------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly Press Release (Marijuana induces minimum driving impairment compared to alcohol, Toronto study says; Gallup poll shows Americans support medical marijuana by three to one margin; California Democrats adopt resolution supporting hemp; Senate okays bill forcing Michigan cities to impose criminal penalties for marijuana offenders; Crime committee kills Minnesota hemp bill) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 17:08:24 EST Subject: NORML WPR 4/1/99 (II) NORML Weekly Press Release 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 710 Washington, DC 20036 202-483-8751 (p) 202-483-0057 (f) www.norml.org email@example.com April 1, 1999 *** Marijuana Induces Minimum Driving Impairment Compared to Alcohol, Toronto Study Says April 1, 1999, Toronto, Ontario: Drivers under the influence of marijuana pose far fewer risks on roadways than do drivers intoxicated by alcohol, a new University of Toronto study suggests. The study corroborates earlier research demonstrating that marijuana is not a significant causal factor in traffic accidents. "The failure of the Toronto University researchers to observe a significant effect of marijuana on driving culpability is consistent with findings from earlier studies," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. He noted that a May 1998 study by the University of Adelaide (South Australia) Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology determined, "There was no evidence of any increase in the likelihood of being culpable for [automobile] crash[es] amongst those injured drivers in whom cannabinoids were detected. ... [Their] culpability rates were no higher than those for the drug free group." Toronto researchers analyzed new data as well as several controlled international studies and concluded that marijuana-impaired drivers compensate by driving more slowly and cautiously. "The more cautious behavior of subjects who received marijuana [in studies] decreased the drug's impact on performance," said Alison Smiley of the University's Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. "Their behavior is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner." The new study appears in the March issue of Health Effects of Cannabis, a publication of Toronto's Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Previous marijuana and driving studies performed in the U.S. by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also found "no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents." For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer is also available for comment @ (415) 563-5858. *** Gallup Poll Shows Americans Support Medical Marijuana By 3 To 1 Margin April 1, 1999, Washington, D.C.: Seventy-three percent of Americans support amending federal law to allow for the legal use of marijuana as a medicine, a Gallup Poll reported Friday. "Medical marijuana is an issue where the voters are far ahead of the politicians," NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. "Legislators must realize that legalizing marijuana as medicine is politically safe and supported by mainstream Americans across all political boundaries." The Gallup Poll News Service stated that, "By a three-to-one margin Americans would support making marijuana available to doctors, so it could be prescribed to reduce pain and suffering." These results mimic earlier surveys conducted by ABC News, The Luntz Research Company, CBS News, and Lake Research that indicated a majority of Americans from both parties support legalizing medical marijuana. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. To read the results of previous medical marijuana polls, please visit the NORML website at: http://www.norml.org/medical/polls.html. *** California Democrats Adopt Resolution Supporting Hemp April 1, 1999, Sacramento, CA: The California Democratic Party adopted a resolution supporting hemp cultivation at their state convention last weekend. "This is a first step toward [the introduction of] hemp legislation in California," said Sam Clauder III of Californians for Industrial Renewal (CAIR), which put forward the resolution. Clauder said he hopes to see Democrats introduce legislation this month supporting hemp. Delegates resolved that, "The California Democratic Party endorses the legalization of the domestic production of industrial hemp, and strongly recommends to the state legislature that laws be adopted to allow industrial hemp to be cultivated and harvested under the control and regulation of the California State Department of Food and Agriculture." For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Sam Clauder of CAIR @ (714) 543-6400. *** Senate Okays Bill Forcing Michigan Cities To Impose Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Offenders April 1, 1999, Lansing, MI: The state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation last week that would impose criminal penalties for minor marijuana offenders in the cities of Ann Arbor and East Lansing. "Senate Bill 380 would needlessly subject thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens in Ann Arbor and East Lansing who smoke marijuana to criminal arrest and incarceration," said NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq., who denounced the measure. "Many of these citizens are college age students, just starting careers, who could find their futures jeopardized by the long-term ramifications of an arrest and criminal record." Local ordinances in Ann Arbor and East Lansing punish minor marijuana offenders with a $25 fine, a penalty that deviates from the state law which calls for a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Senate Bill 380, introduced by Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom (R-Temperance), would prohibit municipalities from adopting local drug ordinances with penalties softer than the state law. The Senate approved the measure by a 36 to 1 vote last Thursday. It now awaits action by the House of Representatives. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. To read more about S.B. 380 or additional pending state marijuana legislation, please visit the NORML website at: http://www.norml.org/laws/stateleg1999.htm. *** Crime Committee Kills Minnesota Hemp Bill April 1, 1999, St. Paul, MN: The Republican controlled House Crime Prevention Committee voted down a Senate bill that sought to establish a regulated hemp industry in Minnesota. The defeat angered proponents, who hoped Minnesota would become the first state to legalize hemp production, and disappointed Gov. Jesse Venture who backed the legislation. "This was an agricultural bill that had no business being placed in a crime committee," said NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. The Senate had previously approved the legislation by a vote of 54 to 4. Senate File 122 classified hemp "as an agriculture crop subject to regulation and registration by the commission of agriculture." The Legislature passed a similar version of the bill last year, but then-Gov. Arne Carlson (R) vetoed it. That proposal was approved by the Agriculture Committees in both Houses, and was never assigned to a crime committee. Several states this year have passed hemp reform proposals, including Illinois, Montana, North Dakota, and Virginia, but none of these measures license farmers to grow the crop. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. To read about additional pending state marijuana legislation, please visit the NORML website at: http://www.norml.org/laws/stateleg1999.htm. - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- School informant project runs into objections (The Oregonian says the Brooklyn Action Corps, a neighborhood association in Southeast Portland, wants to put a stop to the Campus Crime Stoppers, a citywide school program that offers money to students to turn in their peers for criminal activity such as underage drinking and drug possession, even if it happens after school. "It scares a lot of people," said John Mathiesen, a member of the association. At a recent meeting attended by parents, teachers and others in the neighborhood, nobody was in favor of the program. Mathiesen pointed to a recent situation involving his son, an eighth-grader at Sellwood Middle School. He said his son and a classmate were falsely accused by another student of marijuana possession.) Newshawk: Phil Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Thu, Apr 01 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: Michael A.W. Ottey of The Oregonian staff School informant project runs into objections * A Southeast Portland neighborhood association wants to keep the Campus Crime Stoppers out of the city's schools Members of a Portland neighborhood group are objecting to a citywide program in the schools that encourages students to turn in their peers in exchange for money. The Brooklyn Action Corps, a neighborhood association in Southeast Portland, is checking into Campus Crime Stoppers, recently introduced to Portland schools, to determine whether to ask the school board to keep the program out of schools. "It scares a lot of people," said John Mathiesen, a member of the association. At a recent meeting attended by parents, teachers and others in the neighborhood, nobody was in favor of the program, Mathiesen said. The program, already in schools around the nation, pays students as much as $1,000 for anonymous tips to police about crime in and around city schools. Mathiesen said he will report back to the association at its next meeting April 14. "We'll still try to ask the school board to rescind the policy, provided the neighborhood association agrees with that," Mathiesen said. Off-campus activities The program also encourages youths to report criminal activity by their peers, such as underage drinking and drug possession, even if it happened after school. A goal to get the program in all of the city's middle and high schools is close to completion, according to Sgt. Larry Linn, who oversees the program for the Portland school police. The program received the blessing of Mayor Vera Katz and several school superintendents, including Ben Canada, when it was unveiled in January. It is paid for by private donations. The program, which is also in the Parkrose and David Douglas school districts, gives out one telephone number -- 916-3222 -- for students to use to report crime anonymously. Mathiesen pointed to a recent situation involving his son, an eighth-grader at Sellwood Middle School. He said his son and a classmate were falsely accused by another student of marijuana possession. "As soon as my son knew someone had snitched on him he knew immediately who did it," Mathiesen said. Mathiesen said he is against youths being paid to provide information to police, particularly when the tip involves drugs and guns. At the high school level, where some students are in street gangs and have access to guns, the potential for retribution is real, he said. Youths should report students who take weapons to school out of personal responsibility, Mathiesen said, but any program that pays them to do so sends the wrong message and has the potential for abuse. Police and other program proponents say the informant's identity is kept confidential. When an informant calls, he or she is assigned a number, Linn said. No names are given, and the calls are not recorded electronically. "I can only speak for how it has worked," Linn said, "and I've had none of the people call back and say, 'They found out my name.'" Linn said the informant checks in with his number to determine if the information he provided resulted in an arrest or conviction. A citizens board meets to decide whether to pay informants and how much, to the maximum $1,000. A Crime Stoppers representative meets with the informant to hand over the payment, or the payment is made in some other prearranged manner agreeable to the informant, Linn said. Portland Officer Henry Groepper, who oversees Crime Stoppers for the police, said he can tell within a matter of minutes if someone reporting a crime is not truthful or if there are ulterior motives. Contact Michael A.W. Ottey at 503-294-7668, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Award sets off emotional ride (The Oregonian follows up on yesterday's news about a Portland jury awarding a record $80.3 million to the family of Jesse Williams, a dead smoker. The family is pretty happy about it.) Pubdate: Thu, Apr 01 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: Katy Muldoon of The Oregonian staff Award sets off emotional ride * In the verdict's frenetic aftermath, the family awarded $80.3 million Tuesday found relief, public outrage and their apartment ablaze Tuesday came the verdict. Wednesday came the aftermath -- a roller-coaster ride of emotions, a crush of media appearances and the sting of public opinion -- for the Williams family of Northeast Portland, who find themselves on the winning end of the nation's largest-ever verdict against a tobacco manufacturer. "There's a sense of relief that we did what my dad set after to do," Jesse J. Williams Jr. said Wednesday. A Multnomah County jury on Tuesday ordered Philip Morris Inc. to pay $80.3 million in damages to the estate of Williams' father, Jesse Williams Sr., a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer two years ago. While Williams' widow, Mayola Williams, made the rounds of national morning news shows to discuss the verdict, talk radio shows in Portland buzzed Wednesday with caustic comments from callers. Many where shocked at the verdict and shared the tobacco company's view that Jesse Williams knew that smoking was harmful but continued to smoke anyway. Some said he should have had enough common sense to quit. Those were the comments that stung Jesse Williams Jr., comments he thinks are based on a poor understanding of the evidence presented in court. Williams, 41 and one of the Williams' six grown children, said his father had plenty of common sense. But he was unable to overcome his powerful addiction to nicotine and thought that the cigarette manufacturer wouldn't sell a harmful product. During his illness, his son said, Williams decided to sue the company whose product, Marlboros, he had used for 42 years. He discussed his decision with his wife and children and spoke with attorneys. But Williams, described by his son as "a good man, a kind person," died before lawyers could videotape his testimony. He was 67. His family honored Williams' wish to pursue the lawsuit. When the trial finally started in late February, however, some had mixed feelings, Jesse Williams Jr. said. The testimony "brought up a lot of emotions from dad's death," he said. Some days were tougher than others; two of Williams' sons were in court on March 17, the anniversary of their father's death, but Mayola Williams chose to stay home that day. Tuesday, too, was a highly emotional day for the family -- one filled with more commotion than they ever expected. Not only did the jury return the verdict in their favor, but also, when Mayola Williams and her daughter, Joann Williams-Branch, returned about 8 p.m. to the Northeast Portland apartment they share, they found it ablaze. A forced-air wall heater had malfunctioned and started a fire in the apartment wall. Portland Fire Bureau investigators said the fire caused $13,000 in damage to the structure and contents. Reflecting on the week's events, including word that Philip Morris will appeal the verdict, Jesse Williams Jr. said Tuesday that the family didn't know if they'll ever reap financial reward from the suit. But he said his father would be pleased with the trial's outcome. "I truly believe," he said, "this is going to help others wake up . . . help others win their cases. . . . The justice system has done something good." You can reach Katy Muldoon at 503-221-8526, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick O'Neill contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pedal Pusher (Willamette Week, in Portland, tries to make sense of a press release sent to it by a local bicycle messenger calling himself Jolly Dodger, who hopes to set up a non-profit organization to deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act clearly forbids such activity, but Geoff Sugerman of Oregonians for Medical Rights says Jolly Dodger's idea proves that the federal government needs to get involved in developing a regulated distribution system.) Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 19:04:15 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US OR: MMJ: Pedal Pusher Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: D. Paul Stanford http://www.crrh.org/ Pubdate: 1 Apr 1999 Source: Willamette Week (OR) Contact: email@example.com Address: 822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 Fax: (503) 243-1115 Website: http://www.wweek.com/ Author: Maureen O'Hagan
PEDAL PUSHER He calls himself the Jolly Dodger, but his pitch is quite serious. Under the new medical-marijauna law, people with a debilitating illness can qualify to use or grow pot without being charged with a crime. But because of their conditions, Jolly says, many are too ill to get supplies. That's where his "cannabis courier service" comes in. Bike messenger Jolly says he delivers doses of the wacky weed straight to the doorsteps of 15 medical-marijuana users he met through word of mouth. For this service, he says, he charges a $10 delivery fee--the pot, he explains, is free. "I want to make it so cheap that I'll have every debilitated person downtown calling me," he told WW. "I don't want to make money off pot.... This is really just a religious cause of ending suffering." Because his supplies are limited, Jolly can now give each client only two joints per delivery. He's hoping to set up a non-profit organization to raise funds for a "valid, full-scale production facility." That way he and other bike messengers can deliver up to an ounce for the same low fee. In his press releases, Jolly calls his plan an "unassuming" proposal. Unlawful might be more accurate. Deputy District Attorney Mark McDonnell says the medical-marijuana law doesn't allow any money to change hands - whether the fee is to cover the pot or the delivery. Even Geoff Sugerman, who headed the medical-marijuana campaign, is a little nervous about the idea. "I don't know if they're well-intentioned or if they're trying to figure out a way to sell pot," he says, "but sales are explicitly forbidden in the law." At the same time, Sugerman says the cannabis courier proves that the federal government needs to get involved in developing a regulated distribution system. Jolly, for his part, isn't worried. He notes that another notorious bike courier managed to evade authorities for a long time. "I know Ted Kaczynski didn't get caught for a few years delivering packages on his bicycle," he says.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Philip Morris case is far from over (The Oregonian says the tobacco company will appeal the $80.3 million judgment against it by a Portland jury. Punitive damages make up $79.5 million of the verdict.) Pubdate: Thu, Apr 01 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: Ashbel S. Green of The Oregonian staff Philip Morris case is far from over * The large amount of punitive damages and the length of Jesse Williams' habit create two approaches for appeals The $80.3 million verdict against cigarette-maker Philip Morris was the largest verdict ever awarded in a smoker lawsuit and one of the largest jury verdicts of any kind in Oregon. But the size of Tuesday's verdict also could be its downfall. Attorneys for Philip Morris Companies Inc. promised to appeal. While they are likely to challenge a myriad of issues, legal experts and lawyers involved in the case expect two principal lines of attack: * Size. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1996 struck down a $2 million punitive damage award, saying it was "grossly excessive." Oregon courts will have to consider the ruling as they review the $80.3 million tobacco verdict, $79.5 of which is punitive damages. * The statute of ultimate repose. Under Oregon product liability law, a manufacturer can be held liable for its product up to eight years after it is first sold. Multnomah County jurors were aware that Jesse Williams had smoked Marlboro cigarettes for 42 years before he died of lung cancer in 1997. Philip Morris lawyers argue that the verdict thus violated the law. Cigarette-makers have an enviable legal record. Out of dozens of smoker lawsuits, they have lost only five. They have won three of those on appeal. The other two -- the one this week in Oregon and a $51 million California verdict in February -- have not yet been reviewed by appellate courts. Lawyers disagree on whether the tobacco industry can keep the streak alive. But most agree that if the Oregon and California verdicts hold up, the effect will be huge. "This verdict and a similar one earlier this year in San Francisco will throw open the floodgates to many more individual lawsuits against tobacco industry," said Caroline Forell, a University of Oregon law professor. As the $80.3 million verdict winds its way through the court system, judges will keep one eye on a key U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gore vs. BMW. In that case, an Alabama doctor named Ira Gore Jr. sued after finding out that his new BMW had been partially repainted to touch up some damage it suffered during shipping. A jury awarded him $4,000 in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. The Alabama Supreme Court reduced the punitive damages to $2 million. But in 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote struck down the verdict as "grossly excessive." One of the key reasons the court cited was the 50-to-1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages. In the Oregon case, the ratio is nearly 100-to-1. "Gore talks about ratios of 5-to-1 or 10-to-1 being OK," said Frank Vandall, a law professor at Emory University in Atlanta. About 100-to-1 "would be all out of proportion." As a result, Vandall expects that the courts will chop the Oregon verdict down to about $8 million, or a 10-to-1 ratio. Madelyn J. Chaber, an attorney who represented the smoker in the California case, said Philip Morris lawyers have raised the ratio argument in her case. But Chaber says California courts have upheld punitive damage ratios as high as 2,000-to-1, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not overturned them. "The courts distinguish very much between whether it's an injury to property or a serious disregard of public health," she said. In at least four cases during the past year, the Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld large punitive damage awards, although none of them apparently came close to a 100-to-1 ratio. In Axen vs. American Home Products Corp., the court upheld a $20 million punitive damage award involving a heart medicine that caused loss of vision. That ratio was approximately 10-to-1. But the Oregon Supreme Court has not ruled on any of the cases yet, so there is no definitive ruling on how Oregon courts should interpret Gore vs. BMW. "Until the Oregon Supreme Court speaks, the Court of Appeals is kind of doing it on a case-by-case basis," said Charles Hinkle, who often represents businesses on appeals. It's less clear how the $80.3 million verdict might survive a challenge under the statute of ultimate repose. James Westwood, who represents businesses on appeal, said the law sets a limit of eight years to protect companies from worrying indefinitely that they might be sued. While Westwood does not know the details of the Philip Morris verdict, he said it has the potential to be a potent challenge. "The Oregon Courts have been very strict in their application of ultimate repose," Westwood said. Philip Morris lawyers did not return calls seeking comment about their appeal strategy. But a lawyer for the plaintiffs expects them to pull out the big guns. "The defendants will appeal," said James Coon. "They will bring a great deal of legal talent. They will think up every conceivable legal argument." You can reach Ashbel S. Green at 503-221-8202 or by e-mail at email@example.com. *** The smoking verdict Tuesday's $80.3 million jury award against Philip Morris Companies Inc. includes two parts, compensatory and punitive damages. The jury awarded compensatory damages, which are divided into economic and noneconomic, on two claims, negligence and deceit. NEGLIGENCE: On the negligence claim, the jury awarded $21,485 in economic damages and $800,000 in non- economic damages, such as pain and suffering. But the jury found that Philip Morris and Jesse Williams were equally negligent, so the company is responsible for $410,742. DECEIT: On the deceit claim, the jury awarded $21,485 in economic damages and $800,000 for noneconomic damages. The jury found Philip Morris exclusively responsible for lying about the link between smoking and cancer, so the company is responsible for the entire $821,485. COMPENSATORY DAMAGES: Compensatory damages pay for such things as medical bills and pain and suffering of the victim. In this case, the defense and the plaintiff agree that the medical costs are $21,485. And under both claims, the jury determined that the pain and suffering amounted to $800,000. The idea is that someone can collect compensatory damages on either claim, but not both. You can be compensated for your costs only once. So in this case, the maximum amount of compensatory damages the plaintiffs could collect will be $21,485 for medical bills and $800,000 for pain and suffering for a total of $821,485. PUNITIVE DAMAGES: Punitive damages are designed to punish. The jury ordered Philip Morris to pay $79.5 million in punitive damages. -- Ashbel S. Green
------------------------------------------------------------------- Overnight, Addicts Get Parkinson's, Scientists Get Breakthrough (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes how Dr. Phil Ballard and Dr. J. William Langston set out in 1982 to solve the mystery of a patient paralyzed by contaminated street drugs and ended up making a major breakthrough in the study of Parkinson's disease. "Addicts" in strangely frozen postures were turning up in emergency rooms all over the San Francisco Bay area. They had one thing in common. Each had been using designer street "narcotics." By chance, one researcher recalled reading an obscure journal report years earlier about a young college student who had ended up with identical symptoms after synthesizing his own drugs. Ballard found the article, though it wasn't even in the medical center library. It turned out that a contaminant called MPTP caused both the college student's symptoms and those of the street addicts. MPTP can slip across the blood-brain barrier, where it converts into a chemical that kills the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. A shortage of dopamine - the main neurotransmitter involved in coordinating movement - leads to Parkinson's disease.) Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 18:50:15 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WA: Overnight, Addicts Get Parkinson's, Scientists Get Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) Copyright: 1999 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattle-pi.com/ OVERNIGHT, ADDICTS GET PARKINSON'S, SCIENTISTS GET BREAKTHROUGH Dr. Phil Ballard had seen all sorts of bizarre patients in psychiatric emergency rooms. But he'd never seen one like George Carillo. It was 1982, and Ballard - now head of the Movement Disorder Center at Swedish Medical Center - was completing a neurology fellowship at Stanford University. He'd been called in to consult on a 42-year-old man who sat frozen mid-gesture, unblinking and lifeless except for normal organ function. There was no evidence of mental activity. "He had a blank stare and was stiff as a board," Ballard said. Since the patient had come from jail, many doctors who saw him suspected he was faking catatonic schizophrenia to get out of trouble. But it was no act. After seven days with no change and no diagnosis, Ballard noticed a slight twitching in the man's fingers. He slipped him a pad and pencil. "I'm not sure what is happening to me," the patient wrote, using just his fingertips. " I can't move right. I know what I want to do. It just won't come out right." Ballard was elated to discover a normal mind trapped inside the body. Slowly, he pieced together the patient's history. The patient and his girlfriend were heroin addicts. They'd come down with symptoms after injecting a street-synthesized version of Demerol, a "designer drug" meant to act like heroin. With that information in hand, Ballard and his boss, Dr. J. William Langston, set out to solve the mystery of one patient and ended up making a major breakthrough in the study of Parkinson's disease. Over the next few weeks, more addicts in strangely frozen postures began turning up in emergency rooms all over the San Francisco Bay area. They had one thing in common. Each had been using designer street narcotics. Investigators suspected a bad batch caused the outbreak, but they couldn't identify the contaminant. Then, by chance, one of the team recalled reading an obscure journal report years earlier of a young college student who had ended up with identical symptoms after synthesizing his own drugs in 1976. After he died 18 months later, an autopsy revealed the distinctive brain damage associated with Parkinson's disease. Until then, doctors had almost never seen Parkinson's in someone so young. And they'd never seen it develop overnight. Ballard set out to find the article, which wasn't even in the medical center library. "I dug it out of the dusty reaches of the racks of Stanford library," he said. "I realized as I was reading it that this is it, this has got to be it." Indeed, it turned out that a contaminant called MPTP caused both the college student's symptoms and those of the street addicts. MPTP can slip across the blood-brain barrier, where it converts into a chemical that kills the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. A shortage of dopamine - the main neurotransmitter involved in coordinating movement - leads to Parkinson's disease. In their quest for a new high, the addicts had inadvertently given themselves an irreversible, debilitating disease. But they gave the scientific community something else: a clue to what causes Parkinson's disease. MPTP resembles many environmental chemicals, including pesticides, which led to the now widely accepted theory that toxins induce Parkinson's. In addition to providing a key breakthrough in understanding the disease, MPTP gave researchers a way to induce Parkinson's disease in animals, giving them for the first time a model for testing new drugs and other therapies. Several of the original addicts received experimental treatments, such as fetal cell implants, that grew out of that research. In some cases, it dramatically improved their symptoms, allowing them to resume a more normal life. "It was quite a chase," Ballard said. "We had a lot of dead ends and a lot of lucky breaks."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dying AIDS Patient Peter McWilliams Demands Drug Czar Implement Recommendations From Institute of Medicine Report (A harrowing e-mail from the best-selling author and medical-marijuana patient describes his suffering, denied marijuana as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy charges in Los Angeles. Includes a URL to the complete 15-page letter to General Barry McCaffrey.) From: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) To: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Please circulate widely Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 17:05:12 -0800 Dying AIDS Patient Peter McWilliams Demands Drug Czar McCaffrey Implement Medical Marijuana Recommendations of National Academy of Sciences Institutes of Medicine Report AIDS patient Peter McWilliams, who is denied medical marijuana while on bail for federal medical marijuana charges and dying as a result, has written a 15-page letter to Barry McCaffrey demanding the Drug Czar implement the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) Report. "It is your duty as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a member of the President's Cabinet responsible for accurate drug information, and as one of the chief federal proponents of misinformation about medical marijuana to see that what the 35 distinguished scientists have reported becomes Administration policy and federal law," McWilliams wrote. McWilliams, who successfully used medical marijuana as an antinausea medication for more than two years under his doctor's supervision, wrote: "Unable to keep down my anti-AIDS medications, my viral load has risen to more than 250,000. AIDS doctors become concerned when the viral load surpasses 10,000. When my viral load was at 12,500, in 1996, I had already developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the second most common AIDS-related cancer. Since my arrest in July 1998 I have lost 30 pounds, 15 percent of my body weight, and my health is failing daily. I have been unable to work, my house is in foreclosure, and I am facing bankruptcy. "All this is because Congress failed to make a medical exception for medical use of marijuana, just as Congress has made a medical exception for other illicit drugs, such as morphine (the active ingredient in heroin), cocaine, and methamphetamines. "I maintain my life is in very real danger because of your repeated testimony before Congress, under oath, that marijuana was not medicine. Had you given Congress accurate information as to marijuana's legitimate medical use in treating nausea and AIDS, Congress would have made an exception to the federal law that currently states that all marijuana use is criminal. "Now that the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) report is out, and is characterized by the ONDCP as 'the most thorough analysis to date of the relevant scientific literature,' it is time for you to act responsibly and quickly to undo the harm done to me and countless others by the inaccurate ONDCP reporting thus far." McWilliams' letter, which includes extensive quotes from McCaffrey's "marijuana is not medicine" Congressional testimony (all refuted by the NAS/IOM report) concludes: "It is my sad duty to put you on notice that if the corrective steps outlined in this letter are not begun at once and in earnest, I shall begin legal action against you and your office. I am sorry to have to make such a harsh statement or to make such a bold move, but my life, you see, is literally on the line." The complete letter is online as the latest addition to www.petertrial.com (bottom of page)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Has Little Effect On Driving, Study Says (The Orange County Register recounts the University of Toronto research suggesting that people who smoke moderate amounts of marijuana are not much more dangerous behind the wheel than completely sober drivers.)Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 16:54:54 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Pot Has Little Effect On Driving,Study Says Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: April 1 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Section: News page 15 POT HAS LITTLE EFFECT ON DRIVING,STUDY SAYS People who smoke moderate amounts of marijuana are not much more dangerous behind the wheel than completely sober drivers, Canadian researchers said Wednesday. They said that the hazards of smoking marijuana had been overrated, and that while the drug should not be legalized, drivers who smoke it and drive should not be demonized. University of Toronto researcher Alison Smiley said, she compared several studies that looked into how serious the impairment was from marijuana compared to alcohol, which clearly affects driving ability. "Both substances impair performances," Smiley said in a statement. "However, the more cautious behavior of subjects who received marijuana decreases the drug's impact on performance. Their behavior is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Gang Escapes With $1 Million In Cigarettes (An Associated Press article in the San Jose Mercury News says an armed gang backed a truck up to a warehouse in Corona, California, Wednesday and made off with what was believed to be the state's biggest cigarette heist since the first of the year, when prices jumped nearly $1 a pack to about $3.50.) Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 07:36:51 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Gang Escapes With $1 Million In Cigarettes Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ GANG ESCAPES WITH $1 MILLION IN CIGARETTES CORONA (AP) -- An armed gang backed a truck up to a warehouse Wednesday and made off with an estimated $1 million worth of cigarettes, about 780 years' worth of pack-a-day habits even at today's inflated prices. It was believed to be the state's biggest cigarette heist since the first of the year when the price of cigarettes jumped nearly $1 a pack, to about $3.50. ``We tend to believe they're headed for another state or maybe L.A., where they'll be sold on the black market,'' said Sgt. Eddie Garcia, a police spokesman. The smokes, of several brands, would be practically impossible to trace, he said. ``It sounds like it was pretty well-organized,'' Garcia said. Four gunmen followed workers through an employee entrance into Allied Merchandising Inc. about 4:15 a.m., when the warehouse and loading dock were preparing to open for business, Garcia said. Wearing hoods over their heads, the robbers bound most of the 15 employees with tape and forced a few others to drive forklifts, loading the cargo pallets into a 48-foot trailer, he said. No one was injured, but the employees were also robbed. A man who said he was a supervisor at the company refused to discuss the robbery and ordered a reporter off the property. The company was still conducting inventory, Garcia said. The warehouse handles a variety of products besides tobacco, including sunscreen and fruit. Police believe the thieves had inside information. ``They knew exactly how much product was going to be there and when to go in,'' Garcia said. Investigators also suspect that the four men -- all in their 20s and early 30s -- had accomplices outside, Garcia said. California cigarette prices soared Jan. 1 thanks to Proposition 10, backed by filmmaker Rob Reiner and passed by voters in November. It put an additional 50-cent tax on each pack. Most tobacco companies have also tacked on about 45 cents a pack to cover billions of dollars worth of health claims and trial settlements. Retailers say thefts have jumped this year, although Wednesday's haul was believed to be the biggest so far.
------------------------------------------------------------------- When The Means Clash With The Ends (Daily Pilot columnist Joseph Bell, in Costa Mesa, California, comments favorably on the March 17 Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana, as well as the recent study by the Justice Policy Institute of San Francisco that found no correlation between California's general drop in crime and its three-strikes sentencing law.) Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 12:22:11 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: FW: US CA: Column: When The Means Clash With The Ends Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Daily Pilot (CA) Copyright: 1999 Daily Pilot Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 330 West Bay Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Fax: (714) 646-4170 Website: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/COMMUN/PAPERS/PILOT/ Pubdate: Thur, 1 April 1999 Author: JOSEPH BELL WHEN THE MEANS CLASH WITH THE ENDS While I was off examining my navel in Indiana, the results of two important studies that arrived at uncomfortable conclusions were made public. The first, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, said flatly that marijuana eases pain and quells nausea in cancer and AIDS patients and that there is no clear evidence that smoking it leads to consumption of heroin, cocaine or other narcotics. The "drug war" commandos are going to have a tough time ignoring this study, since it was commissioned by Barry McCaffrey, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and its findings are backed by an impressive panel of 35 experts who spent 18 months taking public testimony and evaluating scientific studies on marijuana. But authorities already are running away from their own study because its conclusions don't square with conventional thinking or administration policy. Instead of accepting the major findings of the report, McCaffrey chose to emphasize a section stressing that smoking is harmful and some other means of delivering marijuana to patients needs to be found. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to fight the states including California that have legalized medical marijuana. And good-old, hardcore Orange County recently sent a man to prison for six years for distributing marijuana to undercover agents posing as seriously ill patients. This rigid mindset rejects exploring new avenues of attacking the drug problem like decriminalization of simple possession with a "soft on drugs" label that is absolutely untrue. The same rigidity of tough-guy thinking holds for reaction to the second study in which the Justice Policy Institute of San Francisco, using information from the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center and the state Department of Corrections, found no correlation between California's general drop in crime and the three-strikes sentencing law. The seven-fold greater use of three strikes in Los Angeles and Sacramento did not produce a greater decline in crime than in Alameda or San Francisco, which barely used the law at all. The study further pointed out that more than two-thirds of the 40,000 second- and third-strike prison inmates in California were convicted of property crimes or drug offenses - mostly possession - and not violent crimes. All of this reminds me of a magazine assignment I had some years ago to track down the results of a lengthy study on pornography, commissioned by the Nixon administration, that had apparently disappeared. After a good deal of digging, I discovered why. The report was supposed to find out that porn was a social evil justifying tough restraints by the government. Instead, a blue-ribbon panel of distinguished citizens found that pornography was generally benign and often provided an outlet for releasing tensions that might otherwise turn into violence. So the report was buried and finally released quietly under duress and without presidential approval because it came up with the wrong answers. It also reminds me of a recent letter to the Pilot from our Supervisor Tom Wilson. He turned out to be one jump ahead in the study-trashing business by ridiculing an upcoming El Toro airport noise study even before the study is made. This is clearly based on the near certainty that results of the study won't support Wilson's position on the airport. But wouldn't it be fascinating to observe his footwork if the study unexpectedly found the noise level intolerable after all? Finally, to dispose of some other items I found in the pile of newspapers that awaited my return to lotus land: * It was heartening to see that our neighboring Assemblyman Scott Baugh proved that with determination, staying power and high-powered legal help, it's possible to get away even with hot-wiring an election. * It was warming to note that given a choice of standing firmly on constitutional law or grubbing for votes, a group of Orange County pols, mostly Republican, went all out for the votes by supporting the protesters in Little Saigon. * It was instructive to read the Saturday Commentary page of the Pilot that was devoted almost entirely to explaining how "liberal thinking" is responsible for virtually all of the ills our nation is experiencing today. Bruce Crawford writes that racism is "inherent in liberal thinking" because we liberals don't believe that "minorities are capable of any sense of self-identity." Apparently this is because we feel that people born in an urban ghetto have a little tougher row to hoe than people born in Beverly Hills or Newport Beach, and a leg up like decent schools might be helpful. Gil Ferguson is upset because elitist thinkers have changed the United States from a "melting pot" to a "salad bowl." Although he explained this at some length, I'm still struggling with it, especially "the continuing devaluation and trashing of our religion and culture" as opposed to an honest and open examination of a wide diversity of ideas that takes us to those places out of choice and not exhortation. I may not go away again if this sort of thing is going to happen every time I leave. * JOSEPH N. BELL is a Santa Ana Heights resident. His column appears Thursdays.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana As Medicine - State Bill Inches Forward (The Little Rock Free Press says HB 1043, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act penned by state representative Jim Lendall, has been placed on the active agenda of the state House's Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, though it may not be taken up before the legislature is expected to adjourn on April 9.) Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 08:43:25 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AR: Marijuana As Medicine - State Bill Inches Forward Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: James Markes Pubdate: Wed, 1 Apr 1999 Source: Little Rock Free Press (AR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.aristotle.net/FREEP Author: Glen Schwarz MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE - STATE BILL INCHES FORWARD On March 17 the drug czar's appointed panel verified that marijuana does indeed have medical benefits. Reporting to the Federal Government, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine said that marijuana can be effective in relieving pain and nausea. Whether this report portends a course change for the drug war ship of state 'Titanic' remains to be seen. However, it does make the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act (HB-1043) penned by Jim Lendall appear to be a most timely piece of legislation. The Act has recently been placed on the active agenda of the State House's Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. However this committee's active agenda is rather lengthy, and there is a good chance that many bills assigned to it will not by addressed before session's end. "What's been happening," according to Lendall, "is that antiabortion legislation has been given special order status in the committee, and by the time we finished debating these, there was little time left to address the many bills awaiting our consideration. The Medical Marijuana Act was brought onto the active agenda by Lendall at the same time as his needle exchange program, HB 1044. Lendall believes that the legislative session will end about April 9. This means that these relevant but highly controversial bills will have to get moving this week or next to make it to the House floor. Senator John Riggs, also of Southwest Little Rock, has agreed to carry 1043 over to the higher chamber when and if it passes the House. The House Health, W&L Committee meets Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. in room 130 on the north side of the Capitol. Other Pulaski County delegates on the committee include Mike Creekmore of SWLR, Tracy Steele and David Rackley of NLR. The committee is chaired by Representative Randy Laverty, a Democrat from Newton County in northwest Arkansas.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Dealers Play Musical Chairs (A letter to the editor of the New London Day, in New London, Connecticut, by George Klinch Clarke, a local drug warrior, describes his efforts to promote the war and how they led him realize they were counterproductive.)Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:18:46 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CT: PUB LTE: Drug Dealers Play Musical Chairs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Matt Briscoe Pubdate: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 Source: New London Day (CT) Copyright: 1999 The Day Publishing Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.newlondonday.com/ Author: George Klinck Clarke DRUG DEALERS PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS To the Editor of The Day: Some of our good citizens have been making a valiant attempt to drive out those who sell and buy drugs from our neighborhoods. In this work, with the aid of a much enhance neighborhood police force, the battle has been engaged and we joined the war on drugs in our fair city. While we were engaged locally, the greater war on drugs in the Unites States and overseas has sought to stem the tide. I was involved in my neighborhood antidrug work. Then, I began to notice that as we were trying to force dealers out of one neighborhood, they would just pop up a few blocks away or maybe find greener pastures in Norwich. Total effect: drugs are still running like water. The hunt goes on as before. We feel powerful when 20 or 30 people band together in a common goal against an identified enemy. We say it is for the children and to increase our property values. Nothing brings a neighborhood together more than a common purpose against a common scapegoat. In the Dark Ages, women healers were hunted down and put to death. In the last few centuries, we have just about wiped out the Native American population. We held people in slavery. We do have a model in this country: many have been persecuted and killed over the once-illegal sale of alcohol. We used armed police back then, too, and we are using them again. Then we declared it legal and taxed the alcohol addicts through the cost of the drug alcohol. What is the difference between a bartender and a drug dealer? We have made the addicts and drug dealers who are often their own best customers into modern-day scapegoats. We need to rethink what we are doing as a neighborhood, city and as a country in this declared and terribly popular war on drugs, which is nothing more thna a modern version of a witch hunt carried out on a worldwide stage. The most difficult prayer is to pray for justice. George Klinch Clarke New London The writer is director of the 1999 Northeast U.S. Inter-City Drug Sign Tour
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Dealers' Property On Auction Block (The Philadelphia Inquirer runs a free ad for an April 24 auction in Bristol Township, to be conducted by the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, of personal property seized from convicted drug dealers during the last eight months. The auction is the 16th since 1987 in a series that has generated $745,342 to pay for undercover narcotics investigations and crime-fighting equipment. Another $872,909 has been raised by auctioning seized real estate.) Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 15:04:46 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US PA: Drug Dealers' Property On Auction Block Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 1 Apr 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 DRUG DEALERS' PROPERTY ON AUCTION BLOCK BRISTOL TOWNSHIP -- Those of us in the market for a pair of size 10 men's Gucci loafers, queen-size satin sheets or a 1989 Geo Spectrum just got lucky. In a case of Miami Vice meets Monty Hall, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office will auction off personal property seized from convicted drug dealers during the last eight months. Scheduled for April 24 in Bristol Township, the auction is the 16th in a series that since 1987 has generated $745,342 to pay for undercover narcotics investigations and crime-fighting equipment in the county. And $872,909 more has been raised by auctioning seized real estate. Anything used to transport illegal drugs or bought with the proceeds of drug sales is fair game to be confiscated and sold under Pennsylvania forfeiture laws, said District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein. "This is our largest auction, in terms of the number of items," he said. There are 260 lots, some of which include multiple items. To ensure the event produces a tidy profit for crime-fighting efforts, minimum bids are attached to each lot. But most of the property, including two of the three Mustangs, requires a minimum bid of $25 or less. If You Go Merchandise will be available for inspection and bidding from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 23, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 24. Bids will be accepted in writing both days and opened at 1 p.m. April 24. The address is 7231 New Falls Rd., Bristol Township.
------------------------------------------------------------------- General Nonsense (The April issue of Reason magazine features senior editor Jacob Sullum reviewing the reign of error by the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey. When McCaffrey took over the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1996, he invited Americans to think about the difference between drugs as an enemy and drugs as a cancer. Lately, though, the former general has been prompting us to ponder the fine line between appalling ignorance and bald-faced mendacity. For example, McCaffrey wrote to USA Today in October that "Marijuana is now the second leading cause of car crashes among young people." But, typically, McCaffrey's allegation contradicts the government's own researchers.) Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 15:53:25 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: OPED: General Nonsense Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Doc Hawk Pubdate: April 1999 Source: Reason Magazine (US) Copyright: 1999 The Reason Foundation Contact: email@example.com Address: 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034-6064 Website: http://www.reason.com/ Author: Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor firstname.lastname@example.org GENERAL NONSENSE When Gen. Barry McCaffrey took over the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1996, he invited Americans to think about the difference between drugs as an enemy and drugs as a cancer. Lately, though, the former general has been prompting us to ponder the fine line between a gaffe and a fib. "Marijuana is now the second leading cause of car crashes among young people," McCaffrey wrote in USA Today last October. Dale Gieringer, California coordinator of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called McCaffrey's office for the source of this claim and was referred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A NHTSA spokesman confirmed that marijuana is the second most common drug detected after fatal crashes but emphasized that it does not necessarily cause those accidents. As Gieringer noted in the November issue of California NORML Reports, a 1990-91 study by NHTSA found that 52 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had alcohol in their blood, compared to 7 percent with traces of marijuana. In analyzing the role that drugs played in the crashes, NHTSA found "no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents." Perhaps this distinction is too subtle for a bureaucrat to grasp. But anyone who keeps track of a $17 billion annual budget should understand the difference between one-quarter and two. "The murder rate in Holland is double that in the United States," McCaffrey said in July 1998, attributing the difference to Dutch tolerance of drug use. In fact, as the Dutch government was quick to point out, the U.S. murder rate is about four times as high as Holland's. Well, numbers are tricky. A drug czar has to focus on the big picture and avoid getting bogged down in the details. Of course, sweeping statements can also be hazardous. "There is not a shred of scientific evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed," McCaffrey has said, criticizing the medical marijuana movement. To anyone familiar with the substantial body of literature on the therapeutic uses of cannabis, such a claim signifies either appalling ignorance or bald-faced mendacity. Given McCaffrey's other misstatements, it's a hard call to make.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Culture Vultures: Call Off The War On Drugs (A contrarian but sometimes insightful and often delightful critique of the war on some drug users in the April issue of American Spectator magazine by Mark Steyn, a resident of New Hampshire, begins by observing that one of the few things his state does require of every grade school is that they post signs on the road warning motorists they are now entering a "Drug-Free School Zone." "It irks me. At board meetings, I'm tempted to stand up and demand we replace it with 'You Are Now Entering a Latin-Free School Zone' - which at least has the merit of being indisputable. And instead of being quietly ashamed of this stunted redefinition of education, we flaunt it as a badge of pride, out on the highway, even at a rural north country elementary school. For even kindergartners and first-graders must understand that they, too, are foot-soldiers in the 'war on drugs.' Best of all, like almost all other awards in the American school system, you get it automatically: every educational establishment in the state triumphantly displays the same sign, regardless of whether it's a Drug-Free School Zone or a School-Free Drug Zone.") Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 00:55:24 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Culture Vultures: Call Off The War On Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David Hadorn (email@example.com) Source: American Spectator Magazine (US) Copyright: 1999 The American Spectator Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: P.O. Box 549 Arlington, VA 22216-0549 Website: http://www.spectator.org/ Forum: http://www.spectator.org/forum/99-03-29_forum.html Pubdate: April 1999 Author: Mark Steyn Related: This article mentions Richard Cowan and Peter McWilliams. Cowan's website at http://www.marijuananews.com/ also carries the article at http://www.spectator.org/archives/99-04_steyn.html. CULTURE VULTURES: CALL OFF THE WAR ON DRUGS America blames everyone but itself for its habits. The State of New Hampshire doesn't require much from its school districts-a mutually satisfactory arrangement about to be abruptly terminated due to an asinine Supreme Court decision declaring our entire education system unconstitutional. But I digress. One of the few things the state does require of my small grade school and every other one is that they post signs on the road warning motorists they are now entering a "Drug-Free School Zone." It irks me. At board meetings, I'm tempted to stand up and demand we replace it with "You Are Now Entering a Latin-Free School Zone"-which at least has the merit of being indisputable. But it seems the best we can hope for from our public education system these days is that our children aren't heroin dealers by the time they've been through it. And instead of being quietly ashamed of this stunted redefinition of education, we flaunt it as a badge of pride, out on the highway, even at a rural north country elementary school. For even kindergartners and first-graders must understand that they, too, are foot-soldiers in the "war on drugs." Best of all, like almost all other awards in the American school system, you get it automatically: every educational establishment in the state triumphantly displays the same sign, regardless of whether it's a Drug-Free School Zone or a School-Free Drug Zone. And that's more or less how the "war on drugs" goes for grown-ups, too. South of the Mexican border, they're nailing up their 1999 "Proud to Be Recognized As a Full Partner in the War on Drugs" signs, recently shipped out by the U.S. government. It doesn't actually matter whether the Mexican authorities are cracking down on their drug barons or whether their so-called "drug czar" and half the cops are on the take; Washington still "recertifies" them, because not to do so could send "the wrong signal." I have some sympathy for these harassed Latins. What's known here as "America's drug problem" might more properly be described as the rest of the world's America problem. Americans like drugs. Americans consume drugs in large quantities. And yet, because as a nation Americans are still sufficiently hypocritical (even in these Clintonian times) to be unwilling formally to acknowledge their appetites, the burden of servicing this huge market has shifted inexorably to the dusty ramshackle statelets in America's backyard. It may well be true that most Mexican police and most Colombian politicians are corrupt, but why wouldn't they be? Personally, I know or care very little about Latin America, but I'm fond of the British West Indies, and the contorted drug delivery systems required by Washington are destroying one sleepy, shabby island idyll after another. That's why I'm rooting for the Europeans in this transatlantic banana war. You probably haven't noticed that we're in the middle of a banana war, except maybe for the extraordinary number of stories in business publications headlined "Yes, We Have No Bananas." As it happens, yes, everyone has plenty of bananas, but that's still no reason for the United States and the European Union not to go to war over them. Neither the U.S. nor the E.U. actually grows bananas, but this is the twenty-first-century version of those nineteenth-century imperial disputes, where the great powers line up behind one obscure tribe or another and stage a proxy war. In this instance, the U.S. has lined up behind Latin American bananas, while the British and French are on the side of Afro-Caribbean-Pacific bananas. Unless the E.U. ceases its banana protectionism, Washington will ban imports of...cashmere. Don't ask me why. Maybe they ran some numbers and discovered that Scottish cashmere workers are especially partial to bananas. In the West Indies, bananas replaced sugar cane plantations when the British figured out sugar could be more profitably mined from beets. But if the cowering, fetal-positioned Caribbean banana loses to its thrusting Latin neighbor, what's left to switch to? "If we lose the banana industry," says Eugenia Charles, former prime minister of Dominica, "we lose the country." Dame Eugenia doesn't spell it out, but what she means is that the more economically depressed those small West Indian islands get, the more they degenerate into mere staging posts for drug-smuggling into the U.S. So the $860 million given by Carl Lindner, Chiquita's top banana, to the Democratic and Republican Parties will look like chicken feed next to the budget increase the Drug Enforcement Administration will need to combat a more vigorous cocaine trade. But who cares? Washington objects to countries like Dominica living off the E.U.'s artificially distorted banana market; it would rather they lived off America's artificially distorted drug market. Back home, meanwhile, the "war" has been taking an interesting turn. In 1996, California and Arizona passed propositions decriminalizing marijuana or mandating it "for medicinal purposes." Let us stipulate that, if you believe the latter, you've been inhaling too long: No doubt marijuana has no more medicinal properties than, say, butterscotch pudding. Let us stipulate, also, that most proponents of "medicinal marijuana" are those whose principal enthusiasm for the drug is strictly non-medicinal. But, even so, there's something very curious about the vigor with which this administration-led by a president who smirkingly told MTV viewers that, given another chance, he'd inhale-has been determined to reverse the voters' decision and harass any doctors who support it. Nothing, it seems, can deflect the federal government from its "war." It's an interesting case study in addiction: Like some crack-frazzled zombie, the government staggers on blindly, unable to be weaned from its self-destructive and sociopathic course. In America there are two problems: drugs, and the "war on drugs"; and the "war" is the bigger one. Yes, drugs are a danger to society-though, on balance, they're probably not as big a threat as America's Number One addiction, food. The fact that over 50 percent of the population is now classified as overweight has far more serious consequences for society than drugs do. Yet no one suggests driving hamburgers underground, forcing junk-food junkies into the arms of back-alley "Mac" dealers. ("Yeah, he, like, told me it was 100 percent pure ground Argentine, but, like, it turned out to be a lethal cocktail of dog turd and English beef. That's real bad s-t, man-'specially the English stuff.") Or take gay sex. Given HIV rates of 50-60 percent among homosexuals in New York and San Francisco, you could easily make the case that gay sex is harmful and should be banned. Nobody does, though. Au contraire, vast resources are devoted to finding ways of making it less harmful, from protease inhibitors to the race to invent the concrete condom. The government reckons that, since most guys who wanna do it are gonna do it anyway, better to figure out ways to make it safer. Not so with drugs, where the "war" floats free of budgetary constraints and there's enough government largesse to swill around the DEA, ATF, FBI, and at least 50 other agencies. When Vice President Gore suggested amalgamating these warring, inefficient, acronymic agencies into one slimmed-down ultra-efficient DEATFBI, the president ruled against it on the grounds that it would send (all together now) the "wrong signal": having lots of agencies, no matter how useless, sends the right signal. So, across the country, undercover DEA agents are staking out undercover FBI agents who are selling drugs to undercover DEA agents who are staking out undercover ATF agents. Still, the signals the present system's sending are, to say the least, mixed. In 1996, it was revealed that, as part of their infiltration of one Latin American drug cartel, federal agents had successfully smuggled millions of dollars' worth of cocaine onto the streets of America's cities. At that level, it's hard to see the difference between successful infiltration and full-scale participation. But given their adeptness at managing the drug trade, these guys might at least manage it on behalf of the U.S. Treasury rather than some pock-marked bozos from Colombia. N. Scott Stevens, my near-neighbor in New Hampshire and the head of the White Mountain Militia, thinks there's a lot of this going on. He doesn't do drugs, but he doesn't think the federal government has the right to legislate what you grow in your yard and, anyway, to criminalize it only corrupts the feds. "The amount of drugs in this country, there's no way they're all coming in on Piper Cubs. Those guys have got foreign bank accounts, they're running three or four cars, they're wearing silk suits." Funnily enough, federal agencies never seem to notice those sorts of things. In 1995, over the river in tiny Cavendish, Vermont, a team of seven fully-armed DEA agents in bullet-proof vests swooped down out of nowhere at 3 a.m. on the home of a small-town lawyer, Will Hunter, and then announced to the world that "it is clear" he'd been laundering drug money: no "allegedlys," no "the investigation is ongoing," just "it is clear." They took three years to indict him for anything, and eventually settled for a single count of mail fraud. Hunter was making about $20,000 a year and routinely took payment in cheese and maple syrup. Possibly, this was just a brilliant facade, albeit one he kept up 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But I went round to his cramped little Cape, with one bath, with the family's pet turtle in it, and all I can say is, if he's laundering anything other than maple syrup, he's doing it far more discreetly than, say, Aldrich Ames, the CIA traitor whose brand-new Merc and half-million dollar home paid for in cash apparently never aroused the suspicion of his colleagues. But, with undercover federal agents now commanding such a huge slice of the drug business, the cannier dealers have begun to figure out that, instead of selling drugs in such a crowded and competitive market, it's easier and more profitable to sell drug suspects to the DEA. A Bolivian on the lam from his own cops, and wanted in Argentina for every scam going, washed up in Washington and, after a fruitless attempt to sell his wife's heart, lungs, and kidneys as she lay in a coma, finally hit the federal gravy train. He called a DEA office in Southern California and claimed that, if they could get the charges in Bolivia and Argentina dropped and fix U.S. residency for him, he could deliver them "Chama," the East Coast distributor for a huge South American cartel. Not only did they do that, they paid him $30,000 plus expenses and several flights to California into the bargain. The phone call to a West Coast office was a stroke of genius: He knew that the Californians would be terrified of losing the case to East Coast agents and so would keep it a secret. The only problem was there was no "Chama," so instead he gave them the name of a guy he knew, a parking lot attendant who worked 60 hours a week for minimum wage. The guy punches a time clock, so his records can be verified, but so what? It never occurred to the DEA to wonder why the East Coast King of Cocaine is parking cars 60 hours a week and living in a one-room apartment. Instead, they call him up at home and try to entrap him. This is their end of the conversation: Yeah, what I'm trying to do is-since it's a matter which is quite serious-big-and from the other things that I've seen like this, when we can't be playing with, with unclear words and...that's why what I, what you did, and I asked you if you'd spoken with him, because I know that he has the financial capacity and after all he's, he's a partner of, of, of, and, and in the end anything will yield a profit if we're hanging on to a big stick that's on a big branch and, and we won't have any problems. Right? The minimum-wage car-parker, being Bolivian and not speaking much English but familiar with America's many telephone salesmen, replies: "Of course." On the strength of this, the DEA launched an eight-month investigation costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With most cases, the informant has to wheedle out a small sample of cocaine from the trafficker to prove to the feds that he's really in the business. No sample was forthcoming from the Bolivian car-parker, mainly because he wasn't a drug dealer, but, even if he'd wanted to be, he didn't know anyone who'd sell him any drugs and he didn't have any money to pay for them. But the beauty of this scam was that, according to DEA experts, true Class One dealers never give samples. Therefore, the fact that no cocaine was forthcoming, that there was no cocaine in sight, and that there was no evidence that the poor chump had ever been in the same room as any cocaine was only further proof that the guy must be a real Mister Big. Which goes to show that no matter how crack addles the brain, it's nothing to what investigating crack does to it. We've learned to live with the remorseless corruption of the "war," but, even so, out in California, the government's pursuit of Peter McWilliams breaks new ground. McWilliams hit the jackpot: he's got AIDS and cancer. But because, like a majority of his fellow Californians, he believes in the right to "medicinal marijuana," he's sitting in jail, facing a ten-year sentence, while prominent supporters of his are staked out by various Federal agencies on apparently limitless budgets. (Marijuananews note: The good news is that Peter has not been tried yet and is out on $250,000 bail. The bad news is that if he is convicted it would be a minimum of ten years.) See "The federal prosecutor personally called my mother to tell her that if I was found with even a trace of medical marijuana, her house would be taken away." -- Peter McWilliams No surprise there. Since 1980, the budget for the "war" has increased by over 1000 percent. Even if he'd been laundering drug money, the raid on that country lawyer in Vermont cost far more than he could ever possibly have laundered. And all of this is completely unnecessary. If drugs were made legally available in government drugstores, the price would decline, enabling the government to make a tidy profit and addicts to cut down on their property theft. You'd get rid of drug crime, drug murder, drug informers, drug cartels-and all those drug agencies. And that's why it'll never happen. Almost every drug agent could be reassigned to the new departments of the FDA necessary to regulate federal drugstores, supervise the mandatory labeling of every spliff, etc. But I can appreciate that that probably doesn't have the glamour of swooping down in your chopper at dawn and leaping out, guns a-blazing. When I asked Agent Bradley, DEA agent-in-charge for Vermont, why he didn't just drop by at Will Hunter's place at nine in the morning, he sighed, "Mark, that's not the way we do things." Pity. Because all the evidence shows that no one can regulate you into the ground like the U.S. government: Look at those smokers huddled on sidewalks; look at those tobacco companies, constantly fending off one government shakedown after another, no matter how furiously they spread their dough around Washington; look at the poor gun manufacturers, contemplating the same future. And then look at the Medellin and Cali boys snorting all the way to the bank. The "drug war" is a civil war: The problem is American appetites-and there are different ways to manage those. Speaking up for Peter McWilliams, legalization advocate Richard Cowan put it this way: "Everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could." If only to deter the feds, I should say I loathe drugs and have no interest in partaking of them. But I don't believe America has the right to destabilize its neighbors, harass its own citizens, and corrupt its justice system to maintain a fiction. Cowan is right. Mark Steyn is theater critic of the New Criterion and movie critic of the Spectator of London.
------------------------------------------------------------------- General Sends Anti-Drug Message To Kids (The Meriden Record-Journal, in Meriden, Connecticut, covers a talk Wednesday night by the White House drug czar, General Barry R. McCaffrey, who rallied the troops at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Laura Spitz of Burlington - a member of a state-based group called Efficacy that aims to legalize marijuana - said she purchased a $25 ticket to question the general's policies, but she was never picked to ask her question.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 16:12:50 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CT: General Sends Anti-Drug Message To Kids Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Tom von Deck Pubdate: Thursday, April 1, 1999 Source: Meriden Record-Journal, The (CT) Copyright: 1999, The Record-Journal Publishing Co. Address: 11 CrownStreet, P.O. Box 915, Meriden, CT 06450 Fax: (203) 639-0210 Feedback: http://www.record-journal.com/rj/contacts/letters.html Website: http://www.record-journal.com/ Author: Donna Porstner US CT: GENERAL SENDS ANTI-DRUG MESSAGE TO KIDS SOUTHINGTON - The nation's anti-drug chief, General Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, warned grass-roots activists and community leaders of the consequences of drug use in our country. "We have more people behind bars than we do in the armed forces and it's going to go up if we don't do something about it," he said at the Aqua Turf Club Wednesday night. As much as 10 percent of the population is affected by drugs, according to the general, at a cost of $6 billion a year to taxpayers for rehabilitation and prison expenses - not to mention the destruction of the family unit. U.S. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson also spoke at the dinner, sponsored by the Southington Drug Task Force and the Regional Substance Abuse Council of Central Connecticut to show her support for the anti-drug movement. "I'm not only proud of the Connecticut Huskies, but I'm also profoundly optimistic for our state in the war against drugs," she the 6th District congresswoman. The meeting was a chance for groups like the Simsbury Community Youth Partnership and the new anti-alcohol group in town - Training Intervention Procedures, or "TIPS" - to pass around a family-style meal and some ideas. McCaffrey's solution: Send the anti-drug message to children when they are young. To demonstrate his point, McCaffrey showed the 250 guests a series of television advertisements he said the government has made as part of a 5-year, million-dollar campaign against drug use. In one commercial, a little girl says her mother told her never to talk to strangers, but she is silent when she is asked what her mother told her about drugs. That ad hit home for one guest - Police Chief William Perry. In the town where there is an average of 2 or 3 narcotics arrests per week - usually marijuana or crack cocaine - Perry said there is a connection between children of the 1960s smoking pot and their children following that example. "Some of the parents I arrested 15, 18 years ago are now having problems with their kids," Perry said. "The solution is back to basics - back to family." Among the numerous statistics McCaffrey tossed out to the crowd: children who do not use drugs report spending after-school hours eating dinner as a family or playing sports. Commercials, billboards and Web sites in partnerships with companies like Disney and America Online, McCaffrey said, are part of his strategy for reaching the youth. And the federal government, he said, has the most money ever - $3 billion - to fund these media outlets. "We're beginning to put our money where our strategy is," McCaffrey said. A few detractors were there to let the nation's top anti-drug official know they do not agree with his policy. There were two men with signs protesting the "War Against Drugs" outside the event. And Laura Spitz of Burlington - a member of a state-based group called Efficacy that aims to legalize marijuana - said she purchased a $25 ticket to question the general's policies, but she was never picked to ask her question. "The truth is that no one has ever died from marijuana and it doesn't deserve to be in the same category as cocaine and heroin," she said, adding that she believes there are benefits to growing hemp as a cash crop and using marijuana to alleviate pain. "I think we need honesty in policy so that children will have more respect for the law," she said. While there's no evidence the drug cures any medical problem, McCaffrey said, he agrees it is possible that components of marijuana could alleviate pain. But he thinks the leaders of the movement have another agenda. "What's not legitimate is to push for legal marijuana smoking through (legalizing) industrial hemp and medical use," McCaffrey said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Farmers Lobby to Legalize the Growing of Hemp (The New York Times says legislation to revive hemp passed in Hawaii this month and has been introduced in legislatures in North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Virginia, Vermont and Hawaii. In North Dakota, the Republican-controlled legislature also appears likely to enact laws promoting hemp. Until recently, the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy asserted that making hemp legal would send the wrong message. But in late March its director, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, indicated in an interview that his opposition was softening. "If people believe that hemp fiber can be sold in the marketplace for a profit, and aren't actually trying to normalize the growing of marijuana around America, to the extent you want to grow hemp fiber we'd be glad to work with you," McCaffrey said. But as a profitable crop, he said, "I think it's going nowhere.") From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "_Drug Policy --" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Farmers Lobby to Legalize the Growing of Hemp Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 12:01:02 -0800 Sender: email@example.com April 1, 1999 New York Times Farmers Lobby to Legalize the Growing of Hemp By CHRISTOPHER S. WREN BISMARCK, N.D. -- Dennis Carlson sold his first wheat, grown on a field borrowed from his parents, in 1975, when he was 14 years old. He earned $4.51 a bushel and resolved to follow his father, grandfather and great-grandfather into farming. Nearly 24 years later, spring wheat is selling for $2.91 a bushel, and Carlson worries whether he can afford to plant next month. "We're going to get a low price," he said. "And if we get a bumper crop, it's going to get lower." Battered by sinking commodity prices and rising costs, Carlson and other wheat farmers are looking across the Canadian border at a crop they say could help save them -- if only it were legal. That crop is hemp, a non-intoxicating look-alike cousin of marijuana grown around the world for its fiber, seed and oil. But long identified with marijuana both by law enforcement and the counterculture, it is banned in the United States as part of the war on drugs. As farmers from Hawaii to North Dakota to Vermont lobby state legislatures to study hemp's potential and make it legal, they are opposed by federal officials unwilling to relax drug laws even symbolically, whether by endorsing marijuana's medical use, or approving a once-common crop, hemp. Until recently, the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy asserted that making hemp legal would send the wrong message, "especially to our youth at a time when adolescent drug use is rising." But in late March its director, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, indicated in an interview that his opposition was softening. "If people believe that hemp fiber can be sold in the marketplace for a profit, and aren't actually trying to normalize the growing of marijuana around America, to the extent you want to grow hemp fiber we'd be glad to work with you," McCaffrey said. But as a profitable crop, he said, "I think it's going nowhere." But in North Dakota, where the Republican-controlled Legislature appears likely to enact laws promoting hemp, Carlson said: "We're all desperate. We're trying to find something that will change our outlook, and hemp is one of many crops." It does not help that hemp remains identified with the counterculture, its products -- from oils to clothing -- often sold in shops that sell rolling papers, pipes and other drug paraphernalia, its cause cheered on by marijuana advocates. "They are our worst enemies," said Gale Glenn, a tobacco grower in Winchester, Ky. "If marijuana didn't exist, hemp would be growing here on hundreds of thousands of acres." Legislation to revive hemp passed in Hawaii this month and has been introduced in legislatures in North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Virginia, Vermont and Hawaii. The federal Controlled Substances Act says the government does not intend to prevent states from legislating in this area. But even with state approval, hemp growers would need permits from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which so far has resisted. "There's widespread bipartisan support for this becoming a crop in North Dakota," state Sen. Joel Heitkamp said. "The problem is at the federal level." State Rep. David Monson, a farmer and school superintendent who sponsored the North Dakota legislation, said, "I think 99 percent of the people in my district, when you show them the bottom line, they're ready to go." After Canada made hemp legal a year ago, about 5,000 acres were planted with hemp, said Geof Kime, president of Hempline, a hemp growing and processing company in Delaware, Ontario. Monson recalled watching his neighbor across the border in Manitoba grow 23 acres of hemp that netted about $250 an acre. "When he came out with all those profits, we were really upset," Monson said. The harvested hemp can be imported into the United States for processing, "but we can't grow it ourselves," said Jeffrey Gain, who promotes the revival of hemp as a director of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Hemp flourished as a cash crop through most of American history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp-fiber paper. Hemp supplied early Americans with rope, sails, clothing and other necessities. But in 1937, Congress enacted a ban on marijuana that came to encompass hemp. During World War II, after imports of Manila hemp from the Philippines were cut off, the government distributed seeds for farmers to grow in a "Hemp For Victory" drive, but once the war ended, hemp was banned again. By then, synthetic fibers like nylon were taking its place. Environmentalists describe hemp as a renewable, biodegradable resource that can be used in paper, fabrics, building material and even automobile moldings. Farmers say it is a crop that needs few pesticides, shades out weeds, resists erosion -- and can make money. "This is not a panacea," Mrs. Glenn said, "but it's one of the answers." Dr. Paul Mahlberg, a cell biologist at Indiana University, has a license from the DEA to grow experimental marijuana and hemp. He described them as varieties of cannabis sativa, a species whose cell structure he has studied for 30 years. "If you had hemp and marijuana here and set it on the table, could you tell the difference?" he said. "The answer is no, not in young ones." But, he said, "When you're growing it in the field and it's planted, you can." Each, he said, could easily be identified from the air. Hemp is densely planted and grown as tall as 15 feet to develop the stalks and kill off leaves. By contrast, marijuana plants are short, bushy and spaced three to four feet apart to encourage the leaves and flowers that deliver the psychoactive ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, popularly called THC. Hemp is also harvested before it flowers, and marijuana afterward. Both varieties have THC: Industrial hemp has less than 1 percent THC by weight, rendering it ineffectual as a drug, while marijuana contains 5 percent THC or more by weight. Canada and some European countries require cultivated hemp to have a THC content of 0.3 percent or less. "What we're working for now is to produce a zero-percent THC," Mahlberg said. In rural areas, neglected hemp has degenerated into a feral remnant called ditch weed, with low THC content. "There's a standing joke in our corner of the state that no self-respecting marijuana smoker would touch the stuff," said state Sen. Russell Thane of North Dakota. Thane said National Guardsmen and law-enforcement officials spend weekends uprooting ditch weed. "It's probably a poor utilization of time," he said. "You don't have anybody coming from around the United States to get it." In Vermont, the state auditor's office determined that 78 percent of the marijuana reported eradicated in the state, and 99 percent destroyed nationwide with federal funds, in 1996 was ditch weed. "The eradication is somewhat misdirected because they're destroying remnants of the old hemp," Mahlberg said. "Some of the hemp they're destroying is close to zero THC." Law-enforcement officials argue that marijuana could be hidden in hemp fields. But hemp would actually be a weapon against marijuana, Mahlberg said, because cross-pollinating with hemp would dilute marijuana's potency. In theory, marijuana pollen could also affect hemp. But hemp planted in quantity -- Canada requires at least 10 acres -- would overwhelm marijuana. Andy Graves, a farmer who heads the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative, a group trying to make hemp legal again, said marijuana growers would find hemp farmers "their worst nightmare, because our pollens will cross." On March 3, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by Graves' group challenging the government's ban on hemp, because Kentucky state law forbids it too. But with their tobacco quotas slashed 28.8 percent this year, some farmers are giving hemp another look. "A third of our income is down the drain because of the quota," Dorothy Robertson, a farmer in Bethel, Ky., said. "Farmers have their backs against the wall." Tobacco earns more money, but diversifying into hemp makes sense to farmers because it could be processed locally, creating more work. Tribby Vice, a tobacco and dairy farmer in Fleming County, Ky., said hemp would provide healthy bedding for his 80 cows and would make a good rotational crop. "The equipment we have for tobacco we can take and use for hemp," he said. "We don't have to go out and buy new equipment." The farmers said they could live with the kind of controls that other countries impose. Canada requires that every hemp farmer have a license and police background check, use seed certified to produce 0.3 percent THC, report the precise location of his crop and open it for random inspection, Kime said. In North Dakota, Carlson said, "If there's been any group of people who've been against drugs, it's the farmers. And if hemp becomes legal, we'll make sure that marijuana won't get in there."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Deals On Wheels (The Face, in Britain, prints a rare and excellent feature article portraying a day in the life of a messenger working for a marijuana delivery service in Manhattan. The article also explains how the underground marijuana economy works in New York, including an account of the origins and auspicious future of the market. Pot sellers such as "Dean," who makes $250,000 to $300,000 a year tax free, are indebted to New York Mayor Rudolph Giulani's recent crackdown on street dealers, which has expanded the pager trade, rapidly increasing the demand for deliveries to apartments and offices.) Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 17:48:02 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Deals On Wheels Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Shug Pubdate: April 1999 Source: The Face, Vol 3, Number 27 Contact: editorial@TheFace.co.uk Pages: 108-112 DEALS ON WHEELS Relentless beepers. Lonely clients. Latino street gangs. Oh, and a tax-free income of $300,000 a year. THE FACE finds out what life is really like for a courier in Manhattan's booming drug delivery service A call is made to a beeper. A recording comes on. "Hi, you've reached the offices of Dr Indica. Our office hours are from two to 10pm, Monday through Saturday. Please leave a numeric message after the beep." This is how it happens. You dial in your number and wait. Ten minutes later the phone rings. "Yeah this is the doctor did somebody page?" They ask for your account number and code. "Alright, somebody will be there within the hour." Dean is standing on the corner of Bleecker and Broadway in New York's Greenwich Village. He's wearing a black ski jacket and green combats. Urban camouflage. His pager buzzes. SoHo. Beneath his New York Yankees cap is a crew cut and a handsome face. But behind a friendly veneer are fierce, knowing eyes that could burn a hole in you. He's tired and swears that this is the last delivery of the day. Inside Jason's apartment, all the lights are off except a single lamp that is lying behind the couch. The flicker from the TV washes over him and casts a pale glow over the entire room. The apartment is recently renovated, and quite large. But Jason is thrust in the corner with his eyes glued to an old episode of Star Trek. His buddies sit at the kitchen counter, smoking cigarettes. The intercom buzzes. "It's Dean!" Dean leans through the door with a smile so wide and a face so comprehensively assuring, it would put a cop at ease. He greets everyone of them - "Hey man, great to see you" - grabbing every hand in the room, checking everybody out easy, laid back, like he's your best friend. He walks up to the counter, in the middle of everybody and sets down his gear. "I got $50 bags, 75s, 100s and 125s." Dear sells weed, lots of it. He has no employees and makes all deliveries himself. His service is small compared to others in the city. Working the way he does, which is quite mellow, he'll probably make between $250,000 and $300,000 in cash by the end of the year. Unlike regular messengers, Dean does not use a bicycle. Instead he zooms around Manhattan on a KTM Enduro motorcycle. With his yellow crash helmet, Oakley rainsuit and face mask, he's the very embodiment of the urban superhero, delivering the 'buzz' to needy New Yorkers. Inside Dean's backpack are variously sized plastic containers that hold roughly two and a half grammes of high quality designer weed. He lays the different jars or the table for the buyers to inspect Jason unscrews the jar and smells the bud. He holds it up to the light, like he's inspecting a diamond. Finally he settles on a 50. Dean puts away the samples and adds Jason's $50 bill to the already huge wad of cash sitting in his pocket. He hangs out for a while and rolls a big spliff and gets to chill with the smokers for a moment or two. Then, just as the joint begins to take hold, right before he can unload his whole weight into the sofa, his pager buzzes. "Fuck. Midtown." *** Dr Indica and Dean are just two services in a thriving multi-million dollar pot delivery industry. Anyone with a pager, a mobile phone, and a good weed connection can set up shop. The service owes a debt of gratitude to the Godfather of ganja delivery, Michael Cesar, aka The Pope of Pot. He brought the idea with him from Amsterdam in 1978. He set up a freephone number, l-800-want-pot, and dispatched bike messengers from his Greenwich Village comic shop with $50 weed deals. Police estimate his business made $10-15 million a year. His antics were legendary. In the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade he would dress up in Papal attire, handing out joints taped to the back of business cards. In 1990 he was busted after announcing his phone number to all of New York on The Howard Stern Show. New York mayor, Rudolph Giulani, has declared zero tolerance on weed. The recent crackdown has driven the entire drug trade off the streets. Last year, 40,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges, 80 per cent of them for possession. Washington Square Park, once a urine-soaked drug bazaar, is ground zero for the city's giant pot bust. They've installed a mobile precinct to arraign would-be dealers and buyers. Cameras are mounted in trees and on buildings, watching the park 24 hours a day. It used to be the case that anything you ever wanted could be procured from the streets of New York in less than one hour. The trade is still there, but the Mayor's law and order crusade has driver it underground. Sex and drugs can still be had, only now they have to come to you. The N train pulls up at 42nd Street station and Dean wearily exits the subway into Times Square. As he walks towards his next delivery he imagines himself as a character in a movie. His Walkman beats out the soundtrack. Each anonymous face is a character. He is the hero. "I just pretend that I'm going on a mission," he says. "Before I leave my place I get psyched up. Sometimes I'll put all my stuff on - my rain-suit, all buckled in, my beeper and cell phone attached. I'll put my helmet on, and my sunglasses, and...,' he pauses, getting a dreamy look in his eyes "I can't tell you what it feels like. It's crazy, I just feel like I got it going on." He buzzes up to a website design firm just off Times Square. Richard lets us up. The office is identical to every other new media firm in New York. Drum and bass pounds over the office speakers as geeks toil over web pages. Richard is wearing a Just Do It T-Shirt, with a syringe in place of a Nike swoosh. He already has his money out and his bowl ready before Dean can sit down. He looks like he's had too much espresso - or too much of something. Dean's out the door again before he can even warm up. "Sometimes people just can't hang. They get all nervous and uptight around me. I don't blame them. Some of these dudes wouldn't smoke unless it was delivered so they make me for some lowlife dealer. I bet he thought I was casing the place for what I could steal." The key, according to Dean is to put people at ease. Even so, their nervousness is understandable. The FBI's latest statistics on marijuana arrests indicate that roughly 695,000 people were arrested in 1997, the largest number in American history. 87 per cent of those were arrested for possession. This flurry of activity has cost American taxpayers some $3 billion. A conservative American legislature has turned the issue into a moral crusade. Republican Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, sponsored a bill demanding a life sentence or death penalty for anyone caught bringing two ounces or more of marijuana into the country. There are already a number of severe penalties in place. Students found to use marijuana are denied college loans, and the practice of drug testing in the workplace now covers 97 per cent of all US corporations. Testing positive could ruin your life. A joint after work could cause you to lose your job, your house. and the right to government assistance. *** It is almost impossible to become a drug messenger. The competition for a slot working for one of the delivery services is intense. Alain, a rider for one of New York's larger services, came to his job purely by chance. A native of St Martin, he met a rich young couple who were sailing their yacht through the Caribbean. After showing them around the islands for a week, he befriended the couple. They then invited him to New York and offered him a job delivering weed. He's been here two years now. "There's no other way I could stay in the city," he says. "I love music, writing and film, and this is a great way for me to do those things and pay the rent." *** Dean is standing in a record shop on Avenue A in the East Village, looking nervous. Outside are a couple of guys he thinks are following him. Messengers dread making deliveries in the East Village. Here, more than anywhere else in the city, messengers get jacked. In recent years the neighbourhood has seen a huge number of young, white hipsters move in. With them have come marijuana delivery services. Since many of these guys are also young, wealthy and white, they are easy targets for muggers. "They can just tell, some of these dudes have a third eye," says Dean. "They start to recognise you goin' to the same places. I know when someone else is doin' it. These guys must." When he says 'they', Dean is referring to the real dealers in the area - the young, hard Latino gangsters who control the streets. "And they see some skinny lookin' white kid on a fancy mountain bike, making deliveries, they're going to jack him." It's easy money to the street dealers: free weed and a couple of thousand in cash. And they know that nobody is going to call the cops, or fight back. Dean makes a lot of deliveries in the East Village and was recently jacked himself. He isn't in the mood for a repeat episode. He thumbs through the records some more and continues to look out the window. It looks like the guys outside have moved on. Or maybe they're hiding. When they got him a few weeks ago, it was because he couldn't start his bike in time. He was on the corner of 18th Street and Third Avenue, a good neighbourhood in Gramercy Park, talking on his mobile. All in broad daylight. "I saw these five big black dudes come walking towards me," says Dean. "They just knew that I was holding. I saw them and got on my bike and tried to take off, but they tackled me and just started kicking and punching me, trying to get my bag. They couldn't, and ran off. I got up and tried to get back on my bike, but as I straddled it they came out and tackled me again. They stole my phone, my beeper, but I wouldn't give up that bag. I had, like, 1,000 bucks in weed and 3,000 in cash in there." *** Dean is walking toward the East Village apartment of a music writer with a voracious weed appetite. "This guy calls me three times a week. I don't understand how he gets any work done with the amount of grass that he smokes." Martin lives on the fifth floor of a 'walk-up' in Alphabet City. In the far east fringe of the East Village, the avenues run out of numbers and become letters, This once-derelict area has recently been the focus of intense urban renewal with an influx of young people. These people are Dean's regulars. Martin seems to think he and Dean are old friends and encourages him to hang out and party. Dean has started to feel sorry for him. "He's one of those guys that spends his whole day cooped up in his apartment. I'm the only person he sees somedays. I feel bad having to leave." Martin's floor is strewn with papers and the place emanates a weird smell. It is utter chaos. He buys a '75' of weed and a '50' of hash and sets about packing both in the bong. Dean stares in disbelief as Martin fills up all three feet of the tube and sucks the whole thing down. He passes the bong to Dean who reluctantly repeats the feat. Bowls and joints are packed and rolled. The TV is on; the stereo is blaring Guns N' Roses. It's almost too much to take. Finally Dean can't stand it any more. He pretends he has a page. "Sorry man, gotta go." Martin slaps him a low five. "Yeah dude," he says. "See you in a couple of days." *** None of the services grow their own pot. To supply the demand for ganja, services depend on brokers. They act as a liaison between growers and dealers. Growers are suspicious of everyone and rarely deal with anybody except one guy they've probably known for years. If a grower notices that a particular individual is moving a lot of product fast, they send a broker as a representative of their organisation. In Dean's case, brokers for a large biker gang contacted him. They'll extend credit, discount on bulk orders. Just like ordinary retailers. The growers are hardcore super-criminals. "You wouldn't fucking believe it, man," says Dean. "Huge warehouses in Harlem and Brooklyn and the Bronx - all for growing dope. There are dudes standing outside with M- 16s." According to Dean the growers are all "nerdy science guys" whose entire lives are dedicated to growing weed. They hang out together and don't talk to many people. They deal with maybe one broker and don't stay in business long, a couple of years at a time. They make a few million fast and get out. Nobody knows anybody, nobody works for anybody. That way it anyone gets busted, you can't roll or your co-workers. Dean says he's not worried about jail, either. He came to terms with it a long time ago: "Otherwise I couldn't wake up in the morning." He has the constant nagging fear that today will be the day he gets busted. "Every morning I wake up, I wonder." He clings to the old saying, "If you're man enough to do the crime, be man enough to do the time." He figures that if he gets put away at least he'll have an opportunity to write his memoirs. Even so, he's well educated, good looking and has never been arrested. Why take the chance? The truth is that he genuinely enjoys it. He watches no TV, rarely reads the newspaper, pays no taxes and has few close friends. But he is living the life he wants to lead. "I'm a writer and all day long I get to have the opportunity to meet new characters. I go into 20 or 30 different apartments a day," he says. He gets to act as psychiatrist, buddy, confidant - and he gets paid to do it. "I can blow all my money and just get more. If I don't want to work I don't have to. I meet movie stars, rock stars and bigwig execs." And, best of all, he just likes to get people stoned. At the same, Dean is thinking about the future. Over the coming months he plans to go bi-coastal and mid-Atlantic. He's rented an apartment in LA and hopes to have the franchise up and running soon. He's got a new broker who's offered him a partnership and plans are underway to fund a London service. He also aims to ascend to the next level of the pyramid and become a broker. "I told my partner, 'I think I could do this for a while.' I want to make some real money, then fund my own film. That's my goal." Like all the best movies, it would be about what he knows best: in this case, pot dealers. "Or maybe a movie with motorcycles."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War Without A Plan - Needed: A Florida Drug Czar (A staff editorial in the Miami Herald calls for the creation of an office to coordinate and evaluate the efforts of "14 state agencies, thousands of private nonprofit social-service organizations and hundreds of police departments" waging the drug war. An audit showing the total budget of all those drug warriors or a cost-benefit analysis apparently doesn't interest the newspaper, however.) Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 22:03:04 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US FL: Drug War Without A Plan Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Copyright: 1999 The Miami Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.herald.com/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?mherald DRUG WAR WITHOUT A PLAN NEEDED: A FLORIDA DRUG CZAR Coordinated strategy may be more effective in curbing abuse. A city commissioner wants the chief to prove the police department's prevention programs work. A child-abuse investigator needs help justifying to a court her decision to put the child of an alcoholic mother in foster care. In today's show-me-the-results society, such questions arise every day. Life-altering decisions are based on such statistics. But what if they aren't there? What if nobody knows which programs work and which don't? That's how it is in Florida, where 14 state agencies, thousands of private nonprofit social-service organizations and hundreds of police departments try to cope with the drug problem. Yet there's no clearing house for information, no comprehensive effort to gather useful statistics to guide policy making, no guidelines for evaluating the effectiveness of programs and no state strategy for winning its "drug war." Last year Senate President Toni Jennings determined to find out what the state is missing. She directed a Senate investigation that found such useful things as drug arrests in Florida have increased 40 percent over the last five years (juvenile arrests 61 percent), that 30 percent of AIDS cases are tied to drug abuse, that some 447,000 adults and 247,000 children need state-funded substance-abuse treatment. And in the last full budget year, 1997-'98, Florida spent $139 million to provide treatment for 93,500 adults and 42,000 children. But that information isn't meaningfully shared. There is no state strategy to coordinate drug-abuse treatment, enforcement and prevention programs. Now she's behind a measure that creates a gubernatorial Office of Drug Control, requiring coordination among state agencies and program evaluations. The bill, which passed the Senate and awaits House action, fixes a serious oversight in giving anti-drug warriors an important new weapon: information.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Farmers High on Profits (The Winnipeg Free Press says 27 hemp farmers in Manitoba who planted approximately 1,700 of hemp grossed almost $500 an acre last year. This year, 125 Manitoba farmers are contracted to plant more than 12,000 acres, said Douglas Campbell, general manager of Consolidated Growers & Processors Canada. CGP hopes to build a $15 million, 25 employee hemp processing plant in Manitoba. There are no such facilities in Canada. All the crop is exported overseas or to the United States for processing.) Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 12:20:56 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: Hemp Farmers High on Profits Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 Source: Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) Copyright: 1999 the Winnipeg Free Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.mbnet.mb.ca/freepress/ Author: Bud Robertson HEMP FARMERS HIGH ON PROFITS MANITOBA'S HEMP industry is taking off --- BIG TIME. Last year, 27 farmers planted approximately 1,700 of hemp, the first time the crop's been planted commercially in 60 years. This year, 125 Manitoba farmers are contracted to plant more than 12,000 acres of hemp seed, said Douglas Campbell, general manager of Consolidated Growers & Processors Canada. And with farmers grossing almost $500 an acre, that works out to an industry worth $6 million in this province alone. Across the Prairies, CGP contracted farmers are planting a total of 16,000 acres of hemp, a 24-fold increase over last year. "Everybody's hungry for more money," Campbell said, adding that hemp is bringing in twice as much as some traditional cereal, oilseed and pulse crops. Darrell McElroy, a hemp farmer near Darlingford, said he planted 30 acres last year, but this year he plans to see about 95. "When I first planted it I didn't know too much about it, but now I really think it's going to go a long way," he said. "With this product there's thousands of uses you can do with it. I compare it like buffalo to an Indian---you use the whole plant for so much......I feel the market is there." Campbell said CGP also has offered to purchase all the hemp seed and stalk farmers can produce in the next three years. Hemp is marijuana's drug-free cousin, but both plants come from the bamboo family. It has a number of applications, including hemp oil for cooking or burning in automobile engines and hemp fibre for making clothing, particle board and paper. It is also being used in the production of door panels by some European auto makers. Although hemp is grown in a number of countries, most notably France, the Netherlands and Germany, the total world production of approximately 100,000 acres is less than half of what the market can absorb. CGP hopes to build a $15 million, 25 employee hemp processing plant in Manitoba. There are no such facilities in Canada. All the crop is exported overseas or to the United States for processing. "We want to do so much processing as possible at the source," Campbell said. A decision on where to build the plant will be made by the end of next month, he said. After that, it will take about 18 months before it is up and running. If farmers can get their seeding done in May, this year's hemp crop should come off the fields during the second week of September and first week in October.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Joint Ventures (The online April issue of Saturday Night magazine, in Canada, features an excerpted account of a tour through the underground marijuana economy in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ten years ago, you could have symbolized the red-blooded British Columbia resource sector with a photograph of a commercial fisherman and a hog-fat chinook salmon. But now the salmon has turned into a bale of marijuana. Police estimate that the annual British Columbia crop is worth about $2 billion. Reform activists say it's larger, but nobody disputes that cannabis growing has become a mammoth resource industry in B.C., worth at least twice as much as all the wholesale fisheries revenues combined. Law enforcement authorities estimate they intercept only about one percent of exports to the United States.) From: Carey Ker (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: Joint Ventures (excerpt) Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:20:02 -0500 (EST) Source: Saturday Night Magazine (Canada) Contact: ? Web site: www.saturdaynight.ca Pubdate: April, 1999 JOINT VENTURES For the entrepreneurs behind Vancouver's marijuana boom, business couldn't be better. The trick, as always, is getting out before the bust. A tour through the city's underground economy BY JAKE MacDONALD Ten years ago, you could have symbolized the red-blooded British Columbia resource sector with a photograph of a commercial fisherman and a hog-fat chinook salmon. But now the salmon has turned into a bale of marijuana. Police estimate that the annual British Columbia marijuana crop is worth about $2 billion. Marijuana activists say it's larger, but nobody disputes that dope growing has become a mammoth resource industry in B.C., worth at least twice as much as all the wholesale fisheries revenues combined. Marijuana is traditionally an outdoor crop. But in the late 1980s, B.C. marijuana growers began experimenting with hydroponic systems, in which plants are grown indoors, without soil, in a mixture of nutrient-rich water and rock pellets. Nowadays, about 90 percent of British Columbia's crop is grown indoors. "You don't have to worry about bugs, animals, rip-off artists, and police helicopters," says Ryan. "And because you supply the perfect mix of nutrients and light, you get a higher yield." In a hydroponic operation, each plant produces about half a pound of usable marijuana. The crop is sold for about $3,000 per pound to middlemen, who then break it down into smaller bags and sell it to their friends and neighbours, or stockpile it for export to the United States. Methods used for smuggling are limited only by the imagination. In magazines like High Times and Cannabis Culture there are accounts of smugglers using hollowed-out drift logs, dead whales, and remote-controlled midget submarines to export their weed across the strait that separates B.C. from Washington. But in reality, most of the crop probably moves south in more mundane ways: via fishing boats, semi-trailers, private cars, pickups, bicycles, or even by foot, using "mules" -- human couriers who haul it across in backpacks. "The couriers are the ones you feel sorry for," says Sergeant Pete Thompson of the RCMP detachment at Chilliwack. "They're often people who are down on their luck and desperate to make some quick money. They get paid a couple of thousand dollars in return for a night's work. But when they get caught, they're in an awful lot of trouble." Nobody knows how much marijuana is flowing across the border into the United States, but law enforcement authorities estimate that they intercept only about one percent of the traffic. "Most of the marijuana in the southwestern United States still comes from Mexico," says Dave Keller, an intelligence agent with the United States Border Patrol based in Blaine, Washington, just south of Vancouver. "But your B.C. bud is so popular in California that we've had a tremendous increase in seizures over the last couple of years." Even so, the 500-kilometre-long boundary between British Columbia and Washington is so lightly patrolled, according to Keller, that smugglers tend to regard it as "no more than a minor inconvenience." Last week Ryan cancelled the lease on his apartment. Yesterday he broke up with his girlfriend. Now he's speeding around Vancouver in a twenty-eight-year-old sports car with sheepskin seat covers, a walnut shifter knob, and a good selection of Lou Reed tapes in the glovebox, burning bridges behind him. He likes to drive "up on the torque curve," which means that the car is always lunging forward or decelerating wildly, and accompanying him for a drive around town is a physical workout. When you consider Ryan's flamboyant car, his disdain for traffic flow, and the fact that he needs a clean record for his upcoming border crossings, you'd expect him to think twice before roaring around with a baggie of ganja in plain view on the dashboard. But in Vancouver, the paranoid sixties are truly over. "Simple possession is basically legal," says Ryan. "If the cop's in a bad mood, he might tell you to empty it on the road." Anyway, Ryan is a busy man, and traffic cops are the least of his worries. He's gearing up for battle with bigger dragons, the ones that guard the American border. He figures he can either skirt around them, by slipping across the darkened border on foot, by boat, or by kayak, or he can just throw forty pounds of marijuana in his car and meet them head-on. He's considering all the options, running his own feasibility study. "A few days ago I made a test run," he says. "As a mental exercise I strapped a hockey bag to the luggage rack. When I pulled up to U.S. Customs they just waved me through. But then I noticed I was being followed by a blue van with beacons on the roof. I slowed down, it slowed down. I turned down a dirt road, and it followed me. Finally I pulled over, and the van stopped, two feet behind me. By now, I'm sweating, even though there's nothing in the bag but laundry. This guy in a uniform gets out, walks towards me, and puts a bundle of letters into a mailbox. It's the U.S. Postal Service." Ryan comes to a screeching halt in the parking lot of a Vancouver marina. He wants to inspect a prospective sailboat -- a thirty-six-foot sloop with ocean-going navigational equipment, gleaming brass hardware, and a mahogany-panelled stateroom with seven feet of headroom. The vendor has slyly left a Jimmy Buffett tape in the sound system, and the music plays softly while Ryan quibbles with the broker. It's a glorious day in Vancouver, banner-blue sky, buzzing seaplanes, and a distant backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Sitting on the fantail, I'm visualizing the turquoise tidal flats of the Bahamas, the palm trees waving at the harbour entrance to Freeport, and wondering if Ryan will actually ever make it there. By his own confession, he's a seasoned procrastinator, and this could be just another Jimmy Buffett daydream -- or what Ryan calls "pot brain-lock." Ryan smokes marijuana regularly, but admits there are drawbacks. "Pot brain-lock is when you get a great idea," he explains. "Then you can't remember what it was." For the last couple of years, Ryan has been helping people set up grow operations in their basements. He installs the plumbing, wiring, and exhaust conduits, and in return takes a share of the profits. He says marijuana growers have two options when they're launching a new operation -- they can start from scratch with seeds, or they can grow their plants from cuttings. Seeds can produce either male or female plants, so half the crop will inevitably be thrown away (only female plants produce enough THC to get you high); and they have to be germinated, a time-consuming process. "Seeds are for rookies," Ryan says. They do, however, afford an easy and quasi-legal entryway into the business. A novice like me couldn't just walk into a store in Vancouver and buy a lush, mature, female marijuana plant. He could, however, buy seeds. Downtown, Ryan squeezes his car into a narrow spot just down the hill from the Amsterdam Hemporium Coffee Shop, a place that typifies British Columbia's tentative drift towards marijuana legalization. When we walk in the door, jazz is playing softly from speakers in the ceiling, and the skunky odour of marijuana is drifting on the air. We order coffee and carrot cake and peruse the wall by our table, where a montage of photographs shows scenes from the Cannabis Cup -- an international marijuana trade show held annually in Amsterdam. The shop's proprietors, Sita von Windheim and Karen Watson, figure prominently in the montage. Both are photogenic and, judging from the evidence, numerous glassy-eyed Cannabis Cup delegates were eager to pose at their side. But when they join us, they seem to be no-nonsense entrepreneurs, with the same headaches and ambitions as any other shop owners. "I rarely even smoke it," says Sita, a fashionable brunette with a large, diamond-studded ring on her hand. "I'm a single mother with three kids, and frankly, I don't have the time." Karen Watson, Sita's thirty-year-old business partner, has straight blonde hair and the perky, wholesome demeanour of a California surfer. After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree, she joined forces with Sita and opened the shop eighteen months ago. Pulling up a chair, Karen opens her catalogue and spreads some marijuana seeds on the table. "We've been charged by the police for selling these," she says. "But the case hasn't gone to court, so it's not exactly clear to us whether the seeds themselves are illegal." Their catalogue advertises 150 hybrids of two basic types of marijuana: indica, a plant that favours more temperate climates and is reputed to induce a somewhat physical, dopey high; and sativa, a tropical strain with a lighter, more cerebral effect. When Bill Clinton fired up a joint back in the 1960s, the marijuana that he didn't inhale was almost certainly sativa. Historically, the world's largest marijuana exporters have been sativa-producing countries like Mexico and Jamaica. British Columbia's recent dominance in the field is partially due to the high quality of its indica marijuana. "We may not be producing the best in the world," says Karen, who studied the physiology of narcotics at UBC, "but it's the best in North America." I tell her about a Vancouver grower who told me that he has a "mother plant" hybridized by botanists working for the Hell's Angels that is worth $15,000 as breeding stock. "Marijuana growers are like fishermen," Karen replies. "They're somewhat prone to exaggeration." Flipping through their catalogue, she points out the range of choices. The seeds run from first-class, expensive varieties like "Northern Lights" ("dominates the Harvest Festivals -- the most powerful plant in the world -- $300.00 for 10 seeds") to cheaper, hardier outdoor varieties like "Fast Manitoba" ("grows to 4-5 feet and yields a quarter pound. $40 for 10 seeds"). Sita and Karen say that they have an 80 percent germination rate for all of the seeds in their catalogue, as long as they are babied in accordance with the instructions. With a smile, Karen adds, "We don't however, encourage anyone to act in conflict with the law." Ryan laughs. There are a dozen customers in the restaurant, most of them college kids in baggy flannel shirts and khakis. They're drinking tea, rolling joints, and puffing on pipes stuffed with marijuana. "If they break the law, it's not our responsibility," Sita insists. "But I don't think there's anything wrong with what they're doing. Kids are going to smoke pot. And I'd rather my daughters did that than drink alcohol. It's less toxic." Karen nods. "The fact is, dopers are nice people. And countless medical studies have proved that marijuana is harmless. Why should it be against the law?" "Well, I can think of one reason," says Ryan, zipping up his jacket as we head down the hill to the car. "If they legalized it, the bottom would fall out of the market. Then how would I buy my sailboat?" The full story appears in the April 1999 issue of Saturday Night.
------------------------------------------------------------------- More Teenage Girls Using Illicit Drugs (The Sydney Morning Herald, in Australia, says a federal survey released yesterday, a week before Prime Minister John Howard is scheduled to unveil a new strategy in his war on drugs, shows 46 per cent of Australians admitted last year to having used illicit drugs - up from 39.3 per cent in 1995. More than half of teenage girls, 51.6 per cent, said they had used illicit drugs, up from 33.5 per cent in 1995. That compares with a rate for teenage boys of 50.6 per cent, up only marginally from 50.3 three years previously. Cannabis use among girls rose from 24.4 per cent to 44.8 per cent, while for teenage boys a small decrease was reported, from 44.7 per cent to 44.5 per cent. In fact, the survey shows women of all ages are using cannabis more. Even for those older than 60, the proportion using the drug climbed from 0.9 per cent to 4.3 per cent. For all age groups of women, the rise was from 24.4 to 35.1 per cent, compared to an increase among all men from 37.7 per cent to 43.7 per cent.) Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 03:42:27 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: More Teenage Girls Using Illicit Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Russell.Ken.KW@bhp.com.au (Russell, Ken KW) Pubdate: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.smh.com.au/ Author: Mark Metherell MORE TEENAGE GIRLS USING ILLICIT DRUGS Heroin and cannabis use among teenage girls in Australia has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a Federal Government survey released yesterday. The figures, which come a week before the Prime Minister unveils a new strategy in his war on drugs, show 46 per cent of the population in Australia admitted last year to having used illicit drugs - up from 39.3 per cent in 1995. The survey also found a rising acceptance among Australians of illicit drug use, including cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. Even heroin use was seen by a slightly increased number of Australians to be acceptable, up from 2.4 per cent of the population in 1995 to 2.8 per cent last year, although the survey warned that such figures had to be treated with caution. The most startling findings of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey of more than 10,000 people relate to illicit drug use by girls aged 14-19, and their markedly faster move into drug use compared with teenage boys. More than half of teenage girls, 51.6 per cent, said they had used illicit drugs, up from 33.5 per cent in 1995. That compares with the rate for teenage boys of 50.6 per cent, up only marginally from 50.3 three years previously. Cannabis use for girls rose from 24.4 per cent to 44.8 per cent, while for teenage boys a small decrease was reported, down from 44.7 to 44.5 per cent. But women of all ages are using cannabis more. Even for those aged over 60, the proportion using the drug has climbed from 0.9 per cent to 4.3 per cent between 1995 and 1998. For all age groups of women, the rise was from 24.4 to 35.1, compared with all men where the rise was 37.7 to 43.7 per cent. The chief executive of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, Mr David Crosbie, called for a rethink about drug policy and said the findings had implications for the Prime Minister's drugs strategy. He said the trends revealed by the survey were worrying. "If anything we are going backwards on illicit drug use. "We are saying cannabis is a drug we don't want people to use yet young people, and particularly young women, are taking it up as never before," Mr Crosbie said. Mr Crosbie said no matter what people felt about cannabis use, officially it was not sanctioned, and its use was connected with acceptance and use of drugs which caused harm. The Federal Government is putting the final touches to Mr Howard's fresh attack on the drugs problem, to be revealed at the Premiers' Conference tomorrow week. Mr Howard is expected to offer Commonwealth support for schemes which would facilitate the diversion of small-time drug offenders away from the court system to treatment programs. The Federal Health Minister, Dr Wooldridge, said there were no easy solutions in the battle against illicit drug use, but said that since August last year, the Commonwealth had begun funding community groups dealing with the battle against drugs. He said the survey also showed that the Government's efforts to curb tobacco use were working: the proportion of regular smokers had declined to 22 per cent last year, down from 24 per cent in 1995. He said tobacco accounted for almost 80 per cent of the 22,724 drug-related deaths in Australia last year.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Japan Police Seize 210 Kg Of Stimulants (According to Reuters, Japanese police on Thursday seized 462 pounds of a supposedly controlled substance they did not identify, the fourth largest haul of illegal drugs in the country's history, estimated to have a street value of $109 million. The haul brings the quantity of confiscated drugs this year to 650 kilograms, already surpassing the total for all of 1998.) Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 15:09:20 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Japan: Wire: Japan Police Seize 210 Kg Of Stimulants Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 Source: Reuters Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited. JAPAN POLICE SEIZE 210 KG OF STIMULANTS TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Japanese police on Thursday seized 210 kg (462 lb) of drugs, the fourth largest haul of illegal drugs in the country's history, police said. The drugs, found concealed in cylinders in a warehouse in Sakai, near the central Japanese city of Osaka, were estimated to have a street value of 13 billion yen ($109 million), police added. They did not identify the type of drugs involved. Police said three men had been arrested and charged with violating the Stimulants Control Law. All denied the charges. This haul brings the quantity of confiscated drugs this year to 650 kg (1,430 lb), already surpassing the total for all of 1998, NHK national television reported.
------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. Exports Zero Tolerance (A translation of an article from Le Monde Diplomatique by Loic Wacquant analyzes the dubious punitive social policies that have evolved in the United States during the past two decades and are now being exported to Western Europe, including France.) Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 11:07:07 +0000 To: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  Le Monde Diplomatique: US EXPORTS ZERO TOLERANCE Newshawk: Peter Webster Pubdate: April 1999 Source: Le Monde Diplomatique Page: Front Page Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.lemonde.fr/ Copyright: Le Monde 1999 Author: Loic Wacquant Translation: Tarik Wareh (from French) for the English language edition Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and researcher at the Centre de sociologie europeenne du College de France US EXPORTS ZERO TOLERANCE Penal 'common sense' comes to Europe As gigantic industrial and financial mergers are sweeping across the United States and Europe, to the seeming indifference of the governments concerned, political leaders everywhere are vying with each other to think up and implement new ways of cracking down on crime. The mainstream media, often forgetting that urban violence is rooted in the generalisation of social insecurity, contribute with their own biases to defining these alleged threats to society. Many of the remedies commonly proposed ('zero tolerance', curfews, suspension of social allowances to offenders' families, increased repression of minors) take their inspiration from the American model. And, as in the United States, they are bound to lead to the extension of social control compounded with exploding rates of imprisonment. FOR the past several years now a moral panic has been welling up across Europe that is capable of redirecting government policies and reshaping the structure of the societies it affects. Its object is juvenile delinquency, "urban violence", and the disorders for which "sensitive neighbourhoods" are taken to be the breeding ground. There are so many terms that one is advised to keep in quotation marks, since their meaning is as vague as the phenomena they are alleged to describe. Yet these terms seem to be self-evident. They swell the speeches of politicians, they saturate the daily papers, they invade television. These notions did not spring ready-made from reality. They are part of a constellation of terms and theses from the United States, on crime, violence, justice, inequality and responsibility, that have insinuated themselves into the European debate to the point of serving as its framework and focus. They owe their power of persuasion to their omnipresence and to the prestige of their originators (1). The banalisation of these terms and theses conceals a stake that has little to do with the problems to which they refer: namely, the redefinition of the mission of the state, which is everywhere withdrawing from the economic arena and asserting the need to reduce its social role and to enlarge and stiffen its penal intervention. Like a father who has been over-tender and lax, the European welfare state would now be duty bound to become "lean and mean", to "downsize", and then deal severely with its unruly flock. This means making "security" paramount. It means the withering away of the economic state, diminution of the social state, expansion of the penal state. Civic "courage", political "modernity", even progressive boldness (marketed under the name of "the Third Way"), would now demand that governments embrace the most worn-out law-and-order cliches and measures. We would need to reconstitute the chain of institutions, agents and discursive supports by which the new penal common sense aiming to criminalise poverty is being internationalised. This process originates in Washington and New York City, and reaches Europe via London. It is anchored by the complex formed by the organs of the American state that are entrusted with implementing and showcasing "penal rigour". Among these are the federal Department of Justice and the State Department (which proselytises, through its embassies in each host country, ultra-repressive criminal justice policies, particularly in regard to drugs), semi-public and professional associations tied to the administration of police and corrections. The media and the commercial enterprises that partake of the business of imprisonment are also part of this process. The private sector makes a decisive contribution to the conception and implementation of public policy. In fact, the role of neoconservative think-tanks in the constitution and internationalisation of the new punitive doxa spotlights the bonds between the decline of the social sector of the state and the deployment of its penal arm. Indeed the think-tanks that paved the way for the advent of "real liberalism" under Reagan and Thatcher by undermining Keynesian notions on the economic and social front between 1975 and 1985 have, a decade later, fed the political and media elites with concepts, principles and measures designed to justify and speed up the establishment of a prolix and protean penal apparatus. The same parties, politicians, pundits and professors who yesterday advocated "less government" as regards capital and labour, are now demanding, with as much fervour, "more government" to mask and contain the nefarious social consequences of the deregulation of wage labour and the deterioration of social protection. On the American side it is the Manhattan Institute (even more than the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation) that has popularised the discourses and policies aimed at repressing the "disorders" fostered by those whom the French political writer Alexis de Tocqueville called "the lowest rabble of our big cities". In 1984 this organisation, founded by Anthony Fischer (Thatcher's mentor) and William Casey (CIA director during Reagan's first term as president) to apply market principles to social problems, launched Losing Ground, the book by Charles Murray that would serve as a "bible" for Reagan's crusade against the welfare state. This book misinterprets data to "demonstrate" that the rise in poverty in the US is the result of the excessive generosity of policies meant to support the poor. Such support, it claims, rewards sloth and causes the moral degeneracy of the lower classes, and especially the "illegitimacy" held up as the source of all the evils of modern societies---among them "urban violence". The Manhattan Institute was soon consecrated as the premier "idea factory" of the New American Right, federated around the triptych of free market, individual responsibility and patriarchal values. In the early l990s the institute organised a conference on "the quality of life". Its dual premise was that the "sanctity of public space" is indispensable to urban life, and that the "disorder" in which the poorer classes revel is the natural breeding ground for crime. Among the participants in this "debate" was the star prosecutor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, who had just lost the mayoral elections to the black Democrat David Dinkins, and who would draw from it the themes of his victorious campaign of 1993. In particular, he adopted the guiding principles of the police and criminal justice policy that would turn New York into the world showcase for the doctrine of "zero tolerance" that gives the forces of law and order carte blanche to hunt out petty crime and drive the homeless back into dispossessed neighbourhoods. Again it was the Manhattan Institute that vulgarised the "broken window theory" formulated in 1982 by James Q Wilson and George Kelling in an article published by Atlantic Monthly magazine. A derivation of the popular saying, "He who steals an egg, steals an ox", this so-called theory maintains that by fighting inch-by-inch the small disorders of every day, one can vanquish the large pathology of urban crime. The Manhattan Institute's Centre for Civic Initiative, whose objective is "to research and promulgate creative, free-market solutions to urban problems", financed and promoted the book by Kelling and Catherine Coles, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities (3). This theory, though it has never been validated, served as a criminological alibi for the reorganisation of police work spurred on by police chief William Bratton. The primary aim of this reorganisation is to soothe the fears of the middle and upper classes---those who vote---by continually harassing the poor in public spaces. Three means are deployed to achieve this goal: large increases in the manpower and equipment of the police, the devolution of operational responsibilities to local superintendents with mandatory target goals, and a computerised monitoring system that allows the ongoing redeployment and almost instantaneous intervention of police forces. This results in an inflexible enforcement of the law, particularly against such minor nuisances as drunkenness, disturbing the peace, begging, solicitation and "other anti-social behaviours associated with the homeless", according to Kelling's own terminology. City authorities and the media credit this new policy for the decline in the crime rate posted by New York City in recent years. ln doing so they ignore two salient facts: the decline preceded the introduction of these police tactics by three years, and crime has also dropped in cities that have not app]ied these measures. Among the "lecturers" invited last year by the Manhattan Institute to a forum to enlighten the upper crust of politics, journalism, and philanthropic and research foundations on the East Coast was former police chief Bratton, promoted to "intemational consultant" in urban policing. Bratton has cashed in on the glory of having "reversed the crime epidemic" in New York City with his autobiography, in which he preaches the new credo of "zero tolerance" to the four corners of the globe (4)---beginning with the United Kingdom, the first country to welcome these policies on their way to the conquest of Europe. On the British side the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) have worked in concert to disseminate neo-liberal ideas in economic and social matters (5), as well as the punitive theses elaborated in the US and adopted by prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair. For example, in late 1989 the IEA (also founded by Anthony Fischer, under the intellectual patronage of Friedrich von Hayek) orchestrated at Rupert Murdoch's initiative a series of meetings and publications around the "thought" of Murray. Murray implored the British to cut back drastically on their welfare state to check the emergence of an "underclass" of alienated, dissolute and dangerous poor, close cousins to the hordes said to be "devastating" American cities in the wake of the "lax" social measures taken in the 1960s. This intervention was followed by a blizzard of laudatory articles in the British press. It led to a collection of essays in which Murray ruminates on the need to bring the weight of the "civilising force of marriage" to bear on "young black men who are essentially barbarians". Alongside this is a chapter in which Frank Field, then in charge of welfare within the Labour party and later Blair's minister of welfare reform, advocates measures designed to prevent single mothers from having children and force "absentee fathers" to assume financial responsibility for their illegitimate offspring (6). One discerns a consensus taking shape between the most reactionary segment of the American right and the self-proclaimed avant-garde of the European "New Left", forged around the idea that the "undeserving poor" ought to be brought back under control by the state, and their behaviour corrected by public reprobation and by increasing the weight of administrative constraints and penal sanctions. By the tirne Murray returned to the attack in 1994, the notion of "underclass" was well established in the language of UK policy and he had no difficulty in convincing his audience that his dismal predictions of 1989 had come true: "illegitimacy", "dependency" and crime had increased among the UK's new poor and, together, threatened the death of Western civilisation (7). And so in 1995 it was the turn of his ideological comrade-in-arms, Lawrence Mead, the neo-conservative political scientist from New York University, to explain to the British that if the state must refrain from helping the poor materially, it must support them morally by requiring them to work. This is the theme. since turned into a canon by Blair, of the "obligations of citizenship", that justifies the institution of forced wage labour under conditions that exempt from social and labour law individuals i'dependent" on aid from the state---in 1996 in the US and three years later in the UK (8). The paternalist state that dictates to the poor how they should behave must also be a punitive state. In 1997 the IEA brought Murray bach yet again, this thne before an audience of political olficials and hand-picked journalists, to promote the idea that iXprison works" and that corrections expenditures are a well thought-out and profitable investment for society (9). A few months after Murray's visit the lEA invited Bratton to a symposium, in which eminent British police olficials were taking part, for the purpose of popularising "zero tolerance". Zero tolerance is in effect the necessary police complement to the mass incarceration produced by the criminalisation of poverty. Bratton told the meeting: "There is growing agreement between British and US police forces that criminal and subcriminal [sic] behaviour such as littering, abuse, graffiti and vandalism must be dealt with firmly to prevent more serious criminal behaviour from developing." The debate was prolonged by the publication of the book Zero Tolerance: Policing a Free Society. Its title summarises its political philosophy: "free" means (neo)-liberal and non-interventionist "above" in matters of taxation and employment, and intrusive and intolerant "below" for everything to do with the public behaviour of the working class, trapped by widespread under-employment and precarious labour, on one hand, and the retrenchment of social protection schemes and the indigence of public services, on the other. Widely diffused among experts and members of Blair's government, these notions have directly informed the 1998 Law on Crime and Disorder, easily the single most repressive legislation on juvenile delinquency of the post-war period. And to avoid any equivocation as to the target of these measures, Blair justified support for zero tolerance in these candid terms: "It is important that you say, 'We don't tolerate the small crimes.' The basic principle here is to say, 'Yes it is right to be intolerant of people homeless on the streets' " (10). From the UK, the notions and measures promoted by the neo-conservative think-tanks of the US have spread throughout Europe. So much so that it is difficult for any European official nowadays to express on security without mouthing some "made in America" slogan, be it dressed up, as national honour no doubt demands, with "a la French, Spanish or German", and so on. The export of these law-and-order themes and theses hatched in America is thriving only because it is has the approval of the authorities of the importing countries. This approval assumes a variety of forms, ranging from the jingoistic enthusiasm of Blair to the shameful and awkwardly denied acceptance of the French prime minister, Lionel Jospin. Thus one must include, among the agents of this transnational enterprise aimed at diffusing the new punitive ethos, the leaders and officials of the European states who are rallying around the imperative of "restoring" order after converting to the benefits of the ("free") market and the necessity of a smaller (social) state. In those areas where the state has given up on bringing in firms and jobs, it will put up police stations, perhaps in anticipation of building prisons later. The expansion of the police and penal apparatus can even contribute to the creation of jobs through the surveillance of the rejects of the world of work: in France the 20,000 "adjunct security officers'' and 15,000 "local mediation agents", who are supposed to be massed in France's "sensitive neighbourhoods" before the end of 1999, represent a 10th of the "youth jobs" promised by the Jospin government. The countries that import the American instruments of a resolutely offensive penality are not content just to receive these tools. They often borrow them on their own initiative and adapt them to their needs and national traditions. Such is the purpose of those "study missions" that have multiplied in recent years across the Atlantic. Following in the steps of Gustave de Beaumont and De Tocqueville, who set out in the spring of 1831 on an excursion in the "classical soil of the penitentiary system", elected officials, high-ranking civil servants and penologists of the EU regularly make the pilgrimage to New York, Los Angeles and Houston, with the aim of "penetrating the mysteries of American discipline" and the hope of activating the "hidden springs" of its inner workings back in their own homeland (11). Thus, it was in the wake of a mission financed by Corrections Corporation of America, the world's leading private incarceration firm, that Sir Edward Gardiner, head of the Commission on Domestic Affairs, was able to discover the virtues of prison privatisation and steer the UK towards for-profit imprisonment. He later joined the board of directors of one of the main firms that compete for the booming and lucrative punishment market: the number of inmates in British private prisons has rocketed from 200 in 1993 to nearly 4,000 in 1998. Another medium for the diffusion of the new penal common sense in Europe is official reports. Politicians cloak their decisions in the garb of the pseudo-science that those researchers most attuned to the politico-media problematic of the moment are particularly apt at producing on command. These works rely on the support of reports produced under analogous circumstances and according to similar canons in those societies taken as "models" or singled out for a "comparison" that typically boils down to projection. Thus the governmental common sense of a country finds a warrant in the state common sense of its neighbours through a process of circular reinforcement. For example, in an appendix to an official report on responses to juvenile delinquency entrusted by Jospin to two socialist representatives, Christine Lazerges and Jean-Pier}e Balduyck, there is a note by Hubert Martin, adviser for social affairs at the French embassy in the US, that delivers a panegyric of the curfews imposed on teenagers in the major American cities (12). This civil servant parroted the results of a dubious survey published by the National Association of Mayors of the big cities of the US with the aim of defending this police gimmick that occupies a choice place in their media "showcase" on crime and safety. Martin has thus made himself the mouthpiece of American mayors who "have the feeling" that curfews "have contributed to the current decline in juvenile delinquency". In reality, these programmes have no measurable impact on delinquency, which they merely displace. They are very onerous in personnel and resources as they make it necessary to arrest, process, transport and detain tens of thousands of youths every year who have not contravened any law. And far from being the object of a "local consensus", as Martin claims, they are vigorously fought in the courts on account of their discriminatory enforcement and their repressive purpose, which contributes to criminalising black and Latino youths in segregated neighbourhoods (13). One sees here how a police measure manages to generalise itself, each country invoking the "success" of the others as a pretext for adopting a technique of surveillance and harassment, which, although it fails everywhere, finds itself validated by the fact of its diffusion. It is through academic exchanges and publications that intellectual "smugglers" reformulate these categories in a sort of political science pidgin, sufficiently concrete to "hook" state officials and journalists anxious to "stick close to reality", but sufficiently abstract to strip those categories of any over-flagrant idiosyncrasy that would attach them to their original national context. And so these notions become semantic commonplaces where all those meet up who, across the boundaries of occupation, organisation, nationality and political affiliation, spontaneously think advanced neo-liberal society as it wishes to be thought. There is a striking illustration of this in Sophie Body-Gendrot's Cities Confront Insecurity: From American Ghettos to the French Banlieues (14). Her book is an exemplary specimen of false research on a false object, pre-constructed by the politicaljournalistic common sense of the day, "verified" by data gleaned from news magazine articles, opinion polls and official publications and "authenticated" by a few quick trips to the neighbourhoods incriminated. The title alone is a sort of prescriptive precis of the new state doxa on the question. It suggests what it is now de rigueur to think about the new police and penal rigour. Here we have all the ingredients of the pseudo political science that is gobbled up by the technocrats of ministerial staffs and the comment and analysis pages of the dailies. Everything that follows, a kind of catalogue of American cliches about France and French cliches about America, allows Body-Gendrot to present as a "middle way", the penal drift advocated by the current French socialist government if the country is to avert disaster. The back cover of the book declaims: "It is a matter of great urgency: in 'reinvesting' entire neighbourhoods, we are seeking to prevent the middle classes from sliding towards extreme political solutions [for which read the National Front]." (To which one must add: in reinvesting them with police officers, not with jobs.) Body-Gendrot also manages to tack on to French neighbourhoods with high concentrations of public housing the American mythology of the ghetto as territory of dereliction, and to force the ghettoised areas of New York City and Chicago into the French administrative fiction of the "sensitive neighbourhood". Hence we have a series of pendulum swings passing themselves off as an analysis. The US is utilised, not as one element in a methodical comparison but as a bogeyman and as a model to be imitated. By raising the spectre of "convergence", the US serves to elicit horror--- "the ghetto, never in our society!"---and to dramatise the discourse so as to justify taking "entire neighbourhoods" into police hands. It then remains only to take up the De Tocquevillian refrain of grass-roots citizen initiative to justify the importation into France of American techniques for the local enforcement of public order. Thus a new penal common sense, which has come from America, is being propagated in Europe. It centres on increased repression of minor offences, the hardening of penalties, the erosion of the specificity of the treatment of juvenile delinquency, the special targeting of populations and areas considered "at risk", and the deregulation of prison administration. All of tbis is in perfect harmony with neoliberal common sense on the economic and social front, which it completes and bolsters by disposing of any consideration of a political or civic kind in order to extend the economicist mode of reasoning, the imperative of individual responsibility - the flip side of which is collective irresponsibility - and the dogma of the efficiency of the market into the realm of crime and punishment. The expression "Washington consensus" is commonly used to designate the panoply of measures of "structural adjustment" imposed by the rulers of global finance on debtor nations as a condition for international aid (with the disastrous results that have recently been in glaring evidence in Russia and Asia), and, by extension, the neo-liberal economic policies that have triumphed in all advanced capitalist countries over the past two decades (15). It would be proper to enlarge this notion and to encompass in it the punitive treatment of the social insecurity and marginality that are the socio-logical consequences of such policies. And, just as France's socialist governments played a pivotal role in the mid-1980s in the international legitimation of submission to the market, today Jospin's administration finds itself poised in a strategic position to normalise, by lending it backing "from the left", the policing and carceral management of poverty in advanced society. references: (1) On the social conditions and mechanisms of cultural diffusion of this new planetary vulgate, whose fetish terms, seemingly shot up out of nowhere, are nowadays everywhere---globalisation, flexibility, multiculturalism, communitarianism, ghetto or underclass, and their "postmodem" cousins: identity, minority, ethnicity, fragmentation, etc.---see Pierre Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant, "On the Cunning of Impenalist Reason", Theory, Culture, Society 16:1, February 1999, pp. 41-57. (2) See Donziger, "Fear, Politics, and the Prison-lndustnal Complex", in The Real War on Cmne, Basic Books, New York, 1996, pp. 63-98. (3) Kelling and Coles, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities, The Free Press, New York, 1996. (4) Knobler and Bratton, Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic, Random House, New York, 1998. (5) Keith Dixon, Les Evangelistes du marche, tlditions Liber-Raisons d'agir, Paris, 1998. They have recently been joined by Demos, who plays a similar role from "across" the polidcal line. (6) Charles Murray, The Emerging British Underclass, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 1990. (7) Institute of Economic Affairs, Charles Murray and the Undercluss: The Developing Debate, IEA, London, 1995. (8) Alan Deacon (ed.), From Welfare to Work: Lessons from America, IEA, London, 1997. See also Loic Wacquant, "Quand M. Clinton 'refomme' la pauvrete", Le Monde diplomatique, September 1996. (9) Charles Murray (ed.), Does Prison Work?, IEA, London, 1997, p. 26. (10) Norman Dennis et al., Zero Tolerance: Policing a Free Society, IEA, London, 1997. See Tony Blair's declaration in the Guardian, 10 April 1997. Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology at Keele University, has provided invaluable infommation on thus subject. (11) The expressions in quotation marks are those of Beaumom and De Tocqueville, "The Penitentaq System in the United States and its Application in France," in Alexis de Tocqueville, Oeuvres completes, Gallimard, Paris, 1984, vol. IV, p. 11. (12) C. Lazerges and l.-P. Balduyck, Reponses a la d61inquance des mineurs, La documentation fran,caise, Paris, 1998, pp. 433-436. (13) Eg, Ruefle and Reynolds, ~Curfews and Delinquency in Major American Cibes", Crime and Delgnquency, 41:3, July 1995, pp, 347-363. (14) Sophie Body-Gendrot, Les Vilks facc a l"inse'curite', Paris, Bayard ltditions. 1998. "Banikue" is roughly equivalent to imier city in social terms. (15) Yves Dezalay and Bqumt Garth, "Le Washington consensus: contribubon a une sociologie de l'hegemonie du neoliberalisme", Actes dk la recherche en scienecs sociaks, DO. 121-122, March 1998.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies, Year 5, No. 13 (A summary of European and international drug policy news, from CORA, in Italy) Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999 10:02:07 +0200 To: CORAFax EN (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: CORAFax (email@example.com) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: CORAFax #13 (EN) ANTIPROHIBITIONIST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD .... Year 5 #13, April 1 1999 *** Weekly Action Report on Drug Policies Edited by the CORA - Radical Antiprohibitionist Coordination, federated to - TRP-Transnational Radical Party (NGO, consultive status, I) - The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War *** director: Vincenzo Donvito All rights reserved *** http://www.agora.it/coranet mailto:email@example.com *** CORA NEWS *** ITALY - After the declarations of the Major of Milan the CORA is tying to encourage him to transform those words into political stances. The CORA confides in the fact that this opinion is also supported by tens of administrators and police officers who work in the Major's staff. ITALY - A Ministerial decree has been enacted which regulates assistance to AIDS patients. Unfortunately it is capable of satisfying only 3 or 4% of addicted patients in jail who are waiting for methadone treatments. This goes against the principle that all people are in title to a good state of health. *** CLIPPINGS *** During the Geneva conference on harm reduction it was said that for a drug addict the risk of overdose during the first week after being released from jail is eight times greater than that undergone by addicts that have not been in jail. This is why a serious harm reduction policy is necessary also in prisons. In Italian prisons, where 30% of the prisoners are drug addicts, there still is no available methadone treatment. *** NEWS FROM THE WORLD *** 000560 01/04/99 EUROPE / SWITZERLAND CONSUMERS L'ESPRESSO Shops where can buy everything made with cannabis, from pasta to closet deodorants are opening almost everywhere in Switzerland. And Italians queue up to buy those products. *** 000564 25/03/99 ASIA / THAILAND HEALTH EL PAIS The UN will experiment for the first time a vaccine against AIDS on 2500 drug addicts who have not been infected by the HIV virus. *** 000565 25/03/99 E.U. / GB HEATH THE TIMES The Institute of Personnel and Development has performed a research on the abuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco during working hours. 46% of the firms that were interviewed has had news about alcohol abuse on the part of their employees; 18% knows also about drug abusage. These figures three years ago were respectively 35 and 15%. *** 000561 29/03/99 E.U. / GB JUSTICE THE TIMES The Minister of Interior, asked by a Court of Justice, answered that deportation of drug traffickers is a feasible solution in some cases, depending on the gravity of the crimes they have committed. *** 000562 25/03/99 E.U. / AUSTRIA LAWS DIE PRESSE A research conducted in Autumn '98 on 1.085 people over 16 year old shows that the Austrians want more severe repression of crimes such as rape, violence in the family, drunken driving and drug trafficking. *** 000563 26/03/99 E.U. / ITALY LAWS IL GIORNALE, IL MESSAGGERO / LA REPUBBLICA The Major of Milan, Gabriele Albertini, says that he tried smoking a joint when he was young and the prohibiting use of cannabis is certainly a bad solution to the drug problem. That of the General Prosecutor of Milan, Francesco Saverio Borrelli, who says that restrictive regulations can inflate the problem rather than reduce it, immediately echoed his declaration. *** 000568 08/04/99 E.U. / ITALY PERSONALITIES PANORAMA Pasquale Centore, a Mafia boss who was capable of dealing drugs with his Colombian rivals, has been arrested by the DIA of Milan. He used to be Major of a town near Caserta. *** 000566 24/03/99 E.U. / GB PUSHERS THE TIMES A report by The Times says that the Police of three Western European countries, together with Europol, are investigating the doubtful funding strategies of the Liberation Army of Kosovo: apparently it would include money from drug trafficking. *** 000567 27/03/99 ASIA / NORTH KOREA TRAFFICKERS HERALD TRIBUNE The American Ambassador in Seoul says that in an economically desperate North Korea the State, which is in every way a Mafia, would be using its diplomats and their briefcases to illegally export drugs. *** CORAFax 1999 -------------------------------------------------------------------
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