------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly Press Release (Michigan first state to force welfare applicants to pass drug tests; Mounties back Canadian marijuana decriminalization effort; Medical marijuana patients open with their doctors, survey shows; Congress spends $349,000 building, opening DEA museum) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 18:28:10 EDT Subject: NORML WPR 5/6/99 (II) To: undisclosed-recipients:; 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 May 6, 1999 *** Michigan First State To Force Welfare Applicants To Pass Drug Tests May 6, 1999, Lansing, MI: Welfare applicants must pass a drug test to receive financial aid, according to a new law signed by Gov. John Engler (R) last week. The measure, dubbed "Project Zero Tolerance," is the country's first to require drug testing as a condition of eligibility for public assistance. "It is unprecedented for a Legislature to single out low-income citizens and compel them to prove they are 'drug free' as a requirement for financial aid," NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. "This policy insults thousands of law abiding citizens and would probably not survive a constitutional challenge." House Bills 4090 and 4091 mandate Michigan's Family Independence Agency (FIA) to implement "a pilot program of substance abuse testing as a condition for family assistance eligibility" in three counties by October 1, 1999. Those already receiving financial aid will be subject to random testing to maintain their eligibility. The Legislature intends to expand the program to test all state welfare recipients by April 1, 2003. A fiscal impact report by the Senate estimated that implementing the pilot program could cost state taxpayers more than $1.6 million dollars. "This is an enormous waste of tax dollars that should be spent improving people's lives, not on punitive measures," Stroup said. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Organization for Women (NOW), Michigan affiliate, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Michigan, and others opposed the proposal. NORML Legal Committee member William Rittenberg of New Orleans criticized the drug testing program and said the NORML Foundation may challenge it in court. Rittenberg successfully struck down provisions of a 1997 Louisiana drug testing bill that required all residents receiving moneys from the state, including those holding state contracts, to pass a urine test. Congress amended federal law in 1996 to encourage states to drug test welfare recipients and deny financial aid to those who test positive. For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or William Rittenberg of the NORML Legal Committee @ (504) 524-5555. To download a copy of this legislation, please visit: http://michiganlegislature.org/isapi/nls_ax.dll/BillStatus?LegSession=1999 -2000&DocType=HB&BillNum=4090. *** Mounties Back Canadian Marijuana Decriminalization Effort May 6, 1999, Ottawa, Ontario: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced their support for a recent proposal to remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. "Law enforcement agencies are promoting, not hindering, the marijuana decriminalization movement in Canada," NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said. "Police know first hand that arresting marijuana smokers is a waste of time and resources." The RCMP said they "fully support" the position adopted last month by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in favor of decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses. The CACP recommended that first time marijuana offenders receive a ticket and pay a small fine in lieu of arrest or criminal penalties. Their proposal persuaded MP Keith Martin (Reform Party-Esquimalt) to introduce legislation in the House of Commons last week that would decriminalize marijuana. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. The RCMP's and the CACP's position statements on marijuana decriminalization appear online at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/html/rcmp-cacp99.htm. *** Medical Marijuana Patients Open With Their Doctors, Survey Shows May 6, 1999, Nimblin, New South Wales: Patients who use medical marijuana regularly discuss their use with their doctors, according to a recent survey reported by the Australian Associated Press. "Th[is] shows that general practitioners don't fly into a rage and chuck people out of their room when a patient talks about cannabis use," said researcher David Helliwell, who authored the survey. Helliwell analyzed responses from more than 200 medical marijuana users from Australia and overseas. He found that 63 percent of respondents had discussed their medical marijuana use with a health worker, and 50 percent had spoken to their local doctor. Patients in the survey reported using marijuana to treat conditions like nausea, chronic pain, muscle spasms, digestive disorders, glaucoma, AIDS wasting syndrome, depression, and pre-menstrual tension. A previous survey of AIDS specialists conducted by South Australia Drug and Alcohol Services Council found that 85 percent of them were aware of their patients medical marijuana use. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** Congress Spends $349,000 Building, Opening DEA Museum May 6, 1999, Washington, D.C.: Next week marks the grand opening of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum and Visitor Center, located in Arlington, Virginia. DEA officials say that the museum, paid for by a $349,000 Congressional appropriations, will provide an overview of "one of our nations worst problems, ... illegal drugs." NORML Foundation Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre called the exhibit a waste of taxpayer's dollars. "I encourage all citizens concerned about excessive government spending to urge their members of Congress to defund this fleecing of America," he said. Adam Smith, President of the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet), said his organization will hold a small rally in front of the museum on opening day to protest the exhibit, which he called "a monument to 25 years of taxpayer financed failure." DEA officials said that it will be open to the public by appointment only by calling (202) 307-3463. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Adam Smith of DRCNet @ (202) 293-8340. *** *THE DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION HOSTS ITS 12TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DRUG POLICY REFORM MAY 12-15 AT THE HOLIDAY INN, BETHESDA, MARYLAND. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL THE DPF @ (202) 537-5005.* - END -
------------------------------------------------------------------- A public-safety fix - about time (A staff editorial in the Oregonian says it's taken too long to build the monument to the newspaper's bias.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Thu, May 06 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: unsigned staff editorial A public-safety fix -- about time * County should protect public, reduce recidivism by keeping jail, drug-alcohol treatment promises Three years after Multnomah County officials told the public how desperately a new jail and secure drug- and alcohol-treatment beds were needed, the Board of Commissioners and sheriff finally appear ready to act. The agreement reached Tuesday between the commissioners and Sheriff Dan Noelle about site, security and operations is still tentative. It shouldn't be. This deal is just about where the parties were almost two years ago. It should have been reached in 1996, before the county asked the public to vote approval of $79.7 million in general obligation bonds for the facilities. The route to an acceptable site was roundabout and bumpy, but it ended up in the right place: 28 acres owned by the Port of Portland in the Rivergate industrial area. The route through the bureaucratic and political maze was equally difficult and delayed. Yet it, too, ended up in the right place. What the commissioners should approve today addresses a lot of important concerns, particularly legal points about the differences between security for a jail, where stay is involuntary, and for a treatment center, where patients stay by choice -- although their alternative usually is jail. All should have been worked out before the voters were asked to write a check. The agreement is Solomonlike in its simplicity: County Chairwoman Beverly Stein's director of community justice would be responsible for treatment and the patients inside the center. The sheriff would be responsible for security of the entire complex. Operational guidelines were drawn up, and the pair would be charged with working out details with an eye to solutions, not differences. Commissioners Lisa Naito and Serena Cruz deserve credit for stressing solutions instead of differences and for not accepting further delay. With the help of Circuit Judge Julie Frantz, District Attorney Mike Schrunk and public defender Jim Hennings, they finally brought the parties together. Most telling was Frantz's reminder that they shared the same goal -- addressing the county's need for jail and drug- and alcohol-treatment beds. That point shouldn't have taken three years to sink in.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pretty pictures, ugly habit (A letter to the editor of the Oregonian says the so-called anti-smoking posters that will soon fill the empty spots on billboards where cigarette advertising used to be will sell just as many cigarettes. Although the little missy says her handsome date's smoke is "carcinogenic," she's still very interested in him and he's still quite fetching.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Thu, May 06 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: Pat Emmerson, Southwest Portland Pretty pictures, ugly habit It's fitting that the so-called anti-smoking posters will soon fill the empty spots on billboards where cigarette advertising used to be. I have thought from their debut that those anti-smoking posters would sell cigarettes as well as the others. Their images are the same, and the messages are the same, despite the words. "Bob" might say he misses his lung, but the picture shows it doesn't affect his life much. He's still riding handsomely into the sunset. The guy with emphysema still looks healthy and active, and although the little missy says her handsome date's smoke is "carcinogenic," she's still very interested in him and he's still quite fetching. A picture, truly, is worth a thousand words. It doesn't take a high-level semiotician to figure that out.
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Gauge Of Distress With Public Schools (An op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle by drug warrior Joseph A Califano Jr. of CASA says parents are sending a powerful message they want out of schools that cannot protect their children's safety, let alone teach them. Schools like those in Washington, D.C., where the financial control board concluded that the longer students stay in school, the "less likely they are to succeed educationally.") Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 14:23:44 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: A Gauge Of Distress With Public Schools Joseph A. Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom O'Connell) Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ Page: A27 A GAUGE OF DISTRESS WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS JOSEPH A. CALIFANO JR. I HAVE WITNESSED decades of an education debate in which warring statistics and clashing studies often serve more to obscure than to illuminate. But on April 21, something extraordinary happened. A new verdict rocked the educational establishment. It was issued not by a government agency, a think tank or a court of law, but by parents of 1.25 million low-income children who applied to the Children's Scholarship Fund for the chance to send their children to the public, private or parochial school of their choice. I joined the fund's board because I knew that every one of the 40,000 partial, K-8 grade scholarships the fund offered would make a difference in the lives of young children. But in offering this opportunity, we have uncovered an alarming level of distress among low-income parents and a demand for a decent education for their children. Consider this wake-up call: -- Scholarship applicants came from all 50 states and from 22,000 communities representing 90 percent of all counties. -- While scholarships were offered nationally, in many urban school districts a quarter to more than a third of the eligible children applied: 33 percent in Washington; 26 percent in Atlanta; nearly 20 percent in Los Angeles. Now that's demand. -- Parents were so eager to secure a better choice for their children that they were asking to pay $1,000 a year on average to supplement the four-year scholarship. These parents are sending a powerful message. They want out of schools that cannot protect their children's safety, let alone teach them. Schools like those in Washington, D.C., where the financial control board concluded that the longer students stay in school, the ``less likely they are to succeed educationally.'' This tidal wave of applications from parents desperate to give their children an opportunity to receive a quality education must serve as a wake-up call. The ideal of equality of opportunity in this country is predicated on a system of education that puts all children at the same starting line. Today the realities of public education have become dangerously alienated from this ideal. By quarantining poor, mostly minority children in schools affluent families would never tolerate, we do not preserve the institution of public education; we dishonor its guiding ideal. Philanthropists, like this fund's founder Ted Forstmann, will undoubtedly continue to do all they can to help. But if more than another 40,000, more than even 1.25 million children are to be helped, we cannot rely on the private sector. Ultimately the public school system must change. But the fund, by expanding education options can help children out of bad situations and can prompt the system, through competition, to start making overdue repairs. Joseph A Califano is president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare from 1977 to 1979.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Colorado School Shooting Jumpstarts Federal Efforts For School Drug Testing (Drug Detection Report: The Newsletter on Drug Testing in the Workplace, says several bills have been introduced in Congress in reaction to the shooting tragedy April 20 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Although the only drug involved in the incident was a pharmaceutical antidepressant, national leaders, illustrating their characteristic ignorance and demogoguery, are blaming carnage in schools on drug abuse, which they want addressed through drug-testing programs.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:17:10 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Colorado School Shooting Jumpstarts Federal Efforts For School Drug Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Peter Webster Pubdate: Thur, 6 May 1999 Source: Drug Detection Report: The Newsletter on Drug Testing in the Workplace Address: 8737 Colesville Road, Suite 1100 Silver Spring, MD 20910-3928 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.bpinews.com/hr/pages/ddr.htm Copyright: Business Publishers, Inc. Fax: (301) 587-4530 Page: 65 COLORADO SCHOOL SHOOTING JUMPSTARTS FEDERAL EFFORTS FOR SCHOOL DRUG TESTING In the wake of the shooting tragedy in a Colorado high school, national leaders are looking for ways to stop the carnage in American schools, including curbing drug abuse in schools through drug-testing programs. During the lunch hour at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, two high school students armed with guns and explosives went on a shooting rampage, killing 10 students and a teacher, before taking their own lives. The students - Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold - were part of an outcast group called the trench coat mafia, a group known for wearing dark clothing, hating the school's athletes and having a fascination with violence and Nazism. As a result of this tragedy, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., has stepped up the call for passage of legislation he reintroduced in March - S. 638 - to be used to help schools buy security-related technology. The bill also would establish a school security center at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico that would be a resource for schools throughout the country. This effort includes equipment to instantly detect the presence of illegal drugs, as well as devices to prevent unauthorized people from entering school property. The drug detection technologies include hair specimen onsite drug testing for ingestion of illicit drugs. In addition, chemical sensing platforms developed by Sandia - known as surface acoustic wave devices or integrated acoustic chemical sensors - can detect illicit drugs on the skin. The devices are coated with a film to collect chemical species of interest and sensor systems can detect trace levels of airborne drugs or other contaminants. Sandia conducted trials of some of its school security devices at an Albuquerque, N.M., high school and found significantly reduced violence and other problems at the school. The Bingaman bill passed the Senate last year as part of a major budget bill but had to be deleted at the last minute. House Bills Call for Random Testing Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, two measures have been introduced that would promote drug testing in high schools. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., has proposed a measure that authorizes the Education Department to provide matching grants to state and local education agencies that want to develop and implement random drug-testing programs. According to the proposal, parents would be informed of the details of the random program, including notification of their right to withdraw their child from participation. Funding, which would go towards children in grades 7-12, would be based on the previous year's enrollment in those grades. Each local education agency would be given the authority to contract with outside sources to implement the drug testing programs. A cap would be placed on the percentage of funds that could be used for federal, state and local administrative costs. At a minimum, the drug tests should screen for the following drugs: marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), opiates, amphetamines and cocaine. The primary focus of the funding should be illicit drug testing, Peterson said, but any excess funds could go toward more comprehensive testing, such as for steroids. Excess funding also could go for other types of detection such as drug sniffing dogs. Peterson's legislation - the "Empowering Parents to Fight Drugs Act of 1999" - would ensure that parents receive any positive results from their children's drug tests, while the schools would be required to make a good faith effort to protect the confidentiality of those results. Medical review officers would be employed or contracted with to interpret results, inform parents of positive results and identify resources and services for rehabilitation and education within the community. At the same time, Rep. James Rogan, R-Calif., has introduced a bill that would establish random drug testing programs for students in grades 9-12 whose parents have requested such tests. Rogan is calling for $500 million, which would be distributed through a 50 percent population/50 percent poverty formula to the states, which would then set up the programs. Under the bill - the Parental Consent Drug Testing and Counseling Act - test results will be provided to parents in confidence, and will not be distributed to law enforcement agencies. If a test is positive, another test must be available for the parents to consent to from five to seven months after the initial test. Tests for children who test positive a second time will be provided every four to six weeks until parents stop requesting the tests. For more information, contact: Steve Martin of Sandia National Laboratory at (505) 844-9723, or Jeffrey Solsby for Rep. James Rogan at (202) 225-4176.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dead, Dead, Dead (The Houston Chronicle recounts events leading up to the shooting death of Pedro Oregon by six Houston prohibition agents who broke into his apartment without a search warrant, particularly in view of other such killings in the past that were also perceived as racist by many in the community.) Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 20:20:13 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US TX: Dead, Dead, Dead Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: G. A ROBISON Pubdate: Thu, 6 May 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: Steve McVicker Note: Our newshawk has kindly supplied instructions to view the article from the Houston Chronicle archive due to the delay in getting this posted www.houstonpress.com/1999/050699/feature1.html. Press the button for "10 years", then scroll to Dead Dead Dead for the article. DEAD, DEAD, DEAD The police killings of Pedro Oregon, Ida Lee Delaney and Bryon Gillum By Steve McVicker The man in the sport coat didn't look like a revolutionary, but he sounded like one. Standing in the hallway of the Harris County Courthouse, Aaron Ruby was fuming for the press corps gathered to cover the latest chapter in the police killing of Pedro Oregon. In court, a police informant had just explained that Oregon's brother was a drug dealer. That, Ruby declared, was "clearly a fabrication by the prosecution in order to cover up the fact that [the police] murdered a young man, shooting him twelve times from behind, after illegally breaking into his apartment." Ruby belonged to the Justice for Pedro Oregon Coalition, which formed last July after Houston police officers conducting an ill-conceived narcotics raid shot and killed Oregon. But his rhetoric, crackling with words such as "outrage" and "complete farce," echoed that generated by police killings from a decade before. In 1989, in two separate incidents, Houston officers shot and killed both Ida Lee Delaney and Byron Gillum: Both were black; neither death seemed justified. The shootings stunned a city that believed its police force -- once racist and out of control -- had been tamed. Almost a decade later, Pedro Oregon's killing provokes the same questions: Is our police force racist? Can our cops be trusted? What has gone wrong when they're killing the very citizens they're supposed to protect? *** The hangdog expression on Ryan Baxter's face said it all. The 28-year-old convicted cokehead would rather be anywhere than the witness stand. But there he was, dressed in an orange jail uniform, in need of a shave, looking like he could use a few minutes alone with crack pipe. Instead, he found himself at center stage of the Harris County misdemeanor court of Judge Neel Richardson. Baxter had been called to explain his role in the Oregon shooting. Late on a Saturday afternoon, on July 11, 1998, Baxter testified, he and two friends drove around Gulfton's decaying apartment complexes in search of a cheap high. First they bought an 18-pack of beer at a gas station. Then they scored $35 worth of crack -- five rocks -- which they smoked in a makeshift pipe fashioned from an aluminum can bent in half. Baxter, sitting in the front passenger seat, downed a couple of Bud Lights. As the crack's glow faded, the trio craved more. Around 8 p.m., they drove back to the heart of Gulfton. This time two members of the Houston Police Department's southwest gang task force stopped them, pulling them over near the intersection of Atwell and Bellaire. The officers noticed the beer and the fact that one of Baxter's friends was underage. They noticed the small piece of screen that was part of the jerry-rigged crack pipe. And they also noticed, when they ran a criminal-history check on their mobile computer, that Baxter was on probation for drug possession. Baxter was in big trouble. The possible charges -- public intoxication, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession of drug paraphernalia -- would be enough to have his probation revoked, enough to send him back to jail. He rode in back of the squad car to the police department's Gulfton outpost on Renwick, a sort of mini-police-station. And he concluded that his only hope of avoiding jail time was to offer the police a better collar than himself. Around 10 p.m. the officers who'd driven Baxter to the substation met with their sergeant. Officers James Willis and Pete Herrada, both 28, told Sergeant Darrell Strouse, 34, that Baxter was willing to make a deal: He'd set up his dealer, allegedly Rogelio Oregon, in exchange for his own freedom. Houston Police Department policy prohibits using an informant under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but the cops chose to act on Baxter's information. It was the first in a series of mistakes that would cost six police officers their jobs and Pedro Oregon his life. Using a police cell phone, Baxter arranged to buy more crack in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box, but the dealer never showed. Baxter then agreed to take six officers to what he said was his dealer's residence, the Mark V Apartments, a rundown complex at 6711 Atwell. As the other officers waited below, Herrada and Baxter climbed a flight of stairs. With Herrada positioned to one side of Apartment 16's door, Baxter knocked softly several times. No one answered. After about five minutes the mission was aborted. The frustrated officers returned to the Gulfton storefront and were preparing to haul Baxter to jail. But then the cell phone rang. According to Baxter, it was his dealer. The desperate informant quickly made arrangements for a new buy. Once again the six officers converged on the Mark V Apartments. At approximately 1:30 a.m., they lined up, one behind the other, at the bottom of the stairway leading to Apartment 16. Once again Baxter knocked. This time the door opened. "What's up, vato?" Baxter asked Rogelio Oregon. Then Baxter dropped to the ground in a way that prevented the door from being closed -- just what Willis had told him to do. In a kind of chain reaction, the officers rushed up the staircase, over Baxter's back and into the apartment. First Herrada, then Willis. Then Officer David Perkins, 30, followed by Officers D.R. Barrera, 28, and L.E. Tillery, 30. Sergeant Strouse brought up the rear. According to police investigators, as the officers rushed in, a second man in the apartment, Rogelio's brother Pedro, ran through the hallway toward a back room. As he did, one officer yelled that the fleeing man had a gun. At almost the same time, a shot rang out, and Tillery, struck in the side, fell to the ground. Later the other officers would find out that they hadn't been fired upon, that instead, Barrera had accidentally discharged his weapon. But later would be too late. During the brief, one-sided gun battle that followed, officers fired 33 times at Oregon. According to investigators, 24 of those shots came from Barrera, who paused to reload his pistol. When the smoke cleared, Pedro Oregon, a 22-year-old father of two, lay dead. He'd been struck by 12 bullets, nine of them in his back. A gun lay on the floor near Oregon's body, but no drugs were found in the apartment. Last fall, after several weeks of hearing evidence, a grand jury returned only a single charge against only one of the officers: criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, filed against Willis. An internal police investigation was more critical. In November Houston police chief Clarence Bradford held a press conference to announce the firing of the six officers. Pedro Oregon's killing, Bradford said, was the most egregious case of police misconduct he'd seen in his 20 years with the department. Mayor Lee Brown echoed Bradford's displeasure. The firings, he said, were "proof that our system of justice is the fairest and most democratic in the world." "In my opinion, Texas state laws were violated, and the United States Constitution was violated." -- Police chief Clarence Bradford Needless to say, activists such as Aaron Ruby were far from satisfied. Pedro Oregon -- a man not accused of a crime -- lay dead, and the cops who'd entered his apartment without a search warrant and wrongly shot him had merely lost their jobs. Instead of being charged with murder, only one -- one! -- was charged with trespassing. This, the activists asked, was the fairest and most democratic system of justice in the world? *** Nine years earlier, Lee Brown himself had been police chief and had faced his own crisis of public confidence. In the predawn hours of October 31, 1989, 24-year-old Alex Gonzales, an intoxicated off-duty HPD officer, after an all-night drinking binge, was cruising the freeways with two other off-duty officers. At the time, HPD had no policy forbidding an intoxicated off-duty officer from carrying a weapon. After leaving a bar early that morning, Gonzales's attention fell on Ida Lee Delaney, a Houston Post employee driving to work, when she abruptly pulled in front of the car in which he was a passenger. In a fit of rage, Gonzales and the two other officers chased Delaney down a 13-mile stretch of freeway. Apparently in fear for her life, with no way of knowing that the men were police, she fired several shots before finally pulling over. When she did, Delaney shot and wounded Gonzales; he, in turn, shot and killed her. Less than a month later, Scott Tschirhart, a white HPD officer who'd previously been involved in several questionable shootings and the beating of a handcuffed prisoner, stopped Byron Gillum, a black security guard, for speeding. Tschirhart went back to his patrol car and from his mobile computer sent a message asking the dispatcher to find some reason for the officer to arrest Gillum "because he has an attitude." The dispatcher found nothing. Tschirhart later said he believed the security guard was reaching for a pistol that lay on the front seat of the his car. The officer shot Gillum six times, including four times in the back. Witnesses said that Gillum was on his hands and knees, trying to crawl away, as Tschirhart fired his final shots. Ada Edwards believed that the two deaths weren't isolated incidents. HPD officers, she thought, had systematic problems dealing with women and minorities. Edwards, who'd worked in protest movements such as an antiapartheid campaign against South Africa, was a product of the California '60s. And so, naturally, she helped organize a protest group, the Ida Lee Delaney/Byron Gillum Justice Committee. Under her direction, the committee held numerous street protests and converged on City Hall to condemn the shootings and insist on change. The group demanded that HPD become more ethnically diverse, that officers receive more sensitivity training and that the city create a powerful civilian review board to investigate police matters. The committee wanted the department to change "how officers were recruited, maintained, evaluated and the whole bit," says Edwards. "For us, it became bigger than Byron Gillum and Ida Delaney." The committee never got the review board it wanted. Instead, it saw the creation of the Civilian Review Committee, which reviews internal police reports about officer misconduct and passes its recommendations on to the chief. But Chief Bradford believes the department was indeed changed by the Gillum and Delaney shootings, that the Houston Police Department is now a more diverse and open organization and that officers themselves are now less tolerant of misconduct by their colleagues. And Bradford himself does not take the position that his officers could do no wrong, or even that the Oregon shooting was within the legal bounds of police work. "I know what the department policies are, and I have reviewed the law in the areas that concern the Pedro Oregon case," says Bradford. "And I am confident in saying that, in my opinion, Texas state laws were violated, and the United States Constitution was violated." Edwards, now 54, has allied herself with an even bigger organization: She's now the field coordinator for the Harris County Democratic Party. "My life is 'power to the people,' " she says. "If you don't have it, somebody's stealing it from you." She sees the most obvious parallel between the Gillum and Delaney cases and Pedro Oregon's: cops killing civilians for no good reason. But she doesn't think that the three high-profile incidents are the only such outrages in the decade. "If you look at the times in between," she says, "you will see several similar cases, like the young white brother who was shot in Bellaire. I think it just takes us about ten years to get over the big ones. In the meantime, it's like, 'Oh, shit, I'm so tired of this.' But once you go through that grieving period as a community and it hits again, it's like, 'Damn!' " *** In Harris County it's not easy to indict a cop for a criminal offense, much less to send one to prison. Alex Gonzales was indicted in the shooting of Ida Lee Delaney and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison, but the verdict was overturned, and in a new trial in 1995 he received only 180 days in jail, a probated two-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. No charges were ever filed against Scott Tschirhart for the shooting of Byron Gillum. After being dismissed from the police department, Tschirhart moved back home to Medina County, west of San Antonio, to work as a sheriff's deputy. But in both the Delaney and Gillum cases, the City of Houston eventually paid large sums to settle civil lawsuits brought by the victims' families: $650,000 to the Delaneys, $350,000 to the Gillums. The out-of-court settlements were tantamount to an admission that the city's police department should have had better control of its officers. It's still possible that federal criminal charges could be filed in the Oregon case. But the Oregon family members also hope for vindication in civil court -- even as they were protesting the unfairness of the county's criminal prosecution. In March, when an all-white jury found Willis not guilty of even the trespassing charge, the Oregon family's two big-name attorneys, Richard Mithoff and Paul Nugent, held a press conference after the trial. They declared that Oregon was basically murdered, and they pointed to a sworn statement by one of the officers, David Perkins, in which he says he never saw Pedro Oregon with a gun. The district attorney's office, the lawyers complained, had basically thrown the case. The lawyers further criticized the prosecutors for basing their case against Willis on the testimony of Ryan Baxter, whom Nugent repeatedly called a "crackhead." It was Baxter, of course, who explained why the cops had come to the Oregon apartment in the first place, and Nugent and Mithoff were obviously concerned that a civil jury might hesitate to award a large sum of money to an alleged drug dealer. "From the beginning, the police and the D.A.'s office were out to taint [the Oregon] family name," Nugent complained. Such criticism doesn't bother Johnny Holmes -- the cussing, death-penalty-loving prosecutor with the handlebar moustache -- who headed the county district attorney's office both during the Delaney and Gillum cases and now. Prosecutors are often accused of being reluctant to press cases against the cops, their natural allies in the day-to-day war against criminals. And in the Oregon case, even before the grand jury had concluded its investigation, Holmes's comments seemed to indicate that his heart wasn't in the prosecution, bullets in the back or no bullets in the back. "An analogy I use," he told the Houston Chronicle, "is that if it is okay to kill a guy dead, it is okay to kill him dead, dead, dead." But the criticism stings the prosecutor directly in charge of the case -- the same assistant district attorney who, as a member of the D.A.'s civil rights division, investigated the deaths of Ida Delaney and Byron Gillum. "I'm really irritated about [Mithoff and Nugent] saying this was a whitewash," says Edward Porter. "I believed in my case. I tried my case. I believed my theory of prosecution was the best we could come up with. The jury decided he was not guilty, and so be it. That's what the jury's function is." Mithoff and Nugent charge that had Porter really wanted to win a conviction against Willis he would have offered testimony about the proper way to conduct a drug investigation. Porter responds that he did talk with members of HPD's narcotics division. Those officers, he says, told him that the tactic known as "knock and talk," which was used in the Oregon case, is employed often by HPD officers. They just don't usually have a drunk, unregistered informant doing the knocking and talking. Porter indicates that he, too, was surprised that the grand jury chose to indict only Willis, and only for trespassing; Porter had prepared indictments on every charge except that one. But why only Willis? Why trespassing? Porter, in retrospect, can explain the grand jury's reasoning. In police work, officers must trust fellow officers to make the right decisions. When the line of cops along the stairs outside Oregon's apartment started moving, only Herrada and Willis could see what was happening inside. Of the two of them, only Willis knew that Baxter was going to fall to the ground. When Herrada saw Baxter drop, he could reasonably assume that something had gone dangerously wrong and that he had reason to enter the apartment. But Willis had no such justification, thus the grand jury's trespassing indictment. Porter, though, wanted and expected more. The way the officers went about their business, he says, makes no sense. If Baxter said Oregon's brother had been selling him drugs for three years, why did the cops rush to the apartment that very night? Why didn't they check their computers to see whether anything in the criminal data banks supported the story? Why didn't they do surveillance to see whether the traffic in and out of the apartment seemed suspicious? Why did they appoint an unauthorized informant to knock on the door? "It's because they didn't want to do the nuts-and-bolts police work," Porter says. "The problem with that type of police work is that it's not very exciting." Staying within the parameters of the good sense of departmental guidelines can be boring, says Porter, but if the officers who shot Delaney, Gillum and Oregon had either stayed within those parameters or used their common sense, all three victims might still be alive today.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legal Marijuana Debate Continues (A letter to the editor of the Jordan Independent by Paul M. Bischke of the Drug Policy Reform Group of Minnesota rebuts misinformation about cannabis imparted last March by Aaron P. Fredrickson of the Minnesota Family Council at a legislative hearing on a proposed medical-marijuana bill.) Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 12:38:59 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US MN: PUB LTE: Legal Marijuana Debate Continues Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul M. Bischke) Pubdate: Thur 6 May 1999 Source: Jordan Independent (MN) Contact: email@example.com Address: 109 Rice St. S., Jordan, MN 55352 Website: http://www.jordannews.com/ Author: Paul M. Bischke LEGAL MARIJUANA DEBATE CONTINUES To the editor: In mid-March, several seriously ill Minnesotans bared their souls before a legislative committee, often in tears, to explain the unique benefits they derived from using marijuana medicinally and the anguish they suffered due to the severe criminalization of their medicine. Immediately thereafter, Aaron P. Fredrickson of the Minnesota Family Council responded in cold indifference to their medical and legal plight with a canned reefer-madness statement fraught with distortions akin to those in his April 22, 1999 guest editorial. Fredrickson is pharmacologically wrong and religiously wrongheaded. The recent Institute of Medicine report commissioned by the federal government confirms those patients' experience: marijuana is medicinally beneficial. Smoking delivers the medicinal compounds rapidly and, where nausea is concerned, in a uniquely useful way (cancer patients with severe vomiting may simply regurgitate pills) and the amount of smoke involved is generally medically inconsequential. Contrary to Fredrickson's innuendo about marijuana as a criminogenic substance, marijuana actually inhibits aggression (see the February 1994 Dept. of Justice comprehensive study 'Psychoactive Substances and Violence' by Dr. Jeffrey Roth). It is true, however, that the same persons willing to skirt drug laws may act in other risky ways, as well. There is a similar correlation between cigarette smoking and criminality (see 'America's Longest War' by Duke and Gross, Jeremy Tarcher Press, 1993), but neither correlation demonstrates causation. One might expect intolerant right-wing extremists to prevaricate to gain political control, but such conduct ill befits an organization whose stated purpose is "the preservation of traditional Judaeo-Christian values," as the Minnesota Family Council claims. First, traditional Judaeo-Christian values clearly forbid the withholding of useful medicines from the sick. Second, the Judaeo-Christian tradition insists that the whole of the created order is good, including the cannabis sativa plant (commonly called hemp or marijuana) that Mr. Fredrickson so despises. Like the rest of creation, it can be put to pro-social, anti-social, or morally neutral uses. Medicine is clearly pro-social. Third, lying to our kids by denying marijuana's pro-social uses in order to dissuade them from anti-social uses cannot be justified in Christian morality. In relation to pleasure drugs, the traditional Christian standard is the virtue of temperance (it is certain forms of Islam that advocate enforced abstinence). Moderate and responsible use of pleasure drugs is acceptable in Christian morality. In some cases, temperance demands abstinence (for kids, drivers, and expectant mothers), but in general Christianity judges temperate use as good. If there are pleasure drugs for which temperance is truly impossible (and this may be so), we must ascertain this in the just climate of truthfulness and respond with prudence informed by compassion. So far, America has not done this. In light of the Christian virtue of prudence, the Drug War that Mr. Fredrickson so heartily endorses cannot be morally justified exactly because abstinence enforcement creates more social evils than it prevents (for example, crime, disease, urban decay, unjust punishments, corruption, legal inequity, and the withholding of useful medicines). Bringing pleasure drugs under civil regulation is not an 'outrageous agenda,' as Fredrickson purports, but rather a necessary process to restore social order under the wise counsel of the Four Cardinal Virtues of the Christian tradition. The Minnesota Family Council would do well to abandon its strident and ill-reasoned intolerance and adopt St. Augustine's advice for responding to intemperance: "such things are cured not by bitterness, severity and harshness, but by teaching rather than prohibition, by gentle admonitions rather than threats." Paul M. Bischke, Drug Policy Reform Group of Minnesota St. Paul
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Issue To Go To the Voters in Maine (The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report says the Maine house of representatives defeated a bill Monday to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, setting the stage for a statewide referendum on the issue in November. State Rep. Thomas Kane, the co-chair of the committee that considered the bill, said, "People essentially felt that it ought to be a referendum issue and we should let the people speak on it.") From: Mireille Jacobson (MJacobson@sorosny.org) To: TLC_CANNABIS (TLCCANNABIS@sorosny.org) Subject: FW: Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report -- Medical MJ Issue to go the voters in Maine Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 10:12:20 -0400 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org KAISER DAILY HIV/AIDS REPORT A news service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation http://report.kff.org/aidshiv/ Thursday, May 6, 1999 #2 MEDICAL MARIJUANA: VOTERS TO MAKE FINAL CALL IN MAINE Without debate Monday, the Maine House defeated a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, "set[ting] the stage for a statewide referendum on the issue in November." State Rep. Thomas Kane (D), co-chair of the committee that considered the bill, said, "People essentially felt that it ought to be a referendum issue and we should let the people speak on it." The AP/Foster's Daily Democrat reports that the bill's prospects in the Senate "appear equally bleak." The bill would allow residents who "can document that they have any of several specific illnesses and are under the care of a doctor" to possess 1.25 ounces of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants. Referendum campaign organizer Myron Lindey "said it is impossible to predict how much support the bill will have when it goes to the voters because 'nobody knows how the public in general feels'" (AP/Foster's Daily Democrat, 5/4). *** The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation by National Journal Group Inc. Copyright 1999 by National Journal Group Inc., 1501 M St., N.W., Washington, DC 20005. All rights reserved. Phone: 202-672-5990, Fax: 202-672-5767 E-mail: email@example.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Patricia Miller EDITOR: Amy Paulson ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Rosalee Sanchez STAFF WRITERS: Jeff Dufour, Charmaine Marosi, Allison Morgan, Adam Pasick
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legalize It! (The Fairfield County Weekly praises the activist efforts of the Connecticut Cannabis Policy Forum and says CCPF will stoke the fires once again this Saturday, May 8, when it presents "Marijuana Prohibition: Why It Must End" at Yale University.) Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 21:00:04 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CT: Legalize It! Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Tom Von Deck Pubdate: Thur, 06 may 1999 Source: Fairfield County Weekly (CT) Copyright: 1999 New Mass. Media, Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/ Author: Stefanie Ramp LEGALIZE IT! Short Takes The marijuana law reform group Connecticut Cannabis Policy Forum (CCPF) proved its potential as a valuable educational resource and well-spoken tour de force for change at the JOHNES Festival last month. The JOHNES (Join Our Hemp Nation Earth Day Spectacular) successfully gathered several thousand activist citizens for a day-long dialogue about the failings of contemporary marijuana policies. CCPF will stoke the fires once again this Saturday when it presents "Marijuana Prohibition: Why It Must End" at Yale's Dwight Hall. CCPF executive director Mike Gogulski, who's also the news editor for the Media Awareness Project of DrugSense, was a dynamic speaker for JOHNES and will undoubtedly work his open-minded magic at this event. He will be joined by speakers Mark Braunstein, the Connecticut plaintiff in the current federal class action lawsuit for medical marijuana, and John Kardaras, an attorney and an activist with Community-Based Solutions. The event is focused on separating marijuana fact from fiction, clarifying who benefits from marijuana prohibition and at what cost, considering why public opinion is turning away from prohibition, and solidifying ideas on how the law can be changed. "The most important thing to do right now is get the message out because people buy the government line about marijuana and are afraid of any change in policy because they think it's going to harm their children," said Gogulski, who moonlights as a data communications engineer in New Haven. "We believe that the current policy harms their children--the health risks of jail are far greater than the health risks of smoking marijuana." The CCPF seeks a regulated, though decriminalized, system of controlling marijuana use. "People's lives should not be tainted by criminal convictions or criminal sanctions for the use of something which, were it a different period in history, would not even be a crime." Gogulski said. "We as taxpayers, at the federal level alone, are paying $9 billion a year to keep marijuana illegal, and there's no good reason for it. Marijuana has been scientifically shown [in a recently released and damning study commissioned by the federal government itself] to be less harmful than alcohol, less harmful than tobacco, both of which are legal drugs." The study also showed marijuana has medical value, is not very addictive and did not lead to the use of harder drugs. Whatever your stance on marijuana, you owe it to yourself to have all the facts before constructing your personal ideology--CCPF is the place to get educated. Marijuana Prohibition: Why It Must End takes place on May 8, 3-5 p.m., at Dwight Hall, Yale campus, 67 High St., New Haven. Call (203) 787-7157 for more information or visit the CCPF website at www.ccpf.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- General Doubts: Sparking Up The Medical-Marijuana Debate With Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey (The Boston Phoenix says there's a thick cloud of smoke trailing the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy these days. The Institute of Medicine report released March 17 and authorized by McCaffrey himself was widely seen as embarrassing to the drug czar. D'oh. After piling on the rhetoric, General McCaffrey now finds himself spinning and backpedaling at the same time. Critics believe McCaffrey's hesitancy to embrace marijuana's potential medical benefits undermines his credibility with the public, which is increasingly supportive of medical marijuana. In other words, America's most significant drug discussion is already progressing - with or without the assistance of the country's highest-ranking drug official.) Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 19:02:43 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: MA: General Doubts: Sparking Up The Medical-Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Tom Clark Pubdate: Thursday, 06 May 1999 Source: Boston Phoenix (MA) Copyright: 1999 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.phx.com/ Author: Jason Gay, firstname.lastname@example.org General Doubts SPARKING UP THE MEDICAL-MARIJUANA DEBATE WITH DRUG CZAR BARRY MCCAFFREY There's a thick cloud of smoke trailing US drug czar General Barry McCaffrey these days: a recent government-funded report on medical marijuana that concluded, among other things, that marijuana possesses "potential therapeutic value" for people suffering from cancer, AIDS wasting, and other serious illnesses. Released in March, the $896,000 report, directed by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and authorized by McCaffrey himself, was widely seen as embarrassing to the drug czar, who had previously derided medical marijuana as a "cruel hoax that sounds like something out of a Cheech and Chong show." D'oh. After piling on the rhetoric, General McCaffrey, whose official title is Director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, now finds himself spinning and backpedaling at the same time. While gently praising the IOM report, he plays down its conclusions about therapeutic effectiveness, and continues to insist that medical marijuana is a "peripheral issue" in the national drug-policy debate. "I think he's shuffling pretty fast," says Tom Clark, an epidemiologist with Health Addictions Research, Inc., a Boston-based drug-abuse research group. "He's poking his way around various minefields, because the IOM report's findings are not what he wanted to hear." Critics such as Clark believe that McCaffrey's hesitancy to embrace marijuana's potential as medicine undermines his credibility with the public, which is increasingly supportive of medical marijuana. Surveys have consistently shown that between 60 and 80 percent of Americans back legalization for medical purposes. Voters in seven states have approved measures legalizing medical marijuana, with more states expected to put it to a vote this November. In other words, America's most significant drug discussion is already progressing -- with or without the assistance of the country's highest-ranking drug official. "McCaffrey's forcing the [medical-marijuana] issue downstream to states and communities that have to deal with reality, and not bullshit," says Michael Cutler, a Brookline attorney who coordinates the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, an organization of law-enforcement officials opposed to current national drug policies. "He's attempting to stop the conversation, but the conversation is happening all around him. He's making himself more and more irrelevant." McCaffrey doesn't see it this way, of course. Last Thursday, April 29, in the midst of a day-long visit to Boston that included speeches at Harvard and Suffolk Universities, McCaffrey told the Phoenix that time will show he's actually been receptive to medical marijuana. He said he supports the IOM report's recommendation that the government promote the creation of alternative delivery systems to smoked marijuana, such as inhalers, pills, patches, and gels. In the interim, McCaffrey said, he also intends to permit limited, carefully monitored studies of terminally ill patients who smoke marijuana for relief. "Two years from now," McCaffrey said, "when I leave office and you give me a polygraph at that time, I will pass the polygraph test that [asks me] `Did I embrace the report and move to implement its findings?' " Still, this drug czar isn't about to belly up to the bong. During a brief interview after his Harvard speech, McCaffrey chose to stress the IOM report's warning that smoking marijuana could lead to respiratory illness and other diseases. He maintained that the report didn't find marijuana to have anything more than mild pain-relief capabilities, saying there's "no indication that there's anything in marijuana that has curative powers." Finally, and most vehemently, McCaffrey disputed suggestions that the report dismisses the long-held theory that marijuana serves as a "gateway" to other, harder drugs. "The report was quite clear -- it said you can't demonstrate a causal linkage between smoking a lot of pot in grade school and injecting heroin in your 30s, but the statistical correlations are overwhelming," said McCaffrey. "And the report did say that if you want to see the statistical predictors [of hard drug use], early and extensive marijuana use is one of them." Comments like these only frustrate McCaffrey's critics, who see the drug czar, on the defensive because of the report, twisting its conclusions in order to dilute its impact. "The facts have shifted, and now he's shifting his arguments to fit," says Michael Cutler. Take McCaffrey's comments about the statistical correlations between youthful marijuana smoking and later hard-drug use, Cutler says. Such neat correspondences are red meat for marijuana skeptics, no doubt, but they're not necessarily meaningful. To borrow an oft-used example, the majority of adults who use motorcycles rode bikes as children. Does that mean that children who ride bikes are more likely to ride motorcycles as adults than children who do not? Probably. But few would suggest that bicycles are a "gateway" to motorcycle use; many other factors are involved in such a complicated decision. Cutler jokes that the majority of adult drug users were probably breast-fed -- does that make breast milk a "gateway" to drugs? "Correlation is not causation," he says. (Cutler and many other drug-policy reformers argue that if there's any meaningful connection between marijuana use and hard drugs, it's the fact that prohibition puts the marijuana user in closer contact with the users and sellers of other illegal drugs, thereby increasing the risk that he or she may try them.) But none of these statistical correlations are grave enough to warrant denying medical marijuana to people who are sick. McCaffrey is more on target when he says the IOM report didn't conclusively find "curative" powers in marijuana, but again, that's far from saying the drug doesn't have any medical utility (which is what McCaffrey was arguing before the IOM report was released). Is the lack of "curative" powers a reason to prohibit a drug from being used? Plenty of commonly used medications, particularly analgesics, do not "cure" anything but are valued because they reduce suffering. Says Tom Clark, "If marijuana isn't curative, it's palliative, and that's certainly reason for someone to use a drug." But it's McCaffrey's noisemaking on marijuana smoking that especially troubles his critics. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School professor of psychiatry and author of such books as Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine (Yale University Press), was asked to review the IOM report prior to its release. Calling it "embarrassingly timid," Grinspoon says that although there are legitimate health risks associated with long-term marijuana smoking, such concerns are overblown when it comes to medical marijuana use. It's hard to convince patients in the throes of cancer or AIDS that smoking marijuana will bring them serious harm, he says, especially because these patients rarely use more than one or two marijuana cigarettes a day. "Are we really worried about that?" asks Grinspoon. Grinspoon and other critics believe that objections to smoked marijuana merely give cover to politicians like McCaffrey, who can now pass the buck to the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry to explore "alternative delivery systems" such as inhalers. But here lies the rub, as Joshua Wolk Shenk recently noted in an essay in Harper's: it's unlikely that the pharmaceutical industry will be in much of a hurry to replicate something that is already effective, reasonably inexpensive, and readily available, even if it's available only as an illegal substance. "Opponents of medical marijuana claim that they simply want all medicines to be approved by the FDA, but they know that drug companies have little incentive to overcome the regulatory and financial obstacles for a plant that can't be patented," Shenk writes. "The FDA is the tail, not the dog." McCaffrey has shown he's capable of taking difficult positions as the country's drug czar. A much-decorated soldier, he admirably admonishes his colleagues in the enforcement business to drop their tired "war on drugs" jargon; McCaffrey prefers likening the nation's drug-abuse problem to a "cancer." He candidly admits that attacking merely the supply side of drug abuse is fruitless; he has vastly increased federal spending on drug treatment, rehabilitation, and education (though, as his critics point out, federal money spent on interdiction has risen proportionately over the same period). On the issue of medical marijuana, however, McCaffrey continues to act with the wary suspicion of a highway cop. In Boston, he reiterated his long-held belief that, for some, the medical-marijuana debate is a front for full legalization. "I'm not paid to be naive," McCaffrey said. "So I'm watching the backfield in motion." There's no doubt that some proponents of medical marijuana support legalization, but does that justify keeping it from sick people who, as the IOM report clearly states, find it useful? McCaffrey's critics note that the drug czar, despite his pronouncements about embracing the IOM report, has yet to back off his pledge to prosecute physicians who supply marijuana to their patients, even in states where voters have approved its medical use. Nor does he show any signs of changing marijuana's status as a Schedule I illicit drug, a classification that strongly inhibits its clinical study. "He makes it sound as if the government's willing to fund research, when it's quite the opposite," says Tom Clark. "He makes it sound as if there's no interest. There's plenty of interest. But the government has been reluctant [to fund it] because of its long-standing bias against marijuana." Indeed, instead of advancing the medical-marijuana debate, McCaffrey is busily boxing himself in. On one hand, he cannot promote marijuana's medical utility; doing so would contradict his previous statements to the contrary and alienate his boss, Bill Clinton, who is paralytically afraid of appearing soft on drugs. On the other hand, denying marijuana's potential makes McCaffrey appear out of touch with a population that sees little wrong with supplying it to the sick. Make no mistake: medical marijuana is not a fringe countercultural issue. "I think we're starting to see a major change in the old Zeitgeist on the issue of drugs," columnist Molly Ivins wrote late last year. "This is one of those seismic shifts when the unsayable suddenly becomes sayable, when we notice that the emperor is wearing no clothes." Nowhere is the emperor more naked than on the issue of medical marijuana. But to borrow a bit of military lingo, Barry McCaffrey still has the ability to change the rules of engagement and permit legal medical use. He needn't view such a move as a surrender. He would merely be a conscientious objector in a battle that he cannot possibly win. Jason Gay can be reached at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Brewery workers protest hair sampling for evidence of drug use (An Associated Press article from New Jersey Online says a Teamsters local representing 900 workers at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Newark has filed a lawsuit challenging the company's right to take hair samples while the sides are embroiled in a contract dispute. The Teamsters' lawsuit disputes the accuracy and the constitutionality of the hair analysis.) Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 01:42:42 -0700 From: Paul Freedom (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots To: GranVizier@webtv.net CC: email@example.com Subject: [cp] Re: Brewery workers protest hair sampling for evidence of drug use Paul wrote: My gut reaction is that Anheuser-Busch one of the largest corporate drug dealers should be destroyed! Paul GranVizier@webtv.net wrote: *** http://hotnews.nj.com/cgi-free/getstory.cgi?j0241_BC_NJ--DrugTesting-Hair& NJO&news&njregional New Jersey Online (c) Brewery workers protest hair sampling for evidence of drug use The Associated Press 5/6/99 8:48 AM NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Workers at the Anheuser-Busch brewery here have entered a heady legal debate over whether their bosses can clip locks of their hair to test for evidence of drug use. A Teamsters local representing 900 employees has filed a lawsuit challenging the company's right to take hair samples while the sides are embroiled in a contract dispute. Among those angered by the drug testing policy are veteran machinist Frederick Wedekin, who recently submitted a tiny portion of his hair to avoid the risk of dismissal. "I've never had anybody cut my hair without my permission unless it was my mother and father when I was a young kid," Wedekin, 53, of Belleville, told The Star-Ledger for Thursday's editions. "I felt violated." Another worker even shaved off all of his body hair in protest, the newspaper reported. Technicians had to clip off a fingernail sample to complete his drug test. Teamsters Local 102 has sued St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, arguing that the nation's largest brewer has no right to collect such bodily samples. The dispute coincides with an ongoing contract impasse at the plant. The deadlock has led to the company imposing its final contract offer, which includes the new drug testing program. The company formerly required a urine test. Newark-based U.S. District Court Judge John Lifland ruled last week that the Teamsters' lawsuit should be heard in state court. Experts in hair analysis said companies using the method of drug testing include General Motors and casino operators in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Officials at Psychemedics Corp., based in Cambridge, Mass., said they provide the service for more than 1,500 corporate clients, including Anheuser-Busch -- plus some police departments, Federal Reserve banks, hospitals and universities. More than 90 percent of firms that test for illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine still rely on urine tests, according to the American Management Association. The Teamsters' lawsuit disputes the accuracy and the constitutionality of the hair analysis. "We are not going to accept this lying down," said Local 102 chief executive officer Jack Riley. He said the union hopes to stage a nationwide protest against the hair tests. Anheuser-Busch officials said they believe in the reliability of the hair samples. Evidence of drug use can remain in hair for months, proponents of the test argue. Urine tests generally detect drugs used only in the previous few hours or days. Eric Schmitz, Anheuser-Busch's vice president for labor relations, said accurate drug testing is important because brewery employees work with heavy machinery and dangerously hot liquids. Union officials in Newark said at least two workers were discharged after positive drug tests since February. Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Growers Take Pot Plants Indoors (The St. Petersburg Times says the state of Florida on Tuesday released its annual marijuana eradication report, which suggests prohibition agents' efforts, drought and wildfires caused production to plummet last year. However, the same factors have driven marijuana cultivators indoors, where they now produce a more potent product - increasingly in urban areas.) Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 17:01:08 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US FL: Growers Take Pot Plants Indoors Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Manny Lovitto Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL) Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times. Contact: letters@SPTimes.com Website: http://www.sptimes.com/ Forum: http://www.sptimes.com/Interact.html Author: Mike Brassfield GROWERS TAKE POT PLANTS INDOORS Hard times befell Florida marijuana farmers last year. Droughts and wildfires that ravaged the state's corn, hay and watermelon crops also put a dent in the marijuana crop. But nature, apparently, just pushed the problem indoors. Rotten weather forced marijuana growers inside, which helps explain why heavily populated Pinellas County was second only to Dade County last year in pot-growing arrests and indoor growing operations. "If you're having problems irrigating and growing a legitimate crop, which you can do out in the open in front of God and everybody, how much harder is it to grow an illegal crop under stealth conditions?" said Dave Broadway, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. While rural North Florida areas typically have the most marijuana plants, urban indoor growers have been harvesting more and more of Florida's homegrown cannabis. In the state's annual marijuana eradication report, released Tuesday, Broadway said Pinellas County's consistently high numbers, with 34 arrests last year, probably don't mean more pot is being grown here compared to other urban areas. Instead, he said, aggressive police are catching more growers. "They range from closet-sized operations to fairly substantial ones. I've seen guys dedicate three rooms of their houses to growing pot," said Lt. Bill Queen, head of the Pinellas sheriff's narcotics squad. The sheriff's office has a group of detectives working specifically on finding these places. They work on tips from suspicious neighbors. "You can smell the stuff growing if they don't have it sealed up real well," Queen said. Statewide, more growers began moving inside once the authorities got good at finding marijuana fields. The catch is, the more sophisticated indoor setups produce higher-grade marijuana. The FDLE says Florida "homegrown" is more potent than ever. Marijuana's active ingredient is THC. In 1980, THC levels in commercial-grade marijuana averaged 1.8 percent. Today that figure is 3.2 percent, according to the FDLE report." "Years ago, if you got marijuana with a THC level of 4 percent, you had some good stuff," Broadway said. "Nowadays, 8 to 12 percent is common. They've gotten up to a whopping 18 percent in Florida." All of that, authorities say, bolsters this argument: The marijuana that teenagers might experiment with today is not quite the same drug Baby Boomers remember from their youths. A survey last year of Pinellas County eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders found that 12 percent reported smoking marijuana within the past month. While so-called medical marijuana initiatives have been passed in seven states, similar efforts in Florida haven't gotten far. The Tampa-based Florida Organization for Reformed Marijuana Laws, which held a "Million Marijuana March" rally Saturday, is on a drive to collect 435,000 signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the state ballot in 2000 or 2001. "People should not be criminalized over a plant," said FORML president Michael Palmieri. "They don't criminalize people who grow tobacco plants or drink alcohol." An Institute of Medicine study released last month found that marijuana can be effective for treating pain and nausea in some terminally ill patients, but it also found that marijuana smoke is even more toxic than tobacco smoke and could cause cancer, lung damage and pregnancy complications. Federal studies show that most marijuana in the United States continues to be imported into the country via Mexico. Although Florida's marijuana production plummeted last year, the number of arrests did not. A total of 404 growers were arrested in 1998, compared to 477 the previous year.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Can't Stop Passengers In Traffic Stops, Court Rules (The Palm Beach Post says Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that police officers cannot summarily stop passengers from walking away after a car has been pulled over in a traffic stop. The ruling was made in the case of Jeff Wilson, 21, of Royal Palm Beach, who was arrested on charges of possessing cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in July 1997. Michael Neimand of the state attorney general's office said prosecutors would ask for a rehearing or appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court.) Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 12:08:14 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US FL: Police Can't Stop Passengers In Traffic Stops, Court Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF@aol.com Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: Palm Beach Post (FL) Copyright: 1999, The Palm Beach Post Feedback: http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/mail.html Website: http://www.gopbi.com/ Forum: http://www.gopbi.com/community/forums/ POLICE CAN'T STOP PASSENGERS IN TRAFFIC STOPS, COURT RULES Police officers cannot summarily stop passengers in cars from walking away if the car has been pulled over in a traffic stop, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday. Police must have a reasonable suspicion that the passenger in the car is involved in criminal activity or poses a danger to officers, the court said. Otherwise, ordering the person back to the car would be a violation of his or her right to be protected from unnecessary searches. While the court said the driver could be held in the car based on the traffic infraction, "a wholly innocent passenger should have the right to choose whether to continue on with his business or return to the vehicle." Michael Neimand of the state Attorney General's Office said his office will ask for a rehearing or appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. The court did not strike the proper balance between personal liberty and an officer's concern for his safety, Neimand said. "I think that's a significant misinterpretation of the law," he said. The ruling was made in the case of Jeff Wilson, 21, of Royal Palm Beach, who was arrested on drug charges in July 1997 while riding in another person's car. A Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy stopped the car in the parking lot of a bar, but when Wilson got out and walked toward the bar, the deputy ordered him back. The deputy, Sean Murray, said he made Wilson wait in the car for safety reasons - not because Wilson appeared dangerous, but because the bar had a rough reputation. The appeals court said that wasn't enough. Wilson was charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia after he was searched. But the court called the search improper, and the drugs found can't be used against him. The court has found that police can order drivers and passengers to get out of a vehicle to ensure officers' safety. And last month, the U.S. Supreme Court said police can search a passenger's purse or other possessions if officers suspect the car contains illegal drugs or guns.
------------------------------------------------------------------- McCaffrey Urges Anti-Drug Prayers (The Associated Press says the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey - a man who has helped a lot of other people meet their Maker - announced at Thursday's annual observance of the National Day of Prayer that the White House had been reaching out to religious groups of all denominations to get them involved in the war on some plants and some drug users. Plus commentary from list subscribers, including "Bible Truth & Drug War Lies," by R Givens.) Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 19:17:52 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: McCaffrey Urges Anti-Drug Prayers Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF@aol.com Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press MCCAFFREY URGES ANTI-DRUG PRAYERS WASHINGTON (AP) Religious leaders are being asked to speak out against drug use, White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey announced at Thursday's annual observance of the National Day of Prayer. McCaffrey said the White House, as part of its drug control strategy, has been reaching out to religious groups of all denominations to get them involved. The latest government report, in December, found that teen use has stabilized after years on the rise, although it is still more widespread than in the early 1990s. But McCaffrey said discouraging drug use by young people is one of the best investments in the country's future. He said religion plays an important role in building the social values teens need to resist the lure of illegal substances. "Never before in our nation's history has it been more important to pray for our young people," McCaffrey said at the ceremony in the Capitol. The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance, established by an act of Congress in 1952. It is held on the first Thursday in May. *** To: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Date: Sun, 09 May 1999 18:08:15 -0700 From: "JT Barrie" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: US: McCaffrey Urges Anti-Drug Prayers Does he urge church leaders to dispense with their "coffees" after SS and before worship where parishioners socialize? What about the smokers within the congregation? A lot of religions tolerate drinking in moderation too - but then again he's not talking about using drugs responsibly, but not taking certain governmentally declared "dangerous" drugs. The verbal contortions necessary to explain his views would put Hal Lindsey [Late Great Planet Earth author] to shame. JT Barrie http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5059 *** Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 01:14:41 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com Subject: McC Urges Prayers for Blasphemy McC has a lot of nerve asking for prayers for a policy based on lies and blasphemous notions. Maybe McC and the rest of the doddering prohibitionists have forgotten their goal to eradicate marijuana, coca and opium poppies from the face of the earth. God created those plants and the Bible says that God's nature is known by the things he made. Romans 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools. McC calls God a blunderer every time he denounces marijuana and the opium poppy. So asking divine blessing to destroy God's own handiwork exposes the man as a fool. Every outrageous narco fable about drug plants is a direct insult to the Creator and they still pretend to be moral paragons and spiritual leaders. McC can pretend that the Bible supports prohibition all he likes, but the scriptures condemn liars who inflict needless pain and suffering on others. R Givens *** Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 12:05:59 -0800 To: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: R Givens (email@example.com) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: McCaffrey Urges Prayers for Blasphemy >Christianity and the Bible can be used to justify just about any point of >view or political agenda. The Ladies CHRISTIAN Temperance Society was one of >the prime movers and shakers behind prohibitian in the '20s. The South >justified slavery and secession with the Bible, and said "God is on our >side." The North proved slavery went against Christian teachings, and said >"God is on our side." Capital punishment is either permitted or condemed by >the Bible, depending on your point of view. Even Hitler used the Bible to >justify his murder of 6,000,000 Jews during the Holocaust. > >I have yet to see where in the Bible is says something like: "Thou shalt not >smoke Marijuana, for it is anathama." Would someone please point out book, >chapter and verse to me so I can make up my own mind? > >Roger Dodger It's certainly true that false religion and political demogogues have misused the Bible. Of course, they only get away with taking things out of context and twisting them around because people do not actually read their Bibles. Those who study the Bible cannot be fooled by lunatic prohibitionists with an unGodly mission of destruction. Anyone who is really acquainted with the scriptural views about lying, legal cases, punishment fitting the crime ("an eye for an eye"), and most of all the "law of love" knows instantly that drug prohibition is a Satanic scheme. I'm willing to debate any low down prohibitionist from Bill "Big Fat Morals" Bennett to the Pope as long as we stick to the Bible. There isn't any commandment saying "Thou shalt not smoke Marijuana" or "Thou shalt not use heroin." Except for alcohol, recreational drugs are never mentioned. Drug prohibition is never discussed. Alcohol prohibition was a blasphemy because Jesus Christ himself was a lifelong wine drinker. The sermon outline below offers an idea of what's in store for any narc crazy enough to get into a Bible debate with somebody like me. When you pin the prohibitionists down to naming precise scriptures, their position disappears like a pile of dust in an Oklahoma tornado. They cannot get away with distorting the scriptures because I know the Bible ten times better than any of them. Moreover, I believe God's word and they obviously do not! Anyone who studies Bible principles can knock a prohibitionist for a loop when they stray into their religious rant. The bottom line is that the Bible is based on commonsense guided by divine wisdom. There is no support for policies based on lies. There is no support for polices that cause more harm than good. There is no support for punishing "victimless crimes." There is no support for idiots who make matters worse and persist in their error. The drug warriors are condemned by the Bible from Genesis to Revelations because of serious contradictions with many distinct Bible doctrines. Demanding that marijuana, coca and opium plants be eradicated from the Earth brings the drug warriors into direct conflict with the Almighty. After all God created those plants and saying that these plants "have their roots in hell" is a direct insult to the One who made them. It's like telling God he's an idiot or jerk craftsman. Such is the arrogance of the drug crusaders when they bring their "religious" views into the open. The Bible doesn't have an iota of support for lying prohibitionists. In fact, the policy is condemned. Anyone who thinks otherwise, is welcome to debate their view. R Givens *** BIBLE TRUTH & DRUG WAR LIES Genesis 1: 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. and 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. These scriptures by themselves put prohibitionists in opposition to the Bible regarding bans on any plant. *** However, there is no brief answer about the Biblical position on drug use, so pardon the length of this sermon. It would take a book to reasonably explain ALL of the scriptural principles violated by drug or alcohol prohibition. Let's start by seeing if the Bible has a policy about drugs. Check any Bible concordance and you will find that "recreational drugs" other than alcohol are never mentioned in the scriptures. (Go to: http://www.gospelcom.net/bible and see for yourself.) Therefore, to understand the Bible's position on drug use, we must examine the principles established for using wine, beer and liquor. The dozens of scriptures about alcohol use and its consequences fall into three main categories: 1. The dangers of excessive drinking and drunkenness. 2. The blessings of wine. 3. Medical use. 4. There are no scriptures banning alcohol or any other drug. *** DRUNKENNESS The Bible has many warnings about excessive drinking. Proverbs 23:29 Who has woe? Who has uneasiness? Who has contentions? Who has concern? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has dullness of eyes? 30 Those staying a long time with wine, those coming in to search out mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it exhibits a red color, when it gives off a sparkle in the cup, [when] it goes with a slickness. 32 At its end it bites just like a serpent, and it secretes poison just like a viper. 33 Your own eyes will see strange things, and your own heart will speak perverse things. 34 And you will certainly become like one lying down in the heart of the sea, even like one lying down at the top of a mast. 35 They have struck me, but I did not become sick; they have smitten me, but I did not know it. When shall I wake up? I shall seek it yet some more. Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise. 1 Corinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God's kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God. *** These scriptures condemn the loss of control and the damage done by excessive drinking. Note that drinking itself is never condemned, only the excess. It is critical to make this distinction because no matter what scripture a prohibitionist cites, it won't authorize a ban on alcohol use. If there was a ban on drinking, Jesus would have been a sinner for violating the law! The Bible says that drunkards will come to poverty and ruin because of their excessive drinking, NOT because the community drove them into the wilderness or fined them or beat them or stoned them or did anything to them except let them sink or swim on their own. The scripture at 1 Corinthians 6:11 "And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean," makes it clear that drunkards were living unmolested in the community because they were alive to repent when they got the good news. Despite the fact that some people have ruined themselves with alcohol for thousands of years, no prohibition is ever suggested in God's word. There are no Scriptures authorizing punishment for drug use or drunkenness. *** Wine is also mentioned as a blessing many times: *** WINE A BLESSING Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your food with rejoicing and drink your wine with a good heart, because already the [true] God has found pleasure in your works. *** Psalms 104: 13 He is watering the mountains from his upper chambers. With the fruitage of your works the earth is satisfied. 14 He is making green grass sprout for the beasts. And vegetation for the service of mankind, To cause food to go forth from the earth, 15 And wine that makes the heart of mortal man rejoice, To make the face shine with oil, And bread that sustains the very heart of mortal man. *** Ecclesiastes 10:19 Bread is for laughter of the workers, and wine itself makes life rejoice; but money is what meets a response in all things. *** MEDICINE The Bible also recognized the medicinal value of wine and alcohol. Proverbs 31:6 Give intoxicating liquor, you people, to the one about to perish and wine to those bitter of soul. 7 Let one drink and forget one's poverty, and let one remember one's own trouble no more. Story of Good Samaritan LUKE 10:34 So he approached him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them. ... 1 Timothy 5:23 Do not drink water any longer, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness. *** How do we sort out these seemingly contradictory messages? By understanding that the Bible warns against drunkenness, inebriation and heavy drinking, not reasonable consumption. Excessive drinking and unruly behavior under the influence are denounced. By inebriation, I mean drunkenness to the point of losing control, acting foolishly or injuring others through recklessness. Feeling "high" is regarded as one of the blessings of wine and not forbidden: Psalms 78:15 And wine that makes the heart of mortal man rejoice, and Ecclesiastes 10:19 Bread is for laughter of the workers, and wine itself makes life rejoice; but money is what meets a response in all things. CONCLUSION: Using the Bible's alcohol policy as a model, calls for educating people about drug risks instead of punishing them. Like alcohol, drugs do not harm most users. Punishing those who use a substance without harming themselves or others is never suggested in the Bible. Punishing someone whose drinking only harms themselves is not mentioned in the scriptures either. How the prohibitionists ever managed to convince people that the Bible supported alcohol prohibition is beyond me because Jesus's first miracle was making about 40 gallons of wine at a wedding in Cana and he finished his life by using wine as a memorial in the last supper. It's impossible to see how prohibition can be justified when Jesus Christ himself was an alcohol user! *** Miracle at Cana -- water to wine John 2:3 When the wine ran short the mother of Jesus said to him: "They have no wine." 4 But Jesus said to her: "what have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to those ministering: "Whatever he tells you, do." 6 As it was, there were six stone water jars sitting there as required by the purifications rules of the Jews, each able to hold two or three liquid measures. 7 Jesus said to them: "fill the water jars with water." And they filled them to the brim. 8 And he said to them: "Draw some out and take it to the director of the feast." So they took it. 9 when, now, the director of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine but did not know what its source was, although those ministering who had drawn the water knew, the director of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him: "Every other man puts out the fine wine first, and when people are intoxicated, the inferior. You have reserved the fine wine until now." 11 Jesus performed this in Cana of Galilee as [the] beginning of his signs, and he made his glory manifest; and his disciples put their faith in him. *** The last supper Matthew 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." *** Failing to recognize the clear message of the Bible that alcohol should NOT be banned is one reason I call the religious wing of the prohibition movement "Puritan Delusionaries." They can't understand the plain language of the book they profess to follow. Hypocrites is one of the labels Jesus attached to people of this kind. I'll put it plain. Any Christian or Jew who supports drug or alcohol prohibition is going against God and the Bible. The scriptures never call for punishment where zero injury to someone else occurred. Nor does the Bible tell those who can manage their drinking without trouble that they should give it up because some people become alcoholics. The same principle applies to drugs. *** FAILED DRUG POLICY IS CONDEMNED *** The fact that drug prohibition is a disastrous failure by itself condemns the policy in Biblical terms. Jesus made this clear at: MATTHEW 7: 15-20 "Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to you in sheep's covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? 17 Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; 18 a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. 19 Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those [men]." Jesus Christ *** No one was robbing, whoring and killing over drugs when addicts could buy all of the heroin, morphine, cocaine, opium and any other drug they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner drug store. Since President Nixon declared all out war on drugs 50% of murders nationwide are considered to be "drug related," property crime rates have tripled and violent crime rates have doubled. Obviously a policy that creates crime and victims where none existed cannot meet God's approval. Nearly all of our so-called "drug problems" are more accurately defined as drug prohibition caused troubles because they simply did not exist before the drug prohibitionists turned the trade over to criminals and created an outlaw black market. Overdoses were virtually unheard of when addicts could buy pharmaceutically pure drugs, so prohibition is responsible for almost every overdose. Proof that drug laws, not drugs, cause the crime, disease and moral breakdown among addicts comes from the Swiss Heroin Maintenance Program. Providing cheap or free heroin reduced crime among Swiss addicts by 60 per cent during the first six months of treatment and the crime rate eventually dropped 90-plus per cent. Permanent employment among patients more than doubled and addicts were able to resume normal lives. There were also great health benefits. In the Swiss heroin maintenance trials (850 patients), only three new HIV infections, four hepatitis B infections and five hepatitis C infections (in a total of 11 people) occurred during the three-year study. This was very probably related to cocaine injected outside the program. There were no overdoses in the Swiss study. Compare that to the HIV/AIDS rate, health costs and number of overdoses among injection drug users in Dallas, Houston and the rest of the United States. The Swiss saved about $45 per patient per day by supplying addicts with heroin. Most of the savings came from reduced law enforcement and health care costs. The Swiss are so pleased with the reductions in addict crime and health care needs that they made heroin maintenance a national policy. It is manifestly evil to continue a destructive policy after its failure has been repeatedly revealed. *** PROHIBITIONISTS AND THE TRUTH *** Harry J Anslinger was US Commissioner of Narcotics for 30 years and spread outrageous lies about drugs to get prohibition laws enacted. Reefer Madness, the claim that marijuana caused insanity, was Anslinger's greatest propaganda success and his greatest lie. Anslinger lies about marijuana: "How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it (marijuana) causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured." The numbers could only be conjectured because they never happened! Not one of the "gore" stories Anslinger told Congressmen and the public has ever been verified. *** "If the hideous monster Frankenstein came face to face with the monster marijuana he would drop dead of fright." "But here we have drug that is not like opium. Opium has all of the good of Dr. Jekyll and all the evil of Mr. Hyde. This drug is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effect of which cannot be measured." "Some people will fly into a delirious rage, and they are temporarily irresponsible and may commit violent crimes. Other people will laugh uncontrollably. It is impossible to say what the effect will be on any individual." *** SENATOR DAVIS: How many cigarettes would you have to smoke before you got this vicious mental attitude toward your neighbor? MR. ANSLINGER: I believe in some cases one [marijuana] cigarette might develop a homicidal mania, probably to kill his brother. It depends on the physical characteristics of the individual. Every individual reacts differently to the drug. It stimulates some and others it depresses. It is impossible to say just what the action of the drug will be on a given individual, of the amount. Probably some people could smoke five before it would take that effect, but all the experts agree that the continued use leads to insanity. There are many cases of insanity. (1937 Sworn Congressional testimony) *** MR. DINGELL: I am just wondering whether the marihuana addict graduates into a heroin, an opium, or a cocaine user. MR. ANSLINGER: No, sir; I have not heard of a case of that kind. I think it is an entirely different class. The marihuana addict does not go in that direction. (1937 Sworn Congressional testimony) When Anslinger's Reefer Madness claims were discredited, he changed his tune and invented the "steppingstone theory" claiming that marihuana did indeed lead to HEROIN addiction. Mr. Boggs: From just what little I saw in that demonstration, I have forgotten the figure Dr. Isbell gave, but my recollection is that only a small percentage of those marijuana cases was anything more than a temporary degree of exhilaration .... Mr. Anslinger: The danger is this: Over 50 percent of those young addicts started on marijuana smoking. They started there and graduated to heroin; they took the needle when the thrill of marijuana was gone. Sworn Congressional testimony for Boggs Act 1951 *** Over 50,000,000 US citizens have tried marijuana, so if there was a shred of truth to the "gateway theory" we'd have 30 or 40 million heroin addicts instead of the 1.5 million we actually have. Obviously the US Treasury Department, which Anslinger represented didn't care about correlation and causality because as the scientific evidence proves that very few marijuana users go on to any other drug. Barry McCaffrey and the other drug crusaders claim "Marijuana is also a gateway drug," but "For every 104 people who have used marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine and less than one heroin addict." Department of HHS, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1997. Drug warriors deliberately mislead by noting the number of addicts who tried marijuana and ignoring the fact that very few marijuana users ever try heroin, let alone became addicts. Anslinger didn't mind using perjury and dissembling whenever it suited his purpose and drug czar Barry McCaffrey repeats the same Reefer Madness lies about marijuana and heroin to this very day. *** God himself would become a liar, if he approved Harry Anslinger's Reefer Madness propaganda. *** PROVERBS 19: 9 The false witness will not be free from punishment, and he that launches forth mere lies will perish. EZEKIEL 13:8-9 "Therefore, this is what the Lord Jehovah has said: "For the reason that you men have spoken untruth and you have envisioned a lie, therefore here I am against you" is the utterance of the Lord Jehovah. And my hand has come to be against the prophets that are visioning untruth and that are divining a lie. In the intimate group of my people they will not continue on, and in the register of the house of Israel they will not be written, and to the soil of Israel they will not come; and you people will have to know that I am the Lord Jehovah." JOHN 8:44 "You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie." *** A lengthy sermon could be aimed at lying. But a few easy points should make the Biblical view clear. The FIRST sin mentioned in the Bible was the lie told by the Devil to Eve in Eden (Genesis 3:1-15, John 8:44). Jesus was betrayed by a liar and convicted by lying witnesses in the same kind of trial that drug defendants usually get, namely justice never enters into it. The person who most resembles a narc in the Bible is Judas Iscariot, the liar, thief and traitor. *** What would Jesus do? Prohibition's biggest failure from a Christian view is that it tramples the "law of love" into the ground. How would Jesus treat a junkie on the road to Jerusalem? Would he beat the man senseless and throw him in prison for 5-10-20 years or even life-without-parole for using drugs? Violating the law of love is the absolute kiss of death for drug prohibition from a Biblical view. Destroying drug users under the pretense of "helping them" is the Devil's way. *** Mark 12:30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Jesus *** The contradictions mentioned here plus a dozen other clashes with Biblical principle are sufficient for drug prohibition to earn the Almighty's eternal damnation. Bible standards are based on truth, light and love while drug prohibition rests on lies, hate, persecution and deep spiritual darkness so there can never be a union between the two. Drug prohibition is a low down Satanic scheme. I welcome discussion and debate. R Givens email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Straight Dope: Drug Agency's New Museum Is a Monument to Self-Destruction (The Washington Post says the new Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and Visitors Center opening Monday displays hash pipes, hookahs, bongs, American-flag rolling papers and several bags of marijuana. Plus a diorama titled "An American Head Shop, Circa 1970s." It's a museum about dope. It was probably inevitable that somebody would create a museum devoted to two of America's multi-billion-dollar obsessions - getting wasted and trying to stop people from getting wasted.) Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 09:15:26 -0400 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Jon Gettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net) Subject: WP: Drug Agency's New Museum Is a Monument to Self-Destruction Reply-To: Gettman_J@mediasoft.net Sender: email@example.com The Straight Dope Drug Agency's New Museum Is a Monument to Self-Destruction By Peter Carlson Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, May 6, 1999; Page C01 The United States government's newest museum displays hash pipes, hookahs, bongs, American-flag rolling papers and several bags of marijuana. It also has grubby old syringes, bent spoons, a pill bottle labeled "heroin," and a grisly photo of a junkie killed by an overdose. Plus a diorama titled "An American Head Shop, Circa 1970s." It's a museum about dope. And why not? America has museums devoted to just about everything--the Jesse James Museum, the Liberace Museum, the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, the Museum of Whiskey History, the Hot Dog Hall of Fame. So it was probably inevitable that somebody would create a museum devoted to two of America's multi-billion-dollar obsessions--getting wasted and trying to stop people from getting wasted. It's called the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and Visitors Center and it opens Monday at the DEA headquarters in Pentagon City. A modest exhibit, it fills a long, narrow 2,200-square-foot room containing scores of photos and a fair amount of drugs. It set the DEA back $350,000 (in "appropriated funds," not a stack of hundreds stashed in a dealer's sock drawer). The permanent exhibit, "Illegal Drugs in America: A Modern History," is a delightfully graphic reminder that America's intense love-hate relationship with intoxication goes back further than we realize. "By 1900, when one in 200 Americans was addicted," reads one wall panel, "the typical addict was a white middle-class female hooked through medical treatment." That was "the golden age of patent medicines"--unregulated elixirs that promised cures for just about everything and that frequently contained "whopping doses of opiates or cocaine." The exhibit is a 150-year chronological tour that proves drug abuse to be as American as, well, alcohol abuse. As far back as the Civil War, high-powered opiates were routinely used as home remedies. One display quotes Mary Chesnut, the famous Confederate diarist, writing about her casual use of narcotics for the relief of wartime woes: "I relieved the tedium by taking laudanum." It was the Civil War, not Vietnam, that produced the first addicted veterans--so many wounded soldiers got hooked on morphine that addiction was nicknamed "the soldier's disease" or "Army disease." By the turn of the century, Americans were guzzling all sorts of magical cure-alls. The museum displays bottles of Godfrey's Cordial, Grove's Baby Bowel Formula and Greene's Syrup of Tar--all of which contained opium. There's also an ad for a teething remedy called Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, which shows two happy little tots snuggling in bed with Mom. It's a homey scene and you'd never guess that what's soothing these kids is a dollop of morphine. Displayed nearby is a 1906 coroner's report from Mankato, Minn., revealing that a 19-month-old girl named Mary Veigel died of "poisoning from soothing syrups." The American genius for hype is evident in the advertisements for these potions. An ad for Cocaine Toothache Drops shows two cute little tykes crossing a bucolic stream. The slogan: "Instantaneous Cure!" An ad for Coca-Cola, which actually contained cocaine until 1903, promised that it would "ease the tired brain, soothe the rattled nerves and restore wasted energy to both Mind and Body." Meanwhile, Bayer was touting its new product--"Heroin"--as "highly effective against coughs," and Parke-Davis promised that its cocaine remedy would "make the coward brave, the silent eloquent [and] free victims of alcohol and opium habits from their bondage." The company did not reveal that cocaine itself was highly addictive. In addition to teaching visitors about the history of drug abuse, the museum is also designed, says curator Jill Jonnes, to chronicle the history of the DEA and its predecessors. In 1906 the government began regulating drugs and in 1930 it established the Bureau of Narcotics, the bureaucratic grandfather of the DEA. "Every narcotics agent was issued a badge, a Thompson submachine gun and a pair of hand grenades," reads the sign beside a case displaying, yes, a Tommy gun, a couple of grenades and a slew of badges. Apparently, the grenade-toting narcs were successful: "By World War II, American addicts were a diminishing cohort of aging white males." By then, though, the Bureau had found a new target--young black males who played jazz and smoked marijuana, which was banned by federal law in 1937. "Jazz rebels in revolt against 'square' America took up marijuana as part of their stance as 'hepsters,'" reads the introduction to a series of photos of jazz hepsters, including Red Rodney, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker--all of whom later became heroin addicts. Not pictured is Louis Armstrong, who, according to his biographers, avidly smoked pot for 40 years while assiduously avoiding anything stronger. "Marihuana--Weed With Roots in Hell," reads a poster for a 1930s anti-pot movie that features "Weird Orgies, Wild Parties, Unleashed Passions." Perhaps the producer should have hired one of those "hepsters" as a consultant. The poster shows a man sticking a syringe into a woman's arm. Of course, as everyone knows, marijuana is not injected. It is actually dissolved in maple syrup and poured on flapjacks. Jazz musicians are not the only artists attacked in the exhibit for advocating drugs. So are "Beat literary types." Their photos identify them--Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs. "Popular culture glorified the benefits of drugs while ignoring the tragedy and despair they caused," the wall says. Nearby is a quote from Burroughs on his junkie days: "I had not taken a bath in a year or changed my clothes or removed them except to stick a needle every hour in the fibrous grey wooden flesh of terminal addiction." That seems like an odd form of glorification. But the exhibit is too heavy-handed to acknowledge any such distinctions. Baby boomers of a certain age may experience some nostalgia--and quite a bit of embarrassment--when viewing a display titled "The Rise of the Modern Drug Culture: 1960s to 1970s." There are chocolate-flavored rolling papers, a hideously garish psychedelic poster of Jimi Hendrix and a water pipe made out of a Kraft Imitation Mayonnaise jar and four rubber tubes. Worst of all: a pair of mint-green snakeskin shoes with platform soles two inches high. It was used by a DEA agent who infiltrated the Detroit music scene in the '70s and is quoted as saying: "I paid $150 for these shoes and I'd wear them with my bellbottoms and this wild rayon shirt." The green shoes, the bell-bottoms, the wild rayon shirt--that unholy trinity should permanently refute the theory that drugs enhance the aesthetic senses. As the museum reveals, drugs have a way of spawning theories that later prove embarrassingly naive. In 1975, the White House--the Ford White House--issued a drug report theorizing that cocaine "usually does not result in serious social consequences, such as crime, hospital emergency rooms admissions or death." A decade later, the crack cocaine epidemic resulted in very serious social consequences, including unprecedented levels of crime, emergency rooms filled with overdoses and gunshot cases, and many, many deaths. The display that covers that era features pictures of the bloody corpses of various coke dealers--including Pablo Escobar, the Colombian cartel jefe--who have been gunned down. There's also a lime-green surfboard that was hollowed out and filled with dope by smugglers. And a beautiful red Harley-Davidson confiscated from a dope-dealing Hell's Angel. Not to mention a lot of powerful guns, including a diamond-studded Colt .45 seized from a Colombian dealer. The exhibit ends on a surprisingly pessimistic note: "Today, America confronts large and powerful drug syndicates headquartered in Colombia and Mexico, worldwide criminal organizations far more ruthless, corrupting and sophisticated that anything seen heretofore in this country." That's not the kind of upbeat conclusion likely to send visitors rushing to the gift shop to pay $20 for a DEA sweat shirt or $65 for a "DEA 25th Anniversary Badge in Lucite." But it is no doubt appropriate for a museum depicting a war that has not yet been--and may never be--won. As long as some people crave chemical oblivion and others are willing to sell them the chemicals, the DEA is likely to remain very busy. Fortunately, the museum's designers have left space for future expansion. They may need it. The DEA Museum is located at 700 Army-Navy Dr., Arlington (across from the Pentagon City Metro stop). It is open free of charge on weekdays by appointment only. Call 202-307-7977 to arrange a tour. (c) Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company *** Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 11:37:37 -0800 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: R Givens (email@example.com) Subject: Sent LTE:Drug Agency's New Museum Is a Monument to Self-Destruction Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Carlson neglects to mention that the "self-destruction" glorified by the DEA museum is the folly of drug prohibition because no one was robbing, whoring and murdering over drugs when addicts could buy all of the heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium and any other drug cheaply and legally at the corner drug store. No one was dying of opiate overdoses when addicts could buy pure Bayer Heroin instead of the poisonous bootleg drugs prohibition puts on the market. When drugs were legal, addicts worked regular jobs, raised decent families and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors. "Drug crime" was unknown when drugs were legal. (The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs Chapter 3 - What kinds of people used opiates? at: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cu3.html) The DEA museum hints at the truth when they admit that before drug prohibition "the typical addict was a white middle-class female hooked through medical treatment." Hardly a call for criminalizing drug use and filling our prisons with drug addicts. The DEA museum is a monument to the self-destructive folly of a prohibition scheme that has never worked anytime, anywhere, for anything. Like alcohol prohibition, our braindead drug war causes hundreds of times more trouble than the drugs by themselves ever could. Drug prohibition is responsible for all of the "drug releated crime and disease" we see today. None of these problems existed before drug crusaders began minding everyone else's business about what drugs to use. The DEA museum is a testimonial to how much damage a foolhardy policy run by morally and intellectually bankrupt drug warriors can cause. When the prohibitionists started, overdoses were extremely rare, now we have 5,000-15,000 OD deaths every year depending on which estimate you accept. When the drug warriors began, there was no such thing as drug crime, now the majority of all convictions are "drug related." The DEA museum is really a monument to failure. R Givens *** Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 11:19:05 -0400 From: Tim Sheridan (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DEA Museum: to Self-Destruction --the other side. Sender: email@example.com Does high times have a museum? Ideally it would be right next door. I wonder what the other side could display. Tallies of increases in addiction and crime following the increases in illegalization policy. A half of fame of illegal searches and wrong house busts. A portrait gallery of people wrongly killed by drug agents. Statues of leading drug persecutors hitler, anslinger, nixon etc. A propaganda room with McCaffrey, anslinger, a wall size portrait of Former Pres. Bush holding up a little bag of cocaine in the oval office on TV. And of course vignettes of drug concentration camps. And let's not forget the medical room, cancer patients in handcuffs etc.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis therapeutics: Medicine vs. Dependence (A list subscriber notes the March 17 Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana says psychiatric patients "are particularly vulnerable to developing marijuana dependence and marijuana use would be generally contraindicated in those individuals" - without any reason.) Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 12:55:50 -0700 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Arthur Livermore (email@example.com) Subject: Cannabis therapeutics: Medicine vs. Dependence Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com The question of therapeutic use of cannabis in emotional/psychological illness is discounted in the IOM report: "Individuals with or at risk of psychiatric disorders (including substance dependence) are particularly vulnerable to developing marijuana dependence and marijuana use would be generally contraindicated in those individuals." Institute of Medicine, MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE: ASSESSING THE SCIENCE BASE, 1999, 3.48 It is interesting that marijuana use by people with psychiatric disorders is defined as substance abuse. What is the reason for this ad hoc definition? Prior to marijuana prohibition, cannabis was one of the medicines used to treat psychiatric illness. Sincerely, Arthur Livermore, Director Falcon Cove Biology Laboratory 44500 Tide Avenue Arch Cape, OR 97102 503-436-1882 firstname.lastname@example.org *** [As NORML observed when the IOM report was released March 17, it is a political document, and arbitrarily disregarded legally binding medical evidence previously on the record in order to claim, for example, that cannabis is also an unsuitable treatment for glaucoma. Even disregarding the controversial definition of marijuana dependency, the IOM inexplicably ignored the evidence that cannabis can be an effective treatment for Depression and other mood disorders, and the epidemiological evidence that statistically, cannabis use tends to prevent rather than cause or exacerbate psychoses. On a personal note, the webmaster would add that he has already sacrificed most of his liver function to prescription antidepressants that are much more toxic than cannabis. The webmaster would also offer his personal testimony that he has survived since mid-1995, albeit in a debilitated condition, without any effective medication other than cannabis (although he was prescribed Ritalin for a while, a Schedule 2 drug, which he found aversive rather than addictive). If the Institute of Medicine's recommendations were to be followed, he'd be dead meat. When will psychiatric patients be heard? - Portland NORML]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Is pot going legal? Cops call for decriminalization (Eye magazine, in Toronto, takes a look at a recent proposal by the Canadian Chiefs of Police to decriminalize marijuana possession. Professor Alan Young, an attorney who routinely defends low-level marijuana miscreants, denies that Toronto police are ignoring minor marijuana offences, but says such a policy would be bad news. "De facto decriminalization is not an effective way to deal with the issue," says Young. "It's a smoke screen to block serious law reform.") Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 11:06:41 -0400 To: email@example.com From: Dave Haans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: eye Magazine: Is pot going legal? Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: eye Magazine (Toronto, Canada) Pubdate: Thursday, May 6, 1999 Pages: 11, 12 Website: http://www.eye.net Contact: email@example.com Author: Nate Hendley Is pot going legal? Cops call for decriminalization How safe is it to puff pot in Toronto? That's the one issue left unaddressed during debate over a recent motion by the Canadian Chiefs of Police to decriminalize marijuana. The chiefs urged the feds to make pot smoking a ticketable offence, a proposal some people assume has little relevance for Toronto. Hasn't the Big Smoke, much like Vancouver, "de facto" decriminalized already, turning a blind eye towards minor pot crimes so cops can focus on crack, rape and violent crime? "Nonsense," says Osgoode Hall professor and pot activist Alan Young, who routinely defends low-level marijuana miscreants. "We don't ignore anything," says Det. Carl Noll of the police's Special Investigative Services, major drugs section. "We're enforcing [the law] as aggressively as we can." Standing amongst racks of grow guides, cannabis books and cabinets filled with bongs and smoking accessories, Robin Ellins, the co-proprietor of Toronto's first hemp store, the Friendly Stranger, has a different take. Ellins feels that pot has been decriminalized, although only "in a sense." He says, "It really depends how old you are and how stupid. If you're smoking in a public park or being boisterous on the street, you're going to get busted." Yet Ellins has no friends or acquaintances who've been arrested for simple possession in Toronto, much less jailed. Which makes sense - Toronto's arrest rate for possession is half that of the rest of the province. More charges are laid annually for crack dealing than marijuana trafficking, despite the latter's position as the city's favorite illegal drug. Still, Prof. Young not only denies Toronto police are ignoring minor marijuana offences, he says such a policy would be bad news. "De facto decriminalization is not an effective way to deal with the issue," says Young. "It's a smoke screen to block serious law reform." WAR AGAINST SOME DRUGS Speaking in front of a small crowd of public health experts and reporters, Joyce Bernstein maintains a grim face as she recites drug stats and overdose anecdotes. Bernstein, an epidemiologist with Toronto Public Health, is co-author of the ninth annual "Drug Use in Toronto" report, which surveys the city's substance use habits. At the document's April 21 launch, Bernstein notes the high prevalence of pot use in Toronto: "19 per cent of students and 13 per cent of adults" reported past-year reefer use in the 1999 Drug Use survey. Crack, which remains the most demonized drug in North America, barely registers on the survey. Under 1 per cent of adults and 2 per cent of students report using in 1998. Enforcement patterns for the two drugs are very similar when it comes to possession charges, however. According to Metro Police's Central Drug Information Unit, city cops laid 2,127 charges for simple marijuana possession and 116 charges for trafficking in 1998. Slim pickings for a city in which one in 10 adults tokes up. A recent study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), Toronto's marijuana possession offence rate is 41 per 100,000 people - far less than the rest of the province, where the rate is 92 per 100,000. By way of comparison, crack, which less than one in 100 Toronto adults use, resulted in 1,287 possession charges and 527 trafficking charges in 1998. "Drug enforcement is fueled by police intelligence and public input," explains Det. Curt Booth, who heads the Central Drug Information Unit. Citizens tend to be more alarmed by crack dealers on the street than patio pot tokers, in other words. Budget restraints also mean that police "work on drugs that present the greatest threat to the community," Det. Booth continues. "No one who knows drugs would argue that [pot] is more destructive than crack." Public attitudes have a lot to do with this: recent surveys peg support for decriminalization at over 50 per cent of Canadians, with eight in 10 backing legal pot for medical use. While medical marijuana's been much in the news lately, even non-medicinal imbibers have been getting a break lately in Toronto. Last May, Operation Springboard, an outfit which intervenes on behalf of criminal offenders, launched a cannabis diversion program at old City Hall. Thanks to changes in federal sentencing laws which allow for greater pre-trial diversion of minor cases, Crown Attorneys at old City Hall can now refer first-time, non-violent pot offenders to Springboard. In exchange for community service or counseling, possession charges are dropped and the offender doesn't get a record. From its inception to March 31, 1999, some 430 people entered the diversion program with a 93 per cent completion rate, says Margaret Stanowski, Springboard's executive director. Diversion's cheaper than incarceration and tougher than traditional forms of justice, she adds. Pot possession cases tend to result in fines and discharges, a fact cited by the Chiefs of Police as one of their reasons for supporting decrim. Stanowski hesitates, however, to frame the diversion program as a step towards overhauling Canada's cannabis laws. "We're not speculating on the decriminalizaton of marijuana," she states. Her view echoes that of Deputy Chief Steve Reesor, whose told eye last year that he opposes decrim but supports alternative sentencing for some drug offences. Deputy Chief Reesor probably wasn't thinking about de facto decrim as an alternative, something Vancouver police are experimenting with. A few years ago, cops there generally stopped charging people for pot possession because of an overwhelming problem with needle drug use. Still, the threat of arrest remains, something that infuriates drug activists. Pot law enforcement, says Prof. Young, "should not be contingent on the personality of the police officers." Ellins agrees. Back in 1993, Ellins was arrested and tried in Brockville for possessing five grams of marijuana. For a drug offence in a small town, Ellins got off relatively easily - no fine, no jail time and an order not to disturb the peace. Except now he's got a criminal record - a legal burden official decriminalization would eliminate - and can't enter the United States. Smoking pot in Toronto's far less risky than in a place like Brockville, but that doesn't make it a penalty-free activity. Until the Liberals okay the police chiefs recommendations, megacity marijuana users still, as Ellins says, "run the risk of being treated like criminals for the rest of their lives" if they're one of the unlucky handful caught each year.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike the ganja slayer (A staff editorial in Eye says it's not often the Toronto magazine finds itself more pro-cop than Premier Mike Harris. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is in favor of "decriminalizing" marijuana possession, but Harris is opposed. He smugly announces he "preferred booze" as a young man. We hope this doesn't send the wrong message to kids, because alcohol costs our health care system a lot more than cannabis does. According to the Addiction Research Foundation, alcohol costs health care nearly half-a-billion bucks a year. Tobacco's price tag is double that. And marijuana? It drains a mere $8 million from provincial health care each year. Harris feels obliged to oppose decrim because he's riding into an election on a law-and-order platform. Evidently being smart on crime doesn't enter the equation.) Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 11:07:21 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: eye Magazine: Editorial: Mike the ganja slayer Newshawk: Dave Haans Source: eye Magazine (Toronto, Canada) Pubdate: Thursday, May 6, 1999 Section: Editorial Page: 8 Website: http://www.eye.net Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Mike the ganja slayer It's not often we find ourselves more pro-cop than the premier. The basis of our newfound respect for the police is an April 21 motion by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in favor of "decriminalizing" marijuana possession. The chiefs would like to replace the current penalty of jail and a record with a ticket and a fine. A few days later, the RCMP announced they too support decrim. By decriminalizing, Canada would join the 11 U.S. states and several European countries that have already reduced pot penalties to the level of non-criminal offences. Mike Harris, however, says he'll fight any move toward decrim. Attention, Mike: all drug laws are federal in Canada, which means there isn't much you can do if the Liberals decide to adopt the police chiefs' recommendation. It's safe to say Harris hasn't thought the issue through. First, he admits to having no personal experience with pot; unlike Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Howard Hampton, Harris has never smoked up. Then he smugly announces he "preferred booze" as a young man. We hope this doesn't send the wrong message to kids, because alcohol costs our health care system a lot more than cannabis does. According to the Addiction Research Foundation, alcohol costs health care nearly half-a-billion bucks a year. Tobacco's price tag is double that. And marijuana? It drains a mere $8 million from provincial health care each year. The Institute of Medicine in the United States recently issued a report refuting prohibitionist claims against pot. To wit, marijuana generally doesn't drive you insane, doesn't lead to hard drugs and doesn't cause violent crime. A judge in Toronto came to the same conclusions in 1997 when he threw out a case against an epileptic medical marijuana user named Terry Parker, now Canada's only legal toker. Harris feels obliged to oppose decrim because he's riding into an election on a law-and-order platform. Evidently being smart on crime doesn't enter the equation. If Harris is going to ignore the police -- and the majority of Canadians who now, according to opinion polls, support decrim -- he might want to listen to what other Conservatives say about pot. Back in the late '70s, Joe Clark promised a Tory government would decriminalize marijuana. Last year, Reform MP Jim Hart launched a private member's bill to legalize medical pot. Last month, fellow Reformer Keith Martin, who happens to be a doctor, introduced a private member's bill to decriminalize possession for all use. Like the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, Doc Martin thinks pot prohibition is a waste of time. "I would like to see our police officers pursuing rapists and organized crime barons, not people for simple possession," Martin told reporters. That's a policy which makes more common sense than anything our pro-booze premier has to say about pot and limited police resources. *** Dave Haans Graduate Student, University of Toronto WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Anti-Drug Official Fired (The Orange County Register says Ruben Olarte, the head of Colombia's war on drugs, was fired Wednesday after unspecified mass media alleged he was corrupt and that he made personal use of property forfeited by cocaine kingpins.) Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 01:01:39 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Colombia: Anti-Drug Official Fired Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W.Black Pubdate: Thurs, 6 May 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ ANTI-DRUG OFFICIAL FIRED The head of Colombia's war on drugs was fired Wednesday after media allegations of corruption and charges that he made personal use of property confiscated from the country's cocaine kingpins, authorities said. Ruben Olarte took over as director of the National Drug Council eight months ago and was in charge of coordinating government and security-force efforts to crack down on rampant narcotics trafficking and production.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Statement Of DPPs On Drug Law Enforcement (A statement issued prior to Premier Bob Carr's New South Wales Drug Summit, scheduled May 17-21, by the Directors of Public Prosecutions in New South Wales, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory, makes a number of reform proposals. In particular, the prosecutors say "Consideration should also be given to a regime that would have cannabis treated in a similar way to tobacco.") Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 07:06:07 +0930 To: "Pot News from hemp SA" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "Cyber Andy :^)" (email@example.com) Subject: [pot-news] STATEMENT OF DPPs ON DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT *** Pot News - Hemp SA's On-line News Service *** Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 09:07:03 +1000 From: William Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: ADCA update (email@example.com) Subject: UPDATE> STATEMENT OF DPPs ON DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The following is the recent statement on drugs of the NSW, SA and ACT Directors of Public Prosecution: DPP NEW SOUTH WALES DIRECTOR'S CHAMBERS 6 May 1999 STATEMENT ON DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT Directors of Public Prosecutions of New South Wales - Nicholas Cowdery QC South Australia - Paul Rofe QC Australian Capital Territory - Richard Refshauge The Directors of Public Prosecutions have concerns about the continuation, unaltered, of the present legal regime that applies in relation to illicit drugs in Australia. That regime, which has been in place for several decades, casts a large responsibility for addressing "the drug problem" onto the criminal justice system. The Directors accept that they have a continuing responsibility to seek improvements to the criminal justice systems of their various jurisdictions. They are also concerened to ensure that scarce public resources are not expended unproductively. Users and dealers of illicit drugs enter the criminal justice system as defendants charged with drug offences - but also, in significant numbers, charged with offences against private property (eg armed robbery, housebreaking, theft). The vast majority of the property offences prosecuted by the Directors are drug related. These are a significant burden on the resources of the Australian prosecution services, which are already under considerable strain. The Directors consider that greater emphasis should be placed on dealing with the health and social consequences of "the drug problem", in the expectation that its impact on the criminal justice system may thereby be reduced. Accordingly, they urge the authorities in all jurisdications to earnestly consider new measures that may more effectively reduce the present level of harm being occasioned to the community by illicit drug use and the commission of drug related offences. There should also be more resouces made available for the treatament and rehabilitation of drug users and for their diversion from the criminal process. Following upon the recent Australasian Drugs Strategy Conference in Adelaide, the Directors urge public consideration of the following general initiatives: - the expansion of needle distribution programs to further reduce the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV AIDS; - the holding of a scientific trial of medically prescribed heroin; - the expanding and improving of educational programs, particularly for school age children, the overall message remaining that the use of many drugs is undesirable and may be harmful; - the expansion of diversionary options in the criminal justice process (with the present NSW Drug Court trial to be carefully evaluated). Consideration should also be given to the establishment of safe injecting premises for intravenous drug users (as recommened by the NSW Police Royal Commission in May 1997) where appropriate medical care, counselling and access to treatment and rehabilitation facilities could be available; however, if the social costs of such a measure are unacceptable, an alternative course of medical prescription of heroin to registered addicts should be considered (depending upon the results of the trial referred to above). Consideration should also be given to a regime that would have cannabis treated in a similar way to tobacco. As a first step, all jurisdictions should adopt a decriminalised expiation regime of the kind operating in South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory. The avilability of free heroin on prescription to registered addicts in safe circumstances would significantly reduce the illicit market and consequently the large profits, the motive for the commission of drug related property crime. It would also substantially reduce morbity and mortality from intravenous drug use. In conjunction with methadone maintenance programs it would substantially improve the social condition of addicts. Heroin users would not need to sell heroin to first time users. Prisoners addicts should have access to such a facility, in addition to treatment facilities. The criminal dealing in prohibited drugs would continue to be policed rigorously; the resources available to do it would he increased and the incidence of drug related offences against private property would substantially decline. *** HEMP SA Inc - Help End Marijuana Prohibition South Australia PO Box 1019 Kent Town South Australia 5071 Email: mailto:hempSA@va.com.au Website: (http://www.hemp.on.net.au) Check out our on-line news service - Pot News! To subscribe to Pot News send mailto:email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Blindness (A staff editorial in the Cairns Post, in Australia, says that despite their claims to the contrary, it is short-sighted politicians and religious tub-thumpers like the Rev Fred Nile who are turning the law into a joke, not the organisers of Sydney's illegal heroin shooting gallery. When the law is so completely at odds with reality and has proved impossible to enforce successfully, it is time to change it - not to keep trying to ram it down people's throats. The laws against illegal drug use have proved useless in nation after nation. Rather than talking to the FBI, Prime Minister John Howard should look at the latest, fully-researched reports on heroin-maintenance trials in Switzerland.) Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 03:16:55 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Editorial: Drug Blindness Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: Cairns Post, The (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org DRUG BLINDNESS DESPITE their claims to the contrary, it is short-sighted politicians and religious tub-thumpers like the Rev Fred Nile who are turning the law into a joke, not the organisers of Sydney's illegal heroin shooting gallery. When the law is so completely at odds with reality and has proved impossible to enforce successfully, it is time to change it - not to keep trying to ram it down people's throats. The laws against illegal drug use have proved useless in nation after nation. Prime Minister John Howard may believe the American Federal Bureau of Investigations' zero tolerance approach has merit - but he should remember the United States probably has the world's worst drug problems despite spending billions of wasted dollars a year combating the menace. A similar "zero tolerance" American effort to halt the consumption of alcohol in the 1920s also came to an ignominious end, with the repeal of the laws against it. The only thing the war on alcohol succeeded in doing was to allow organised crime to become well-established and entrenched in the US. Similarly, the war on drugs, both in the US and everywhere else in the world, has served only to build the power of the crime gangs to the point where they pose a direct threat to ordinary civil society because of the great wealth and influence they have accumulated. Nowhere has the war on drugs actually succeeded in reducing overall drug use! Already, the annual turnover from the global illicit drug trade alone - never mind any other form of crime - is estimated to be worth more than $400 billion. Many experts believe this flow of illegal cash now represents a direct threat to national economies and even to the stability of the international financial system. This flow of illegal cash, laundered through numerous outlets, is then re-invested in legitimate businesses and industries - giving organised crime a direct and corrupting stake in the mainstream economy. The ramifications of this process are obvious, with organised crime achieving an increasingly influential and powerful position in society. POINTLESS The war on drugs is pointless. It only helps line the pockets of criminals, corrupts society and breeds a widespread contempt for the law because such a large proportion of the population finds itself on the wrong side of it. Rather than talking to the FBI, Mr Howard should look at the latest, fully-researched reports from Switzerland on that nation's legal heroin trials in cities like Zurich. According to those reports, the trials have resulted in the vastly improved personal health and social adjustment of the addicts involved, as well as achieving major reductions in drug-related crimes in the areas affected, up to 50 per cent and more in most cases. The best way to get the crime out of the drug trade is to legalise it and regulate it like any other industry for quality and consumer protection. Those who wish to be rehabilitated should have access to the appropriate programs. But those who want to continue using the drug of their choice should be able to do so at reasonable cost and without having to descend into the criminal underworld to do it. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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