------------------------------------------------------------------- Re: Making a hash of the law (A letter to the editor of the Bulletin, in Bend, Oregon, applauds the newspaper for opposing state representative Kevin Mannix's HB 3502, which would nullify the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. "It's perhaps most constructive to note that Mannix won his seat in Salem by less than 300 votes. But old 'Mad Dog' Mannix does serve one good purpose. He is a prime example of how this 'winner take all' election system fails and why so many Oregonians have given up on it. Here's a man who got into office by the skin of his teeth. Yet he is warmly embraced as though he won by a landslide and appointed by the Republican leadership to the Chair of the very powerful House Judiciary Committee. Then, the first thing he does is try to overthrow the will of The People!") Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 14:26:49 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) From: Floyd F Landrath (AAL@inetarena.com) Subject: Pub lte, Bend OR Bulletin: Making hash of the law Reply-To: AAL@inetarena.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Floyd Ferris Landrath - Director American Antiprohibition League 3125 SE Belmont Street Portland, Oregon 97214 503/235-4524, AAL@InetArena.com Friday, March 12, 1999 To the Editor, Bend Bulletin As a full-time anti-drug war activist, and one of many volunteers who helped the Yes on 67 campaign, I am glad to see your well stated defense ('Making a hash of the law,' 3/11/99), respecting the will of the voters in opposing Rep. Kevin Mannix's HB3502; the gutting of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Mannix is the obvious front man for a small, yet very powerful group of corrupt and misguided law enforcement officials. He is also a good friend to big business like Corrections Corporation of America, for example. CCA runs private, non-union and often sub-standard prisons-for-profit. It's perhaps most constructive to note that Mannix won his seat in Salem by less than 300 votes. But old 'Mad Dog' Mannix does serve one good purpose. He is a prime example of how this "winner take all" election system fails and why so many Oregonians have given up on it. Here's a man who got into office by the skin of his teeth. Yet he is warmly embraced as though he won by a landslide and appointed by the Republican leadership to the Chair of the very powerful House Judiciary Committee. Then, the first thing he does is try to overthrow the will of The People! One paradox is that anyone even takes this man seriously in the first place. The other, much bigger paradox, is adult marijuana prohibition itself. If I, a rational and competent adult, need pot for medicine, or just want to get stoned what business is that of the Bulletin, Mannix or even the voters? Absolutely none. Indeed it is policy which should be repugnant to all freedom loving people, rather they smoke pot or not. And that's why last November Oregon voters, by a much greater margin than Kevin Mannix will ever see, made it clear: MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS A HEALTH ISSUE, PERIOD. I predict that someday soon, perhaps in November 2000, Oregon voters will throw adult marijuana prohibition along with Kevin Mannix on to the scrap-heap of history. As far as I'm concerned that day can't come soon enough. Thank you for your kind consideration. Floyd Ferris Landrath
------------------------------------------------------------------- Guinea-Pig Kubby (Orange County Weekly gives an update on the prosecution of Steve Kubby, the medical-marijuana patient/activist and 1998 Libertarian candidate for California governor who was recently busted on cultivation charges. "Orange County is leading the way on this issue - the media, the OC Weekly, the Orange County Register, the OC Libertarians, Marvin Chavez," Kubby said. While in Orange County, Kubby will undergo medical examinations so doctors can try to learn more about why Kubby's use of marijuana seems the sole barrier between life and death from an incurable form of adrenal cancer. Kubby has already announced plans to run for governor again in 2002. His wife, Michele, a UC-Berkeley graduate with degrees in political science and international studies, is considering a run for the U.S. senate.) Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1999 09:51:25 -0500 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: US CA: MMJ: Guinea-Pig Kubby Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Newshawk: Steve Kubby http://www.kubby.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 12 Mar 1999 Source: Orange County Weekly (CA) Copyright: 1999, Orange County Weekly, Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (714) 708-8410 Mail: P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Website: http://www.ocweekly.com/ Author: Victor D. Infante GUINEA-PIG KUBBY "God Bless Orange County," proclaims Steve Kubby, the 1998 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, as he sits in a friend's OC home, eating a garlic tofu dip. Although he and his wife, Michele, face 19 criminal charges between them relating to their medicinal use of marijuana, both seem at ease and confident. Perhaps it's because they're so far from their Placer County home and in an area that has proved supportive to their plight. "Orange County is leading the way on this issue-the media, the OC Weekly, The Orange County Register, the OC Libertarians, Marvin Chavez," Kubby says. "The conservatives recognize-the liberals are still out to lunch-but the conservatives of Orange County understand that if you pass a law, you're supposed to follow it." With the arraignment for their court cases not until March 19, the Kubbys journeyed to Orange County to participate in fund-raisers. While here, Kubby will undergo medical examinations. Unlike many medical-marijuana patients, for whom pot smoking alleviates symptoms of disease, Kubby's use of marijuana seems the sole barrier between life and death from an incurable form of adrenal cancer, an opinion put forward by USC's Dr. Vincent DeQuattro, a leading specialist in the field, and recently backed by Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard University. In one of the tests, researchers will inject Kubby with a radioactive metabolite that will allow DeQuattro's staff to see exactly where his tumors are located. They'll also check his blood and urine. The threat of prison seems only to have strengthened the Kubbys' determination to promote enforcement of the Compassionate Use Act-otherwise known as Proposition 215-and, as Kubby put it, to keep "upping the ante" on their persecutors. Kubby has already announced plans to run for governor again in 2002. His wife is considering a run for the U.S. Senate. A UC Berkeley graduate with degrees in political science and international studies, Michele Kubby was extensively involved with the battle to win passage of Prop. 215. "They've created a monster," she says. "I am not afraid of them anymore. They have stepped over a line and threatened my family, and that's the most sacred thing to me. They are going to have to answer for it."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Debate Continues In House (The Keene Sentinel says advocates for marijuana law reform, including Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School professor, testified Wednesday before the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice subcommittee in favor of two bills sponsored by Rep. Timothy N. Robertson, D-Keene that would allow the medical use of marijuana and decriminalize those who possess the herb. Nicholas Pastore, the former police chief in New Haven, Connecticut, said the nation's war on drugs was a failure. The jails are full of marijuana smokers who have no history of violence and pose no danger to society, he said.) Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 16:10:37 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Medical Marijuana Debate Continues In House Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: March 12, 1999 Source: Keene Sentinel (NH) Copyright: 1999 Keene Publishing Corporation. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.keenesentinel.com/ Author: Damien Cave MEDICAL MARIJUANA DEBATE CONTINUES IN HOUSE After more than a two-year battle, legalized marijuana is still far from a reality, but its advocates continued the fight Wednesday, speaking before the media and a N.H. House Criminal Justice subcommittee. Two bills -- one to decriminalize marijuana possession, another to allow its cultivation and possession for medicinal uses -- are on the legislative calendar, both sponsored by Rep. Timothy N. Robertson, D-Keene. Robertson has proposed similar bills in past sessions. This time, five or six of the full committee's 22 members listened to a pair of experts in the field. Most of the discussion centered on the medical uses of marijuana. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School professor and a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana, spoke at length of the drug's use as a painkiller and nausea panacea. He also touched on marijuana's underground availability, recounting an experience in Boston where he saw a group of teenagers trade joints for a six-pack of beer. The conclusion: Pot is available to them, though it is illegal, while alcohol is harder to come by. Armed with Grinspoon's account, Robertson said after the session that marijuana should be treated like beer or tobacco, thus keeping it only in the hands of adults. Nicholas Pastore, former New Haven, Conn., police chief, said the nation's war on drugs has a failure. The jails are full of marijuana smokers who have no history of violence and pose no danger to society, he said. Bedford Police Chief David Bailey argued the other way, saying it's important to fight marijuana for children's sake. However, Robertson said after the forum that his children were the ones who taught him about the issue. They told him adults think marijuana is "the end of the world" when in fact it isn't dangerous and typically doesn't lead to other drugs. That was years ago: Robertson's children are all now close to 40. Then, legalization was a pipe dream, but now, with states such as California and Arizona allowing marijuana to be used as medicine, Robertson's viewpoint is growing in popularity. Still, Robertson is realistic. The bills could be on the House floor as early as March 18, but their chances of passing are slim. Virtually nonexistent. "I assume we'll get 30 or 40 votes" in the 400-member House, Robertson said. "But we'll have educated some people." Rep. Kathleen M. Flora, R-Bedford, a committee member, said the bill's chief problem is that it doesn't ensure that only the sick will have access to the drug. If medicinal marijuana is on the horizon, Flora said, "it needs to be regulated in such a way that we maintain controls so it's treated as a medicine." The bills would allow people to grow marijuana, though obtaining seeds would violate federal law. But even if these legal snags are untangled, Flora still had doubts. "I'm not sure it's right for New Hampshire," she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Two Million Prisoners Are Enough (An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by John J. DiIulio Jr., a professor of public policy at Princeton University, says the justice system is becoming less capable of distributing sanctions and supervision rationally, especially where drug offenders are concerned. It's time for policy makers to change focus and aim for zero prison growth. Five reforms to aim for include: Repeal mandatory minimum drug laws. Reinvent and reinvest in probation and parole. Stop federalizing crime policy and modify federal sentencing guidelines. Study and promote faith-based crime prevention and restorative justice. And redouble efforts at juvenile crime prevention.) Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:06:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: OPED: Two Million Prisoners Are Enough Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Paul M. Bischke) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Copyright: 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.wsj.com/ Author: John J. DiIulio Jr. TWO MILLION PRISONERS ARE ENOUGH Violent crime has dropped 21% since 1993, and property crime is at a post l973 low. No one really knows which demographic economic or other factors explain what fraction of the decrease in crime. But recent studies confirm that increased incarceration has helped to cut crime. Yet the same research also suggests that the nation has "maxed out" on the public safety value of incarceration. Until recently, increased incarceration has improved public safety. But as America's incarcerated population approaches two million the value of imprisonment is a portrait in the law of rapidly diminishing returns. The Justice system is becoming less capable of distributing sanctions and supervision rationally., especially where drug offenders are concerned. It's time for policy makers to change focus aiming for zero prison growth. Current laws put too many nonviolent drug offenders in prison. A 1997 study by Harvard economist Anne Morrison Piehl found that in Massachusetts about half of recently incarcerated drug offenders had previously been charged and a third had previously been convicted of a violent offense. But most of the state's drug offenders had no known record of violence while half its probation population consisted of violent felons. Drug-Only Offenders New York state is another example. Since 1973 The Rockefeller laws have landed legions of nonviolent drug offenders in the state s prisons for mandatory terms ranging from 15 years to life. I have been calling for the repeal of the Rockefeller laws since 1995 and the case for repeal is now stronger than ever. Based on the results of a forthcoming Manhattan Institute study by Ms. Piehl, criminologist Bert Useem of the University of New Mexico and me, it appears that at least a quarter of recent admissions to the state's prisons are "drug only offenders," meaning felons whose only crimes detected or undetected have been low level nonviolent drug offenses. And we were able to derive similar drug only estimates for several other state prison systems. In 1997 as crime continued to decline the prison population grew by 5.2%. Spending on correctional institutions is crowding out spending on other proven crime reduction strategies including improved policing. A study released last month by the Rockefeller Institute of Government found that in 1913 52% of total U.S. criminal justice spending went to police, 28% to corrections. By 1995 43% went to pollce.and 37% to corrections. Policy makers at all levels of government should dedicate themselves to further public safety gains while keeping the prison population around two million and even aiming to reduce it over the next decade. The path to zero prison growth can be paved by five policy steps: * Repeal mandatory minimum drug laws Release drug-only offenders and mandate drug treatment both behind bars and in the community. Between 1980 and 1994, the incarceration rate for drug arrests increased to 80 per 1,000 arrests from 19. Continued increases in drug incarceration will yield little or no public safety value. Recent studies by Yale psychiatrist Sally Satel and UCLA criminologist Mark A.R. Kleiman indicate that community based coerced abstinence programs tend to succeed where other approaches fall. The Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse has produced persuasive data on the promise of specialized drug courts. The National Institute for Healthcare Research has collected reams of reliable data about the efficacy of certain faith based substance abuse programs. * Reinvent and reinvest in probation and parole. Currently we spend next to nothing on community based corrections. We get what we pay for. About a third of all people arrested for violent crimes are on probation parole or pretrial release at the time of their arrest. A recent study of Texas probationers found that three years after receiving probation. 44% of first time violent offenders with a prior felony history had returned to prison. Likewise a 1996 New York state study found that within three years of their release. 43% of state prison inmates released between 1985 and 1992 had returned to prison half for a new crime half for parole violations. Most of what ails probation and parole can be fixed by cutting officer caseloads and spending more on performance driven programs that take supervision seriously and put public safety first. Boston's Deputy Probation Commissioner Ronald Corbett has spearheaded a nine year effort to enter into crime-cutting partnerships with police, community leaders and clergy. Early on the effort resulting in a quadrupling in the number of probationers prosecuted for violating the terms of their conditional release. Even though few of those violations resulted in incarceration, would-be street felons got the message and Boston has since had only four gun related youth homicides. Between 1991 and 1997 the number of probation and parole agents In Michigan Increased by more than hall and the aver age number of offenders supervised by each agent fell to 63 from 92. Former Michigan Director of Corrections Kenneth McGinnis explains that these changes resulted in an increase of more than 55% in the number of parolees charged with violating the terms of their release. But over six years Michigan prison admissions resulting from probation and parole violations grew by only 1.6%, demonstrating, Mr. McGinnis says, that "intensive supervision of offenders in community programs can be accomplished without a disastrous impact on prison growth." * Stop federalizing crime policy and modify federal sentencing guidelines Washington's role in crime control has expanded dramatically since 1968. But the results have been mixed at best. Too often Congress twists reasonable ideas developed by local law enforcement (the need to restrain repeat violent offenders regardless of their age) into grotesque federal policies (last year's defeated plan to remove federal restrictions on incarcerating Juveniles with adults). Earlier this year an American Bar Association report led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese 111 detailed the dangers of further federalizing crime policy. Federal lawmakers should heed the Meese report and study "Fear of Judging" a just published book by former federal prosecutor Kate Stith and Judge Jose A. Cabranes who make a solid case for reforming federal sentencing procedures. Such changes would undoubtedly reduce the number of drug only offenders In federal prisons by tens of thousands. * Study and promote faith-based crime prevention and restorative justice. Scientific studies testify to the efficacy of faith-based efforts. In a 1998 report issued by the Manhattan Institute ciminologist Byron R. Johnson of Vanderbilt University summarized the results of a systematic review of more than 400 studies testing the relationship between all sorts of religious influences (churchgoing being just one) and crime and delinquency. The report echoed the conclusion of a study published in 1995 in the journal Criminology, namely, that most of the best available empirical evidence suggests that religion significantly reduces crime and delinquency. The remarkable leaders and programs behind these findings know one God but many religions and ideologies. The liberal New York Theological Seminary recently launched an antiviolence youth outreach program started by ex-offender graduates of its historic Sing Sing education ministry advised by leaders of the American I Can program directed by former football star Jim Brown and supported financially by both Republican Gov. George Pataki and the Ford Foundation. The Prison Fellowship Ministry led by Watergate offender Charles Colson, a religious conservative, recently launched an initiative dedicated to ministering to the spiritual and material needs of prisonen ex prisoners. and their families including the over one million youngsters In this country who have one or both parents in prison or jail. The National Ten Point Leadership Foundation led by Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III of Boston, a former Philadelphia gang member has put responsible adults in the lives of thousands of at risk youths and helped to spark ecumenical interfaith and public private partnerships dedicated to reducing violence in cities all across the country. These faith based anti-crime programs and a growing number of secular ones as well are predicated upon the concept of "restorative justice," according to which the ultimate purpose of the criminal law is to restore the "shalom" or peace that crime robs from victims perpetrators and com munities alike. Restorative justice returns America to the ethical understanding of those who founded the American penitentiary to reclaim public order and repair broken hearts. lives and communities on both sides of the walls. * Redouble efforts at juvenile crime prevention. I have argued before and I continue to believe that demographic trends will exert strong upward pressure on crime rates In the years just ahead unless we take strong steps to prevent juvenile crime. Most experts seem comforted that only a fifth of the more than 1.5 million annual delinquency cases in the mid-1990s involved violent crimes and reassured by statistics showing that barely 0.1% of all juvenile arrests were for homicide. But in Philadelphia and many other cities in the mid 1990s homicide was the leading cause of death for people age 13 to 21. Rosy statistics cannot mask the travesty of some 2,000 juvenile committed homicides a year a death toll that would have been higher were it not for vast post-1990 improvements in emergency medical technology. The statistics cannot hide the reality that an estimated six out of 10 of the most serious youth offenders are never caught. Horrific Peak Juvenile crime has declined from its horrific peak in 1994 but with a record 70.2 million juveniles. In the population the number of 14 to 17 year olds will be 20% greater in 2005 than It was In 1996. By 2006, America will be home to some 30 million teenagers, the largest number since 1975. Over the next decade, all but five states will experience significant growth in the number of young males entering their most crime prone years. For all the good news about crime and other social indicators too many of America's children are still growing up abused. (over a million substantiated cases a year) impoverished (at least 16%) without a father In the home (at least 40%) or subject to other influences that researchers have consistently found are associated with crime and delinquency. In 1997, researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that if present incarceration rates were to remain constant 5% of Americans would be imprisoned during their lifetimes (the rates are 16.2% for blacks 9.4% for Hispanics and 2.5% for whites). But the rates need not remain constant nor should they. Zero prison growth is possible. In the end, whether or not we achieve this goal will be a profound measure not merely of how nimble we are when it comes to managing public safety cost effectively but also of how decent we are despite our many differences when it came to loving all God's children unconditionally, including all those in criminal custody. Mr. DiIulio is a professor of public policy at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stop The Prison Madness And Build Schools (Syndicated columnist Carl Rowan observes in the Grand Rapids Press, in Michigan, that that while bond issues to build schools often fail, the United States is building a 1,000-bed jailhouse or prison every week. Millions of Americans, conservative and liberal, are awakening to the reality that incarcerating 400,000 people on drug charges has not reduced the curse of drug abuse in America. The uprising against the current outrageous situation seems great enough that any number of politicians might take the lead without fear of falling to the old cries, "soft on crime." Enough Americans seem now to understand that the current punitive policy has been a failure. Still, both will and courage to admit error and change policy seems to be in short supply in Washington these days. Millions of more voices are needed.) Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 08:18:26 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: OPED: Stop The Prison Madness And Build Schools Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Lee T. Neidow Source: Grand Rapids Press (MI) Copyright: 1999 Grand Rapids Press Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1990 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.gr.mlive.com/ Author: Carl Rowan Note: Carl Rowan is a columnist for the North America Syndicate. This item appeared in a large number of newspapers. The titles may not be the same in all newspapers. It was sent out buy the Syndicate with a title of 'WE'RE PRISON CRAZY AND SCHOOLS DUMB' STOP THE PRISON MADNESS AND BUILD SCHOOLS Every now and then the best of societies goes a little crazy and embraces monstrous social policies that become almost impossible to reverse. The United States has done that regarding crime, especially drug abuse. I doubt that one American out of 10 is aware that you and I are spending $20,000 a year to keep in prison every single kid caught with a couple of ounces of marijuana -- a per inmate expense equal to what millions of people are paid for a whole year's work, or a cost well beyond anything we taxpayers shell out to keep a child in public school or a kid in college. Are you aware that our states are now spending almost $30 billion every year to keep locked up triple the number of inmates they had just 20 years ago? Or that we are incarcerating our people at a rate never known in any civilized society? Can you believe that while bond issues to build schools are often failing, this country is willingly building a 1,000-bed jailhouse or prison every week? Building prisons has become the great new American cottage industry or the perceived economic salvation of many rural and other economically depressed areas. The growth and clout of this industry is such that California now pays a prison guard of moderate experience $51,000 a year but paid its public school teachers an average of $43,000 a year in 1996-97. In politically inspired moves to prove they were not "soft on crime" -- and in futile and self-defeating efforts to declare "victory" in the "War on Drugs" -- our lawmakers have disempowered judges and decreed laws and minimum sentences that have made almost one of every 150 Americans a jailbird. And for blacks and Hispanics, one out of every five faces the curse of the lockup because of political madness over "law and order." Finally, millions of Americans, conservative and liberal, Republicans as well as Democrats, are awakening to the reality that incarcerating 400,000 people -- most of them small fry -- on drug charges has not reduced the curse of drug abuse in America. And they are seeing that even as crime has fallen drastically, the drive for more jails and prisons at mushrooming costs does not slow down. So cries are arising for the return to judges of discretion as to when to give a first-time minor drug offender treatment instead of the full punitive treatment or to consider probation and other options for those convicted of other, nonviolent offenses. President Clinton and many Republican leaders are saying that "better education" must be the American priority as we enter a new millennium. They and the people know that states cannot afford to spend $4 billion a year, as California soon will, to run their prisons and still finance school systems that will meet the needs of this technological age. But they also know that many people and powerful forces have a vested interest in the continued expansion of the prison industry, so a rediversion of resources will be extremely difficult politically. Fear of crime, and political demagoguery about it, made it easy to devote unconscionable amounts of tax dollars to jails and prisons. It is impossible to generate the same kind of fear regarding the need for schools, hospitals, housing or anything else positively productive for this society. Barring, that is, some extraordinary political leadership that reshapes public opinion on a grand scale. The uprising against the current outrageous situation seems great enough that any number of politicians might take the lead without fear of falling to the old cries, "soft on crime." Enough Americans seem now to understand that the policy of locking up almost forever every little gnat and fruit fly caught in the web of the drug peddlers has been a failure. Still, both will and courage to admit error and change policy seems to be in short supply in Washington these days. We need millions more Americans shouting, "Stop the prison madness" to ensure that our political leaders will become bold enough to return to sanity.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Feds Rebuff Medical Marijuana Researchers (UPI says the Institute of Medicine study commissioned in 1997 by the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, is scheduled for release on Wednesday, March 17. No original research has been allowed by the federal government for more than 10 years. Several cases illustrate how the government has stonewalled would-be scientists. Researchers who want to conduct clinical trials on the efficacy of medical marijuana say the government publicly invites such studies, but privately works to quash them. Ultimately, the researchers tell United Press International, the federal government unfairly works to end the movement to legalize the drug as a medicine for seriously ill patients.) Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1999 10:07:05 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Feds Rebuff Medical Marijuana Researchers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Dave Fratello (email@example.com) Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International Feedback: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_forms/sn_ctact.htm Author: Ellen Beck FEDS REBUFF MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCHERS WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- Researchers who want to conduct clinical trials on the efficacy of medical marijuana say while the government publicly invites such studies, privately it works to quash the proposals. Ultimately, the researchers tell United Press International, the federal government works to end the move to legalize the drug as a treatment for seriously ill patients. The debate is whether the scientific evidence is strong enough to warrant the federal government reclassifying the drug from Schedule I and prohibited in all uses, to Schedule II, where, like cocaine, it would be approved for a select number of medical applications. The Clinton administration and the Department of Justice oppose the reclassification, pending more clinical trial evidence of efficacy. "There have been no government funded studies of marijuana's medical utility in more than a decade," wrote Drs. Lynn Zimmer and John Morgan in their 1997 book, "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts." They said the battle is political, not medical, and cited a number of anti-drug organizations as saying it would send the wrong message to teenagers. Next Wednesday, the Institute of Medicine will release an 18-month, $1 million government-funded report on current scientific evidence regarding medical uses for marijuana. A 1982 IOM report had looked at the whole issue of marijuana and its effects. The latest report was requested by federal drug czar Barry McCaffrey in 1997 after the 1996 elections in which Arizona and California passed laws legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Currently, a number of western states have similar laws legalizing smoked marijuana when prescribed by a physician for a few select illnesses, such as nausea from cancer chemotherapy, glaucoma, seizures/spasms, chronic pain and AIDS. Physician researchers like Dr. Ethan Russo, of the Western Montana Clinic in Missoula, Mont., say while the government publicly encourages clinical trials, its agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration, find ways to make sure studies don't happen. "It's very easy for his (Clinton's) hench people, (Health and Humans Services Secretary Donna) Shalala and McCaffrey to do his bidding and see that nothing happens," Russo said. Of the government agencies involved, including NIDA, HHS, NIH and FDA, only NIH agreed to an interview. The spokesperson declined to comment on specific grant applications, saying NIH considers it privileged information. The spokesperson said NIH is open to medical research projects which are "well designed clinical trials" that can "go through the peer review process." Dr. Paul Consroe, of the Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, has been involved with marijuana research since 1971 and is collaborating on a study to evaluate the effects of the whole cannabis plant in stimulating appetite and weight gain in cancer and AIDS patients. He said he was lukewarm about getting involved in getting NIH approval. "I don't like to butt my head up against a wall," Consroe said. "I'm tired of this. I just want out." His colleagues include Dr. Robert Gorter, a well-known oncologist from Berlin who played a major role in the successful effort to get Marinol, the pill version of the active ingredient in marijuana, FDA approved for use in cancer and AIDS. In September 1997 the FDA gave Consroe and colleagues oral approval for a phase three clinical trial of 360 AIDS patients and 360 cancer patients. In February 1998, a new chair of the same FDA panel reversed the decision, saying the group had to go back and do phase one trials first. In March 1998, during a conference call with the FDA, Consroe said they were told they could combine phase one and two trials. In October 1998, the FDA sent a letter saying the clinical trials had been put on hold. Meanwhile, their grant application to NIH for a phase three trial ended up at the National Cancer Institute, which nixed it. All three physicians met with the FDA in Washington but Consroe said they didn't get any answers, other than being told, "Since you're trying to market, you've got to be treated like everyone else." Finally, the FDA's most recent communication on the matter is that the group could do a small phase one study in six people while at the same time gathering data on animal studies for FDA review. Russo twice applied to the NIH for permission to conduct a clinical trial on the use of smoked marijuana by migraine sufferers and was refused. NIH said his application relied on anecdotal evidence and lacked scientific data, even though the second one was tailored to meet the recommendations given after the first refusal. He said repeated requests for "dialogue" with the NIH went unanswered. He argued history is replete with evidence marijuana has been used to treat migraines for 1,100 years and was a mainstream treatment in the Untied States in the mid-1800s. Russo said as was his right by NIH rules, he requested the NIH panel reviewing his application include neurologists, but it did not. "It was mostly psychiatrists on the panel," he said. "They're not experts in migraines. The objections they were raising, the complaints they had, portrayed an ignorance of the issue. The desk was stacked, despite my requests for a certain composition." NIH critics charge the rules of the game are different for medical marijuana studies. They contend unlike with other drug applications, the government requires all medical marijuana clinical trials be funded by NIH. The only legal source for getting marijuana to use in clinical trials is the NIDA, which Russo said advised him in one letter that he could get the drug only with NIH approval and in another that it would fund a qualified study without NIH approval. "This is unheard of, a punitive requirement," Consroe said. "No other drug in the world is subject to that, that I know of. If I had my own money, and by the way we do have our own money (for research), we couldn't get the drug in the U.S." The NIH spokesperson said she was not aware that NIH had such a requirement. In October 1997, NIH awarded a $1 million grant to Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California-San Francisco to conduct a two-year safety study, including 63 patients, of smoked marijuana versus Marinol. However, when Abrams originally went to NIH in 1992 it was for funding for a much different study, to compare the effects of smoked marijuana, a placebo and oral Marinol in HIV-positive male patients. That request was turned down by NIDA twice. Consroe and others say the government's slant is toward research that will discredit the medical use of marijuana and even though Abrams had FDA approval for his initial study, it was only when he changed his protocol toward a safety study aimed at the toxicology issues, did he win NIDA approval to receive the drug. In 1997, a NIH panel looked at medical marijuana and determined there was not enough scientific evidence on it. The NIH spokesperson said at that time there was substantial media coverage of the NIH's request for grant proposals for clinical trials. Since then, the NIH has received several applications which the spokesperson said are now in the review process. In a 1997 fact sheet on medical marijuana, the NIH said such research poses some challenges. It said the studies need to objectively measure a positive therapeutic effect which would be difficult in a blind study in which neither the doctor or patient knows which drug is being used. Other concerns included the side effects of smoking itself.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Customs Service Reworks Controversial Airport Drug Searches (Florida Today says new statistics show the number of cocaine and heroin smugglers caught at airports dropped by one-fourth in 1998, while investigations and lawsuits alleging abusive tactics have increased. So the Customs Service is retraining officers who check airline passengers for drugs and trying new technology to reduce the need for invasive body searches.) Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 06:29:52 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Customs Service Reworks Controversial Airport Drug Searches Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 Source: Florida Today (FL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Feedback: http://www.flatoday.com/letters.htm Website: http://www.flatoday.com/ Copyright: 1999 FLORIDA TODAY CUSTOMS SERVICE REWORKS CONTROVERSIAL AIRPORT DRUG SEARCHES Beset by investigations and lawsuits alleging abusive tactics, the Customs Service is retraining officers who check airline passengers for drugs and trying new technology to reduce the need for invasive body searches. The changes come as new statistics show the number of cocaine and heroin smugglers caught at airports dropped by one-fourth in 1998. That poses a two-pronged problem for Customs officials eager to reverse the decline while tempering public anger over the way travelers are searched. "This search authority is crucial for us," Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "We're trying to show movement in the right direction so that we keep the authority but make it a less onerous process." In pursuit of smugglers who swallow packets of drugs, officers have subjected passengers to strip searches, taken them in handcuffs to hospitals for X-rays, and detained some for hours or even days. Almost 100 black women in Chicago are pursuing a joint lawsuit claiming they were singled out unfairly because of their race. Nationally, Customs is facing 12 lawsuits over searches of airline passengers, a spokesman said. Only a small fraction of the 69 million passengers who pass through Customs each year are questioned. About 50,000 were subjected to some level of body search in 1997. Searches usually begin with a frisk or pat-down and, with reasonable suspicion, can proceed to a strip search, X-ray or monitored bowel movement. Drugs were found on about one-fourth of passengers subjected to partial or full strip searches, the agency says. The rate was close to 100 percent a decade ago, Kelly said, but smugglers have become more sophisticated and difficult to recognize. Kelly acknowledged body searches can be traumatic and have become a "significant problem" for Customs. The Senate Finance Committee, the General Accounting Office and the Treasury Department are all investigating Customs' airport searches. Illinois senators raised the issue last year after WMAQ-TV reported on complaints from black women searched at Chicago's O'Hare airport. In December, the AP reported that travelers across the country were complaining of abusive searches. Since then, Customs has taken several steps to defuse the issue: - An extensive new training program began last month for inspectors at airports. "It involves both what to look for but also how to handle people, cultural diversity training, that sort of thing," Kelly said. - Since Feb. 1, inspectors at Miami International Airport and New York's Kennedy International Airport have given travelers chosen for a pat-down the option of standing in front of a body-imaging machine instead. Twenty-three people have agreed to the low-radiation imaging, which looks through clothing. In Miami on Tuesday, one of the machines revealed 3 1/2 pounds of marijuana in a bicycle tire strapped around a man's waist, officials said. Body imaging may be added to other airports if it proves effective and less objectionable to passengers, a spokesman said. In some cases, travelers also have been given the option of submitting to an X-ray in lieu of a strip search.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gramm and Boxer Sponser Legislation That Would Alter the U.S. Drug-Certification Process (The Orange County Register says a political odd couple, conservative Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and liberal Sen. Babara Boxer of California, introduced legislation Thursday that would revamp the current process that causes an annual rift between the United States, Mexico and other countries battling the illegal international trade in supposedly controlled substances.) Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 06:29:38 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: CA: Gramm And Boxer Sponser Legislation That Would Alter The Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 12 March 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: News,page 7 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Author: Gary Martin-San Antonio Express-News GRAMM AND BOXER SPONSOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALTER THE U.S. DRUG-CERTIFICATION PROCESS Washington - A political odd couple, conservative Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and liberal Sen. Babara Boxer of California, introduced legislation Thursday that would overhaul the controversial process of certifying other nations as drug-fighting allies. The senators are heading a bipartisan drive to revamp the current process that causes an annual rift between the United States, Mexico and other countries battling narcotics cartels. By law, the president must evaluate the efforts of 28 countries and certify them as partners in the drug war by March 1 of each year. The law requires Congress to approve or reject the administration's findings within 30 days. "The requirement that the United States certify Mexico's anti-drug efforts puts Congress in a position of either certifying something that is clearly untrue or creating a rupture in U.S.-Mexico relations that would make drug enforcement even more difficult," said Gramm, a Republican. Said Boxer, a Democrat: "What we have now in some cases is the worst of both worlds. Either we ignore serious drug problems and vote to certify, or we vote to decertify countries that are our close allies." Their proposal would exempt from the certification process countries that have a bilateral, anti-drug agreement with the United States. And it would require the administration to report to Congress twice each year on the progress in meeting mutual goals such as curbing narcotics production, trafficking and demand. Under the new proposal, Congress, at any time, could vote to place a country back in the certification process, Boxer said. The plan is "particularly important to those of us from border states, which are hit so hard by the traffic in illegal drugs and want to make progress, not point fingers," Boxer said. The current certification process was created by Congress in 1986 and has prompted protests annually from leaders in Mexico and other countries whose efforts are judged by this country, the world's largest consumer of illicit narcotics. "America would not be certified under the certification process," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who joined Boxer and Gramm in introducing the bill.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 82 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original publication featuring drug policy news and calls to action includes - Internet campaign convinces Congress to condemn "Know Your Customer," battle not yet over; George Bush Jr. hires private eye to dig up own past; Report: US anti-drug forces corrupted; Alaska bill introduced to amend state's new medical marijuana law; Drug policy campus activism conference; Washington state bill would increase judges' discretion in drug cases; Judge denies California AIDS patient's urgent plea for medical marijuana; Federal judge allows medical marijuana class action suit to proceed, questions why government supplies medical marijuana to some patients, not others; Events; Online petitions) Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 02:18:23 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #82 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #82 - March 12, 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/082.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Internet Campaign Convinces Congress to Condemn "Know Your Customer," Battle Not Yet Over http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#kyc 2. George Bush Jr. Hires Private Eye to Dig Up Own Past http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#bush 3. Report: US Anti-Drug Forces Corrupted http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#corrupted 4. Alaska Bill Introduced to Amend State's New Medical Marijuana Law http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#alaska 5. Drug Policy Campus Activism Conference http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#campusconf 6. Washington State Bill Would Increase Judge's Discretion in Drug Cases http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#discretion 7. Judge Denies California AIDS Patient's Urgent Plea for Medical Marijuana http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#mcwilliams 8. Federal Judge Allows Medical Marijuana Class Action Suit to Proceed, Questions Why Government Supplies Medical Marijuana to Some Patients, Not Others http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#hirsch 9. Events http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#events 10. Online Petitions http://www.drcnet.org/wol/082.html#petitions *** 1. Internet Campaign Convinces Congress to Condemn "Know Your Customer," Battle Not Yet Over Public outcry against the proposed "Know Your Customer" banking rules prompted Congress this week to pass resolutions demanding that the rules be scrapped. In what has been hailed as an example of the power of the Internet as a tool for grassroots organizing, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received more than a quarter million e-mailed complaints from citizens who believe the rules would violate their privacy and Constitutional protections against search and seizure. The rules would require banks to keep detailed profiles on all customers, and report unusual or suspicious transactions to federal law enforcement agencies. The vast majority of the complaints were lodged through defendyourprivacy.com, a special web site set up by the Libertarian Party. But Libertarian Party press director George Getz told DRCNet that opposition to "Know Your Customer" spans across all party lines. "I think the opposition is coming from Libertarians, and from the Left and the Right," he said. "I was at a press conference on Capitol Hill the other day, when someone stood up and said, 'We suspect this is just one big special interest effort behind killing Know Your Customer.' I stood up and said, 'Okay, I confess, I'm a member of a special interest group. I have a checking account. That's what special interest is here. If you have a bank account, this affects you. This 'spy on your customer' proposal is reprehensible to every free-thinking American, even if the politicians and bureaucrats seem to like it just fine." As of Thursday, the number of complaints e-mailed through defendyourprivacy.com and other sites had passed 250,000, and more were pouring in as the reach of the Internet multiplied the effectiveness of organizer's efforts. Getz said the average number of complaints a new regulation receives is around 200. Politicians are taking notice, as evidenced by the Senate's 88-0 vote condemning the Know Your Customer rules. But the resolution is non-binding, and the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, and other regulatory agencies involved have not yet backed down. Getz said what's really needed are laws preventing the regulators from making rules like Know Your Customer in the first place. "The Republicans and Democrats on the Hill want to have it both ways," he said. "They want to pretend that they're outraged by Know Your Customer, but they don't want to do anything to really bury it." Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) is sponsoring two bills that will place sunset clauses on Know Your Customer and the Banking Secrecy Act, respectively. Paul's spokesman, Michael Sullivan, told DRCNet the passage of bills like these are the only way to protect people's privacy in the long term. Already, he said, the regulators are considering simply repackaging Know Your Customer under new euphemisms. Sullivan said they are missing the point. "Unfortunately, what the regulators are not admitting is that what people are complaining about is not the offensive words, you know, 'profiling' and this kind of stuff," he said. "What people are complaining about is the principle of the thing. If the FDIC and the Federal Reserve think that simply changing the title and using different words will make these people happy, I think they've got another thing coming to them." Sullivan said that Know Your Customer, intended to thwart money launderers, is another example of short-sighted policies with potentially disastrous consequences. "When the regulators put forward this stuff, it's because we're trying to fight the drug war, and we're trying to stop money laundering, and counterfeiting, and all these good reasons. We all agree that there are bad things out there. But is the best way to stop them to give these agencies the power to regulate every aspect of our lives? So that they will turn us all into criminals? No. Obviously not. So there has to be, at some point, a modicum of common sense which says that sometimes great evil is done in the name of doing good." Will the Internet play an increasing role in the way vigilant citizens can make their voices heard? Sullivan said yes. "If this had been five years ago, six years ago, these regulations would be in effect now, and no one would be the wiser. Until people started being arrested, being investigated. People would not have know about this, because NBC wouldn't have carried it, ABC didn't carry it, CBS didn't carry it, CNN didn't talk about it, and on and on. This just really does show where this new, alternative source of information is really paying off for people." George Getz said the Libertarian Party will maintain its web site. "We intend to keep the defendyourprivacy.com site up for future government privacy invasions. Whether we're talking about a national ID card, fingerprints on drivers licenses, different types of asset forfeiture laws -- we're going to be updating people through the site for the next several months." Thanks to the many DRCNet subscribers who responded to our alert on Know Your Customer. Your voices made a difference! The official public comment period on KYC is over, but it's still worthwhile to drop by http://www.defendyourprivacy.com to catch up on the latest developments. And of course, DRCNet will continue to follow the story. Meanwhile, DRCNet urges its members to ask their Congresspersons to cosponsor Ron Paul's Know Your Customer Sunset Act and Bank Secrecy Sunset Act bills. *** 2. George Bush Jr. Hires Private Eye to Dig Up Own Past George Bush Jr., eyeing the Republican nomination, has hired a private detective to dig up dirt on the Texas Governor's past as a pre-emptive measure designed to lower the possibility of a mid-race bombshell. Bush, whose prior troubles with alcohol use is legendary, swears that he has been a faithful spouse, but has been less than forthcoming when asked about long-rumored drug use, though he has pointedly avoided denying such charges. Asked whether he had ever used cocaine or marijuana by the British paper "Scotland on Sunday," Bush said only "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Far from simple youthful indiscretion, however, Bush has admitted that his "irresponsible" period lasted until his 40th birthday. Adding to the sense that he might not be truthful about his drug use, Bush also advises that parents lie to their own children about their experiences. "The question is, have you learned from your mistakes," he said. "The answer is yes. If I were you, I wouldn't tell your kids that you smoked pot unless you want them to smoke pot. I think it's important for leaders and parents not to send mixed signals. I don't want some kid saying, 'Well, Governor Bush tried it'." Questions about Bush's drug use, his message and the impact that it will have, both on his campaign and on his image remain. Rob Stewart, Communications Director for the Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, DC, wondered how Bush could maintain the inconsistencies between his own life and the policies he adopts. "Assuming that Governor Bush did in fact use illicit drugs, one has to wonder whether he believes that he would have benefited from being sent to prison. Judging by his obvious success in politics, it would be difficult to argue that prison would have been appropriate. The question, then, is why he believes that other people, people whose parents are not oil tycoons, ought to be incarcerated for their own substance use or abuse. Is he sending the message that drug use should only result in incarceration for those who get caught? Or for those whose families don't have the resources to send them to treatment, or hire expensive attorneys?" Sandee Burbank, Director of Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, takes issue with Bush's admonition to parents to lie to their children. "Governor Bush thinks that the way to keep youngsters from using drugs is to lie to them. This shows extreme disrespect for children's intelligence and natural desire to protect themselves from harm. Parents who use lies, exaggerations and scare tactics put themselves at tremendous risk of losing credibility. These tactics can lead some children to disregard serious warnings, thinking them more of the same lies." "MAMA thinks it is better to teach children skills to evaluate the risks of all drug use and provide them with accurate information about all drugs. This will serve them far better than lies." *** 3. Report: US Anti-Drug Forces Corrupted A soon to be released report from the federal General Accounting Office (GAO) points to corruption among US forces along the Southwest border as a serious and growing problem, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The number of such cases investigated by the FBI went from 79 in 1997 to 157 in 1998. Wayne Beaman, special agent in charge of the McAllen, Texas field office of the Justice Department's Inspector General's office, told the Star-Telegram, "It's been overwhelming on the southwest border." The release of the study comes at a time when Congress has been pushing the Clinton Administration to hire 1,000 new border patrol agents. This week, Attorney General Janet Reno indicated that they would not, citing the difficulties in integrating such an influx of inexperienced officers with concerns over corruption and the inappropriate use of force. Reno told the congressional appropriations committee on Tuesday (3/9) that law enforcement experts consider it risky for more than 30% of any force to be inexperienced. "As of July, 1998" Reno said, "the percentage of Border Patrol agents with less than two years of experience or less was almost 39%." But that rationale did not temper the criticisms of proponents of the expansion. In a statement released on Wednesday, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said, "We have a White House that wants to surrender in the War against Drugs and an Attorney General who is waving the white flag." On Thursday, Allen Kaye, spokesman for Smith, when asked about the upcoming GAO report and the potential for corruption among both the existing force of Border Patrol agents and new recruits, told The Week Online, "We currently have up to 8,000 agents in the Border Patrol and the overwhelming majority are hard working, patriotic Americans who are serving their country and who would never even consider engaging in corrupt activity. They do a superb job under very difficult circumstances, and we ought to be proud of them." Kaye continued. "We also have to realize what they're up against. They're facing down the international drug cartels. According to government figures, 70% of all illegal drugs come into the country over the southwest border. With that kind of money involved, there's going to be some corruption." Asked whether, given the fact that a single truckload of heroin or cocaine can supply entire regions of the country with a year's worth of product, the inevitability of "some corruption" makes the entire enterprise of enforcement fruitless, Kaye responded vociferously. "That's a legalization argument," he said. "And Congressman Smith rejects that argument out of hand. Our children deserve better than to have us surrender to the drug cartels. Congressman Smith speaks often to PTA's and parents' groups and they consistently urge him to fight hard, not to give up on our children in the War on Drugs. We must confront the smugglers everywhere, and the Congressman believes that we need at least two thousand additional border agents to do that. Even then, he might not be satisfied." Dr. Al Robison, Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, disagrees. "Once again, it's getting deep up on the hill" he said. "It's disheartening that legislators like Mr. Smith insist upon hiding behind the idea that they're somehow protecting kids with this madness. Another 2,000 agents and perhaps we'll get a handle on this $400 billion a year industry. Hah. We haven't achieved a single drug free community in the whole country, much less a drug free America. The drug war itself is what allows our kids access to this stuff. Giving up on our children? We've long sold out our children in favor of prison industry profits and the budgets of countless federal agencies. If we really wanted to keep drugs out of the hands of children, we'd put the drug trade in the hands of people we could regulate and control. Today, despite decades of escalation of the drug war, drugs are accessible to any American child with a few dollars in his pocket and the desire to use them. To pretend that more money for the border patrol is going to protect our kids is the worst kind of disingenuousness." *** 4. Alaska Bill Introduced to Amend State's New Medical Marijuana Law - Marc Brandl, email@example.com On March 3rd, 1999, Measure 8, Alaska's medical marijuana initiative, passed by nearly 60% of voters became law. On March 4th, state senator Loren Leman introduced SB 94, which would greatly modify several key provisions of the new law. Two major proposals of the 15 page bill are seen as very controversial. The first would require patients to register with Alaska's Health and Human Services and allow broad access of that registry to law enforcement agencies. Measure 8 created the registry to be voluntary. The other key controversial provision is a statement that doctors would have to sign in order to recommend marijuana for patients that states, "There is no other legal treatment that can be tolerated by the patient that is as effective in alleviating the debilitating medical condition." Also only AIDS, cancer and glaucoma would be considered legitimate conditions for which marijuana could be recommended. "We think the whole process is outrageous that he would try to amend this initiative into ineffectiveness just as it is coming into law," said Alaskans for Medical Rights treasurer David Finkelstein. "His bill sets up a system where law enforcement officials have access to a list of patients and all of their medical conditions. This just isn't a matter of having access to what drugs they are taking. The documentation necessary to get medical marijuana includes the doctor's documentation of their conditions, which includes AIDS. Some AIDS patients are concerned about that information getting out. It's essentially full disclosure to patients' medical backgrounds." Senator Leman had a different perspective when he talked to the WOL about SB 94. "We're concerned about enforcing drug laws in the state of Alaska. The initiative was very poorly worded, it has a lot of loopholes and opportunities for abuse. What the bill does is correct some of those while still maintaining the ability of the so called medical marijuana part to operate." When asked about concerns over the requirement in SB 94 that all patients participate in the state registry to be legal users of medical marijuana, Sen. Leman replied, "Why did the promoters of this initiative form a state registry? They did it just to create the ruse that there was going to be a requirement for registering. But curiously they don't require that the users or the primary caregivers sign up and register. Our legislation requires them to register. Does that create an unnecessary burden on the doctor/patient relationship? No. Marijuana is not some harmless food supplement, it is a dangerous drug." Another source of concern about Sen. Leman's bill raised by Finkelstein and several recent letters to the editor in the Anchorage Daily News is that the new law hasn't been given a chance to work and this legislation is an attempt to thwart the will of the voters. Senator Leman strongly disagreed, saying, "That isn't correct. Most the voters of Alaska, I believe, who voted for this, did so because they believed it would be limited, require a doctor's recommendation, that there would be a registry of users maintained by the state that people would have to sign up for, and that it would be limited to those who have a debilitating illness. That is what the voters of Alaska voted for." The bill has a long road ahead before it becomes law or is voted down by the Alaskan legislature, and both sides believe it will be a long fight. "I am not sure of the outcome," said Finkelstein. "But we are doing all we can to convince legislators that compassion for patients out to be their number one concern and they ought to give the new law a chance to work." *** 5. Drug Policy Campus Activism Conference - Marc Brandl, firstname.lastname@example.org On the weekend of March 5-7, over 40 students, representing 10 universities, met to learn more about activism, leadership, and to discuss ideas. Aaron Wilson, long-time campus activist and organizer of the conference, said "While small, as the first ever inter-campus gathering of student drug policy reform activists it was a significant event. The level of inter-campus communication and cooperation has risen quite a bit, with several collaborative projects already underway. I think the event did a lot to solidify the participants' commitment to activism on the issue and provided political skills they need to be more effective. I am sure the next event will be even better." The conference, titled "Student Drug Reform Activism: 1999 Advanced Leadership Conference," was held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was hosted by the nation's longest running campus marijuana reform group, the Amherst Cannabis Reform Coalition (UMACRC). The conference focused on activism, with sessions and panels were held on subjects such as event organizing, Higher Education Act reform, and effective political public relations. The focus of all the conference events was activism and not theory. The conference also allowed student activists a chance to meet face to face and share ideas, experiences and plans for the future long into the morning hours. Michael Thelwell, one of the original founders of the Student Nonviolent Campus Coordinators (SNCC), now a professor of literature in the Afro-American Studies department at Amherst, was the event's keynote speaker. His speech inspired activists with memories of the civil rights movement. "He inspired me to think more about the struggle and the heart behind what we do instead of simply tactics and knowledge," said Troy Dayton, who was a communications and rhetoric trainer at the conference. Tentative plans are being made to have a similar event in October at George Washington University in Washington. Shawn Heller, president of GW Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) said, "Hopefully a conference at GW next semester will improve upon the trend set up by this conference, and will bring together all drug policy student activists in the country." Funding for the conference came, in part, from a small grant from the Drug Policy Foundation and several contributions from private donors. Aaron Wilson would like to thank everyone who made the event possible and contributed to its success, including Liz Rising (UMACRC), who did much of the work of reserving hotel rooms, making arrangements for food and other thankless tasks. *** 6. Washington State Bill Would Increase Judge's Discretion in Drug Cases The Washington State legislature is expected to vote next week on a bill that would allow judges more discretion in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders. House Bill 1006, introduced by Republican Representative Ida Ballasiotes, enjoys broad support from prosecutors, judges, and other lawmakers, and is widely expected to pass. Ballasiotes told DRCNet the bill's popularity stems from a growing disillusionment with the consequences of harsh mandatory minimum sentences instituted in 1989. "The 'tough on drugs' approach has held sway for the last ten years or so," she said. "It hasn't worked well. And corrections is the fastest growing part of our budget. So my point is, we have to work smarter with the resources we have." Nonviolent drug offenders make up 25 percent of the state's prison population. House Bill 1006 will not necessarily lower the penalties for drug offenses, but it will allow judges to sentence some offenders to supervised drug rehabilitation programs instead of jail. Ballasiotes said her bill speaks to practicalities that beyond the "tough on crime" paradigm. "It's not a matter of getting tough or being soft on crime. I don't think that's the issue at all. There are ways to treat these people that are far less expensive, that will have, I believe, a positive effect." *** 7. Judge Denies California AIDS Patient's Urgent Plea for Medical Marijuana (reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org) A federal judge refused this week to alter the conditions of release that bar a California AIDS patient from using potentially life saving medicine, marijuana, ruling that the denial is not a violation of his constitutional rights. "They're just going to let me die," said patient Peter McWilliams, a New York Times best-selling author who uses medical marijuana to alleviate side effects of the AIDS wasting syndrome and the nausea associated with his AIDS medications. "My doctor and I have tried every [other medication,] and we made this very clear in the documents filed with the court," he said. "Medical marijuana was the only alternative." McWilliams physician, Dr. Daniel Bowers, an AIDS specialist at Pacific Oaks Medical Center in Beverly Hills, said that his patient's viral load has skyrocketed from undetectable to dangerously high levels since a federal magistrate barred McWilliams from smoking marijuana. Bowers said that McWilliams risks permanent damage to his immune system if his levels are not reduced. A judge ordered McWilliams to stop smoking marijuana as a condition of his bail release last fall after a federal grand jury charged him and eight others with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana for commercial sale. This week's ruling by U.S. District Judge George King upholds that ban despite McWilliams' worsening health. "We conclude that imposing the aforesaid conditions of bond does not violate any of the defendant's constitutional rights," Judge King ruled. "We do not mean to express indifference to the defendant's situation, [but] we are not empowered to grant the defendant what amounts to a license to violate federal law," he said. King made no mention of California's law legalizing marijuana for medical use. McWilliams is a California resident. King also refused McWilliams' request that he be placed in a federal program that supplies medical marijuana to a handful of patients with serious diseases. McWilliams said he will appeal the ruling. McWilliams' criminal trial on marijuana charges is scheduled to begin on September 7, 1999. *** 8. Federal Judge Allows Medical Marijuana Class Action Suit to Proceed, Questions Why Government Supplies Medical Marijuana to Some Patients, Not Others (reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org) A US District Judge (Philadelphia) ruled this week that a government program that supplies medical marijuana to a small group of seriously ill patients, but refuses to enroll new applicants suffering from similar diseases, may violate "equal protection of the law" guaranteed by the Constitution. District Judge Marvin Katz's ruling allows a federal medical marijuana class action suit launched by Philadelphia attorney Lawrence Hirsch to proceed forward. Hirsch filed the suit on behalf of more than 100 patients who find medical relief from marijuana. "We are gratified by Judge Katz's decision to recognize the central equal protection of law claim of the plaintiffs' class that it is fundamentally unfair, and apparently irrational for the United States government to supply therapeutic cannabis to a total of seven or eight Americans because it is medically necessary for their conditions, [but deny it to others,]" Hirsch said. The federal Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program began distributing marijuana cigarettes to select patients in 1978. The program ceased accepting new applicants in 1992, but continues to supply 300 marijuana cigarettes monthly to eight patients suffering from diseases such as glaucoma and epilepsy. Similar statewide programs also distributed medical marijuana to approximately 1,000 patients in the 1980s, but are no longer active. Judge Katz dismissed in his ruling several other constitutional violations alleged by the plaintiffs. NORML Legal Committee members Michael Cutler, Esq. of Boston, MA and William Panzer, Esq. of Oakland, CA have joined as co- counsel in the suit. *** 9. Events March 20-21, Toronto, Canada, The Second International Conference on Drug War Prisoners, sponsored by the Curriculum Committee of the Department of Sociology, York University. For information, contact John Beresford at email@example.com. March 21-25, Geneva, Switzerland. 10th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Association. For info, call 44 (151) 227 44 23, fax 44 (151) 236 48 29, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ihra.org.uk/geneve/ on the web. March 27-29, Washington, DC. Families Against Mandatory Minimums workshop. For information, call FAMM at (202) 822- 6700 or e-mail email@example.com. Wednesday, April 7, 4-6pm, New York, NY. Illegal Leisure: Recreational Drug Use Among 1990s British Youth, seminar with With Howard Parker, PhD, professor of social work at the University of Manchester and author of Illegal Leisure: The Normalization of Adolescent Recreational Drug Use (Routledge 1998). Parker, director of SPARC, a British social policy research center, examines the impact of drug law and policy on British youth. At the Open Society Institute, 400 West 59th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), 3rd Floor, New York City, free. Call The Lindesmith Center at (212)548-0695 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place. April 20, Oklahoma City, OK. "PROTEST THE WAR" demonstration at the State Capitol. For information, contact Norma Sapp at (405) 840-4367 or Michael Pearson at email@example.com. May 7, New York, NY, 9:00am. RALLY: Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis, highlighting the need for in-house drug rehabilitation as an alternative to prison for mothers with dependent children, 100 Centre St. Sponsored by the JusticeWorks Community. For further information, call (718) 499-6704, fax (718) 832-2832, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.justiceworks.org on the web. ***May 12-15, Bethesda, MD (outside Washington, DC). The 12th International Conference on Drug Policy Reform, sponsored by the Drug Policy Foundation. (May 11 evening legislative training session.) For further information, call (202) 537-5005, e-mail email@example.com, or visit http://www.dpf.org. *** 10. Online Petitions Several online petitions on issues of interest to reformers are currently in progress at http://www.e-thepeople.com. Visit the "Crime and Public Safety" section to sign and distribute petitions calling for a moratorium on prison building, opposing California's three-strikes law, opposing Michigan's mandatory minimum sentences, calling for legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, and more. (DRCNet's weekly editorials will return next week.) *** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 89 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - How important is the drug policy reform effort? by Rolf Ernst; The Weekly News in Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including - Smugglers corrupting U.S.'s anti-drug forces, study says; War on drugs needs a new battle plan; America's misguided drug war; Chronic pain under treated, expert says; and, Senators join outcry to halt new bank rules. Articles about Law Enforcement and Prisons include - Less crime, more criminals; Criminal justice system just plain bizarre; Incarceration won't solve drug problem; and, US criticism of China rings hollow in US prisons. Articles about Medical Marijuana include - MP challenges Rock pot move; The Kubby prosecution; Not fit to print? The medical marijuana class action hearing; and, a letter to the editor, Medical marijuana. International News includes - another letter to the editor, Copy successful anti-drugs policy; Expert rejects zero tolerance stand; Caribbean nations suspend US treaty; and, New drug army rules atop 'Golden Triangle.' The weekly Hot Off The 'Net publicizes a transcript from the medical marijuana class action lawsuit in Philadelphia; and gives the URL for a RealVideo episode of television's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" featuring Joe Califano and singer Dave Matthews. The Fact of the Week documents that the "Land of the Free" is No. 1 in imprisoning its citizens. The Quote of the Week cites state senator John Vasconcellos, the Democrat from Santa Clara, California.) From: email@example.com (DrugSense) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DrugSense Weekly, March 12, 1999, #89 Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 09:20:07 -0800 Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Lines: 804 Sender: email@example.com DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly, March 12, 1999 #89 A DrugSense publication http://www.drugsense.org This Publication May Be Read On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n89.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 How Important is the Drug Policy Reform Effort? By Rolf Ernst * Weekly News in Review Drug War Policy- (1) Smugglers Corrupting U.S.'s Anti-Drug Forces, Study Says (2) War on Drugs Needs A New Battle Plan (3) America's Misguided Drug War (4) Chronic Pain Under treated, Expert Says (5) Senators Join Outcry to Halt New Bank Rules Law Enforcement & Prisons- (6) Less Crime, More Criminals (7) Criminal Justice System Just Plain Bizarre (8) Incarceration Won't Solve Drug Problem (9) US Criticism of China Rings Hollow in Us Prisons Medical Marijuana- (10) MP Challenges Rock Pot Move (11) The Kubby Prosecution (12) Not Fit to Print? The MMJ Class Action Hearing (13) PUB LTE: Medical Marijuana International News- (14) PUB LTE: Copy Successful Anti-Drugs Policy (15) Expert Rejects Zero Tolerance Stand (16) Caribbean Nations Suspend US Treaty (17) New Drug Army Rules Atop 'Golden Triangle' * Hot Off The 'Net MMJ Class Action Suit Transcript On-line Politically Incorrect with Califano/Jackson On-Line * Fact of the Week The "Land of the Free" Is Number One in Imprisoning its Citizens * Quote of the Week Senator John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) *** FEATURE ARTICLE How Important is the Drug Policy Reform Effort? By Rolf Ernst In a recent conversation with a director of a drug policy organization I heard the statement that 'What we are dealing with today is the single most important issue in America. A change in drug policy will have the most profound effects on American society experienced in the last 50 years.' I pondered this for a while and then had to agree. Drug policy is much more than an issue centered on substance abuse. Its effects are far-reaching and substantial. It has introduced previously unheard of legislative measures such as civil asset forfeiture, mandatory minimum sentences and conspiracy laws to name a few. While they are mostly applied to drug violations today, it is foreseeable that the same measures will linger on in American jurisdiction long after the Drug War has ended. Congress, particularly in the 1980s, has forever changed the way America deals with crime on the one hand and civil liberties on the other. The American justice system has decidedly ruled that in cases of great perceived threat to society or the health of its citizens, laws that previously seemed carved in stone can and will be sacrificed. Constitutional rights and amendments have taken on new interpretations if not disappeared altogether. The presence of this change in climate can be felt throughout. School districts favor random drug testing without regard to search and seizure requiring probable cause; expels students found under the influence of drugs without any sort of due process; TV shows glamorize the dedicated investigator that ignores the necessity of a warrant and breaks into apartments in 'important cases'; commercials broadcast by the Partnership for a Drug Free America urge 'to do anything to keep your children off drugs' - the terrifying interpretation of this left only to the viewer's imagination. A prison industry has developed that is blooming and its stock is trading high. Like every business it depends on growth. Corporations backed by investors with serious funds prompt the question as to how far they will lobby Washington and what for? Stock prices as a direct result of growing incarceration paint a gloomy picture. All the while America's upper middle class goes about business as usual. The tremendous changes appear not yet to have taken their toll in this segment of society, one empowered to judge its ramifications; the last to take notice. Once this sheltered refuge sees its dreams shattered America could have changed forever. When all is said and done it comes down to the price tag we are willing to attach to the fight of an enemy that is not quite tangible, elusive and in need of constant pursuit with ever increasing vigor. Already America pays a dear price for the struggle with a ghost; financially, culturally and constitutionally. The question is: When is enough enough? Rolf Ernst http://www.usperspectives.org/ *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW *** Domestic News- Policy *** COMMENT: (1-5) Another bad media week for the drug war; on the heels of the Mexican certification hypocrisy came a reminder that American law enforcement isn't uniquely immune to the corrupting lure of easy drug money. Editorial denunciations of the drug war are becoming commonplace; the gloves also seem to be off in dealing with McCaffrey. There was an overdue, but nevertheless welcome, recognition from within conservative medical circles that, for years, drug policy has adversely affected the pain management of ordinary patients. Finally, the quick Senate abandonment of "know your customer" is a development we should note; it's explicit evidence that "tough on drugs" is easily trumped by opposition from middle class (contributing) voters. Compare this response to the way Congress treated the (valid) idea that ejection of entire families of individual drug users from public housing is blatantly unfair. *** (1) SMUGGLERS CORRUPTING U.S.'S ANTI-DRUG FORCES, STUDY SAYS DONNA, Texas- In November 1997, when Miguel Carreon was hired as the police chief of this small town nine miles from the Mexican border, he vowed to restore the integrity of a force whose reputation had been sullied by the indictment of six officers accused of helping to smuggle 1,700 pounds of marijuana into the United States. [snip] From small-town police departments to the expanding ranks of federal anti-drug agencies, American officials say they are alarmed by their own vulnerability to the corrupting influence of the drug trade. In a report to Congress last month, the U.S. Customs Service called drug trafficking "the undisputed, greatest corruption hazard confronting all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies today." [snip] Pubdate: 7 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Marisa Taylor and Ricardo Sandoval, Knight Ridder Newspapers URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n255.a03.html *** (2) WAR ON DRUGS NEEDS A NEW BATTLE PLAN A motley of would-be drug policy reformers clustered under an umbrella called the Network of Reform Groups issued a report yesterday in which they proposed, shockingly, that we stop simply fighting the war on drugs and start instead aiming actually to win it. [see http://www.csdp.org/] They would do that by up-ending current, manifestly failed priorities, cutting the 66 percent of the anti-drug budget that goes to law enforcement to 33 percent and splitting the rest evenly between treatment and strategies against youth drug use. [snip] .....It deserves a hearing. Alas, we seem instead about to go rampaging off again into more of the same, with the drug czar, the vastly unimaginative Barry Mccaffrey, telling Congress just last week that by turning up the heat, he'll cut drug use in half by '07. [snip] Pubdate: Thur, 04 Mar 1999 Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Author: Tom Teepen http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n244.a09.html *** (3) AMERICA'S MISGUIDED DRUG WAR Attacking suppliers of drugs without addressing the demand guarantees drug sales will continue No credible evidence exists showing that stringent enforcement of US narcotics laws actually reduces drug use in this country. Indeed, the opposite seems true: Law-enforcement efforts actually promote illicit drug use. [snip] Pubdate: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 Source: Christian Science Monitor (US) Copyright: 1999 The Christian Science Publishing Society. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/ Forum: http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/vox/p-vox.html Author: Mike Tidwell http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n256.a05.html *** (4) CHRONIC PAIN UNDERTREATED, EXPERT SAYS Many Americans with chronic pain don't receive the treatment they need because of "misapplied" fears about addiction, an expert in the field told an ethics conference Saturday at Creighton University in Omaha. Those fears include doctors' and patients' concerns that the use of narcotic painkillers would lead to substance abuse, and doctors' worries about legal problems, said Dr. Steven D. Passik, a psychologist who is director of oncology symptom control research at the Indiana Community Cancer Care Center in Indianapolis. He said these are major factors in what he described as a "dramatic under treatment" of chronic pain. [snip] Pubdate: Mon, 08 Mar 1999 Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE) Copyright: 1999 Omaha World-Herald Company. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.omaha.com/ Forum: http://chat.omaha.com/ http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n258.a07.html *** (5) SENATORS JOIN OUTCRY TO HALT NEW BANK RULES WASHINGTON -- The Senate, joining a torrent of criticism from people worried about privacy, told the government yesterday to withdraw proposed anti-money laundering rules that would track bank customers' habits. By an 88-0 vote, the Senate expressed support for a measure directing bank regulators to drop the proposed rules, called "Know Your Customer." [snip] "This is such a broad-reaching regulation that it infringes on our constitutional rights," Gramm, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said on the Senate floor. [snip] Pubdate: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Author: MARCY GORDON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS URL:http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n252.a07.html *** Law Enforcement & Prisons *** COMMENT: (6-9) Ever since publication of Eric Schlosser's Atlantic Monthly Article in December, the best op-ed writers in America have been focused on prisons.If the middle class can be aroused to action by the truth- prisons have become an unaffordable boondoggle which is wrecking public education- the recent fate of "know your customer" suggests that our politicians will listen. The following were only the best of many devastating criticisms linking prison expansion to a futile drug policy. *** LESS CRIME, MORE CRIMINALS Later this month, the U.S. government will release new figures showing how many Americans are behind bars, and the numbers will reveal that the bull market for prisons is still charging ahead. Nearly 1 of every 150 people in the United States is in prison or jail, the Justice Department will announce, a figure that no other democracy comes close to matching. [snip] Pubdate: 7 Mar 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Timothy Egan URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n255.a01.html *** (7) CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM JUST PLAIN BIZARRE IT's an odd country, really. Our largest growth industries are gambling and prisons. But as you may have heard, crimes rates are dropping. We're not putting people into prison for hurting other people. We're putting them into prison for using drugs, and as we already know, that doesn't help them or us. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 04 March 1999 Source: Daily Herald (IL) Copyright: 1999 The Daily Herald Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dailyherald.com/ Author: Molly Ivins Section: Sec. 1 URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n242.a01.html *** (8) INCARCERATION WON'T SOLVE DRUG PROBLEM Narcotics: The nation's policy in dealing with violators is irrational, racist, draconian and hugely expensive. How long are we going to pretend that the United States is not one of the major violators of human rights in the world? There are 400,000 people in America's prisons simply because the government claims it must save them from themselves. [snip] Pubdate: 2 Mar 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/ Section: Opinion Author: Robert Scheer URL:http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n235.a03.html *** (9) US CRITICISM OF CHINA RINGS HOLLOW IN US PRISONS It will be interesting to see how long the White House can recite China's abuses when its own moral threads are unraveling to the point that it has become the schoolmarm scolding the world in exposed lingerie. [snip] Pubdate: Wed, 03 March 1999 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Author: Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n242.a03.html *** Medical Marijuana *** COMMENT: (10-13) Medical marijuana is another issue which unmasks the dishonesty of American drug policy for middle class citizens who are otherwise well disposed toward "law & order" issues - precisely because they can easily imagine themselves as patients. Demand for medical use is resonating north of the border; a concession by heretofore resistive Minister of Health Alan Rock drew suspicion from MMj supporters, but whatever happens, it's clear that the genie is out of the bottle. In the US, 3 major court battles over MMj are developing in California and Philadelphia; sadly, two are currently being ignored by the press, as is their wont. Most shocking is that a federal judge's imprimatur on the official murder of Peter McWilliams has been completely ignored by California media. An out-of-state LTE to the LAT was the sole referral to Judge King's amazing explanation that although McWilliams claim to be dying for lack of Mj might be true, it doesn't matter because marijuana is illegal. The details are online at: http://www.petertrial.com/ *** (10) 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. [snip] Pubdate: Friday, March 5, 1999 Source: London Free Press (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The London Free Press Corporation. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.canoe.ca/LondonFreePress/home.html Forum: http://www.lfpress.com/londoncalling/SelectForum.asp URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n247.a12.html *** (11) THE KUBBY PROSECUTION Steve Kubby, the Libertarian party candidate for governor in 1998, and his wife, Michele, had their preliminary hearing on marijuana cultivation and sales charges in Tahoe City last Tuesday. The two will face a total of 19 charges. The case is scheduled for arraignment in Superior Court in Auburn March 19. The actual trial will take place later, probably sometime in May. [snip] For prosecutors to press forward under such circumstances smacks of malice or worse - an overt effort to turn a law duly passed by California voters into a dead letter. [snip] Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n261.a05.html *** (12) NOT FIT TO PRINT? THE MMJ: CLASS ACTION HEARING Scores of documented medical patients from around the United States came to Philadelphia last week- many in wheelchairs- to learn exactly why the federal Department of Justice thinks they should be in prison. As plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the DOJ, all are self-admitted "users" of marijuana. At a hearing on Wednesday, March 3, attorneys for the government demanded the lawsuit be dismissed out of hand. Judge Marvin Katz, directing federal attorneys to support their request for dismissal with more specific evidence, took their motion under submission. [snip] Posted: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 Note: We thought this story would be among top news items last week but it never made it to print, although there was some local TV coverage. We thought the matter justified suspending our usual practice of including only published material in MAP's DrugNews archive. Web Coverage: http://www.marijuananews.com/report_from_philadelphia.htm http://www.marijuananews.com/a_legal_overview_of_the_medical_.htm http://www.hightimes.com/ Pictures: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/images/ac_at_bell.jpg http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/images/ac_chairsbell.jpg URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n258.a02.html *** (13) PUB LTE: MEDICAL MARIJUANA California state Sen. John Vasconcellos has just touched the tip of the iceberg of the problems with our national drug prohibition policy (Commentary, Feb. 25). The dominant puritanical minority that controls the Congress with coercion, fear and the politics of personal destruction has also subverted our federal courts. [snip] This is the judicial environment that Peter McWilliams is subjected to. If the state of California is to save the life of McWilliams, it should step in and take him into protective custody from the federal prosecutors and provide to him the lifesaving marijuana that he needs to stabilize and strengthen his body. [snip] Pubdate: Wed, 3 Mar 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: PAT ROGERS Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n211.a08.html http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n238.a09.html *** International News *** COMMENT: (14-17) A recent trend in English-speaking nations from Ireland to Australia has been for politicians in power to take an unpopular hard-line 'American style" position in opposition to more widely supported harm reduction policies. This is illustrated by a representative article from Australia. A recently published LTE by MAP NewsHawk Martin Cooke summarizes the issue very nicely. In the Caribbean, an interesting collision between drug policy and trade demonstrates that economic necessity leads whole nations into the drug trade, right along with individual people. For most of us, Myanmar's WA represent a previously unknown factor in the convoluted system controlling the massive international criminal drug market. At any moment, WA teens could find themselves killing and dying for the profits of that market. *** (14) COPY SUCCESSFUL ANTI-DRUGS POLICY WILLIE O'DEA, TD, thinks that we should start imprisoning young people who experiment with soft drugs like cannabis and ecstasy (The Examiner, March 2). He is quoted as saying that "teenagers should be threatened with jail sentences and criminal records to stop rising recreational drug abuse." [snip] He only has to look at the US, which has the largest proportion of its population behind bars of any of the developed countries in the world, a sizeable minority, if not a majority, of them for non-violent drugs offences. And yet drug use continues to soar in the US. [snip] Mr O'Dea is quoted as saying: "I have no problem borrowing a good idea that has worked elsewhere." If this is true, and if he is really concerned about the welfare of our youth, I would suggest that he would do far better to look at the Netherlands rather than the UK. [snip] Pubdate: 8 Mar 1999 Source: Examiner, The (Ireland) Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.ie/ Section: Letters to the Editor Author: Martin Cooke URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n260.a07.html *** (15) EXPERT REJECTS ZERO TOLERANCE STAND A former Family Court judge yesterday condemned the zero-tolerance heroin strategy that the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, is believed to be interested in learning more about. Mr John Fogarty, who recently retired from the Family Court and is now a board member of a United Nations-affiliated child-welfare group, said the approach harked back to the dark era of Australia's settlement as a penal colony. "The zero-tolerance approach is an untenable policy which should be removed from public discussion of drug issues," Mr Fogarty told a seminar on youth prisons. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 Source: Age, The (Australia) Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theage.com.au/ Author: Caroline Milburn URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n245.a03.html *** (16) CARIBBEAN NATIONS SUSPEND US TREATY PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) Angered by the U.S. position in a trade dispute over banana exports to Europe, Caribbean Community nations have agreed to suspend a treaty of cooperation with the United States to fight drug trafficking, an official said Sunday. [snip] Pubdate: 7 Mar 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: Bert Wilkinson Associated Press Writer http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n255.a08.html *** (17) NEW DRUG ARMY RULES ATOP 'GOLDEN TRIANGLE' LOI SAM SAO, Myanmar - Cradling an assault rifle, a teenage rebel sits at a guard post watching trucks hauling consumer goods and construction material into northeastern Myanmar over the dusty road from Thailand. [snip] The young rebel is the first line of contact between outsiders and the United WA State Army, one of the numerous ethnic groups not controlled by the central government of Myanmar, or Burma. [snip] A generation ago,the WA were feared headhunters. Now, they are the world's largest producers of heroin and a major supplier of amphetamines in East Asia. But a cozy arrangement with the Myanmar military government that allowed their rise is fraying, and the WA are preparing for war. [snip] Pubdate: 3 Mar 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Don Pathan, The Associated Press URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n239.a10.html *** HOT OFF THE 'NET *** MMJ Class Action Suit Transcript On-line Carl Olsen has posted the text of the March 3 hearing on the medical marijuana class suit action at: http://www.calyx.com/~olsen/MEDICAL/hirsch.html *** Politically Incorrect with Califano/Jackson On-Line CRRH has posted a RealVideo version of "Politically Incorrect, with Bill Maher." This March 8, 1999 show is a debate about marijuana. Singer Dave Matthews and comedienne Elayne Boosler join Bill Maher in debating in favor of cannabis against Joseph Califano and Earl Jackson. 17 minutes, 19 seconds. The video is located at: http://www.crrh.org/hemptv/misc_pi-3-8-99.html *** FACT OF THE WEEK The "Land of the Free" Is Number One in Imprisoning its Citizens All major Western European nations' incarceration rates are about or below 100 per 100,000. In the United States, in 1995, the incarceration rate for African-American women was 456 per 100,000, and for African-American men 6,926 per 100,000. Source: Currie, E., Crime and Punishment in America, New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, Inc. (1998), p. 15; Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996, Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (1997), p. 510, Table 6.12. See the entire collection of Drug War Facts at: http://www.csdp.org/factbook/ *** QUOTE OF THE WEEK "...convince the federal government...that they must abide by the will of the voters. A tidal wave of support for medicinal marijuana has begun in the western United States; the future of many federal officials depends, in large part, on whether they ride that wave into the future or, standing in the way, are rendered irrelevant by the voters." --Senator John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) *** 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 (email@example.com) Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (firstname.lastname@example.org) We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter writing activists. NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 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