------------------------------------------------------------------- Scoreboard: This week's winners and losers (Willamette Week, in Portland, briefly notes the lawsuit against the Portland police regarding the Marijuana Task Force's trap-and-trace device at American Agriculture has resulted in police deciding to give up "the dirt" to defense attorneys for cannabis cultivators, while trying to keep it secret.)Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: no byline Scoreboard: This week's winners and losers 3. Winners: Defense lawyers for pot growers score: The Portland Police Bureau decided to give up the dirt on its use of a trap-and-trace device to catch pot growers phoning a local agricultural-supply store. With that once-secret information, defense lawyers hope to challenge the charges against their clients by arguing that the use of the device was illegal. But the battle is far from over. The city wants the information kept confidential, which could hurt the defense's case.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Suit may change how landlords operate (The Oregonian says Gregory Amerson and his sisters talked to at least eight attorneys before they finally found one who would take their groundbreaking case against the landlord of a suspected drug house in Northeast Portland. Now, without even being fully litigated, the case seems likely to increase the price for Portland landlords and tenants of the war on some drug users. The law firm that represented Amerson's family has already used it to encourage another landlord to evict tenants from a problem house.) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: David R. Anderson of The Oregonian staff Suit may change how landlords operate * A settlement, in a case where a man fleeing a problem residence caused a woman's death, serves as a warning Gregory Amerson and his sisters talked to at least eight attorneys before they finally found one who would take their groundbreaking case against the landlord of a suspected drug house in Northeast Portland. It was a lawsuit that apparently had never been tried in Oregon, maybe never in the United States, as far as anyone could tell. And a lot of lawyers thought it was a stretch. The issue? Was the landlord liable for the death of Amerson's mother, E. Jean Amerson, who was killed in December 1996 when a criminal suspect left the house, sped from police and crashed into the 68-year-old woman's car? If the landlord knew or should have known drugs were being dealt out of the house, should he have evicted the tenants and possibly prevented the fatal crash? The case went to trial last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court. But before a jury could answer those questions, Amerson's four adult children settled the lawsuit. The landlord, Charles Bernards of Tigard, and his company, Venture B.C. Inc., settled for $250,000. Insurance will cover $150,000. But Bernards, who owns at least eight Portland rental properties, must pay $100,000. Because the lawsuit was settled, it does not have the precedent value of a case tried, appealed and ruled on by an appellate court. Still, the case has the potential to change the way landlords do business. Already, the law firm that represented Amerson's family has used it to encourage another landlord to evict tenants from a problem house. The case might even convince some landlords to get out of the business, said Emily Cedarleaf, executive director of the Multifamily Housing Council of Oregon, the largest trade association for rental property owners in Oregon. At the least, she said, landlords are going to be responsible for more community policing. "For us, it's going to mean that landlords are going to be held to a higher standard," Cedarleaf said. "This one is going to be scary." Law enforcement officials already see the case as another tool to fight drug houses. Jim Hayden, the neighborhood deputy district attorney for North and Northeast Portland, hopes that neighbors of suspected drug houses will take the next legal step and sue landlords for the disruption and diminishment of property values the houses cause. "I think the implications are tremendous," Hayden said. "I intend, when I deal with landlords who are not minding their p's and q's, to tell them about this case." Screening tenants For Circuit Judge Michael Marcus, who was assigned the case and is an expert in landlord/tenant law, the message to landlords is to screen tenants. In this case, Venture B.C. and Bernards were negligent because they never discovered that the tenants were evicted from their previous rental unit because of drug activity, according to court documents filed by Amerson's lawyers. But for the defendants, this is a case of small-business owners who felt squeezed by the legal system. Bernards said no one has ever proved to him that drugs were being sold by the tenants living in the house at that time. He settled the lawsuit, he said, because he could not borrow money while the lawsuit was pending, because the strain was tremendous and because of many other reasons. But he still says he didn't do anything wrong. "We're not willing to spend five years of our lives on something that we had nothing to do with," Bernards said. There is conflicting evidence about whether the house in the 4800 block of Northeast 22nd Avenue was a drug house in 1996 and how much Bernards knew. The house has a history of complaints. Portland police began keeping a log of drug-related complaints on the house in 1989, a year before Bernards bought it. Then twice in 1993, police wrote Bernards about tenants suspected of dealing drugs. Officers also served a search warrant in February 1993. Bernards said that he evicted the tenants who were the subject of the search warrant and that the subsequent tenants moved out before he could evict them. Then in early 1996, police received complaints from a neighbor of late-night activity, people walking out of the house with small plastic bags and syringes lying in the yard. In the police log, two officers noted in June 1996 that someone probably was dealing methamphetamine from the house and that stolen vehicles often were parked in front. On Aug. 30, 1996, the Drugs and Vice Division wrote Venture B.C., notifying the landlord that police had received complaints of drug activity and warning that the city might shut down the house under its drug house ordinance if the landlord failed to act. Bernards returned the call but had trouble hooking up with the officer assigned to the case. Bernards said he repeatedly visited the house in late 1996 and never saw any evidence of drugs. At least twice, police tried to buy drugs at the house using an informant but were unsuccessful. On Dec. 13, 1996, police had the house under surveillance. When officers ran a check on the license plate of a car parked in front, they found the registered owner had an arrest warrant. Another man, whom police later identified as Michael Eric Nitschke, walked out of the house and got into the car. Police followed and tried to pull him over. But Nitschke sped away, and police broke off the chase. At the intersection of Northeast 29th Avenue and Bryce Street, Nitschke smashed into Jean Amerson's car. The great-grandmother was on her way to buy Christmas presents. She died the next day. Manslaughter conviction Nitschke was convicted of first-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants and six other charges. Amerson's family first sued the city and the Police Bureau for chasing Nitschke. But they dropped that suit after learning that police followed their policies and broke off the pursuit within seconds of Nitschke speeding away because it was too dangerous, Gregory Amerson said. Then they sued Venture B.C.,Bernards and a partner. Later, they amended the suit to drop the partner and demand $2.5 million. The family claimed the landlord was liable under two theories, common-law negligence and violation of a state law that makes it a crime to knowingly allow a property to be used to sell illegal drugs. Prosecutors almost never charge people with the crime because it is so difficult to prove that a person knew beyond a reasonable doubt, said Mark McDonnell, a Multnomah County senior deputy district attorney who heads the drug unit. But in a civil case, the proof is only a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the landlord knew. The key issues the Amerson family had to prove were whether the landlord failed to use reasonable care and whether it was foreseeable that the negligence could lead to Amerson's death. "It was a difficult legal question, no doubt about it," said Bernard Jolles, the lawyer who eventually took on the case for Amerson's family. The Dram Shop Act The case is similar to lawsuits based on Oregon's Dram Shop Act, which says restaurant and tavern operators can be held liable for a patron's actions off the premises if the nightspot served the patron while he or she was visibly drunk. The most analogous case was a dog-bite lawsuit in which a family sued a landlord after their daughter was bitten by a tenant's dog in a parking lot next to the rental property. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that a landlord could be held liable for an injury the tenant's dog caused off the rental property only if the landlord allowed the tenants to have a dog and knew the dog caused an unreasonable risk to people off the property. In that case, the landlord knew the county had posted a "potentially dangerous dog" sign on the landlord's property. In the case against Bernards, Gregory Amerson said the family sued not for money but to show landlords they have a responsibility to the larger community. "It was about having this case prevent this from happening to another family," Amerson said. "It was the fact that we wanted our mother's death to mean something." You can reach David Anderson at 503-294-7663 or by e-mail at DavidAnderson@news.oregonian.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Latest jail fight pits sheriff vs. board (The Oregonian says a disagreement between Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle and the county Board of Commissioners over 300 beds for inmates receiving treatment for alcohol and other drugs may impede planning for a $55 million, 225-bed, medium-security jail next to Bybee Lake in North Portland.) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: David Austin of The Oregonian staff Latest jail fight pits sheriff vs. board * The dispute focuses on transitional beds for substance abusers, which Dan Noelle does not want in the medium-security facility In the three years it's taken Multnomah County officials to pick a spot for a new jail, they've run into a laundry list of obstacles: angry residents, environmentalists, budget constraints and business owners who don't want the jail near them. Most of those problems have been smoothed over. But an in-house feud from last year has erupted again. It stands to threaten what happens next with the $55 million, 225-bed, medium-security jail that's likely to go up next to Bybee Lake in North Portland. The latest chapter pits Sheriff Dan Noelle against the Board of Commissioners over whether to place an additional 300 beds for alcohol and drug treatment at the jail. Roughly 25 of those would be transitional beds for people almost done with treatment. They would be allowed to leave the facility to look for jobs or visit family. Noelle said he'll accept putting the beds at the jail, but he wants to cut out the transitional housing for security reasons and have the entire facility under his control. Four of the five commissioners don't think the beds, which are controlled by the county's Adult Community Justice Department, need to be handed over to the sheriff. Sheriff leaves talks In the past month, at board Chairwoman Beverly Stein's urging, Noelle and his staff have been working with community justice officials to come up with a solution. But Noelle has ordered his staff to pull out of the negotiations. It's the second time that Noelle has had a showdown with the board over the alcohol and drug beds. In June, Noelle nearly persuaded the county's Charter Review Committee to ask voters to consider consolidating the entire corrections system and putting it under his control. But a deal was brokered, and the sheriff withdrew his takeover bid. Now the re-emerging dispute threatens plans to get the jail built. Cruz worries about public Commissioner Serena Cruz, who represents the district where the jail probably will go, said she's more concerned about the effects the squabble will have on the public. "Our jails are filling up more and more with alcohol and drug addicts," Cruz said. "It will continue to happen if we don't try to stop it. That's supposed to be our job as county government." Noelle said he plans to keep his commitment to the community that inmates won't be able to come and go. "I'm not interested in having an outpatient facility," he said. But Stein called Noelle's words divisive. She said by raising the security issue, he's unjustly scaring the public into thinking residents would be in danger. "This should not be an argument over whether this is secure or not," Stein said. "Of course, it will be secure. But we are trying to model our own program of how we deal with things on the tail end of treatment. "I think it's unfortunate that the sheriff has cut off the discussions before things were even finished. He apparently doesn't think there's anyone who can make this facility secure enough other than his people. I don't believe that's the case." The plan to build a jail hasn't been easy since voters passed a measure in 1996 providing $55 million for it. The leading site was owned by the Port of Portland, but Port officials had no interest in having a jail near their property. They threatened to tie up the jail siting process with legal wrangling unless the county backed off. A citizens siting advisory committee appointed by the county instead picked a 35-acre wetland called Radio Tower. The county spent $1.5 million to show the site was viable, but the board yanked its support because building there would harm the wetland. The Port then re-entered the picture and agreed to sell the county a 22-acre site along Bybee Lake. The board was eager to get going with the plans until the dispute erupted recently. "I think we need to make a decision soon about what this facility is going to be," said Commissioner Lisa Naito, who supports putting at least a portion of the alcohol and drug beds at the Rivergate site. "We need to let the citizens know what direction we're going." Groups bless site Despite wrangling over the placement of the jail from some North Portland residents, a number of other neighborhood and business organizations have given their blessings. Environmental groups, such as the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and the Audubon Society, have approved putting the jail along Bybee Lake as long as certain improvements are made to sustain wildlife in the area. Now Stein and the board face the daunting task of trying to reach an accord among themselves. Although a unanimous vote isn't necessary to purchase the land, another element is at play: The board is considering putting a massive public safety levy before the voters next year. A portion of the money would be used to operate the jail, and the commissioners acknowledge that the public might not buy into the levy if the commissioners don't pose a united front. Noelle wouldn't discuss in detail why he pulled out of the talks with the Adult and Community Justice Department. He said he wants to move ahead with the jail plans and thinks a solution can be reached. Stein has turned the matter over to Cruz, who said she's hopeful a solution can be reached. "I think the burden of our inability to reach an appropriate solution is borne by the sheriff, the board, community justice staff and the other players at the county," Cruz said. "If we're unable to work out what should be some relatively simple agreements, then I'm not sure what we're all doing here." The board will vote May 6 on whether to purchase the Port property. You can reach David Austin at 221-5383 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Philip Morris told to pay $81 million in damages (The Oregonian says a Multnomah County jury ordered Philip Morris Inc. to pay record damages to the estate of Jesse Williams, a former Portland school janitor who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboro cigarettes for 42 years. Jurors didn't buy the tobacco company's principal defense: that smoking is a personal choice and that choices carry responsibilities.)Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Patrick O'Neill and Joe Rojas-Burke of The Oregonian staff Philip Morris told to pay $81 million in damages * The Portland decision against the tobacco company is the nation's largest such verdict A Multnomah County jury ordered Philip Morris Inc. to pay a record-setting $81 million in damages to the estate of a former Portland school janitor who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboro cigarettes for 42 years. Jurors apparently were angered by Philip Morris documents showing that company officials have known for decades that cigarettes are addictive and can cause cancer. The decision, the nation's largest such verdict, is the second in six weeks that has awarded tens of millions of dollars in damages to injured smokers. In February, a San Francisco jury awarded $51 million to a former smoker who has lung cancer. Tobacco industry analysts say the Portland verdict foreshadows a flood of similar successful suits against tobacco companies. Philip Morris stock dropped 8.4 percent, to $37.75, on news of the decision. The American Stock Exchange Tobacco Index lost $8.33, or 3.14 percent. The index of tobacco stocks opened at $265.57 and closed at $257.24. Jurors didn't buy the tobacco company's principal defense: that smoking is a personal choice and that choices carry responsibilities. One juror, April Dewees, a high school science teacher, said she and fellow jurors were outraged by documents showing that Philip Morris apparently knew about the addictive properties and cancer-causing potential of cigarette smoke but avoided telling its customers. The personal responsibility defense did not impress the jury, Dewees said. "They (Philip Morris) want it to be everyone's responsibility but theirs," she said. "That would work out if they told people, 'Yes, this is addictive, and you may be one of those who can't quit.' "Are people really making an informed decision when they don't have the information?" she asked. The verdict was helped by several smokers on the jury who "confirmed that they find it addictive," Dewees said, adding that some jurors apparently were trying to quit during the trial. The jury of 12 included three smokers and four former smokers. Overall, she said, smokers on the jury were the most inclined to find fault with Philip Morris. Smoker's final wish Mayola Williams, the widow of Jesse Williams, told a phalanx of television and newspaper reporters after the trial that the verdict advanced her husband's dying wish. "He wanted to make the cigarette companies stop lying," she said. "I had to go for it because that's what my husband wanted." Jesse Williams died of lung cancer in March 1997 at age 67. Mayola Williams acknowledged that her late husband had himself to blame for taking up smoking. Williams began smoking in his 20s while in the U.S. Army in Korea. "He did have some share in the responsibility for starting," she said. But, she said, that doesn't excuse what Philip Morris executives did to encourage his addiction. She said she hopes the verdict tells other smokers "they are being used -- just plain used -- for the game of money." Asked about her expectations of ever receiving the award, she deferred to her attorneys, who emphasized the battle ahead. "We know that Philip Morris is not through fighting with us about that. It's a long road ahead. We understand that," attorney Bill Gaylord said. "The fight is just beginning. We won the first round," said attorney Ray Thomas. "If you think we're here as some kind of victors who have won the fight, you're naive." Thomas said appeals could drag on for years. The Williams' attorneys declined to say how much of the award they stood to gain. The importance of the verdict, Thomas said, was the message it sends to Wall Street about the future viability of tobacco holdings. "The whole world was watching to see if Philip Morris was going to get away with it," he said. "That's what it's all about." If the award stands, 60 percent of the punitive damages would go to a state crime victims' compensation fund, as directed by Oregon law. Jurors view documents Key to the success of the Williams' case were dozens of previously confidential Philip Morris documents, made public in 1998. During the four weeks of testimony, jurors read numerous advertising publications and confidential Philip Morris documents indicating that corporate officials knew cigarettes were addictive and caused cancer. They included: * A 1954 advertisement called the "Frank Statement" published in 448 newspapers, including The Oregonian. The ad said there was "no proof" that cigarettes caused cancer. * A public statement from Parker McComas, chief executive officer of Philip Morris, that "if the industry leaders really believed that cigarettes caused cancer, they would stop making them." * A 1969 document from William Dunn, a Philip Morris behavioral psychologist, who wrote that the primary motivation for smoking is to obtain the "pharmacological effects of nicotine." * A 1972 document from Dunn saying that without nicotine, there would be no smoking. * A 1969 document by a Philip Morris vice president saying smoking is most rewarding when people are under stress. * A memo from a Philip Morris vice president who wrote that the company "must provide smokers with a psychological crutch" to continue smoking after the 1964 Surgeon General's Report linked smoking with lung cancer. Investors watch The trial, which began with jury selection on Feb. 22, has drawn international attention from nervous tobacco investors. Nick Bunker, director of tobacco and insurance stocks at HSBC Securities, one of the three largest brokerage firms in London, said the verdict undoubtedly would encourage similar suits against all cigarette manufacturers in the United States. "The relevance in London is that Philip Morris shares are widely held by investors over here. And, more important, British American Tobacco is one of the largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange," he said. British American Tobacco owns Brown & Williamson, the United States' third-largest cigarette manufacturer. Philip Morris is the nation's largest tobacco company. Gary Black, a tobacco industry analyst with the New York brokerage firm of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said the Portland decision shows that "the tide is turning." The analyst said the Williams case is the fifth jury verdict against a tobacco company in an individual injury suit since the mid-1960s. Three others were overturned on appeal. The fourth, the San Francisco case, has been appealed, as the Portland case will be. Tuesday's verdict is particularly significant because Oregon product liability laws are far tougher than those in California. "The industry has got to recognize that . . . juries will increasingly favor the individual plaintiffs," he said. Black said the industry has two choices: Reach a mass settlement for all individual claims or build the cost of continuing litigation into the price of cigarettes. Black said Philip Morris can well afford the cost of adverse verdicts. The company sold 11.38 billion packs during 1998. At that volume, he said, the cost of the Williams decision comes to a penny a pack. "If you had $10 billion in judgments in a year, the industry could raise prices by 50 cents a pack to cover that," he said. Black said tobacco companies can look forward to years of suits. "We've got a lot of incriminating documents, whistle-blowers you didn't have before and a lot of publicity associated with the (attorneys general) tobacco settlement," he said. Equally negligent After slightly more than two days of deliberations, the jury rendered verdicts on two questions: * Was Philip Morris negligent in making dangerous cigarettes? * Did the company lie about the link between smoking and cancer? The jury found that both Williams and Philip Morris were equally negligent in Williams' death and awarded no punitive damages on the negligence claim. In the negligence claim, jurors awarded the family $21,485 in economic damages, such as medical expenses, and $800,000 in noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. But in the claim that Philip Morris lied about the link between smoking and disease, jurors awarded $79.5 million in punitive damages, as well as $21,485 in economic and $800,000 in noneconomic damages. Under Oregon law, nine of the 12 jurors had to agree to render a valid verdict in the case. The huge punitive damages claim squeaked through with a bare minimum of nine jurors agreeing to the verdict. The family originally had asked for $100 million in punitive damages. The verdict stunned the tobacco company lawyers. Walter Cofer, lead attorney for Philip Morris, said the company would appeal the verdicts. "It (the outcome) was unexpected," he said. "Frankly, we think the case went well, and we expected a victory and clearly are disappointed." Cofer said one likely basis of an appeal would be his belief that the verdict goes against state law. Under Oregon's product liability law, the family can recover damages arising from injuries caused by cigarettes sold to him on or after Sept. 1, 1988. But a ruling by Judge Anna J. Brown allowed the jury to consider the fact that Williams smoked Marlboros for 42 years. "Our view is that the plaintiff cannot rely on pre-1988 smoking at all," Cofer said. "They relied on pre-1988 smoking as causing part of the injury." You can reach Patrick O'Neill at 503-221-8233 or by e-mail at email@example.com. *** The Verdict * Philip Morris made damaging false representations about the link between smoking and cancer: 9 yes, 3 no. * The tobacco company was negligent, as claimed by the family of the late Jesse Williams: 11 yes, 1 no. * Philip Morris should pay compensatory damages of $821,485.80: 11 yes, 1 no. * And punitive damages of $79.5 million: 9 yes, 3 no. What's next Philip Morris said it will appeal to state appellate court. Other verdicts This is a partial list of top awards by civil juries in Oregon. Other out-of-court settlements may be higher but have not been made public. * 1999: $109 million to abortion providers; defendant: abortion protesters. Damages for illegal threats made by abortion protesters against abortion providers. Court: U.S. District. * 1991: $81.7 million to estate of Cheryl Keeton; defendant: Brad Cunningham. Default judgment in wrongful death case. Court: Multnomah County. * 1999: $81 million to family of longtime smoker Jesse Williams, who died of cancer; defendant: Philip Morris. Court: Multnomah County. * 1997: $29.2 million to estate of Edward O. Tulleners; defendant: American Eurocopter Corp. Plaintiff was a passenger in a helicopter that crashed in Crater Lake. Court: U.S. District.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Company documents prove key to verdict (According to the Oregonian, jurors say it was Philip Morris' own documents - some of them decades old - that led them to award $81 million to the estate of a Portland man who died of lung cancer. One juror, April Dewees, a science teacher at Sherwood High School, said she and other jurors were upset by documents that showed that Philip Morris apparently knew about the addictive properties and cancer-causing potential of cigarette smoke but avoided telling its customers.) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Patrick O'Neill and Joe Rojas-Burke of The Oregonian staff Company documents prove key to verdict * Some jurors say they thought the tobacco-maker wasn't forthright about the danger of cigarettes For nearly 21/2 days, 12 jurors wrestled with facts gleaned from four weeks of testimony. They had piles of their own notebooks crammed with details of expert testimony from physicians, specialists in addiction, historians and even an expert on growing tobacco plants and harvesting their leaves. But in the end, it was Philip Morris' own documents -- some of them decades old -- that persuaded the jury to award $81 million to the estate of a Portland man who died of lung cancer. One juror, April Dewees, a science teacher at Sherwood High School, said she and other jurors were upset by documents that showed that Philip Morris apparently knew about the addictive properties and cancer-causing potential of cigarette smoke but avoided telling its customers. Juror Debra Barton agreed. "I'd have to say it was the documents," she said. Dewees said she thinks that over the years, the tobacco company -- much like medical science -- discovered the disease-causing potential of cigarettes. But instead of warning customers, she said, company officials decided they would "keep going until they couldn't go any further." Jurors found that Jesse Williams and the tobacco company were equally negligent in causing Williams' death. "Of course, Jesse was at fault," Dewees said. "But Philip Morris does business with the public and has a responsibility to be forthright about the product." Attorneys for the family portrayed Williams as a man who believed Philip Morris' pronouncements that there was no scientific link between smoking and lung cancer and who felt deeply betrayed when he was diagnosed with cancer. Dewees said jurors "felt that Philip Morris misrepresents the facts and makes it easy for people to have conflicts in their mind about what's really true. "I'm not so much bothered by the fact that they put the product out," she said. "But the fact that they muddy the water I find unacceptable." Dewees thought tobacco company witnesses hid behind semantics, refusing to admit that their products are addictive and saying only that some smokers have a difficult time quitting. Jurors also were angered by what they perceived as the company's refusal to admit that their product causes a disease, she said. Another juror, Alisa Duffy, was one of the three who opposed awarding punitive damages to the Williams family. Duffy, a Portland resident who works as a customer service representative, said tobacco-makers shouldn't be blamed for an individual's decision to use their products. She said she found the confidential Philip Morris documents unconvincing. "This is basically what it boils down to for me: personal responsibility," she said. "I don't want to offend any of my fellow jurors -- I respect their decision," Duffy said. But she added, "I just think Philip Morris and the tobacco industry have become an easy target." You can reach Patrick O'Neill at 503-221-8233 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Few Bills We Like (Willamette Week, in Portland, supports Oregon Senate Bill 529, sponsored by Sen. Lenn Hannon, R-Ashland, which would require insurance companies to increase coverage for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 31 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Patty Wentz Newshawk note: this is excerpted from a sidebar to a cover story titled, "Royal Flush: 4,000 bills are making their way through the bowels of Salem. Here are five that should be canned." A Few Bills We Like Let's be fair. There is some *good* legislation coming out of Salem, too. Unfortunately, most of it is bottled up in committees. Here are five good bills that deserve consideration. We've also listed a contact person for getting more information and the legislator who has the power to give the proposal a fair hearing. -- PW [snip] Senate Bill 529 MENTAL HEALTH PARITY Lead Sponsor: Sen. Lenn Hannon (R-Ashland) Description: SB 529 Would force insurance companies to increase coverage for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs. Hannon took a personal interest in the issue after his own battle with alcoholism ("Drinking and Voting," WW, March 3, 1999). Status: Hannon's bill has been languishing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee since Feb. 12. For more info: Hannon (503) 986-1726; e-mail: email@example.com To voice support: Sen. Bill Fisher, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee: 503. 986-1723; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- County Seeks Medical Pot Study Appproval (The San Mateo Independent says San Mateo County, California, submitted a proposal to the National Institute on Drug Abuse on March 19 seeking approval for a clinical study of the medical use of marijuana by AIDS and cancer patients. If it can obtain NIDA approval, the county will next seek the blessing of the Food and Diug Administration. Clinical trials in the county could start this summer at the earliest.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 06:18:54 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: County Seeks Medical Pot Study Appproval Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Tom O'Connell) Source: San Mateo Independent (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 824 Cowan Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 Fax: (415) 692-7587 Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Author: David Burruto, Independent Newspapers COUNTY SEEKS MEDICAL POT STUDY APPPROVAL Supervisor Nevin hopes clinical trials will help change U.S. law San Mateo County has submitted a proposal to the National Institute on Drug Abuse seeking approval for a clinical study of the medical use of marijuana. The county-sponsored protocol - a formal proposal and set of guidelines - was submitted to NIDA on March 19. Approval from NIDA is crucial to conducting the study, as it is the sole federal agency responsible for legally providing the drug for such surveys. With NIDA approval, the county will then seek the blessing of the Food and Diug Administration. Clinical trials in the county could start this summer at the earliest with approval from both agencies. The protocol outlines how to monitor the effects of smoking marijuana on subjects with such medical conditions as chronic nausea, anorexia or ameliorating weight loss stemming from AIDS treatments and cancer treatments such as chemo or radiation therapies. County Supervisor Mike Nevin has helped to spearhead the push for the clinical trials to be conducted under the auspices of the county government in county facilities. "What hat we've done is we have pushed the envelope as San Mateo County is the first governmental entity that's been willing to put its money up to conduct clinical trial," said Nevin. "Our hope is that these clinical trials will ultimately lead the United States of America to change the law." The state of California itself has been at the forefront in support of the legal medical use of marijuana, having passed Proposition 215 in 1996 to that effect. Proposition 215 came two years in advance of similar measures passed in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington states, The study will include a group of 60 volunteer subjects being treated for AIDS or cancer. The subjects will be divided into two groups of 30. One group will begin taking the drug immediately and continue for six weeks, stop, and then continue in the trial for another six weeks without taking the drug. The second group of 30 will go through the trial in the reverse order. The marijuana will be obtained from NIDA, the sole legal grower of marijuana in the country with farms in Mississippi. Under the current proposal, the test subjects will be able to smoke their prescribed marijuana cigarettes at home. "We submitted the protocol so that they do not smoke on-site, they would be given a supply of 28 cigarettes a week." said Dr. Scott Morrow, the San Mateo County Health Officer and co-author of the proposal. "We submitted it like that because if they were required to smoke on-site that would limit our ability to get as many subjects as possible." Morrow suggested, however, that the protocol will be subject to modification due to the constraints that NIDA or the FDA will likely impose. The study, according to Morrow, is not the first of its kind but is part of a nationwide effort to investigate the drug's usefulness weighed against its harmful side effects. Only days ago the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine - the private, nonprofit organization that provides health policy advice to the federal government under a congressional charter - released a report affirming the beneficial uses of marijuana in specific medical cases and called for continued clinical trials. The report warned, however, that smoking marijuana is a poor system of delivery due to harmful side effects, such as an increased risk for cancer and lung damage. The Institute of Medicine report also suggested that trials should be limited to patients likely to benefit from marijuana most and only for short-term use. The county has allocated $50,000 for the initial submission of the protocol and is prepared to allocate up to $500,000 for the clinical trial, should it be approved. The trial will, according to Morrow, likely be done on an outpatient basis through county clinics. The County Health Services Department will hire between two and three research specialists to run the trial. A second protocol will be submitted in April that will focus on possible pain relief benefit I of marijuana. The push to investigate the possible medicinal benefits of marijuana is not, according to Nevin, part of an effort to legalize the drug for recreational use, but rather an opportunity for the medical community to put it to test. "We haven't given the medical profession chance to breathe or a chance to, in fact, a conclude that marijuana does work in specific cases," said Nevin. "It's not my intent to suggest that marijana should be legal, but this substance has some ingredients that work in specific cases. it makes sense that it should be an option any other drug."
------------------------------------------------------------------- House Panel Dumps Hemp Bill After Hearing Crime Concerns (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Minnesota House of Representatives' Crime Prevention Committee voted 10 to 7 Tuesday against the hemp bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Dehler, R-St. Joseph, after Tim McCormick, the head of the Minneapolis office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, testified there is no difference between marijuana and its fiber-crop cousin.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 21:45:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MN: House Panel Dumps Hemp Bill After Hearing Crime Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Mike Clark Pubdate: 31, March 1999 Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Copyright: 1999 Star Tribune Feedback: http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Website: http://www.startribune.com/ Forum: http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Author: Conrad deFiebre HOUSE PANEL DUMPS HEMP BILL AFTER HEARING CRIME CONCERNS After hearing from Minnesota's top federal narcotics official that there's no difference between marijuana and its fiber-crop cousin, a House committee Tuesday voted down a bill to allow the University of Minnesota to conduct research into industrial hemp. "As far as our laws are concerned, hemp, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, it's the same plant," said Tim McCormick, head of the Minneapolis office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "An illegal drug under a different name is still an illegal drug." He said any move to promote hemp production could compromise efforts to stem increasing marijuana use by young people. Even hemp raised for paper, rope, clothing, and other fiber products may contain enough of marijuana's active ingredient, THC, to produce a high, he said. A broader bill to license Minnesota farmers to grow demonstration plots of hemp overwhelmingly passed the Senate earlier this month. But Rep. Rich Stanek, a Minneapolis police captain and leading opponent of legalizing hemp, said senators didn't hear from McCormick before voting. Stanek, R-Maple Grove, heads the House Crime Prevention Committee, which voted 10 to 7 against the hemp bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Dehler, R-St. Joseph. Dehler said university research could lead to THC-free hemp and a much-needed new rotation crop for Minnesota farmers. Dehler said he was disappointed over the panel's action and might try to amend the hemp issue to another bill.
------------------------------------------------------------------- ISU Financial Aid, Professors Don't Approve Of New Ban (The Indiana Statesman at Indiana State University examines the ramifications of the misguided U.S. Higher Education Act, which forbids loans and oher financial aid to students convicted of possessing marijuana.) Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 19:44:31 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IN: ISU Financial Aid, Professors Don't Approve Of New Ban Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: Indiana Statesman (Indiana State University) Website: http://web.indstate.edu/statesman/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Michele Holtkamp, Indiana Statesman ISU FINANCIAL AID, PROFESSORS DON'T APPROVE OF NEW BAN ISU Director of Financial Aid Norman Hayes isn't looking forward to implementing the new financial aid mandates against students convicted of possessing or selling drugs. "Most financial aid administrators feel that this is unjust because the students being affected by this are those in need of assistance," Hayes said. "If it is mandated, we will do it." But he won't like it. And those working in the criminal justice system in America probably won't either. Nearly two-thirds of those in the federal system are incarcerated for drug and alcohol offenses, said Melissa Benningfield, an instructor in the ISU Criminology Department. But the offenders won't be there forever, and they should have an equal shot at a new life when they are released, Hayes said. "We can't just throw people away, lock the door and throw away the key," he said. Offenders hope to go through the system, pay their debt to society and be able to begin a new life. "But after they are released, now the cards will still be stacked against them," Benningfield said. Convicted offenders are led to believe that everyone is against them and society is set up to fail them, she said. Hayes said that the people serving time in prisons are generally those who are under-educated or uneducated. That education, Hayes said, can serve as the next step in rehabilitation. "We as a concerned society should support programs that are going to rehabilitate those who are incarcerated, because they are going to come back out," Hayes said. A college education could do nothing but help former drug users, Benningfield said. So why has Congress passed this law? Benningfield assumes that this provision is just part of America's "so-called war on drugs." Lawmakers believe that banning convicted drug users and sellers from financial aid is another way to deter drug use by showing that drugs are bad, Benningfield said. But deterrence doesn't work, she added. The provision is scheduled to go into effect in the fall of 2000. In fact, it was originally planned to begin in the fall of 1999 and has been postponed for a year. That is encouraging, Hayes said. The next year will give the lawmakers time to work out a solution and decide on the definition of a rehabilitation program. It is that definition that scares people, Hayes said. Benningfield believes in a working definition of rehabilitation- an attempt to teach someone a skill or educate the person through the punishment so that the offense doesn't happen again.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug convict gets new trial (The Associated Press says U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha, in Vermont, set aside the 1992 conviction of Robert A. Bloomer Jr., who is free after serving seven years in federal prison for manufacturing and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Bloomer's appeal concerned the jury instructions of now-retired U.S. District Judge Franklin S. Billings, who said the jury "may" rather than "must" acquit if government prosecutors failed to prove Bloomer's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Billings, a former Vermont Supreme Court justice, also equated "reasonable doubt" with "substantial doubt," something the Second Circuit ruled was "clearly and ... obviously constitutionally deficient." Bloomer faces a new trial in six months.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: VT Drug convict gets new trial Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 12:03:47 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Drug convict gets new trial By Associated Press, 03/31/99 13:30 BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - Robert A. Bloomer Jr. has been freed after seven years in federal prison on a drug conviction, but is slated to face a new trial in six months. U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha set aside Bloomer's 1992 conviction on charges that he manufactured and conspired to distribute methamphetamine. Bloomer, acting as his own appeals attorney, challenged the instructions given to the jury by now-retired U.S. District Judge Franklin S. Billings, and faulted the work of his trial and appeals attorney, David A. Gibson of Brattleboro, for failing to identify and object to Billings' mistakes. Bloomer, 51, has served close to seven years in a variety of federal prisons and work camps. He was convicted in 1992 of charges he manufactured and distributed methamphetamine at his West Rutland home. He was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison. Federal agents raided his home on Aug. 11, 1990, confiscated the contents of his private laboratory, including chemicals and equipment. While no methamphetamine was found during the police raid, traces of the drug were found in the lab. During the trial several people testified they bought the drug from Bloomer. Bloomer said he believed he would hire an attorney to defend him in his upcoming trial, and not try to represent himself. He said a fellow inmate who acts as "street lawyer" had helped him with his appeal and examination of the trial record. "What better place to learn about the law?" he said of his time in prison. "I've decided to take it step by step and worry about today, today and tomorrow, tomorrow," he said. Bloomer, who is not a lawyer, comes from a prominent Rutland County family of lawyers and politicians. Both his father, Robert Sr., and his late uncle, John Bloomer, have served as president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate. His cousin, John Bloomer, is one of Rutland County's three senators. Murtha's decision regarding Bloomer is expected to be repeated in other Vermont drug cases that Billings tried. Billings made similar mistakes in jury instructions in at least seven other Vermont drug trials, some of which are still under appeal, according to assistant U.S. Attorney David Kirby. Billings had told the jury that it "may" rather than "must" acquit if government prosecutors failed to prove Bloomer's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Billings, a former Vermont Supreme Court justice, also equated "reasonable doubt" with "substantial doubt," something the Second Circuit ruled was "clearly and ... obviously constitutionally deficient." Gibson took the stand briefly Tuesday and said he wasn't aware of a recent federal court decision that laid the groundwork for Bloomer's appeal. "You missed it?" asked Kirby. "That's fair to say," said Gibson. "A number of us missed it," Kirby said. With that, Murtha said he had no choice but to order a new trial.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Phila. Man Guilty Of Dealing From Cell (The Philadelphia Inquirer says Michael Diaz, who admitted he set up cocaine sales from behind bars in a Philadelphia jail, was sentenced yesterday to two to four years in Bucks County Prison.) Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 19:32:12 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US PA: Phila Man Guilty Of Dealing From Cell Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Forum: http://interactive.phillynews.com/talk-show/ Author: Mark Binker PHILA. MAN GUILTY OF DEALING FROM CELL Michael Diaz Set Up Cocaine Sales From Curran-Fromhold Prison. A man who admitted he set up cocaine sales from behind bars in a Philadelphia jail was sentenced yesterday to two to four years in Bucks County Prison. Michael Diaz, 37, of Grant Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to drug charges last month and admitted he used a cell phone to arrange cocaine transactions -- including one in Bensalem -- while he was an inmate in Curran-Fromhold Prison. Bucks County Court Judge Isaac S. Garb authorized Diaz yesterday to participate in a work-release program. Diaz was a carpenter before he was sent to jail. Diaz was in prison on rape and kidnapping charges -- that have since been reduced to simple assault by a Philadelphia judge -- when he was approached by a man whom Deputy District Attorney Ellis B. Klein described as a "confidential informant." Klein declined to identify the man. Diaz told Garb yesterday that the man was a potential witness in his assault trial who had called him in prison to say that he would appear in court only if Diaz arranged for him to buy some cocaine. Diaz said he asked fellow inmate Hector Castillo, 21, of North Philadelphia, for help. Prosecutors said Castillo, in turn, arranged for William Pena, 31, of Northeast Philadelphia, to deliver cocaine to the informant, once at strip mall near Bustleton Avenue in Bensalem and at a Bensalem hotel.When Bensalem police arrested him, the man whom authorities described as a confidential informant agreed to help police gather evidence against the others. Garb sentenced the other two men to prison in February -- Castillo received four to eight years, Pena seven to 14 years. Besides arranging the transactions, prosecutors said, Diaz also destroyed evidence -- the cellular phone that had been smuggled into the prison for Castillo and used to arrange the transactions. Initially, Diaz's sentencing was delayed when he agreed to cooperate with authorities and testify against Pena and Castillo. That became unnecessary when the other two pleaded guilty.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Murder Suspect "Panicked" (UPI says the attorney for Roy Lee Carver, an Okeechobee, Florida man charged with the 1998 murder of Christian Giotis, a Clementsville cultivator, says Carver "panicked" when Glotis confronted him in the course of a marijuana rip-off, and he shot Glotis six times.) Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 15:09:27 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US FL: Wire: Murder Suspect ``Panicked'' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International MURDER SUSPECT ``PANICKED'' STUART, Fla., March 31 (UPI) - An Okeechobee man charged with the 1998 murder of a Clementsville resident while trying to steal marijuana ``panicked'' according to his lawyer. Roy Lee Carver stumbled onto the remote home of Christian Giotis where a high-quality marijuana-growing operation was centered. Carver returned to the Giotis home to steal some marijuana when he was confronted by Giotis. Carver's attorney Cynthia Marvin told the jury Carver ``panicked'' during the confrontation and shot Giotis six times. In convicted Carver faces life in prison.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The IOM report 'Marijuana and Medicine' on line (A list subscriber posts the URL for an .html version of the Institute of Medicine report released March 17.) Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 05:21:02 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: The IOM report 'Marijuana and Medicine' on line Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Richard Lake, Sr. Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Source: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE REPORT 'MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE' ON LINE Dear Readers, Last night the first of several websites which will have the report in a much more readable format than the image file on the 'official' website came on line. It is at the Hemp in Japan website at: http://www.taima.org/nas/marimed.htm If others who are also making the report available will send me a note with the link, I will provide a more complete list of sites in a few days. Thanks to those who went thru the major effort of OCRing the report and providing it to websites! Richard Lake Senior Editor MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest email: email@example.com http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/ 20,309 articles online! For subscription information see: http://www.MAPinc.org/lists/ Quick sign up for DrugNews-Digest, Focus Alerts or Newsletter: http://www.DrugSense.org/hurry.htm *** Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 21:02:33 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) Subject: HT: WSJ Success! and IOM Report on line Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Last night the first of several websites which will have the report in a much more readable format than the image file on the 'official' website came on line. It is at the Hemp in Japan website at: http://www.taima.org/nas/marimed.htm This was quickly followed by DrugSense which posted it at: http://www.drugsense.org/iom_report/ Please drop me a note if you are aware of other webmasters who are making this report available on their website so I may provide a more complete list. Already I have seen links to the report at the above websites on other websites. This is far from the first time that governments have published reports about marijuana, but past reports have been largely buried by prohibitionists. This time, with the availability of the 'net, it will be a little harder to make the report go away! *** Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 22:33:08 EST Sender: email@example.com From: aahpat (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: Re: WSJ Success! and IOM Report on line http://prop1.org/thomas/iom_report/iomlv.htm *** Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 16:33:44 -0600 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Carl E. Olsen" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: HT: WSJ Success! and IOM Report on line Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org I've posted copies of it on my web sites: http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/MEDICAL/IOM/ http://www.calyx.com/~olsen/MEDICAL/IOM/ Sincerely, Carl Olsen
------------------------------------------------------------------- Reefer Madness Logic (Four letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal rebut the recent op-ed by Joseph Califano trying to discredit the conclusion of the March 17 Institute of Medicine report that marijuana is not a "gateway" to harder drugs.) Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 20:04:10 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: WSJ: 4 PUB LTEs: Reefer Madness Logic Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: GALAN@prodigy.net (G. A ROBISON) Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Section: Editorial Page Page: A23 Copyright: 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.wsj.com/ Authors: Arthur Sobey, Mark Honts, Chad Thevenot, Shaun Breidbart Note: These published letters are at the top of the Letters to the Editor column in the newspaper, headed by the two column wide 'Reefer Madness Logic.' DrugSense thanks all the folks who responded to our FOCUS Alert distributed Saturday, 27 March asking folks to write to the WSJ. While only four of the hundreds of letters sent to the WSJ were published, each and every one helps call to the attention of the editors how important folks consider the issue, which results in this super positioning of the published letters and, we hope, starts to cause the editors to question their own position. The WSJ has a circulation of 2 MILLION influential readers and this group of LTEs had an ad value of over $18,000. The WSJ is rated by Advertising Age magazine as the most influential publication in the USA. Readers who are not signed up to receive the DrugSense FOCUS Alerts may do so at: http://www.DrugSense.org/hurry.htm The referenced OPED is in our archives at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n347.a07.html REEFER MADNESS LOGIC In his March 26 editorial-page commentary "The Grass Roots of Teen Drug Abuse," Joe Califano says the statistical correlation is so strong that there must be a gateway-type connection between marijuana and hard drug use. He has been pushing this nonsense for too long. Statistical correlations are the weakest form of proof that exists, and are the easiest numbers to fiddle with. In the 1950s the feds proved that cancer was caused by emanations from telephone wires. Eagle-eyed researchers noticed more cancers occurred close to phone wires. Of course, someone quickly pointed out that since more people live near phone wires, there is bound to be more of everything near them, even cancer. Using Mr. Califano's false logic, I can prove with statistical precision that eating bread leads directly to a life of crime. I can prove that working 40 hours a week is self-inflicted suicide since it leads directly to the grave. I can also prove that people like "Smoking Joe" have caused more damage to this nation's children than all the marijuana that has ever been consumed. Arthur Sobey Norfolk, Neb. *** Some ideas are like the fictional Jason, who inspired "Friday the 13th" and multiple sequels: they simply cannot be killed. Clearly, the "gateway" canard, invented by Harry Anslinger and defended by Joe Califano, falls into that category. Anslinger was nothing if not inventive; the effects of cannabis were so universally unknown in the mid-1930s that he was able to claim (successfully) that it provokes casual users to murderous rage. Nowadays, thanks to the success of the criminal market he campaigned for, that idea would be hooted off the stage. Gateway and numerous sons of gateway have proven far more durable than "reefer madness," probably because there is a strong correlation (acknowledged in the IOM report) between use of tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other drugs. This is the obverse of Mr. Califano's other nugget: people who haven't used any drugs at all by age 21 are unlikely to do so. Perhaps the most reasonable interpretation of his tortured "data" is that some people are much more likely to use drugs than others, a tendency usually expressed during their teen years. Unfortunately for Mr. Califano's purposes, that interpretation could hardly justify arresting 700,000 people a year in a futile attempt to shut one gateway while allowing two others to gape invitingly. Mark Honts Fort Worth, Texas *** Even Mr. Califano's own organization, the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), admits in its 1994 report on "gateway drugs" that a biomedical or causal relationship has not been established. Many unbiased experts believe that the most likely relationship between the use of marijuana and harder drugs is a person's propensity for risk-taking, which may even be exacerbated by the illicit market in marijuana, created by prohibition, which routinely exposes children and adults to harder drugs. In its landmark March 1999 report of marijuana's health effects, the Institute of Medicine agreed: There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular drug effect. In 1998, the World Health Organization stated emphatically that the gateway theory between adolescent marijuana use and heroin use is the least likely of all hypotheses. Chad Thevenot Washington *** Marijuana itself isn't terribly more dangerous than alcohol. What is dangerous is lying to children, trying to convince them that marijuana is practically like heroin. When these children realize marijuana isn't so bad after all, that plenty of A-students and star athletes use it with no obvious ill effects, they start to question the association given between marijuana and heroin. The logical step is, "Well, they told us pot is so bad, and it isn't, so maybe heroin isn't so bad either." Shaun Breidbart Pelham, N.Y. *** Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 19:36:02 -0800 (PST) To: Richard Lake (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "Tom O'Connell" (email@example.com) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: WSJ Success! and IOM Report on line Cc: email@example.com It was nice to read my letter (model for the FOCUS Alert) published by the Journal except for the omission of a single word. Two, actually; it also omitted my name, substituting instead that of one Mark Honts of Ft. Worth, TX. Oh, well. Tom O'Connell
------------------------------------------------------------------- Amazon Tribal Leaders Challenge U.S. Patent (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Amazon medicine men adorned in shell necklaces and exotic bird feathers visited the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in suburban Washington Tuesday in order to challenge the validity of a patent awarded a California entrepreneur for the main ingredient of their healing potion - the hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca. The 13-year-old patent has become an issue of such magnitude that it has stirred physical threats, led to the cancellation of U.S. aid to South American tribes and all but shut down "bioprospecting" for valuable plants in Peru, Ecuador and the rest of the Amazon basin.) Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 17:49:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Amazon Tribal Leaders Challenge Us Patent Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) Copyright: 1999 Post Dispatch Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.stlnet.com/ Forum: http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/index.nsf/forums AMAZON TRIBAL LEADERS CHALLENGE U.S. PATENT They say America has no right to plant used in healing In this land of tailored suits, the scene Tuesday was extraordinary: Amazon medicine men adorned in shell necklaces and exotic bird feathers chanting a religious ceremony and sipping potions. The tribal leaders achieved the real purpose of their long journey just before their depiction of a ceremony. They visited the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in suburban Washington to challenge the validity of a patent awarded a California entrepreneur for the main ingredient of their healing potion - the hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca. "Our ancestors learned the knowledge of this medicine and we are the owners of this knowledge," said Antonio Jacanamijoy, who heads a council representing more than 400 tribes and indigenous groups in South America. Ayahuasca (pronounced eye-yuh-WAHS-cuh) looks like any bushy tree sprouting in the jungle. But to indigenous peoples in South America, it is a sacred plant whose name translates to "vine of the soul." They likened the patent in question to patenting the Christian cross. The 13-year-old patent has become an issue of such magnitude that it has stirred physical threats, led to the cancellation of U.S. aid to South American tribes and all but shut down "bioprospecting" for valuable plants in Peru, Ecuador and the rest of the Amazon basin. The fallout has been felt in St. Louis. The Missouri Botanical Garden, Monsanto Co. and Washington University all have found it more difficult to arrange bioprospecting ventures to South America in recent years to collect plants for new drugs and for traits that can be genetically engineered into crops. Many of the world's best- selling pharmaceuticals and most of its cancer drugs are from the tropics. Jim Miller, who directs the Missouri Botanical Garden's global bioprospecting, said that many people in South America had wrongly associated the ayahuasca controversy with legitimate plant collecting. "It's sure got people fired up," he said. Miller, too, questioned whether the patent is valid. The events started unfolding in the mid-1980s when Loren Miller, then a graduate student in pharmacology, brought home a variety of the plant from Ecuador. Miller founded the International Plant Medicine Corp. in California and applied for a U.S. patent, which was awarded in 1986. He had no plans to sell it as a hallucinogenic drug; he says he believed that the plant might contain properties that would be effective in psychotherapy and possibly in treating cancer. Not until 1994 did the tribes learn of the patent. They decided it meant that Miller would control what had been part of their culture for centuries. Word even went out that shamans wanting to use ayahuasca would need his permission, which was untrue. By 1996, feelings ran so hot that the council of tribes declared Miller "an enemy of indigenous peoples." A statement by the group warned that if Miller or his associates returned to the region, tribes "will not be responsible for the consequences to their physical safety." The matter would not die down and last year, because of the threat, the U.S. government's Inter-American Foundation cut off aid to the tribal council after giving it more than $500,000 in recent years. Miller asserted Tuesday that he has been a victim of misdirected anger. He said that he had not stolen the plant; it had been given to him from the garden of a tribe that he wouldn't identify. He also said that tests had found no valuable properties in the plant and that he has no plan to use the patent. "If they say the patent is no good, I don't care. This is so ridiculous. ... I've never sold anything," he said. Nonetheless, the tribal leaders say they have been violated. And they worry, they said, that the plant could be misused and cause harm. They likened it to coca, another South American cultural staple and the plant from which cocaine is derived. David Downes, a lawyer in Washington representing the group, contended that Miller's patent is flawed and therefore should be revoked. The patent was awarded after Miller reported finding a new variety with flowers differently colored. William Anderson, a University of Michigan botanist supporting the challenge, said he had concluded that no new variety had been discovered. Downes noted that several patents issued in the United States have infuriated people around the world. For instance, patents were awarded to companies on turmeric, a spice, and for basmati rice, both staples in India. "When people claim as private property something that is sacred knowledge of thousands of people, we fear that patents have gone too far into the public domain," Downes said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cop probe launched (The Calgary Sun says the Edmonton Police Commission wants Alberta Justice to direct another police service to investigate allegations of coverups and possible criminal activity made against the capital's police service by one of its own. Yesterday, the commission held an emergency closed-door meeting to discuss what to do about a formal complaint made against Edmonton Chief John Lindsay by 24-year veteran Det. Kenneth Montgomery.) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Cop probe launched Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 09:29:27 -0800 Lines: 100 Newshawk: email@example.com Source: Calgary Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Author: Linda Slobodian Cop probe launched By LINDA SLOBODIAN, Calgary Sun The Edmonton Police Commission wants Alberta Justice to direct another police service to investigate allegations of coverups and possible criminal activity made against the capital's police service by one of its own. Yesterday, the commission emerged from an emergency closed-door meeting held to discuss what to do about a formal complaint made against Edmonton Chief John Lindsay by 24-year veteran Det. Kenneth Montgomery. The letter dated March 9, 1999, detailed numerous serious allegations, including internal coverup of criminal actions by police, senior officers associating with convicted criminals and members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, a confidential source's identify being leaked, and an investigation being blown after a senior Edmonton Police Association official allegedly warned subjects involved. The commission's vote to call on Justice Minister Jon Havelock for help was unanimous. And the right thing to do. The commission explained why in its brief statement yesterday: "It is not the police commission's role, at this time, to make findings of fact, not findings of fault with respect to the allegations." Initially, the commission set an April 21 date to deal with the eight-page letter it received March 10 from Montgomery. After some of the contents of the letter were published in this column last Friday, the commission called an emergency meeting. Sad, isn't it, that it takes media attention to create an urgency? When I contacted commission chairman Bob Dean last week he said he had the letter "somewhere," then called back to say the letter, which had been in the commission's mitts 16 days, was just faxed to him. When allegations are so serious, shouldn't the commission chairman know about them pronto? Montgomery, who has medals and commendations for exemplary service and devotion to duty, was suspended for discreditable conduct with pay since May 19, 1998. Amazingly, he is still waiting for a hearing -- even though Edmonton Coun. Allan Bolstad approached Dean last fall, wanting to know about the delay. In his letter to the commission, Montgomery said he has been targeted be-cause of sensitive investigations he was involved in and his refusal to "participate in an internal coverup." Yesterday, he welcomed the commission's decision and stated he was willing to fully co-operate in getting to the bottom of his allegations. So did Acting Chief Colin Vann, who in the absence of a vacationing Chief Lindsay, issued a brief statement. He said EPS welcomes the commission's decision, eagerly awaits the opportunity to participate in the process and hopes allegations will be resolved. Good! Everyone's in agreement. Getting to the truth will benefit the public police are paid to protect. Hardworking EPS members are trying to do just that. Ironically, some police called to say thank you for writing about Montgomery's allegations. One of the questions that must be addressed is why a veteran cop felt he had to take the drastic step of turning to the police commission. Another question that begs an answer is what will happen with another veteran detective's shocking claims. On the heels of the revelation of Montgomery's letters came the admission by EPS that they are investigating Det. Ron Robertson's allegations that the Hells Angels may have infiltrated the service and there are links between EPS members (sworn and civilian) and Hells Angels and their associates. Robertson raised concerns with his superiors last July. An EPS spokesman said an investigative team started looking into them "approximately" a month ago. One of the reactions by EPS to Robertson's allegations was to move him out of the unit which investigates bikers. Robertson, whose policing record is praised by many other police, sent a letter to his colleagues across Canada briefly outlining his concerns. So, what is it? Two veteran cops with big imaginations? Or serious problems within EPS. Time -- and proper investigations -- will tell.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis 'No Longer Rebellious' (According to the Independent, in Britain, Keith Hellawell, the British drugs tsar, admitted yesterday that the use of cannabis is so commonplace among British schoolchildren that smoking it is no longer regarded as an act of rebellion.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 11:30:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis 'No Longer Rebellious' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 Source: Independent, The (UK) Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent CANNABIS 'NO LONGER REBELLIOUS' The use of cannabis is so commonplace among British schoolchildren that it is no longer regarded as an act of rebellion, the drugs tsar Keith Hellawell admitted yesterday. Addressing the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Hellawell said many children did not even associate smoking cannabis with drug-taking. "It's almost as if it has become marginalised," he said. "Everybody does it. You are not actually beating the system and being a rebel or radical if you are taking the substance." In a frank exchange with MPs, Mr Hellawell, the UK's anti-drugs co-ordinator, admitted that the Government's strategy for fighting drugs was unlikely to show any signs of success within three years. He said no community was safe from the growing problem of heroin use and some youngsters were taking it as their first illegal drug. Although many new heroin users have been introduced to the smokable form of the drug, some young users were now choosing to inject heroin to satisfy their increasing craving, Mr Hellawell said. The drug tsar promised MPs that more of the UKP1.4bn spent annually on fighting drugs would be allocated to education, which receives only 3 per cent of the budget. Mr Hellawell said ground had been lost by the reluctance of schools to take on board anti-drug messages. He said: "Up to four or five years ago it was taboo in schools to talk about drugs. It was outlawed by parents who said, 'If they are talking about drugs in school, it's a druggy school and I will take my kids away'."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drugs Chief Backs 'Medicinal' Cannabis (The Times, in London, says Keith Hellawell, the Government's chief anti-drugs campaigner, endorsed the medical use of cannabis yesterday, saying doctors should be allowed to prescribe the class B drug to ease pain and suffering. "There appear to be many qualities within the herb that are likely to have an impact on different suffering," he told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 11:30:14 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: UK: Anti-Drugs Chief Backs 'Medicinal' Cannabis Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (email@example.com) Pubdate: Wed, 31 March 1999 Source: Times, The (UK) Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/ Author: Richard Ford, Home Correspondent ANTI-DRUGS CHIEF BACKS 'MEDICINAL' CANNABIS The medical use of cannabis won the backing of the Government's chief anti-drugs campaigner yesterday. Keith Hellawell, a former chief constable, said doctors should be allowed to prescribe the class B drug to ease pain and suffering, provided the beneficial effects were proven by research. "There appear to be many qualities within the herb that are likely to have an impact on different suffering," he told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. Mr Hellawell, UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator, recently visited a farm where cannabis is being grown for medical research under a special licence issued by the Home Office. Five thousand plants have been sown in a secure glasshouse in southern England. The Government allowed the trial because of increasing evidence that cannabis could be useful as a painkiller and in treating illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Mr Hellawell also told MPs that the popularity of cannabis was declining among 15 to 25-year-olds because of its widespread use, and that smoking heroin was frequently the first choice of drug. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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