------------------------------------------------------------------- Oregon Health Division Rules for Measure 67, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (Dr. Rick Bayer, a chief petitioner for the new law approved by voters in November, notifies advocates for medical marijuana patients of a public meeting of the OMMA Rules Advisory Committee in Salem on Monday, March 8. "This may be your best chance at having an impact on the rules that govern the Registry ID card, maturation of the plants rule, and the application for 'new debilitating conditions' rules to be added. Those are the only three topics that will be discussed at this public OHD rules meeting but they are very important." Plus Dr. Bayer's related letter to Dr. Grant Higginson, the Oregon Health Division official in charge of implementing the OMMA.) From: "Rick Bayer" (email@example.com) To: "Rick Bayer" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: next OHD meeting Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 12:09:23 -0800 Dear OMMA supporters (especially patients and health care providers) I just received a phone call from Kelly Page at the Oregon Health Division (OHD) this morning. The next meeting of the OMMA Rules Advisory Committee will be on Monday morning, March 8th, from 8 am to 11 am in room 120C. It will be in the same building as before (Oregon State Office Building) on 800 NE Oregon Street in Portland. This is a public meeting and I am pretty sure that 120C is the really big meeting room that offers much easier access to those in wheelchairs, motorized carts, etc. because it is on the entry level (first floor) and much bigger (several times the size) than where we met before. Please refer to sections 4, 12, & 14 of the OMMA if you are not following me on the "OHD rules making process". You can link to the OMMA via http://www.teleport.com/~omr. What I am talking about has nothing to do with current legislation pending in Salem or the other sections of the OMMA (affirmative defense, etc.) but has to do ONLY with sections 4, 12, & 14 of the OMMA (the OHD part). This may be your best chance at having an impact on the rules that govern the Registry ID card, maturation of the plants rule, and the application for "new debilitating conditions" rules to be added. Those are the only three topics that will be discussed at this public OHD rules meeting but they are VERY important. The first OHD rules advisory committee meeting was Jan 27 in a very tiny room and the above is the second public meeting. After each meeting the chances of making changes will probably decrease and the final public input will probably be in April so the rules can be finished by May 1, 1999 as the OMMA requires. The last committee format had no patients and hopefully that will change this time. The chair of the OHD committee, Dr. Grant Higginson, was very accommodating to everyone including those not officially on the committee. Therefore, it is important that anyone who wants to have a voice in the OHD rules process show up and speak and/or bring written testimony at this coming meeting. My personal opinion is that I am very concerned that the rules may lack a "patient focus" and be over-influenced by the concerns of the cops. You all know that I believe "The War on Drugs does not belong in the exam room!" Unfortunately, my diagnosis on this OHD rules process so far is "too much cops" and "too little patients". I hope that my concerns are unfounded but if you think this is important, PLEASE SHOW UP!!! Let's get dozens of patients to show up for this meeting and express their concerns. Please read sections 4, 12, & 14 carefully and limit your concerns to the OHD rules process. Please be well prepared and brief. Reading a 3 minute prepared statement about what you think and why you think that way would be very effective. If you want to be effective, your presentation should be informative rather than be some rambling lecture where you get cut off by the chair for taking too much time. You can then submit written documents, including your comments, to the OHD. This will give everyone a chance but will show the OHD (and the cops) that patients are interested in what rules they make. Just to give you some further clues, I am attaching my own letter that I sent to Dr. Higginson. The disclaimer is that this is my *personal* opinion and does not reflect the official views of Oregonians for Medical Rights or Voter Power or NORML or anyone else that I can think of. I currently serve on no Political Action Committee (and don't want to) and am getting paid by no one to do this. My goal is to represent the "clinical point of view" to make the OMMA work for patients, but I need your help and we will be more effective as a team. I also want to congratulate and thank everyone for all the teamwork they have provided to get as far as we have. You are certainly free to disagree with me and think of better ways to get the job done because your input is valuable and this is how we make progress. You are also welcome to write to me and ask why I feel a certain way but please read the law first so we are on the same page. Since, actions speak louder than words, please consider simply showing up and getting your views heard by those that actually will make the OHD rules (which, unfortunately, does not include me). In summary, don't whine and moan and complain - get organized and participate and mold the future. When the people lead, the leaders will follow. As always, thank you for supporting the OMMA. Rick Rick Bayer, MD, FACP 6800 SW Canyon Drive Portland, OR 97225 503-292-1035 (voice) 503-297-0754 (fax) mailto:email@example.com *** Friday, February 12, 1999 Grant Higginson, MD, MPH State Health Officer Office of Administration Oregon Department of Human Resources Health Division 800 NE Oregon Street, #925 Portland, Oregon 97232 Re: OHD Rules for Measure 67 (The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act or OMMA) Dear Dr. Higginson: Thank you very much for your stewardship of the advisory committee for implementing OHD rules concerning the OMMA. I am very pleased that the committee agreed on the need for frugality when spending patient moneys on the Registry ID Card system. There was consensus, even among law enforcement, for being sensitive to the fiscal reality of chronically ill medical patients and the actual need for a patient on the committee. I have spoken to the Co Chief Petitioner for the OMMA, Stormy Ray, and she is willing to participate on the committee as a patient representative. As you know, fiscal concerns and confidentiality of OHD files are my primary concerns. In addition, law enforcement and professional licensing boards should not harass patients and doctors simply because they have differing political views. I am simply going to summarize my concerns that I already expressed at our committee meeting. In the interlude, I have carefully considered ideas, consulted with others, and now wish to share my thoughts with you. There was consensus for a simple and inexpensive card like a Voter Registration Card without the expenses of adding a photo. The OHD can request other identifying info that can be inexpensively relayed to the OHD and can contact patient and doctor for verification. There was consensus that the police should request from the OHD whether each individual patient was or was not in the OHD OMMA confidential Registry ID files. A "yes" or "no" response would be given to the police with appropriate confidential OHD documentation of the event. Some believe it may increase confidentiality for the OHD to have one relay source, for example the Oregon State Police. I believe everyone recognizes that there will not be that many total annual requests because there will not be that many total patients with an even smaller number of growers and an even smaller number that come under suspicion by police. Subsequently, access to the OHD confidential OMMA files during regular OHD hours should work fine and avoid the unnecessary expense of a 24 hotline with OHD employees "on call". The law is clear that the OHD should maintain possession of the OHD files at all times and it should not be shared with law enforcement in any other manner (like bulk lists, etc.) Patients and authors of the OMMA feel that if OHD responds to the police with a "yes" answer that a patient is on the OHD confidential OMMA Registry ID list, then the patient should be notified of this police request with some type of form letter from the OHD to the patient. First class mail from OHD to the patient rather than a phone call is fine. This would help protect patient confidentiality rights and encourage a dialogue between the patient and law enforcement. Patients have enough problems in their life and really would like to avoid interacting with the police so they will be very motivated to cooperate and safeguard their source of their medicine. Finally, there is the question of how to add new "debilitating conditions". It should come as no surprise to you that a clinical internist and most patients strongly believe that medical decisions should be made in the doctor's office and they should be confidential. Section 14 of the OMMA places the OHD in a situation where they must evaluate and possibly second-guess clinical decisions when the OHD reviews a "petition". As you know, we have a precedent in another OHD administered law for a "second medical opinion". Many of us believe it would be appropriate to do something similar for the OMMA "new debilitating conditions list". My idea is to make the patient get a second clinical opinion that "med mj might help" their condition if the condition is not covered in the original OMMA and they want to petition OHD. Make the patient present evidence to their clinical doctors rather than creating additional clinical responsibilities for the OHD. In effect, the clinical doctors would "screen" the "new debilitating conditions" for the OHD. It could create a rule that OHD staff would only review a petition (Section 14) if it contained two signatures from practicing clinicians that "med mj might help". The review on the part of the OHD would be minimal unless something is unusual and a committee can always be created as needed. This mechanism above offers advantages of depoliticizing this medical process and maintaining confidentiality from the media. The level of patient/doctor confidentiality for the petition should equal that of the doctor's office. It also makes the OHD administration far less labor-intensive and delegates the clinical responsibility where it belongs, in the clinical setting. There are already built in safeguards of medical licensing and civil action by patients to control doctor behavior in the clinical setting. Even though the OMMA is clear that the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners (BME) may NOT discipline a doctor ONLY for writing "medical mj might help", the BME is certainly able to remove a doctor's license for providing unsafe medical care. The OMMA did very little to the Medical Practice Act (ORS 677) and there are plenty of safeguards so that the BME can remove the medical license from any medically unsafe practitioner. Thank you very much for allowing me to participate on this committee. I would be very happy to discuss these issues in more detail and I look forward to our next committee meeting. Sincerely, Rick Bayer, MD *** From: LawBerger@aol.com Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 19:36:12 EST To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: DPFOR: Oregon Health Division Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee Meeting Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ The second (and probably final) OHD mmj Advisory comm. meeting will be on March 8th from 8-11am in room 120 C of the State Office Building, located at 800 NE Oregon (South of Lloyd center, North of I 84) Apparently the proposed rules need to be in by March 15 to get published on April 1 to get a public hearing sometime in April to be enacted by May 1. Both the March 8 meeting and the hearing in April are open to the public. Lee Berger Portland
------------------------------------------------------------------- Man enters guilty plea in fatal crash (The Oregonian says James J. Parkins, 27, will spend at least the next three years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to criminally negligent homicide for a drunken-driving crash in Portland that killed a passenger in his car.) The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Man enters guilty plea in fatal crash Friday February 19, 1999 From staff reports A man pleaded guilty Thursday to criminally negligent homicide for a drunken-driving crash that killed a passenger in his car. James J. Parkins, 27, agreed to a prison sentence of six years and three months. However, he is eligible for boot camp after 21/2 years and could be released after the six-month boot camp. Parkins also pleaded guilty to drunken driving and reckless driving. Police said Parkins was driving his 1987 Mazda 323 near the 5300 block of Northeast Columbia Boulevard on Nov. 20 when he lost control, plowed through a fence and struck a tree. The passenger in his car, 22-year-old David M. Pizzarello of Portland, died. Parkins was thrown from the vehicle and seriously injured. He spent four days in Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Parkins had a blood-alcohol level of .27 percent when measured three hours after the accident, said his attorney, Randall Vogt. That is more than three times the limit of .08 percent, which is presumed intoxicated in drunken-driving cases.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two will file complaint against Eugene police (The Oregonian says two women are suing police to make them stop demanding people's Social Security numbers as an "alternative form of identification." The federal Privacy Act states that it is unlawful to deny an individual's rights because of that person's refusal to disclose a Social Security number. But according to Eugene police spokeswoman Jan Powers, "There's no law that prevents us from asking. If a person refuses . . . we have the right to take that person in and ask for anything that confirms that person's identity.") The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Two will file complaint against Eugene police * The women object to police demands to reveal their Social Security numbers, saying it's an invasion of privacy Friday February 19, 1999 By Debra Gwartney Correspondent The Oregonian EUGENE -- Two women who say their privacy was violated when Eugene police demanded their Social Security numbers will file a formal complaint with the city, they announced at a news conference Thursday. Cristel A. Glade, 22, said that in early January she was stopped by a Eugene Rapid Deployment Unit officer for a bicycle infraction. Glade said she gave the officer her driver's license when it was requested. But when he asked for her Social Security number she relented only when she felt threatened and after the officer had called for backup officers, she said. Glade, who was not cited during that incident, said she thought now that under the federal Privacy Act she was not required to give the officer her number at all. That act states that it is unlawful to deny an individual's rights because of that person's refusal to disclose a Social Security number. "I realized then it was necessary to stand up for my rights," she said. Eugene Police Department spokeswoman Jan Powers said police have asked for Social Security numbers as an alternative form of identification for years. With more worldwide acceptance of using the numbers as confirmation on everything from university grades to checking accounts, police departments have begun to rely more heavily on using Social Security numbers to identify people, she said. "There's no law that prevents us from asking," she said. "If a person refuses, but the investigation has an element of crime, we have the right to take that person in and ask for anything that confirms that person's identity." Powers said Social Security numbers help police positively identify suspects and those being questioned, and they also help avoid false arrests. But Polly Nelson, the southern district coordinator of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said she is troubled by the growing trend of relying on Social Security numbers as a form of identification. She said she knows of no particular statute that gives police the right to ask for numbers. "The police need to cite exactly what their authority is for asking," she said. Nelson said the ACLU has long felt uncomfortable about the wide use of Social Security numbers. "They're used so often for what they weren't intended for," she said. "The public has become complacent and doesn't object when they're asked to give over that number." The second woman filing a complaint, 33-year-old Kari Johnson, said she decided to come forward over a late July incident with Eugene police when she recently realized that she had the right not to disclose her Social Security number. Johnson, who was one of about 40 bicycle riders participating in the summer Critical Mass ride, said she was stopped by a police officer, who demanded her number. When she refused, she was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. About 10 minutes later, she said, the officer told her she would be released if she consented to being fingerprinted. After giving a print, Johnson was cited for failure to obtain a parade permit. Do you have news of inland Douglas or inland Lane counties?You can reach Debra Gwartney at 541-342-7797 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- ACLU Is Off Base On City Drug Tests (A staff editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer opposes the American Civil Liberties Union's attempt to block mandatory drug testing of Seattle municipal job applicants. The civil rights group is appealing the ruling last month by King County Superior Court Judge R. Joseph Wesley upholdng the city's revised policy.) Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 05:11:29 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WA: Editorial: ACLU Is Off Base On City Drug Tests Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ Author: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board ACLU IS OFF BASE ON CITY DRUG TESTS Although we often share the moral high ground with the American CivilLiberties Union, we part company on the subject of mandatory drug testing for job applicants in the public sector. We're for it, the ACLU is against it. So far the loyal opposition is batting .500. After filing a lawsuit claiming that universal testing is unconstitutional, the organization persuaded the Seattle City Council to overturn its 18-month-old policy and limit the screening to applicants for sensitive jobs, such as public safety or operating motor vehicles and heavy equipment. In its second turn at bat, the ACLU wasn't as successful. Last month King County Superior Court Judge R. Joseph Wesley upheld the city's revised testing policy. The city "carefully crafted a program significantly tailored to address specific, documented concerns over drug use by potential employees," Wesley said. In other words, the decision to screen applicants for unwanted behaviors that would negatively affect city government wasn't a knee-jerk invasion of privacy by overly suspicious bureaucrats. That's well-grounded. City personnel managers who had supported universal testing reported the nascent policy had cut accidents by 70 percent in the Seattle Conservation Corps and reduced sick-leave time among those with commercial driver's licenses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug-using employees are more than three times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident and five times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim. Neither state nor federal constitutions prohibit Seattle from drug testing because it is within the city's legislative purview, the judge added. In other words, it is within the council's power to respond in a legal manner to a taxpaying public that doesn't want to subsidize additional health care costs, property damage and lost worker productivity associated with illegal behaviors. The ACLU plans to appeal the ruling. We think the organization should declare its work here finished and give it up.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Peter McWilliams Court Date Change (An e-mail from the best-selling author and medical marijuana defendant being killed by the federal government says today's hearing in Los Angeles has been postponed until next Friday, Feb. 26.) From: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFCA: URGENT: MCWILLIAMS COURT DATE CHANGE Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 11:04:20 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ The Court Appearance for Peter McWilliams's request to use medical marijuana while on bail has been moved to Friday, February 26, 1999, at 3:30 P.M. Please circulate this to all people and places who were told of the previous date. The ACLU press conference will still be today at 1:30 P.M. Thank you.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Gets Off; I Head to the Cemetery (An op-ed submitted to the Los Angeles Times by Peter McWilliams, the bestselling author, AIDS/cancer patient, and federal defendant being put to death pretrial by having medical marijuana denied to him, despite Proposition 215, says McWilliams' viral load has skyrocketed to more than 250,000. "Finding no mercy in either the legislative or executive branches, among Republicans or Democrats, I wonder if I will find it among the judiciary. Meanwhile, I have purchased for myself a crypt for my ashes in Westwood Memorial Park, midway between Marilyn Monroe and Oscar Levant. What a place to spend eternity.") From: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: LA Times Op-Ed Pieces Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 23:42:54 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Good news! I hear that Senator John Vasconcello's marvelous piece about me (well, it's really about freedom; I was just his Rosa Parks) will be published (in an expanded form) as an op-ed piece in Wednesday's LA Times. Here is my submission for a Times op-ed piece. Do something you enjoy, right now, for the gipper, huh? Enjoy, Peter McWilliams *** Clinton Gets Off; I Head to the Cemetery When I was diagnosed with both AIDS and cancer on the same day in mid-March 1996 (beware the Ides of March, indeed), I thought I was facing the challenge of my life. I was wrong. In July 1998, I was arrested on federal medical marijuana charges. I face a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, possibly life, and a $4 million fine. After a month in custody, I was released on $250,000 bond, guaranteed by my brother and mother's homes. For more than two years prior to my arrest, I had used medical marijuana, under my doctor's supervision, to successfully quell the nausea caused by the AIDS "combination therapy." Thanks to cutting-edge medical science and one ancient herb, my viral load, a measure of active AIDS virus in the body, was successfully kept at "undetectable" levels. My federal bail restrictions, however, specifically forbid my use of marijuana. Because I cannot keep down my life-saving medication (my physician tried every prescription antinausea medication in his arsenal, to no avail), my viral load has skyrocketed to more than 250,000. This is a staggeringly dangerous number. AIDS doctors become alarmed when the viral load tops 10,000. In my case, by the time my viral load had reached its previous all time high of 12,500 in early 1996, I had already developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the second most common AIDS-related cancer. With viral loads 20 times higher than my previous record, who knows what opportunistic infections are percolating in my body even as I write? I dare not use medical marijuana. I am urine tested, and if marijuana is found in my system my brother and mother, who is 74 and disabled, will lose their homes and I will be kept in federal custody until at least the trial, which is not scheduled to begin until September 7, 1999. But wait, you say, didn't Californians provide for AIDS and cancer patients to receive medical marijuana when they overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215 in 1996? Yes, they did-you did-but the federal government frankly doesn't give a damn. "Federal law supersedes state law," the federal authorities intone with mantra-like repetition. This may be so, but the case law was developed primarily by the feds wearing white hats: restoring the constitutional rights of citizens in the face of mean-spirited state-legislated prejudices. Court-ordered federal troops escorting African American children to school while Alabama's then-governor, George Wallace, blocked the doors, is the prototypical example. In my case, however, the federal government has violently removed a right granted by compassionate California voters-the right of patients, under their doctor's supervision, to treat serious illness with a benign herb. One might expect this sort of vindictive letter-of-the-law treatment from, say, one of the House impeachment managers, who would argue that I broke federal law (I admit to having an "inappropriate relationship," federally speaking, with marijuana), and that the federal government is only doing its "constitutional duty" in making sure the "rule of law" is followed, even in wayward California. Not surprisingly, two of the thirteen House impeachment managers are also the two most virulent anti-medical marijuana members of Congress, Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.). Barr, for example, last year snuck an eleventh-hour amendment into the federal budget prohibiting the counting of votes in Washington, D.C.'s November medical marijuana initiative, a referendum exit polls indicate passed by 69 percent. Yes, one might expect my persecution from dyspeptic Republican members of Congress (Barr could be the poster boy for acid reflux), but keep in mind that I am being prosecuted by the Justice Department, a department directly under Clinton's Democratic authority. Clinton's impeachment trial defense was that, while he may have been technically guilty of violating federal law, he had an excuse, and Americans should be understanding. Americans were, and William Jefferson Clinton was acquitted. I even more forthrightly admit my technical guilt-I did grow, possess, and use (though never sold) marijuana-but I have an excuse, too: I did it to save my life. But, unlike Clinton, I may not live to see my day in court. Federal prosecutors, even after verifying my precarious health condition and my urgent life-and-death need for medical marijuana, have chosen to take a Starr-bright hard-line approach to my medical marijuana use while on bail. Today [if this is published on February 26, otherwise "on February 26"], I ask[ed] [will ask] a federal judge to either modify my bail release conditions, allowing me the medical treatment I used to defy death from March 1996 until July 1998, or to enroll me as a new patient in the 15-year-old federal program that provides 300 marijuana cigarettes a month to eight patients. I await his decision. Finding no mercy in either the legislative or executive branches, among Republicans or Democrats, I wonder if I will find it among the judiciary. Meanwhile, I have purchased for myself a crypt for my ashes in Westwood Memorial Park, midway between Marilyn Monroe and Oscar Levant. What a place to spend eternity. (Peter McWilliams is the author of more than 35 books and owner of the Los Angeles based Prelude Press. Further information on his federal arrest and trial can be found at www.petertrial.com.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Eradication Opponents Eager For Program Review (The Hawaii Tribune Herald says Hawaii County's delay in undertaking a review of its marijuana eradication program has left reform advocates who have long demanded the investigation questioning if it will ever be finished.) Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 05:17:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US HI: Pot Eradication Opponents Eager For Program Review Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Roger Christie firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald (HI) Copyright: Hawaii Tribune Herald. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.hilohawaiitribune.com/ Author: Jason Armstrong POT ERADICATION OPPONENTS EAGER FOR PROGRAM REVIEW Hawaii County's delay in undertaking a critical review of its marijuana eradication program has left those who have long demanded the investigation questioning if it ever will be finished. Legislative Auditor Connie Kiriu, whom the County Council directed in December to investigate the eradication program, said she started the assignment about two weeks ago. "We're still in the preliminary stages," Kiriu said Thursday. "But we have made some contacts with the Poplice Department, and we're getting documents ready to review. We're in good shape." However, some marijuana advocates, who have alleged the program is being grossly mismanaged, disagreed with Kiriu's assessment. Jonathan Adler of Puna called the county study a "farce," adding he is not surprised in the least that little work has been done. "It will never be completed," Adler said. "They know exactly what's required and they have danced around it again." Adler said he wants to file a lawsuit against the county over its failure to conduct a program review mandated by the County Charter, but cannot afford the legal costs. Dennis Shields of Captain Cook, another marijuana advocate who called for the study, complained that it does not examine environmental damage he said occurs from aerial spraying done to kill illegal pot plants. "I think it's lip service," Shields said Thursday, while complaining two eradication helicopters flew low over his home one day after he testified before the Legislature in support of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Kiriu said she was delayed in beginning the study because her staff first had to finish auditing the county's glass recycling program, complete a time-consuming review of the Zoning Code and also become adjusted to new positions. Kiriu, who estimated at least 400 hours of staff time will be needed to finish studying the county's marijuana eradication program, said she does not know when the project will be completed. The council did not set a deadline to finish the investigation when it adopted a resolution directing Kiriu and her staff to conduct the study and report their findings. The "special study" is to examine six points, including whether the Police Department met the objectives of the federal eradication grants that, along with county funds, totaled $339,000 for the period from January 1997 through June 1998. How the money was spent, if police have internal controls for confiscating marijuana and also how the department handles public complaints of aerial eradication missions also are to be part of the study. Those against the eradication missions have claimed the use of helicopters creates privacy invasions, harms livestock and results in a safety hazard should a malfunction occur with one of the low-flying helicopters. Law enforcement officials say the eradication program is essential to curbing the cultivation of illegal marijuana, while also keeping public lands safe for hunters and hikers. Between 1995 and 1997, Big Island police recorded declines in the number of plants destroyed, arrests made and amount of marijuana seized as a result of the eradication efforts, police Lt. Chad Fukui said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Takes Root In Senate Committee (The West Central Tribune, in Minnesota, says the state senate's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee voted unanimously Thursday to legalize hemp production. Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe introduced the bill. Sen. Dallas Sams, chairman of the agriculture committee, said the legislation has been endorsed by the Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and a host of other farm organizations. A similar bill is moving through the house.) Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 13:18:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MN: Hemp Takes Root In Senate Committee 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: 19 Feb 1999 Source: West Central Tribune (MN) Copyright: Forum Communications Company 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.wctrib.com/ HEMP TAKES ROOT IN SENATE COMMITTEE ST. PAUL - A new farm crop, industrial hemp, took root in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee Thursday. The committee voted unanimously to legalize hemp production, even though the crop is closely related to marijuana. Law enforcement officials oppose the change. They maintain that widespread hemp production would make it more difficult to enforce the laws against using and possessing marijuana, since the two plants have a similar appearance. The bill's author - Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine - suggested that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was being too cautious. He said enough safeguards can be incorporated into the law to protect against "shenanigans with illegal drugs." Hemp not a new crop in the U.S. It was grown here before World War II. The crop fell out of favor after the war and only recently has been rediscovered. Canada harvested its first hemp crop in 60 years last year. Hemp fields there are tested three times a season to ensure that the hallucinogenic qualities of the crop are low enough. Moe said an estimated 29 countries are growing hemp. "It is an unbelievable product that has a lot of byproducts," he said. Hemp is used in the production of cosmetics, clothing, shoes, paper, and car. "As we know, agriculture is changing," Moe said. "Markets are changing and consumer tastes are changing." Sam Baxter, whose store at the Mall of America in Bloomington specializes in hemp-based clothing, said the product line has become very popular. When he opened his store, he said, his line of clothing attracted mainly young people looking for something unusual. Today, his clientele also includes a lot of older people, he said. In one year, he said, his sales have increased 100 percent. His Christmas sales are up 35 percent. "We need an alternative crop," Baxter said. "When Canada can make it profitable, we know we can do it here." Moe said hemp production is not a panacea for the farm crisis. It is an option for farmers, he said. "But when you look at the rural economy, you have to look at a lot of different options," Moe said. It is not the first time the committee voted for legalizing hemp production. Moe introduced an identical bill last year. The legislation was approved by both the House and Senate, but was vetoed by former Gov. Arne Carlson. Sen. Dallas Sams, DFL-Staples, chairman of the agriculture committee, said the legislation has been endorsed by the Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and a host of other farm organizations. The bill was forwarded to the Senate floor for a vote. A similar bill is moving through the House.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Release Marijuana Figures For 1998 (According to an Associated Press body count in the Bangor Daily News, Roy McKinney, the head of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said this week that Maine law enforcement agencies last year seized a total of 9,900 marijuana plants worth an estimated $23 million, seized 127 pounds of processed marijuana, 117 guns and nearly $250,000 in cash. They also made 87 marijuana-related arrests.) Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 21:58:57 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US ME: Police Release Marijuana Figures For 1998 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: 19 Feb 1999 Source: Bangor Daily News (ME) Copyright: 1999, Bangor Daily News Inc. Contact: email@example.com Author: Associated Press Website: http://www.bangornews.com/ POLICE RELEASE MARIJUANA FIGURES FOR 1998 PORTLAND -- Maine law enforcement agencies seized 9,900 marijuana plants worth an estimated $23 million last year, according to the head of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Roy McKinney said Maine law enforcement officers also seized 127 pounds of processed marijuana, 117 guns and nearly $250,000 in cash. They also made 87 arrests. McKinney released the numbers this week at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Waterville. Law enforcement agencies who participated in the fight against marijuana include state and local police, sheriff's departments, Maine Warden Service, Civil Air Patrol and federal agencies.
------------------------------------------------------------------- DEA Chief: Interdiction Won't Succeed - Drug Fight Lacks Desire (According to USA Today, DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, in an interview Thursday, said the nation has neither the will nor the resources to win the drug war. Despite the confiscation of record amounts of drugs at the borders, Constantine said interdiction will not solve the problem. "The key is not in the source countries," he said. "The key is in the United States, within those things we can control.") From: Ty Trippet (TTrippet@sorosny.org) Subject: USA Today: DEA Chief: Interdiction Won't Succeed Drug Fight Lacks Desire Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 10:09:56 -0500 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From Today's USA Today: Friday, February 19, 1999 [Letters to editor information follows] DEA chief: Drug fight lacks desire by Gary Fields WASHINGTON -- The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration says the nation has neither the will nor the resources to win the drug war. DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, in an interview Thursday, said that curbing drug use is not a high enough priority with the American people. He also said the nation has not made the financial commitment to curb the flow of illegal drugs into the USA. "The use of drugs is really a prevention issue, and the long-term solution for this nation is when our own citizens, families, teachers and employers take this as seriously as they do the Y2K (Year 2000 computer) problem," he said. Constantine said he has faith that one day the nation will focus on the issue, but at this point "I just don't think that we've paid enough attention to it." Despite having an army of 8,000 employees and a $1.4 billion budget, Constantine said the DEA has fewer resources than international drug rings. "I know one drug mafia in Mexico alone that makes $2 billion every single year selling cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States, and it has better technical equipment and countersurveillance equipment and armored cars than we do." Despite the confiscation of record amounts of drugs at the borders, Constantine said interdiction will not solve the problem. "The key is not in the source countries," he said. "The key is in the United States, within those things we can control." Many of Constantine's comments echo those of White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey, who recently released a plan focusing on drug awareness education and the treatment of addicts. Constantine thinks "vigorous law enforcement is part and parcel of the treatment," McCaffrey said Thursday. "But he, like I, think it is the parents and coalitions of folks who talk prevention who at the end of the day will make the difference." Constantine's views on interdiction, however, are not shared by members of Congress, who last year approved nearly $ 3 billion for drug interdiction in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. The author of the bill that provided the funding, Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., has criticized the Clinton administration for not doing enough to slow the flow of drugs. McCollum was not available Thursday for comment. In 1998, DEA arrests and seizures of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana set records for the 25-year-old agency. The DEA arrested 36,835 people last year, an 11% increase from 1997, when the agency made 33,160 arrests. *** LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Only letters that include name, address and day and evening phone numbers and that are verified by USA Today, can be considered for publication. You should fax your letter to 703-247-3108 or email to email@example.com. Ty Trippet Director of Communications The Lindesmith Center 400 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019 212-548-0604 212-548-4670-fax mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.lindesmith.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Border Patrol Adds High-Tech Tools to Its Arsenal (The Washington Post says the U.S. Border Patrol, after years of waging a losing battle to control the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, is increasingly throwing high technology into its fight against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. According to the newspaper, the high-tech equipment, much of it originally developed for the military, combined with a major increase in manpower, is making the agency more "efficient" - without having turned the tide. People and drugs still flow across the border in large volumes, as does all sorts of contraband from Freon to avocados.) Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 11:30:41 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WP: Border Patrol Adds High-Tech Tools to Its Arsenal Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 Source: Washington Post (DC) Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Page: A21 Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: William Branigin, Washington Post Staff Writer BORDER PATROL ADDS HIGH-TECH TOOLS TO ITS ARSENAL Surveillance Scopes, Sensors Join Force's War on Smuggling BROWNSVILLE, Tex.--Sitting in front of a small screen in a cramped metal box 20 feet above the ground, senior Border Patrol agent Rey Abrego watches a human form moving through riverbank brush on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. It is pitch dark outside, but the form shows up as white light against the green glow of the monitor, which is connected to a Loris infrared night-vision scope overlooking the river. Hours later, the shape on the screen crosses the river into Texas and runs into Border Patrol agents who have been directed to the scene by radio from Abrego's olive-green "Skywatch" box. They arrest a young Mexican man and find 16 pounds of marijuana in his backpack. After years of waging a losing battle to control the 2,000-mile line between the United States and Mexico, the Border Patrol increasingly is throwing high technology into its fight against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. The high-tech equipment, much of it originally developed for military use, has not yet turned the tide. People and drugs still flow across the border in large volumes, as does all sorts of contraband from Freon to avocados. But Border Patrol agents say the gadgetry, combined with a major increase in manpower, is helping to make the formerly neglected agency more efficient in its task of guarding the nation's borders. The Border Patrol has more than doubled in size from 1993 to last year, reaching nearly 8,000 agents. A thousand more are scheduled to be added this year. Yet their ranks continue to be stretched thin, considering that they must cover more than 6,000 miles of land border in the continental United States alone. Accompanying the personnel buildup has been an infusion of new high-tech gear, including night-vision scopes, ground sensors, low-light TV cameras, computerized identification systems and license-plate scanners. In addition, the Border Patrol has acquired new vehicles, river patrol boats and even helicopters. The agency now has 185 infrared heat-detecting scopes deployed along the southwestern border, a five-fold increase from four years ago. More than 8,600 seismic sensors are buried near border crossing points to detect movements by illegal immigrants, nearly double the number in 1994. In its latest budget request, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Border Patrol's parent agency, is seeking $50 million for additional technology, including 176 low-light "remote video surveillance" cameras to be positioned along the border. The high-tech equipment serves as "force multipliers," increasing agents' productivity, according to a Border Patrol report. "The use of technological resources such as low-light TV, infrared night scopes, sensors and encrypted radios has moved the Border Patrol into the 21st century of law enforcement." Even so, agents still often resort to 19th-century methods reminiscent of the Old West as they pursue their quarry along riverbanks and through ranch lands adjoining the border. The Border Patrol still uses agents designated as "sign cutters" to examine footprints and other evidence of passage to help track down illegal aliens and smugglers. A key technological advance in this area is the Skywatch, a mobile observation post that can be towed behind a Border Patrol vehicle and set up to keep an eye on crossing points. A hydraulic lift elevates a box containing a monitor and communications gear, with windows on all sides. Mounted on the roof of the metal box is a heat-detecting night scope with a range of more than a mile. The operator can use it to pan across the landscape or zoom in on suspicious objects. A quiet-running generator powers the equipment, which includes air-conditioning for the hot summers here and powerful outside lights that can be turned on to illuminate illegal crossers or deter them from trying. The Border Patrol's McAllen sector, which covers 280 miles of border and includes Brownsville, now has about 40 Skywatches and relies heavily on them to detect illegal crossers at night, said Jose E. Garza, sector chief. "The night-vision equipment has made a tremendous impact," Garza said. "It allows our folks to take the night away from the aliens and the smugglers. It helps us do a much better job than we could in the past." The devices have helped the sector lead the southwestern border in narcotics seizures, he said. Last year, agents in the sector seized 132 tons of marijuana and more than three tons of cocaine worth a total of $408 million. So far this fiscal year, they have captured 59 tons of marijuana and a ton and a half of cocaine with a combined value of $193 million. Other infrared scopes used by the Border Patrol elevate from the back of four-wheel-drive vehicles and produce images on a screen beside the driver. Some agents also carry night-vision goggles that work like binoculars and radio scanners to detect transmissions among alien-smugglers or drug runners. "We've had great success with the scanners," said John Gunnoe, a supervisory Border Patrol agent in Brownsville. Agents have used them to pick up radio traffic from lookouts who are sent by drug traffickers to scout official crossing points. The lookouts are sometimes heard speaking to comrades in a crude code, using such nicknames as "el ronoso" (the mangy one) for a drug-sniffing dog. One source of frustration for the Border Patrol is a ban on its equipment in riverside sanctuaries run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "They've also become sanctuaries for illegal aliens," said Garza. "We don't want to interfere with the habitat of nocturnal animals. But the aliens and the smugglers don't care."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico's Troubadors Hail New Kind Of Hero (A New York Times article in the Orange County Register says hundreds of Mexican country bands are playing drug ballads, known in Spanish as narco-corridos, that chronicle illegal-drug traffickers' daily lives and violent routines. The extraordinary popularity of their music in Mexico and the United States shows how deeply the "drug" industry has sunk roots into North American popular culture. The phenomenon suggests that millions of fans quietly admire the smugglers' fabled wealth, anti-establishment bravura and bold entrepreneurial skills.) Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 05:15:49 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Mexico'S Troubadors Hail New Kind Of Hero Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 19 Feb. 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Author: Sam Dillon, New York Times Section: News, page 26 MEXICO'S TROUBADORS HAIL NEW KIND OF HERO Culture: Bands sell millions of CDs celebrating drug traffickers' fabled wealth and violent,anti-establishment lifestyle. San Luis Potosi,Mexico-As Mario Quintero steps to the microphone, strums his guitar and begins singing about the pleasures of snorting cocaine after a few drinks, scores of teenage girls crowd the outdoor stage screaming, " I love you, Mario!" Quintero and his wildly popular band, the Tucanes de Tijuana, or Toucans of Tijuana, follow with a song about a smuggler's love for his rooster, parrot and goat, underworld symbols for marijuana,cocaine and heroin. "I live off my three fine animals," Quintero sings to roars of approval from thousands of cowboy-hatted fans packed into an outdoor concert grounds here. His next ballad in "Most Wanted Men," in which he assumes the voice of a powerful trafficker who boasts about bribing politicians and police "to control whole countries." The Tucanes are one of the most successful of hundreds of Mexican country bands whose lyrics chronicle traffickers' daily lives and violent routines. The extraordinary popularity of their music here and in the United States underscores the profound roots the drug industry has sunk into North American popular culture, suggesting that millions of fans quietly admire the smugglers' fabled wealth, anti-establishment bravura and bold entrepreneurial skills. "The drug trade has permeated our social fabric," said Manuel Valenzuela, a professor at a research institute in Tijuana who studies the drug ballads, known in Spanish as narco-corridos. "The political elite, the army, the church and the bakes have all been corrupted, and in this context many young people see in narcotics their route to early wealth, even if they fear dying before they're 25. The corridos just reflect this evolution." Mexican songwriters have been composing corridos for at least a century, chronicling the heroic deeds of revolutionary generals and border brigands. Marijuana and opium smugglers became the subjects of choice in the 1970s, with the early corridos often concluding with morality lessons about the evils of the drug trade. But in the '90s, young musicians like the Tucanes have carried the corridos toward overt celebration of the narcotics culture, punctuating many recordings with machine-gun fire and police sirens. Lidia Salazar, a marketing executive for EMI Music Mexico, said the Tucanes sold 2.5 million CDs in 1997 and might have exceeded that record last year had the government not barred corridos from the airwaves. Quintero, 28, and his three fellow musicians were born in the hills of Sinaloa, the state that is a major opium and marijuana producer and is the birthplace of most major Mexican traffickers. Like many other Sinaloans, they migrated to Tijuana as teenagers, working for a time in factories there before forming the Tucanes in 1987 to play for local dances and house parties. Their first hit was in 1992, "Clave Privada," or "Private Pin." It chronicled the exploding use of beepers among drug wholesalers and their street salesmen in Mexico and the United States. Quintero, who writes all the Tucanes material, said he gleaned his material from the daily press. "This is like news writing," he said, asserting that fans, like newspaper readers, are fascinated by the details of the top traffickers' lives. "Just their names sell recordings," he said. At the San Luis Potosi concert grounds, Luis Gaspar Perez, 30, the manager of a grocery store, explained his devotion to the Tucanes. "They tell the truth about our society," Gaspar said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico's Troubadors Turn From Amor to Drugs (The original New York Times version) Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Sam Dillon MEXICO'S TROUBADORS TURN FROM AMOR TO DRUGS SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico -- As Mario Quintero steps to the microphone, strums his guitar and begins singing about the pleasures of snorting cocaine after a few drinks, scores of teen-age girls crowd the outdoor stage screaming, "I love you, Mario!" Quintero and his wildly popular band, the Tucanes de Tijuana, or Toucans of Tijuana, follow with a song about a smuggler's love for his rooster, parrot and goat, underworld symbols for marijuana, cocaine and heroin. "I live off my three fine animals," Quintero sings to roars of approval from thousands of cowboy-hatted fans packed into an outdoor concert grounds here. His next ballad is "Most Wanted Men," in which he assumes the voice of a powerful trafficker who boasts about bribing politicians and the police "to control whole countries." The Tucanes are one of the most successful of hundreds of Mexican country bands whose lyrics chronicle traffickers' daily lives and violent routines. The extraordinary popularity of their music here and in the United States underscores the profound roots the drug industry has sunk into North American popular culture, suggesting that millions of fans quietly admire the smugglers' fabled wealth, anti-establishment bravura and bold entrepreneurial skills. "The drug trade has permeated our social fabric," said Manuel Valenzuela, a professor at a research institute in Tijuana who studies the drug ballads, known in Spanish as narco-corridos. "The political elite, the army, the church and the banks have all been corrupted, and in this context many young people see in narcotics their route to early wealth, even if they fear dying before they're 25. The corridos just reflect this evolution." Mexican songwriters have been composing corridos for at least a century, chronicling the heroic deeds of revolutionary generals and border brigands. Marijuana and opium smugglers became the subjects of choice in the 1970s, with the early corridos often concluding with morality lessons about the evils of the drug trade. But in the '90s, young musicians like the Tucanes have carried the corridos toward overt celebration of the narcotics culture, punctuating many recordings with machine-gun fire and police sirens. Lidia Salazar, a marketing executive for EMI Music Mexico, said the Tucanes sold 2.5 million CDs in 1997 and might have exceeded that record last year had the government not barred corridos from the airwaves. "Radio stations all over Mexico have told us that the Interior Ministry has forbidden them from playing the corridos," Ms. Salazar said. A senior government official said there was no formal ban. But the official acknowledged that Interior Minister Francisco Labastida Ochoa had repeatedly met the owners of radio stations and leaders of the National Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry to condemn the corridos. Ochoa was expressing his view "that making drug traffickers into heroes is damaging to Mexican youth." Quintero, 28, and his three fellow musicians were born in the hills of Sinaloa, the state that is a major opium and marijuana producer and is the birthplace of most major Mexican traffickers. Like many other Sinaloans, they migrated to Tijuana as teen-agers, working for a time in factories there before forming the Tucanes in 1987 to play for local dances and house parties. Their first hit was in 1992, "Clave Privada," or "Private Pin." It chronicled the exploding use of beepers among drug wholesalers and their street salesmen in Mexico and the United States. Their notoriety spread in 1997, when a magazine, Proceso, published the confession of an accused trafficker, Alejandro Hodoyan, who in a lurid description of the Tijuana drug underworld said Quintero had composed many corridos that documented killings carried out by the Arellano Felix brothers, who are said to control the drug trade in northwestern Mexico. Quintero's corridos outline a code of behavior for traffickers, Hodoyan said, adding: "If you listen carefully, the songs tell how the Arellanos killed these people. I don't know how he gets his information. But through the corridos comes the philosophy, how the members of the cartel have to behave. They tell you what they did wrong. Why they were killed. You learn what you have to do so they won't kill you." In appreciation of the Tucanes' insightful work, the Arellanos bought them uniforms, sound equipment and a touring bus, Hodoyan said. In a preconcert interview in their bus in San Luis Potosi, Quintero denied knowing the Arellanos. "We worked for years playing private parties in Tijuana," he said. "We don't know everyone who hired us, and we didn't ask to see their police records." Quintero, who writes all the Tucanes material, said he gleaned his material from the daily press. "This is like news writing," he said, asserting that fans, like newspaper readers, are fascinated by the details of the top traffickers' lives. "Just their names sell recordings," he said. On the concert tour, the Tucanes appear to be models of clean living. They pump up before performances by guzzling fruit milkshakes, and on stage they drink only bottled water. "I want to be a good example to my children," said Clemente Flores, the bass player. But they cultivate a violent image, pretending in their music videos to be the gunslinging traffickers of their ballads. In one popular video, Quintero and his accordion player kill several police officers with automatic rifles. In another, they appear alongside a man tied to a chair who is being tortured, apparently by traffickers. Other corrido singers have blurred the distinction between life and art, with violent consequences. Chalino Sanchez, a corrido singer from Los Angeles who liked to keep a pistol thrust in his belt at performances, was killed by gunmen in Culiacan, Sinaloa, after a concert in May 1992. The violent backdrop of the music has prompted academic debate. "In seminars people stand up and say, 'Corridos are terrible, they glorify criminals,"' a professor in Mexico City, Jorge Chabat, said. "And they do, of course. But people like them, and this is related to the Mexican psyche. People see traffickers as men of humble origins who defy the power structure. That can be attractive. Traffickers are a kind of self-made man, Mexican style." Another professor, Maria Herrera-Sobek, argued at a conference at the University of California at Los Angeles last year that corridos celebrate the same masculine virtues assigned to war heroes in the United States and Europe. "They attribute to traffickers characteristics that indicate a high degree of respect, including bravery, manliness, justice and candor," Professor Herrera-Sobek said. "Others that are not necessarily tied to morality but are positive values within our culture are cunning, strength, fame and ferocity." At the San Luis Potosi concert grounds, Luis Gaspar Perez, 30, the manager of a grocery store, stood watching the performance, his breath hanging heavy in the chill night air as he explained his devotion to the Tucanes. "They tell the truth about our society," Gaspar said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Addicts Fuel 7 Bil. Industry (The Herald Sun says a study by Access Economics found that "The illegal drugs industry in Australia is a major industry, equivalent in size to the oil industry and larger than the tobacco industry." However, the war on some drugs is an even bigger business. Taxpayers paid an average of $13 billion annually over the past 15 years to fight the drug war, spread across law enforcement services, public health, treatment and counselling services, crime, prisons, social security and costs to families. Despite the massive cost, crime authorities admit the fight against drugs under present policy has been lost.) Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 03:29:58 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Australia: Addicts Fuel 7 Bil. Industry Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Russell.Ken.KW@bhp.com.au (Russell, Ken KW) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 Source: Herald Sun (Australia) Copyright: News Limited 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ Author: Glenn Mitchell, John Ferguson and Fran Cusworth ADDICTS FUEL 7 BIL. INDUSTRY AUSTRALIA'S illegal drug trade rivals the country's biggest industries. The $7 billion illegal drug trade is equal in size to the oil industry and bigger than the tobacco industry. It also represents more money than Australians spend on gas, electricity and fuel each year. Economic analysts said the drug trade could be worth up to $9.6 billion. An amazing 2000kg of cut heroin - worth about $2 billion - is poured into Australia each year. The massive heroin flood is part of a $7 billion illegal trade to Australia, with Melbourne accounting for at least a third. The $7 billion translates to about seven tonnes of heroin imported to Australia annually. One kilo of heroin has a street value of $1 million. But the figure combines the value of the imported heroin, cocaine and marijuana to Australia. It does not include the trade in locally produced drugs, estimated at $2 billion a year. About $85 billion worth of illegal drugs have been imported into Australia in the past 15 years. Another $30 billion has been produced locally. But fighting the drug war has cost more than $200 billion since 1984. Despite the massive cost, crime authorities admit the fight against drugs under present policy has been lost. The enormous taxpayer cost has been spread across law enforcement services, public health, treatment and counselling services, crime, prisons, social security and costs to families. Associate Professor Robert Marks, of NSW University, found heroin addicts obtained the bulk of their money from drug dealing, crime, prostitution and social security. "This is a guide to the extent of crime caused by those supporting a drug habit," he found. An examination of the trade by Access Economics found about 90 per cent of Australia's drug revenue went into the hands of organised crime. "The illegal drugs industry in Australia is a major industry, equivalent in size to the oil industry and larger than the tobacco industry," Access Economics found. "It generates substantial costs for society, while generating no government revenue. Prohibition appears to have failed to prevent its growth." Taxpayers have footed an average $13 billion bill annually over the past 15 years to fight the drug war. But despite the huge cost, some authorities hold little hope of stemming the flow of narcotics into Australia. Authorities admit last year's 400kg heroin seizure did not dent local supply of the drug. "It would be very optimistic to think that seizure would dramatically affect heroin supply," said Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 79 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original publication featuring drug policy news and calls to action includes - Less than three weeks left to defeat "Know Your Customer" rules; ABA to Congress: stop federalizing drime; Connecticut addressing racial disparities in drug enforcement, sentencing; U.S. Customs Service report acknowledges corruption; Man shot dead in home by police, small amount of marijuana found; Medical marijuana opponents mount challenges in Oregon, Washington; Hemp beer served on Air Force One; Oregon schools to pay students for anonymous tips; Rally: mothers in prison, children in crisis, New York City, May 9; and an editorial by Adam J. Smith: Another isolated incident) Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 01:13:57 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #79 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #79 -- February 19, 1999 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto:email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) (This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/ -- this Friday's issue features interviews with former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, Connecticut Assembly Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Michael Lawlor, and former New Haven police chief Nicholas Pastore.) PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: Drug Reform Coordination Network, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail email@example.com. Thank you. Articles of a purely educational nature in The Week Online appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted. ERRATA: Last week's article on the Mexican drug war and the congressional certification debate stated that Mexico was decertified last year but granted a national security waiver (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/078.html#totalwar). This was incorrect -- Mexico was in fact certified, though amid controversy and opposition from some members of Congress. It was Colombia that was decertified last year and granted the waiver. A SPECIAL THANKS to those of you who responded to our appeal for non-tax-deductible donations to our 501(c)(4) lobbying network to enable us to continue our exciting campaign to reverse the drug provision in the Higher Education Act of 1998. Your generosity has brought the organization thousands of much-needed lobbying dollars. This, together with other new funding, will allow the HEA reform project and our other lobbying work to continue -- for now. 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Also, tax-deductible contributions supporting our educa- tional work can be made to the DRCNet Foundation. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Less Than Three Weeks Left to Defeat "Know Your Customer" Rules! http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#defeatkyc 2. ABA to Congress: Stop Federalizing Crime http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#abareport 3. Connecticut Addressing Racial Disparities in Drug Enforcement, Sentencing http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#connecticut 4. U.S. Customs Service Report Acknowledges Corruption http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#customs 5. Man Shot Dead in Home by Police, Small Amount of Marijuana Found http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#shooting 6. Medical Marijuana Opponents Mount Challenges in Oregon, Washington http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#medmjchallenge 7. Hemp Beer Served on Air Force One http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#airforceone 8. Oregon Schools to Pay Students for Anonymous Tips http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#payfortips 9. RALLY: Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis, NYC, May 9 http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#rally 10. Editorial: Another Isolated Incident http://www.drcnet.org/wol/079.html#editorial *** 1. Less Than Three Weeks Left to Defeat "Know Your Customer" Rules! Three weeks ago, we reported on the FDIC's controversial "Know Your Customer" banking rules proposal, and provided addresses for you to voice your objections to federal regulators (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/076.html#kyc). "Know Your Customer" is advocated by people who are frustrated at the failure of supply-side interdiction efforts to restrict the illicit drug supply, but who haven't yet admitted that anti-money laundering programs like KYC are also doomed to failure for extremely similar reasons. Fewer than 20 days are now left to contact the FDIC and demand that it drop the proposed "Know Your Customer" rule. The Libertarian Party has put up a new web site to make this especially easy -- http://www.defendyourprivacy.com -- so please take a few moments right now to sign the online petition, and then to forward this message to any friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or other people you know personally who may be interested. Your petition will be submitted directly to the FDIC, and a copy will also be sent to your representative in the U.S. House and to both your U.S. Senators. Please also send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you've taken action -- we need your feedback to assess our impact and demonstrate our effectiveness to our funders. *** 2. ABA to Congress: Stop Federalizing Crime In a report released in Washington this week, an American Bar Association panel admonished Congress to stop generating federal criminal statutes as a way to prove they are tough on crime. The findings of "The Federalization of Criminal Law" echo a warning from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who said in his State of the Judiciary address this year that "the pressure on Congress to appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime" has led to massive increases in federal caseloads and changed the relationship between federal and local law enforcement (see previous Week Online article at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/073.html#rehnquist). The ABA report notes that 40 percent of federal criminal laws passed since the Civil War were passed after 1970. During the same period, the number of federal prosecutors in U.S. Attorneys offices increased from 3,000 to 8,000. From 1982 to 1993, federal criminal justice system expenditures grew by 317 percent -- nearly double the rate of increase in state spending during that time. Some of the laws, rushed through Congress in response to widespread media attention on crimes like car jacking and drive-by shootings, have rarely been used. Others are more popular, such as federal drug trafficking statutes, which accounted for a full 28% of federal charges against individuals in 1997. Overall, the report says, the federalizing trend has hurt civil litigants, who must endure longer waits because priority is given to criminal trials. Yet the federalization of crime has failed to have a significant effect on the violent crimes of most concern to the public, "because in practice federal law enforcement can only reach a small percentage of such activity." According to the report, one of the greatest dangers of making federal statutes which duplicate existing state laws is that it threatens to undermine "the careful decentralization of criminal law authority that has worked well for all of our constitutional history" by creating confusion about the roles and responsibilities of federal law enforcement in local criminal matters. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who led the ABA panel which produced the report, told the Week Online, "There's a real danger of the concentration of federal police power in the national government. We've always been opposed to a national police force because there's much less control. We've always believed in local control, where the police are closer to the people." The impact of a loss of this control on constitutional rights and individual liberties, he said is "a serious threat. And it also diverts congressional attention and other federal agencies from those criminal activities that only the federal government can handle." Meese was Attorney General during the second term of the Reagan presidency, when lawmakers responded to public outcry over the cocaine-related death of college basketball star Len Bias by including severe mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes in the 1986 omnibus crime bill. The ABA report does not mention mandatory minimums, which Meese said were brought on in part by frustration with judges who were "unduly lenient" in their sentencing practices. Meese said he was not a fan of rigid minimum sentencing, but felt that federal sentencing guidelines alone were not enough at the time. "I feel that there should be guidelines for judges, but that judges should have a certain amount of discretion and flexibility for unusual cases," he said. "But this was something the judges in effect had brought on themselves." He added, "I think now might be a good time, roughly 10 or 15 years later, to take a look at the sentences and see what the impact has been." Ultimately, Meese said, the panel hopes that its report will help create a climate in which congress can consider the effects of federalizing crime without the political hazards of being labeled "soft on crime." "We're trying to provide both statistical data and convincing arguments that would support members of congress and other public officials who are willing to stand up for constitutional fidelity as well as realistically appraising what federal crimes do and don't do." Copies of "The Federalization of Criminal Law" are available from the American Bar Association for $10 apiece. To order, call (312) 988-5000. A report released by the ABA two weeks ago found that increased prison sentences don't deter drug use (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#abastudy). Visit the ABA on the web at http://www.abanet.org. *** 3. Connecticut Addressing Racial Disparities in Drug Enforcement, Sentencing A bipartisan effort is underway in the Connecticut General Assembly to address reports of racial disparities in the ways that drug laws are enforced and prosecuted, according to Mike Lawlor, House chairman of the Assembly's judiciary committee. Studies conducted for the Assembly's Office of Legislative Research have found that African Americans, who constitute only 8 percent of Connecticut's population, make up 39 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and 58% of drug convictions. Whites account for 62 percent of the population and nearly 50 percent of drug arrests, but only 11 percent of convictions. "I think it's no secret that in recent years, racial tensions have been exacerbated around the criminal justice system," Lawlor told the Week Online. "Between the racial profiling on the highways, some of the recent police shootings, and what's clearly a huge disparity in the prison population. We know that there's a problem. People can disagree about what has caused it and what might solve it, but for the moment at least we know that this crisis of confidence in the criminal justice system is undermining the system's ability to function properly." Lawlor said the Assembly hopes to change both the perception and the reality of the problem without affecting public safety by increasing funding for programs with proven effectiveness, like drug courts, community-based diversion treatment, and drug treatment within prisons. On the enforcement level, he said, the Assembly is working with police to develop alternatives to arrest, such as writing referrals to drug treatment. In terms of the courts, he said, "We're talking about giving the judges more discretion with mandatory minimum penalties." Lawlor said the bi-partisan atmosphere of legislative work on drug policy in Connecticut doesn't surprise him, but he realizes it's unique given the tenor of the debate on the national stage. "My experience has been that behind closed doors, even the most outspoken drug warriors will acknowledge that 'it's not doing any good, but we have to be tough on crime.' But wouldn't you rather be doing something that's going to work?" In Connecticut, he said, "we have an unusual coalition of frustrated police officers, crime victims, conservative republicans and liberal democrats, all saying that we could do a much better job if we could just de-politicize this issue a little." Nick Pastore, research fellow in police policy for the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and former police chief of New Haven, Connecticut, applauded the efforts by the Assembly. "We can prove fiscally, as well as developmentally, that alternatives to incarceration work. And 'alternatives to incarceration' starts a philosophical mind-change that breaks away from the mind set of draconian, lock 'em up punishment." He said he hopes this will lead to real changes in policing. "The way the police do business in America has to be continually under the microscope. We've got to say we're going change the way we do police work, and especially how we treat people with different backgrounds -- including people who have been arrested." The Connecticut Law Revision Commission, empaneled by the General Assembly, conducts an ongoing review of state statutes. Their reports and recommendations are on the web at http://www.cga.state.ct.us/lrc/. The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation is on the web at http://www.cjpf.org. You'll also find an interview with Nick Pastore from the Spring, 1998 issue of the Drug Policy Letter on the DRCNet web site, at http://www.drcnet.org/cops/. *** 4. U.S. Customs Service Report Acknowledges Corruption The U.S. Customs Service, in a report to Congress this week (2/16), admitted that it was unsure of just how pervasive the problem of corruption in its ranks had become as illicit drugs continue to pour over the border. "The large amounts of illegal drugs that pass through U.S. Customs land, sea and air ports of entry and the enormous amount of money at the disposal of drug traffickers to corrupt law enforcement personnel place Customs and its employees at great risk to (sic) corruption" the report said. The U.S. Customs Service, which monitors points of entry to and departure from the U.S. has over 12,000 agents in the field. According to the New York Times, eight Customs agents have been convicted of taking bribes from drug traffickers in the past ten years, but the report indicated that the agency's internal investigations have not kept up with demand, and that it is likely that much corruption that does occur goes unnoticed. The report pointed to a "long history of strife and infighting" between the agency's investigative unit and its internal affairs division, which has had "a debilitating effect on their (internal affairs officers') ability to perform their jobs diligently." The agency also announced that the head of their IA division, Homer J. Williams, would be replaced this week and replaced by former federal prosecutor William A. Keefer. Williams had been under investigation for allegedly tipping off another Customs agent that she was under investigation by his division. The report was compiled by the Treasury Department, and is not yet available to the public. A spokesman for the Customs Service told The Week Online that the report suggests that corruption is not occurring systemically, but rather in isolated incidents. The report's main concern, according to Customs is the service's "vulnerability to corruption." When asked whether the it was Customs' opinion that corruption in its ranks could be kept under control, given improvements in its internal affairs division, he answered "yes." But the vulnerability described in the report is endemic to the Drug War, as according to the Times, more than 17 million cargo shipments are processed each year, and corruption is often a simple matter of waving a specific car or truck through a check point, nothing different than is done with countless other vehicles day after day on the border. *** 5. Man Shot Dead at Home by Police, Small Amount of Marijuana Found Willie Heard, 46, of Osawatomie, Kansas was shot dead in his home on Saturday (2/13), by officers who were enforcing a no-knock search warrant. Officers from the Osawatomie and Paola police departments as well as sheriff's deputies from Miami County took part in the middle of the night raid. The search warrant indicated crack cocaine, pipes, scales and paraphernalia as the items sought, but a search of the house after the shooting, including the use of a drug- sniffing dog, turned up only "two or three" marijuana cigarette butts. According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the officers announced their identities upon entering and found Mr. Heard in his bedroom with a .22 caliber rifle. Heard's 16 year-old daughter told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the officers never identified themselves. "When they came in, all I heard them say was 'get down! Freeze!'" she told the Journal. "I screamed, 'Daddy!' and I think he thought (I) was in danger. He didn't know they were police officers, because he wouldn't hurt a police officer." William Delaney, spokesperson for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, told The Week Online that his office was just beginning its investigation, but that video and audio tapes of the raid were made by police, which he had not seen yet. Delaney did confirm that none of the items specified by the warrant were found in the home. Dick Kurtenbach, executive director of the Missouri chapter of the ACLU, told The Week Online that the judgment shown by the Kansas police was questionable. "For some reason, the police in this case felt that it was necessary to enter the home at 1:30 in the morning, when the family was sleeping, on a no-knock warrant. Mr. Heard, one would have to assume, thought that his home was being violated and grabbed his rifle to defend it, for which he was shot to death. On top of that, it would appear that the evidence with which the police attained the warrant was faulty as they found none of what they were looking for. No cocaine, no cocaine paraphernalia, just traces of smoked marijuana." Mr. Kurtenbach noted that drug law enforcement in the region seems to be getting more aggressive. "Most of the complaints that we get here have to do with state police stops on I-70 in Kansas and Missouri and on I-44 in Southern Missouri. Typically, the police have made an alleged traffic stop and then seek permission to search the car. Motorists are often threatened with arrest if they refuse to consent to a search, which is their right. These complaints seem to be on the upswing around here." *** 6. Medical Marijuana Opponents Mount Challenges in Oregon, Washington (reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org) February 18, 1999, Portland, OR: Legislators in Oregon and Washington are proposing legislation to restrict patients' ability to use medical marijuana legally under initiatives passed in November. "This is completely unnecessary," said Oregon initiative backer Geoff Sugerman. "This is an effort to open the door to wholesale changes to a law the voters passed just a couple of months ago." Robert Killian, a Tacoma physician who spearheaded the Washington campaign, voiced similar concern. "It's a blind- sided attempt to basically bring the government back into regulation of patients' and doctors' relationships," he said. Oregon's new law allows patients holding state permits to possess limited quantities of medical marijuana, and provides a legal defense for non-registered patients who use the drug under a doctor's supervision. The state Health Division is responsible for issuing registration cards to patients, but has not yet done so. Proposed legislative changes to the law drafted by Rep. Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) would remove legal protections for patients who possess more than one ounce of medical marijuana or cultivate more than three mature plants at one time. House Bill 3052 also eliminates provisions requiring police to return medical marijuana to patients if they seized it improperly. Washington's law allows patients who have a doctor's recommendation to possess up to a 60 day supply of medical marijuana. Proposed changes to the law in S.B. 5771 would require physicians who recommend marijuana to a patient to notify the state each time they do so. It would also allow law enforcement access to the records of all patients and physicians who use or recommend medical marijuana. "Senate Bill 5771 will make it as difficult as possible for patients and doctors to use medical marijuana," said Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights. "This bill is all about regulating and intimidating doctors and patients so severely that they will not take advantage of Washington's new state law." *** 7. Hemp Beer Served on Air Force One President Clinton, congressional leaders and members of the press were among those heading home from Mexico aboard Air Force One on Monday (2/15), after a day of high-level meetings on the issue of the drug war, when stewards on the aircraft began taking food and drink orders. Ironically, among the beers being offered was a new label from the Frederick Brewery in Frederick, MD, called Hemp Golden Beer (http://www.hempenale.com). Hemp Golden Beer, as the name suggests, is brewed with seeds from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana (with only trace amounts of the high-inducing THC), the cultivation of which has been outlawed in the United States for decades. Hemp, once a staple crop in many parts of the country, has a growing following among American farmers searching for alternative crops in an age of falling commodities prices, as well as environmentalists, who tout hemp's versatility end eco-friendliness. Industrial hemp production is legal in many parts of the world and in 1998, Canada instituted an experimental program under which farmers are growing the crop. Under pressure from the DEA, however, the U.S. federal government has thus far refused to consider legalizing its production, contending that hemp's resemblance to its psychoactive cousin will make marijuana eradication more difficult. Interestingly, the Air Force, which operates Air Force One, recently instituted a policy forbidding air force personnel from ingesting any food or nutritional supplement containing hemp, on concern that such substances can lead to false- positive drug tests. The Week Online spoke with a representative of the Air Force and was told that the White House was responsible for all food and beverage services aboard the presidential aircraft. When asked whether hemp beer was included in the recent ban, Lt. Col. Worley said that the Air Force was operating under the assumption that it was, but that they were waiting for official word from their attorneys. Despite increasing calls for the legalization of industrial hemp in America by farmers in a number of states, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and its director, Barry McCaffrey, have repeatedly insisted that hemp is not a viable crop, and that support for its legalization is little more than a thinly-disguised attempt to legalize marijuana. When asked about hemp beer being served on Air Force One, Bob Weiner, spokesman for ONDCP would say only "we have spoken with the people responsible for these things and it will not happen again." The White House told The Week Online that despite the Air Force's denial, it is in fact the Air Force, and not the White House Travel Office, that is responsible for ordering food and beverages aboard AF1. They also noted that the beer would not be served again aboard the craft, saying that despite the beverage's legality in the U.S., its appearance on the President's plane was "inappropriate". (Read about the University of Kentucky's recent report on the viability of industrial hemp, in the 7/2/98 issue of The Week Online at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/048.html#ky-hemp. Also read about the Vermont State Auditor's report on the federal government's marijuana eradication program at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/041.html#ditchweed -- the report found that over 99% of the "marijuana" eradicated was wild hemp.) *** 8. Oregon Schools to Pay Students for Anonymous Tips A new program in Portland, Oregon school districts rewards students who inform on their classmates. Campus Crime Stoppers, a spin-off of the Crime Stoppers programs operating around the world, provides students with a hotline to call school police, and offers kids up to $1,000 for anonymous tips about classmates involved with drugs, weapons, vandalism, or other criminal activity. Sergeant Larry Linne, the Portland school police officer in charge of the program, told the Oregonian newspaper that district standards will insure that students' Fourth Amendment rights are not violated, but some students are wary of a program they say could turn classmates into narcs and snitches. "I don't trust the authorities," one 17-year- old told the paper. "It depends on if someone got hurt or not." Crime Stoppers International is online at http://www.c-s-i.org. *** 9. RALLY: Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis, NYC, May 9 Rally on Friday, May 9, to highlight the need for in-house drug rehabilitation as an alternative to prison for mothers with dependent children, 9:00am, 100 Centre St., New York, NY, aponsored by the JusticeWorks Community. For further information, call (718) 499-6704, fax (718) 832-2832, e-mail email@example.com, or visit http://www.justiceworks.org on the web. *** 10. Editorial: Another Isolated Incident Adam J. Smith, DRCNet Associate Director, firstname.lastname@example.org Last week the New York Times carried an item about a woman in New York City who shows up every time there is a protest against the use of unreasonable force by police. She comes alone and carries a sign, always the same one. Her sign reads simply, "Another Isolated Incident." The fact that this woman and her ironic sign have become well-known is a testament to the truth of the point she is trying to make. Attending each and every anti-police brutality protest in New York City can certainly keep a person busy, but with the aggressive prosecution of the drug war a political priority across the country, that woman might want to consider starting a franchise. In the town of Osawatomie, Kansas (pop. 4,500) last week, Willie Heard, a forty-six year-old man, was shot to death in his bedroom at one-thirty in the morning by police who had stormed into the home to execute a search warrant. Heard's sixteen year-old daughter claims that the officers failed to identify themselves other than to shout "freeze!" and "get down!" The police, after kicking in the front door, entered the bedroom and came upon Mr. Heard clutching his twenty-two caliber rifle. They shot. He died. The warrant said that the police were to search for crack cocaine and related items. None was found. A probe is underway by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to determine whether police acted improperly in killing Mr. Heard. Whatever that investigation reveals, there should be no question that when Americans are being killed in their homes by agents of the government, something is inherently wrong. The investigation of the shooting will not call into question the impact of the issuance of no-knock warrants in pursuit of drugs; nor will it likely question the methods used by law enforcement agents across the country to gather the evidence to obtain such warrants; and it will certainly not delve into the question of why, after decades of experience which shows it to be ineffective in reducing the amount of drugs on our streets or our children's access to them, we are still fighting a war against our own citizens and endangering both police and civilians by our ever more aggressive efforts and intrusions. The killing of Willie Heard in his own bedroom may well have been a first for the tiny town of Osawatomie, but it is hardly an isolated incident. Tragedies such as this are endemic to the drug war. They are the product of the errant notion that if we just crack down hard enough, build enough prisons, kick in enough doors, then certainly the drugs will disappear. But they haven't. And they won't. And we are left with the blood of hundreds of innocents on our collective hands, slain by police, or caught in the crossfire, or killed in the line of duty. They are the casualties of our dirty little war, their families its refugees. It is highly unlikely that the shame of these senseless deaths will ever be acknowledged by those who perpetuate the war. But in New York City, a solitary woman carries a sign marking their passage. They are all just isolated incidents. Again and again and again. (Read Adam's May '98 editorial on a similar topic, "Bad Raids," http://www.drcnet.org/wol/043.html#editorial.) *** 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. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made by check to the DRCNet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax- exempt organization, same address. *** 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 -------------------------------------------------------------------
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