Portland NORML News - Thursday, May 6, 1999

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)

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,

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:


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.



				- 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: letters@news.oregonian.com
Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/
Author: 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

Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/)
Pubdate: Thu, May 06 1999
Source: Oregonian, The (OR)
Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/
Author: 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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: A Gauge Of Distress With Public Schools Joseph A.
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/
Page: A27


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Colorado School Shooting Jumpstarts Federal Efforts For School Drug
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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
Address: 8737 Colesville Road, Suite 1100 Silver Spring, MD 20910-3928
Contact: bpinews@bpinews.com
Website: http://www.bpinews.com/hr/pages/ddr.htm
Copyright: Business Publishers, Inc.
Fax: (301) 587-4530
Page: 65


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

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

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

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

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 20:20:13 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US TX: Dead, Dead, Dead
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: viewpoints@chron.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.


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

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

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

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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MN: PUB LTE: Legal Marijuana Debate Continues
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: pmb@multitech.com (Paul M. Bischke)
Pubdate: Thur 6 May 1999
Source: Jordan Independent (MN)
Contact: editor@jordannews.com
Address: 109 Rice St. S., Jordan, MN 55352
Website: http://www.jordannews.com/
Author: Paul M. Bischke


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

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)
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: owner-tlc-cannabis@mailhost.soros.org

A news service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Thursday, May 6, 1999

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: report@kff.org
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Patricia Miller
EDITOR: Amy Paulson
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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CT: Legalize It!
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
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: lgengo@newmassmedia.com
Website: http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/
Author: Stefanie Ramp


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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MA: General Doubts: Sparking Up The Medical-Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: letters@phx.com
Website: http://www.phx.com/
Author: Jason Gay, jgay@phx.com

General Doubts


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

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

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

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

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 jgay@phx.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 (nepal@teleport.com)
Organization: Oregon Libertarian Patriots
To: GranVizier@webtv.net
CC: cp@telelists.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!


GranVizier@webtv.net wrote:



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

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

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 newsflash@nj.com.

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: Growers Take Pot Plants Indoors
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US FL: Police Can't Stop Passengers In Traffic Stops, Court
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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 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

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

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: McCaffrey Urges Anti-Drug Prayers
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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


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

"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" (restore@crrh.org)
Date: Sun, 09 May 1999 18:08:15 -0700
From: "JT Barrie" (rimchamp77@zdnetmail.com)
From: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.org)
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


Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 01:14:41 -0800
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, maptalk@mapinc.org, drctalk@drcnet.org
From: rgivens@sirius.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" (restore@crrh.org)
From: R Givens (rgivens@sirius.com)
From: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.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



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.


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.



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:



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.



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,


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.


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

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.




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

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

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

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.




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


"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


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

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

I welcome discussion and debate.

R Givens

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" (drctalk@drcnet.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: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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

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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: R Givens (rgivens@sirius.com)
Subject: Sent LTE:Drug Agency's New Museum Is a Monument to
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.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:

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 (sparky@navpoint.com)
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
Subject: DEA Museum: to Self-Destruction --the other side.
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

Does high times have a museum?

Ideally it would be right next door. I wonder what the other side could

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" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Arthur Livermore (alive@pacifier.com)
Subject: Cannabis therapeutics: Medicine vs. Dependence
Reply-To: alive@pacifier.com
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

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."
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.

Arthur Livermore, Director
Falcon Cove Biology Laboratory
44500 Tide Avenue
Arch Cape, OR 97102


[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: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
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: eye@eye.net
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."


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: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
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: eye@eye.net


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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Colombia: Anti-Drug Official Fired
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.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: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/


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" (pot-news@beetroot.va.com.au)
From: "Cyber Andy :^)" (duffy@newave.net.au)


Pot News - Hemp SA's On-line News Service


Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 09:07:03 +1000
From: William Bush (bushwil@mail.goldweb.com.au)
To: ADCA update (update@adca.org.au)
Sender: owner-update@vmail.dynamite.com.au

The following is the recent statement on drugs of the NSW, SA and ACT
Directors of Public Prosecution:


6 May 1999


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

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!

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send mailto:subscribe-pot-news@lists.va.com.au

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: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Australia: Editorial: Drug Blindness
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Ken Russell
Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999
Source: Cairns Post, The (Australia)
Contact: letters@cairnspost.com.au


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

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

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

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.


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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