------------------------------------------------------------------- Making a hash of the law (A mean-spirited staff editorial in the Bend, Oregon, Bulletin, tries to arouse ill will over the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act by publicizing an empty threat by an ill-mannered medical marijuana patient in Newport to sue Abby's Pizza for not letting him smoke cannabis - something the voter-approved initiative clearly does not allow.) From: email@example.com Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 15:52:54 -0800 (PST) Subject: DPFOR: Editorial: Making hash of the law To: firstname.lastname@example.org, DPFOR@drugsense.org Sender: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: The Bulletin (email@example.com) Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: 1-13-99 Section: Editorial Page A-8 Making a hash of the law As a White House lawyer might phrase it, the story of Waldport resident Mike Assenberg, who has threatened to sue Abby's Legendary Pizza in Newport, might lead some rational people to conclude that the liberal use of marijuana has substantial unintended side-effects. On New Year's Eve, Assenberg, who was struck by a baseball bat 14 years ago, asked the manager of Abby's if he could smoke a joint at his table. Saying that his accident has left him in constant pain. Assenberg claimed that he can light up wherever he darned well pleases thanks to Measure 67, the medical-marijuana initiative that passed at the polls in November. The Abby's manager denied his request. Assenberg thereupon flew into a rage and called the local police, claiming that the restaurant has violated his rights under Measure 67 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. When he didn't get any satisfaction from the police, he threatened to sue. He reportedly said he'll seek $1 million, but will settle for $2,000. (As a hobby, he operates a computer bulletin board to locate lost children, and he says the two grand will buy him some new equiptment.) As it so happens, Measure 67 - which in most respects is terribly vaque and difficult to enforce - has something very specific to say about smoking medical marijuana in public: You can't do it. Some laws, apparently, get the supporters they deserve.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The drug war is a war on people (A letter to the editor of the Lynnwood Enterprise, in Lynnwood, Washington, from a member of the Washington Hemp Education Network responds to the yuletide bust and jailing in Tacoma of a blind man with AIDS and his caregiver mother for three cannabis plants. The prosecutor's office has reportedly decided to drop charges, but what about the family's dignity? Does society really desire protection from the helplessly ill?) Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 21:35:30 -0800 (PST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Darral Good) To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: PRINTED:The Drug war is a war on people Cc: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com printed in the Lynnwood Enterprise P.O. box 977 Lynnwood wa 98046-0977 e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org 01/13/1999 How can the Tacoma police justify the arrest and jailing of a blind man who lives with AIDS along with his caregiver mother for three cannabis plants? What segment of society were the police "serving" by this unfeeling yuletime bust? Does society really desire protection from the helplessly ill? What if the stress of this bust adversly affects his health? I understand that the prosecutor's office has wisely decided to drop the charges against them both. I applaud that, but what about the family's dignity? Who will restore that? What about the invasion of their privacy and the public airing of their medical conditions and arrest records? Doctors who know about cannabis as medication would probably reccomend this herb to treat many more people but, cases like this makes them fearful that law enforcement will soon be arresting and jailing them. I thank the voters of Washington state for having the courage and compassion to allow the use of this valuable herb as medicine and remind the law enforcement community that the drug war is truly a war on people. When prohibition was recognized by the people as an exercise in futility, they banded together and fought for the repeal of the Volstead act. One of the groups that was intregal to passing of the 21st ammendment was known as the W.O.N.P.R. - "Women Of National Prohibition Reform" and they had a large amount of members from our state. They were ordinary people who realized that fighting a war on "demon rum" wasn't worth the orginized crime that it created. During prohibtion the medical use of marijuana was allowed. Al Capone was once quoted in a newspaper article as saying: "prohibition has brought nothing but trouble". But then again it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out! We need good people like the WONPR today to help reform marijuana laws. That is why I encourage people to visit our website and compare legal and illegal drugs: http://www.olywa.net/when WHEN is a community of volunteer hemp activists providing verifiable information on cannabis. We counteract disinformation and work to change cannabis laws that harm all Americans and the environment. Darral Good, member of the board of directors: WASHINGTON HEMP EDUCATION NETWORK
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis Club Exerts Legal Rights (The Oakland Tribune says the city of Oakland, California, filed a legal brief Monday in support of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, which is appealing an Oct. 19 order by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to close the club down. The city is banking on the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution in an amicus curiae brief in the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the Constitution doesn't allow federal law to automatically trump states' rights.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 16:19:13 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Cannabis Club Exerts Legal Rights Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 Source: Oakland Tribune (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/ Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers Author: Kathleen Kirkwood CANNABIS CLUB EXERTS LEGAL RIGHTS OAKLAND -- The U.S. Constitution doesn't allow federal law to automatically trump states rights, the city argues in a legal brief filed Monday in support of the embattled Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative. In its latest efforts to bolster the 2,000-member club, the city is banking on the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution in an amicus curiae brief in the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief was written pro bono for the city by Linda LeCraw and former general counsel to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration Peter Barton Hutt, both of the Washington, D.C., firm Covington and Burling. "It's an extremely important case," said Hutt, who helped write the Controlled Substances Act of 1974. The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit last January to close the club, maintaining marijuana is an illegal substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The club is appealing an Oct. 19 order in the case, by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, to close the club down. The city's brief maintains federal laws regarding medical cannabis are "legislated truths," unsupported by logic, comparable to laws that persecuted African Americans, declared women unfit to vote and incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. Hutt argues that California voters, by approving Proposition 215, the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, "have deemed the medical use of cannabis to be a fundamental liberty interest." Under the 9th Amendment, the burden is on the federal government to show the necessity of infringing that right, the city's brief argues. And under the 10th Amendment, the federal government may not interfere with a power "reserved to the states ... or to people." The 9th Amendment covers rights retained by the people. The 10th Amendment refers to powers retained by the states and the people. Given the passage last year in five other states of medical marijuana laws, the federal government -- particularly the 9th Circuit -- must take a closer look at the issue, Hutt maintains. The Oakland club's court fight isn't likely to change the Clinton administration's stand on medical marijuana overnight, said Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, which spearheaded the initiatives in other states last year. "But it's a fight worth fighting, if at least we can get the feds on the record," Fratello said. Since the closure order, the Oakland cannabis club was allowed to reopen by the court on the condition it not distribute medical marijuana. The club is holding classes on growing marijuana -- with none on the premises -- and selling a variety of hemp products, including clothing, and paraphernalia to help pay $300,000 in legal bills. "It's been a stressful two years," said Jeff Jones, director of the club. "There's a lot of fear out there." Stacie Traylor, a club member with chronic pancreatitis, said the shutdown is starting to take its toll. "I have some friends who can get it for me, but it's a gamble," she said. Traylor, 24, uses marijuana to keep nausea at bay, and to keep food down. Her weight dips dangerously low if she doesn't. If club members are too frail to grow it for themselves, or don't know someone who does, they run the risk of buying marijuana laced with crack or some other harmful substance, Traylor said. Councilmember Nate Miley (Eastmont-Seminary) said the city may be aided by having a new state attorney general, Bill Lockyer, and governor, Gray Davis, who appear to be more sympathetic than their predecessors, Dan Lungren and Pete Wilson. "Someday in the future, society will recognize that cannabis can be used in controlled settings for medical uses," said Miley, who chairs the council's public safety committee. Councilmember John Russo (Grand Lake-Chinatown) agreed, and called the case a "classic federalism argument." People will say, "There goes California and Jerry Brown's city," Russo said. "We're trapped in the cultural wars of 30 years ago," said Russo. "This is about people getting medicine. Plants are not de facto morally bad or good." Brown declined comment, on the basis that the suit was pending litigation, said his press secretary Stacey Wells.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lockyer On Medical Pot (A letter to the editor of the San Francisco Examiner says bravo for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's commitment to enforce Proposition 215.) Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 04:22:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Lockyer On Medical Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Wed, Jan 13, 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Page: A 18 Author: Tom Hawkins Jr. LOCKYER ON MEDICAL POT Bravo for Attorney General Bill Lockyer's commitment to enforce California's Proposition 215, and hats off to you folks for a very good article on the matter ("Lockyer to back medical marijuana," Dec. 29). Former Attorney General Dan Lungren was far too heavy into "reefer madness" and I am glad to have Lockyer replace him. Maybe now the will of the voters will be done. Tom Hawkins Jr. Fresno
------------------------------------------------------------------- KGB-Ing America (An op-ed in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, in Boonville, California, by Tony Serra, a San Francisco criminal defense attorney, says that when he started to practice law in the late 1960s, he confronted a phenomenon that he hoped would diminish, but which has instead increased steadfastly - the KGB-ing of America. In every criminal case in our alleged system of justice, some type of informant or spy mentality is now present.) Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 18:03:36 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: KGB-Ing America Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk:- Hopwood Pubdate: January 13, 1999 Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA) Copyright: Anderson Valley Advertiser Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Tony Serra KGB-ING AMERICA The late 60s, when I started practice, were marked by a great number of salient political causes, embodied in demonstrations in Berkeley and San Francisco. I came to represent the White Panthers, the Black Panthers. the Symbionese Liberation Army, and a number of other groups like the New Liberation Front. I confronted a phenomenon then, which we hoped would diminish, but which has instead increased steadfastly. I'll call that phenomenon "The Secret Police Motif: Orwellian Prophesy Fulfilled" or "The KGB-ing of America." Informants In every criminal case in our alleged system of justice, some form of spy mentality is now present. There are degrees of informants. We probably have more nomenclature for informants than does any other culture. We have citizen informants, confidential informants, confidential reliable informants, unnamed anonymous informants, informants who are precipient informants who are participatory, informants who are merely eye-witnesses, informants who are co-defendants, informants who precipitate charges by reverse stings. We are con-fronting informants and cooperating witnesses at every level: preliminary hearings, grand juries, and state and federal jury trials. Our system of justice is permeated by the witness or the provocateur who is paid by government for a role in either revealing or instigating crime. It's probably the greatest tragedy of my career, in terms of whether or not justice is really pursued and whether truth is a foundation for actualizing justice. I reason: if the defense went out and bought witnesses - paid $10,000 for one witness, $20,000 for another, and $50,000 for another for their testimony - it would be laughable from the jury's point of view. They would soundly reject that type of witness; they would be called obstruction of justice defendants and the lawyers would he prosecuted. Obviously, you can't do that. On the other hand, in every major case the informant or cooperating witness gets something far more precious than money; they get liberty. They get 20 years or 10 years knocked off their sentences. They get to settle in a new lifestyle with a new identity and obtain a job or relocating in the federal or state witness protection program. The government is paying their witnesses with freedom. The witnesses have to deliver what the government wants or they don't get that bargain. As a consequence the courts are rife with false testimony; every cause is polluted by informants. The adversary system is tainted because everyone rolls or becomes a government witness and therefore there is no opposition. Constitutional rights aren't litigated because cases are determined by how much evidence an informant or corroborating witness can give you. At every level, the independent judiciary is eroding. It's something we confront every day. People in the American sub-culture experience paranoia because they never know who is a spy or an informant. There's paranoia in he court system because you never know whether your co-defendant is recording you. There's paranoia among the lawyers because you never know if your own defendant is rolling behind your back and recording you. In my opinion, the singularly unexpected and singularly and singularly aspect of our system of criminal jurisprudence is the use of the informant. Grand Juries Back in the 60's the government used grand juries to some small degree. Today, every Federal case - 99.9% of all Federal cases - involves indictment by grand jury. That means no preliminary hearing, no confrontation, and no lawyer present on the behalf of the accused. The accused isn't there and doesn't see, hear or confront, or cross-examine his or her accusers. The grand jury system by its nature is secretive; it is considered a felony to reveal anything that occurred or what your testimony was. We have a kind of misplaced historical procedure. We inherited the grand jury from English Common Law, where they used it to go after the lords and persons who were otherwise above the law. In a sense it was needed and justified then. But in our country, it is used now as an instrument of terror. Everyone fears it. You have relatives testifying against one another. With no confidentiality privilege with respect to family members other than husbands and wives, you have parents called to testify against their children. Children are called to testify against their parents, and brother against sister, and so on. It lacks all due process. It is immoral. It is an instrument of oppression. It's another secret tool of an expanding executive branch. Mandatory Sentences "Three Strikes" types of penal laws are prevalent both in federal and state jurisdictions. Beyond that, in most federal cases, at least in drug cases, but spilling over into other arenas, the sentence is really set by the legislative process and by the executive-that is, the law enforcement agencies. They mandate what sentence is going to occur by how they file charges. The judiciary lacks power or discretion to vary much, if at all, from the mandatory sentencing and its attendant guidelines. You have a fatal shrinking of the balance of powers. We're all taught that our constitutional form of government works because of its tripartite system: executive, legislative, judicial. When mandatory sentencing occurs, the legislative, actualized by the executive, has swallowed up the judiciary. We do not have an independent judiciary. We have a rubber-stamp judiciary. We never anticipated in the 60s that one-third of the adult black population in the United States of America would he either in custody or on probation or parole. We have eliminated a whole generation of blacks by incarcerating the youth; the ugly head of racism appears both as built in ~ implied conditions in the law itself - and in how people are charged. So you have a revisitation of something that we thought was eliminated in the 60s: weakening of the judiciary as an independent body. and the recurrence of racism wedded to mandatory sentences that lock people away for inordinate periods of time. We all know the platitude that our country presently has more people in jails or prisons than any other country in the history of the world. That was unpredictable in the 60s. We thought things were getting better. We thought that more freedom was going to occur, more understanding. more compassion, more brotherhood and sisterhood, more actualization of constitutional rights, aq more equal division of resources. Those motifs of the 60s have been sadly aborted. What we have instead is approaching a police state that is investigated by undercover officers and informants, with judges' hands tied and prosecutors obtaining prison sentences that we could never have conceived. No Bail The notion of bail is vastly eroding. We have a concept now built into the law called "preventive detention," a euphemism that probably only totalitarian states could create. But what that means is that in most major cases, there's a presumption against bail. They don't have to give you bail. We're taught as children that in anything other than a capital offense, reasonable bail must be afforded. A presumption of innocence underlies our system of criminal jurisprudance; we have a strong history of not holding people in custody until their guilt or innocence has been determined. That's not true anymore. Right now, the custodial status in preconvicted sentences - people who have not yet been sentenced - is astronomical and the jails are filled not only with convicted people, but with unconvicted people. We think that there are laws that establish rights to a speedy trial in both federal and state cases, people languish in custody one or two years awaiting trial. It's what I'll call another plot, an agony visited upon criminal justice. In the 60s, we were naive, we were optimistic, and we believed that reform and new and enlightened ideas would ventilate through the judicial system. Instead, in most areas, the system has clamped down. Some of us are crying out. The legal profession cries out like the miner's canary. We're saying, "The government is too strong. Beware!" '"The jury system is being poisoned by propaganda. They're not fair and impartial any more. Beware!" "Racism is creeping back into our system of justice. Beware!" We hope that if we at least keep an eye on the situation and report it in a dramatic fashion, then another generation may do what we thought we were doing in the 60s, and swing the pendulum back. Because if the pendulum doesn't swing-judicially and courtwise - we are approaching a totalitarian state never before experienced in this country. Tony Serra, the author, is a well known North California defense attorney.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Urgent Alert: Oklahoma Gov. Deciding Foster Parole, Calls and Letters Needed (The Drug Reform Coordination Network asks you to write a letter seeking mercy for the medical marijuana patient originally sentenced to 93 years in prison for growing his own medicine.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 02:42:40 -0500 To: email@example.com From: DRCNet (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: URGENT ALERT: Oklahoma Gov. Deciding Foster Parole, Calls and Letters Needed Sender: email@example.com (To sign off this list, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:email@example.com for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) *** URGENT ALERT: OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR DECIDING ON WILL FOSTER PAROLE -- LETTERS AND PHONE CALLS NEEDED NOW *** Date: January 13, 1998 To: DRCNet Members and Other Advocates of Compassionate Drug Policy Reform From: David Borden, Executive Director, DRCNet Re: Governor Deciding on Will Foster Parole Any Day Now, Letters and Phone Calls Urgently Needed Last September, when we asked our readers to call and write Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, asking him to approve the Will Foster's parole order, recommended unanimously by the Oklahoma parole board. Hundreds of you responded to our call for action, and the governor's office received so many calls they set up a special voice mailbox just for calls about Will Foster. Foster's parole order was sent to the governor's desk late last month, which means that the governor can make a decision at any time, and in fact is obligated to make a decision within 30 days of receiving the paperwork -- which means very, very soon. If you've called or written on behalf of Will Foster's parole before, or if you haven't acted before, please call, fax or write Governor Keating ASAP to urge him to sign the order and free Will Foster. Contact information is included below. Some of you have reported to us receiving responses from the governor's office, in some cases making points that could be taken to indicate that the governor could be leaning against approving the parole board's unanimous recommendation and granting Will Foster parole. The governor's staff may have been relying on misinformation or misinterpretations, however. We have posted letters on our web site from several personnel, to Governor Keating, in the correctional facility where Foster is incarcerated, expressing their support of his parole. Please read their letters, as well as the letter from the governor's office, and other background information, and a letter from Foster himself, at http://www.drcnet.org/foster/. The governor's letter states that one of the criteria is the recommendations of "caseworkers and investigators who have dealt with the inmate's case during incarceration. Five such people have written letters on Foster's behalf, which are posted on our site. They are uniform in their assessment that Will Foster has been a model prisoner and that he and his family deserve a second chance. The governor's letter says that another criterion is "completion of appropriate rehabilitation programs," and that "Mr. Foster has apparently made no effort to confront his drug addiction during his incarceration." Our site links to a scanned copy of Will Foster's "Substance Abuse Award" for having completed an 18 week course in substance abuse education. In fact, according to one of the posted letters, Foster actually helped to update the course materials while in prison. The governor's letter says that Foster's case involved "cultivation of a large amount of marijuana intended for distribution, far beyond what would be expected for so- called 'medicinal' uses." In fact, many of Foster's plants were not of the type that are useable, and the total plant output was within the quantity shipped every month to the eight legal medical marijuana patients by the federal government, under a program started by the Reagan administration! The governor's letter claims that Foster has "made public statements concerning continued drug use in prison." They are referring to the Dateline report. However, Foster only actually reported that there was marijuana use in the prison (as in most prisons), not that he had used marijuana himself. According to one of the managers whose letter we have posted, Foster has passed every drug test while in prison. According to Keating's letter, "the prosecuting attorney has already recommended that the parole be denied." But this is the same prosecutor who at the sentencing told the jury to "pick any number and add two or three zeroes to it." Clearly this prosecutor has a very heavy bias against Foster and does not have an objective viewpoint for purposes of evaluating the parole board's recommendation. An Oklahoma appeals court judge found that Foster's original 93-year sentence "shocked the conscience," and reduced the term to 20 years -- the prosecutor was opposed to that too. Keating's letter also contains the rather strange statements that Foster has discussed his plans to "resist anti-drug laws if he is released," and "While a number of people who contacted this office have urged Mr. Foster's immediate release and/or the legalization of marijuana and other drugs, many others who wrote or called are equally opposed to legalization and his release." It is simply untrue that Will Foster has expressed any intention to "resist anti-drug laws" through anything other than advocating change of government policy -- activity that is wholly irrelevant to any parole decision and that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights -- indeed which is at the heart of American democracy. It is also worrisome that the governor's office brought up the fact that some who wrote are "opposed to legalization." If the governor's decision-making is being colored by the fact that a campaign is being waged on Foster's behalf, that would be inappropriate at best. We don't know whether or not the statements made by Governor's Keating's liaison reflect the governor's views or intentions, or whether they reflect a deliberate attempt to mislead or honest misconceptions about Will Foster. Though it is important that these misinterpretations about Foster's record be brought to the governor's attention, it is equally important that all communications be polite. Please call Governor Keating at (405) 521-2342, send mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (the governor's e-mail bounces sometimes, so it would be best not to rely solely on e-mail), fax to (405) 521-3317, 523-4224 or 522-3492, or write to: Governor Frank Keating State Capitol Building, Room 212 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 The decision could come any day now, so please call or fax if you can. Also important: Please send us copies of your letters, or send us e-mail letting us know that you have corresponded -- mailto:email@example.com and send us the text of your letters, or just a note letting us know that you've called or faxed or mailed a letter or sent an e- mail. This is very important to us because we are now reporting these statistics to our major donors on a monthly basis, and we need to be able to demonstrate our effectiveness in order to be able to keep their support and bring in new supporters. Again, information on the Foster case, including letters from case workers in the prison where he is incarcerated, is available online at http://www.drcnet.org/foster/. And again, make sure your letter or phone call is polite! *** DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, or made by credit card at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html on the web. Donations to DRCNet are not tax-deductible. Tax deductible donations can be made to the DRCNet Foundation, by check only, at the same address. Or sign up with eyegive at http://www.igive.com/html/ssi.cfm?CID=1060 to raise money online for DRCNet for free! *** DRCNet *** GATEWAY TO REFORM PAGE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org/ DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org/ JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- A.C. family stands to lose home under forfeiture law (The Atlantic City Press describes the federal government's plan to forfeit a family's home in Atlantic City - dispossessing 10 children - because a marijuana transaction was discussed there. Plus a request from FEAR - Forfeiture Endangers American Rights - asking you to write a protest letter.) Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 13:46:38 -0500 To: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org), email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (A H Clements) From: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Subject: FEAR: action alert - help save family home [Forwarded from the FEAR announcements list (FEARfirstname.lastname@example.org), authored by John Paff (Paff@pobox.com), FEAR secretary.] To: email@example.com From: John Paff (Paff@pobox.com) Subject: FEAR Request - help save family home Following is an article appearing in January 13th's Atlantic City Press, detailing the federal government's plan to forfeit a family's Atlantic City home--and dispossess 10 children--because a drug transaction was discussed there. According to Giovanni LoPresti, an advocate for the family's children, the government is claiming that the house "facilitated" a drug transaction because an 11-pound marijuana purchase was discussed there. The actual transaction, however, took place at another location. LoPresti is in favor of a law that would protect children from homelessness arising out of forfeiture cases. The government also claims title to the house as partial settlement of the parents' "consent" to a $4,000,000 fine/forfeiture. This contention is being appealed, because neither the parents nor their attorney were aware of the forfeiture provision until sentence was imposed. The father, Michael Antonelli, is serving a fifteen-year sentence in federal prison in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and will be eligible for parole in 2008. His wife, Diane, was sentenced to a six-month term served in her home. At present, the U.S. Marshalls are ready to remove the family from the home, but their action is stayed pending a hearing before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on January 29th. Mr. LoPresti requests that letters be written to the federal prosector, pressuring him to cease his attempt to take the family home. Write to: Thomas J. Maroney United States Attorney General Northern District of New York 231 James T. Foley Court House Albany, New York, 12207 and reference U.S. v. Michael Antonelli Anyone interested in learning more about the case, or who would like to offer help beyond letter writing, are encouraged to contact Mr. LoPresti at GLopr93382@aol.com. John Paff, Secretary Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, Inc. *** Wednesday, January 13, 1999 A.C. family stands to lose home under forfeiture law Michael Antonelli is in prison in Cumberland County, guilty of conspiracy in a New York State drug-distribution ring. Diane Antonelli served six months of house arrest and is still on probation. By BRIAN HICKEY Staff Writer ATLANTIC CITY -- Being under house arrest wasn't the easiest way to live, but Diane Antonelli made do. That's what happens when you're a convicted drug offender. Talking to her husband through glass at a prison-visitation room isn't the way she envisioned spending her days, but the 40-year-old just accepted it as her new reality. But now, faced with the prospect of losing her North Massachusetts Avenue home under the government's property-forfeiture laws, she's frazzled. Sure, she's not the innocent victim of an uncaring system. The family's losing the house because she and her husband, Michael, are both convicted drug offenders. But still, they say, how can the U.S. Marshal's Service just come in and take a house that's been in their family for 20 years? They've unsuccessfully dived through numerous legalistic hoops, mailing countless letters looking for support. But support isn't easy to come by and the only thing that will keep them in the house past this weekend is a last-minute appeal. If that appeal fails, Deputy Marshal Dominick Russo, of the service's Newark office, will tell the family -- there are 10 children and stepchildren, but they don't all live there year round -- to get out of the $140,000 house already owned by the government. "This is not like the Gestapo here," Russo said. "She's trying to hold onto the house and I can understand her position but they were dealing drugs. "Before asset forfeiture, someone who stole $1 million would do five years in jail and have the money when they got out. This takes away the fruits of the crime." Diane Antonelli, however, sees it differently. "I'm going absolutely crazy here," Antonelli said. As she said that, Antonelli was sitting on the same couch where she told a family friend she would try to get the 11 pounds of marijuana he needed four years ago. He was wearing a wire and the authorities were listening. Antonelli's husband, currenlty held at the Fairton Federal Correctional Facility, isn't eligible for parole until 2008. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a New York State drug-distribution ring. Russo said he signed the house away in that plea agreement (Diane said he signed to save her from any jail time) but the Antonelli family is still fighting. Three of the children, a 17-year-old son, a 7-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, still call the Atlantic City house home. "All we want is our home back and not to be another victim of our own government's communist actions," wrote Mia Antonelli, 23, on behalf of the family children, ranging in age from 7 to 27. The national anti-forfeiture lobbying group Forfeiture Endangers Americans' Rights, or FEAR, has also noticed the case. "The government is putting children out on the street and they're doing it out of greed," said Tom Gordon, executive director of FEAR. "And, they'll get a nice chunk of change for their efforts." Forfeiture laws first came about in the 1970s and were strengthened with the war on drugs in 1984. The government has a right to start forfeiture proceedings against a family if they say their home or other property is a benefit of criminal activity. Antonelli said the house was not a fruit of any crime. Officials consider it a deterrent and reasonable punishment for criminals. Others see it as over-the-line and unconstitutional. In criminal cases, law enforcement must prove someone committed a crime. In forfeiture, the property owner has to convince a judge that the property wasn't used in the commission of crimes. On Oct. 30, a chief U.S. District Court judge denied the family's motion to have ownership transferred to the children so the family could keep ownership. But now, they await the outcome of another appeal. Despite the reprieve, beds and furniture have already been shipped out to storage. Saturday, Antonelli and her son sat on the ground watching Winnie the Pooh on a borrowed television. "This is ruining me. Mentally, I'm destroyed," she said of the process. "I'm living in limbo. This is no way to live." Antonelli said the plan now is to move back to Philadelphia and find a place near family and friends because she can't afford a new home. When asked if she's resigned to losing her home, she said, "Yeah, yeah. With everything else I've lost, there's no winning." But just minutes later, she rethinks her position. "I don't know, they just give me nothing but negativity," Antonelli said of the government. "I firmly belong here and that's why I'm standing my ground. There's nothing left, but I'm still sitting here."
------------------------------------------------------------------- PBS Frontline's "Snitch" now online (A bulletin from the Media Awareness Project features the URL for a RealVideo version of the television documentary aired last night by the Public Broadcasting Service.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 13:21:48 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: PBS Frontline's SNITCH now on line Newshawk: DrugSense Source: The Media Awareness Project Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jan 1998 Dear Friends: The SNITCH documentary is now available as realvideo at: http://www.legalize-usa.org/TOCs/video7.htm If net congestion or your modem speed makes watching the video difficult, you may listen to it in the lower bandwidth realaudio at: http://www.legalize-usa.org/TOCs/audio.htm The website for SNITCH is: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/ You may contact the producers at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Frontline Producer: WGBH 125 Western Avenue Boston, MA 02134 You may contact your local PBS station by email by finding the address at: http://www.pbs.org/voice/stations.html There is a discussion forum for the documentary at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/snitch/talk/ Richard Lake Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest email: rlake@MAPinc.org http://www.DrugSense.org/drugnews/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Journal Blasts U.S. Drug Policy (UPI says the lead article in the latest issue of Public Health Reports, the official journal of the U.S. Public Health Service, harshly criticizes U.S. drug policy, and reveals how increased U.S. drug enforcement has fueled overdose deaths and drug-related emergencies. "From a public health point of view, drug prohibition is a disaster," said Dr. Ernest Drucker, a professor of epidemiology and social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and the author of the study. "While our government officials claim success in reducing drug use, drug-related deaths and diseases have increased sharply. That's the best measure of the impact of our drug policies - and they are failing.") Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 20:03:09 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Wire: Journal Blasts U.S. Drug Policy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International JOURNAL BLASTS U.S. DRUG POLICY NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (UPI) - The latest issue of Public Health Reports harshly criticizes U.S. drug policy, arguing that increased U.S. drug enforcement has fueled overdose deaths and drug-related emergencies. In its January/February issue, the official journal of the U.S. Public Health Service, lead article reveals how U.S. policies have led to dramatic increases in drug-related overdose deaths and emergency room visits. ``From a public health point of view, drug prohibition is a disaster,'' said Dr. Ernest Drucker, a professor of epidemiology and social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and author of the study. ``While our government officials claim success in reducing drug use, drug-related deaths and diseases have increased sharply. That's the best measure of the impact of our drug policies - and they are failing, '' Drucker said. Drucker explained that while whites, Hispanics and African Americans use drugs at the same rates, African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for drug-related offenses and to suffer a higher rate of emergencies and overdose deaths. ``Perhaps the publishing of this article signifies a greater willingness by the public health establishment to challenge American drug war strategies,'' said Ethan Nadelmann, founder and director of the Lindesmith Center. The study also showed annual state and federal drug enforcement expenses are estimated at more than $40 billion, compared with less than $8 billion for all treatment, research and prevention in the U.S. from all government and private sources. According to the report from 1978 to 1994, drug-related emergency room visits rose by 60 percent, from 323,100 annually to 518,500, and overdoses increased by 400 percent, from 2500 to 10,000. The report also noted the average purity of street heroin increased dramatically between 1981 and 1996, from 6.7 percent to 41.5 percent and from 1981 to 1996, the average price per gram of cocaine fell by 66 percent.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Marijuana Strain Boosts Drug Trade (According to USA Today, U.S. and Canadian prohibition agents say British Columbian indoor cannabis growers are achieving potency rates of about 25 percent to 30 percent THC. Police say the herb is so potent it is being traded pound-for-pound for cocaine in the United States, and the cocaine obtained by Canadian drug dealers in exchange for the marijuana has begun fueling a fledgling crack cocaine trade north of the border. However, as documented just yesterday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and on page 61 of the January issue of High Times, and by the Flower Therapy medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco before it closed under threat of federal prosecution, it's not unusual for indoor sinsemilla growers in the United States to achieve similar potency levels.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 20:40:39 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: New Marijuana Strain Boosts Drug Trade Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 Source: USA Today (US) Copyright: 1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nfront.htm Author: Gary Fields NEW MARIJUANA STRAIN BOOSTS DRUG TRADE A new grade of marijuana grown in British Columbia is so potent it is being traded pound-for-pound for cocaine in the United States, U.S. and Canadian authorities say. The drug trade is prompting concerns among law enforcement officials who have seen drug seizures and arrests soar. Marijuana smuggling arrests along the border of British Columbia and Washington state have risen from six people in 1995 to 358 in 1998. Seizures of the marijuana, nicknamed ''B.C. Bud,'' have risen from less than 10 pounds to 2,613 pounds during the same period, Customs officials say. Although the statistics are modest when compared with other drug seizures, authorities say they are fearful of the destructive potential the newly invigorated drug trade could have in the Northwest. B.C. Bud is the No. 1 drug being smuggled into the United States from British Columbia. Authorities in British Columbia say cocaine obtained by Canadian drug dealers in exchange for the marijuana has begun fueling a fledgling crack cocaine trade north of the border. ''The real significance of B.C. Bud is this circular pattern it's created with cocaine,'' U.S. Customs Director Raymond Kelly says. Cpl. Brian Hall of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's drug awareness section in British Columbia says the marijuana appeared in the Vancouver area in the mid-1980s. Canadian authorities estimate there are 3,500 to 5,000 indoor growing operations in the Vancouver area alone. They produce an illegal crop worth $600 million a year. The marijuana is grown inside with the use of artificial lights. ''You can control the growing conditions, the nutrients, the lighting and the temperature,'' says Dave Rodriguez, director of a Seattle-based task force of state and federal agencies created by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. ''You can get a much better product.'' The chemical in marijuana that produces the euphoria and sense of relaxation is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Mexican marijuana, which is the most common, has a THC level of about 5% in a plant. The THC level in B.C. Bud is about 25%, and authorities say they have found plants with levels as high as 30%. In addition, the British Columbia-grown marijuana costs about $1,500 a pound in Vancouver and $7,000 a pound in southern California. Mexican marijuana goes for about $600 a pound. Hall says the marijuana growing operations are spreading in Canada. That is causing concern because the border between the United States and Canada is nearly 4,000 miles long and open, unlike the Mexican border.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High on Hemp (The Victoria Times Colonist, in British Columbia, says hemp seed wholesalers are chipping away at mainstream mores about marijuana by using its natural seeds in foods neither the health conscious or health oblivious can ignore. Hemp seed is a highly versatile natural source of protein, fibre, vitamins, and essential fatty acids and amino acids. Gone are the days when hemp seed was peddled by hippies smoking pipes and wearing bad hemp suits, said Viteway's Paul Griffin and Canadian Hemp Corporation's Richard Plotnikoff.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Canada: High on Hemp Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 15:25:08 -0800 Lines: 90 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Victoria Times Colonist (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Jan 13, 1999 Author: Cindy E. Harnett, TC Staff HIGH ON HEMP Plant loses its drug image and proves a popular part of food, clothes and cosmetics. Hemp seed wholesalers are chipping away at mainstream mores around marijuana by using its natural seeds in foods neither the health conscious or health oblivious can ignore. Chips, bagels, cookies, cheese and pie made with hemp seeds were selling well at Lifestyle Market on Douglas Street throughout the Christmas season, said managing partner Carmine Sparanese. All of the hemp-based food products look and taste like the real thing. That's because, according to suppliers and wholesalers, products made form hemp are the real thing - a highly versatile natural source of protein, fibre, vitamins, and essential fatty acids and amino acids. Gone are the days when hemp seed was peddled by hippies smoking pipes and wearing bad hemp suits, said Viteway's Paul Griffin and Canadian Hemp Corporation's Richard Plotnikoff. Hemp products can be found in everything from baked goods to body creams. Sparanese said most of Lifestyle's clientele is educated about health issues and hemp products. The marijuana plant thriving in B.C. fields and basement grow operations contains THC levels, a hallucinogenic ingredient, of 15 to 40 per cent. Hemp is a genetically engineered hybrid of of the marijuana plant which contains no more than 0.3 per cent THC. Engineers devised a way to get rid of THC without losing the plant's high nutritional value. "The biggest question or concern from people is about how hemp is grown, whether it's organic. They take it to the next level all the time," said Sparanese. It's that kind of broad acceptance that will move hemp products from shelves, he predicts. Griffin and Marryianne Chalmers of Viteway Natural Foods went into business together to create Uncle Paul's Whole Foods that sells bagels and hemp-seed corn chips. According to Plotnikoff, the chips are expected to be sold through Thrifty Foods in the next two months. Griffin said the challenge now is to convince the over-40 set that hemp is not a hippie trend. Also, Griffin said those who tasted the porridge-like dishes produced from hemp in the early days, have to re-educate their taste buds. Plotnikoff said hemp seed supporters such as Nell Newman - actor Paul Newman's daughter who works for her father producing his personal line of salad dressings - will help bring hemp products into the mainstream. Plotnikoff is confident that in five years he'll be sitting on a billion-dollar industry. Already he's sold all of his seeds for the year. As more Canadian farmers pick up on the crop's advantages, he said the industry is bound to take off across North America. Because so many clients are looking for hemp seed and hemp seed cake - the residue from hemp seed after it is pressed for oil - Plotnikoff said 27,215 kilograms of the stuff will be shipped to the U.S. in the next two months. Hemp produces 250 per cent more fibre than cotton and 650 per cent more fibre than flax. It takes only 90 days to grow and produces four times more paper than trees. The Canadian Hemp Farmers Association is on target for a hemp seed processing plant to open in Chilliwack in time for this year's harvest. According to Plotnikoff the association has already contracted 10,000 acres in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan to grow hemp. Almost 50 per cent of the crops are organic. Hemp bagels and corn chips in health-food stores are slightly more expensive than no-name brands. A bag of hemp-seed corn chips costs $3.25, a six-pack of bagels rings in at $3.30 and hemp-pot vegetarian pies are $2.25 apiece.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hustler's Hitlist - The other trial? Politicians v Larry Flynt (The Morning Herald, in Sydney, Australia, mischaracterizes the muck raked up against Rep. Bob Barr, the nemesis of Washington, D.C.'s medical marijuana ballot measure, claiming Barr did not perjure himself.) From: "Ken Russell" (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: The other trial? Politicians v Larry Flynt Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 17:14:09 +1100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org In today's Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) HUSTLER'S HITLIST The other trial? Politicians v Larry Flynt Date: 13/01/99 By JENNIFER HEWETT The rumours about what would be in Larry Flynt's exposť of politicians' sex lives are getting wilder by the day. When the publisher of Hustler magazine finally announced his latest target, the result was more remarkable for its absurd triviality. Flynt revealed that Republican Mr Bob Barr - admittedly an abrasive, conservative and moralising critic of President Clinton - had refused to answer legal questions about his relationship with the woman who later became his third wife. This was during a bitter divorce proceeding from his second wife in his home state of Georgia where refusing to answer such questions on legal advice is permitted. Flynt also said Mr Barr had paid for his wife to have an abortion despite describing abortion as "murder" on the floor of the House. In a statement, Mr Barr denied Flynt's allegations and said he was "deeply saddened" by them. The best news about this particular "outing" is that the nonsense may help ease the frenzy about the potent mix of political and private lives. Hustler has already received more mainstream publicity than it has in decades, particularly after last month's abrupt resignation of Mr Bob Livingston, the Republican nominee to become Speaker of the House. This followed the magazine's investigation of Mr Livingston's affairs, the details of which have yet to be published. Flynt, who has declared war on the moral hypocrisy surrounding the impeachment and trial of Mr Clinton, said the latest revelations meant Mr Barr's moral and ethical conduct was inconsistent with his public position. "The people have a right to know when their elected officials do this," he said. Given the intense anti-abortion sentiment in the Republican Party and the sensitivity of the issue in the US, the allegation could be damaging. But the general sense of revulsion at Flynt's tactics may prove stronger still. He first revealed the Barr story on a tabloid cable TV show run by Geraldo Rivera - two hours ahead of his scheduled news conference. However, Flynt said Mr Barr was not the "big fish" he had evidence on. He said he may reveal the names of other lawmakers in his exposť of hypocrisy on Capitol Hill depending on how the impeachment trial turns out. The traditional US media had been agonising about how to cover the Flynt material and whether they were justified in using it. C-Span, which runs just about every political event live and without comment, had announced it would run Flynt's press conference. After viewing the Rivera show, the station management decided the press conference could be too defamatory and unfair. It promptly switched instead to a story on a botanical gardens in Florida. By comparison, this seemed light relief. Mr Barr, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, will be one of the House prosecutors during the Senate trial and was the first to publicly call for Mr Clinton's impeachment. His aggressive style has certainly made him plenty of enemies, including some in his own party. There will be plenty on both sides happy to see him embarrassed. Given the avenging morality of the religious and conservative Right in the Republican Party, there may even be some criticism of his earlier adulterous behaviour. But given Flynt's supposedly exhaustive investigation and his limited findings, it hardly seems Mr Barr has made a reckless habit of adultery. As the congressman angrily pointed out to Flynt in a letter, he did not lie under oath. Flynt published an advertisement in the Washington Post last October promising a reward to anyone who could prove they had affairs with members of Congress or other high-ranking government officials. This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoke And Mirror (A letter to the editor of the Independent, in Britain, notes more people in the Third World die from American tobacco than there are Americans who die from Third World heroin and cocaine.) Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 16:22:16 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: PUB LTE: Smoke And Mirror 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 Pubdate: 13 Jan, 1998 Source: Independent, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd. Author: David Hann SMOKE AND MIRROR Sir: So the tobacco barons are to flood the Third World with cigarettes and kill hundreds of thousands of souls a year (reports, 12 January). Just wait for the whingeing of Western politicians when the Third World reciprocates with cocaine and heroin. David Hann, Liverpool
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Weekly, No. 81 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense leads with a feature article, Anti-drug programs miss mark, by Marsha Rosenbaum. The Weekly News in Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including - Drug war key may lie in past; Clinton to request funding for prison anti-drug program; Pressured FDA seeks more funds; Editorial: changing the guard; Marad calls for added private anti-drug efforts. Articles about Law Enforcement & Prisons include - Treating the cause; 'Win at all costs': the Justice Department responds; Police keep cash intended for education; Court reverses ban on leniency for witnesses. Articles about Drug Use Issues include - Young, rich and strung out; It's madness not to investigate pot's medical use; What's not to like? International News articles include - Australia: heroin deaths soar; Alone and accused in a Nicaraguan prison; 2 dead Mexican police found near Brownsville; British anti-drugs chief attacks 'arrogance' of professional classes; Colombian rebels say they might switch, fight coca. The weekly "Hot Off The 'Net" features Frontline's "Snitch," Ernest Drucker's new article, and DrugPeace. The DrugSense Tips Of The Week focus on the May DPF Conference and the FEAR on-line chat group. The Quote of the Week cites Howard Rheingold telling the digerati to get active. The Fact of the Week - Drug testing a poor indicator.) Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 17:26:49 -0700 To: email@example.com From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org) Subject: DrugSense Weekly January 13, 1999 #081 *** DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly January 13, 1999 #081 A DrugSense publication http://www.drugsense.org/ This Publication May Be Read On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n81.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER *** TABLE OF CONTENTS: * Feature Article Anti-Drug Programs Miss Mark By Marsha Rosenbaum * Weekly News in Review Drug War Policy- Drug War Key May Lie In Past Clinton To Request Funding For Prison Anti-Drug Program Pressured FDA Seeks More Funds Editorial: Changing The Guard Marad Calls For Added Private Anti-Drug Efforts Law Enforcement & Prisons- Treating The Cause 'Win at all Costs': The Justice Department responds Police Keep Cash Intended For Education Court Reverses Ban on Leniency For Witnesses Drug Use Issues- Young, Rich And Strung Out It's Madness Not To Investigate Pot's Medical Use What's Not To Like? International News- Australia: Heroin Deaths Soar Alone And Accused In A Nicaraguan Prison 2 Dead Mexican Police Found Near Brownsville UK: Anti-drugs Chief Attacks 'Arrogance' of Professional Classes Colombian Rebels Say They Might Switch, Fight Coca * Hot Off The 'Net Frontline's "SNITCH" Ernest Drucker Article DrugPeace * DrugSense Tips Of The Week DPF Conference in May FEAR On-line Chat group * Quote of the Week Howard Rheingold * Fact of the Week Drug Testing a poor indicator *** FEATURE ARTICLE Anti-Drug Programs Miss Mark By Marsha Rosenbaum Note: Marsha Rosenbaum is Director, Lindesmith Center West, San Francisco http://www.lindesmith.org/about_tlc/west.html and a director of Family Watch http://www.familywatch.org/ ANTI-DRUG PROGRAMS MISS MARK Efforts To Curb Heroin Supply Fail To Affect Demand THERE WAS ANOTHER heroin overdose in San Francisco last week. This time it was singer Boz Scaggs' 21-year-old son, Oscar. Less than two years ago, Nick Traina, Danielle Steel's 19-year-old son, overdosed on heroin and died. In Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, 11 young people recently died of heroin overdoses. A natural reaction to these alarming reports is a call for increased efforts to curb availability. The problem is, we're already trying this. The federal drug control budget exceeds $17 billion a year. Add to that state and local budgets for fighting drugs and the figure may be five times larger. Two-thirds of this money is spent to try to stop drugs from entering the country and enforcing the drug laws. So far, (perhaps because the black market for drugs generates $64 billion annually), this effort has been a dismal failure. In fact, since President Reagan began escalating the War on Drugs, worldwide production of opium, from which heroin is made, has expanded. The price of heroin has dropped and its purity has increased. We cannot seem to make a dent in the supply, so heroin is still with us. Our efforts to reduce demand have fared no better than our efforts to reduce supply. Today's young adults were in grade school when Nancy Reagan first began telling them to ``just say no.'' Again and again, in the schools and on TV, they have been warned about drugs' dangers. Yet for nearly a decade now, drug use among adolescents has been rising. According to government statistics, less than 1 percent have tried heroin, but experts familiar with drug-use patterns believe its use among young people is increasing. More drug education of the sort existing cannot be expected to reverse these trends. Indeed, study after study shows that current drug education programs have no effect on drug use. Why? They lack credibility. Most programs focus on marijuana, which the programs overly demonize, hoping to frighten young people away from experimentation. Half of American teenagers try marijuana anyway, and once they learn the dire warnings are not true, they begin to mistrust everything about drugs that adults tell them. And why shouldn't they? Why should they listen at all if they can't believe what we tell them? The truth about heroin is that it is much more dangerous than marijuana. Anyone who injects heroin with a used needle risks contracting a deadly infection, such as hepatitis or HIV. Anyone who uses heroin steadily for several weeks will begin developing physical dependence on it and suffer withdrawal symptoms if they stop. People who occasionally use heroin do not become addicted. However, compared to the addict, the occasional heroin user who has not developed tolerance to the drug, is at much greater risk for a fatal overdose. Still, because heroin is unregulated and uncontrolled, even the most experienced user cannot know the potency of a batch of unlabeled white powder. These are the kinds of warnings we should give young people about heroin. But first we have to get them to listen by convincing them they can trust us. They must also trust that they can come to us in an emergency. ``Zero tolerance,'' another method for deterring young people from experimentation, has meant that too many have died because their friends were afraid to call parents or other authorities for help. Terrified of being detected themselves, teenagers in Plano, for example, fled the scene, leaving one boy to choke on his own vomit and die. Like it or not, we cannot seal our borders or completely eliminate demand for drugs. Moral indignation will not change that reality. A more pragmatic approach would be to learn to live with drugs and to focus on reducing drug-related harm. Our first priority ought to be gaining the trust of young people. We ought to offer a scientifically grounded education that allows them to learn all they can about drugs, alcohol and any other substance(s) they ingest. Young people will ultimately make their own decisions about drug use. When they do, they ought to have information from sources they trust to insure their safety. *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW *** Domestic News- Policy COMMENT: The need for increased "drug treatment" has become a shibboleth of prohibitionists of all stripes and colorations. Usually the "patients" they are referring to are victims of our federally created criminal drug market who have become enmeshed in the criminal justice system. The latest such expert is Michael Massing whose "Fix" adroitly rewrites history to make Richard Nixon an unsung colleague of Jaffe, Dole and Nyswander As if on cue from the treatment mafia, President Clinton sweetened the pot for the men in white last week. What the news story doesn't tell you is that in California, the drug testing of parolees has been a device for returning more of them to prison where they get to swell the federal prison subsidy while they kick their habits without treatment. DRUG WAR KEY MAY LIE IN PAST Veteran observer of failing struggle finds Nixon's strategy to treat addicts worked. Journalist Michael Massing has devoted a decade to investigating the U.S. war on drugs. He has talked with peasants in remote coca-growing regions of Colombia. He has combed through dusty boxes of federal archives. He has documented the heroic struggle of treatment workers at a drop-in center in Spanish Harlem. He has watched a heroin addict shoot up in a New York City tenement.
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