of acceptance by the medical community. He dismisses its role as another weapon against nausea and vomiting, insisting that legal drugs do the trick when prescribed properly. "In 1998, it is no longer a clinical problem," Kanof says. "People are not suffering anymore." When relief fails, he blames "physicians (who) don't know how to use these medications effectively." Patients can use legal drugs "without getting stoned out of their minds," he says. Jeffrey Singer argues that "we (physicians) prescribe these drugs according to FDA prescription levels" and even sometimes exceed those levels in an attempt to offer relief to patients. Existing legal medications, and even marijuana, do not work for everybody, he says. He points out that pharmaceutical companies, in that same belief, continue to develop new anti-emetics. Kanof insists that tolerating pot for medical use sends the wrong message, allowing it to escape the rigorous scrutiny applied to prescription drugs. Smoking an unrefined plant product means inhaling an indeterminate dosage. The product might not be pure. There is no quality control. However, until marijuana can be obtained easily and is legalized at least for research, correct dosage cannot be assured and purity can not be achieved, Kanof concedes. "It's a Catch-22 situation," he says. Although few side effects from smoking marijuana have been reported, and fatal overdoses appear unlikely, the experience is not universally pleasurable, Kanof says. Pot smoke is acrid and must be inhaled deeply to be effective. Some people experience paranoia and panic attacks. "There is a lot of individual response to different drugs," Kanof says. Patients who seek out marijuana through nefarious means put themselves in a financial bind - pot is not cheap - and often put their lives at risk as well, considering the undesirables with whom they must deal. According to the DEA, pot currently sells for $70 to $120 an ounce, which makes about 30 joints, depending on its quality. Although the term "prescription" is used, such a document simply alerts police that marijuana possession is intended only for medical use. It doesn't mean patients are standing in line at the pharmacy, funded by insurance. Burns, who is on public assistance, says pot is easy to obtain but is almost beyond his reach financially. As an addiction psychiatrist with a doctorate in pharmacology, Kanof says he has seen the dangers of what seems to be an innocent recreation. He insists smoking marijuana does lead to more ominous drug use, especially among young people. "This drug has an abuse potential," he says. "We know marijuana is a gateway drug among adolescents who go on to use harder drugs. It is a key drug to understanding the pathways to addiction . . . It is a pivotal drug in drug- addiction careers." Many habitual users are so drawn to the drug they spend their days smoking instead of making productive use of their lives, he says. Kanof does concede that marijuana can be an effective tool in relieving the wasting syndrome that plagues AIDS patients. Prescription drugs exist, but they are much more expensive than pot. Although all work to some extent, Kanof says, "none are terrific." In relieving nausea and vomiting, he counts about 10 agents that work to some degree. The right drug, he says, can eliminate 90 percent of nausea. Sometime this year, Kanof says, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine is expected to issue a report on its review of the therapeutic use of marijuana. He does not expect much fanfare. "I think it's going to be a punt," he says. "More research is needed." *** [ed note - Marinol is 100% synthesized. It is not extracted from herbal cannabis. Which is partly why it costs around $7 per pill. For more details see "Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn't," from the July 1994 High Times.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Blues club owner Antone pleads guilty to drug dealing (The Associated Press says Clifford Jamal Antone pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of money laundering. Mr. Antone owns a nightclub in Austin, Texas, bearing his name that is one of the nation's top venues for blues musicians. An El Paso lawyer and associate of Mr. Antone, Richard Esper, also pleaded guilty to laundering drug money on Monday.) From: email@example.com Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 09:07:23 -0600 (CST) Subject: ART: Blues club owner Antone pleads guilty to drug dealing To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org I'm sure most of you who have visited Austin have been to Antone's. 1-7-99 Dallas Morning News http://www.dallasnews.com email@example.com Blues club owner Antone pleads guilty to drug dealing 01/07/99 Associated Press AUSTIN - Blues club owner Clifford Jamal Antone pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of money laundering, the U.S. attorney's office said. His sentencing hasn't been scheduled. The marijuana distribution violation has a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and up to $4 million in fines. The maximum punishment for the count of laundering monetary instruments is up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Mikal Habeeb Amuny, who was charged in the same indictment with Mr. Antone, appeared with him before U.S. District Judge James R. Nowlin and also pleaded guilty to distributing marijuana. Mr. Antone owns a club bearing his name that is one of the nation's top venues for blues artists. He has served 14 months of a five-year sentence in federal prison in 1984 for possessing more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. On Monday, Mr. Antone's associate Richard Esper pleaded guilty to laundering drug money. Mr. Esper, a 46-year-old El Paso lawyer, admitted he tried to hide the source of $75,000 he obtained from marijuana sales and since has forfeited that cash. Federal prosecutors agreed to press no further charges, though federal court documents allege Mr. Esper introduced Mr. Antone to an El Paso drug smuggler who made the club owner a vital link in an international drug-peddling scheme.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Appeals Court Throws Out Part Of Drug Case Conviction (The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, in Texas, says the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has vacated Rudy Van Williams' conviction on one drug possession count, though he still has a long sentence to serve on another conviction. Williams' attorney, Timmie White, said, "Rudy Williams didn't win. The criminal justice system won." Lawyers often criticize U.S. District Judge John McBryde - known for moving quickly through his "rocket docket" - for limiting the length and scope of questioning in trials. During Williams' trial, McBryde prevented defense attorneys from cross-examining a government witness about inconsistent statements.) Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:53:58 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US TX: Appeals Court Throws Out Part Of Drug Case Conviction Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Forum: http://www.star-telegram.com/comm/forums/ Author: Laura Vozzella APPEALS COURT THROWS OUT PART OF DRUG CASE CONVICTION FORT WORTH -- A Fort Worth federal judge prevented defense lawyers from adequately cross-examining a government witness, according to a federal appeals court that threw out part of a drug conviction this week. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans vacated Rudy Van Williams' conviction on one drug possession count. The court affirmed his conviction on a conspiracy count. Williams, of Fort Worth, was one of 12 people convicted in two related drug-conspiracy trials before U.S. District Judge John McBryde in August 1996. The reversal will not have much effect on Williams, even though Assistant U.S. Attorney St. Clair Theodore said he does not intend to retry him on the possession count. Williams was sentenced to 262 months, about 22 years, for each count, but the sentences were to run concurrently. Williams' attorney, Timmie White, still claimed victory. "Rudy Williams didn't win," he said. "The criminal justice system won." Lawyers often criticize McBryde -- known for moving quickly through his "rocket docket" -- for limiting the length and scope of questioning in trials. His supporters call him appropriately strict and efficient. During Williams' trial, McBryde prevented defense attorneys from cross-examining a government witness about inconsistent statements. Ronnie Bennett, a co-defendant who had accepted a plea bargain, initially told police that he purchased crack cocaine from two other co-defendants, Stacey Wynn and Jesse Jackson Jr. He later said he bought it from Williams. On the stand, Bennett stuck with the second account. Under direct examination by prosecutors, Bennett offered an explanation. "Bennett testified that he originally named Wynn and Jackson because he knew that they were already under investigation for cocaine distribution and he did not want to cast suspicion on Williams," the appeals court opinion states. McBryde did not permit Williams' attorney or other defense lawyers to cross-examine Bennett on the inconsistencies because he had "freely admitted" to them on direct examination, the opinion states. "The practice of introducing impeaching statements on direct examination in order to minimize their effect is a `time-honored trial tactic,' " the opinion states. "However, when the government steals the defense's thunder by presenting a prior inconsistent statement as part of its direct examination of a witness, this does not destroy the defense's right to cross-examination on those statements." Laura Vozzella, (817) 390-7688 Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Official Data Reveal Most New York Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent (A news release from Human Rights Watch says official data prepared by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Correctional Services in response to a request from Human Rights Watch reveal that few convicted drug offenders are dangerous criminals and confirm the need for reform of New York's drug laws. Nearly 80 percent of the drug offenders who received prison sentences in 1997 had never been convicted of a violent felony, and almost half had never even been arrested for a violent crime. One in four drug offenders in prison was convicted of simple possession, primarily of minute quantities. "Not only do they waste public resources, but they also violate basic notions of justice by putting minor nonviolent offenders behind bars.") Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 18:04:42 +0000 To: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Most New York Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent Sender: email@example.com This report comes from Human Rights Watch. ---- Begin Included Message ---- Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 00:40:35 -0500 Reply-To: "CJUST-L: Criminal Justice Discussion List" (CJUST-L@LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU) Sender: "CJUST-L: Criminal Justice Discussion List" (CJUST-L@LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU) From: "John V. Wilmerding" (jvw@TOGETHER.NET) Subject: HRW Report: Most NY Drug Offenders Not Violent To: CJUST-L@LISTSERV.CUNY.EDU (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: OFFICIAL DATA REVEAL MOST NEW YORK DRUG OFFENDERS ARE NONVIOLENT (New York, January 7, 1999) -- Newly obtained official data confirm the need or reform of New York's drug laws, Human Rights Watch said today. Nearly 80 [percent] of the drug offenders who received prison sentences in 1997 had never been convicted of a violent felony, and almost half had never even been arrested for a violent crime. One in four drug offenders in prison was convicted of simple possession, primarily of minute quantities. These and other figures prepared by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) -- in response to a request from Human Rights Watch -- reveal that few convicted drug offenders are dangerous criminals. "New York's drug laws are among the country's harshest," said Jamie Fellner, associate counsel of Human Rights Watch. "Not only do they waste public resources, but they also violate basic notions of justice by putting minor nonviolent offenders behind bars." Human Rights Watch's research suggests that most drug offenders in the criminal justice system are street-level sellers caught in "buy and bust" operations staged by the police, addicted individuals supporting their habit through low-level positions in the drug trade, "mules" who carried drugs owned by someone else, and drug dealers' girlfriends and wives. Some supporters of New York's drug laws have argued that most drug offenders are violent criminals. The new DCJS data contradict such claims. That data also indicate that many of the drug offenders sentenced to prison are first offenders. One in three had never even been previously arrested for a drug felony, and half had never been convicted of one. According to the DCJS analysis of the prior history of the 10,047 men and women sentenced to prison for drug offenses in 1997: *77.5% had no prior violent felony convictions. *47.6% had no prior arrests for a violent felony. *50.9% had no prior drug felony convictions. *33.3% had no prior drug felony arrests. *Of those who had been previously convicted of a drug felony: *89.0% were convicted of the lowest categories of drug crimes (class C, D, E). *31.8% had no prior felony convictions for any crime. *17.2% had never been arrested for any felony. *Only 9.7% had prior convictions for both drug and violent felonies. Under laws passed a quarter of a century ago during the administration of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, even minor drug offenders face mandatory prison terms. Judges cannot set fair sentences tailored to the conduct and culpability of each defendant and the danger they pose to society. The law permits no distinction between a person who makes a one-time delivery of drugs for a small fee and a major trafficker. And the sentences are extreme: a person convicted of one sale of two ounces of cocaine receives the same prison term as a murderer or rapist -- at least fifteen years to life. Many addicts who could be helped with drug treatment are warehoused instead in prison - usually upstate and far from their families and communities. Thousands of drug offenders have ended up in prison as a result of these laws. Few are significant traffickers. According to the Department of Correctional Services, there were 22,407 drug offenders under custody as of September 1, 1998. Twenty-five percent of them were convicted of simple drug possession. Sixty percent were convicted of the three lowest felonies -- Class C, D, or E -- which involve only minute drug amounts. For example, only a one-half gram of cocaine is required for conviction of Class D felony possession -- and 1,242 people are in prison for that offense. The DCS analysis also reveals that one in five of the drug offenders under its custody -- 4,450 people -- had no prior felony convictions. Another 7,501 had only one prior conviction. That is, more than half (53.4%) of the drug offenders in prison had one or no prior convictions. Because of the severe and rigid sentencing scheme mandated by the drug laws, low-level drug offenders face years in prison. According to the DCS analysis of the sentences of the total population of drug offenders under its custody, the average maximum sentence for first felony offenders convicted of a Class B felony is 87.6 months, 68.1 months for a Class C felony, 56.5 months for a Class D felony, and 42.4 months for a Class E felony. Even if an offender does not serve the maximum period behind bars, his or her liberty remains conditional until the maximum period is completed. Human Rights Watch recognizes stiff prison sentences can be appropriate for addressing violent crime and protecting communities. But such sentences are misguided and destructive when it comes to nonviolent drug offenders. Indeed, as documented in "Cruel and Usual: Disproportionate Sentences for New York Drug Offenders," a Human Rights Watch report released last year, New York's drug laws all too frequently violate fundamental principles of justice by yielding disproportionately harsh sentences. Copies of the data produced by DCJS and DCS are available from Human Rights Watch by calling 212-216-1808. "Cruel and Usual" can be obtained from the website at http://www.hrw.org/hrw/summaries/s.us973.html or by calling 212-290-4700. *** To subscribe to the CERJ E-Mail distribution list, simply send an E-mail message to email@example.com. Please include your name and your state, province, or country of residence. Thank you! *** John Wilmerding, Gen'l Secretary E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.cerj.org CERJ International Secretariat ICQ Number: 18723495 *** Campaign for Equity-Restorative Justice 217 High Street Brattleboro, VT 05301-3018 USA Telephone & FAX  254-2826 *** Work together to reinvent justice using methods that are fair; which conserve, restore and even create harmony, equity and good will in society *** We are the prisoners of the prisoners we have taken - J. Clegg
------------------------------------------------------------------- Human Rights Watch Slams NY Drug Laws (The UPI version) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 08:21:02 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Human Rights Watch Slams NY Drug Laws Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH SLAMS NY DRUG LAWS NEW YORK, - Human Rights Watch says newly obtained state figures show nearly 80 percent of drug offenders who received prison sentences in 1997 have never been convicted of a violent felony, and one in four was convicted of simple possession. The international human rights group says the figures suggest most drug offenders are street-level sellers, addicts supporting their habit through low-level positions in the drug trade, mules who carry drugs for someone else, and dealers' girlfriends and wives. The group says the data they requested from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Correctional Services also shows half of the imprisoned drug offenders had never been convicted of a drug felony. The group calls the stiff sentences for minor drug offenders mandated by the drug laws passed under the administration of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller a quarter of a century ago ``misguided and destructive when it comes to nonviolent drug offenders.'' The group also calls the sentences unduly harsh. As an example, the group says over 1,200 people are in prison for class D felony possession, which requires only a half-gram or roughly $50 worth of cocaine for conviction.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Baltimore's Push on Crime Creates Backlog of Cases (The New York Times says aggressive efforts by prohibition agents in Baltimore, Maryland, have created such a backlog of cases that a circuit judge has dismissed first-degree murder charges against four men who had been awaiting trial for almost three years. Michael N. Gambrill, the District Public Defender for Baltimore, said - and Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan, chief judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore, agreed - that much of the backlog had evolved from aggressive efforts by the police to reduce the level of illegal drug activities, particularly when the police make sweeps, arresting dozens of people at one time and charging all of them with felony-level crimes, when the offenses by some might only be less serious misdemeanors. Unlike in some other jurisdictions where prosecutors determine the charges, in Baltimore the police do.) Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 08:28:03 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Baltimore's Push on Crime Creates Backlog of Cases Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Explorer Pubdate: Thur, Jan 7 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Author: Michael Janofsky BALTIMORE'S PUSH ON CRIME CREATES BACKLOG OF CASES BALTIMORE - More aggressive efforts by the Baltimore police to reduce the rate of homicides and other serious crime in the city has created such a backlog of cases that a circuit judge has dismissed first-degree murder charges against four men who had been awaiting trial for almost three years. The Deputy State's Attorney for the city, Haven H. Kodeck, said today that his office intended to appeal the decision, by Judge Roger W. Brown. But Kodeck also said Judge Brown's ruling reflects "an overburdened court system" and an unintended consequence of recent efforts by Baltimore's Police Commissioner, Thomas C. Frazier, to drive down crime rates as the city tried to polish its image to attract new residents and economic development. Kodeck applauded the police work but conceded: "There's not a whole lot we can do, and when the system fails, it's regrettable. We feel that that judge's decision was wrong." Judge Brown's ruling, issued on Tuesday, followed a decision last month by a Maryland appeals court to overturn a sex-charge conviction against a man whose trial had been postponed nine times over 13 months because no judge was available on the next scheduled day for the trial to begin. In general, a felony trial is supposed to begin six months after arraignment, the court appearance in which charges are filed. But as the Baltimore police grapple with about 300 homicide cases a year, as many as 1,500 nonfatal shootings and thousands of cases in which people are arrested for involvement with illegal drugs, the demand for judges, prosecutors and public defenders has grown to an overwhelming level. The case on which Judge Brown ruled involved four men -- Jay Anderson, 30; William Harrison, 21; Donte Spivey, 22, and Stacey Wilson, 29 -- who were accused of shooting to death Shawn L. Suggs in October 1995, when he was 21. The four men spent several months in jail and then were released on bail. While free, Spivey was arrested for another killing and was held, pending trial. But Judge Brown dropped charges against them in the Suggs case after the trial date was postponed 12 times because of the unavailability of a judge, a prosecutor or a defender. Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan, chief judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore, said in an interview that the current backlog of felony cases exceeded 5,000, "and it is not inconceivable that some of them go back more than a year." Contributing to the backlog, Judge Kaplan said, is the availability of only 11 courtrooms and a limited number of prosecutors and public defenders, who are vastly overmatched by the number of cases. Kodeck said his entire office comprised 170 lawyers, only 18 of whom were assigned to violent crimes, each of them carrying as many as 18 homicide cases. Michael N. Gambrill, the District Public Defender for Baltimore, said his office had only 109 lawyers, with 31 of them assigned to felony trials. Their average case load, Gambrill said, is 67 open cases, and some of the defenders are handling more than 100 open cases. "We have to cover district courts, circuit courts and central booking," he said. "The need is tremendous." Judge Kaplan said he tried to ease the pressure last May by adding two courtrooms for felony cases, only for them to go unused because the public defender's office, which is financed by the state, did not have the personnel to take advantage of them. "There's a shortage on both sides," Judge Kaplan said. "It's more critical on the public defender side, but it's certainly a serious situation. It's like trying to put 10 gallons in a 2-gallon jar." Gambrill said -- and Judge Kaplan agreed -- that much of the backlog had evolved from aggressive efforts by the police to reduce the level of illegal drug activities. But problems arise, they said, when the police make sweeps, arresting dozens of people at one time and charging all of them with felony-level crimes, when the offenses by some might only be less serious misdemeanors. Unlike in some other jurisdictions where prosecutors determine the charges, in Baltimore the police do. Those kinds of arrests, Gambrill said, "are clogging up the court." "If one addict is passing a capsule to another addict, the police charge both with distribution, a felony," he said. "Technically, it is distributing, but the question is, do you want to put that case on the circuit court docket? We've got 60,000 drug addicts in the metropolitan area. You can't arrest all those people and not clog the system." Robert Weinhold, a spokesman for the police department, disagreed with Gambrill's assertion, saying, "Officers are charging individuals within the legal framework set forth by state legislators." Weinhold also said the police found it extremely frustrating that an overworked criminal justice system was allowing defendants to go free.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ex-Agent Disappears (According to UPI, Rhode Island law enforcement officials say they think Cesar A. Mareno, a former informant for the now disbanded Attorney General's Narcotics Strike Force, has fled the country rather than face prosecution for causing the arrest of several innocent people on trumped up drug charges.) Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 18:10:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US RI: Wire: Ex-Agent Disappears Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: Wire: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International EX-AGENT DISAPPEARS PROVIDENCE, R.I., (UPI) - Cesar A. Mareno, former informant/agent for the now disbanded R.I. Attorney General's Narcotics Strike Force, has turned up missing. Authorities say they fear he has fled the country rather than face prosecution for causing the arrest of several innocent people on trumped up drug charges. The 39-year-old Middletown, R.I., resident has been under indictment since October after he admitted that he knowingly violated the constitutional rights of at least seven Rhode Island residents by arresting them and falsely testifying in their trials. For several years, Moreno was the strike force's star informant. He was paid for his work and often joined agents on raids, instructing them to arrest certain suspects. Senior FBI resident agent Dan Knight says that his department feels Moreno may have returned to his homeland, Colombia, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study: Hemp Food Products Safe (The Lexington Herald-Leader, in Kentucky, says the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association released the results of a test that showed that meat from animals fed with hemp products and sold at Rick's White Light Diner in Frankfort will not cause consumers to test positive for cannabis metabolites. The hemp growers sponsored a Hemp Banquet in December where six people chowed down on a typical meal of meats, vegetables and beer that was either made or cooked with hemp seed, hemp meal or hemp oil. However, "Just before the meal and after the meal, the participants gave urine samples for a drug test," meaning the food wasn't even digested yet. C'mon you guys. This is even easier to see through than the junk science behind urine testing.)Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 14:10:31 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US KY: Hemp Dinner THC Tests Announced Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Katharine Steele (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?lexingtn Copyright: 1999 Lexington Herald-Leader Author: Monica Richardson, CENTRAL KENTUCKY BUREAU STUDY: HEMP FOOD PRODUCTS SAFE The report found that people who eat food that includes hemp in its production do not test positive for drugs. FRANKFORT -- Rick Paul pointed at a piece of raw steak on a light blue ceramic plate in his Frankfort diner. ``That steak was frozen in May and look at it,'' he said. ``You can eat that and it'll taste like it was cut fresh yesterday.'' More important than an extended shelf-life, said Paul, the beef, cut from hemp-fed cattle, can be eaten without fear of flunking a drug test. This week at Rick's White Light Diner, the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association released the results of a test that showed hemp food products sold at the Bridge Street diner are safe to eat. The results contradicted information Frankfort city employees got in September from their Nashville drug-testing company. Consultants for National Safety Alliance said some hemp items contained small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which could lead to a positive urinalysis for drug-tested workers, although that was held unlikely. The association is pushing for the ability to grow and process hemp in Kentucky instead of purchasing it from Canada or other countries where it is grown legally. It sponsored a Hemp Banquet in December where six people chowed down on a typical meal of meats, vegetables and beer that was either made or cooked with hemp seed, hemp meal or hemp oil. Just before the meal and after the meal, the participants gave urine samples for a drug test. Helen Spencer, owner of Forward Edge Associates, a Lexington drug-testing agency, sent the samples to Premier Analytical Laboratories in Texas. The result: all six were THC-negative. `This study helps us promote the product and hopefully gives people some comfort,'' said Andy Graves, association president. ``We dispelled a myth. We're glad we can gloat.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jury Nullification (A list subscriber says President Clinton is about to be saved in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial by a classic case of jury nullification.) From: Phillizy@aol.com Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 01:44:10 EST To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Jury Nullification Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Classic case of jury nullification is about to save Clinton in the Senate. Laws broken were designed to protect people, not entrap them in a malicious prosecution. And now the zealots are bending laws, if not breaking them, for a conviction ... and vindication. Juries should pass judgment on the law and the defendant, all of a piece, as the people have done in the case of William Jefferson Clinton. Lizy
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp crop in high demand (The Halifax Daily News interviews local farmer Mike Lewis, one of two Nova Scotians licensed to grow hemp. Lewis grew 11 million hemp plants last summer, enough to circle the world. Hemp's remarkable legacy, astonishing versatility, and ability to grow fast and pesticide-free has many farmers and businesspeople working for its legalization. Hemp makes sense, Lewis says, not just for its qualities, but because we can grow, process, and market it right here.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Column: Hemp crop in high demand Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 08:18:20 -0800 Lines: 79 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Halifax Daily News (Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thursday, January 7, 1999 Author: David Swick Hemp crop in high demand Farmers trying to inform the uneducated MIKE LEWIS GREW 11 million hemp plants last summer; they averaged more than four metres high. Placed end to end, his hemp would circle the world. And to think it all started with granddad's magazines. "Five or six years ago, I read an article in an old Popular Mechanics magazine of my grandfather's," Lewis says. "The title of the article was: `Hemp - The Next Billion-Dollar Crop.' "The magazine was from 1937. Later that year, hemp was outlawed." Hemp looks like, but is not, marijuana. Its popular cousin is loaded with the chemical THC, which makes you high; hemp has only an infinetisimal amount. Yet politicians seized on their similar look to outlaw hemp during the anti-drug crusades of the 1930s. Now, hemp's remarkable legacy, astonishing versatility, and ability to grow fast and pesticide-free has many farmers and businesspeople working for its legalization. "I've lived here all my life," says Lewis, of Billtown, near Wolfville, "and thought a couple of the oldtime farmers might have a problem with it. But I can honestly say I have not had one person say anything negative to me. "Hemp is related to marijuana. So what? Most people laugh about that around here." Lewis, 37, is one of two Nova Scotians licensed to grow hemp; the other is in Pictou County. Between them they grew 10 hectares (25 acres) last summer. Nationally, farmers grew 2,120 hectares. Lewis's company, Annapolis Valley Hemp, has a five-year plan. This year it plans to grow, process, and market 400 hectares. Within five years, that could jump to 8,000 hectares. The company has applied to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Farm Loan Board for financing. Growing hemp in the Annapolis Valley is not a problem. Lewis's crop grew beautifully, despite a summer of heavy rain followed by drought. "We got the crop in late: May 22. Within 60 days it had 21/2 inches of rain, but it grew like you wouldn't believe. Then we had the worst drought in decades. The plant loved it. It's such an adaptable plant, it adapts to anything you give it." Hemp's greatest problem, as stated in The Maritime Industrial Hemp Product Marketing Study, commissioned by the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick departments of agriculture and released in September, is that the infrastructure to extract hemp seed oil and fibre does not yet exist here. Lewis is working on that problem now. Prospective clients include a fibreboard plant in Chester, a cardboard manufacturer in Hantsport, and a pulp mill on the Minas Basin. "We have met with over 200 farmers and government people," he said. "We're trying to involve everybody, and want to encourage the growth of our community, our county, and our province. So far, we're trudging along nicely." Lewis is not a career farmer; he operated an auto-body shop until a bad accident a few years ago. Laid up, he had time to read and think. Then he bumped into his grandfather's Popular Mechanics and dove into research. Hemp makes sense, he says, not just for its qualities, but because we can grow, process, and market it right here. "Too often we grow and ship stuff out," Lewis said. "Then it's processed elsewhere and shipped back to us and someone else makes all the money. Canada is famous for that, and it's especially true here in the Valley."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Canadians dispute 'pot farm' bust (The Toronto Star follows up on yesterday's news about a Canadian horticulturalist growing hemp in Nicaragua being set up by a DEA agent for a bust on marijuana charges. Nicaragua is now in the process of applying for the extradition of the six other Canadians and a Nicaraguan American, Oscar Danilo Blandón, who were also involved in the project.) Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 11:39:26 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: TorStar: Canadians dispute `pot farm' bust Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Thursday, January 7, 1999 Page: A2 Website: http://www.thestar.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Kerry Gillespie, Toronto Star Staff Reporter Canadians dispute `pot farm' bust Nicaraguans made error on charges: Accused Nicaraguan officials are calling it the largest marijuana operation in Central American history. The seven Canadians facing the drug charges say it's nothing more than a huge mistake. Paul Wylie, 45, of Burlington, has been in a Nicaraguan jail for the last two weeks. Grant Sanders, 35, of Burlington and five others in Vancouver are waiting anxiously to find out if they will be extradited to face charges of marijuana cultivation. ``They say we've grown 400 million pounds of marijuana - that's fantasy island,'' said Sanders, who said the 100-hectare government-sanctioned farm was dedicated to growing hemp for its oil and fibres. Hemp Agro, a Burlington-based business, was starting to harvest its crop just before Christmas when the government arrested Wylie, the only one in the country at the time, and burned the crop. After being chased off the road by two motorcycles and a black car that fired at the taxi he was in, he was taken to jail, Wylie told U.S. attorney Don Wirtshafter. He is being held without bail and isn't allowed visitors except for his Nicaraguan wife who is allowed to bring him food, Wirtshafter said. ``He's languishing in jail. I'm really concerned about his state of mind.'' Nicaragua is now in the process of applying for the extradition of the six other Canadians and a Nicaraguan American, Oscar Danilo Blandón, who were also involved in the project, said Carlos Bendaa, spokesperson for the Nicaraguan national police. Bendaa said the Canadians ``tricked'' the agriculture ministry into allowing them to import the hemp seeds. The Canadians maintain that the project had full support and that scores of top-level Nicaraguan police and government officials toured the site. ``It's not as if we were hiding anything,'' said Sanders, president of Hemp Agro. The investors were hoping for $6 million from the sale of hemp oil in return for their $1.5 million investment. Both marijuana and hemp come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa. The marijuana strain of the plant, which produces high THC levels, the active chemical ingredient, has been created by selective breeding. Hemp Agro paid $22,000 for 15 tonnes of hemp seeds from China. The same amount of marijuana-quality seeds would have cost $6.7 billion, said Wirtshafter, who gave expert testimony at Wylie's hearing. ``This is like a nightmare. I haven't told my family yet,'' said Desmond Cobble, also facing charges. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may have encouraged Nicaraguan officials to take action, Wirtshafter said. ``The DEA does not recognize a difference between hemp and marijuana,'' he said. At Wiley's hearing, held Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 the judge was told the plant tested contained 1.6 per cent THC. Levels of THC in marijuana are generally between 6 per cent and 22 per cent, Wirtshafter said. A THC level of 1.6 per cent would be useless as a narcotic, Wirtshafter said. He believes part of the reason the Canadians are facing drug charges is because Blandón financed Contra armies in the '80s by importing cocaine into the U.S. Stanley Ross, Don Malmam, Jamie Dean and Garry Wade, all of Vancouver, are also wanted by Nicaraguan police.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ottawa Asked To Help Cdn. Scientist Jailed In Nicaragua (According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a spokesman for Hemp Agro International said he would meet with Canadian External Affairs officials in Ottawa today to see if they can assist Dr. Paul Wylie, Hemp Agro's research director.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 09:51:34 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: CBC News: Ottawa Asked To Help Cdn. Scientist Jailed In Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DrugSense Pubdate: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 Source: CBC News Copyright: 1999 CBC News OTTAWA ASKED TO HELP CDN. SCIENTIST JAILED IN NICARAGUA TORONTO - A Canadian company facing drug charges in Nicaragua is appealing to the Canadian government for help. Hemp Agro International was operating an industrial hemp farm in Nicaragua with the full approval of state officials. Suddenly, just before Christmas, Nicaraguan police burned the crop and charged the company's seven Canadian partners with growing marijuana. Company spokesman Grant Sanders says he's meeting with External Affairs officials in Ottawa today to see if they can assist company research director, Dr. Paul Wylie. Wylie, who had the misfortune of being the only company director in Nicaragua the day charges were laid, is in a Managua jail facing a possible 20 year sentence. Sanders claims the Nicaraguans turned on the company under pressure from the U.S. drug enforcement agency. However, the media in Nicaragua are challenging the credibility of Sanders and Hemp Agro. Part of Hemp Agro's public relations problem is its choice of a Nicaraguan partner. When it started negotiating with Nicaraguan authorities, Hemp Agro teamed up with Danilo Blandon -- an admitted cocaine dealer. "At the time we met him his status with the government and his relations with the government were very clear -- he was very well liked," Sanders told CBC News. Sanders says Hemp Agro was growing hemp, not marijuana. He hopes to prove that in court.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Nicaragua Holds Canadian On Marijuana Charges (The Reuters version) Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999 14:24:40 -0500 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HEMP AGRO/Nicaragua story UPDATE Friday, 8 Jan 2:30 pm EST Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. NICARAGUA HOLDS CANADIAN ON MARIJUANA CHARGES (Reuters; 01/08/99) MANAGUA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Nicaragua has jailed a Canadian man on charges that he used his commercial hemp business as a front for an illegal marijuana farm, a prosecutor said on Thursday. Paul Thomas Wylie, 45, of Burlington, Ontario, was awaiting trial in Managua on charges of planting 100 hectares of marijuana, said Maria Alicia Duarte, a prosecutor working for Nicaragua's attorney general. Criminal Judge Orieta Benavides also issued warrants for six other Canadian shareholders in the business, Hemp Agro International, who live outside Nicaragua, as well as a Nicaraguan who lives in the United States. The judge may consider seeking extradition of those seven, although the attorney general's office will not seek such an order until establishing more concrete evidence, Duarte said. Hemp Agro International was licensed by the Nicaraguan government to import seeds for industrial hemp, which is used to make products such as rope and textiles and is legal in Canada. But Nicaraguan authorities charge the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plants exceeded legal levels, qualifying it as an illegal substance. Nicaraguan National Police burned the crop at Hemp Agro's farm on Managua's outskirts late last month. The case has generated daily headlines in Nicaragua, as Agriculture Ministry and other government officials were implicated for their role in approving the operation. Benavides found administrative failings but no criminal activity in the government's role in the case. But the judge left open the possibility of naming additional defendants in the future. [Reuters:International-0107.00677] 01/08/99
------------------------------------------------------------------- Castro Accused Of Role In Drug Trafficking (The Guardian, in Britain, elaborates on yesterday's news about the lawsuit filed in France accusing Fidel Castro of international drug trafficking and crimes against humanity.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 20:46:05 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: France/Cuba: Castro Accused Of Role In Drug Trafficking Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Source: Guardian, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ Copyright: Guardian Media Group 1999 Pubdate: 7 Jan 1999 Author: Jon Henley CASTRO ACCUSED OF ROLE IN DRUG TRAFFICKING Two Cuban exiles and a French photographer have lodged formal complaints with a Paris court against the Cuban president, Fidel Castro, accusing him of international drug trafficking and crimes against humanity, their lawyer said yesterday. Serge Lewisch said he had filed the complaints on behalf of Ileana de la Guardia, the daughter of a former Cuban army colonel executed in 1989 in a drug-smuggling scandal; Pierre Golendorf, a French photographer imprisoned in Cuba for three years; and Lazaro Jordana, a Cuban artist who also spent four years in jail. The suit is the latest high-profile human rights case brought against a foreign leader in France, and follows the detention in London in October of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Judges investigating the disappearance of French nationals in Chile have so far issued two international arrest warrants for Gen Pinochet, and are currently studying complaints of torture and murder against the deposed Haitian ruler Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier. Mr Lewisch said Mr Golendorf, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1971 while working on a book on Cuba, and Mr Jordana, who was given 20 years in 1980 for trying to flee the country, had suffered physical and psychological torture. Mr Jordana was detained in a cell two yards square, with no mattress or running water. Campaigns by Amnesty International eventually secured both men's release. Because of the gravity of the accusations, a judge will be required to open an investigation, but French legal experts say Dr Castro is unlikely to be charged with crimes against humanity because his status as head of state guarantees his immunity. In November a Spanish court declined to hear accusations that he was guilty of genocide, terrorism and torture. But the French allegation of drug trafficking could meet with greater success: under French law foreign leaders normally enjoy immunity only for acts directly related to the sovereignty of their state. 'If it can be proven, there is certainly a case,' one legal expert said. 'Drug smuggling is manifestly not part of the job description of a head of state.' De la Guardia was one of four senior Cuban military officers, including the revolutionary hero General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez, executed by firing squad on July 13 1989. They were found guilty of embezzlement and helping Colombia's Medellin drug cartel smuggle 6 tons of cocaine into the United States. The scandal, the biggest since Cuba's revolution in 1959, followed years of steadily mounting evidence from the US intelligence services that Cuba had become a major conduit for cocaine and marijuana, and that the Castro regime was using the illegal revenue to break the US trade embargo and fund its military operation in Angola. President Castro has always vehemently denied that his country is engaged in drug trafficking. But Mr Lewisch said his client, Ms de la Guardia, had strong and previously unheard evidence that the Cuban leader was aware of the drug trafficking all along, that the operation had been officially sanctioned, and that her father and his fellow officers had been sacrificed as scapegoats to international opinion. He said she had not spoken out before because of fears for her father's twin brother, Patricio, who is still in jail in Havana.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Castro Calls for Crackdown on Crime (The Associated Press notes Fidel Castro, like other heads of state who may secretly owe their position to the illegal-drug trade, is pressing the domestic fight in Cuba against such drugs.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 20:12:19 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Cuba: Wire: Castro Calls for Crackdown on Crime Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press. Author: JOHN RICE Associated Press Writer CASTRO CALLS FOR CRACKDOWN ON CRIME HAVANA (AP) Fidel Castro is demanding a crackdown on rising crime in Cuba, calling it a threat to the revolution and urging greater U.S. cooperation in the fight against drugs, terrorism and human trafficking. Crime has "internal political consequences," Castro told an auditorium full of police this week in a long speech celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Revolutionary Police. "On you depends internal order, and if we lose the battle for internal order, then we lose everything," Castro said in the first part of the speech broadcast late Wednesday on state television. The second portion was to be aired Thursday night. Castro said market-oriented economic reforms in Cuba which followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet bloc had encouraged crime by bringing in dollars, tourists and new foreign businesses. He underlined the point by describing the case of two Spanish investors accused of using a business in Cuba to help launder money and ship drugs from Colombia to Europe. Castro demanded tougher sentences and urged judges not to shy away from the death penalty, which was common in the 1960s and 1970s but has been rare in the past decade. Noting that many people convicted of pimping had been let off with fines, Castro said, "there was a need for stronger measures." He said the crime should lead to at least 20 years in prison. For armed robbery of a house he expected "a penalty of at least 20 years and up to 30 if necessary, and even a life sentence if they repeat." The Cuban leader also urged tougher sentences for drug traffickers, saying the increase of that crime "pains me greatly." He noted that 18 foreigners were arrested in November on charges of trying to smuggle cocaine through Cuba to Britain. Castro also said 227 foreigners had been arrested for drug violations since 1995, with 157 sentenced to prison. Castro said Cuba seized 7,745 pounds of cocaine and marijuana between January and November 1998, almost double the levels of previous years. Some drugs have leaked into domestic use, sometimes supplied by Cubans who retrieved and sold errant packages of drugs dropped off the coast by traffickers, Castro said. More than 1,200 Cubans were arrested last year for drug offenses, he said. Once remarkably free of street crime and violence, Cuba has seen a surge in prostitution, robbery and theft. Many residents have installed security bars on their houses. Declining state rations have made it hard for many residents to live on state salaries that average $10 a month. At the same time, new dollar-only stores tempt Cubans with quality food, clothes and electronics that few can afford. Castro complained that the United States had failed to cooperate adequately in fighting terrorism and the trafficking in drugs and people. He said U.S. drug officials had failed to alert Cuba about a ship they had been following that was detained in Cuba and found with cocaine. He also accused the United States of failing to act against anti-Cuban terrorists on American soil. "There is a considerable volume of extremists and crazies in that country," he said. Castro also complained that U.S. courts repeatedly freed air and sea hijackers from Cuba and said the U.S. government encouraged the "grave, repugnant" trafficking in migrants by granting Cubans who reach U.S. shores automatic residence. Castro said Cuba last year frustrated at least 90 foreign-aided attempts to flee the country illegally, involving 660 people. Organizers charged as much as $8,000 per person. But he also criticized what he called "hypocrisy and cynicism" in foreign reports about the crime and prostitution in Cuba, noting that many European publications are filled with advertisements for prostitutes.
------------------------------------------------------------------- French Govt Urged To Re-Think Drugs Policy (Reuters says an inter-ministerial committee has issued a report to the government of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin - excerpted in Le Monde Thursday - urging the adoption of a drug policy "which takes into account all types of addictive behaviour, regardless of the legal status of the product." The paper said around 60,000 deaths were caused each year in France by smoking while around 20,000 people died from diseases linked to alcohol. By comparison, 228 people died from heroin in 1997.) Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 18:24:17 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: France: Wire: French Govt Urged To Re-Think Drugs Policy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 7 Jan 1999 Source: Reuters Website: http://www.lemonde.fr/ Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. FRENCH GOVT URGED TO RE-THINK DRUGS POLICY PARIS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - France should take a more pragmatic approach to fighting drug abuse and take into account the fact that alcohol and tobacco kill far more people than heroin or cocaine, an inter-ministerial committee has told the government. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's office said on Thursday the committee's recommendations, yet to be approved by the cabinet, were based on a policy of "prevention, repression and treatment". Le Monde newspaper, which published extracts from the report on Thursday, said the committee urged the government to adopt a policy "which takes into account all types of addictive behaviour, regardless of the legal status of the product". The paper said around 60,000 deaths were caused each year by smoking while around 20,000 people died from diseases linked to alcohol. By comparison, 228 people died from heroin overdoses in 1997, it said. The paper said the interministerial committee, which has helped draw up anti-drugs programmes for successive governments since 1982, argued in favour of concentrating police action on tackling drug dealers rather than drug takers. Some 70,000 people were arrested in France in 1997 for using illegal drugs such as cannabis and heroin, while around 800 drug users were jailed for this crime. However, an official in Jospin's office said the government was not about to legalise so-called soft drugs such as cannabis. "There is certainly no question of putting two million people in prison, but neither is there any question of legalisation," the official said. An estimated two million people in France smoke cannabis. The committee chairperson, Nicole Maestracci, is due to meet the director of Jospin's office next week to discuss the government's anti-drug programme.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies, Year 5, No. 1 (A summary of European and international drug policy news, from CORA in Italy) Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 14:00:09 +0100 To: email@example.com From: CORA Belgique (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CORAFax #1 (EN) Sender: email@example.com ANTIPROHIBITIONIST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD .... Year 5 #1, Juanuary 7 1999 *** Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies Edited by the CORA - Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination, federated to - TRP-Transnational Radical Party (NGO, consultive status, I) - The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War *** director: Vincenzo Donvito All rights reserved *** http://www.agora.stm.it/coranet mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS FROM THE WORLD *** 000429 05/01/99 E.U. / GERMANY ADDICTION FRANKFURTER 05, 06/12 / SUEDDEUTSCHE Z. 05/12 In 1998 the number of deaths for drug consumption has risen again. In the end of November there already had been 1412, which is 8% more than he same period in 1997. Furthermore: there are great differences in these numbers depending on the region; the first cause of these deaths is from heroin overdose; three quarters of the victims are males; average age of addicts is also rising. *** 000428 05/01/99 E.U. / GB HEALTH / FINANCIAL TIMES Experimentation of therapeutic use of cannabis has started. The cannabis, which was planted last August, on a secret farm somewhere in the south of England, is already being harvested. Two thousand patients have accepted to undergo this experimental treatment, which will last two years. *** 000425 30/12/98 E.U. / SPAIN JURISPRUDENCE EL PAIS 'Jueces para la Democratia' criticize the decision of the Supreme Court that punishes people found in posession of cannabis for private use. In 1997, 49,900 people were fined for drug use, and 90% of those regarded use of cannabis. The average fine is 60,000-70,000 peseta for every gram of hashish. *** 000426 31/12/98 E.U. / SPAIN JURISPRUDENCE EL PAIS The Supreme Court has confirmed the sentence that condemnes seven policemen who were involved in drug trafficking. The crimes they are accused of include: menacing, illegal arms detention, falsification of documents and neglect of official duties. *** 000427 05/01/99 E.U. / FRANCE LEGISLATION LIBERATION The Minister of Health, Mr. Bernard Kouchner, suggests that use of drugs, especially cannabis, should be punished with a simple fine, and not with imprisonment. *** 000423 04/01/99 AMERICA / USA PRODUCERS CORRIERE DELLA SERA / IL MESSAGGERO / LA REPUBBLICA A new kind of drug is starting to spread in the Midwest. It's called 'nazi crack' because it is a mixture of amphetamines that seemes to have originally been used by the Germans during the Second World War to keep their soldiers awake. *** 000424 09/01/99 WAR ON DRUGS THE ECONOMIST The war on drugs seems to be giving no positive results. This point of view can be found in various recently published books that also underline the difficulty there is in adopting alternative solutions to the drug problem. *** 000430 05/01/99 E.U. / GERMANY WAR ON DRUGS FRANKFURTER / SUEDDEUTSCHE Z. From now on drug-detecting police dogs will be used in German airports not only to control luggage, but also passengers. *** 000431 06/01/99 AMERICA / COLOMBIA WAR ON DRUGS HERALD TRIBUNE Members of the guerrilla and of the American Government have met secretely to decide how to put an end to the financing that the Columbian rebels recieve in exchange for protecting drug traffickers. A proposal is to create a demilitarized zone in which the rebels can move freely. *** CLIPPINGS ITALY- The annual esteemed money made by organised crime through drug dealing in numbers: 14.000 billion Lire made by the Camorra; 19.000 billion Lire made by the 'Ndrangheta; 15.550 billion by the Nuova Sacra Corona Unita, for a total of 50.200 billion Lire. ITALY- These are figures published by the Ministry of Interiors regarding drugs during the first months of 1998: 36,04% more heroin, 30,51% more cocaine and 10,26% less light drugs sequestered by the police; 27,74% less deaths for overdose; 2,09% more people arrested for crimes regarding drugs. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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