Portland NORML News - Friday, March 19, 1999

Time doesn't fit the crime (A letter to the editor of the Oregonian contrasts
two recent news articles to illustrate the injustice of the war on some drug
users. A Portland bus driver who raped a mentally disabled passenger was
previously released from prison after serving nine years for a 1973 murder,
while a young woman with a cocaine habit is still serving a life sentence for
cocaine possession.)

Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/)
Pubdate: Fri, Mar 19 1999
Source: Oregonian, The (OR)
Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/
Author: Lynn De La Torre, Southwest Portland

LTE: Time doesn't fit the crime

What we learned from the March 6 article about Daniel Richard Robertson, a
driver for a Tri-Met subcontractor who pleaded guilty to raping a mentally
disabled woman, are two things: First, that a dangerous man convicted of
murder (in 1973) was released after only about nine years, instead of
serving his original sentence of life in prison.

Second, that this same person, Robertson, has committed a second offense and
will again be in prison for a maximum of eight years and four months,
potentially endangering society again.

On the other hand, we read about a young woman with a cocaine habit in the
two-part article on the "war on drugs" (March 2). She is still serving a
life sentence for cocaine possession. In all likelihood, unless our laws
change, the convicted murderer will be released before the woman serving
time for her drug habit.

Is this really justice? Many of us have known for quite some time that the
laws are inconsistent, but here is a concrete example that is hard to
ignore. We can see from this example that law-enforcement resources applied
to victimless crimes could be better focused on violent crime.

Restaurant owners fight smoking ban in Corvallis bars (The Associated Press
says the Oregon Restaurant Association urged the Oregon Court of Appeals
Wednesday to overturn a Corvallis ordinance that bans smoking in drinking
places, citing a state law that exempts taverns. The restaurant association
says the issue is whether cities are free to make choices of policy that go
beyond what the legislature decides, and is appealing a decision by Benton
County Circuit Judge Robert Gardner last April that local governments can
establish smoking restrictions that are more strict than the state's. This
would seem to be a case to watch for marijuana-law reformers in Portland and
elsewhere in Oregon who want to sponsor local reform initiatives.)

Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/)
Pubdate: Fri, Mar 19 1999
Source: The Associated Press (OR)
Copyright: Associated Press
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/
Author: Charles E. Beggs of The Associated Press

Restaurant owners fight smoking ban in Corvallis bars

* The Oregon Restaurant Association points to the state law that requires
separate smoking areas and exempts taverns

SALEM -- Restaurant owners defending what may be the last public indoor
refuge for smokers -- bars -- urged a state court Wednesday to overturn a
Corvallis ordinance that bans smoking in drinking places.

Last July 1, the university town became the first city in Oregon to go
beyond the state's indoor smoking restrictions and outlaw the practice in
bars along with all other "enclosed public places."

The Oregon Restaurant Association is fighting the ordinance, arguing that
it's invalid because it conflicts with the state no-smoking law.

State law requires restaurants to provide no-smoking areas and can forbid
smoking in the entire restaurant, but it exempts their bar portions and taverns.

In arguments before the Oregon Court of Appeals, an attorney representing
the restaurant industry said the issue is whether cities are free to make
choices of policy that go beyond what the Legislature decides.

"The state law was trumped by the city ordinance," Salem lawyer Jim Brown
told the court.

Brown also contends the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague because of
confusing wording about also forbidding smoking near entrances to nonsmoking

The restaurant association is appealing a decision issued by Benton County
Circuit Judge Robert Gardner last April that local governments can establish
smoking restrictions that are more strict than the state's.

Corvallis voters last November decided to keep the bar smoking ban after
foes of the ordinance referred the measure to the ballot by petition.

Richard Wasserman, an assistant attorney general, said there is no clear
evidence the Legislature intended to pre-empt local governments on the
smoking ban issue.

Opponents of the ordinance, in their written brief filed with the court,
conceded that they face an uphill fight.

The appeals court took the case under advisement.

Lawmaker held in DUI investigation (The Seattle Times says Washington state
representative Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, was arrested early Friday on a
drunken driving charge.)

From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "HempTalkNW" (hemp-talk@hemp.net)
Subject: HT: Lawmaker held in DUI investigation
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 20:01:27 -0800
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Posted at 10:54 a.m. PST; Friday, March 19, 1999

Lawmaker held in DUI investigation
by Seattle Times news services

OLYMPIA - State Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, was arrested early today
for investigation of drunken driving, Olympia police said.

Officer Tim Bronson said Linville was given a breath test and showed a
blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent, above the 0.08 level at which motorists
in Washington are considered to be driving under the influence.

Linville did not immediately return telephone calls.

She was arrested after a security guard told police he was nearly struck by
a car being driven erratically.

Linville was booked into the Olympia Jail and identified herself as a state
lawmaker from Bellingham. She was released on her own recognizance, police

Study: Marijuana Not A 'Gateway' Drug (The Arizona Republic summarizes the
Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 12:21:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US AZ: Study: Marijuana Not A 'Gateway' Drug
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Copyright: 1999, The Arizona Republic.
Contact: Opinions@pni.com
Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/
Forum: http://www.azcentral.com/pni-bin/WebX?azc



A scientific study commissioned by the U.S. drug czar Wednesday found
marijuana can be useful in treating people with AIDS, cancer and other
diseases, adding fire to the politically charged issue of whether to
legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

At the same time, the Institute of Medicine report found no evidence to
support the theory that marijuana is a "gateway" to harder drugs of abuse,
and urged further study of marijuana's active ingredients in treating pain,
nausea and other symptoms.

The $896,000 study was commissioned in 1997 by retired Army Gen. Barry
McCaffrey, Clinton's anti-drug policy adviser, after he and other federal
officials criticized state ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana as
"hoax initiatives," and dismissed claims for the drug's benefits as a
"Cheech & Chong show," referring to comedians who have glamorized drug use.

The Institute of Medicine is a private non-profit organization that provides
health policy advice under a congressional charter.

Its report concludes that the future of the drug's medicinal use lies not in
lighting up joints, since smoking can lead to lung damage and
low-birthweight babies, but in the development of pharmaceuticals or other
drug delivery systems, like a vaporizer, that would be based on marijuana's
active ingredients.

In the meantime, the report did support interim solutions for some sick and
dying patients who do not benefit from approved painkillers and anti-nausea

"There are limited circumstances in which we see recommending smoked
marijuana for medical uses," said Dr. John Benson Jr., former dean of Oregon
Health Sciences Unversity and one of the two principal investigators for the
report. But he said this would be only in the context of a carefully
controlled study in which patients are told of the potential harmful

Thousands of patients with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, for
example, could be among those who could benefit from smoked marijuana in
carefully controlled trials, Benson said during a news conference.

In a statement, McCaffrey highlighted the report's conclusion that, "the
future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically
defined drugs that act on . . . human physiology."

He doubted the findings are likely to send pharmaceutical companies
scrambling to do research on marijuana. "Our experience is there is little
market interest."

Marijuana As Medicine (A staff editorial in the Arizona Daily Star says the
Institute of Medicine assessment of marijuana as medicine was "measured and
responsible," in contrast to the Arizona legislature, which as recently as
September passed a resolution declaring marijuana addictive and opposing its
medical use.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:07:52 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US AZ: Marijuana As Medicine
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Friday, 19 March 1999
Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ)
Contact: letters@azstarnet.com
Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/


The use of marijuana as medicine, a right Arizonans approved in
November, 1996, could be closer thanks to a new government study of
the plant. The study linked marijuana use to relief for AIDS patients
and showed it does not prompt patients to use harder drugs.

After Arizona voters approved more than two years ago the medicinal
use through Proposition 200, the Legislature set aside the measure
awaiting Food and Drug Administration studies. The FDA is doing its
own studies and hasn't changed its position, yet the new study comes
from a panel of independent experts at the prestigious Institute of
Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

It found that the active ingredients in marijuana appear to be useful
for treating pain, nausea and severe weight loss associated with AIDS.
It's the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical literature
on marijuana. Particularly interesting is its finding that giving the
drug to sick people showed no evidence that it would increase illicit
use in the general population - it is not a ``gateway drug.''

As recently as last September, the Legislature passed a resolution
declaring marijuana addictive and opposing its medical use. Morality
was likely the driving influence on these ``medical experts.''

By contrast, the new report was measured and responsible, simply
stating what had been found. It cautioned that the benefits of smoking
marijuana were limited because the smoke itself is so toxic. Yet
giving marijuana on a short-term basis under close supervision could
give relief to patients who didn't respond to other therapies.

Marijuana's smoke is more toxic than tobacco smoke, said the study,
but it can be given in capsules, patches and bronchial inhalers. The
study also found that contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not
useful in treating glaucoma and there was little evidence of a use in
treating Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. It can help by
combating muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis.

People undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from marijuana's ability to
ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce nausea and

Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug
Control Policy which requested the study, praised the report and said
he'll take the recommendations under advisement. He still worries
about confusion in law enforcement issues. He's suspicious about
``people with mischievous agendas at work.''

Nothing yet leans toward allowing widespread smoking of marijuana as a
result of medical studies. There's no hidden, evil agenda here, only a
sincere scientific effort to establish reasonable treatment for
suffering human beings.

The study offers hope for needed therapy.


[ed. note - the IOM's claim that cannabis smoke is more toxic than cigarette
smoke shows what happens when "scientists" exclude the epidemiological
evidence. Not a single case of lung cancer or other serious lung disease has
ever been attributed to the smoking of cannabis, even in U.S. government
studies of lifelong smokers in Costa Rica, Greece and Jamaica. But 400,000
Americans die from tobacco smoking every year. The IOM's failure to discuss
the possible reasons for the epidemiological discrepancy is just one reason
Portland NORML considers the IOM report to be the work of politically
motivated amateurs, not real scientists.]

McCaffrey Opposes Use Of Marijuana, Even For Medical Reasons (A staff
editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Institute of Medicine report
says the White House drug czar's continued opposition to marijuana as
medicine shows General Barry McCaffrey is apparently in search of a yes man -
or at least a group of scientists who sees things his way. Why bother
ordering studies if they are to be disregarded? The medical community should
be the one to determine what are appropriate medications to grant relief for
patients suffering terrible diseases.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:14:28 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IL: Editorial: Mccaffrey Opposes Use Of Marijuana For Even
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Goochi1
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 1999 The Sun-Times Co.
Contact: letters@suntimes.com
Website: http://www.suntimes.com/index/
Link: http://www.suntimes.com/output/commentary/edits19.html
Note: Headline by MAP editor


Apparently White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey is in search of
a yes man--or at least a group of scientists who see things his way.
Two years ago, McCaffrey ordered a study by a federal advisory panel
after the National Institutes of Health concluded some AIDS and cancer
sufferers could be helped by marijuana.

McCaffrey opposes use of marijuana for even medical reasons because he
sees it as legitimizing drug use to American youth.

The new report from the federal panel of scientists is even less to
McCaffrey's liking.

The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science found
there is no evidence marijuana use leads to use of other drugs, or
that legalizing marijuana for medical use would result in increased
drug use in the general population. But McCaffrey is not quite ready
to give up his own conclusion that marijuana use under any
circumstance is detrimental to society. "The study concludes there's
little future in smoked marijuana as medically approved medication,"
he said. In other words, here is another group of experts who do not
know what they are talking about.

Why bother ordering studies if they are to be disregarded?

This latest study supports use of marijuana as a way to help relieve
pain and suffering accompanying devastating diseases, which is not
quite the same as backing legalization. It also suggests, probably in
an effort to make the report more palatable to McCaffrey, that the
drug be administered in an institutional setting, and raises the
safety concerns of delivering a drug through smoking.

This report should remove politics from what is a medical issue.

The medical community should be the one to determine what are
appropriate medications to grant relief for patients suffering
terrible diseases.

Politics And Marijuana's Promise (A staff editorial in the Chicago Tribune
says the Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday will likely be
ignored and the federal ban on medical marijuana will probably continue due
to politicians' fear of appearing "soft on drugs.")

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 16:46:26 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US IL: MMJ: Editorial: Politics And Marijuana's Promise
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@worldnet.att.net)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Section: Sec. 1
Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/


"AIDS Wasting Syndrome," a particularly gruesome symptom of the
disease, destroys the appetite or prevents the absorption of
nutrients, so that victims appear to be starving to death.

Smoking marijuana, though hardly a miracle cure, can provide some
relief, mainly by boosting appetite. Yet an irrational and inhumane
federal prohibition prevents those afflicted with AIDS and other
devastating chronic diseases from availing themselves of the relief
marijuana might bring.

A carefully worded report released Wednesday by the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences endorsed the use of
marijuana for treating the pain and nausea associated with some
serious ailments, including AIDS Wasting Syndrome.

This comprehensive study was commissioned by federal drug czar Gen.
Barry R. McCaffrey, who so far has committed only to take its
recommendations "under advisement."

A likely translation of that is that the federal ban will stay in
place--and to hell with data, researchers and, apparently, the
thousands of suffering people who could benefit from prescribed use of

Aware of the political static surrounding the topic, the NAS
researchers stressed that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes
would not increase its use among the general population, and that it
is not a gateway drug that leads to addiction to harder and more
dangerous substances.

There is no doubt that marijuana can be addictive, but so can a number
of medications--such as morphine--which are nevertheless prescribed
and administered routinely in cases of extreme pain or suffering.

What is so specifically menacing about marijuana, except politicians'
fears that any support for lifting the ban might be perceived as being
"soft on drugs"?

Voters in seven states have approved the medical use of marijuana, but
doctors still won't prescribe it for fear of federal prosecution.

Last November voters in the District of Columbia attempted to express
their views in a referendum, but Congress intervened and prevented
even a vote count.

The legalization of controlled, medical use of marijuana calls for
courageous political leadership, above the din of anti-drug
demagoguery. Is there such a leader in Washington?

Hemp Growing (Foster's Daily Democrat says the New Hampshire House on
Thursday voted 183-174 to defeat a bill that would have made it legal to
grow hemp in New Hampshire. Supporters asked that the bill be returned to
committee for reworking since the vote was so close.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:13:21 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NH: Hemp Growing
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (NH)
Copyright: 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co.
Contact: letters@fosters.com
Website: http://www.fosters.com/


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The House narrowly defeated and returned to committee
Thursday a bill that would have made it legal to grow hemp in New Hampshire.

The bill would let farmers grow the hemp, which is related to marijuana but
contains little of the high-inducing substance in it. It lost 183-174.

But supporters asked that the measure be sent back to committee for
reworking since the vote was so close. That passed 195-163.

John Stephen, deputy safety commissioner, said he was pleased but surprised
by the vote, since a House committee had recommended passing the bill.

"We don't want to send a message to our young kids that we are even trying
to legalize marijuana," he said.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Derek Owen, D-Hopkinton, who in September
1998 lost a claim in federal court to grow hemp.

Hemp can be grown only with permission from the federal Drug Enforcement

Opponents argued the measure would make drug enforcement measures more
difficult because the hemp plant closely resembles marijuana plants.

Supporters said hemp was an agricultural crop with little relation to drugs.
The uses of industrial grade hemp include fabrics, oils and paper.

"It's about rope; it's not about dope," said Hobart Harmon, R-Bristol.

Case Shows Legal Problems With 'Zero Tolerence' (The Standard-Times, in New
Bedford, Massachusetts, says the "zero tolerance" drug policy enacted by
school officials in Easthampton led to the town paying undisclosed
settlements to four students who sued after being expelled for marijuana

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 18:34:03 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: Case Shows Legal Problems With 'Zero Tolerence'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Copyright: 1999 The Standard-Times
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
Website: http://www.s-t.com/
Author: Robin Estrin


BOSTON -- Like their counterparts in many other school districts,
officials in Easthampton wanted to show local students that they
wouldn't take drug use lightly.

So several years ago, they enacted a "zero tolerance" policy. Those
caught with drugs would be kicked out.

It didn't quite work as planned. Now, the town is paying undisclosed
settlements to four students who sued after being expelled for
marijuana possession.

The case raises questions about the conflicts between schools' desire
to be tough, and students' rights to education and due process.

Under the 1993 Education Reform Act, drug use and possession is one of
several serious offenses for which students can be expelled from
school. The law, however, requires that students be allowed to have
their say.

Expulsion can range from 11 days to banishment from school for

"You can't say expelled automatically. That's an oxymoron," said Peter
Sack, principal of Swampscott High School. "Expulsion by definition
requires a hearing."

The problem in Easthampton dates back to April 1997, when five
students -- three seniors and two juniors -- were expelled for alleged
marijuana possession during a school trip to Canada.

A school policy called for automatic dismissal for drug possession at
school or school-related functions.

Four of the students sued, in two different courts. Hampshire Superior
Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn reinstated the students and later ruled
that the school committee did not have the authority to draft a policy
calling for automatic expulsion.

She said the Education Reform Act was designed to have school
principals dole out punishments on a case-by-case basis. If the
settlements had not been made, the courts would have had to decide
whether the students' civil rights had been violated.

"Unfortunately schools tend to be run by educators and not by lawyers,
so chances are we are going to make mistakes with that judicial
process," said John Cullinan, who took over as Easthampton's
superintendent last summer.

The town must now pay undisclosed amounts to the four students who

"Zero tolerance policies strike me as being completely absurd," said
Holyoke lawyer Geri Laventis, who represented one of the juniors. "To
me, what it does is it just says that you're not going to get a chance
at all."

More and more districts are enacting such policies, although it's
unclear how many, said Peter Finn, executive director of the
Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

For school administrators, it isn't an easy decision to expel a child
caught with drugs.

On the one hand, principals and superintendents want to protect the
other children from a student who is using or distributing illegal

On the other hand, said Wayne Ogden, principal of Duxbury High School,
"If I expel a kid, and especially in a case of a student without
financial means, I may have given him an educational death sentence in
the commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Under state law, a public school may refuse to admit a student who has
been expelled from another school or district.

There is a loophole, however. A suspended student who is facing
expulsion can withdraw from school before a more severe punishment is
administered and enroll elsewhere.

Marijuana Rx: Legalize Pot to Treat Cancer, AIDS (A staff editorial in
Newsday, in New York, says the Institute of Medicine's carefully nuanced
assessment of medical marijuana ought to end the arguments over the principle
of using marijuana to treat the sick.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 11:09:40 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US NY: Editorial: Marijuana Rx: Legalize Pot to Treat Cancer,
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 1999, Newsday Inc.
Contact: letters@newsday.com
Fax: (516)843-2986
Website: http://www.newsday.com/


Let's start with the sensible bottom line from the latest government-
sponsored report on marijuana: It says pot ought to be legally available,
under medical supervision, for use against the intractable pain, nausea and
weight loss suffered by many AIDS and cancer patients.

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine found convincing
evidence of marijuana's palliative effects, and recommended it in such cases
despite its "potential for dependence" and the distinct possibility that its
smoke is itself carcinogenic. Sometimes, the institute concluded, nothing
else works nearly as well, especially when immediate relief is needed.

The institute's carefully nuanced document ought to end the arguments over
the principle of using marijuana to treat the sick. Someone who is deathly
ill shouldn't be denied relief just because a drug's use for that legitimate
purpose might conceivably encourage its abuse by someone else. After all, we
don't treat controlled drugs like morphine and Valium as we do cocaine and

But don't expect the arguing to stop. Advocates for legalizing marijuana
will point to its benign effects in a narrow range of cases and press for
self-medication on demand. Resisters will suggest that prescribing it to
relieve nausea in chemotherapy is tantamount to lighting up a joint for a

The institute is worried enough about the toxicity of marijuana smoke to
urge more research on how to deliver its active ingredient, THC, and related
cannabinoids to patients without "burning plant material and contaminants."
There's one prescription capsule on the market now, but the future may lie
with patches and inhalers. Meanwhile, a last-resort treatment for patients
won't create a gateway drug for teenagers.

Report On Medical Use Of Marijuana Brings New Fight (A New York Times
analysis of the Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday says the
study ostensibly concerned the herb's medicinal uses, but has opened a debate
into marijuana's longstanding role as a linchpin to the national policy of
zero tolerance toward illicit drugs.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:14:39 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Report On Medical Use Of Marijuana Brings New Fight
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Paul Wolf (paulwolf@voicenet.com)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/
Author: Christopher S. Wren


The long-awaited Government-commissioned report on marijuana that was
issued on Wednesday may have concerned the drug's medicinal uses, but it
has also opened a debate into marijuana's longstanding role as linchpin of
a national policy of zero tolerance toward illicit drugs.

In addressing issues like whether marijuana was a gateway to the use of
harder drugs (the researchers found no convincing evidence that it was),
the report used language calculated not to overstep the bounds of
scientific inquiry into the arena of political argument.

But the very nature of the report was contrary to the Government's usual
inclination against acknowledging any merit at all in marijuana use, and
advocates on both sides of the issue seized on it.

The authors -- 11 independent experts at the Institute of Medicine, a
branch of the National Academy of Sciences -- found that marijuana smoke
was even more toxic than tobacco smoke and could cause cancer, lung damage
and pregnancy complications. As a result, they said, marijuana should be
smoked only by those patients in whom long-term effects are not of great
concern, like the terminally ill, and even then under tight control.

Nonetheless, they said, marijuana's active ingredients appear to be
effective for treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated
with AIDS.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which ordered and
financed the two-year study after voters in California and Arizona endorsed
medicinal use of marijuana in 1996 referendums, has had little comment on
the report beyond endorsing its call for further research, saying science
alone should determine what is safe and effective medicine.

But other marijuana opponents have been more outspoken.

"The only issue from a policy point of view is whether smoked marijuana is
a viable medicine for the treatment for anything, and the report virtually
says no, which is very important," said Dr. Robert DuPont, clinical
professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School. "People
don't go to their pharmacy and get a prescription for burning leaves."

On the other hand, advocates of a more liberal approach to drugs see the
report as a catalyst to force the Government to rethink its zero-tolerance

"The release of this report is the beginning of a process, not the end,"
said Bill Zimmerman, executive director of Americans for Medical Rights,
which has sponsored medicinal-marijuana initiatives in a dozen states. "It
will provoke all kinds of activity across the country."

The Government's longtime position -- that marijuana is a dangerous drug
that cannot be tolerated any more than cocaine or heroin -- has not been
helped by the fact that as many as 60 million Americans, including Bill
Clinton, have tried it, most with no significant aftereffect. Further, the
Government's policy has been predicated on the assumption that smoking
marijuana can lead nowhere but to the abuse of harder drugs, an outlook
that the authors contradicted.

Medical marijuana was chosen as a wedge issue several years ago by people
who wanted to move drug policy in a softer direction, said Mark A. R.
Kleiman, professor of public policy at the University of California at Los

Government officials could have neutralized the issue, Professor Kleiman
said, by agreeing to strictly medical use of the drug, but instead "they
had to be against marijuana for any use, and as a result they handed a
wonderful issue to their opponents."

In fact, the Government's opposition to medicinal use "is one of the most
readily comprehensible excesses of the war on drugs," said Ethan Nadelmann,
director of the Lindesmith Center, which promotes liberalized alternatives
to current drug policy. "It's one that most Americans understand: that
arresting patients is not right."

Others, though, see a freewheeling public debate about medicinal marijuana
as a slippery slope that can only lead to acceptance of the drug's
recreational use.

"Anything that is going to make marijuana use by adolescents a more likely
event is going to be a terrible blow to the efforts we are making to remedy
the problem of raising children in America," said Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal,
president of Phoenix House, the nationwide network of drug treatment centers.

Dr. Herbert D. Kleber, one of 13 experts who reviewed the report for the
Institute of Medicine before its release, said it set high standards for
justifying the medicinal use of marijuana. But Dr. Kleber, medical director
of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia
University, also called the report "that kind of thing where people can
take sound bites to bolster whatever position they want."

For A Very Few Patients, U.S. Provides Free Marijuana (The New York Times
describes the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program, sanctioned by
the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Eight patients still receive 300 mediocre but efficacious joints every month
under the federal program. A trial scheduled for June will challenge the Bush
administration's arbitrary and unilateral 1992 decision to close the door to
new patients.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:11:45 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: For A Very Few Patients, U.S. Provides Free Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Paul Wolf (paulwolf@voicenet.com)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/
Author: Sheryl Gay Stolberg


WASHINGTON - Every weekday morning around 11 o'clock, a middle-aged
stockbroker named Irvin Rosenfeld gets up from his desk and walks to a
breezeway outside his office in Boca Raton, Fla. There, alongside the
potted palms and smokers taking their breaks, he lights up a cigarette of
his own -- not tobacco, but marijuana, sent to him by the Federal Government.

The arrangement is 16 years old and perfectly legal. Rosenfeld, who suffers
from a rare bone disorder and smokes to relieve his pain, is part of an
exclusive club of Americans who receive a free can of marijuana cigarettes
each month under a "compassionate use" program sanctioned by the Food and
Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

There are only eight participants in the program. "I'm one of the fortunate
people," Rosenfeld said.

Or at least, blessed with good timing. Since 1992 the door has been shut on
the little-known program, which began in 1978 and at its height had no more
than about 20 patients. Now, however, the question of whether the
Government should be providing an illegal drug to a chosen few has been
thrust into the spotlight by a new study showing that marijuana is
beneficial for certain conditions, including pain, nausea and the severe
weight loss associated with AIDS.

The study, the most comprehensive review of the literature about medical
marijuana to date, was commissioned by the White House and conducted by a
committee of 11 scientists appointed by the Institute of Medicine, a branch
of the National Academy of Sciences. A report on the study concluded that
the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited by the toxic effects of the
smoke, but nonetheless recommended that the drug be given under close
supervision to patients who do not respond to other therapies.

Yet, it does not appear likely that the list of Government-approved
marijuana smokers will grow any time soon. Indeed, that the program
continues to exist at all is testimony to the Government's schizophrenic
approach to one of the thorniest questions in law and medicine: whether
doctors should be able to write prescriptions for marijuana.

On the one hand, the Institute on Drug Abuse pays the University of
Mississippi to grow what a spokeswoman called a "consistent, reliable
source of research-grade cannabis" for Rosenfeld and the others.

A North Carolina manufacturer receives $62,000 a year from the Government
to roll the cigarettes and ship them Federal Express, in sealed tins of 300
each, to the patients' doctors and pharmacists.

Rosenfeld, who is 46, carries a folded letter in his wallet, dated March
17, 1983, from the Food and Drug Administration, authorizing him to use a
substance that might otherwise bring a Federal prison term of up to five
years. Most days, he smokes in his car while driving to work; "I get no
euphoric effect," he said.

The F.D.A. letter, he added, has been helpful on those rare occasions that
the police have pulled him over.

On the other hand, Congress has prevented the District of Columbia from
releasing the results of a recent ballot question that asked voters to
decide if marijuana should be made legal for medical purposes. And the
Clinton Administration has moved to shut down marijuana buyers' clubs in
California and has threatened to prosecute doctors who write prescriptions
for the drug.

"Why allow eight patients to have legal access to marijuana but criminalize
thousands of other patients in very similar circumstances who have the same
conditions, virtually identical medical histories?" asked Chuck Thomas,
spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group in Washington
that lobbies to make the drug legal for medical use. "Why deny them legal

That question is now before a Federal judge in Philadelphia, where 165
patients have filed a lawsuit seeking to force the F.D.A. to grant wider
access to the drug. The case is scheduled for trial in June.

"The compassionate access program is an acknowledgment by the Government of
the United States that marijuana has medicinal value," said Lawrence
Hirsch, the lawyer for the patients. "It is fundamentally unfair for the
Government to supply marijuana for medical necessity to eight people in the
United States, when the rest of the potential candidates for therapeutic
cannabis are excluded."

In response, a spokesman for the Department of Justice argues that Congress
has made the possession and distribution of marijuana illegal and that the
F.D.A. has no obligation to make further exceptions.

The Government hopes the program will eventually become extinct through
attrition; some of the patients who were enrolled have died.

Those who remain owe their precious exceptions to a 51-year-old glaucoma
patient, Robert Randall of Sarasota, Fla. While the Institute of Medicine
has found marijuana is not particularly useful for glaucoma, Randall begs
to differ. In 1973, when he was a college student in Washington, Randall
said, he found that smoking marijuana helped ease the pressure on his eyes.

"So I grew four little marijuana plants on my sun deck on Capitol Hill, to
make up for those times that I couldn't afford to buy it," he said. "Then I
got arrested."

As his case worked its way through the legal system, Randall sued the
Federal Government, contending that his smoking was a "medical necessity."
In 1976 a judge agreed, he said, and he began receiving marijuana under the
supervision of a doctor at Howard University.

But that arrangement unraveled in 1978, and he sued again. The Government
settled the case through the compassionate use program, under which the
F.D.A. gives patients access to unapproved drugs if no other therapies will
help them.

"The marijuana is mediocre," said Randall, who was the first enrollee.
"It's what you would expect from a Government-controlled monopoly. But it

Randall later helped others apply, among them Rosenfeld and two Iowa
patients, Barbara Douglass and Ladd Huffman.

Both have multiple sclerosis, a condition for which the Institute of
Medicine found marijuana beneficial. They met in 1990 after a local
newspaper published an article about Huffman, who had been arrested for
growing the drug in a shed behind his home. In 1991 they applied for
Federal marijuana together.

Both received F.D.A. approval. Ms. Douglass began receiving the drug
shortly therafter.

"It relaxes the muscle spasms," she said.

But the program was shut down before the final paperwork was finished for

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said today that
the department determined that the marijuana was no longer necessary
because of the advent of the drug Marinol, a capsule containing marijuana's
active ingredient that was approved by the F.D.A. in 1985.

Huffman says Marinol does not work. "With these capsules, you take them and
about an hour later you get so stoned you can hardly function," he said.
But, having been sentenced to two years' probation for his marijuana
offense, he is afraid to smoke the drug again.

As for Rosenfeld, he has pangs of conscience, knowing that people like
Huffman have been prosecuted for buying a drug he gets courtesy of the
taxpayers. And he worries that his supply could be cut off at any time,
particularly if the Government loses the lawsuit in Philadelphia.

"I'm not against the Government," he said. "I appreciate what they do for

Patients Using Marijuana As Medicine Hail Report Backing Claims (Knight
Ridder/Tribune News Service notes the Institute of Medicine issued its
long-awaited report last week lending scientific credence to the potential
medical benefits of marijuana touted by AIDS patient Kiyoshi Kuromiya of
Philadelphia and other activists.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 04:51:09 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Wire: MMJ: Patients Using Marijuana As Medicine Hail
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Copyright: 1999 Knight Ridder
Author: Huntly Collins in Philadelphia



MARIJUANA--In the eyes of the law, they are criminals who could go to prison
for what they do every day.

But across the country, many chronically ill people say that smoking
marijuana provides significant relief for their often debilitating

``I can smoke a joint and five minutes later I can eat every last drop
of food,'' said Kiyoshi Kuromiya, 55, a Philadelphia AIDS activist who
uses marijuana to combat the nausea, appetite loss and wasting
syndrome common to AIDS patients.

Last week, the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), an arm of the
National Academy of Sciences, issued a long-awaited report that lends
scientific credence to the potential medical benefits of marijuana
touted by Kuromiya and other activists for many years.

Debate Heats Up Study: Marijuana Has Medical Uses (The Virginian-Pilot

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 06:05:41 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Debate Heats Up Study: Marijuana Has Medical Uses
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: 19 Mar 1999
Source: Virginian-Pilot (VA)
Copyright: 1999, The Virginian-Pilot
Contact: letters@pilotonline.com
Website: http://www.pilotonline.com
Forum: http://www.pilotonline.com/webx/cgi-bin/WebX


The most comprehensive medical study of marijuana yet makes a case for the
drug's limited use in treating patient.

The active ingredients in marijuana can be useful for treating pain, nausea
and the severe weight loss associated with cancer and AIDS, according to a
new study commissioned by the government. The study's results are
intensifying the contentious debate over whether doctors should be
permitted to prescribe the drug.

The report, the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical
literature about marijuana, said there was no evidence that giving the drug
to sick people would increase illicit use in the general population. Nor is
marijuana a "gateway drug" that prompts patients to use harder drugs like
cocaine and heroin, the study said.

The authors of the study, a panel of 11 independent experts at the
Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences,
cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because the
smoke itself was so toxic. But they recommended that the drug be given, on
a short-term basis under close supervision, to patients who did not respond
to other therapies.

The authors recommended that researchers study alternative delivery methods
- such as pills, patches or inhalers - for the drug.

The release of the delicately worded report, at a morning news conference
in Washington, prompted a flurry of political maneuvering.

Proponents of state initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical purposes
seized upon the findings as long-awaited evidence that it had therapeutic
value. They called on the Clinton administration, and in particular the
Office of National Drug Control Policy, which requested the study, to ease
its steadfast opposition to the initiatives.

But the study is unlikely to change the administration's position. The
Department of Health and Human Services, which is already financing some
research involving medical marijuana, issued a written statement noting
simply that it would continue to fund the work.

While the study's authors said they had been surprised to discover "an
explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the active components of
marijuana affect the body," they added that the future of marijuana as a
medicine does not lie in smoking it. Marijuana smoke, they said, is even
more toxic than tobacco smoke, and can cause cancer, lung damage and
complications during pregnancy.

The true benefits of marijuana, the experts said, would only be realized
when alternative methods, such as capsules, patches and bronchial inhalers,
were developed to deliver its active components, called cannabinoids, to
the body without the harmful effects of smoke.

So far, there is only one cannabinoid-based drug on the market, Marinol,
manufactured by Unimed of Somerville, N.J. It comes in pill form and was
approved in May 1985 by the Food and Drug Administration for nausea and
vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as well as for anorexia and weight
loss associated with AIDS.

Some patients have complained that marinol is more expensive than marijuana
and that they do not feel its effects as quickly.

The researchers recommended that the government pay for research that would
speed up the development of more cannabinoid drugs, and were particularly
keen on the promise of inhalers.

But recognizing that such methods might take years to perfect, they also
recommended that people who did not respond to other therapy be permitted
to smoke marijuana in the interim.

"Marijuana should only be smoked in circumstances where the long-term risks
are not of great concern, such as for terminally ill patients or those with
debilitating symptoms that do not respond to approved medications," said
Dr. John A. Benson Jr., former dean of Oregon Health Sciences University
School of Medicine and one of the study's two lead authors. "Even in these
cases, smoking should be limited to carefully controlled situations."

Benson and his co-author, Dr. Stanley J. Watson Jr. of the Mental Health
Research Institute of the University of Michigan, unveiled their findings
Wednesday at the Institute of Medicine. As the two scientists spoke, a
handful of people sat quietly in the audience, wearing fire-engine red
T-shirts with white block lettering that blared: "Medical Marijuana Patient."

Among them was Jim Hardin, a 48-year-old Virginia man who testified before
the panel and whose story was among several personal anecdotes included in
the report. Hardin suffers from Hepatitis C, a disease that is destroying
his liver, and he uses a wheelchair. He said smoking marijuana helps him
cope with the intense nausea and rapid weight loss the disease has caused.

"I lost 95 pounds," Hardin said. "I tried everything: 35 different pills.
Finally doctors told me to go to Europe and try marijuana." He did that, in
November 1997, visiting the Netherlands, where a doctor prescribed one to 2
grams of marijuana per day.

A Virginia law passed in 1979 allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for
glaucoma and cancer patients. But physicians would still break federal law
if they prescribed it.

The report contained some surprising findings. It concluded that, despite
popular belief, marijuana was not useful in treating glaucoma. While the
drug can reduce some of the eye pressure associated with glaucoma, the
effects were short-lived.

In addition, the study found that there was little evidence for marijuana's
potential in treating movement disorders like Parkinson's disease or
Huntington's disease, but that it was effective in combating the muscle
spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

In addition to the Virginia law, voters in seven states - California,
Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington - have approved
initiatives intended to make marijuana legal for medical purposes.

But the federal government has threatened to prosecute doctors, and
patients often have difficulty obtaining the drug.

For The Record (The Washington Post interviews an assiduously ignorant U.S.
Attorney General Janet Reno about the Institute of Medicine report she still
hasn't read.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 16:44:34 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: For The Record
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: emr@javanet.com (Dick Evans)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: A28
Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company
Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/


>From remarks by Attorney General Janet Reno at a press conference in
Washington yesterday:

Q: In light of the government-ordered study that was released yesterday on
the medical uses of marijuana, should federal law, which criminalizes
medical use of marijuana, be amended?

Janet Reno: I think what that study -- and I have not had a chance to read
it completely, but what it indicates is that there should be tests, that we
cannot tell from anecdotal information about the true circumstances
regarding the medical use of marijuana, and that it's important that tests
be done in an appropriate manner.

Q: But in the meantime, thousands of terminally ill people are
technically felons, because they use what they believe is a substance
that helps relieve their pain or alleviate some of their symptoms,
simply because of the federal law.

A: We have a number of situations involving medical crises where
decisions have to be made. And in those situations, the testing can
give the information that provides the medically sound approach.

Q: .. . Pending any change in the law . . . has there been any thought to
how the administration enforces the law, especially in those states
that have already enacted medical marijuana laws?

A: As I indicated, I have not had a chance to read it. I'm looking
forward to a discussion concerning what the next step should be. And I
think this is an important report for us to focus on and to figure
what is the next step, what's the appropriate step.

Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy (Jon Gettman, the former director of
NORML who for the last five years has been petitioning the DEA to get it to
admit that the science shows marijuana does not belong in the Controlled
Substances Act's list of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 drugs, announces his
related library on cannabis, science, medicine and the law has been reposted
at the High Times web site after disappearing from NORML's site more than a
year ago.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 21:05:03 -0500
To: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.org)
From: Jon Gettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net)
From: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.org)
Subject: Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy Returns

Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy
by Jon Gettman


This is a very extensive collection of material I have prepared over the years
about my rescheduling petition. High Times joined me in this endeavor at its
very start, and now we're providing this material at the High Times web site.
The recent Institute of Medicine report clarifies many of the issues discussed
in the petition, and while some of the material in this presentation has been
around for awhile the IOM report indicates that its relevance is only going to
increase in the near future.

The rescheduling petition has been on-line for several years at NORML's web
site, however the way I have presented the material there it is difficult for
people to gain access to the many different topics it maintains. Soon a new
presentation version of the petition will go on line at this site that will be
subdivided into dozens of specific research topics. Meanwhile the full text of
the petition is available through this site by a link to the NORML edition.

Other features of Marijuana, Science and Public Policy:

The Cybersense Series - 4 pamphlets with simple presentations on the Controlled
Substances Act and how to put the arguments of the petition to work in basic

Marijuana, What the Law Says - a hypertext exhibit explaining the important
fine print of the national marijuana laws.

Marijuana, What the Experts Say -- a hypertext exhibit consisting of simple
statements about marijuana's effect on the human body with links to
documentation from scientific and medical journals. This exhibit has been
updated to include several comments from the new Institute of Medicine report.

Reference Materials - links to the full text of two important reports from the
Office of Technology Assessment, and to several articles I've written about the
petition material or updating some of the scientific findings it discusses.

The High Times Marijuana Policy Research Page - These are the links I use to
stay on top of drug policy. Each source is described, and these links will
get you the official policy data - including the National Household Survey,
county level UCR arrest statistics, Supreme Court decisions, the DEA, the Drug
Czar's press releases, the European Community and more.

Additional Background Materials - This links to other petition-related
materials,such as press releases and correspondence with the DEA, that are
available at the High Times web site. This exhibit also contains the full text
of the comments High Times and I have filed to request a hearing in the
rescheduling of Marinol, the synthetic THC pill.


To subscribe, unsubscribe or switch to immediate or digest mode, please
send your instructions to restore-owner@crrh.org.


Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp
P.O. Box 86741
Portland, OR 97286
Phone: (503) 235-4606
Fax:(503) 235-0120
Web: http://www.crrh.org/

Heroin Users' Starting-Up Age Plummets Into Teens (The Age, in Melbourne,
Australia, says the Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997-98, prepared by the
Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and released yesterday, reveals a
continued fall in the age of first-time heroin users - now on average just
17.5 years old - an alarming increase in multiple drug use among injecting
drug users, and a gradual increase in heroin purity. The Prime Minister, Mr
John Howard, yesterday refined his "zero tolerance" message on drugs.
Announcing $20 million in new funding for rehabilitation programs, he said he
had compassion for drug users and their families but contempt for

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 00:45:38 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Heroin Users' Starting-Up Age Plummets Into Teens
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Russell.Ken.KW@bhp.com.au (Russell, Ken KW)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: Age, The (Australia)
Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd
Contact: letters@theage.fairfax.com.au
Website: http://www.theage.com.au/
Author: Darren Gray


A national report into illicit drug use has revealed a continued fall in the
age of first-time heroin users - now on average just 17.5 years old - an
alarming increase in multiple drug use among injecting drug users and a
gradual increase in heroin purity.

The report warned that despite 300kilograms of heroin being seized in
1997-98, the seizures had no real impact on the drug's availability.

In fact, many Victorian police districts reported that heroin availability
had increased.

The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, yesterday refined his ``zero tolerance''
message on drugs. Announcing $20million in new funding to drug
rehabilitation programs, he said he had compassion for drug users and their
families but contempt for traffickers.

According to the Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997-98, prepared by the
Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and released yesterday, illegal
drugs cost the Australian community an estimated $1.68billion a year. Drug
prevention and treatment efforts, lost productivity, crime, law enforcement
and accidents make up the bulk of the cost.

Other key findings include:

One in five deaths in Australia is drug-related (all drugs).

Cannabis-related offences accounted for 76.9per cent of all illicit drug
offences nation-wide in 1997-98.

10.5per cent more heroin was picked up at the Victorian border in 1997-98.

A disturbing trend for Sydney cocaine users to inject it.

Domestic production of cannabis is rising.

Amphetamine production has increased substantially in Queensland and NSW.

Cannabis offences in Victoria dropped by 53.1per cent in the two years to
1997-98, to 9034.

The report, launched in Melbourne by the Minister for Justice and Customs,
Senator Amanda Vanstone, and Victoria's chief police commissioner, Mr Neil
Comrie, found the amount of heroin and cocaine seized in Australia jumped by
more than 26per cent in 1997-98, while the number of amphetamine/ecstasy
seizures jumped 30per cent to 4544 (excluding South Australia).

Senator Vanstone said she was pleased that in the first seven months of
1998-99 authorities had captured 565kilograms of heroin and 274kilograms of
cocaine, a substantial increase on recent years.

Senator Vanstone strongly defended the Government's approach to drug issues
and detection, saying it had the balance ``fairly right''.

Mr Comrie said it was a ``terrible tragedy'' that the average age of
first-time heroin users had fallen to 17.5.

``It's a sign of a problem that we are, I think, needing to come to grips
with very urgently,'' he said.

Mr Comrie also repeated his call for a small-scale heroin trial for
long-term heroin addicts. ``I obviously have a philosophical disagreement
with the Federal Government's position on this,'' he said.

The community had nothing to lose by conducting a small, highly managed and
scientifically sound heroin trial involving about a dozen long-term addicts,
he said.

``The reality is, that if we don't try something like that, these are the
people who are going to add to the overdose statistics,'' he said.

``I think we have got to do everything we can to intervene into the cycle of
drug abuse as early as we can.''

But Senator Vanstone strongly repeated the Federal Government's opposition
to such trials. ``The Commonwealth Government has made its decision.''

Drug experts said yesterday they were concerned that the age of first-time
heroin users was falling. The age was 26 in 1996.

Mr David Crosbie, the chief executive officer of the Alcohol and Other Drugs
Council of Australia, said many of today's fatal overdose victims were
long-term users aged in their early 30s, he said.

``If the patterns repeat themselves in 10 years ... we are going to have
even more people dying of overdoses.''

US Lights Up Marijuana Controversy (The New Zealand Herald summarizes
Wednesday's U.S. Institute of Medicine report on the efficacy of medical

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:29:34 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: US Lights Up Marijuana Controversy
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: David Hadorn (hadorn@dnai.com)
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Page: B1
Copyright: New Zealand Herald
Contact: editor@herald.co.nz
Website: http://www.herald.co.nz/nzherald/index.html


WASHINGTON - A report commissioned by the White House strongly backs
certain medical uses of marijuana, declaring that for some people with
serious diseases such as Aids and cancer, it may be one of the most
effective treatments available.

The report by the independent Institute of Medicine and anticipated in
the NZ Herald on Wednesday, was commissioned by the White House Office
of National Drug Control Policy and could spark a reassessment of the
decades-long US drive to ban almost all marijuana use.

"We uncovered an explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the
active components in marijuana affect the body and in how they might
be used in a medical context," Dr John Benson, one of the principal
investigators for the report, said.

The institute's study, the product of more than 18 months of research,
highlighted continued concerns over marijuana, noting that the common
practice of smoking the drug was medically dangerous.

But it also declared that marijuana was not particularly addictive and
did not appear to be a "gateway" to the use of harder drugs such as

For some patients with severe Aids or cancer symptoms such as nausea,
wasting and lack of appetite, marijuana - even in its smoked form -
appeared to have benefits that outweigh its risks, the investigators

The report stressed new research should aim to design a "non-smoked,
rapid onset" delivery system which could mimic the speedy action of a
smoked marijuana cigarette.

The increasingly bitter US debate over medical marijuana was sparked
in 1996 when California became the first state to pass a local
initiative aimed at allowing patients with Aids, cancer, and other
serious diseases to use the drug.

Six other states have passed similar laws.

Barry McCaffrey, President Bill Clinton's anti-drug "tsar" and long an
outspoken opponent of relaxing anti-marijuana laws, ordered the report
in 1997. His office responded to the report's findings with a call for
more research.

"We will carefully study the recommendations and conclusions contained
in this report," the Office of National Drug Control Policy said.

Supporters of the medical marijuana movement declared the institute's
report an unequivocal victory.

Bill Zimmerman, director of Americans for Medical Rights, the sponsor
of six 1998 state marijuana initiatives, said the institute's findings
would radically rework the public image of what has long been one of
the United States' most demonised drugs.

"They are in effect saying that most of what the Government has told
us about marijuana is false.

"It's not addictive, it's not a gateway to heroin and cocaine, it has
legitimate medical use, and it's not as dangerous as common drugs like
Prozac and Viagra," he said.

"This is about as positive as you can get."

Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug syndicates (The Kyodo News
Service, in Japan, says Congressman Roilo Golez has identified 285 drug
syndicates and gangs operating in the country, 61 of which have connections
to military and police officials. Golez added the illegal drug trade rakes
in $6.6 billion annually and about 1.8 million Filipinos are using illegal
drugs. The congressman said he decided to reveal the list to generate public
support for the government's antidrug campaign.)

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 12:39:07 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Philippines: Wire: Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: DRUGNEWS@aol.com
Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
Source: Kyodo News Service (Japan)

Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug syndicates

MANILA, March 19 (Kyodo) -- A Philippine congressman has identified
285 drug syndicates and gangs operating in the country, but admitted
Friday the police are having a hard time neutralizing these groups
because of lack of funds.

''The problem for the police today is lack of funds...you have to
understand these drug networks have very extensive networks and
financial resources,'' Congressman Roilo Golez said during a radio

Golez added the illegal drug trade rakes in 250 billion pesos (6.6
billion dollars) annually and about 1.8 million Filipinos are using
illegal drugs.

He also revealed 61 of the syndicates have connections with military
and police officials, adding his information indicates the highest law
enforcement official involved in the illicit drug trade is an army

Among the more prominent syndicates in the list are the Taiwan-based
14-K Gang and the Hong Kong-based Bamboo Gang.

The congressman said he decided to reveal the list to generate public
support for the government's antidrug campaign.

''We must first know our enemies before the community can take
action,'' Golez said.

Gen. Jewel Canson, head of the Philippine National Police anti-drug
campaign, confirmed the police have about the same count of drug
syndicates and gangs.

''The gang members and the names of the gangs coincides with the
listing of our target groups, which are now being monitored by
different law enforcement units,'' Canson said.

Canson clarified, however, some of the leaders of the gangs are
already in jail, but new leaders take over and the syndicate
operations continue.

Anticrime watch groups said most heinous crimes in the Philippines are
committed by people under the influence of drugs.

RCMP Drug Raid Was Dopey (A staff editorial in the Ottawa Citizen says the
sight of AIDS victim Jean-Charles Pariseau crying as he watched Royal
Canadian Mounted Police officers smash marijuana-growing equipment outside a
Vanier home this week brought the issue of medical marijuana home with a
thud. That is the real face of the debate over medical marijuana, a debate
that is slowly beginning to make official waves in Canada.)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:09:54 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Canada: RCMP Drug Raid Was Dopey
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Michael Foster
Pubdate: Friday 19 March 1999
Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Copyright: 1999 The Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/


The sight of AIDS victim Jean-Charles Pariseau crying as he watched
RCMP officers smash marijuana-growing equipment outside a Vanier home
this week brought the issue of medical marijuana home with a thud.
For people like Mr. Pariseau, whose weight dropped to nearly 70 pounds
before he began using marijuana to stimulate his appetite and help him
gain pounds, the issue is neither political nor ethical. It is simply

That is the real face of the debate over medical marijuana, a debate
that is slowly beginning to make official waves in Canada. Just two
weeks ago, Health Minister Allan Rock announced plans to conduct
clinical trials to see if marijuana can reduce pain in terminally ill
patients. But Canada is far from leading the way in rethinking
marijuana. Wednesday, just about the time RCMP officers staged a raid
on the Vanier basement apartment, an advisory panel to the U.S.
government said marijuana can help fight pain and nausea and should be

People like Mr. Pariseau have already found that out through sheer
desperation. They have set up an informal network so that there is a
safe supply of the marijuana they need and use. That is what the
St-Denis Street apartment, where police seized 178 plants and growing
equipment, was known as to a number of local AIDS and cancer patients
who use marijuana: a place where they could get a steady discount
supply of the drug. Mr. Pariseau and others say the RCMP raid means
they will now be forced to buy drugs on the street.

All of which raises a number of questions. Why, two weeks after the
federal government has given the official green light to studying
medicinal marijuana, was it necessary to swoop down on one of the
biggest local suppliers of the drug to the sick and dying? Why not
wait until the federal government position on medical marijuana
becomes clear? Why make it harder for sick and dying people to get
some brief relief?

What purpose did the raid serve? Do we want to protect people like Mr.
Pariseau, who is dying, from some adverse health effects? Don't our
police officers have better things to do?

The RCMP was, of course, just doing its job. "It's not a debate for
us," said Cpl. Marc Richer. "The legislation is still there for us to

Which is technically correct. But, in fact, laws governing marijuana
are interpreted to varying degrees. In some parts of the country
people are commonly arrested and some jailed for possessing a small
amount of marijuana. In other areas charges are seldom laid for possession.

Many police and justice officials, including Ottawa-Carleton Chief
Brian Ford, are among those who support the decriminalization of
marijuana laws. And there are good reasons why police and justice
officials would do so. Enforcing marijuana laws is costly at a time
when there are seldom enough resources to go around, and there is a
growing body of evidence that raises questions about what good, if
any, comes from such zealous enforcement.

Even so, according to Stats Canada, nearly half of the 66,000 drug
charges laid in Canada in 1997 were for simple possession of marijuana.

So police forces are still stuck with legislation that is enforced
with relish in some parts of the country and seldom enforced in
others. That is a problem, one that elected officials will have to
deal with sooner, rather than later.

Meanwhile, we have a recognition at many levels that marijuana is
valuable for many sick and dying people. This growing awareness is
underlined by the federal government, which announces plans to study
the medical uses of marijuana.

What a strange time for the RCMP to become zealous about cracking down
on marijuana grown for medical purposes, even if they suspect some of
the marijuana they seized might be used for non-medicinal purposes.
People like Mr. Pariseau can't wait for the clinical tests to be
completed and evaluated. They can't wait for the debate about
medicinal marijuana to work its way into policy.

They will die before there is an official answer to what is, after
all, a pretty straightforward question.

Shouldn't people in pain be allowed some relief?

The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 83 (The Drug Reform Coordination
Network's original publication featuring drug policy news and calls to action
includes - Institute of Medicine report confirms marijuana's medicinal value;
Higher Education Act reform bill introduced in Congress; Rep. Rangel seeks
end to cocaine sentencing disparities; Canada: Husband of medical marijuana
user arrested as government announces clinical trials, possible medical
exemption; Minnesota hemp bill progressing; DPF grant deadline coming up; and
an editorial: IOM report leaves only one thing left to say)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 01:18:34 +0000
To: borden@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet (drcnet@drcnet.org)
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #83

The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #83 - March 19, 1999
A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network


(To sign off this list, mailto:listproc@drcnet.org with the
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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/083.html. Check out the DRCNN
weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.


1. Institute of Medicine Report Confirms Marijuana's
Medicinal Value

2. HEA Reform Bill Introduced in Congress

3. Rep. Rangel Seeks End to Cocaine Sentencing Disparities

4. Canada: Husband of Medical Marijuana User Arrested as
Government Announces Clinical Trials, Possible Medical

5. Minnesota Hemp Bill Progressing

6. DPF Grant Deadline Coming Up

7. EDITORIAL: IOM Report Leaves Only One Thing Left to Say


1. Institute of Medicine Report Confirms Marijuana's
Medicinal Value

More than two years after it was commissioned by the Office
of National Drug Control Policy, a long-awaited report from
the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine
(IOM) has confirmed much of what thousands of doctors and
seriously ill patients have contended for years: marijuana
provides effective relief for a variety of symptoms and
ailments. Further, the report concluded that there is no
scientific basis for the oft repeated claims that marijuana
use acts as a "gateway" to harder drugs, nor that the
medicinal use of marijuana is likely to encourage its abuse
either among patients or the public at large.

The reaction among patients who gathered at the National
Academy of Sciences in Washington for the report's release
was jubilant. "I feel vindicated, absolutely vindicated,"
said Greg Scott, who suffers from AIDS and smokes marijuana
to combat nausea and loss of appetite caused both by the
disease and by the medications used to treat it. "After
years of risking arrest, property forfeiture, fines, and
imprisonment, the findings of this report demonstrate that
clearly enough evidence already exists to permit people who
need this as medicine to smoke it legally." Scott's and the
other patients' presence represented the culmination of a
two-year advocacy effort coordinated by the Marijuana Policy
Project (MPP -- http://www.mpp.org), and their testimony
before the IOM investigators is included in the report.

The sense of victory among the patients and their supporters
was sweetened by the circumstances under which the report
was commissioned. Furious with voters in the wake of the
passage of medical marijuana initiatives in California and
Arizona in 1996, ONDCP chief Barry McCaffrey had ordered the
report to settle the question of what he mockingly called
"Cheech and Chong medicine" for which "not a shred of
evidence exists" to prove its efficacy. In comments to the
press this week, McCaffrey ignored the report's finding that
smoked marijuana has legitimate therapeutic value, and
focused instead on the recommendation that alternative
delivery devices such as inhalers be developed to eliminate
the need for smoking the drug. The IOM report notes that
such a device will likely take years, and hundreds of
millions of dollars to develop.

Scott said that's fine for the future, but what about right
now? "I have to deal with taking my medications twice a
day, today, tomorrow, and all next week. And the inhaler is
not going to help me for years to come. So I would ask
(McCaffrey), what should be done with people like me? Does
he advocate that he continues to arrest us? I have long
been amazed by McCaffrey's ability to spin things in his own
direction. But he has never satisfactorily answered how he
would handle all the patients who need this medicine. He
refuses to say what alternative there is to arresting us."

The IOM report does recommend alternatives to arrest, though
as co-principal investigator Stanley J. Watson noted in
response to a reporter's question on the matter, the
scientists impaneled on the report were "specifically not
asked" to consider questions related to marijuana's illicit
status. Instead, the panel suggests the development of a
program similar to the now-defunct government compassionate
use program, in which patients for whom already approved
treatments failed would obtain permission to use marijuana
under strict medical supervision.

But Harvard professor of psychiatric medicine Dr. Lester
Grinspoon, who was one of the report's reviewers, told
DRCNet he is concerned that the onerous bureaucratic
requirements involved in such a program hamper its
effectiveness. "The old IND (compassionate use) program
started in 1976, and by the time it was closed down in 1992
only about three dozen people had passed the hurdles to
receive legal access to marijuana. Why? Because physicians
just couldn't take the time to do all the paperwork that was
involved. And physicians are a lot busier now with managed
care, with paperwork. I just don't see how that's going to
provide a solution."

Given McCaffrey's indication that he has not been swayed by
the scientific evidence, however, such concerns may be moot.
MPP co-director Chuck Thomas said he doubts the ONDCP will
follow the report's recommendations, noting McCaffrey's
comment to the press that he didn't expect to see patients
in the Intensive Care Unit "with blunts stuck in their
faces." Thomas said that as long as official government
policy puts patients at risk of arrest, MPP's advocacy will
continue unabated. "The IOM recommended one way for
patients to have legal access," he said. "We support that,
and we support all of the other ways for people to have
legal access as well."

The full text of the IOM report is available online at


2. HEA Reform Bill Introduced in Congress

The Higher Education Act reform campaign cleared a hurdle
last week with the introduction of H.R. 1053, which will
repeal the provision in the HEA delaying or denying federal
financial aid for any student with a drug conviction. The
bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), will need a
significant number of cosponsors to get to the floor, given
Republican leadership's support of the provision that it
would repeal.

But despite powerful supporters, the HEA provision has
formidable opponents as well. The Department of Education,
in a letter dated August 7, 1998, outlining its positions on
the various amendments then being considered by the
Education Committee, stated that it "oppose(s) the language
in both versions of the bill suspending aid eligibility for
students who have been convicted of any drug offense under
Federal or State law."

The Department of Education pointed to the fact that current
law already allows judges to strip eligibility for all
federal aid if they feel that an individual case warrants
such an action. The HEA, as passed last fall, eliminates
that discretion.

Peder Nelson, a student at Western Colorado State College,
where the HEA Reform Resolution has already been endorsed by
the student government, told The Week Online that the Frank
bill will give a dramatic boost to the campaign.

"I think that this makes (the campaign for reform) more real
in the eyes of students," he said. "I have been dealing
with student leaders at other schools in Colorado on this
issue, and having our bill introduced has immediately added
an urgency and a sense of legitimacy to what we're trying to
accomplish." Nelson continued, "One of the problems with
student activism is that it tends to be somewhat diffuse.
It's difficult, sometimes, for less politically active
students to differentiate between a legitimate political
effort and a lost cause, and so many of them don't get
involved in anything, even if they believe in the principles
behind the effort. From what I can tell, I think that we're
going to see a flurry of activity on a lot of campuses
between now and the end of the school year."

Nelson understands, however, that there are more hurdles to
overcome on the road to success. "No one involved in this
effort is operating under the illusion that we're going to
get this bill passed by finals. This is an effort that will
have to continue into the fall semester and probably beyond.
But we're preparing for that, and in talking with the other
student organizers as well as the DRCNet staff over the
Internet, we have an opportunity not only to build momentum
now, but to make sure that when the students return, we'll
be able to pick up where we left off."

And they won't be alone. With the bill introduced, it is
expected that numerous organizations will be joining the
effort in the coming weeks.

Jamie Pueschel, legislative director of the United States
Student Association, which lobbied against the provision
last year, told The Week Online, "The new law (denying aid)
is just about as discriminatory as it gets."

There are numerous concerns over the impact of the new HEA
provision. These include the fact that such sanctions will
only affect students of low to moderate income, and the fact
that non-white communities are targeted for drug law
enforcement more vigorously than white communities.

"When African Americans make up 13% of drug users, but 55%
of those convicted for drug offenses, something is
definitely wrong," said Shawn Heller, spokesperson for
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at George Washington
University. "The bottom line is that kids are not getting
stopped and frisked on the streets in white, middle class
communities. This law cannot help but have a discriminatory

Heller believes that the HEA Reform Campaign will get more
students involved in the larger issues of drug policy.

"In highlighting the absurdity of this law, and getting
students involved in an effort to have it overturned, we
have a great opportunity to get them thinking. Why are
states increasing prison budgets while they're cutting
budgets for higher education? It's the same age cohort that
are entering prisons and universities. Why, if drug use
rates are steady across most ethnic lines, are we convicting
and incarcerating such outrageous percentages of African
Americans and Latinos? Why, for all the money spent, and
all the people imprisoned, and all the fried egg
commercials, can the government not point to a single drug
free community, or even a single drug free high school?
Today's college students know first-hand that our policies
don't work. This campaign, while focused on a particularly
egregious example of stupidity, really underscores the
problems with the drug war as a whole."

Read about the Higher Education Act reform campaign at


3. Rep. Rangel Seeks End to Cocaine Sentencing Disparities

(reprinted from the Drug Policy Foundation's Network News,

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 939, the "Crack
Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 1999" on March 2, along
with 25 Democratic cosponsors. Rangel introduced a similar
bill in 1997, but did not get a hearing in the Republican-
controlled Congress.

The bill would eliminate the distinction between powder
cocaine and crack cocaine, treating both substances equally
under federal law. Right now, possession of five grams of
crack cocaine carries a five-year mandatory minimum
sentence, while 500 grams of powder cocaine receives the
same sentence. Possession of 50 grams of crack cocaine
results in a 10-year mandatory minimum, but it takes five
kilograms of powder cocaine to receive a comparable
sentence. This difference in penalties is commonly referred
to as the "100-to-1 sentencing disparity," and it has
disproportionately impacted African-American defendants who
are often targeted by drug law enforcement.

Rep. Rangel's bill is not the first attempt to equalize
crack and powder cocaine sentences. In April 1995, the US
Sentencing Commission recommended that the 100-to-1 ratio be
abandoned in favor of equal penalties for both forms of
cocaine. On October 30, 1995, Congress passed, and the
President signed, a law (PL 104-38) overturning that
decision, which resulted in the largest prison riots in the
history of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Learn more about mandatory minimum sentencing from Families
Against Mandatory Minimums, http://www.famm.org.


4. Canada: Husband of Medical Marijuana User Arrested as
Government Announces Clinical Trials, Possible Medical
- Marc Brandl, brandl@drcnet.org

Several days before the London (Ontario) based Cannabis
Compassion Centre (CCC) was scheduled to close, center
manager Mike Harichy was arrested and charged with
possession for the purposes of trafficking and two counts of
trafficking. His wife, Lynn Harichy, uses marijuana for her
multiple sclerosis and also helps run the center. She
created headlines in Canada in 1997 when she was arrested
trying to light up a joint in front of a police headquarters
(http://www.drcnet.org/wol/013.html#canada). Allegedly Mr.
Harichy sold to an undercover officer wanting to buy
marijuana for recreational purposes.

Medical marijuana advocates were anxious to keep the medical
and recreational issues separate. Prof. Alan Young, an
attorney who defends medical marijuana patients in court,
and a professor at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, said, if it was
a straight sale to an undercover officer, I don't want much
to do with the case because unfortunately it could be used
to discredit the movement." Hillary Black, who founded and
helps run the Compassion Club in Vancouver was not worried
about police raids on her establishment after this high
profile arrest. Said Black, "We run a very tight
organization here. We've been here for two years and have
developed a good relationship with the community and with
the different HIV and cancer groups in Vancouver. We have a
good reputation for being an upstanding organization."

The London CCC had operated with police knowledge since July
1998 (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/038.html#canada). The
decision to close the club came when the federal government
announced recently it would start clinical studies exploring
the medical utility of the plant. Health Minister Allan
Rock announced on March 3rd to the House of Commons that
Health Canada would soon undertake such studies. "Minister
Rock has been discussing the issue of medicinal use for over
a year now." Derek Kent, a spokesperson for the Minister,
told the WOL, "Two events have paved the way for this
announcement. First, health officials went to Great Britain
to examine the clinical trials that are taking place.
Second, there was an announcement by an office of the UN
that encouraged research into the medical use of marijuana
which removed potential hurdles in terms of our
international [treaty] obligations."

Medicinal marijuana activists were less than impressed,
however. "The problem I have is that immediate concerns
need to be addressed," said Prof. Young. "Unfortunately
patients don't have the luxury of waiting while the
government figures out what to do."

Eugene Oscapella, also a lawyer and one of the founding
members of Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
(http://fox.nstn.ca/~eoscapel/cfdp/cfdp.html) told the WOL
of his impression of the announcement, "In theory it is a
step forward -- in fact there is a lot of politics involved.
Minister Rock made this announcement the day before a motion
was to be debated about legalizing medical marijuana. It
was a bit of political gamesmanship, unfortunately. The
minister also worded his statement very carefully. He's
asked his officials to develop a plan for clinical trials,
not start trials immediately. There is always a danger that
the plan will take forever to develop."

Currently, only one person in Canada, Terry Parker, an
epileptic, is allowed to smoke cannabis legally, after a
1997 court decision granted him a legal exemption

Minister Rock is also considering exempting medical
marijuana patients who aren't part of the clinical trials.
"We understand some of the people really need access to
marijuana. What we want to do is develop the evidence while
still developing a plan that is flexible enough not to be
too restrictive to those who cannot get access through the

Professor Young helped a patient afflicted with AIDS apply
for the legal exemption but remains skeptical. "I applied
September 15th, it's now the end of March and I have not
been able to receive any clarification of the process. So
even though Mr. Rock seems to have promised that exemptions
will be forthcoming, my question to him is what has happened
in the last eight months?"

Ms. Black was more optimistic about the trials and has a
plan to make the exemption process move ahead. "I think the
trials are a good idea, but its been a long time coming.
It's important that advocates of medicinal marijuana not
back off at this point. This is a time to be applying more
pressure rather than less. Any patient that has been given
a prescription from their physician for the medical use of
cannabis should be given an exemption so they are free to
cultivate, carry and consume cannabis."


5. Minnesota Hemp Bill Progressing
- Marc Brandl, brandl@drcnet.org

In issue 76, the Week Online reported that a bill had been
introduced in the Minnesota legislature that would allow
experimental industrial hemp plots to be grown. On March
9th, the Senate passed SF0122 by a vote of 54-4.

Some daunting hurdles remain before the bill can become law,
however. The Minnesota house is controlled by Republicans
who voted against favorable hemp legislation in their party
caucus earlier this year. The bill also must be heard by
the House Crime Prevention Committee. The committee is
headed by former police officer Rep. Rich Stanek (R), who
has voiced his strong opposition to hemp in the past and who
has the power to stall the bill indefinitely.

Chris Radatz, director of governmental affairs for the
Minnesota Farm Bureau told the WOL, "We support research
into both the harvesting and marketing aspects of hemp. We
had some concerns that this bill went beyond research and we
expressed those concerns but didn't lobby the bill


6. DPF Grant Deadline Coming Up

A reminder to organizations that were considering applying
for funding from the Drug Policy Foundation's grant program:
The next deadline is April 1, 1999. Proposals must be in
the format outlined in the grant guidelines last revised
August 1998 and be postmarked by April 1 to be considered
for funding. The guidelines are located online at

For further information, please contact Kerry Hopkins or
Ruth Lampi in the DPF Grant Program at (202) 537-5005 or via
e-mail at grants@dpf.org.


7. EDITORIAL: IOM Report Leaves Only One Thing Left to Say

by Adam J. Smith, Associate Director, ajsmith@drcnet.org

The Institute of Medicine this week confirmed what patients
from around the country have been telling the government for
years: marijuana relieves their pain, their spasms and their
nausea. The report, commissioned by ONDCP Director Barry
McCaffrey, left the much-decorated drug czar nearly
speechless. McCaffrey's assertions over the past three
years -- that the medicinal use of marijuana is "hooey" and
"a sham" and "Cheech and Chong medicine" and that there is
"not a shred of scientific evidence" to support it -- didn't
leave him much wiggling room when the truth, paid for out of
his own budget, hit him like a truckload of Acapulco Gold
that just got waved through customs.

True to form, however, the good General didn't let the truth
dissuade him from his mission as chief apologist for the
drug war. Instead, McCaffrey focused on the fact that the
report recommended alternative methods of administration due
to the health risks of smoking. Even there, of course, the
scientists noted that for many patients, the benefits of
marijuana use outweighed the long-term risk from inhaling
burning vegetable matter.

"I would note that the report points out that the future of
marijuana as medicine lies in things like inhalers" and
drugs extracted from the plant, he said, not in the use of
the raw vegetation itself. What McCaffrey did not say, and
the question that has been central all along, is whether he
still believes that patients, many of whom believe that this
plant has saved their lives, ought to be arrested for using
or possessing it in the meantime.

The report, however, went beyond the medical use of the
plant and, with a casualness that belied the real-world
implications of their findings, managed to debunk two of the
most important underpinnings of the prohibitionist argument.
The first is the gateway theory, which states that the use
of marijuana somehow "leads" to the use of harder drugs.
The second is that marijuana is addictive.

On the gateway theory, the report indicated that whatever
impact marijuana had on the use of harder drugs was a
function not of the substance, but of the criminal market,
which brings users into contact with those who would rather
sell them the big ticket items. As to addiction, the report
noted that whatever withdrawal was experienced by regular
users upon cessation was short-lived and extremely mild.

This is not the first time the US government has
commissioned a report on marijuana that it later wished it
had not. The 1972 Shafer Commission report, authorized by
President Nixon, recommended the outright decriminalization
of the stuff -- and not just for medicinal purposes. That
report was ignored. The IOM Report will be more difficult
to ignore, what with state after state casting ballots to
relieve the sick and the dying of the fear of imprisonment.

On Wednesday, March 17, the government got answers that it
didn't want -- to questions that it didn't necessarily want
to ask -- and found, in the midst of the resultant media
crush, that it had very little to say in defense of its own
policy. Sure, smoking is bad. But AIDS and MS and
chemotherapy-induced nausea are undoubtedly worse. Worse
still is a government's refusal to allow people suffering so
to choose their method of relief, now that there can be no
argument that the relief that they feel is much more than a
buzz in their heads. If there is an ounce of integrity, a
gram of compassion, or a bud of humanity in the drug czar's
office or in the administration itself, the next thing they
say on the matter will be the only thing that counts. They
will promise that the disgraceful days of arresting the sick
and the dying for choosing to gain relief through a
naturally occurring herb, are over forever.


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DrugSense Weekly, No. 90 (The original summary of drug policy news from
DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - Spinning the IOM report:
what policy changes can we expect? by Tom O'Connell M.D. The Weekly News in
Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including -
Nightline: getting straight; The wrong way to fight drug war; The drug war
has failed; Customs Service reworks controversial airport drug searches;
Gramm and Boxer sponsor legislation that would alter the US
drug-certification process; and, Suit blames CIA for crack epidemic. Law
Enforcement & Prisons articles include - Americans now the most jailed people
on earth; Two million prisoners are enough; Stop the prison madness and build
schools; and, Incarcerated by illusions? Articles about Medical Marijuana
include - Judge denies AIDS patient's request for marijuana; Libertarian
Party vows to fight marijuana case; Feds rebuff marijuana researchers; and,
The latest buzz on hemp. International News includes - Pot charges on the
rise; Cabinet rules out legalising cannabis; Financial notes - the buying
power of illegal narcotics; and, The changing face of the drug trade. The
weekly Hot Off The 'Net lets you point your browser to read worldwide media
coverage of the IOM report; Volunteer of the month - Ashley H. Clements. The
Quote of the week cites Rodney S. Quinn.)

From: webmaster@drugsense.org (DrugSense)
To: newsletter@drugsense.org
Subject: DrugSense Weekly, March 19, 1999 #90
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:15:32 -0800
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/
Lines: 911
Sender: owner-newsletter@drugsense.org




DrugSense Weekly, March 19, 1999 #90

A DrugSense publication

This Publication May Be Read On-line at:


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



* Feature Article

Spinning the IOM Report: What Policy Changes Can We Expect?
By Tom O'Connell M.D.

* Weekly News in Review

Drug War Policy-

(1) Nightline, Getting Straight
(2) The Wrong Way to Fight Drug War
(3) The Drug War Has Failed
(4) Customs Service Reworks Controversial Airport Drug Searches
(5) Gramm and Boxer Sponsor Legislation that Would Alter the US
Drug-Certification Process
(6) Suit Blames CIA for Crack Epidemic

Law Enforcement & Prisons-

(7) Americans Now the Most Jailed People on Earth
(8) Two Million Prisoners Are Enough
(9) Stop the Prison Madness and Build Schools
(10) Incarcerated by Illusions?

Medical Marijuana-

(11) Judge Denies Aids Patient's Request for Marijuana
(12) Libertarian Party Vows to Fight Marijuana Case
(13) Feds Rebuff Marijuana Researchers
(14) The Latest Buzz on Hemp

International News-

(15) Pot Charges on the Rise
(16) Cabinet Rules Out Legalising Cannabis
(17) Financial Notes - The Buying Power of Illegal Narcotics
(18) The Changing Face of the Drug Trade

* Hot Off The 'Net

IOM Report Gains Worldwide Media Coverage

* Volunteer of the Month

Ashley H. Clements

* Quote of the Week

Rodney S. Quinn



Spinning the IOM Report: What Policy Changes Can We Expect?

Although the IOM report on medical MJ was predictably pusillanimous and
deferential toward the irrational federal policy which has prohibited
Cannabis for 62 years, the good news is that it acknowledged that
cannabinoids have legitimate and important therapeutic applications-
essentially the same (predictable) conclusions the IOM reached in 1982.

The difference is that both the political climate and the research
background have changed significantly since 1982, so their
recommendation for "more research" won't be as easy for NIDA to sweep
under the rug and ignore now as it was then.

Our madcap drug czar, who has mastered the dubious skill of embracing
opposite poles of the same controversy in a single sentence- even while
speaking on national television, was at it again. While there wasn't
time for an exhaustive review of all the news articles, I believe
important clues to the direction of future policy can be found in a
relatively brief Reuters wire item which originated in LA on March 17:

Wire: Medical Marijuana Smoking To Remain Illegal

In part:

"Smokable marijuana is not the answer," McCaffrey said, adding the
federal government would continue to arrest those smoking marijuana for
medical reasons, including people in the seven states where voter
initiatives have made its medical use legal.

But he welcomed the report, which he said took the discussion over the
medical use of marijuana away from politicians and put it "firmly in
the context of science, where it belongs."

McCaffrey said while cannabinoids held no promise of cure, they could
be useful in pain management, which he said was a much neglected field
in modern medicine.

"Everyone is looking for a cure these days and pain is seen as a sort
of blurry background. There needs to be more pain management," he said.

McCaffrey said the government would continue to support bona fide
research into medical uses for marijuana, and he called for more
research into delivering THC, one of the medically beneficial
ingredients of marijuana that has been isolated by scientists.

"In particular, I would support deep-lung delivery vehicles such as
aerosols," he said. He also supported controlled delivery by patches
similar to those used to deliver nicotine.

On a cautionary note, McCaffrey highlighted the report's finding that
developing pain killing drugs from marijuana could cost between $200
million and $300 million and said he did not think there was "any
commercial interest in the (pharmaceutical) market for the development
of such drugs."

Quick translation:

The federal government will continue to discourage, or even block,
human cannabinoid research in the US.

If Geoffrey Guy, or some other (non-US) commercial interest comes up
with a patentable aerosol delivery system (as now seems likely) the US
will grudgingly accord it the same (Sched 2) status as marinol. The
feds will NEVER legalize "smoked marijuana," but will continue to treat
it as the demon variant, just as heroin is the designated demon variant
of morphine and other therapeutically allowed opioids.

Any patients discomfited by this policy, even if denied life-preserving
therapy between now and development of a scientifically acceptable
cannabinoid delivery system are out of luck. They'd certainly better not
break the law- they will be thrown in jail.

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n305.a01.html

Tom O'Connell M.D.




Drug Policy-


COMMENT: (1-6)

Last week US drug policy's historically bad press not only continued;
it intensified: McCaffrey was self-contradictory on Nightline and
pilloried for inconsistency by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe.
By the end of the week, an IHT headline implied (erroneously) that he
was ready to concede defeat.

In other venues, the Customs service sought to repair a tarnished
image and the Senate was offered a band-aid solution to the annual
certification fiasco.

Finally, class action suits generated by the 1996 San Jose Mercury
News revelations guarantee more bad press in the future.



COKIE ROBERTS This country's been waging a war on drugs for decades
now and so far we don't seem to be winning it. Over the next three
nights, Nightline will be examining the nation's drug policy based on
a critical assessment by Michael Massing.....


COKIE ROBERTS Well, then why are the numbers so lopsided? Why is it
two thirds money for enforcement, interdiction, etc., and one third
for treatment and treatment of demand?

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY Well, it's sort of a screwy way of counting it,
to be honest. The drug budget has gone from $13.5 billion in FY'96 to
$17.8 billion in the year 2000 and that has disproportionately been
invested in treatment and prevention. I think the bigger problem,
Cokie, is we simply lack health parity for drug treatment in the
private sector. And in addition, we've done an inadequate job of
providing drug treatment for those behind bars, .....


Pubdate: Tue, 09 Mar 1999
Source: ABC News - Nightline
Copyright: 1998 ABCNEWS and Starwave Corporation.
Note: This is an unedited, uncorrected transcript.
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n282.a03.html (Pt 1)
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n281.a07.html (Pt 2)
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n282.a04.html (Pt 3)



Drug czar Barry McCaffrey talks as if he gets it. This is what he is
saying about the so-called war on drugs:

''We have a failed social policy and it has to be re-evaluated.
Otherwise, we're going to bankrupt ourselves. Because we can't
incarcerate our way out of this problem.''

''Demand must be the priority. People's desire for drugs is what sets
the drug abuse cycle in motion ...


McCaffrey's failed budgets and plays to hysteria are generating
high-profile criticism. A series of statements where he denounced
needle exchange and medical marijuana and badly exaggerated drug crime
in Holland sparked a recent open letter that included signatures from
Harvard University professors Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alvin Poussaint,
Orlando Patterson and William Julius Wilson, and Boston University
professor Glenn Loury.


Pubdate: Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 1999
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Author: Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n267.a06.html



Almost 70 years after the failure of Prohibition, the much-trumpeted
"war on drugs," begun more than a decade ago, has itself hugely
misfired. "We have a failed social policy and it has to be
re-evaluated," says Barry R. McCaffrey, the four-star general in charge
of national drug control policy.


Pubdate: 15 March 1999
Source: International Herald-Tribune
Page: OPED
Contact: iht@iht.com
Website: http://www.iht.com/
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 1999
Author: NY Times
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n297.a06.html



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

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


Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999
Source: Florida Today (FL)
Contact: letters@brevard.gannett.com
Feedback: http://www.flatoday.com/letters.htm
Website: http://www.flatoday.com/
Copyright: 1999 FLORIDA TODAY
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n284.a01.html



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.


Pubdate: 12 March 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Section: News,page 7
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Author: Gary Martin-San Antonio Express-News
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n283.a11.html



OAKLAND - Two class action lawsuits filed Monday allege the Central
Intelligence Agency and the Department of Justice played a major role
in the 1980s crack epidemic in California.

The suits seek billions in damages for poor inter-cities neighborhoods,
including several on Oakland, which suffered from both drug abuse and
the violence associated with it.


Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Contact: eangtrib@newschoice.com
Address: 66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607
Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n295.a08.html


Law Enforcement & Prisons


COMMENT: (7-10)

The press, already aware of a huge US gulag from the spate of forceful
op-eds triggered by Eric Schlosser's December article in Atlantic,
reacted on cue to the last week's release of statistics from the DOJ.
Even so, it was an Irish newspaper that came up with the best

An academic criminologist who is also a drug war hawk tacitly admitted
that imprisonment for "drug crime" will eventually be the straw that
breaks drug war camel's back.

Drug-related imprisonment was assailed by two syndicated op-ed writers
who are also black; typically, their reasons are different. Older,
more conservative Carl Rowan is offended that prisons are built at the
expense of schools; younger, more liberal Sean Gonsalves is upset by
the overt racism.


THE United States, which already has the largest prison population in
the world, may soon surpass Russia as the nation with the highest rate
of incarceration, a report showed yesterday.

The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit group that advocates sentencing
reform, said the United States, with a record 1.8m inmates, was
followed by China at an estimated 1.2m and Russia at one million.


Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Source: Irish Independent (Ireland)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Contact: independent.letters@independent.ie
Website: http://www.independent.ie/
Author: James Vicini in Washington
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n299.a08.html



Violent crime has dropped 21% since 1993, and property crime is at a
postl973 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.


Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999
Source: Wall Street Journal (NY)
Copyright: 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Contact: letter.editor@edit.wsj.com
Website: http://www.wsj.com/
Author: John J. DiIulio Jr.
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n276.a01.html



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?


Source: Grand Rapids Press (MI)
Copyright: 1999 Grand Rapids Press
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1990
Contact: pulse@ccmail.gr-press.com
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.
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n284.a09.html



I think it was the great American philosopher and psychologist William
James who said (and I'm paraphrasing): some people think they are
thinking when really they are only re-arranging their prejudices.

Such "thinking" colors the popular "debate" on race and the American
criminal justice system. Whenever I write a column that highlights the
numerous studies, indicating that anti-black racism is part and parcel
of our criminal "Justice" system, some self-proclaimed "conservative"
writes me to point out the "obvious" reason there are a
disproportionate number of blacks behind bars: blacks commit more crime
than white people do! (Is that so? How enlightening).


Imagine if a white South African, during Apartheid, said the reason
there were so many blacks in prison in their country is because the
custodians of their legal system were simply doing their job: locking
up criminals.


Any outside observer, with even a slight sense of history, would at
least raise a skeptical eyebrow, understanding that there is a high
probability that the numbers are skewed because of a thing called
white-skin privilege.


Pubdate: 14 Mar 1999
Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Contact: eangtrib@newschoice.com
Address: 66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607
Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/
Author: Sean Gonsalves
Page: 10, Local News
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n287.a06.html


Medical Marijuana


COMMENT: (11-14)

In Southern California, a federal judge agreed that Peter McWilliams'
claim that marijuana is essential to his survival might be correct;
however, since it's also illegal McWilliams can't use it. So much for
compassion in our Department of "Justice."

In Northern California, the Libertarian Party continued its
unequivocal support of recent gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and
his wife Michele.

As this is written, the IOM report on medical marijuana is due. No one
familiar with the federal stance on marijuana research expects a
vigorous challenge to existing policy; for those interested in
language the wording should be an prime example of equivocation under

The proximity on Minnesota and North Dakota to Canadian hemp
agriculture will make it increasingly difficult for DEA lobbyists to
lie to those state legislatures. Look for the first hemp challenge to
come from Minnesota.



While sympathetic to his medical plight, a federal judge has denied
Peter McWilliams' request for permission to smoke pot while awaiting
trial on marijuana conspiracy charges. McWilliams, a writer and
publisher who has AIDS, says that he needs marijuana to keep from
vomiting the powerful antiviral drugs he must take each day. Last year,
a federal magistrate forbade him to smoke pot as a condition of his
bail, an order that McWilliams calls a virtual death decree.


Pubdate: March 10, 1999
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times.
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n266.a09.html



SACRAMENTO, March 9 (UPI) - The Libertarian Party of California says it
has "not yet begun to fight" in the case of 1998 gubernatorial
candidate Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, who are charged with
marijuana possession. The couple maintains that they were legitimate
medical marijuana patients protected under the voter-approved
Proposition 215 and that they grew the drug solely for personal
medicinal use. Libertarian State Chairman Mark Hinkle says the case
"either demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the law by the
judge and prosecutors or a willingness to ignore the law."

Pubdate: 9 Mar 1999
Source: United Press International
Copyright: 1999 United Press International
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n268.a02.html



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


Pubdate: 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
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n294.a11.html



U.S. Farmers Want The Ban On Cultivating The Plant Lifted

Times sure are tough for North Dakota farmers like David Monson. First
there were floods, then heavy snow, pelting rains, and disease that
devastated the crops. Last summer, Monson grimly tended his wheat,
barley, and canola fields in Osnabrock and watched neighboring farms go
bust. In the fall, his profit was a paltry $25 an acre. Meanwhile, 20
miles away, across the border in Canada, Brian McElroy had cut back on
wheat and planted his first crop of industrial hemp. He earned $225 an


Source: U.S. News & World Report
Copyright: 1999 U.S. News & World Report
Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 1999
Contact: letters@usnews.com
Webform: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/usinfo/infomain.htm
FAX: (202) 955-2685
Mail: 1050 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W., Washington, DC
Forum: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/forum.htm
Website: http://www.usnews.com/
Author: Elise Ackerman
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n286.a02.html


International News


COMMENT: (15-18)

Despite our policy's pummeling in the American press, it's holding the
line overseas. Canadian law enforcement is driving Canada into a short
term imitation of the US model - whether that can be sustained remains
to be seen.

Same story in New Zealand; the government refused to accept the
diplomatically worded challenge of its own commission. Sound familiar?

A novel perspective on the financial dimensions of the monster created
by American policy was offered by the Independent.

Meanwhile, in South America, Peru declined to become Panama's
substitute as a site for a US air base, ostensibly to fight drugs. The
remaining possibilities are as interesting as they are problematic.



Law professor wants to legalize cannabis use

Despite growing cries to decriminalize it, more young people continue
to be charged with marijuana offences.

More than seven out of every 10 drug offences in Canada were related to
marijuana in 1997 and two-thirds of them were for simple possession,
Statistics Canada said yesterday. Among those charged, 86 per cent were
under the age of 25.


Pubdate: 10 Mar 1999
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Copyright: 1999, The Toronto Star
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/
Page: A2
Author: Elaine Carey, Toronto Star Demographics Reporter
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n267.a09.html



The Government has ruled out decriminalising cannabis, saying that
making the drug legal would send confusing messages to young people.

Parliament's health select committee conducted an inquiry last year
into the mental health effects of cannabis and recommended that the
Government review the legal status of the drug.

The Government's response to the committee's report, tabled in
Parliament yesterday, says it does not intend to revisit the legal
status of cannabis.


Pubdate: Tue, 09 Mar 1999
Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand)
Contact: letters@dominion.co.nz
Website: http://www.inl.co.nz/wnl/dominion/index.html
Author: Helen Bain - Political Reporter
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n265.a09.html



IMAGINE A multi-national company so big and powerful that its annual
turnover is equal in size to China's gross national product, making
that company 11th in the world rankings ahead of the Netherlands,
Australia, Russia and India. A company whose gross turnover for just
one financial year is sufficient to buy at current market value the
world's three largest public companies, General Electric, Royal Dutch
Shell and Microsoft. A company that if it dipped into its petty cash
could in the same year buy Coca-Cola. A company where just 10 days
turnover is in excess of the combined assets of the world's top 50

Its current annual turn-over is $500bn. The cash mountain is derived
from just three assets. People, paper and product - illegal drugs.


Source: Independent, The (UK)
Pubdate: March 15, 1999
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Author: David Yallop
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n296.a13.html



LIMA, Mar 5 (IPS) - The Peruvian government has officially notified
Washington that it will not allow the United States to set up an
anti-drug military airbase here, said Public Affairs Officer John
Dickson at the US embassy in Lima.


Pubdate: Fri, 5 Mar 1999
Source: Inter Press Service
Copyright: IPS-Inter Press Service
Author: Abraham Lama
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n287.a01.html




The IOM report is generating a massive amount of media coverage. While
this event really occurred after our weekly cut off for news, it's
simply too big an issue to ignore.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has generated interviews from NBC,
MSNBC, CNN and numerous other nationally broadcast shows. Both Rob
Kampia and Chuck Thomas have been very busy at generating positive spin
off this important report.

MPP On-line coverage includes:

CNN - "Federal report reignites medical marijuana debate:
Panel finds therapeutic benefits"

MSNBC - "Federal report backs medical pot"


Here's ABC's website & story on the IOM. Includes
a link to AMR's new medmjscience site as a resource,
right under IOM!


AMR also announced a new web compilation of scientific and medical
information about the medical uses of marijuana.

CNN graphic
And even notified us of a link to a snazzy
CNN graphic on MMJ initiative states at:


From the DrugNews archive we find the following
articles just one day after the release of the

Institute Of Medicine Issues Report Strongly
Supporting Medical Use Of Marijuana

Official U.S. Report Backs Medical Use Of Marijuana

Marijuana May Have Medical Uses

Feds Rebuff Medical Marijuana Researchers

Reefer Madness or Reefer Medicine?

Executive Summary, Marijuana And Medicine

Kevin Zeese Reports:

The full IOM report is available on line at:




Ashley H. Clements - DrugSense Volunteer of the Month

This month it gives us considerable pleasure to recognize a volunteer
who has worked with MAP/DrugSense since its very earliest days,
contributing in many ways. Ashley was contributing to MAP when it was
simply a mailing list, contributing news and LTEs. He got the Published
Letters archive going on our website (http://www.mapinc.org/lte/) as
well as the Drug Policy Forum of Texas website (http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/).

Today Ashley helps by being the listmaster or backup listmaster for
many of the 40 some email lists that MAP/Drugsense hosts, one of those
not so fun tasks needs doing, and that he does so well. Many, but not
all, of the lists are shown at these two pages:


We asked Ashley a few questions:

DS: How did you get into being drug policy reform, and being a MAP
volunteer? What projects have you worked on?

I am a native Atlantan, went to GA Tech (information & computer science)
and started NORML at GA Tech as an official campus "org" in '75-'76. At
the same time, I also registered a large block of voters, mostly Tech
students, eligible to vote through a Supreme Court decision.

I was an educational consultant for Honeywell Information Systems, inc. in
Atlanta) 'till my retirement in '88 due to bone disease.

I discovered the 'net in 95, met Mark Greer through DRCTalk & was in the
initial crew formed on DRCTalk in '96. In fact, I had introduced Mark &

MAP is helping Americans to speak out effectively against the War on Drugs,
and that is what will free the many prisoners of War on Drugs. To that end
I maintain the MAP mailing lists, giving y'all many easy targets for your
LTEs and all the DrugNews you ever wanted.

DS: What is your favorite website, besides the MAP/DrugSense sites?

The November Coalition website http://www.november.org/ and the FEAR
website at http://www.fear.org/

DS: Thank you, Ashley, for all that you do!

Note: DrugSense is pleased to send each Volunteer of the Month their choice
of an autographed copy of either 'Drug Crazy' by Mike Gray or 'Shattered
Lives' by Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris and Virginia Resner.




"In the 1920s, we thought the problems associated with alcohol could be
solved by police and jails. Prohibition taught us we were wrong. The
strategy of the present drug war is Prohibition redux." - Rodney S. Quinn
(Secretary of State of Maine for five terms and retired Air Force officer)


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.


Please utilize the following URLs



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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
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