------------------------------------------------------------------- The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release (House Of Commons holds first ever debate on medical marijuana - considers motion to legalize drug for medical purposes; British MP backs marijuana by prescription; House rejects South Dakota governor's plan to impose mandatory jail time for pot offenses; Alaska medical marijuana law takes effect this week) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 18:19:46 EST Subject: NORML WPR 3/5/99 (II) The NORML Foundation Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org firstname.lastname@example.org March 5, 1999 *** House Of Commons Holds First Ever Debate On Medical Marijuana Considers Motion To Legalize Drug For Medical Purposes March 5, 1999, Ottawa, Ontario: Canada's House of Commons debated yesterday a motion to recommend that the government "undertake all necessary steps to legalize the use of marijuana for health and medical purposes." The House will vote on the motion, M-381, in June. The hearing was the first time the House of Commons has debated legalizing medical marijuana. "We must now assume our responsibility as elected representatives by inviting the federal government to pass concrete measures without delay that will allow the therapeutic use of marijuana," bill sponsor MP Bernard Bigras (Bloc Quebecois-Rosemont) said. "The Controlled Substances Act is totally devoid of understanding and compassion toward the chronically ill, who want nothing more than to live in dignity. This act must be changed as soon as possible, in order to allow the medical use of marijuana by those who need it." Bigras testified that the Canadian AIDS Society, the Canadian Hemophilia Society, and several prominent doctors "unambiguously" favor legalizing medical marijuana. He also attacked statements made by Health Minister Allan Rock one day earlier regarding the development of federal guidelines for medical marijuana clinical trials. Bigras called Rock's statements a stalling tactic. "How can we have any faith in [the Health Minister's] words when, in the past, the Minister's actions did not fall in line with his commitments?" Bigras asked. "Every time the issue of legalizing the therapeutic use of marijuana [comes] up, the Minister of Health or the Minister of Justice [tries] to duck it. Their answer [is] always: they [are] open to the issue, their officials [are] studying it, and they hope to be able to announce a plan or something more specific in a few months, all the while hoping that the issue would go away." Bigras said that Rock has ignored requests from seriously ill patients who have applied to receive medical marijuana under the Health Canada special access program. Recently, AIDS patient James Wakeford launched a civil suit against the federal government for the right to use medical marijuana after receiving no response from Rock's office. "We know that there is no indication whatsoever that the Minister listens to patients," Bigras concluded. Minister of Health Secretary Elinor Caplan argued that existing federal law already allows for the regulated distribution of medical marijuana if the drug "is of good quality and originates from a legal or licit licensed supplier." She said she intends to amend Bigras' motion to urge the government to develop guidelines for conducting medical marijuana research. Debate over M-81 will continue on two separate days schedule for later this spring. For more information, please contact either R. Keith Stroup, Esq. or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. *** British MP Backs Marijuana By Prescription March 5, 1999, London, England: Member of Parliament Paul Flynn (Labour Party-Newport West) urged colleagues last week to support legalizing medical marijuana. Flynn recently introduced legislation to allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana legally. "The tens of thousands of multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer sufferers should not have to wait ... for a natural medicine which has been used by millions of people for thousands of years," he said. "They want a medicine of their choice now so they can get pain relief, so that they can get a good night's sleep, or so they can stop feeling nauseous from the side effects of chemotherapy." The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee requested Parliament to legalize prescriptive access to medical marijuana in November, but government officials said they would not amend federal law before completing additional research. Parliament recently approved human trials to determine marijuana's ability to control muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients and provide relief to post-operative pain sufferers. Researchers said they expect to present their findings within two years. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** House Rejects South Dakota Governor's Plan To Impose Mandatory Jail Time For Pot Offenses March 5, 1999, Pierre, SD: The House of Representatives tabled legislation yesterday that would have imposed mandatory jail sentences for all marijuana offenders, including children. The House deep-sixed the proposal despite heavy lobbying by Gov. William Janklow (R), who introduced the bill, and majority support from the Senate and House State Affairs Committee. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. praised the House's decision to kill the proposal. "Marijuana smokers work hard, raise families, and contribute to their communities," he said. "They are not part of the crime problem and we should not treat them like criminals. This proposal would have needlessly wrecked the lives, careers, and families of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens in South Dakota who smoke marijuana." The House voted 40 to 29 to table the legislation. Senate Bill 210 stated that any individual convicted of a marijuana violation shall serve ten days in jail. Janklow's initial proposal mandated a 30 day sentence for all offenders, but the Senate amended the measure before passing it 22 to 11 last month. The bill also appropriated $1 million to the Governor's office to pay informants up to $1,000 for evidence leading to arrest and conviction of anyone guilty of a marijuana violation. "Rather than imposing harsh and mandatory jail sentences for minor marijuana offenders, we should develop a policy that distinguishes between use and abuse, and which reflects the importance we have always attached in this country to the right of the individual to be free from the overreaching power of the state," Stroup concluded. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or South Dakota dairy farmer and local NORML coordinator Joe Stein @ (605) 882-3936. *** Alaska Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect This Week March 5, 1999, Juneau, Alaska: A voter-approved law shielding medicinal marijuana patients from criminal prosecution took effect yesterday. It was one of four state initiatives passed in November protecting patients who use medical marijuana under a doctor's supervision. Alaska's new law allows patients to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana or cultivate three mature plants for medical use. It encourages patients to enroll in a confidential registry where they will be issued a state identification card indicating they may legally possess medical marijuana. The law also provides a legal defense for non-registered patients who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana. The Alaska Nurses Association lobbied for the law. "Our position as nurses is that we listen to what the patients tell us and patients tell us this works," ANA spokeswoman Ileen Self said. Although the law orders the Department of Health and Social Services to issue identification cards to qualified patients, the office is not yet accepting applications, the Associated Press reported. Proponents say it is unlikely that state officials will mount any serious challenges to the law because state law limits the Legislature's ability to significantly alter voter-approved initiatives. For more information, please contact either R. Keith Stroup, Esq. or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- War On Crime Doesn't Win Many Battles (A staff editorial in the Columbian, in Vancouver, Washington, discusses how the media and politicians are mostly ignoring the American Bar Association report in which former Reagan Administration attorney general Ed Meese and 15 other panelists found that Congress has gone too far in federalizing crimes that should be dealt with locally.) From: email@example.com (MAPNews) Sent: Saturday, March 06, 1999 2:18 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: WAR ON CRIME DOESN'T WIN MANY BATTLES Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 Source: Columbian, The (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Columbian Publishing Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.columbian.com/ Forum: http://www.webforums.com/forums/trace/host/msa70.html WAR ON CRIME DOESN'T WIN MANY BATTLES Did you hear the one about Ronald Reagan's moralistic attorney general, Ed Meese, putting his name on a studied assertion that Congress has passed far too many laws for the country's own good? Probably not. The story about the 16-member blue-ribbon task force appointed by the American Bar Association dropped into the public hopper while most in the media were dithering about the aftermath of impeachment misfire. Meese said of his panel's reasoned advice to the nation, "Crime legislation is popular. Most of the time it's just feel-good legislation" that overlaps state and local laws. Such duplication, Meese suggested, "undermines the critical role of the states and local law enforcement." Such coverage of the new Meese report as made its way through the impeachment thicket noted that the ABA panel echoed earlier criticism by the fellow now and forever best known for the size and number of gold stripes on the sleeves of his judicial robe. In his annual report in December, Chief Justice William Rehnquist scolded Congress for trying "to appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime." The epidemic of over-legislation has been sapping the public strength for about 30 years. Of all the federal laws written since the Civil War ended 134 years ago, better than seven of 10 were shoved onto the books since 1970. The blizzard of law has not made people feel safer even though crime rates have dropped as the baby boomers hit middle age and gave up bad habits. The Meese panel said, "Increased federalization is rarely, if ever, likely to have any appreciable effect on the categories of violent crime that most concern Americans, because in practice federal law enforcement can reach only a small percent of such activity." All the same, the rash of federal laws has helped this country to lock up more people for longer terms than any nation any time anywhere. Locking out black votes The new laws are particularly hard on young men of color, who are thereby disenfranchised owing to the legal tradition that felons lose citizenship. Fully 13 percent of all African-American men in the United States are barred from voting by state laws barring the ballot box against any felon. In 10 states, 20 percent of African-American males are disenfranchised. No cynic will be at all shocked that those states are in the former Confederacy, whose legislators are skilled at arranging for power to be returned to white men. Alabama, in the deepest south, keeps 7.5 percent of adults out of the voting booth because they are felons. Nearly 31.5 percent of African-American men are banned from voting for members of Congress who might pay attention to Meese and Rehnquist. Alabama and a few other states are at least talking about changing the laws forever depriving felons of suffrage no matter how fully they may demonstrate rehabilitation from the failure of civility that ran them into the thickets of criminal legislation. Proponents recur to the notion that a society is stronger as it makes the most of the strengths and talents of all its members, particularly in such an important area as self-government. No society can hope for continued success if it arranges for more and more of its human raw material to be shunted aside to cages and left out of the power system. The notion is backed by a few solid conservatives. Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who pitched his message partly to black voters last year, supports giving rehabilitated felons the vote under certain conditions in his state. Texas allows some felons to apply for voting rights as soon as they have finished serving their time. Unfortunately for the reform efforts is the countervailing legislative belief that more criminal laws can fix anything. In particular, there is a strong belief that such laws will assure re-election. Federal or state legislators who won't play along with the rush to criminalize more and more behaviors are accused by their challengers as being soft on crime. That may not always or usually make the difference on voting day, but the national folklore insists that Mike Dukakis would have been president but for George Bush's success in painting the Massachusetts governor as a wimp in the crime war. Hints of sanity recently surfaced in the Washington Legislature. Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, got into politics when her daughter was murdered and has been Olympia's most angry crime fighter. She's pushing bills now to use expensive prison space for really violent offenders rather than the 3,000 locked up thanks to recent tough-on-drugs statutes. If such trends take hold, Clark County might even be able to defer a huge expenditure for additional jail space.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Aiming to alter pot law (The Juneau Empire says that, on the same day medical marijuana became legal in Alaska, state senator Loren Leman, an Anchorage Republican, introduced Senate Bill 94, which would severely restrict the new law.) Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 12:20:18 -0900 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Ed Glick (email@example.com) Subject: DPFOR: Fwd: republicans know best Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ From: "Peter Branson" (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: republicans know best Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 00:09:38 PST Are the republinazis trying a similar approach here? *** Web posted Friday, March 5, 1999 Aiming to alter pot law By MARK SABBATINI THE JUNEAU EMPIRE On the same day medical marijuana became legal in Alaska, a legislative measure was introduced placing limits on its use. Among the restrictions that would be added to the law approved by voters last fall is requiring a physician to conclude ``there are no other legal treatments that can be tolerated by the patient that are as effective.'' Senate Bill 94 is intended to close loopholes that could lead to abuse of the new law, said Sen. Loren Leman, an Anchorage Republican who introduced the bill Thursday. ``It does what I think a majority of Alaskans want, which is make sure those who claim they need it and get a doctor to agree will be able to,'' he said today. Patient registration with the state would be mandatory instead of optional and police would have greater access to the registry if Leman's bill passes. Marijuana use would be limited to patients' homes or the homes of their caretakers, or while under supervision at a medical facility. Those restrictions will likely scare off or keep many legitimate patients from using marijuana, said Jim Kentch, one of three co-sponsors of the initiative approved by 59 percent of voters in November. He said it constitutes unwarranted government intervention between a doctor and patient. ``I don't know what makes Loren Leman think he knows or understands or can be cognizant of what the majority of Alaskans thought when they voted for this initiative,'' Kentch said. ``If the majority of Alaskans didn't like it the way it was, they wouldn't have voted for it.'' David Finkelstein, a former state representative and another co-sponsor of the ballot initiative, said the bill could deny cancer patients medical marijuana because morphine can be perceived as equally effective and tolerable by patients. He said that doesn't take into account morphine's side effects. The state constitution doesn't allow the Legislature to repeal a ballot initiative until two years after it becomes law, said Dean Guaneli, chief assistant attorney general for the Department of Law's criminal division. He said lawmakers can change the newly enacted law, however, as long as its basic structure and purpose remains. Leman said the bill does impose ``a fairly high standard'' for medical marijuana use and legislative hearings are needed to determine if all of the bill's provisions are constitutional. But he said hearing from doctors and other experts will lend a degree of expertise to the debate not possible during the election. ``I very much support the initiative process, but I also recognize there is a danger because you don't have the detailed hearing process you have in the Legislature,'' he said
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Legislation Dead In Hawai'i For 1999 Session (A media advisory from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i blames stiff opposition from cops and a "lack of political will" by the chairs of the Hawaiian legislature's house and senate judiciary committees for blocking a public hearing on a medical marijuana bill.) Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 07:20:07 -0500 To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (email@example.com) From: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Medical Marijuana Legislation Dead In Hawai'i For 1999 Session Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i P.O. Box 61233 Honolulu, Hawai'i 96839 email@example.com Website: www.drugsense.org/dpfhi Voice & Fax to 808-988-4386 MEDIA ADVISORY Friday, March 5, 1999 CONTACT: DON TOPPING @ (808) 988-4386 or 637-9822 *** MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION DEAD IN HAWAI'I FOR 1999 SESSION Proponents Lament "Lack of Political Will" by House & Senate Judiciary Committee Chairs HONOLULU - The medical Cannabis (AKA marijuana) issue is sidelined until Y2K in Hawai'i after stiff opposition from law enforcement. Dr. Donald Topping, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i said, "We have heard all of the law-enforcement arguments and they simply would not have stood up under the scrutiny of a public hearing. With the health issues seemingly resolved, we were hopeful that the bills would have a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committees where the law enforcement issues could be addressed." The two model bills had earlier sailed through the House and Senate Health Committees after testimony by many patients about the medical benefits of medical Cannabis. Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland, Chair of the Senate Health Committee said, "I was not entirely convinced until after I had heard the patients speak." Clearly the issue had run up against formidable opposition from state and local federal law enforcement. In a letter to Representative Paul Oshiro, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Dr. Richard S. Miller, wrote, "Law enforcement officials are not necessarily the most knowledgeable experts on state policy. Their job is to execute the laws, not to make policy. To defer to the views of law enforcement officials, to not hear opposing views supported by knowledgeable experts, and to prevent concerned and ailing citizens who would benefit by the bill to testify is very dangerous in a democratic society." Miller, former Dean and Professor Emeritus of the Richardson School of Law developed the Senate-incorporated language legally protecting Hawai'i physicians, whether they choose to recommend marijuana or not to patients. Fearing possible legal ramifications, the Hawai'i Medical Association had opposed the legislation. Ironically, the stonewalling by the Hawai'i legislature was playing out at the very moment the medical marijuana issue is garnering unprecedented attention and support around the world. Efforts to permit the legal use of medical marijuana gained great momentum in November when voters in Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington joined Californians in approving initiatives exempting patients who use the plant from criminal penalties. Voters in Arizona reaffirmed a medical marijuana initiative passed two years ago, and rejected a legislative requirement banning physicians from prescribing marijuana until the drug receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Medical marijuana has been overwhelmingly approved in virtually every jurisdiction around the country in which the issue has been put to a vote. Recently, leaders of 17 national AIDS organizations called on White House officials to legalize medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, and only last week, a United Nations International Drug Control Board report called for "clinical tests of marijuana" and "recommends ending the politicized debate over using marijuana for medical needs by conducting in-depth and impartial scientific research into its possible benefits for some patients." Clinical tests are also underway in Britain, but in some other European nations therapeutic use of marijuana is already allowed. Earlier this week, Canada's Health Minister, Allan Rock announced in the House of Commons that he would officially support clinical trials for marijuana in order to "ease the pain and symptoms of such debilitating diseases as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy, AIDS or arthritis" of the estimated 20,000 Canadians who use marijuana for their medical conditions. "Canadians who are suffering deserve government help," the health minister said. On March 2, 1999, Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) reintroduced legislation in the U.S. Congress to provide for the medical use of marijuana. Frank noted, "What we need to do to get marijuana into the hands of people suffering is to set aside the federal controls on marijuana, so the states can determine this issue for themselves." R. Keith Stroup, Esq., who worked with Frank's office in drafting the bill said the legislation is a streamlined effort to get marijuana to those who require it. "Historically, states have been more receptive to the medical use of marijuana than has the federal government," Stroup explained, noting that 36 state legislatures have passed laws recognizing marijuana's medical value. "This legislation effectively gets the federal government out of the way of those states that wish to make marijuana available as a medicine." In stark contrast, Hawaii's U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie only recently voted in favor of the mean-spirited House Resolution-117 which describes marijuana as "a dangerous and addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use." Representative Patsy Mink voted against. On March 1, twelve members of the Big Island's Cannabis For Health patient organization made the painful trek to O'ahu in a vain attempt to convince individual State House and Senate Judiciary Committee Members to "at least hear the bills." Co-Founder, Glenn Robinette said, "Our U.S. Senator Dan Inouye supports medical Cannabis, Governor Cayetano introduced and would have likely signed the legislation, both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees had excellent bills before them - drafted after having had the benefit of six other states experience with the issue - and some of Hawaii's finest legal minds have had direct input. The only thing lacking was the political will in the Legislature. Once again, Hawai'i has missed the boat and people here will continue to suffer."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Customs Seeks Own Intelligence Unit (According to the Associated Press, U.S. Customs Director Ray Kelly said Thursday that current tip-sharing arrangements with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the CIA do not give him the tactical information he needs, so the Customs Service should be able to gather its own overseas drug intelligence.) Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:10:35 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Customs Seeks Own Intelligence Unit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: ANNE GEARAN Associated Press Writer CUSTOMS SEEKS OWN INTELLIGENCE UNIT WASHINGTON (AP) The Customs Service should be able to gather its own overseas drug intelligence, without piggybacking on other federal agencies, the agency's director believes. Current tip-sharing arrangements with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the CIA do not give him the tactical information he needs to foil drug smugglers, Customs Director Ray Kelly said Thursday. "We need what's coming across between 12 and 8 o'clock, and what's the color of truck that's bringing it in, and what's the port of entry," Kelly said in an interview with The Associated Press that also touched on the battle against child pornography and polishing his agency's troubled image. "We have the need for real-time intelligence" about shipments headed for U.S. borders, Kelly said. "We need stuff that's coming in quickly, and we're not getting it." White House drug policy adviser Barry McCaffrey recently commissioned a study of overseas drug intelligence that recommended a separate unit for Customs, a government source said later. The report, which has not been made public, was the starting point for recent discussions between senior officials at the Treasury and Justice departments, the source said. Separate meetings are scheduled next week between Customs and DEA. On other topics: Kelly said his agency is doubling the size of a special unit tracking child pornography on the Internet. Customs has long experience in anti-pornography efforts, because many illegal photos and videos are produced overseas. Customs agents and inspectors used to look for such contraband at the borders or in airports, "but now it's coming in over the Internet," Kelly said. Kelly said he is tackling cronyism within the Customs ranks and making changes quickly to reform the agency he took over last year. "The cronyism," he said, comes about partly "because of local hiring, local promotion, local discipline and local rulings." Kelly said he is reshuffling managers, improving accountability and setting up clearer chains of command. And he is cracking down on those who fall down on the job. He cited the example of Customs employees in El Paso who broke the rules recently by leaving a commercial incineration plant before their cargo of seized marijuana was destroyed. "We're looking to fire them," he said. Kelly, a tough-talking former New York City police commissioner, said Customs enjoys "a good relationship" with the DEA. But he said he would prefer to have his employees, who are already stationed in more than two dozen countries, gather their own information. The two agencies have separate, overlapping duties at the nation's ports and border crossings. Customs inspectors are the front line of drug interdiction, searching baggage and people. The DEA investigates and helps prosecute drug activity. The two agencies also serve different masters; Customs is part of the Treasury Department and DEA is part of the Justice Department. Customs also gets some "strategic" information on drug smuggling from the CIA, but Kelly said it has little relevance to specific seizure operations. Kelly said he is "kind of in negotiations and discussions" with higher-ups at Treasury and Justice about a Customs intelligence unit. "Will we do that? I don't know," he said. DEA spokesman Terry Parham said he is not familiar with the idea, but said the current system works well. "I think we are jointly working together, closely together," Parham said. "We do work toward the same end and to achieve the same goal: Seize drugs and put those responsible in jail." There is no information on the structure, cost or other practical considerations of a separate Customs unit. Kelly said a dedicated Customs intelligence unit would gather information on all contraband coming to the United States, but would focus on drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinical Trials Of Marijuana Will Not Halt Arrests Of Terminally Ill (The National Post, in Canada, says that despite Health Minister Allan Rock's announcement Wednesday that his office will conduct clinical trials on the medical use of marijuana, police will continue to arrest terminally ill Canadians who are growing and smoking marijuana. According to Eugene Oscapella, a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Mr. Rock has the power, under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and the Substances Act, to exempt any person from the application of the law.) Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 19:23:25 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: Clinical Trials Of Marijuana Will Not Halt Arrests Of Terminally Ill Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Craig (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 Source: National Post (Canada) Copyright: Southam Inc. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nationalpost.com/ Forum: http://forums.canada.com/~canada Author: Joel-Denis Bellavance CLINICAL TRIALS OF MARIJUANA WILL NOT HALT ARRESTS OF TERMINALLY ILL Law remains the same Police officers will continue to arrest terminally ill Canadians who are growing and smoking marijuana even though Allan Rock, the Health Minister, has approved clinical trials on the medical use of the drug. The federal government has not instructed the RCMP to refrain from laying charges against patients who use marijuana to fight the symptoms related to their disease. "The law remains the same for now," said Derek King, a spokesman for the health minister. Mr. Rock announced on Wednesday that his officials will conduct clinical trials on the medical use of marijuana to determine whether the drug can help relieve medicinal side-effects for patients being treated for terminal illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. No timetable has been set yet, but Mr. Rock said scientists will gather evidence "as soon as possible" and develop appropriate guidelines for the medical use of the drug and to provide access to a safe supply. Eugene Oscapella is a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, which supports the decriminalization of many drugs for medical purposes. Yesterday he blasted the Liberal government for not showing more "compassion" toward terminally ill patients. "This is appalling," said Mr. Oscapella. "The word compassion seems to be lacking from the vocabulary of this government." Mr. Oscapella said that Mr. Rock has the power, under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and the Substances Act, to exempt any person from the application of the law. "Why doesn't the minister do that?" Mr. Oscapella said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- MP Challenges Rock Pot Move (According to the London Free Press, in Ontario, Bernard Bigras, a Bloc Quebecois member of Parliament, accused Health Minister Allan Rock yesterday of plotting to derail his Commons motion to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. "I think it's a minister's campaign to destabilize all the people working on the proposal." Bigras said if Rock honestly plans to move forward with the tests, he should support the Bloc motion when it comes to a vote in June.) Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:39:30 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Canada: MP Challenges Rock Pot Move Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Friday, March 5, 1999 Source: London Free Press (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonFreePress/home.html Forum: http://www.lfpress.com/londoncalling/SelectForum.asp MP CHALLENGES ROCK POT MOVE OTTAWA -- A Bloc MP accuses Health Minister Allan Rock of plotting to derail his Commons motion to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. "I think it's a minister's campaign to destabilize all the people working on the proposal," Bernard Bigras said yesterday. Bigras said he doubts the sincerity of Rock's announcement Wednesday that he'll launch clinical tests of medical marijuana. Bigras said if Rock honestly plans to move forward with the tests, he has to support the Bloc motion when it comes to a vote in June. Meantime, he said, Rock can prove his good faith by using Health Canada's powers to provide legal access to pot for AIDS and cancer victims. Bigras has Tory and NDP support, and now will send out 10,000 postcards to get support from Canadians. The cards remind supporters of a 1997 Ontario court ruling that called the Narcotic Control Act unconstitutional as it applies to the therapeutic use of pot.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Changing Face of the Drug Trade (Inter Press Service says the Peruvian government has officially notified Washington that it will not allow the United States to set up an anti-drug military airbase in Peru. Washington has sounded out several other Central American countries about the possibility of obtaining authorisation for the installation of military bases - negotiations that are no longer based on the concept of "hemispheric security," but on "cooperation" in the war on some drug users.) Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 17:54:26 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Peru: Wire: The Changing Face of the Drug Trade Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: isenberd@DynCorp.com (Isenberg, David) Pubdate: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 Source: Inter Press Service Copyright: IPS-Inter Press Service Author: Abraham Lama THE CHANGING FACE OF THE DRUG TRADE LIMA, Mar 5 (IPS) - The Peruvian government has officially notified Washington that it will not allow the United States to set up an anti-drug military airbase here, said Public Affairs Officer John Dickson at the US embassy in Lima. The head of the Southern Command of the U.S. armed forces, Gen. Charles Wilhelm, met Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori last December to extend an official request for authorisation to install an airbase in Peru. The U.S. armed forces are seeking new installations to replace their bases in Panama, which are to be abandoned by May as part of the 1977 treaties which stipulate that Washington must hand over the Panama canal and facilities in the area to the Panamanian government by Dec 31, 1999. Washington has also sounded out several other Central American countries, as well as Ecuador, on the possibility of obtaining authorisation for the installation of military bases - negotiations that are no longer based on the concept of ''hemispheric security,'' but on ''cooperation'' in the fight against drugs. Peru was certified as an ally in the ''war on drugs'' this year in Washington's annual certification exercise. The praise of Peru's successful anti-drug efforts, contained in the report released by the U.S. government last week, is expected to lead to an increase in financial, technical and military aid for Lima. In spite of the certification, Lima has stood firm in its refusal to allow the United States to set up an airbase in Peru. But ''that 'no' does not mean the government of Fujimori is not willing to commit Peru's armed forces to take part in an expedition against Colombia's guerrillas, based on the pretext of their alleged association with drug traffickers,'' said Flavio Solorzano, a sociology professor at the San Martin de Porres University. Mirko Lauer, who has a column in the left-leaning daily 'La Republica', agrees. Lauer pointed to Fujimori's recent criticism of preliminary peace talks between Colombian President Andres Pastrana and the two main guerrilla groups active in that country, which is in the grips of a decades-old civil war. Solorzano and Lauer believe Fujimori would be willing to participate in joint operations between the armed forces of the United States, Colombia and Brazil. Over the past few weeks, the Peruvian army has reinforced its military garrisons along the border with Colombia, and deployed several artillery units along the Putumayo river that forms the border between the two countries. Ricardo Soberon, an expert in drug trafficking issues and frequent contributor to the local daily 'Gestion', stressed that the question of a U.S. airbase had arisen at a time of major changes in the drug trafficking scene in Peru. Areas of production are shifting and new smuggling routes taking shape to adapt to the new conditions in the international cocaine trade. ''Over the past few years, illegal coca production has gradually taken root in Colombia, where the international intermediaries of the past now control the production, refinement and exportation of cocaine,'' he said. Raul Serrano, who works with the non-governmental organisation DESCO, the leading body involved in prevention of drug abuse in Peru, said that ''when Peru was the world's leading producer of cocaine, the drug scene here was limited to the central jungle region. ''But now the problem has branched off into two directions: production has shifted to the south-central jungles, and enforcement efforts have moved northwards, to the border with Colombia.'' The crackdown on exports from clandestine airstrips in Peru's central jungles has forced Colombian traffickers to plant coca at home. ''The drug trafficking gangs that remained in Peru also moved toward a formerly secondary coca production zone, the tropical valleys of the Apurimac river, hundreds of kilometres to the south, and are trying to open new export routes from there,'' said Serrano. Soberon said a favourable evolution of the incipient peace talks between the government and main insurgent groups in Colombia could lead drug cartels there to abandon plantations at home and return to Peru. Representatives of the U.S. State Department and delegates of the Pastrana administration and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - the largest and oldest rebel group in that country - recently met in Costa Rica, said Soberon. He pointed out that in the meeting, FARC reportedly agreed to promote a reduction of coca crops in the territory under its influence. With respect to the new routes being used by Peruvian traffickers since the clandestine air routes into Colombia were cut off, Soberon said sources with the Fujimori administration had informed him of efforts by smugglers to create a maritime route for exports toward Mexico and the United States. ''Installations and labs for refining basic cocaine paste have been discovered in pseudo-poultry farms on the coast, in Huaral and Chincha, where choral hydrate of cocaine - the final product, which fetches the highest prices on the world market - was being developed,'' he said. ''The mechanisms of U.S. assistence and cooperation for maritime control of large-scale exportation of cocaine will possibly arrive soon, so the Peruvian navy will be roped into the police work of cracking down'' on the drug trade, Soberon concluded.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 81 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original publication featuring drug policy news and calls to action includes - HEA reform campaign gains momentum - DRCNet attacked by Republican Rep. Souder; Hundreds rally against Rockefeller drug laws; Amnesty International charges that women behind bars suffer "rough justice"; Drug policy coalition calls for reversal of budget priorities; Federal bill reintroduced to legalize medical marijuana; Canada's House of Commons debates medical marijuana; Australian prime minister criticized over FBI invitation; Sen. Hatch advocates for expansion of maintenance therapies for opiate dependency; Hemp reform efforts underway; an editorial by Adam J. Smith, "Million man madness"; and an Errata note) Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 02:41:23 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #81 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #81 -- March 5, 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/081.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. HEA Reform Campaign Gains Momentum -- DRCNet Attacked by Republican Rep. Souder http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#heareform 2. Hundreds Rally Against Rockefeller Drug Laws http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#kunstler 3. Amnesty International Charges that Women Behind Bars Suffer "Rough Justice" http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#aireport 4. Drug Policy Coalition Calls for Reversal of Budget Priorities http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#coalition 5. Federal Bill Reintroduced to Legalize Medical Marijuana http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#fedbill 6. Canada's House of Commons Debates Medical Marijuana http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#commons 7. Australian Prime Minister Criticized Over FBI Invitation http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#fbivisit 8. Sen. Hatch Advocates for Expansion of Maintenance Therapies for Opiate Dependency http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#buprenorphine 9. Hemp Reform Efforts Underway http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#hempreform 10. EDITORIAL: Million Man Madness http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#editorial 11. Errata Note http://www.drcnet.org/wol/081.html#errata *** 1. HEA Reform Campaign Gains Momentum -- DRCNet Attacked by Republican Rep. Souder A student-led campaign that seeks to overturn a controversial provision in the Higher Education Act of 1998 gained momentum this week as college newspapers from across the nation ran stories, and a Republican congressman who was instrumental in passing the provision responded with faulty statistics and an ad hominem attack against DRCNet in the University of Virginia's newspaper, the Cavalier Daily. A provision in the HEA, signed into law by President Clinton on October 7, will deny or delay eligibility for federal financial aid for any student convicted of a drug offense, no matter how minor. Students on more than 100 campuses are already participating in a campaign, coordinated by DRCNet, to have the law overturned. Students are seeking the endorsements of their student governments for a resolution calling on the 106th Congress to repeal the provision. Thus far, the resolution has been presented to five student governments and has been endorsed by all five. The campaign bases its opposition to the new law on four main issues. First, the campaign views the restriction of access to education as a counterproductive approach, given that education is the surest route into the mainstream for students at risk. Next, the law singles out drug offenders -- the vast majority of whom are convicted of non-violent possession offenses -- as the only class of offenders to lose eligibility for financial aid. Third, the law represents an extra-judicial penalty affecting only those students of low to moderate means, as the educational opportunities of wealthier students will be unaffected by the loss of financial aid. Finally, and most perniciously, drug law enforcement is practiced most aggressively against non-whites, making it certain that the law will have a racially discriminatory impact. Mark Souder, a member of the House Education Committee who was instrumental in the provision's passage, responded to the campaign by submitting an op-ed to the Cavalier Daily that ran on February 25. In it, Souder cites the Department of Justice as the source of statistics indicating that in 1995, "approximately 60% of defendants convicted of drug offenses were white and 38% were black." These figures lead Souder to proclaim, "Gross disparities in conviction rates do not exist." The truth is that those statistics reflect only federal cases, which account for just 13% of all drug convictions. Overall (state and federal inclusive) more than 55% of those convicted of drug offenses in the United States in 1995 were indeed African American, despite the fact that African Americans comprise only 13% of the population and a proportional percentage of all drug users. The federal statistics cited by Souder are further misleading as they do not separate out Latinos, who comprise more than 35% of those convicted on federal drug charges, and who are overwhelmingly classified as "white" for the particular numbers cited by Souder. Chris Maj, President of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, where the resolution has already been endorsed, told The Week Online, "If Representative Souder intentionally used false statistics to convince college students that the drug war is not a racially discriminatory policy, that is an outrage. If, on the other hand, he is truly unaware of the racial disparities, then that is an indication of just how out of touch with reality many of our elected leaders are." In addition to statistical manipulation, Rep. Souder took the opportunity to attack the campaign, the reform movement in general and DRCNet specifically in his op-ed. Unwittingly, perhaps, Souder gave some indication of the broad interest in the campaign on college campuses nationally when he wrote: "There are those organizations, though, who work to create controversy and twist common sense principles in order to advance their own agendas. Take the Drug Reform Coordination Network, for example. My office has received calls from college newspapers from all over the country who have been fed propaganda by this group." "In the past, these organizations have used the sick and the dying to promote the use of so-called medicinal marijuana in their continual effort to weaken the drug laws. Now they see the opportunity to take advantage of college students who receive financial aid by enlisting them in their doomed campaign. Their latest tactic is to assert that the drug- free student loan provision of the Higher Education Act is racist. Apparently they believe minority college students who receive financial aid are more likely to use and sell drugs." But Chris Maj had a different interpretation. "It doesn't take a brain surgeon or a member of Congress to look at this issue and realize that something is seriously wrong with our policies. When today's college students were born, the US prison population was one eighth of its current size. That increase, the imprisonment of literally hundreds of thousands of non-violent people, was undertaken in our name, as a way of protecting us from drugs. But there isn't a college student in this country who came from a city or a town where drugs weren't available to kids. We weren't protected and we know it." "College students aren't as tied to the status quo as older generations are," Maj added. "We're open to new solutions, and, on the whole, we're committed to making sure that those solutions make sense. Keeping people from educating themselves because they use the wrong substances doesn't make sense. Filling prisons with non-violent people because they use the wrong substances, even if their use rises to the level of addiction, doesn't make sense. And any policy with an outcome as racially divisive and discriminatory as ours has, is not going to be very popular with our generation. We're just getting started educating our peers about this, and letting them know that they can make a difference." DRCNet expects the number of student governments endorsing the resolution to grow substantially over the next month, and is also expecting the campaign to receive the endorsements of national organizations in the next several weeks. Adam Smith, DRCNet's associate director, is confident that the campaign, far from being "doomed," has real political promise. "One can only surmise that legislators pass laws such as this to look 'tough' to their constituents, while counting on students to simply roll over and accept the fact that they are being used as pawns in a failed drug war strategy. Given the speed at which the campaign is growing, I'd say that there are some legislators who are about to discover that they've made a serious error in judgment." Learn more about the HEA reform campaign and how to get involved, at http://www.u-net.org. *** 2. Hundreds Rally Against Rockefeller Drug Laws A crowd of about 500 people gathered on the steps of the New York State Capitol Building in Albany last Tuesday, March 2nd, to protest the state's draconian drug laws, named after then governor Nelson Rockefeller. The rally, sponsored by the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, featured Rev. Al Sharpton, retired State Supreme Court Judge Jerome Marks, Rev. Herbert Daughtry of Brooklyn, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, actor Al Lewis of "Munsters" fame, Margaret Tarbet of the Kunstler fund, and others, as well as family members of prisoners serving lengthy mandatory prison terms under the laws. According to the Daily Gazette, Jaheen Hilts, a 12-year old whose father and uncle are both serving time in state prison and sale and possession of cocaine, held a poster with his father's picture and sentence, 15 to 30 years. Hilts entered prison when his son was age 5, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 20. The Associated Press quoted 10-year-old Lisa Oberg, whose mother Arlene is serving a 20 years to life, saying, "This law is mean and unfair and cruel." The AP also reported that protesters booed Rockefeller's name whenever a speaker mentioned it. "Words alone cannot relay the emotion, the electricity, the anger and determination of the Rockefeller Drug Rally participants," commented DRCNet member Jeffrey Seymour, who attended the rally. The Week Online spoke with Randy Credico of the Kunstler Fund, who said that their amount of mail soared as the Albany rally approached. The Fund is planning a "Seven Days in May" demonstration, consisting of vigils with family members from Monday, 5/8 through Friday 5/12 in different locations in New York City, a rally on Saturday 5/13 at the State Building in Harlem, and a rally on Sunday 5/14 outside the the Bedford Hills correctional facility. May 8 is the 26-year anniversary of the law's signing. Vigils will be held around the state, especially the north, throughout the month of April. To learn more or find out how to get involved, visit http://www.kunstler.org on the web, e-mail email@example.com, or call the Vigil Action Initiative Update hotline at (212) 539-8441. For more information on mandatory minimum sentences, visit the Families Against Mandatory Minimums web site at http://www.famm.org. The FAMM workshop will take place from March 27-29 in Washington, DC. *** 3. Amnesty International Charges that Women Behind Bars Suffer "Rough Justice" The following is a news release issued by Amnesty International this Thursday 3/4: "My feet were still shackled together, and I couldn't get my legs apart. The doctor called for the officer... No one else could unlock the shackles, and my baby was coming... Finally the officer came and unlocked the shackles from my ankles. My baby was born then." ("Maria Jones" describing how she gave birth while an inmate of Cook County Jail, Chicago, 1998) The use of shackles on pregnant inmates is just one example of the cruelty and ill-treatment many women suffer in US jails and prisons, Amnesty International said today in a new report issued as part of its international campaign against human rights violations in the United States. As well as the use of restraints on pregnant and sick prisoners, Amnesty International's report -- "Not part of my sentence" -- details human rights violations including sexual abuse, lack of medical care and lengthy periods of confinement in so-called super-maximum units. Reports of rape and other forms of sexual abuse -- including sexually offensive language and male staff touching women's breasts and genitals during searches or watching them when they are naked -- are widespread in US prisons and jails. "Cases of sexual abuse actually reported are probably only the tip of the iceberg as victims are often reluctant to complain for fear of not being believed or suffering retaliation," Amnesty International said. "The overwhelming majority of complaints concern male staff, reflecting the fact that many guards and other prison employees are male," the organization added. The number of women in US jails and prisons has been growing dramatically, largely as a result of the war on drugs. In 1997 the figure was at 138,000 -- a three-fold increase since 1985. This amounts to about 10 times the number of women prisoners in Western European countries, which combined have a female population the same size as the USA. "Authorities around the USA have been spending large sums of money building new prisons and jails but have not provided adequate funds for the health, welfare and rehabilitation of the people they are locking up," Amnesty International said. As the world celebrates International Women's Day on 8 March, Amnesty International is calling on US federal, state and local authorities to make a strong commitment to implement the measures required to effectively protect the safety, health and dignity of all women in custody. Concerns expressed in the report include: * Sexual abuse: rape of an inmate by staff is internationally recognized as a form of torture and violates US federal and state criminal laws, yet reports of rape and other forms of sexual abuse are common in US prisons and jails. Amnesty International is calling for female inmates to be supervised by female staff only, and for victims to be more effectively protected from retaliation if they report abuses. * Medical care: access to a doctor is often conditional on permission by non-medical staff, who may underestimate the seriousness of the case or be inclined not to believe inmates. In some cases, delays are reported to have had serious health consequences. In 1998 an inmate in an Arizona Jail wrote to Amnesty International reporting that she had lost her baby -- and almost bled to death -- after her call for urgent medical attention was left unheeded for hours. Amnesty International is urging that all women in custody have access to free and adequate medical care. * Mental health care: there are concerns about the use of psychotropic drugs and a reported lack of counseling. Amnesty International is calling for an inquiry into prison mental health services and for women suffering from severe mental illnesses to be transferred to mental health institutions. * Use of physical restraints on sick and pregnant women: handcuffs and shackles are often used on women both during transport and in hospital even if they do not have a history of violence or escape. In the case of pregnant women, restraints pose a serious health threat. Amnesty International is calling for the use of restraints to be limited to cases in which the inmates' conduct makes them necessary. * Super-maximum security units: some women appear to be sent to such units -- where conditions are particularly harsh -- for comparatively minor infractions. Some of the rules in those units -- such as the one requiring that prisoners be "in full view" all the time -- violate the inmates' privacy and dignity, and their isolated nature can increase the opportunities for abuse. (Learn more about Amnesty International's US campaign at http://www.rightsforall-usa.org/.) *** 4. Drug Policy Coalition Calls for Reversal of Budget Priorities Clinton Drug Plan Fails to Prevent Adolescent Drug Use or Reduce Disease Washington, DC: The war on drugs has failed to protect America's children from drug abuse and has failed to reduce the availability of cocaine and heroin, according to a new report titled "The Effective National Drug Control Strategy." The report was released on March 3, 1999, coinciding with Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey' testimony before a House Subcommittee on his year 2000 budget request. The "Effective Strategy" recommends spending two out of every three dollars of the drug control budget on prevention and rehabilitation. It also recommends tripling funding for adolescent drug use prevention programs, with the emphasis on investing in America's youth through after school programs, mentor programs and honest drug education. "Contrary to General McCaffrey's claims, the drug war still relies overwhelmingly on incarcerating drug users and trying to interdict drugs -- the two least effective methods of reducing drug abuse," said Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy and one of the report's lead authors. "We know what works, but General McCaffrey keeps investing in strategies that are destroying families, hurting kids and undermining the Constitution." The Network of Reform Groups (NRG), - a coalition of two dozen organizations working for more sensible drug policies, examined government data and independent research and concluded that the drug war has not deterred children from using illegal drugs, nor has it resulted in fewer deaths and injuries from drug use. The report found that: * The U.S. government spent $3.6 billion on the drug war in 1988, and will spend $17.9 billion in 1999 -- $2 out of every $3 on law enforcement. * From 1985 to 1995, 85 percent of the increase in the federal prison population was due to drug convictions. Due to mandatory sentencing, drug offenders spend more time in jail (average 82.2 months) than rapists (average 73.3 months). * Drug overdose deaths are up 540 percent since 1980, 33 people per day are infected with HIV from injection drug use, which is becoming the engine for a new epidemic, Hepatitis C. * The price of heroin and cocaine has dropped dramatically since 1981, while purity of both drugs has increased. The report recommends that the Drug Czar create a non- partisan panel of experts to evaluate current drug control efforts and consider the full range of alternative policy options, and recommends a reversal of the federal drug budget priorities, as well as a range of reforms including eliminating mandatory minimum drug sentences, lifting the ban on use of federal AIDS funds for needle exchange programs, reversing the trend toward cutting school budgets to invest in prisons and enacting "family friendly" laws that keep families together, kids in school and social networks intact. The Effective Strategy can be found on line at http://www.csdp.org/edcs/. *** 5. Federal Bill Reintroduced to Legalize Medical Marijuana (reprinted courtesy of NORML, http://www.norml.org) March 2, 1999, Washington, DC: Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) reintroduced legislation today in the new Congress to provide for the medical use of marijuana. The bill is titled the "Medical Use of Marijuana Act." "I support the medical use of marijuana," Rep. Frank announced. "What we need to do to get marijuana into the hands of people suffering is to set aside the federal controls on marijuana, so the states can determine this issue for themselves." The proposed legislation states: "No provision of the Controlled Substances Act [or] ... the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict -- (A) the prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use, (B) an individual from obtaining and using marijuana from a prescription or recommendation of marijuana by a physician for medical use by such individual, or (C) a pharmacy from obtaining and holding marijuana for the prescription of marijuana by a physician for medical use under applicable state law in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law." The legislation reschedules marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law, thereby making it legal for physicians to prescribe. "This legislation ... recognize[s] that there are valid and important medicinal uses for marijuana," a statement issued by Frank's office said. "The effect of [this] bill would be to make fully operative the laws in those states which permit the medical use of marijuana, without the preemptive and controlling restrictions currently in place in federal law on the possession, use, prescription, or sale of marijuana," Frank added. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq., who worked with Frank's office in drafting the bill's language, said the legislation is a streamlined effort to get marijuana to those who require it. "Historically, states have been more receptive to the medical marijuana issue than the federal government," Stroup explained, noting that 36 state legislatures have passed laws recognizing marijuana's medical value. "This legislation addresses this paradigm and effectively gets the federal government out of the way of those states that wish to make marijuana available as a medicine." Efforts to permit the legal use of medical marijuana gained momentum in November when voters in Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington joined Californians in approving initiatives exempting patients who use medical marijuana from criminal penalties. Voters in Arizona reaffirmed a medical marijuana initiative passed two years ago, and rejected a legislative requirement banning physicians from prescribing marijuana until the drug receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Recently, leaders of 17 national AIDS organizations called on White House officials to legalize medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. The Medical Use of Marijuana Act also mandates federal officials to supply marijuana for medical research projects approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Recently, the United Nations International Drug Control Board recommended that the US and others conduct impartial scientific research to determine marijuana's potential medical benefits. Congressman Frank has been joined in cosponsoring this legislation by Reps. Tom Campbell (R-CA), John Conyers (D MI), John Olver (D-MA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Pete Stark (D- CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Rep. Barney Frank's office may be contacted at (202) 225-5931. *** 6. Canada's House of Commons Debates Medical Marijuana The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy reported on March 3, 1999, that Canada's House of Commons would begin a debate on legalization of medical marijuana on Thursday, March 4, at 5:30pm, focusing on a motion by MP Bernard Bigras. The motion reads as follows: M-381 - March 25, 1998 - Mr. Bigras (Rosemont) - "That, in the opinion of this House, the government should undertake all necessary steps to legalize the use of marijuana for health and medical purposes." The debate on the motion is limited to three hours. The first hour of debate will occur on March 4, with the remainder on two separate days to be announced later. Since this is a "votable" motion, there will be a vote after the debate. If the majority of MPs support the motion, it will create pressure on the federal government to take legislative steps to legalize the use of marijuana for health and medical purposes. House of Commons transcripts and media reports about the announcement by the federal Minister of Health that he has asked his officials to develop a plan that will include clinical trials for medical marijuana, appropriate guidelines for its medical use and access to a safe supply of this drug can be found on CFDP's web site at http://fox.nstn.ca/~eoscapel/cfdp/mar399hc.htm. The site also contains links to research and other reports on medicinal marijuana. *** 7. Australian Prime Minister Criticized Over FBI Invitation The Australian organization Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform criticized Prime Minister John Howard on the occasion of US FBI Director's Louis Freeh's visit to Australia on the Prime Minister's invitation. "I am angry and sad that the Prime Minister, Mr. Howard, seeks out meetings with people like Mr. Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI when he has refused to meet and listen to groups such as our own," said Marion McConnell. Howard has ignored three requests since 1997 to meet with representatives of FFDLR. "Mr. Howard's statements of recent days have confirmed our impression that he is a man determined not to listen to points of view with which he disagrees. How else," Mrs. McConnell continued, "is it possible to explain his instructions to Australian diplomatic missions to seek out arguments for asserting that the Swiss heroin trial has failed?" "With all these outcomes, just what is it, Mr. Howard, that your want? We can only conclude," added McConnell, "that his stubborn refusal to accept this evidence -- or permit a trial to be conducted in Australia to double check the results -- is because they challenge the very basis of his law and order approach". (Learn more about the outcome of the Swiss heroin maintenance program from our archives at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/063.html#swissheroin. FFDLR concludes that "Switzerland has shown heroin prescription to be the only known treatment that constitutes a safety net across a chasm into which 700 young Australians a year -- including many of our family members -- have plunged to their death. The AAP reported on 3/2 that Prime Minister Howard denied that Australia had lost the war on drugs and indicated that he would veto any attempt by Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett to introduce a heroin trial. Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform is online at http://www.adca.org.au/ffdlr/. *** 8. Sen. Hatch Advocates for Expansion of Maintenance Therapies for Opiate Dependency - Scott Ehlers, Drug Policy Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.dpf.org In a surprise display of bipartisan unity in dealing with addiction as a health, rather than a criminal justice matter, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Daniel Moynihan (D-NY) have joined forces to expand the provision of maintenance therapy for opiate dependency. The three senators are cosponsoring S. 324, the "Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 1999," which was introduced on January 28 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would, for the first time since the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, allow a general practitioner to maintain an opiate-dependent patient on a narcotic, in this case a Schedule IV or V drug. The sponsors of the bill are particularly interested in allowing physicians to prescribe buprenorphine and a buprenorphine/naloxone combination to maintain or detoxify patients. Buprenorphine is a mild, Schedule V narcotic that has been used in maintenance therapy for heroin addicts in France. Under the Narcotic Treatment Act of 1974, physicians must now get a DEA registration and approval by the US Department of Health and Human Services to use approved narcotics in drug abuse treatment. Additionally, state agencies are involved in the regulation process. This burdensome regulatory scheme has resulted in "a treatment system consisting primarily of large methadone clinics located in big cities, and preventing physicians from treating patients in an office setting or in rural or small towns, thereby denying treatment to thousands in need of it," according to Sen. Levin (CR, p. S1091). The current system also prevents new FDA-approved addiction treatment drugs from being utilized. Alan Leshner, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, noted in a memo to Sen. Levin that the burdensome regulations have prevented drugs like LAAM from making an appreciable impact on the "treatment gap" since the drug's introduction in 1993. S. 324 would require a physician to: (1) notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Secretary") that s/he intends to dispense approved drugs for maintenance or detoxification treatment; (2) have, "by training or experience," the ability to treat and manage opiate- dependent patients; (3) have the capacity to refer patients to appropriate counseling and other services; and (4) limit the number of patients treated at one time to 20, unless the Secretary changes the number through the regulatory process. The bill would require drugs in Schedule IV or V to: (1) be approved under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or section 351 of the Public Health Act for maintenance or detoxification treatment; and (2) not be subject to an "adverse determination" by the Secretary and Attorney General. To determine the effectiveness of the law and whether it should remain in effect, the Secretary is required to determine the effectiveness of the treatments and if treatment availability has increased. The Attorney General is required to monitor doctor and patient compliance with the regulations, including the diversion of prescribed maintenance drugs. The Secretary or Attorney General can end the program at any time, and states can prevent physicians from treating patients through the passage of legislation. Although buprenorphine maintenance won't help many of the persons being maintained on methadone today, it could help lower-level, younger users who haven't developed a high tolerance to opiates, according to Dr. Marc Shinderman, medical director of the Center for Addictive Problems in Chicago. He added, "This legislation would allow patients and doctors to develop a therapeutic alliance in an office- based setting, and provide a low-threshold treatment option which is now not possible with methadone due to governmental over-regulation." Edith Springer, Senior Trainer at the Harm Reduction Training Institute and a board member of the Drug Policy Foundation, also welcomed the legislation. "Although the bill doesn't go far enough in allowing doctors and patients to decide on the treatment of their choice, passage of this legislation would set a precedent that can only help us. Some people have found buprenorphine to be helpful and patients should have it available as a mode of treatment." *** 9. Hemp Reform Efforts Underway - Marc Brandl, email@example.com Hemp reform efforts are off to a vigorous start in 1999. 12 state legislatures have started off the new legislative session with various bills and resolutions that would reclassify hemp, urge the federal government to reconsider hemp and encouraging more research and test plots. Two states have recently passed resolutions that were signed. In Virginia, House bill HJ-94 passed the state Senate 40-0, in mid-February after it had earlier passed the House by a 76-23 margin. The bill will be sent to several relevant federal agencies including ONDCP, the DEA and the Secretary of Agriculture and urges them, "To revise the necessary regulations so as to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in Virginia." The bill also gives the Commonwealth of Virginia the option of becoming a member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC). "I think its fine," said a confident Erwin Sholts, the chairman of the NAIHC, "a lot of state farm bureaus, Fortune 500 companies, and universities are members because we are being driven by agriculture, and not anything else. This [agriculture] industry is in very bad trouble. I get calls from farmers all over saying they need alternative crops. The English, German and Canadian parliaments have debated this and found this is not a drug crop. When you get past emotion and into the facts, these bills pass easily. I can understand why Virginia would pass this bill." A primary sponsor of the bill in the Virginia state assembly, Del. Mitchell Van Yahres (D) mirrored much of the sentiment of Sholts when he talked to the WOL and voiced his frustration with the federal governments position. "The present conditions are totally out of place. They are being totally unrealistic. Government encouraged farmers to grow this during World War II because it was a valuable crop. The only reason it has negatives is the word 'hemp' is involved. This is not a drug issue." A similar bill in the Montana legislature also was passed into law recently by a vote of 95-4. H.R. 2 calls on the federal government to, "Repeal restrictions on the production of industrial hemp as an agricultural and industrial product." The primary sponsor of this resolution Rep. Joan Hurdle was not available for comment as of press time but stated in an e-mail message announcing the passage, "Now all the farmers in Montana are asking about growing it and want to start this spring!" In other news, a civil lawsuit seeking to allow Kentucky farmers to grow hemp was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester. Andy Graves, a plaintiff in the case and a member of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association told local newspapers that he was not surprised with the ruling and the case will be appealed. *** 10. EDITORIAL: Million Man Madness - Adam J. Smith, Associate Director, firstname.lastname@example.org A report issued this week by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives shows that by the year 2000, the number of African American adults behind bars will reach one million. At that time, roughly one in ten black men will be imprisoned. Not since the days of slavery have so many people of African decent lived in shackles. And no other nation on earth, as far as anyone can tell, is keeping so large a percentage of any ethnic or racial minority locked up in cages. Clearly, something is wrong. Last week, Congressman Mark Souder of Indiana, who represents a district that is over 92% white, wrote of the drug war that "gross disparities in conviction rates (between blacks and whites) do not exist." Oh, but they do. Drug offenses are the largest single category of crimes for which Americans are serving time. And blacks comprise more than 55% of those convicted for those offenses, even while reliable studies show that rates of drug use among African Americans are proportionate to their numbers in society. Congressman Souder, by virtue of the statement above, falls into one of two categories of American lawmakers. First, it is possible that he is wholly uninformed about the realities of a policy for which he is partially responsible. That he might not know the impact of drug prohibition on the Black community is understandable, but inexcusable. Souder comes from one of the most lily-white districts in America. The problems of African Americans are not the problems of his constituents. The majority of his constituents, in fact, probably do not come into much contact with black folks. Unfortunately for the nation, however, Representative Souder gets a vote on drug war legislation just like all the other members of Congress. Just as unfortunate is the likelihood that when Souder talks about drug policy back home, he talks about "zero-tolerance" and "toughness" and "sending a message" to a population who, through no fault of their own, will never have any better idea of the ramifications of such rhetoric than Souder does himself. The other possibility is worse. That is, that Rep. Mark Souder knows very well that the drug war is being waged against people who don't look like him, who don't look like his constituents, and who don't vote in his district. It is possible that to him, prisons are less a place of residence to an enormous percentage of black people than they are a jobs program for prison guards, a boon to the construction industry, and an easy answer to the problems of poverty, illiteracy and substance abuse. There exists the possibility that Mark Souder does not want people to know that there is a gross disparity in conviction rates between blacks and whites under our drug policies, because then people just might want to know why. Let us assume, however, that Representative Souder simply doesn't know. Let us assume that the fact that the United States is committing acts of war against black people in the name of protecting white children is something that he just never considered. That leaves us with a question. Would Representative Souder, and all of the elected representatives who continue to call for a tougher approach to the drug war, notice if ten percent of the white community were behind bars? Would "zero tolerance" sound so sweet if the doors being kicked in, the families being broken up, the opportunities being foreclosed, the extra- Constitutional tactics being used were happening in his district? How many junior high school students in Mark Souder's 92% white district are being stopped and frisked on the street? Are we to believe that his district is "drug free?" Perhaps we are not locking up enough of his constituents. By the year 2000, one out of every ten African American males will be living in a cage. One million blacks in total will be behind bars. As of yet, no call for a re- examination of the wisdom of drug prohibition has gone up in Congress. No task forces have been created to study alternatives to our precious, vicious war. Perhaps our legislators, people like Mark Souder, are simply unaware of the damage that their policies are doing. Let us hope that they become aware before they imprison them all. *** 11. Errata Note Last week's issue incorrectly referred to "The Institute of Medicine's 1998 Consensus Report on Heroin Addiction." The correct name is "The National Institutes of Health 1997 Consensus Statement on Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction." The statement can be found online at http://odp.od.nih.gov/consensus/cons/108/108_intro.htm. *** 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. 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. *** 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
------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Weekly, No. 88 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - "An Effective National Drug Control Strategy," by Kevin Zeese. The Weekly News in Review includes several articles about Drug Policy, including - The war on drugs retreats, still taking prisoners; Soldiers of the drug war remain on duty; Blacks getting AIDS at record rates; Gains cited in drug war; New York mayor tilts to totalitarianism; Political fallout over New Jersey State Police Col. Carl Williams; and, Coalition protests government's hard-line drug policies. Drug Policy articles about Certification include - Mexico, Colombia drug efforts approved; Drug war pretenses; Congressmen want Mexico blacklisted for drugs; Sinaloa: Mexico's capital of drug crime. Articles about Prisons include - Juvenile jail sought; Number of blacks in prison nears 1 million; GOP lawmaker seeks to reform drug sentencing. Articles about Medical Marijuana include - Writer faces jail after interviewing medical marijuana activist; Listen up Washington; and, Canada to test medical marijuana. International News includes - Shipley signals tougher anti-drugs stance; and, Start heroin trials, urges Australian politician. The weekly Hot Off The 'Net discusses the "Effective National Drug Control Strategy." The Tip of the Week discusses how to use the "Effective National Drug Control Strategy" to our advantage. The Quote of the Week cites Mark Crossley.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (DrugSense) To: email@example.com Subject: DrugSense Weekly, March 5,1999 #88 Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 09:05:05 -0800 Lines: 900 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ *** DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly, March 5, 1999 #88 A DrugSense publication http://www.drugsense.org This Publication May Be Read On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n88.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER Please consider writing a letter to the editor using the email addresses on any of the articles below. Send a copy of your LTE to MGreer@mapinc.org. *** TABLE OF CONTENTS: * Feature Article An Effective National Drug Control Strategy by Kevin Zeese * Weekly News in Review Domestic News, Policy- (1) The War on Drugs Retreats, Still Taking Prisoners (2) Soldiers of the Drug War Remain on Duty (3) Blacks Getting Aids at Record Rates (4) Gains Cited In Drug War (5) New York Mayor Tilts to Totalitarianism (6) Political Fallout Over NJ State Police Col. Carl Williams (7) Coalition Protests Government's Hard-Line Drug Policies Drug Policy, Certification- (8) Mexico, Colombia Drug Efforts Approved (9) Drug War Pretenses (10) Congressmen Want Mexico Blacklisted for Drugs (11) Sinaloa: Mexico's Capital of Drug Crime Prisons- (12) Juvenile Jail Sought (13) Number of Blacks in Prison Nears 1 Million (14) GOP Lawmaker Seeks to Reform Drug Sentencing Medical Marijuana- (15) Writer Faces Jail After Interviewing Medical Marijuana Activist (16) Listen Up Washington (17) Canada To Test Medical Marijuana International News- (18) Shipley Signals Tougher Anti-Drugs Stance (19) Start Heroin Trials, Urges Australian Politician * Hot Off The 'Net The Effective National Drug Control Strategy * Tip of the Week Using the Effective National Drug Control Strategy to Our Advantage * Quote of the Week Mark Crossley *** FEATURE ARTICLE *** Editor's Note: The long awaited and very important document "Effective National Drug Control Strategy" is now on-line. For the first time it offers a succinct and sensible answer to questions about what drug policy reformers are striving to accomplish. Below is this weeks press release on the announcement of this powerful document. All reformers should become familiar with this document and promote it to the fullest extent possible. Press Release March 3, 1999 An Effective National Drug Control Strategy by Kevin Zeese Clinton Drug Plan Fails to Prevent Adolescent Drug Use or Reduce Disease or Drug Overdoses, New Report Concludes Drug Czar To Justify Call for More of the Same Drug War Policies at March 3 House Committee Hearing Coalition Urges Reversal in Budget Priorities $2 out of $3 Should Be Spent on Prevention and Rehabilitation Washington, D.C. - The war on drugs has failed to protect America's children from drug abuse and has failed to reduce the availability of cocaine and heroin, according to a new report being released on March 3, 1999. It is the first report to suggest a comprehensive alternative strategy. The report can be viewed on line at http://www.csdp.org/edcs/ The report, "The Effective National Drug Control Strategy," is being released on March 3 when Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey testifies before a House Subcommittee on his year 2000 budget request. The "Effective Strategy" is the first comprehensive alternative to the war on drugs. The "Effective Strategy" recommends spending two out of every three dollars of the drug control budget on prevention and rehabilitation. It also recommends tripling funding for adolescent drug use - with the emphasis on investing in America's youth through after school programs, mentor programs and honest drug education. "Contrary to General McCaffrey's claims, the drug war still relies overwhelmingly on incarcerating drug users and trying to interdict drugs - the two least effective methods of reducing drug abuse," said Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy and one of the report's lead authors. "We know what works, but General McCaffrey keeps investing in strategies that are destroying families, hurting kids and undermining the Constitution." The Network of Reform Groups (NRG) - a coalition of two dozen organizations working for more sensible drug policies, who collectively represent over 100,000 people - examined government data and independent research, concluded that the drug war has not deterred children from using illegal drugs, nor has it resulted in fewer deaths and injuries from drug use. The report found that: * The U.S. government spent $3.6 billion on the drug war in 1988, and will spend $17.9 billion in 1999 - $2 out of $3 are spent on law enforcement. * From 1985 to 1995, 85 percent of the increase in the federal prison population was due to drug convictions. Due to mandatory sentencing drug offenders spend more time in jail (82.2 months) than rapists (73.3 months). * Drug overdose deaths are up 540 percent since 1980, 33 people per day are infected with HIV from injection drug use and it is becoming the engine for a new epidemic -- Hepatitis C. * The price of heroin and cocaine has dropped since 1981, while purity of both drugs has increased. The report recommends that the Drug Czar * Create a non-partisan panel of experts to evaluate current drug control efforts. All options from legalization to prohibition should be considered. * Provide funding for drug treatment on request and require coverage of drug treatment by health insurance. * Increase funding for drug abuse prevention and redirect DARE funding into more effective programs. * Increase drug treatment services for women. * End the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as racially disproportionate law enforcement. * Allow judges to sentence drug offenders by eliminating "mandatory minimum" drug sentences. * Provide federal funding for needle exchange programs. * Reverse the trend toward cutting school budgets to invest in prisons. * Enact "family friendly" laws that keep families together, kids in school and social networks intact. *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW *** Domestic News- Policy *** COMMENT: (1-7) It was a bad-press week for the drug war; the New York Times published Tim Egan's critical 2 part analysis of the lingering effects of the crack "epidemic." The first part looked at changes which ill-considered laws had wrought in our criminal justice system to reshape and enlarge prison populations; the second focused on special police units, which in many cities (and some towns), have persisted as permanent paramilitary units giving a quite literal meaning to "drug war." The tone of the articles, although not strident, is remarkably unlike the usual deferential Times coverage of drug policy. A Washington meeting which released a depressing report on the impact of US policy on the spread of AIDS among blacks predictably received far less press attention than it should have. Another wire service story stiffed by most dailies was the improbable claim of drug war success dutifully made in a State Department report. Two items generating considerably more interest were Mayor Giuliani's aggressive expansion of vehicle forfeiture to include the first suspicion of drunk driving and Governor Whitman's quick sacking of the NJ State Police commander for unguarded remarks about minority citizens and drug arrests; too bad Whitman isn't as concerned about AIDS as she is about P.C. Finally, a major coup by Common Sense resulted in a letter taking ONDCP to task for McCaffrey's distortion of truth; it was carried in the same LAT which printed State Senator Vasconcellos' strong op-ed on medical marijuana. *** CRACK'S LEGACY: FIRST OF TWO ARTICLES (1) CRACK'S LEGACY: The War on Drugs Retreats, Still Taking Prisoners VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- Every 20 seconds, someone in the United States is arrested for a drug violation. Every week, on average, a new jail or prison is built to lock up more people in the world's largest penal system. [snip] ...crack left its mark, in ways that few people anticipated. Crack prompted the nation to rewrite its drug laws, lock up a record number of people and shift money from schools to prisons. It transformed police work, hospitals, parental rights, courts. [snip] (2) CRACK'S LEGACY: Soldiers of the Drug War Remain on Duty Most drug raids, suicide calls and other types of volatile police actions do not need a full paramilitary response, he said. "If you have a mind-set that the goal is to take out a citizen, it will happen," Galvin said. "A successful intervention for us now is one where nobody gets killed." [snip] But in Fresno, or Meriden, or Champaign, Ill., where the SWAT teams serve most of the drug warrants, there are no plans to retreat. The officers in camouflage and helmets, carrying MP5s and Street Sweeper shotguns, are part of the night. Pubdate: 28 Feb 1999 (1) & 1 Mar 1999 (2) Source: New York Times Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Section: Front Page Author: Timothy Egan URL: (pt 1) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n221.a09.html URL: (pt 2) http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n228.a09.html *** (3) BLACKS GETTING AIDS AT RECORD RATES WASHINGTON - Black Americans are becoming infected with AIDS at record rates, receiving poorer care than whites and dying faster. Now, almost two decades into the AIDS epidemic, about 1,000 health care providers and activists gathered for the first medical conference on AIDS among black Americans in a frantic hunt for ways to fight the exploding racial divide. AIDS in the United States is evolving from a disease that once mostly affected white homosexuals into one largely of poor blacks, often infected from dirty drug needles or heterosexual encounters. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n218.a05.html *** (4) GAINS CITED IN DRUG WAR WASHINGTON (AP) The United States and allied countries made "solid gains" in efforts to control narcotics trafficking in 1998, the State Department said today, citing progress in crop reduction, drug interdiction, and other areas. In its annual report on the illicit drug trade worldwide, the department said the most encouraging development in 1998 was the continued downward trend in illicit coca cultivation. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n220.a11.html *** (5) NEW YORK MAYOR TILTS TO TOTALITARIANISM NEW YORK - It may be that Rudolph Giuliani never has a reflective moment. He just likes to push people around. He's pretty indiscriminate about it. One day it's an indisputably worthy target,like violent criminals, the next day it's jaywalkers. One moment it's the organized thugs at the Fulton Fish Market, the next it's cab drivers and food vendors. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 Source: Standard-Times (MA) Copyright: 1999 The Standard-Times Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Author: Bob Herbert, New York Times columnist URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n216.a03.html *** (6) POLITICAL FALLOUT OVER NJ STATE POLICE COL. CARL WILLIAMS TRENTON -- A day after Gov. Whitman ousted Col. Carl A. Williams as the head of the New Jersey State Police for saying that the drug trade is handled mostly by minorities, a top black leader and Democratic legislators demanded that she delay the nomination of her attorney general to the state Supreme Court until his office completes a review of the force. She refused to take that step but continued to fault Williams' comments as being insensitive. In an interview, she declined to discuss whether his remarks were factually correct, but said they damaged the credibility of the state police. "I'm not arguing with what he was saying. I'm arguing with how he said it, and when he said it, and the way he said it," Whitman said in an interview in her office. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Forum: http://interactive.phillynews.com/talk-show/ Author: Tom Avril, Douglas A. Campbell and Suzette Parmley URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n231.a03.html *** (7) COALITION PROTESTS GOVERNMENT'S HARD-LINE DRUG POLICIES WASHINGTON--Black leaders and public health advocates on Wednesday joined to protest several hard-line aspects of the federal government's anti-drug strategy, accusing the White House of spreading misinformation. In a letter to Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, more than two dozen scholars and activists said they were "deeply troubled" by McCaffrey's "inaccurate and misleading statements" in opposition to needle exchange programs and medicinal marijuana, among other issues. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: email@example.com Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/home/discuss/ Author: Eric Lichtblau, LA Times Staff Writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n233.a01.html *** Drug Policy, Certification *** COMMENT: (8-11) The annual certification charade concluded with approval of both Mexico and Colombia as staunch allies (approval was withheld from Paraguay!). The process generated no satisfaction on either side of the border- the most frequently used descriptive term was "hypocritical." Nevertheless, a Republican attempt to torpedo certification is given no more chance of success than the recent impeachment effort. Against that backdrop, a detailed article from within Mexico hinted at the extent to which the criminal market created by US policy is irrevocably damaging their society. *** (8) MEXICO, COLOMBIA DRUG EFFORTS APPROVED WASHINGTON, - President Clinton has decided to fully certify Mexico's and Colombia's cooperation with American anti-drug efforts, a ruling that leaves financial assistance to Washington's southern neighbors intact. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n220.a11.html *** (9) DRUG WAR PRETENSES President Clinton announced on Friday that he will participate in the annual game of "Let's Pretend." The president will pretend that Mexico is a cooperating partner in the War on Drugs, the United States will continue to send Mexico aid that it and the Mexican government will pretend will help to win the war, and citizens will pretend that it all is helping the cause. [snip] Pubdate: 2 March,1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Section: Metro,page 6 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n231.a06.html *** (10) U.S. CONGRESSMEN WANT MEXICO BLACKLISTED FOR DRUGS WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - A group of Republican congressmen vowed on Tuesday to blacklist Mexico for what they said was a failure to crack down on drug traffickers. The congressmen introduced a resolution to overturn President Bill Clinton's decision last Friday to approve Mexico for fully cooperating in the war on drugs in the annual drug certification process. [snip] Pubdate: 2 Mar 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n233.a12.html *** (11) SINALOA: MEXICO'S CAPITAL OF DRUG CRIME NAVOLATO, Mexico -- Jorge Aguirre Meza was a thin man who walked with a severe limp from a childhood bout with polio. But he stood tall against drug smugglers and bandit gangs of this flatland farming town of 75,000 people, and of his state of Sinaloa, which is now suffering Mexico's most widespread case of savage drug-related violence. [snip] Sinaloa is a hot agricultural state stretching down the Pacific Coast. The home of the Mazatlan tourist resort, the state is probably best known within Mexico as the birthplace of drug smuggling. Since the 1960s, virtually every major Mexican drug lord has been Sinaloan. [snip] Meanwhile, Sinaloa's homicides have tripled, rising steadily from about 215 in 1987 to average about 650 annually over the last few years. In January, the state saw 51 murders, about a third of which appear to be execution-style hits. A recent state study of 100 homicides found that only eight had been solved. [snip] Pubdate: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Sam Quinones SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n219.a03.html *** Prisons *** COMMENT: (12-14) The national significance of prisons continues to resonate with thoughtful op-ed writers. News stories are also beginning to show an awareness of the size of the prison population and its relation to drug policy. The fact that an upstate Republican introduced a bill to soften the Rockefeller laws in NY means it has a real chance to pass; the chief judge of the state supreme court has also come out in favor of reform. *** (12) JUVENILE JAIL SOUGHT Proposed facility to ease crowding Alameda County is proposing to build the state's second-largest jail for kids to relieve crowding at its juvenile hall, despite some concerns that too many children will end up locked away. The board of supervisors is expected to go after funding next month for the 540-bed, $250 million complex, which would nearly double current capacity and allow for hundreds more beds if needed. [snip] Pubdate: 1 Mar 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Renee Koury URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n230.a06.html *** (13) NUMBER OF BLACKS IN PRISON NEARS 1 MILLION We're incarcerating an entire generation of people' WASHINGTON -- Come the new millennium, the number of African American adults behind bars will hit the million mark for the first time, according to an analysis of Justice Department statistics. That represents nearly an eight fold increase from three decades ago, when there were 133,226 blacks in prison. By 2000, roughly one in 10 black men will be in prison -- a statistic with major social implications because prisoners don't have jobs, pay taxes or care for their children at home. And because many states bar felons from voting, at least one in seven black men will have lost the right to vote. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ Author: Louise D. Palmer, The Boston Globe URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n232.a06.html *** (14) GOP LAWMAKER SEEKS TO REFORM DRUG SENTENCING Albany -- Bill would allow judges to reduce prison terms for low-level dealers Non-violent, low-level drug dealers could get more lenient prison sentences under a measure to reform the state's Rockefeller laws announced Friday by a conservative Republican lawmaker. [snip] Source: Times Union (NY) Copyright: 1999, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.timesunion.com/ Author: Lara Jakes - Capitol Bureau URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n219.a05.html *** Medical Marijuana *** COMMENT: (15-17) This issue remained important in California, the place where it all started; a Bay Guardian article gave us a look at how law enforcement typically goes about seeking convictions in these cases: find a "witness" to intimidate. The LA Times surprised a few of us by publishing a strongly worded op-ed by Senator John Vasconcellos. Things are coming to a boil in California. The Canadian Minister of Health announced plans for clinical trials of medicinal marijuana. Critics warn the announcement may be a stalling tactic made in response to a opposition bill to legalize the therapeutic use of marijuana. House of Commons transcripts and media reports about the announcement may be found at: http://www.mapinc.org/canada.htm and http://fox.nstn.ca/~eoscapel/cfdp/mar399hc.htm *** (15) LISTEN UP, WASHINGTON, THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN Government: State voters approved the use of medicinal marijuana. The feds should honor that. What kind of a government carries on a crusade against the will of its voters, favors pain and even death for some of its people? From a president still distancing himself from youthful experimentation with marijuana, a drug czar who has effectively declared war on American citizens and a Congress that forbids the counting of votes on a Washington, D.C., ballot initiative on medical marijuana (sure to pass), our federal government continues to bungle the issue of medical marijuana. There is an utter disregard of states rights, to try to silence the proponents of medical marijuana, to threaten the integrity and livelihood of California physicians and, ultimately, to engage in a campaign against the health and care of sick and dying Californians. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: email@example.com Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/ Author: John Vasconcellos URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n211.a08.html *** (16) WRITER FACES JAIL AFTER INTERVIEWING MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVIST WHEN A FREELANCE WRITER for High Times magazine met with a prominent medical marijuana activist, he thought he was just getting a good story. He might be getting five years in state prison. On New Year's Day, Pete Brady interviewed California Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby at Kubby's house in Olympic Valley, near Lake Tahoe. [snip] Kubby said he was only showing Brady what he had grown and did not sell Brady any marijuana. Both Kubby and Brady are medical marijuana patients under Proposition 215, the California Compassionate Use Act. Brady's arrest for possession of about an ounce of marijuana came on the last day of his five-year probation term for possession. Consequently his case will not get a regular court hearing -- only a probation revocation hearing, at which his original sentence of five years could be reinstated. [snip] Pubdate: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 Source: The San Francisco Bay Guardian Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Bay Guardian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfbg.com/ Author: Randall Lyman URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n219.a01.html *** (17) CANADA TO TEST MEDICAL MARIJUANA The federal government plans to conduct human clinical tests to determine if smoking marijuana can reduce pain in terminally ill patients, a first step toward legalizing the drug for medical purposes. Health Minister Allan Rock made the announcement yesterday in the House of Commons, explaining later that it should not be seen as a step toward legalizing marijuana use. [snip] The government does not plan to change the Criminal Code for the trials, but will use a section of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that allows the minister to exempt people from prosecution for special circumstances. The exemption is a sore point for advocates of medical marijuana use, who have complained that the minister had turned a deaf ear to compassionate applications in the past. ``We made an application 15 months ago for a person with AIDS who was literally starving to death and they did not allow it,'' said Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy in Ottawa. He said the sufferer -- Jean Charles Pariseau of Vanier -- was advised by his doctor to take marijuana to fight nausea and stimulate appetite. ``If the government is sincere this time and that's a big if, then we're happy with the announcement,'' Mr. Oscapella added. [snip] Pubdate: 4 Mar 1999 Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The Ottawa Citizen Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ Section: News A1 / Front Authors: Julian Beltrame and Norma Greenaway URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n245.a10.html *** International News *** COMMENT: (18-19) New Zealand and Australia are typical of the English-speaking world: a fierce debate between US-style hard liners and harm reductionists who advocate more liberal model of minimal cannabis enforcement and trials of heroin maintenance. So far, the hard liners remain in control and heroin-related deaths continue to rise everywhere except New Zealand. Sooner or later someone is bound to make the connection. *** (18) SHIPLEY SIGNALS TOUGHER ANTI-DRUGS STANCE Prime Minister Jenny Shipley has signalled a tougher anti-drugs regime after discussing Australia's drug problems with its prime minister, John Howard. Mr Howard spent the weekend in discussions with Mrs Shipley at Millbrook resort, near Queenstown. The Australian Government is putting A$87 million (NZ$103 million) into strengthening border control, treatment and education programmes as Australia experiences a surge in hard-drug exports. [snip] Pubdate: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.inl.co.nz/wnl/dominion/index.html URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n206.a02.html *** (19) START HEROIN TRIALS, URGES AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN At the launch of new heroin overdose prevention and training strategies in Victoria, Australia, on Feb 18 the premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, lent his support to national heroin trials these involve the provision of heroin to users. Already, this year, 63 people have died from overdosing on heroin, outnumbering road-traffic fatalities as a cause of death in Victoria. [snip] Kennett disagrees with Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, who reaffirmed his opposition earlier this year to trials despite an increase in drug-related deaths. Howard pointed to the success of his "Tough-on-Drugs" strategy which has produced a record number drug seizures. A National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre report, released on Feb 9, stated that heroin-related deaths have increased by 73% over the past decade. [snip] Pubdate: 27 Feb 1999 Source: Lancet, The (UK) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thelancet.com/ Author: Bebe Loff and Stephen Cordner Issue: Volume 353, Number 9154 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n215.a13.html *** HOT OFF THE 'NET The Effective National Drug Control Strategy is on line at: http://www.csdp.org/edcs/ It is linked directly off of http://www.csdp.org to allow a quick and easy to remember URL and www.DrugSense.org has a prominent link to it as well. Hearty congratulations to Kevin Zeese, Common Sense for Drug Policy and all those who cooperated in creating this important document. *** TIP OF THE WEEK Using the Effective National Drug Control Strategy to Our Advantage There are numerous ways to use The Effective National Drug Control Strategy mentioned above as a tool to promote reform. Those of us that are involved directly with the media as in giving interviews or doing talk shows finally have a "sound bite" answer to the oft asked question, "If our existing drug policies are so bad what alternatives do you propose?" A quick response could be something like this: "There is no way to answer that question fully in the limited amount of time we have but this question is answered fully and in depth on a web page. I would encourage those who want to review a strategy that is based on sound reasoning and logic visit http://www.csdp.org/edcs/ " Letter and op-ed writers should mention this URL consistently in their writing as well. Those with web sites should provide obvious links to this document and those who put out press releases and interact indirectly with the media should encourage that this document be used and cited by journalists, reporters and producers. Finally we should encourage comparison articles which compare the ENDCP with the ONDCP "Search and Destroy" policies. *** QUOTE OF THE WEEK "None of you understand, you can't make decisions about my health. I'm the one that's sick, not you." -- Terminally ill cannabis user Mark Crossley after being handed a four-month sentence and 18 months probation for cultivation. *** DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you. TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm News/COMMENTS-Editor: Tom O'Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (email@example.com) We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter writing activists. NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. REMINDER: Please help us help reform. Send any news articles you find on any drug related issue to firstname.lastname@example.org *** NOW YOU CAN DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ONLINE AND IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE DrugSense provides many services to at no charge BUT THEY ARE NOT FREE TO PRODUCE. We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If you are able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort visit our convenient donation web site at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm -OR- Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to: The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. d/b/a DrugSense PO Box 651 Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.mapinc.org/ http://www.drugsense.org/ -------------------------------------------------------------------
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