------------------------------------------------------------------- State Issues First Medical Marijuana Permit (KOIN Channel 6000, Portland's CBS affiliate, says the state of Oregon issued its first medical marijuana registry card today to Janelle Bluhm, a multiple sclerosis patient. Plus a URL where patients can download registry-card application forms to submit to the Oregon Health Division.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, May 21, 1999 Source: KOIN Channel 6000 (CBS affiliate, Portland, OR) Copyright: KOIN Channel 6000 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.koin.com/ Author: Channel 6000 staff State Issues First Medical Marijuana Permit Woman With Multiple Sclerosis Becomes First Recipient PORTLAND, Posted 3:44 p.m. May 21, 1999 -- The state of Oregon issued its first medical marijuana permit today to a woman with multiple sclerosis. KOIN 6 News reports Janelle Bluhm can now possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for personal use without fear of being arrested. She says she's been smoking marijuana since 1996 to control her muscle spasms. Oregon voters passed the medical marijuana law in November. However, it says nothing about where or how cardholders are suppose to get their marijuana. Bluhm isn't saying where she gets hers either, says KOIN. It's still illegal to buy or sell pot. Bluhm tells KOIN it's a catch-22 that will continue to force law-abiding people to the black market. "Because I have contacts, I know where to go unlike other people. But I'm not a lawbreaker. I hate dealing with the underground," she says. According to the television station, it's still now known how police will deal with the new law. Also, it still remains to be seen if people will try to abuse the law. The Associated Press reports that 35 people have completed applications for the $150 permits. Even before the medical marijuana law passed, the Multnomah County District Attorneys' office says it has never prosecuted anyone with a legitimate medical need for marijuana. Washington state has a new medical marijuana law, too. But unlike Oregon's law, it does not require users to have a state-issued permit card. You can read more on the medicinal marijuana law from the Oregon Medical Association (http://www.teleport.com/~omr/OMA_guidelines.html). You can apply for a permit online. (http://www.proaxis.com/~gina/contigo_p10.html)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Woman to get state's first medical marijuana permit (The Associated Press version) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, May 21 1999 Source: The Associated Press (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Associated Press Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Cindy Simmons, the Associated Press Woman to get state's first medical marijuana permit PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Janelle Bluhm drove her electric wheelchair into the Oregon Division of Health on Friday, shelled out $150 and picked up the state's first medical marijuana permit. She said she has been lighting up since 1996 to control the violent spasms of her multiple sclerosis, but now she'll be able to puff with impunity. "This allows me to have an ounce of marijuana without getting arrested," Bluhm said with a big smile. Her permit is the first issued under the state's new medical marijuana law, which was approved by voters in November. To get one, patients must present a doctor's note proving they have a medical condition that might be eased by marijuana, such as glaucoma, AIDS or cancer. Dr. Rick Bayer, chief petitioner for Measure 67, appeared with Bluhm at a news conference after she received her permit and emphasized that the marijuana permits don't change one thing -- it's still a crime to buy or sell the drug. Bluhm has to grow her own and store it in plastic bags. It's legal for her to possess the drug but not to buy the starting seeds. "It's a catch-22," she said. That's a kink in the law that should be ironed out, Bayer said. "Patients want to go to a pharmacy and pick it up, and not have to rely on the black market," he said. There are other restrictions Bluhm must follow as well, including a limit on how many plants she is allowed to raise. Bluhm may be the first Oregonian to take a legal toke, but 135 others are actively seeking permits, said Kelly Paige, manager of Oregon's medical marijuana program. "Everyone who's calling me is pretty serious." she said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- District: Public is why DARE back in budget (The Democrat-Herald in Albany, Oregon, says Albany School District Superintendent Tim Carman's original budget recommendation did not include the $10,000 the district had been paying to subsidize DARE, because he was concerned DARE might not be the most effective drug-education program available. But after meetings with principals, two meetings with the police department and 14 letters from parents, the district reversed its decision.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, May 21 1999 Source: Albany Democrat Herald (OR) 600 Lyon St., SW Albany, OR 97321 Telephone 541-926-2211 Copyright: Albany Democrat-Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://mvonline.com/index.html Author: Jennifer Moody, Albany Democrat-Herald District: Public is why DARE back in budget Public support of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, DARE, convinced the Albany School District to reverse its recommendation on funding it next year. DARE is a 17-week program taught by uniformed police officers to fifth-graders at 11 of Albany's 14 elementary schools. Two of the other schools, Clover Ridge and Tangent, are outside the city limits and receive DARE from the Linn County Sheriff's Office. The 14th school, Lafayette, prefers to use its own program. Superintendent Tim Carman's original budget recommendation did not include the $10,000 the district had been paying to subsidize DARE. Carman said at the time he planned to talk with the Albany Police Department about some type of drug and alcohol resistance program, but he was concerned DARE might not be the most effective one to have. He also said he was concerned about the time it takes away from other subjects. After meetings with elementary principals, two meetings with the police department and 14 letters from parents, the district reversed its decision. The $10,000 for DARE is now part of the second funding priority on a list of 28 priorities for next year's budget. "We heard from lots of people that the program provides a significant benefit for elementary school children," said Bill Dixon, spokesman for the district. "Parents, teachers, principals and police officers all backed the program. ... Based on the guidance we received from our community, we concluded the program was more than worthwhile." Dixon said the district's original concern came from national research that seems to indicate DARE is not effective in keeping kids from using drugs. Albany schools will work with the police and representatives of the schools to design an evaluation process of its effectiveness locally, Dixon said. He does not yet have information on what kind of process, how soon it might be in place or whether it would track students over time. Lynn Dunn, a fifth-grade teacher at Periwinkle Elementary, said he presented the district with the parent letters of support and told Carman that teachers make DARE a part of their work toward achieving state standards. Students have to make a speech and write an essay as part of the DARE program, which are both part of state requirements, he said. Just as important is the message his fifth-graders receive about making good choices. "Fifth-graders are thinking of middle school all year long and thinking about the situations that crop up in middle school; peer pressure, the possibility of making bad choices," Dunn said. "DARE goes through several different ways and techniques to say no so they're not walking away with a bad feeling or humiliation." When his students move on, he said, "They feel very proud about what they've done and what they've accomplished. They can carry that pride through middle school. That pride in knowing where they came from can help relieve that feeling of intimidation." Having a uniformed officer in the classroom once a week allows students to get to know police in a friendly way that will carry over through the years, Dunn believes. Dunn has taught at Periwinkle for all eight years that DARE has been part of the district. Offhand he could think of only one student during those years who did later develop a problem with drug use. However, he said, it's important to remember that DARE is not just about drugs. It also deals with stress, peer pressure, avoiding gangs and potential violence, and developing a good self-image. "It's about the whole child and building a self image that will help them later on in life," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Are 157 pot plants a medical overdose? (The News Tribune says the indictment of David Teatsworth of Tacoma Thursday for growing 157 marijuana plants may become a test case for Washington's new medical marijuana law. Teatsworth's use is recommended by his doctor, and he said Green Cross, which supplies medicinal marijuana to patients who have a doctor's recommendation, had contracted with him to grow marijuana for 11 people. "We had passed a law. I thought everything was OK. I am not a criminal," Teatsworth said in an interview Thursday night in Pierce County Jail. "The Green Cross lawyers told me everything was legal because I was acting as a caregiver for the 11 people.") Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, May 21, 1999 Source: News Tribune [Tacoma, WA] Copyright: The News Tribune, 1999 Web site: http://www.tribnet.com/ Contact: email@example.com Fax: (206) 597-8451 P.O. Box 11000 Tacoma, WA 98411 Author: John Gillie, the News Tribune Are 157 pot plants a medical overdose? Authorities say grower far exceeds intent of new law A Tacoma man charged Thursday with growing 157 marijuana plants in his North End basement may become a test case for how last year's medical marijuana initiative is enforced. David Teatsworth was legally growing marijuana when Tacoma police arrested him Wednesday, Charles Grisim, director of the Pierce County chapter of the Green Cross, contends. But Pierce County Prosecutor John Ladenburg said Teatsworth was clearly operating beyond the law. Teatsworth pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. Teatsworth, a former television stage manager, said Green Cross, which supplies medicinal marijuana to patients who have a doctor's recommendation for the drug, had contracted with him to grow marijuana for 11 people. He agreed to raise the crop because his parents had been in the commercial greenhouse business, he knew how to raise plants and he was unemployed, he said. "We had passed a law. I thought everything was OK. I am not a criminal," Teatsworth said in an interview Thursday night in Pierce County Jail. "I had the paperwork. The Green Cross lawyers told me everything was legal because I was acting as a caregiver for the 11 people," the 43-year-old defendant said. Grisim pointed out that Initiative 692 allows people who are too sick to grow their own marijuana to designate a "caregiver" to do it for them. But Ladenburg said the initiative doesn't give one person the right to grow marijuana for more than one other person. "The initiative doesn't make it legal for one person to become the marijuana grower for half the state," the prosecutor said. "If the Green Cross thinks otherwise, then this will become the test case." Grisim said Green Cross attorneys have advised the organization that arrangements like Teatsworth's are legal. "We've got an imbalance in the number of sick people who can grow marijuana and the number who need it," Grisim said. Ladenburg said he and other prosecutors tried to persuade the Legislature to pass laws this year setting out specific limits and enforcement guidelines for the medical marijuana initiative approved last fall. But he said he believes legislators were reluctant to touch any legislation that dealt with marijuana smoking and growing, and the legislation died. As a result, the rules of enforcement remain vague, he said. "That's the problem when you have doctors writing laws," said Ladenburg, referring to the physicians who drafted the initiative. "It's the same problem you'd have if lawyers performed surgery." The initiative's main author, Seattle physician Rob Killian, agrees with Ladenburg's interpretation of the law. "The law clearly contemplates one person growing marijuana for one other person," Killian said. "If Green Cross is claiming otherwise, then they're wrong." The law lists a set of conditions for the "designated primary caregiver," including a condition that the person "be the primary care giver to only one patient at any one time." Grisim said he and Killian have discussed the caregiver provision at length and disagree about its meaning. Ladenburg said law enforcement officials also are struggling with how large a supply a medical marijuana user or his caregiver may possess. The initiative allows a sick person with a physician's recommendation for marijuana, or his caregiver, to possess a "60-day supply." How much is a 60-day supply? Killian said he is working with the state Department of Health to define that quantity. The size of that supply may vary depending on a patient's needs, he said. Dan Satterberg, chief of administration for the King County prosecutor's office, said King County authorities are working with patients and doctors on a case-by-case basis to determine what is a reasonable amount. "But clearly if you've got more on hand than (anyone) could smoke in a year, you're violating the law," he said. The King County prosecutor's office agrees with Ladenburg's interpretation of the law. Pierce County deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen claims Tacoma police went to Teatsworth's home Wednesday afternoon on a tip. Officers seized 157 plants from his basement in the 1400 block of North 11th Street. Teatsworth said he had 66 nearly mature plants. The remainder were starts for a new crop. He said Green Cross was going to pay him $200 an ounce for the finished product, and he figured his yield would be about 1 ounce per plant. Staff writer John Gillie covers courts in Pierce County. Reach him at 253-597-8663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Meanwhile, seizure patient David Means is busted in Seattle (A list subscriber says Seattle prohibition agents ripped apart Means' medicinal garden, dumped 50 dirt containers on his white carpet, ignored the large notice of qualification under RCW 69.51.010., and held him in handcuffs for four hours before hauling him off to jail. One officer allegedly remarked that "the medical marijuana law doesn't exist." It seems that David has already become the subject of ridicule by King County Corrections officers.) From: "lifevine9" (email@example.com) To: "Hemp-talk" (Hempfirstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: COMPASSION IN ACTION ALERT Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 16:12:29 -0700 Sender: email@example.com Seizure patient David Means was arrested and booked in King County Jail yesterday as a Seattle narcotics squad ripped apart his medicinal garden, dumping 50 dirt containers on the apartment's white carpets. Officers ignored the large notice of qualification under RCW 69.51.010., the medical marijuana law effective in Washington which was posted at the entrance of David's small apartment. The seizure patient was held in handcuffs for four hours as his home was ransacked. A witness to this willful disregard for the law overheard one narcotics officer remark that "the medical marijuana law doesn't exist." While local uniformed officers in this crime ridden West Seattle neighborhood seemed less enthusiastic about the debacle, the patient was hauled off to jail, along with his garden. The medical papers displayed about the apartment were left behind. David's physician has been in constant contact via telephone and it seems that David has already become the subject of ridicule by King County Corrections Officers in the overflowing facility. While the situation looks grim, some observers feel hopeful that David will be released today, as the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is generally compassionate to the plight of qualified medical marijuana patients. *** hemp-talk - firstname.lastname@example.org is a discussion/information list about hemp politics in Washington State. To unsubscribe, send e-mail to email@example.com with the text "unsubscribe hemp-talk". For more details see http://www.hemp.net/lists.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lab Tests Show Cannabis Clubs' Medical Marijuana Superior to Government's - NIDA's Pot Exposes Patients to Excessive Smoke (A press release from California NORML describes a "backdoor" potency study it sponsored with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS. The government's marijuana, grown for NIDA to supply researchers and eight legal medical marijuana patients, was the least potent tested, with 3.9 percent THC. But samples from California medical-marijuana clubs averaged 12.8 percent to 15.4 percent THC. The study found only insignificant traces of the cannabinoids CBD and CBN, except for one sample with more than 8 percent CBD. CBD is thought to be especially beneficial in relieving muscle spasms and anxiety attacks, a common side effect of THC, but the study suggests patients rarely if ever encounter CBD. If the government is really concerned about potential harm from smoking cannabis, it should be responsible and give up its monopoly as it moves to end its ban on medical research.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 16:22:21 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Study Finds Cannabis Clubs' Pot Superior to NIDA's Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ - California NORML Press Release - May 21, 1999 Lab Tests Show Cannabis Clubs' Medical Marijuana Superior to Government's NIDA's Pot Exposes Patients to Excessive Smoke OAKLAND, Cal. The medical marijuana provided to patients in cannabis clubs is at least three to four times medically stronger than that legally available to researchers and patients from the federal government, according to a potency study sponsored by California NORML and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The study, consisting of three rounds of testing by two different DEA-licensed laboratories, measured the concentrations of THC, the primary active ingredient of marijuana, and its two commonest chemical relatives, known as cannabinoids, CBD and CBN. A total of 49 samples of medicinal cannabis were analyzed for potency by standard gas chromatograph mass spectrometry. The sample showing by far the lowest THC (3/43.9%) was the government's own marijuana, grown for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to supply researchers and eight legal medical marijuana patients. Nearly all other samples tested over 8%, with averages in the range of 12.8% - 15.4%., and many samples above 20%. One sample of hashish (concentrated resin) tested above 44%. "The study clearly shows that the underground market is producing better medical marijuana than the U.S. Government," concludes study co-sponsor Dale Gieringer of California NORML. He argues that high potency pot is better because it enables patients to inhale less smoke for a given effective dose of THC. A recent report by the national Institute of Medicine cited smoking as the number one health concern of using medical marijuana. Based on THC content, the clubs' cannabis appears to deliver over three to five times as much medicine per puff of smoke than NIDA's marijuana. In other results, the study found only insignificant traces of CBD or CBN, except for one peculiar sample that showed unusually high CBD (> 8%). CBD, a non-psychoactive precursor of THC, is suspected to have distinctive medical benefits for relief of muscle spasms and for anxiety attacks, a common side effect of THC. However, the data from the study suggest that patients rarely if ever encounter CBD. The possibility remains that other medically active ingredients among the 60-odd cannabinoids not examined in this study may be common in some marijuana samples. The samples were donated for analysis by a half dozen medical marijuana clubs and providers from both east and west coasts. Despite the evident superiority of the clubs' products, they remain strictly illegal under federal law. The government has even acted to suppress their availability by closing down medical cannabis clubs in California. In a change of government policy, the Clinton administration is expected to announce today that it will make NIDA's marijuana more freely available to scientists and physicians for medical research. However, the findings of the potency study suggest that patients would be better off to smoke cannabis from the clubs. "It is irresponsible to require NIDA's marijuana to be used in human subjects given the availability of higher-grade alternatives," argues Gieringer, "The time has come to end NIDA's monopoly on the marijuana supply." Production of the potency study was complicated by DEA regulations that are designed to prevent the analysis of non-government-approved drug samples. It was therefore necessary to resort to backdoor channels to conduct the research. "When it comes to marijuana and drug research, the United States is in no way a free country," states Gieringer, "In our experience, it's easier for kids to get high-grade pot at school than for responsible researchers, physicians, and patients to get it legally." Contact: Dale Gieringer, Coordinator (415) 563-5858 / email@example.com. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // firstname.lastname@example.org 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Actor Harrelson, Judge Clash In Pot Trial (The Sacramento Bee finally gets around to covering the prosecution on federal cultivation charges of B.E. Smith, yet another medical-marijuana patient who thought he was protected by Proposition 215. As Woody Harrelson testified Thursday during the trial in Sacramento, an angry confrontation erupted between him and U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. "I'm just wondering why you're keeping the truth from the jury," said Harrelson, referring to a pretrial ruling by Burrell that Smith could not invoke Proposition 215. Smith's is the first marijuana cultivation trial in a federal court in California since the passage of Proposition 215. The U.S. Justice Department wants to establish a precedent so it can continue to ignore California law. The jury got the case in midafternoon Thursday and will continue deliberating today. Plus, several messages from list subscribers who attended kangaroo court today provide more details and note the jury later returned a guilty verdict.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 16:31:57 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Actor Harrelson, Judge Clash In Pot Trial Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Chris Clay (http://www.thecompassionclub.org/) Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Sacramento Bee (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Sacramento Bee Contact: email@example.com Address: P.O.Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852 Feedback: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Forum: http://www.sacbee.com/voices/voices_forum.html Author: Denny Walsh ACTOR HARRELSON, JUDGE CLASH IN POT TRIAL An angry confrontation between Woody Harrelson and a federal judge erupted Thursday during a marijuana cultivation trial in a Sacramento courtroom, nearly landing the actor in jail. U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. ultimately warned Harrelson, who first gained fame on the "Cheers" sitcom, that he might find himself behind bars if he continued to defy the court. "How do you sleep at night?" Harrelson shot back before stepping down from the witness stand. Harrelson, known for his eco-activism as well as his roles in movies ranging from "Indecent Proposal" to "Natural Born Killers," appeared as a defense witness Thursday in the trial of Trinity County resident B.E. Smith. Smith's is the first criminal marijuana trial in a California federal court since the passage of Proposition 215, a state law allowing pot to be smoked by those obtaining medical authorization. Eventually, the case could establish a precedent for how the California measure will be handled in federal courts. Harrelson called Smith, an outspoken advocate of medicinal marijuana, "my good friend and mentor" and the "last free man in America." The fireworks ignited when Harrelson disobeyed Burrell's orders, then verbally attacked the judge after he was admonished from the bench. Leading up to the tense exchange, Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Steven Lapham objected to some questions from defense lawyer Thomas Ballanco and Burrell sustained the objections. A couple of times, Harrelson answered anyway. "Are you surprised to see Mr. Smith on trial here today?" asked Ballanco. Lapham's objection was sustained, but Harrelson said, "Certainly, for a medical marijuana case, I consider it odd." Burrell told Harrelson he must obey rulings on objections. "I'm just wondering why you're keeping the truth from the jury," said Harrelson, referring to a pretrial ruling by Burrell that Smith would not be able to cite medicinal use and Proposition 215. At that point, Burrell excused the jury and quoted case law to Harrelson on a judge's power to control courtroom behavior. "I didn't think you had much respect for the law," the actor fired back. "You have attempted to put issues before the jury I have ruled non-admissible," said Burrell, warning Harrelson that he might be arrested if his defiance continued. "Do you understand?" Burrell demanded. Harrelson gave the judge a hard stare, then looked away. Burrell refused to allow Ballanco to continue questioning Harrelson regarding Smith's reputation as an honest, law-abiding citizen. He ruled such testimony would be cumulative since Harrelson had already said that Smith is "always truthful" and "has a great deal of integrity." "I suspect you've brought this witness here to disrupt this trial," the judge told Ballanco. Burrell directed Harrelson to step down but, as he departed the witness stand, the actor hurled his parting shot regarding Burrell's sleeping habits, suggesting he lacked conscience. Harrelson is no stranger to controversy. He and others were arrested in November 1996 after causing a massive traffic jam by scaling the Golden Gate Bridge to demand that the government protect the 60,000-acre Headwaters redwood grove. Harrelson also has posted a $500,000 bond for a cancer patient facing criminal pot charges and he is an outspoken advocate for industrial uses of hemp. He came to federal court Thursday already angry at Burrell's handling of the case. In a recent letter to The Bee, Harrelson said the judge had shown "blatant disregard for the precepts of our forefathers." "Apparently in Judge Burrell's courtroom, he is not content for lady justice to be blind; she must also be deaf, dumb, bound, gagged, raped and dismembered," he wrote. The courtroom drama was reminiscent of some maverick roles taken on by the 37-year-old Harrelson, who parlayed his Emmy-winning success on "Cheers" into major movie stardom. He recently enjoyed critical acclaim for his portrayal of Big Boy, an untamed and doomed New Mexico cowboy home from World War II, in "Hi-Lo Country." Earlier Thursday, Smith testified that smoking marijuana has successfully curbed his abuse of alcohol. He did not make a secret of growing it for himself and others after passage of Proposition 215, he said. Smith, 52, said he served as an infantryman in Vietnam and is a "political activist" who worked in the campaign for the pro-marijuana initiative. Harrelson testified that he met Smith when both were involved in the 1996 Headwaters protest. The following year, Smith planted an 87-plant marijuana garden on land in Denny that he leased from a friend, Martin Lederer. In September 1997 the government seized the plants and, two months later, Smith and Lederer were charged in a federal grand jury indictment. The case has been marked by open friction between Burrell and defense counsel. The judge found that California's 3-year-old measure does not constitute a viable defense in a court governed by federal law, which does not make an exception for using marijuana under a doctor's care. After Burrell ruled that Smith's prescription for the drug and its medicinal value generally were not to be presented, Lederer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession and is awaiting sentencing. Smith's attorneys moved last week to disqualify Burrell, saying the judge took the case out of the jury's hands by stripping Smith of his defense. Burrell has addressed the defense "with such an extreme degree of anger and disdain that it would be impossible for the jury" not to be influenced and prejudiced, the attorneys claimed. The judge denied their motion and trial commenced Tuesday. Harrison [Harrelson] was the final witness. The jury got the case in midafternoon Thursday and will continue deliberating today. *** From: "Brian Hill" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Mark Greer" (MGreer@mapinc.org) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 09:29:54 -0700 BE Smith Medicinal Marijuana Trial in Sacramento - Hanging Judge Burrell loses it to Woody Harrelson and the Denny People. We have most of the front page of the Sacramento Bee today - see (http://www.sacbee.com/www.sacbee.com) - and are on most of the TV stations in Sacto. NBC may show the local coverage tonight. The judge threw Woody out of court because Woody said, after the judge told him to shut up, "judge, I don't see why you are trying to keep the truth from the jury." Then on the way out he said, "I hope you sleep well at night." Woody also called BE the "last freeman in American," and that BE was his hero. I will forward messages to BE and Tom Ballanco for more detailed descriptions. The verdict is expected in a few hours. The judge would only let them use character as a defense, no 215, no medicinal, no indica/sativa even though the gov expert witness said marijuana is cannabis sativa. The judge will not let the jury see the fed law that says mj is illegal except for.... He would only let them see the illegal part and not the exceptions. Everyone agrees that this is the most outrageous travesty of justice we have seen yet. Burrell, the judge, has a mic in his ear and seems to be taking orders from above. *** From: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) Subject: B. E. Smith guilty Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 16:17:28 -0700 Vietnam veteran B.E. Smith, who uses medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, was found guilty today in federal court. He now faces a 10-year mandatory-minimum sentence for growing less than 50 plants. The government did not permit him to use any evidence of his medical condition as a defense. Smith, a California resident, had the permission of his local sheriff to grow medical marijuana. This is the first successful federal challenge to Proposition 215, enacted in 1996 by 56.4 percent of the voters. "It is a sad day for state's rights, medical freedom, and compassion," said Peter McWilliams, and AIDS-cancer patient who faces similar federal charged. "My heart goes out to B.E. and his family." *** Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 21:29:56 EDT Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Jim Rosenfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: Multiple recipients of list (email@example.com) Subject: B. E. Smith guilty This is an outrage against the people of California and it is an outrage against humanity. It shocks the conscience. No wonder children learn to consider the rule of law a big game always won by the wealthy and powerful and no wonder they learn to laugh about "land of the free and home of the brave". The Feds will reap the whirlwind. *** From: "Todd McCormick" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: BE Smith found Guilty of Medical marijuana in federal court Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 18:19:57 -0700 Dear Friends, I just received sad word from Tom Ballanco that the jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts of manufacture and possession in Federal Court. The Judge ordered BE Smith into custody and denied him an appeal bond. Speaking to my lawyer, David Michael, he told me that is was uncommon for a defendant to be remanded into custody pending sentencing except in cases of violence. BE was never released on a cash bond but was instead out on his Own Recognizance or, OR for short. Violence was never an issue, and BE is the victim of a cruel judge and a ruthless prosecutor that had to hide the truth of the matter from the jury or a guilty verdict would have been inconceivable. We will post more information about who to call, e-mail and fax to protest this massive injustice later this weekend. Below is a note from BE and his lawyers prior to trial. Following that is today's front page story of the case from the Sacramento Bee. BE Smith is one of the sweetest, kindest caring men I have ever met. In Northern California he has a reputation of helping others like no one else I know. He has put his neck on the line many times for many causes, while strong enough to "do a year standing on his head" we need to take note and rally beside him. Because he was the first Federal Prosecution to go to trial post 215 the federal government pulled all of his defense at the risk of a political loss. We should expect to see this happen in every state that passed an initiative, every state that is, that has at least one person who believes in democracy and the electoral vote. BE's "crime" was a public planting of 87 plants. Todd *** "The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states." Mahatma Gandhi - Violence in Peace and War vol. 2, ch. 5 *** Dear Friends, Please circulate this press release far and wide. It is just a generic one, please feel free to add to or change it anyway you like. As many of you already know, Judge Burrell has denied every one of our defenses and has prohibited us from mentioning Prop. 215, though that is obviously the central issue in the case. Our only hope at this point lies in the Californians who will comprise the jury (the judge has also denied us the ability to conduct voir dire of prospective jurors, he will ask all the questions). We need a packed courtroom and we need the press to make sure that B.E. does not go quietly into the night. We also need the prayers and good intentions of all who care, united we stand. . . . You are the Paul Reveres out there Thanks for your help, Tom, B.E. and Booker *** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE VIETNAM VETERAN ON TRIAL IN FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE TO GO TO FEDERAL JURY TRIAL SINCE PASSAGE OF CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 215 DATE: May 18, 1999 @ 9:00 A.M. LOCATION: U.S. District Court Sacramento, CA (5th/I St.) Jury selection begins today in a case so contentious that defense attorneys have twice asked for U.S. District Court Judge Garland Burrell to recuse himself. [Burrell gained notoriety as the judge who presided over the prosecution of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.] During the last pretrial hearing, Burrell ordered U.S. Marshall's to forcibly remove defense counsel from the podium. Defendant B.E. Smith is charged with cultivation of marijuana in violation of federal law. Smith, a Vietnam veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, treats his anxiety with medical marijuana under his doctor's orders. In June 1997, he planted a small medical marijuana garden on land he leased in the backwoods of Trinity County California. Smith, an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana notified state and local authorities and appeared on national television before planting his garden. State authorities declined to prosecute Smith because of his compliance with the parameters of California Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. Instead the case was turned over to law enforcement officers of the U.S. Forest Service, a federal agency, so that Smith might be prosecuted under federal law which, the government maintains, is not effected by Prop. 215. The U.S. Government is seeking to make an example out of Smith to discourage others from attempting to implement Proposition 215. Smith's case is bolstered by the release last month of the National Institute of Health Institute of Medicine Report that found medical marijuana to be an effective remedy in treating a variety of ailments including stress, anxiety and loss of appetite. Smith expects to call country music star Merle Haggard and actor Woody Harrelson, both long-time friends and admirers, as witnesses during the trial.
------------------------------------------------------------------- High-Profile Pot Case Before Jury (The UPI version breaks the wire service's silence on the case.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 22:57:40 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: High-Profile Pot Case Before Jury Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International HIGH-PROFILE POT CASE BEFORE JURY SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 21 (UPI) - A case that could set a precedent for how federal judges handle a California law allowing the medical use of marijuana has gone to the jury. The panel deliberating the case today heard yesterday from the defense's final witness, actor Woody Harrelson, who got into an angry exchange with U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. Harrelson, who first gained fame on the "Cheers" TV sitcom, bridled under Burrell's exclusion of the state's Proposition 215 as a defense for the actor's friend, 52-year-old B.E. Smith of Trinity County. Burrell had said federal law doesn't make an exception for marijuana use under doctor's care, and refused a defense request to remove himself from the trial. Harrelson was called as a character witness for Smith. At one point, Burrell ordered the actor to stop ignoring his guidelines or be placed under arrest. Harrelson said, "I'm just wondering why you're keeping the truth from the jury," in a reference to Proposition 215, the initiative passed by the voters in 1996 that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for the relief of pain and other symptoms. Ordered to leave the stand, the actor shot back, "How do you sleep at night?" in a suggestion that the judge lacked conscience. Harrelson said he met defendant Smith at a 1996 protest on Golden Gate Bridge to demand protection for the Headwaters redwood grove. He also once posted a $500,000 bond for a cancer patient facing criminal marijuana charges. Smith was charged in 1997 after officers seized an 87-plant marijuana garden. He said he used the drug by prescription as a cure for alcohol abuse.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Guilty Verdict In High-Profile Pot Case (A later UPI account says the defendant, California medical-marijuana patient B.E. Smith, 52, was denied bail and faces up to six years when he is sentenced on Aug. 6.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 06:12:33 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: MMJ: Guilty Verdict In High-Profile Pot Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International GUILTY VERDICT IN HIGH-PROFILE POT CASE SACRAMENTO, - A federal jury in Sacramento has handed down a guilty verdict in a case that could set a precedent for how federal judges handle a California law allowing the medical use of marijuana. The jury today convicted 52-year-old B.E. Smith of Trinity County on drug charges for a 1997 arrest in which police seized an 87-plant marijuana garden, which Smith claimed he used by prescription for treatment of alcohol abuse. Smith's attorney, Thomas Ballanco, said today's verdict ``was obscene, like being witness to a rape.'' He said prosecutors ``dissected the truth'' from the case and the defense was only allowed to put on a ``shred'' of character evidence. That evidence included the testimony of actor Woody Harrelson, who met the defendant at a 1996 protest on Golden Gate Bridge to demand protection for the Headwaters redwood grove. In Thursday's testimony, the former ``Cheers'' actor bridled under Burrell's exclusion of Proposition 215 as a defense. The 1996 voter- approved initiative allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for the relief of pain and other symptoms. Burrell said federal law doesn't make exceptions for marijuana use under doctor's care, and refused a defense request to remove himself from the trial. At one point, Burrell ordered the actor to stop ignoring his guidelines or be placed under arrest. Harrelson said, ``I'm just wondering why you're keeping the truth from the jury'' in a reference to Proposition 215. Smith was denied a request for bail on appeal and is being held in Sacramento County jail. He faces up to six years when he's sentenced on Aug. 6.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marvin Chavez Moved to Susanville (A list subscriber forwards the prison address of the California medical-marijuana activist who was indicted as director of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op for giving away medicine, denied a Proposition 215 defense at trial, and then sentenced to six years in prison - five years more than a cop from the same jurisdiction who stole methamphetamine from an evidence locker.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 18:11:42 -0700 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: Jim Rosenfield (email@example.com) Subject: Re: Marvin Chavez Moved to Susanville Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org thanks bill. At 05:25 PM 5/21/99 -0400, you wrote: >Marvin's new address is: > >Marvin Chavez Sr. P28708 >Calif. Correction Center >P.O. 2210 >Susanville, CA 96130 > >Marvin is Starving for info from the outside world. Please write him and let >him know what's going on. > >Bill Jim Rosenfield Insight Web Design http://www.insightweb.com email@example.com tel: 310-836-0926 fax: 310-836-0592 Culver City CA [postal by request]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legislators Ignore People's Will (Three letters to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News protest the Alaska legislature's nullification of the state's new medical-marijuana law and other undemocratic usurpations.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 02:15:15 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AK: MMJ: 3-PUB LTE's: Legislators Ignore People's Will Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK) Copyright: 1999 The Anchorage Daily News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.adn.com/ Author: (1) Peter Jenkins; (2) Randy Knauff; (3) Dave Rudisill LEGISLATORS IGNORE PEOPLE'S WILL A group of our esteemed legislators wants to limit our ability to express ourselves through the initiative process. They claim we are not smart enough to understand the issues and are too easily swayed by special interests. This from a group of people whom special interest groups spend millions of dollars annually lobbying to influence their votes. This highly intelligent, well-informed group has not come close to solving the subsistence problem in 10 years, nor have they come up with a long-range financial plan to deal with the state's budget problems. When the budget is cobbled together in the remaining hours of the session, it is doubtful that a single representative or senator has read the complete document or understands what is in it. In the past, this has never stopped them from voting for it. In the same vein, it is not uncommon for legislation to be so poorly written that it has to be corrected the next session. The concealed-carry law is an instance. So when we express our overwhelming opinion on such issues as medical marijuana, billboards and game management, it is not surprising that some egotistical, special-interest-serving legislators claim they need to modify the will of the people. They have one thing going for them: Enough of us were swayed by their election propaganda to send them down there. Peter Jenkins, Eagle River *** GOP MAJORITY IGNORES PEOPLE Regarding Bill Turnbull's letter of May 15: There is a way to get a letter added to the alphabet. The people of Alaska said they did not want a less restrictive road sign bill, so the Republican majority of our Legislature passed one anyway. Alaskans said they wanted a tobacco tax, so the Republican majority did everything it could to avoid passing one. Alaskans said they wanted medical use of marijuana legal, so the Republican majority is trying to curtail much of that right. Alaskans said they did not want same-day killing of wolves by flying hunters except under extreme emergency situations, so the Republican majority is changing that to nonemergency situations. Alaskans want to be able to challenge some of that Republican majority's unconstitutional bills and get some of their legal fees back when the courts agree the Republican bills were wrong, so the Republican majority is trying to enact a law to keep the Alaska citizen winners from getting fair money back they wouldn't have had to spend if the bills weren't wrong. You can see that all you have to do is pass an initiative or show that Alaskans have thought about it and decided they want to subtract a letter from the alphabet. Our wonderful Republican majority will again take the position that Alaskans really don't know how to think clearly, don't understand an issue, or need to be lead by the ethical, astute Legislature and will pass a bill adding a letter to the alphabet. P.S. Polls are cheaper than initiatives. Try that first. Randy Knauff, Anchorage *** CONTEMPT IS A TWO-WAY STREET Let me see if I understand this. Alaskans qualified an initiative to reform campaign financing. The Legislature, to prevent it from becoming law, passed substantially similar legislation. Then the Legislature rewrites the law, gutting it. Alaskans passed an initiative to allow medical use of marijuana. Then the Legislature writes new law, gutting it. Alaskans voted on an initiative to ban wolf snaring, passed an initiative to ban billboards and is generally threatening to pass the laws it wants over the heads of the Legislature. So the Legislature writes two laws making it harder to qualify initiatives and to pass them into law. We have a $1 billion budget deficit. The Legislature responds by spending all but the last few days of the session cutting $40 million from the budget (leaving only a $960 million deficit). Clearly, the Legislature holds us in contempt. I suppose lawmakers are aware that the feeling is mutual. Dave Rudisill, Anchorage
------------------------------------------------------------------- Way Cleared For Hemp Aid (The South Bend Tribune says a lawsuit filed by Cass County that would have canceled both Hemp Aid '99 over Memorial Day weekend and Roach Roast '99 over Labor Day weekend at Rainbow Farm and Camp Ground in Vandalia, Michigan, has been dismissed. The four-day, three-night festival beginning May 28 will feature an admission charge of $40 to see such entertainers as Tommy Chong. Last year the event drew more than 3,000 people.)Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 22:08:39 EDT Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Richard Lake (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Way Cleared For Hemp Aid Newshawk: Doug http://www.rainbowfarmcampground.com/hempaid.htm Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: South Bend Tribune (IN) Website: http://www.sbtinfo.com/ Author: Lou Mumford, Tribune Staff Writer Note: Details about Hemp Aid '99 are at the Newshawk URL above. Your Sr. Editor plans to attend (but maybe not all days as I am tied to this computer) - look for me at the activist booth. Among the speakers is my good friend Elvy Musikka (legal medical marijuana recipient) - fresh from receiving the Robert Randall Citizen Action Award at the Drug Policy Foundation conference. For an article about Hemp Aid '98 see: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n691/a08.html WAY CLEARED FOR HEMP AID CASSOPOLIS -- People planning on attending Hemp Aid '99 will have a good trip after all. An attorney on Thursday confirmed the dismissal of a Cass County lawsuit that had sought to put a halt to a pair of hemp-related activities this year at the Rainbow Farm and Camp Ground in Vandalia. "The (dismissal) order is going out today (Thursday)," said Stephen Hessen, an attorney for the Kalamazoo law firm of Kreis, Enderle, Callander and Hudgins. The firm represented the county in its request for an injunction that would have canceled both Hemp Aid '99 over Memorial Day weekend and a similar Labor Day weekend activity called Roach Roast '99. A county ordinance requires permits for outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people. However, events sponsored or conducted by not-for-profit organizations are exempt from the ordinance. Because Hemp Aid and Roach Roast activities at the farm are sponsored by the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism, an Ohio-based tax-exempt group, the question became whether it's a legitimate not-for-profit organization. Hessen said that when county officials checked on the organization's status 45 days ago, it was not in good standing with the Ohio secretary of state. But he said the situation changed after the lawsuit was filed last week. "After we filed, the organization and Mr. Crosslin (Tom Crosslin, owner of Rainbow Farm and Camp Ground) got back in good standing ... They maintained there was a procedural mix-up by the state of Ohio,'' he said. Doug Leinbach, campground manager, claimed the problem over the institute's status arose because someone at the secretary of state's office in Columbus, Ohio, apparently removed documents from the institute's file on June 3, 1997. Coincidentally or not, he said that was just three days after the institute sponsored Rainbow Farm's first Hemp Aid event. Robert Fitrakis, executive director of the institute, said he didn't know whether the records were removed by mistake or design. But he said the issue is moot, as it took him "all of five minutes'' to produce copies verifying the organization's up-to-date tax-exempt status. "If we hadn't kept copies, the festival wouldn't have happened because of a technicality or glitch,'' he said. Fitrakis said he believes the opposition of Cass County officials is politically based. Both Rainbow Farm and the institute promote the legalization of industrial hemp. Officials at Rainbow Farm have gone even further, calling for legalization of marijuana, hemp's best-known by-product. Leinbach said he had no doubt the lawsuit would be dismissed. The same thing happened two years ago, he said, when a similar lawsuit filed by the county was dropped. "We proved it was a legitimate deal. We're very happy about it, for sure,'' he said. Had Hemp Aid and Roach Roast been canceled, he said it would have put Rainbow Farm and Camp Ground out of business. He said proceeds from the events will help offset some $200,000 in improvements recently made to the Pemberton Road property. The four-day, three-night Hemp Aid '99 activity, which begins May 28, will feature an admission charge of $40 to see such entertainers as Tommy Chong. Last year, the event drew more than 3,000 people. Leinbach said the irony is that because of the publicity brought about by the lawsuit, Hemp Aid '99 may end up with a larger than usual crowd. "If we see 100,000 rather than 3,000, whose fault is it?" he said. *** MAP posted and forwarded by: Richard Lake Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest email: rlake@DrugSense.org http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/ 21,875 articles on-line! For subscription information see: http://www.MAPinc.org/lists/ Quick sign up for DrugNews-Digest, Focus Alerts or Newsletter: http://www.DrugSense.org/hurry.htm *** Get Active! Write Letters to the Editor! See Three Tips for Letter Writers: http://www.mapinc.org/3tips.htm and the Published Letters Archive: http://www.mapinc.org/lte/ *** Information on the state and topic discussion lists supported by DrugSense is at: http://www.drugsense.org/lists/ *** Check out analysis and commentary on the news at: http://www.marijuananews.com/ *** We also sponsor an interactive chat room for activists. Point your web browser to: http://www.mapinc.org/chat/ And join the discussion. The chat starts at about 9:00 p.m on Saturday and Sunday night Eastern time.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cynicism and Criminal Justice (A staff editorial in the Daily Gazette notes Sheldon Silver, the New York state assembly's Democratic speaker, has said he won't take up Gov. George Pataki's modest proposals to reform the Rockefeller-era mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines for drug offenders because they go too far. Although Democratic liberals say Pataki's proposals don't go far enough, Silver thinks they could put other Democrats - especially those from suburban and upstate districts - on the defensive in next year's election. In other words, Silver is outflanking Pataki on the right. While most Assembly Democrats are liberals from New York City, they are also the ones who generally have the safest seats. By nixing Pataki's effort to reform drug laws, Silver is hoping to protect those Democrats from Republicans raising the law-and-order issue. Good public policy is the last thing on his mind.)Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 20:25:48 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Editorial: Cynicism and Criminal Justice Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Capital Region NORML Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Daily Gazette (NY) Copyright: 1999 - The Gazette Newspapers Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dailygazette.com/ CYNICISM AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE For years, liberal Democrats have been complaining about the harshness of the Rockefeller drug laws, how they lock up minor drug offenders for much too long. This year, Republican Gov. George Pataki responded by proposing reforms that would keep some drug offenders out of jail and allow others out of prison sooner. Some liberals responded by saying Pataki's reforms did not go far enough. They also opposed the governor's bid to abolish parole for felons, which he linked to his drug proposal. Those objections, whether or not they should prevail, amounted to a reasonable political position. But now it appears that Sheldon Silver, the Assembly's Democratic speaker, may decline to act on Pataki's proposal because it goes too far - the opposite complaint that the liberals had been making. According to Thursday's New York Times, Silver has no plans to take up Pataki's or anyone else's proposals this year to reform the Rockefeller laws. Why not? Because doing so could put some of his Democratic members - especially those from suburban and upstate districts - on the defensive in next year's election. Silver, in other words, is outflanking Pataki on the right. While most Assembly Democrats are liberals from New York City, they are also the ones who generally have the safest seats. It's the more conservative members, from outside the city, who are more vulnerable to Republican campaigns, and so need Silver's protection. By nixing Pataki's effort to liberalize drug laws, Silver is hoping to protect those Democrats from Republicans raising the law-and-order issue. Good public policy is the last thing on his mind. But that's hardly unusual in Albany. Even the brightest-eyed of political Pollyannas would turn skeptical when contemplating the New York State Legislature. Examples of its craven political calculations abound, from the perennial stalemate over the state budget to this year's rapid and wretched repeal of the New York City commuter tax. On another criminal justice issue, reforming the treatment of young offenders, the Senate and Assembly passed bills last year. Each had good points, and there were considerable similarities. But no conference committee was scheduled, no settlement negotiated, and no law passed. This year there are conflicting bills on youth crime, DNA testing, weapons control and other issues. Will reasonable compromises pass? Not if the politicians follow Silver's example on drug laws.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Silver Plans To Resist Pataki On Rollback Of Drug Laws (The Buffalo News version) Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 16:41:58 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Silver Plans To Resist Pataki On Rollback Of Drug Laws Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Buffalo News (NY) Copyright: 1999 The Buffalo News Fax: 716-856-5150 Mail: P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY, 14240 Website: http://www.buffnews.com/ SILVER PLANS TO RESIST PATAKI ON ROLLBACK OF DRUG LAWS The Democratic speaker of the Assembly thinks that there are too many political liabilities involved in rescinding the state's tough Rockefeller-era drug laws and is opposed to reform. Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, does not intend to take up proposals to change the laws this year, spokeswoman Patricia Lynch said in a New York Times article Thursday. Silver thinks that Democratic members could be vulnerable to challengers in more conservative upstate and suburban districts if they vote to ease the drug laws, Ms. Lynch said. "At this time, there are no plans by the Assembly leadership to address the governor's proposal," Ms. Lynch said. She and Silver could not be reached Thursday to elaborate on the comments. This month, Gov. Pataki proposed a modest rollback on the harshest of the drug laws, which provide for a sentence of up to 15 years to life in prison for people caught possessing as little as four ounces, or trying to sell as little as two ounces, of narcotics.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Weak Barriers Linked To Deaths In Crash (The Washington Post notes the 22 deaths that resulted when a bus in New Orleans crashed through a guard rail and plunged down an embankment are now blamed at least in part on termite-ridden guard rails. The deaths were previously and widely attributed in the mass media to the driver, Frank Bedell, who tested positive for marijuana but was also found to have been medically unfit. "They crumble to your touch," said Stephen Rue, an investigator, sticking a butter knife into a post. The hole he made exposed hundreds of squirming little bugs.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 23:39:00 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US LA: Weak Barriers Linked To Deaths In Crash Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Washington Post (DC) Page: A07 Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: Associated Press WEAK BARRIERS LINKED TO DEATHS IN CRASH NEW ORLEANS, May 20 - A bus crashed through a guard rail and plunged down an embankment in part because the safety barriers had been weakened by termites, according to lawyers representing the families of victims of the Mother's Day crash. The Custom Charters bus veered off Interstate 610 in New Orleans during a gambling trip to a Mississippi casino, killing 22 of the 43 mostly elderly passengers. If the oak posts had not been weakened, the bus probably would have stayed on the highway, sparing some of the victims, said Stephen Rue, who represents the relatives of Jewell Williams, a retired teacher killed in the crash. "They crumble to your touch," Rue said, sticking a butter knife into a post. The hole he made exposed hundreds of squirming little bugs. "This is obviously a contributing factor in the tragedy," he said. Twelve hours before the crash, the bus driver, Frank Bedell, 46, received treatment in a hospital emergency room for dehydration andextremely low blood pressure. There were traces of marijuana in his blood, and authorities found that he had congestive heart disease, had lost two bus-driving jobs because he used marijuana, had failed a test for cocaine and was undergoing dialysis. NTSB investigators say Bedell should not have been driving, but it is not clear whether his health problems or drug use contributed to the crash.
------------------------------------------------------------------- NAACP Chief's Son Indicted On Drug Charges (The Washington Post says Ronald T. Gray, 29, a son of Kweisi Mfume, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Washington, D.C., by DEA agents. He was indicted yesterday in U.S. District Court and jailed without bond on three counts of distributing powdered cocaine and three charges of using the telephone to arrange drug sales. Mfume was a five-term Democratic U.S. representative from Maryland and head of the Congressional Black Caucus before becoming president and chief executive officer of the NAACP in 1996.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 21:34:51 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US DC: NAACP Chief's Son Indicted On Drug Charges Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Washington Post (DC) Page: B08 Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Author: Bill Miller, Washington Post Staff Writer NAACP CHIEF'S SON INDICTED ON DRUG CHARES A son of NAACP President Kweisi Mfume was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington yesterday on six drug-related charges and jailed without bond. Ronald T. Gray, 29, was arrested Wednesday at his home in the 1100 block of Fifth Street NW by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was indicted in U.S. District Court on three counts of distributing powdered cocaine and three charges of using the telephone to arrange drug sales. Gray pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Magistrate Judge Alan Kay. The judge ordered that he remain in custody and set a hearing for Monday to decide whether he will be jailed until his trial. Gray was represented in court by a public defender, Maria Jankowski, who said she will seek his release. The indictment alleges that Gray arranged cocaine sales that took place April 30, May 5 and May 12 in the District. No other arrests have been made, authorities said. One law enforcement source said the case does not involve a large amount of drugs. Gray is one of five sons of Mfume, who was a five-term Democratic representative from Maryland and head of the Congressional Black Caucus before becoming president and chief executive officer of the NAACP in 1996. Mfume, who recently has been considering making a run for mayor in Baltimore, was in Ghana yesterday but released a statement through NAACP spokesman John C. White. "This is the worst nightmare of any parent. It is a call that no mother or father ever wants to receive," Mfume said, adding that he will stand by Gray "in this hour of great pain for our family." Staff writer Michael A. Fletcher and staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Studies to Be Aided by Likely Policy Reversal (The Los Angeles Times says the Clinton administration, in a major policy reversal, is expected to announce today that it will release its hold on research-quality marijuana and make it available to scientists who want to study its medical effects. Under the new policy, private researchers, including physicians, will be allowed to purchase and use the substance for studies. A senior administration official said that the change, to take place in December, could "open the door" to a flood of research proposals and studies. A senior administration official said that the change is supported by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.) From: "Peter McWilliams" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Peter McWilliams" (email@example.com) Subject: Feds OK medical marijuana research Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 06:18:11 -0700 L.A. Times Friday, May 21, 1999 Marijuana Studies to Be Aided by Likely Policy Reversal Health: Move by Clinton will make the drug available to scientists to examine its medical effects. A flood of research proposals is anticipated. By MARLENE CIMONS, Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON - In a major policy reversal, the Clinton administration is expected to announce today that it will release its hold on research-quality marijuana and make it available to scientists who want to study its medical effects. For more than 20 years, the production and distribution of marijuana for clinical research has been restricted under several federal laws and international agreements, making it all but impossible for nonfederally funded researchers to obtain it. Scientists have had to go through a cumbersome and often bureaucratic process to get it, which few have attempted. The policy originally was established to ensure uniform quality standards for marijuana used in research. However, the substance became extremely difficult for researchers to obtain. Under the new policy, which would loosen these restrictions, private researchers, including physicians, will be allowed to purchase and use the substance for studies. A senior administration official said that the change, to take place in December, could "open the door" to a flood of research proposals and studies. The issue has been the subject of intense national debate and political pressure. Advocates insist that laws forbidding the medical uses of marijuana are cruel and inhumane. Opponents argue that sanctioning marijuana for any purpose only gives a green light to illegal drug use and would further encourage it. In March, the Institute of Medicine released a report saying that marijuana did have medicinal benefits: that it eases pain and quells nausea in cancer patients. But the National Academy of Sciences study group called for more research, in part to explore alternatives to smoking pot, such as perfecting a pill form of the drug. Contradicting administration policy that marijuana has no medical value and can lead to using harder drugs, the panel of experts found that marijuana is not addictive and said there is no clear evidence that smoking it leads to consumption of heroin, cocaine or other narcotics. A year earlier, an advisory panel to the National Institutes of Health concluded that marijuana might have promising therapeutic uses and called for clinical trials of its effectiveness. The news of a shift in administration policy is expected to be welcomed by medical marijuana advocates who have been clamoring for more research, a position bolstered by the recent reports. "For the last 22 years, the federal government has had a lock on the use of whole smoked marijuana for studies - they grow it at the University of Mississippi . . . and activists and reformers and legitimate scientists have wanted to have access to it to conduct studies, and have had no luck," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation. "We've pushed very hard for this. We've been imploring the government to come up with a system that will allow these studies to go forward," he added. "We want to do the science, but marijuana has become so politicized." A senior administration official said that the change is supported by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, head of the administration's Office of National Drug Control Policy, who has in the past opposed medical uses of marijuana. The official also predicted that the accessibility will "increase the likelihood that we finally get honest-to-God scientific answers on this very important issue. "We really believe this will make it much easier for research to go forward." The issue is especially volatile in California, where voters passed a 1996 initiative allowing patients to grow and use marijuana, a law that has been challenged by the administration. The Department of Health and Human Services, in a document laying out the new policy, said that it intends "to facilitate the research needed to evaluate these pending public health questions by making research-grade marijuana available." The department said that researchers seeking access to the drug must be involved in studies that generally follow guidelines from the Institute of Medicine report--and must pay the government for the drug. Such studies would "be expected to yield useful data and, therefore, will be more likely to be eligible to receive marijuana under the HHS program." Currently, few studies funded by the National Institutes of Health use marijuana, and only a handful of individuals in the country receive government-owned marijuana for medical reasons.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Administration To Ease Rules On Pot For Studies (A brief San Jose Mercury News version) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 18:04:58 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Administration To Ease Rules On Pot For Studies Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ WASHINGTON: NEWS IN BRIEF [... unrelated text removed ...] ADMINISTRATION TO EASE RULES ON POT FOR STUDIES In a major policy reversal, the Clinton Administration is expected to announce today that it will release its hold on research-quality marijuana and make it available to scientists who want to study its medical effects. For more than 20 years, the production and distribution of marijuana for clinical research has been restricted under several federal laws and international agreements, making it all but impossible for non-federally funded researchers to obtain it. Under the new policy, private researchers will be allowed to purchase it for studies.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Medical Marijuana Guidelines Issued (A version broadcast by KOIN, Portland's CBS affiliate.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, May 21, 1999 Source: KOIN Channel 6000 (CBS affiliate, Portland, OR) Copyright: KOIN Channel 6000 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.koin.com/ Author: Channel 6000 staff New Medical Marijuana Guidelines Issued Research Restrictions Eased WASHINGTON, Posted 11:38 a.m. May 21, 1999 -- The Clinton administration has new guidelines to ease the availability of marijuana for medical research. Officials believe the decision will quicken the pace of studies into the drug's possible beneficial uses, according to The Associated Press. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services says the guidelines will make research easier. He says scientists could get samples of marijuana with less trouble. The guidelines were endorsed by the White House Office of National Drug Policy as part of an effort to more thoroughly understand the benefits and risks of using marijuana to treat medical conditions, AP says. "Such research will allow us to better understand what benefits might actually exist for the use of cannabinoid-based drugs," the drug policy office said in a statement. According to the news service, there has been increasing pressure from organizations, researchers and physicians for more research into the medical uses of marijuana. The drug policy office, in the past, has resisted efforts by some groups to make medical marijuana more readily available, but officials at the agency insisted today that the new directive is "not a reversal of policy." In the last few months, committees of experts have recommended in two major studies a more extensive program of scientific research into marijuana, reports AP. Many cancer patients and people with AIDS have said that marijuana, often obtained illegally, is able to relieve nausea and to restore appetite. Other patients have used marijuana to combat glaucoma, the sight-robbing disease caused by a buildup of pressure in the eye. Committees for both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health concluded there is evidence that marijuana can be useful in the treatment of some patients who have not responded well to other therapies.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Czar McCaffrey On Medical Marijuana (A list subscriber forwards two official statements on today's medical-marijuana policy reversal by the Clinton administration - one from the White House drug czar, and another from Americans for Medical Rights.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 13:25:43 +0000 To: email@example.com From: Peter Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject:  Drug Czar McCaffrey On Medical Marijuana (If Only) 21 May 1999 TEXT: WHITE HOUSE DRUG CZAR MCCAFFREY ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA (Strict controls essential until research is complete) (420) WASHINGTON -- The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is endorsing government efforts to facilitate research into the potential medical uses of marijuana, so long as strict regulation of the drug remains in place. "Until we fully understand the ramifications of allowing cannabinoid-based medicines, such uses must only be part of clinical studies to expand the body of scientific understanding," ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey said in a May 21 statement. "In short, we need to be sure that as we examine cannabinoid-based drugs for possible medical benefit, we do not contribute to increased abuse of this psychoactive substance." Following is the text: (begin text) WHITE HOUSE DRUG CZAR ISSUES STATEMENT ON MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH (Washington, D.C.) -- General Barry R. McCaffrey, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, issued the following statement today following the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services of new procedures for the provision of marijuana for medical research. "ONDCP endorses the Department of Health and Human Services' decision to facilitate further research into the potential medical uses of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids. Such research will allow us to better understand what benefits might actually exist for the use of cannabinoid-based drugs, and what risks such use entails. It will also facilitate the development of an inhaler or alternate rapid-onset delivery system for THC or other cannabinoid drugs. Advisors to both the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine have concluded that such research is warranted. This decision underscores the federal government's commitment to ensuring that the discussion of the medical efficacy and safety of cannabinoids takes place within the context of medicine and science. Continued strict regulation of cannabis is essential. Until we fully understand the ramifications of allowing cannabinoid-based medicines, such uses must only be part of clinical studies to expand the body of scientific understanding. In short, we need to be sure that as we examine cannabinoid-based drugs for possible medical benefit, we do not contribute to increased abuse of this psychoactive substance. We look forward to working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to promote bona fide clinical research and to ensure appropriate medical access to drugs and substances that are deemed safe and effective for medical use in treatment." *** FEDS BEGIN TO BEND ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA, ACCORDING TO AMERICANS FOR MEDICAL RIGHTS SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans for Medical Rights (AMR), the sponsors of several state ballot initiatives permitting the medical use of marijuana, today praised a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy that opens the door to scientific research on the medical potential of marijuana and its unique compounds, known as cannabinoids. Bill Zimmerman, executive director of AMR, called the announcement an important first step. "It seems the ship of state is beginning to turn on the issue of medical use of marijuana," Zimmerman said. "Today's news shows the federal government is finally learning from what scientists and physicians have been saying, and what the voters of several states have recently underscored: marijuana helps many patients, and we need to find ways to get its benefits to the seriously ill." The NIH announcement follows up on recommendations from a landmark March 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which confirmed that marijuana is valuable for many patients for whom other medications do not work. The report urged the federal government to make a commitment to new medical marijuana research. Zimmerman, who is also author of, "Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You?" (Keats, 1998), said, "Today's announcement shows the first real commitment to medical marijuana research in a generation. A medical marijuana policy that promises to be friendly to physicians, patients and scientific research will be new in every respect." Legal-access program not outlined yet Despite his overall praise for the new NIH policy, Zimmerman was critical of its failure to address the pressing issue of legal access to marijuana for patients. Zimmerman said, "In March, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended the creation of an experimental access program to provide smokable marijuana to seriously ill patients who have not benefited from standard medications. The IOM investigators called this an important, interim step for patients who have no real alternatives while new medical marijuana research gets under way." Zimmerman said, "We have not forgotten this key policy recommendation, and we will fight to see it implemented as soon as possible. Such a program represents the only reliable way patients across the country can obtain safe, legal supplies of medical marijuana for the next several years, before all the new studies are completed." Political efforts still necessary Noting that an increased governmental commitment to scientific research does not solve the issues in the medical marijuana debate, Zimmerman said, "We will continue with our political efforts to open access to medical marijuana, beginning with a ballot initiative campaign in Maine this November, and continuing with new state ballot initiatives in the year 2000. All of our efforts are meant to maximize the number of seriously ill patients who have medical marijuana as an option." Additional information can be found at AMR's website: http://www.medmjscience.org SOURCE Americans for Medical Rights Web Site: http://www.medmjscience.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Federal Government Releases Medical Marijuana Guidelines - MPP Cautiously Optimistic (A news release from the Marijuana Policy Project, in Washington, D.C., says the new guidelines on medical-marijuana research released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are the Clinton administration's response to the medical-marijuana report from the Institute of Medicine, released March 17. Chuck Thomas of the MPP said, "Unfortunately, the Clinton administration is still playing politics, because it rejected IOM's recommendation that marijuana be given to individual patients with cancer, AIDS, or chronic pain who have an immediate need for marijuana.") Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 21:42:20 -0400 From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG) Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Sender: email@example.com Subject: MPP makes news on federal med-mj guidelines To: MPPupdates@igc.org *** This news release appears on the Web at http://www.mpp.org/nr052199.html *** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 21, 1999 Federal Government Releases Medical Marijuana Guidelines MPP Cautiously Optimistic Washington, D.C. -- After years of pressure from medicinal marijuana advocates, the federal government released guidelines today that provide guidance to scientists who are interested in conducting additional research into marijuana's medical value. The guidelines, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), are the Clinton administration's response to the federally funded study on medicinal marijuana that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released in March amid a flurry of media coverage. "We are pleased that the guidelines will make it easier to do more research, but this will not help patients who are currently risking arrest because they need to use marijuana right now," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). MPP, a non-profit advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., spearheaded the effort to influence the IOM report, bringing dozens of patients and doctors to testify at the hearings that were held in early 1998. MPP has also led the effort for more than four years to persuade the Clinton administration to provide its marijuana for all FDA-approved research. "We have been pressuring the Clinton administration for four years to make marijuana available to researchers and to put its policy in writing," said MPP's Chuck Thomas. "The new guidelines will remove some of the old bureaucratic hurdles, but we will continue to hold Secretary Shalala's feet to the fire to ensure that the new guidelines do not contain hidden hurdles of their own." "By making its marijuana more readily available for research, the Clinton administration is following some of the Institute of Medicine's recommendations," said MPP's Chuck Thomas. "Unfortunately, the Clinton administration is still playing politics, because it rejected IOM's recommendation that marijuana be given to individual patients with cancer, AIDS, or chronic pain who have an immediate need for marijuana." In its report, IOM recommended that the federal government provide marijuana to individual patients under the rubric of "n-of-1" clinical trials, prior to FDA approval of the substance. (See last paragraph of page E.S. 9 of the IOM report.) HHS's guidelines, however, disregarded this recommendation. In the last paragraph under part IV of its guidelines, HHS addressed "single-patient IND" programs, concluding that "we do not foresee that they would be supported under this program." "The Institute of Medicine recommended legal access for patients who need marijuana now, but the Clinton administration rejected this recommendation," said MPP's Chuck Thomas. "In effect, the Clinton administration is therefore supporting the continued criminalization of these patients while the research drags on." - END - *** MPP's Chuck Thomas was quoted in an Associated Press story on Friday (excerpts below); more items are expected to appear in the next few days in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. MAY 21, 16:43 EDT WASHINGTON (AP) - Responding to pressure from scientists and voters, the Clinton administration loosened restraints Friday on medical marijuana research. The move is expected to prompt more studies to see if the drug helps people with AIDS, cancer or eye disease. Scientists with private grants will now be able to get legal marijuana from the government's supply - grown on a small plot of land in Mississippi to make sure it's all the same strength. Previously, only scientists who had won federal grants had access to that marijuana. And only a few such federal studies have been approved. *** Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project said his group is pleased the guidelines will encourage more research, but he said the action will not help patients in pain who need the drug now. ``We're very disappointed that they failed to approve single-patient, compassionate use, as the Institute of Medicine had recommended,'' Thomas said. *** HOW TO SUPPORT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: To support MPP's work and receive the quarterly newsletter, "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 http://www.mpp.org/membrshp.html 202-232-0442 FAX
------------------------------------------------------------------- Widespread Abuses Found In Customs (According to the Associated Press, a U.S. Treasury Department audit released Thursday to the Senate Finance Committee says the Customs Service created "a fear of reprisal" among employees who reported wrongdoing, and mishandled investigations so that wayward agents were neither disciplined nor prosecuted. The agency also promoted employees who had been disciplined for "infractions" and let managers investigate subordinates despite clear conflicts of interest. One inspector who admitted placing marijuana in a passenger's luggage was only admonished, and later received seven cash awards and one promotion. A spokesman for Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Kelly began addressing such problems immediately after assuming his post nine months ago.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 06:18:45 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: Widespread Abuses Found In Customs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: EWCHIEF Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: Larry Margasak, Associated Press Writer WIDESPREAD ABUSES FOUND IN CUSTOMS WASHINGTON - The U.S. Customs Service created "a fear of reprisal" among employees who reported wrongdoing and mishandled investigations so that wayward agents were neither disciplined nor prosecuted, a Treasury Department audit says. The agency that runs the nation's ports of entry promoted employees who had been disciplined for infractions and let managers investigate subordinates despite clear conflicts of interest, the Treasury Department inspector general reported Thursday. The report was presented to the Senate Finance Committee, which is conducting a major review of the Treasury Department agency. Dennis Murphy, a spokesman for Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly, said Kelly immediately began addressing these problems after assuming his post nine months ago and already has made changes. The former head of the internal affairs unit was replaced, an impartial board was established to handle discipline problems and a "cold case unit" was formed to review old investigations and reopen them if necessary, he said. Murphy said Kelly recognized that the agency's internal affairs office which was singled out in the report for mishandling investigations "was a fractured organization." Among key findings: A supervisor who had been drinking with an employee was placed in charge of the investigation when, the night of the imbibing, the employee drove a government vehicle under the influence of alcohol and left the scene of an accident. An inspector who admitted placing marijuana in a passenger's luggage was only admonished by a supervisor, and later received seven cash awards and one promotion over the next four years. Investigators never tried to resolve conflicting witness statements during the investigation of an inspector who admitted placing marijuana in the luggage of a cruise ship passenger. The case never was presented to prosecutors. There is no indication that prosecutors were told of an employee involved in smuggling of aliens. A prosecutor concluded a sensitive corruption investigation was compromised when an internal affairs agent assigned to the case was promoted as a supervisor of the subject. Awards and promotions were granted to employees who were under investigation and later disciplined. Others received promotions after discipline, including an agent who had made false statements and obstructed justice. The agent was never prosecuted. A case was not thoroughly pursued and subsequently closed, even after law enforcement sources provided information that an employee was involved with individuals suspected of money laundering, gun running and armored car robberies. "One AUSA (assistant United States attorney) described IA (internal affairs) as dysfunctional and almost unwilling to enforce criminal laws," the report said. The report concluded, "There is an overall perception of favoritism in the application of the disciplinary process, and in many instances, there is a fear of reprisal from management for the reporting of wrongdoing." Murphy, the agency spokesman, said Kelly replaced the head of internal affairs with a career Justice Department official. To end the perception of unfairness, Murphy said, the agency now sends serious disciplinary cases to a national review board rather than a local manager. And nobody becomes a manager without a complete review of the official's past record, Murphy said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Plan To Relax Laws On Cannabis (The Illawarra Mercury, in Australia, says the New South Wales Drug Summit last night passed a proposal to remove jail terms for personal use of cannabis. The summit also backed a proposal to decriminalise the offence of self-administration of an illegal substance.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 04:00:05 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Plan To Relax Laws On Cannabis Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Kenneth William Russell Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Illawarra Mercury (Australia) Copyright: Illawarra Newspapers Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://mercury.illnews.com.au/ PLAN TO RELAX LAWS ON CANNABIS A proposal to remove jail terms for personal use of cannabis was passed by the NSW Drug Summit last night. The summit also backed a proposal to decriminalise the offence of self-administration of an illegal substance. State Attorney-General Jeff Shaw said the cannabis proposal was not to decriminalise cannabis, rather to remove jail terms for personal use and the introduction of a cautioning system similar to that used in Victoria. ``We have to take the new ideas from this summit and have the courage to test them out in the real world,'' Mr Shaw said. The proposal will remove jail terms for possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis as well as possession and sale of equipment like water bongs. Mr Shaw said it would help keep young people out of the criminal justice system.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Report Very Dangerous (A letter to the editor of the Age, in Australia, from 22 psychiatrists at the Melbourne Clinic, says they are appalled at the prospect of schizophrenic patients reading a recent news report about research at the University of California at Irvine, and being encouraged to use marijuana, which, they say, "far from improving the illness, almost always aggravates it, or causes relapse." Plus commentary from list subscribers.) Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 06:28:46 -0700 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Australia: LTE: Drug Report Very Dangerous Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Ken Russell Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Age, The (Australia) Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theage.com.au/ Author: Dr David Grounds DRUG REPORT VERY DANGEROUS The brief report suggesting that marijuana may help treat schizophrenia (TheAge, 19/15) is both misleading and dangerous. The reports refers to the finding of a cannabis-like chemical in the cerebrospinal fluid of schizophrenic patients, which is a long way from justifying a claim that marijuana will benefit schizophrenic illness. Psychiatrists at The Melbourne Clinic are appalled at the prospect of schizophrenic patients reading the report and being encouraged to use marijuana, which far from improving the illness, almost always aggravates it, or causes relapse. (In the opinion of many psychiatrists, it can actually precipitate schizophrenia or cause schizophrenia-like illness.) The last thing we want our patients with schizophrenia to do is to take up marijuana smoking in the mistaken belief it will improve their condition. DR DAVID GROUNDS, consultant psychiatrist on behalf of 21 psychiatrists, Melbourne Clinic, Richmond *** Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 07:01:38 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Arthur Livermore (email@example.com) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Re: FW: Australia: LTE: Drug Report Very Dangerous There are many unanswered questions about the etiology of schizophrenia. During the 1970's, Dr. Janice R. Stevens and I studied the neurophysiology of schizophrenia. When a psychiatrist dogmatically denies the utility of cannabis in the management of schizophrenia, I know that they have simply expressed their belief. When they say they are "appalled" that anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia would use marijuana to treat their illness, I know that they are unwilling to discuss the science rationally. I hope psychiatrists will listen to reason instead of fanning the flames of drug war hysteria. Sincerely, Arthur Livermore Director Falcon Cove Biology Laboratory 44500 Tide Avenue Arch Cape, OR 97102 503-436-1882 email@example.com *** Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 11:33:1 -0500 From: D-Pro (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) Subject: Re: FW: Australia: LTE: Drug Report Very Dangerous Organization: D-Pro Enterprises Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org To the 22, Yeah, it would be a darn shame if all that experimenting with live subjects you people have been doing to test drugs of spurious origin was nullified by something as simple as marijuana. Surely it couldn't be as harmless as electric shock. Neither is there in this letter any justification for your loaded claims of "danger". As such this letter is nothing more than a childish tirade, from "doctors" no doubt, without any basis in fact whatsoever. The only danger you might experience is alleviated symptoms in your patients. It makes me sick to my stomach that people claiming to be doctors (unfortunately, 10 years of school and a paper on the wall doesn't alone make one a doctor in my book . . . try reading Hippocrates a bit. . .) make outrageous and fallacious claims such as these, in good conscience, with no substantial basis in fact AT ALL. Sickening. AJ *** From: Phillizy@aol.com Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 11:48:26 EDT Subject: Re: FW: Australia: LTE: Drug Report Very Dangerous To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (email@example.com) I think the "mistaken belief" statement by Dr. David Grounds, consultant psychiatrist, was an honest mistake. How many marijuana-smoking schizophrenics would he see, anyway? Lizy *** [Only the ones for whom marijuana is not effective at preventing psychotic episodes? - ed.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Tolerance Room' Closes For Good (According to the Australian Associated Press, organizers of an illegal but relatively safe heroin-shooting facility in Sydney said today they would not reopen due to the New South Wales Drug Summit's decision to trial safe injecting rooms.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 00:02:42 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Wire: 'Tolerance Room' Closes For Good Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Kenneth William Russell Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Australian Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Australian Associated Press Note: Find related articles by searching on the word wayside 'TOLERANCE ROOM' CLOSES FOR GOOD An illegal heroin shooting gallery in Sydney would not reopen following the New South Wales Drug Summit's decision to trial safe injecting rooms, organisers said today. The so-called Tolerance Room, or T-Room, caused a national outcry when it opened at the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross in the weeks leading up to the summit, but Reverend Ray Richmond said last night's decision meant it was no longer needed. "I think now NSW is in a position to lead the whole of Australia and I think the whole world is watching," Rev Richmond told reporters. "I am greatly indebted to (Premier) Bob Carr for this rather dangerous move of having an open ended drug summit and I think most people are really delighted with the outcomes, the hard work is yet ahead." He said he could think of five communities that would benefit from a safe injecting room, including inner-Sydney Kings Cross and Redfern and Nimbin on the state's north coast. Fellow T-Room organiser Tony Trimingham has spoken about the need for an injecting facility on the central coast and the notorious heroin hotspot of Cabramatta is another likely candidate. Rev Richmond said it would be difficult for Mr Carr to back away from any of the resolutions passed by the summit. He was confident safe injecting room trials would go ahead and the T-Room would not need to reopen. The crusading pastor said the controversial T-Room had played a part in winning delegates' support for safe injecting rooms.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Eton Claims Success In Drugs Crackdown (According to the Times, in Britain, John Lewis, Head Master of Eton, told Radio 4's Today programme yesterday that the school's tough line on drug use had succeeded in minimising drug-taking there. Apparently in the belief that the war on drugs can be won in the bathrooms of Eton, it and other exclusive schools in Britain have introduced urine testing for boys suspected of taking drugs. Lewis said all of Eton's seven expulsions during his first four years in office involved drugs.) Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 16:32:28 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Editorial: Eton Claims Success In Drugs Crackdown Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Martin Cooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999 Source: Times, The (UK) Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.the-times.co.uk/ Author: John O'leary, Education Editor ETON CLAIMS SUCCESS IN DRUGS CRACKDOWN Eton's tough line on drug use, which has resulted in seven expulsions in four years, has succeeded in minimising drug-taking at the school, its headmaster claimed yesterday. A 15-year-old pupil was expelled this week after undercover police caught him trying to buy UKP250 of cannabis in London. But John Lewis, Head Master of Eton, said he would be surprised if drugs were widely available at the school. In an interview on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Lewis said the school made it clear that expulsion was the automatic penalty for the use, possession or sale of illegal drugs. "Parents support [the policy] and the curious thing is, most boys support it too," he said. Like other independent schools, Eton has introduced urine testing for boys suspected of taking drugs, but Mr Lewis said that most tests were negative. "I can think of a particular period between September and December when we tested something like six boys in circumstances where we all thought, frankly, there was a very strong chance they had been using, and they were totally in the clear." Mr Lewis said that the tests were used sparingly and with the knowledge of parents. "We don't want to live in a climate of suspicion, as human beings generally don't, so we do not test randomly unless we've got grounds for suspicion." Eton's high profile, with Prince William and Prince Harry among the 1,200 boys, has ensured that every drugs case has attracted headlines. This week's expulsion was no exception, especially after last weekend's newspaper accounts of Tom Parker Bowles, an old Etonian, using cocaine. Mr Lewis said: "At any time, there are likely to be some boys who are determined to beat the rules of the school and the laws of the land, and there is a reasonable chance they may get away with it. We don't spend all our waking hours thinking about drugs, but we do take it seriously." Drugs offences accounted for all the school's expulsions in his first four years in office, he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 91 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original drug policy newsmagazine features these stories - Two-year anniversary of Hernandez shooting; Legislation in Alaska will restrict state's medical marijuana law; Australia: Police force closure of safe injection room; Somali-Canadian community under attack by khat enforcers; Canadian medical group wants doctors to prescribe more pain meds; Higher Education Act reform campaign update; Conviction of juror in nullification case overturned; New York: No Rockefeller reform this year, presentations in Westchester area by ReconsiDer; and an editorial by Adam J. Smith, Growing pains, on the rapid increase in new drug-policy-reform groups.) Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 04:49:12 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #91 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #91 - May 21, 1999 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto:email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/. If you haven't yet signed the following legislative petition alerts, please visit them and join the thousands who have -- and be sure to use the Tell Your Friends page to get the word out to as many reform supporters as possible! Asset Forfeiture Reform: http://www.drcnet.org/forfeiture/ HEA Drug Provision: http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com/ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Two-Year Anniversary of Hernandez Shooting http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#esequiel 2. Legislation in Alaska Will Restrict State's Medical Marijuana Law http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#sb94 3. Australia: Police Force Closure of Safe Injection Room http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#closure 4. Somali-Canadian Community Under Attack by Khat Enforcers http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#somalis 5. Canadian Medical Group Wants Doctors to Prescribe More Pain Meds http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#painmeds 6. Higher Education Act Reform Campaign Update http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#heacampaign 7. Conviction of Juror in Nullification Case Overturned http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#jurors 8. New York: No Rockefeller Reform This Year, Presentations in Westchester Area by ReconsiDer http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#nyreform 9. EDITORIAL: Growing Pains http://www.drcnet.org/wol/091.html#editorial *** 1. Two-Year Anniversary of Hernandez Shooting Residents of the border town of Redford, Texas, mourned yesterday the two-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Esequiel Hernandez by US Marines on anti-drug patrol. Hernandez was 18 at the time of his death, and was out herding the family sheep when he was tracked and killed by a camouflaged, four-marine patrol on the lookout for drug smugglers and illegal aliens. Hernandez was carrying an old .22 rifle that he used to scare off snakes and other predators. The killing was the first of an American citizen by an active duty soldier. Rev. Mel LaFolette, a resident of Redford, and a member of a delegation that visited Washington after the shooting in 1997, told the Week Online, "The community is still outraged at what happened. Even though there's been a payment of money by the government, no one believes that justice has been done." Rev. LaFolette believes, "it's both a complete irresponsi- bility and recklessness at the level of administration and poor training, but I believe the individuals also have some responsibility for what happened. There's plenty of guilt to go around." Some observers believe the Marines acted according to their training, but were deployed on a type of mission -- civilian law enforcement -- for which the military is wholly unsuited, causing them to make a complete misreading of the situation, leading to the tragedy. Residents are also angered by the way the Border Patrol characterized their community to the Marine patrollers -- full of narcotraffickers, a hostile entity, be suspicious of everybody. "We were slandered by the Border Patrol," said LaFolette. Nevertheless, the Border Patrol has made "no apology for the calumniation of the people of Redford." LaFolette remarked that "everybody on the border, including tourists, fits the [Border Patrol's] description of a drug trafficker," explaining, "Any tourist with a backpack first the description. A woman with a plastic bag of groceries fits the description." We've been told, but have not confirmed, that a demonstra- tion will take place this Saturday (5/22), noon, in the park straddling El Paso and its sister city across the border, Juarez, Mexico. To confirm, and for information, call the Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project (ILEMP) El Paso office at (915) 577-0724. The following is a statement from the American Friends Service Committee (of which ILEMP is a project), followed by an excerpt from ILEMP director Maria Jimenez's comments to In-Motion magazine, the statement of Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) supporting legislation he introduced that would dramatically increase the level of militarization of the border, and links to extensive background information on the Hernandez tragedy and an online photo gallery in memory of Esequiel Hernandez and the tragedy. STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE Today, the American Friends Service Committee remembers Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. of Redford, Texas. On this day two years ago, Hernandez, an 18 year old goatherd, was shot and killed in his own field by a US Marine working on a drug surveillance operation. Outcry from the Redford community and from sympathetic voices nationwide led to a Pentagon statement earlier this year that the use of ground troops for armed, covert anti- drug efforts would be suspended. However, the AFSC remains very concerned that such operations could easily resume without the knowledge of the communities in which they take place. There is no legal bar to doing so, and no external oversight policy exists to inform the public about such activities. The operations are only identified after something goes wrong -- like the Hernandez shooting. Despite the obvious reluctance of the Pentagon to continue such operations, Rep. James Traficant of Ohio has reintroduced a bill this year that would ease the way for military troops to help patrol the border. He claims such aid is "desperately needed" to stem the wave of drugs into the US. AFSC is also concerned about the continued partnership of the military, the Border Patrol, and local law enforcement (including the sharing of equipment, intelligence, and training) in the name of drug enforcement. This collusion contributes to the overall militarization of border communities, endangering and infringing on the civil and human rights of all members of the community. EXCERPT FROM MARIA JIMENEZ INTERVIEW IN IN-MOTION MAGAZINE That problem, the problem of the national perception of viewing the border as a war zone and immigrants as enemies and subsequently border communities -- you can conclude when you have military patrols in your town that somehow somebody thought you were the enemies of this country -- that was why we were losing. The Esequiel Hernandez case highlighted the very serious nature of how we were defining our border politics with respect to, in this particular case, the drug issue. Redford had not seen an arrest of a drug trafficker in ten years according to the DEA (federal Drug Enforcement Administration). Again it's because of these perceptions that people have in the interior of the country. There's drugs in Washington DC, why don't they put covert military operations in Washington, DC? The border is viewed as a war zone, where evil enters, as if economic problems ended and began at the border. Particularly the populations at the border are seen as suspect. I remember the words of Enrique Madrid, one of the residents of Redford who went to Washington, when he said, "My grandfather was one of the original founders of Redford". He had the charter that his grandfather had for the land at Redford. Generations grew up in Redford. He served his country in the military. In many different ways they built the community. Now all of a sudden there are covert operations, "My God we suddenly realized we were an enemy." The perception is that there are expendable populations in terms of what we would call democratic institutions. With all its sophistication, the military in the training of these Marines could not tell the difference between the good guy and the bad guy, so to speak. This shepherd fit the profile of a drug-runner. So if he fit the profile of a drug-runner then it means everybody on the border fits the profile of a drug-runner. There are stereotypic views that are concretized into policy and institutionalized. STATEMENT OF REP. JAMES A. TRAFICANT, JR. in the House of Representatives TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 1999 Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of legislation I introduced on February 8, 1999, which would authorize the deployment of US troops to assist law enforcement in patrolling US borders. I urge all Members to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. Our current program to stop drugs from coming into America is a joke. Eighty percent of the cocaine and heroin smuggled into America is transited across the US-Mexico border. We are losing the war on drugs. If hundreds of thousands of US soldiers can be sent all over the world to protect other countries, certainly a few thousand can be redeployed here in the US to help protect America from the scourge of drugs. My bill, H.R. 628, authorizes the Department of Defense to assign US troops to assist federal law enforcement in monitoring and patrolling US borders, and inspecting cargo, vehicles and aircraft at points of entry into the US Under the bill such assistance could be provided only at the express request of the US Attorney General or Secretary of the Treasury. The bill also mandates special law enforcement training for troops deployed to border areas, requires all US troops patrolling the border to be accompanied by federal law enforcement agents, bars soldiers from making arrests, and requires the federal government to notify state and local government officials of any deployment of US troops. Last year the House overwhelmingly approved a similar provision that I sponsored as an amendment to the FY 1999 DoD bill. The amendment, however, was dropped during a House-Senate conference. Make no mistake about it, the Border Patrol, INS and Customs Service desperately need the help our military could provide. For example, only three out of every 100 trucks coming into the US from Mexico are inspected. In addition, recent news reports reveal that the INS is considering releasing thousands of dangerous illegal aliens currently being held in detention centers because of funding and manpower shortages. And finally, in just the last year, federal agents in one border sector alone seized 132 tons of marijuana and more than 3 tons of cocaine worth a total of $408 million. I recently cosigned a letter with a number of my colleagues imploring the President to fill a backlog of vacant Border Patrol positions. But clearly this is not enough. By the time those positions are filled with qualified candidates, who knows how many more illegal drugs will hit our streets and reach our children? Mr. Speaker, it's time to put a stranglehold on our borders once and for all. I urge all members to cosponsor H.R. 628. LINKS FOR FURTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION: American Friends Service Committee Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project http://www.afsc.org/pdesc/pd139.htm Esequiel Hernandez Memorial Photo Gallery http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/hernandez/gallery/ Interview with Border Militarization Scholar Timothy Dunn http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#dunn War on Drugs: Military Perspectives and Problems, by Joseph Miranda for DRCNet http://www.drcnet.org/military/ National Drug Strategy Network news coverage: Extensive coverage available in the Newsbriefs archives, visit http://www.ndsn.org/search.html and perform search on Esequiel Hernandez. Week Online news coverage: 8/22/97: No Indictments for Marines Who Shot Hernandez http://www.drcnet.org/wol/008.html#military 9/13/97: House Passes Bill Increasing Border Militarization http://www.drcnet.org/wol/011.html#borderwar 11/2/97: Plan to Put 10,000 US Troops on the Texas-Mexico Border Dies in Committee http://www.drcnet.org/wol/017.html#border 1/15/98: Pentagon Proposes Ending Military Border Patrols http://www.drcnet.org/wol/025.html#pentagon 2/27/98: No Federal Charges to be Filed Against Marine Who Shot Hernandez http://www.drcnet.org/wol/031.html#hernandez 9/11/98: Texas Paper Releases Scathing Pentagon Review of Esequiel Hernandez Shooting http://www.drcnet.org/wol/058.html#hernandez 2/5/99: Pentagon Restricts Use of Troops in Border Drug War http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#pentagon *** 2. Legislation in Alaska Will Restrict State's Medical Marijuana Law A little over two months after Alaska's medical marijuana initiative, Proposition 8, went into effect, the Alaska House and Senate have passed legislation that would restrict its implementation. The bill, S.B. 94, passed the Senate on May 13 and was approved with amendments by the House on May 17. The Senate passed the amended version of the bill the next day, and now awaits final approval by the governor. Under S.B. 94, patients who want to use marijuana will be required to register with the state, and will be allowed to possess a maximum of one ounce of marijuana or six plants for their personal use. Sale or distribution between patients will be prohibited. Supporters of Prop 8. said they were disappointed with the restrictions, but noted that it could have been much worse. The original bill, as introduced by state Senator Loren Leman, would have given police broad access to the patients' registry, and another provision would have forced doctors to testify that their patients had exhausted every "legal" treatment before trying marijuana. Further, only specific conditions such as AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma would have qualified as a "debilitating medical condition" that justified marijuana use. "The burden that would have been placed on doctors would have made the law unworkable," said Gina Pesulima, spokeswoman for Americans for Medical Rights. Pesulima credited patients and voters who supported Prop. 8, many of whom testified before the legislature in debates on S.B. 94, with making sure the most onerous restrictions did not get through. "Overall, we're not happy that it passed, but we are happy that in the process, a lot of patients came out in support of the law & giving it a chance to work." Another positive result of the amendment process, she said, is a provision that will allow physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners to make official recommendations for patients who need marijuana. This is particularly helpful in Alaska, where many patients live in remote areas with limited access to doctors. Alaskans for Medical Rights, which sponsored Prop. 8, is on the web at http://www.alaskalife.net/AKMR/. *** 3. Australia: Police Force Closure of Safe Injection Room - Peter Watney, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Prior to the opening of the T-room at the Wayside Chapel, Kings Cross, Sydney, the Premier of New South Wales had announced the holding of a Drug Summit to be held at Parliament House, Sydney from 17th to 21st May. Last week the police continued to attend the T-room openings, and after being denied entry on the Monday, returned with a warrant on the Wednesday. They charged one of the users of the room. The organising committee announced that they would close the T-room during the term of the Drug Summit, and would make decisions as to whether they would reopen depending on the results of the Summit. After the closing of the T-room its need was underlined by the discovery of a man in one of the outside toilets, dead from a drug overdose. It was assumed that the presence of the police had discouraged him from using the T-room. Names of the participants and transcripts of the Summit can be seen at http://www.nsw.gov.au/drugsummit1999/. *** 4. Somali-Canadian Community Under Attack by Khat Enforcers Members of Toronto, Canada's Somali community are in shock over a sudden police crackdown against the substance khat, with attendant civil liberties abuses, and are seeking to have police searches of homes reined in and the legislation that banned the substance last year repealed. And article in the May 3rd issue of the Toronto Star reported that 50 Somalis had met the previous day and were planning to meet with police to discuss the problem. The Week Online spoke with Farah Khayre, executive director of Midaynta, Association of Somali Service Agencies. Khayre explained, "Khat in the Somali culture has traditionally been used socially, much like coffee in the western culture. It has no criminality associated with it, and on the contrary helps to create a friendly environment, even to help resolve disputes." Used primarily by adult males, Khayre continued, "It's like getting together over coffee or beer to share ideas." Khat is frequently used while meeting to plan weddings or engagements. Khayre believes that the trouble over khat started in 1992, when US Marines were stationed in Somalia as the principal agents of a U.N. peacekeeping force. According to Khayre, US soldiers experimented with khat, and US military officials put forward khat use as an explanation for deficiencies in performance. Thus having been brought to the attention of the DEA and other US drug warriors, the US government proceeded to place khat in its list of controlled substances and to pressure foreign governments, including that of Canada, to crack down on khat. According to Khayre, "[The law] was passed quietly, not even fully debated in Parliament, no community information was sought, and no outreach to the community to information about this law was made. We just started getting these calls from people whose had been arrested or their homes broken into. The wake up call was these calls from our clients." Ali Mohamud, of Dejint Beesha Somali Multi-Service Center Agency, told the Week Online that "police from Toronto have been raiding apartments and taking gold and money." In Somali culture, gold is often crafted into ornaments, which will often take on the same kind of sentimental value as jewelry and other gifts and heirlooms can have in other cultures. Mohamud shares the shock and surprise of his fellow Canadian Somalis. "I did not even think such things could happen in Canada." Midaynta's clients have also reported abusive police tactics. Khayre stated, "What I can say is that in many cases, according to the reports that we have been receiving from clients, the professional standards of the police have not been followed -- break-ins without warrants, no receipts for confiscated items, not a professional way of conducting police raids." When asked if he believed Somalis are being treated differently from other Canadians, Khayre answered, "If these reports turn out to be on firm ground, then yes, we can say we have been treated differently." Somali organizations are seeking repeal of the law criminalizing khat, and are preparing to challenge the law in the courts. In the meantime, they acknowledge the right of law enforcement agencies to enforce the law, but call on them to halt the abusive tactics and invasions of privacy that the sudden enforcement effort has entailed. "If they find [khat] at the airport, they have the right to arrest people who are found with it in their possession," said Khayre; but while the court challenge is pursued, "police should stop invading Somali homes." Khayre said that "Khat, like any other social thing, every one has problems, health, economic or otherwise. What's surprising is that there is absolutely no record of crime as a result of khat use, while alcohol is the number one such problem. Is it simply a cultural bias?" Khayre continued, "Khat helps a lot of Somalis to relieve stress, which is a major issue in a community that's come to a new culture or environment. So for them, it's more of a therapy." Khayre is also surprised at the recent police behavior. "We work with police, they are decent people, an example of good behavior. I don't understand how something like this could happen." (Read about drug policy and reform efforts in Canada at the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy web site, recently relocated to its own domain at http://www.cfdp.ca/.) *** 5. Canadian Medical Group Wants Doctors to Prescribe More Pain Meds The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia wants doctors to prescribe narcotics and other controlled drugs more liberally when treating patients with extreme or chronic pain, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. At the college's annual meeting last Friday, May 14, outgoing college president Bill Acker said "There has been a fear that prescribing narcotics will result in patient addiction or regulatory sanctions. This has led to patients being undertreated for pain." College registrar Cameron Little added, "patients should be given as much medication as needed to kill pain." Undertreatment of pain is also a major problem in the United States, where fear of drug enforcement and regulatory sanctions has created a "war on drugs" climate in which adequate pain treatment is discouraged. (See our introduction to this important topic online at http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/pain.html.) Skip Baker, president of the American Society for Action on Pain, told the Week Online that they often hear from patients in Canada. "Quite often they have a terrible time in Canada," Baker said. "Some of them actually come down here and pay out of their own pocket, because they have a terrible time getting treated in Canada." Canada's health care system is government-financed. "They kind of follow the lead of America, and when was America went crazy over drugs and was overcome by narcophobia, Canada followed suit, to the great detriment of their own people." Baker had been adequately treated with morphine for ankylosing spondilitis, an extremely painful bone disease, until the drug war intensified during the 1980's and early 1990's. The resulting anti-drug political affected the medical regulatory agencies, frightening physicians who had previously been willing to prescribe narcotics for pain relief. Baker's physician told him that the Virginia Board of Medicine was taking away doctors' licenses and that he couldn't continue to prescribe for him. Baker was forced to resort to alcohol for pain control, which affected his ability to perform on his job as a professional photographer. Today, Baker and ASAP help pain patients find doctors who understand proper pain treatment and are willing to brave the regulatory and legal risks to provide it. Visit ASAP online at http://www.actiononpain.org. (Recent DRCNet coverage of the pain issue: http://www.drcnet.org/wol/087.html#undertreatment) *** 6. Higher Education Act Reform Campaign Update - Kris Lotlikar, DRCNet University Coordinator The Higher Education Act (HEA) reform campaign's campus activity on campuses has wrapped up for the school year, as students finished up their final exams and left for the summer. In only six months, students on over 200 campuses defined themselves as a valuable part of the drug policy reform movement as they united in opposition to a law that delays or denies federal financial aid to drug offenders. Bill H.R. 1053, sponsored by Barney Frank, which would repeal the HEA drug provision, gained three new co-sponsors in the last week and now has the support of 14 congressional representatives. (Visit http://thomas.loc.gov/ for information on any federal legislation; search on H.R. 1053 for info on the HEA reform bill.) The student campaign, coordinated by DRCNet, has been formally endorsed by ten student governments and two statewide student associations. Over thirty organizations, including the American Public Health Association, the National Organization of Women, the NAACP and the ACLU, have endorsed a national sign-on letter supporting H.R. 1053. (Visit http://www.u-net.org/supporters.html for a regularly updated list of the campaign's and letter's endorsers.) Being organized primarily online, the HEA reform campaign has made full use of cyberspace to enhance and expand tradition activism efforts. Over 11,000 emails and faxes have been sent to congress calling for reform, from http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com. (Please visit RaiseYourVoice.com is you haven't already, and add your vote to the students' call for sanity.) Student leaders will not be sitting idle with summer. Many of the students involved not the HEA reform campaign will be playing an active roll in developing strategy and materials to kick off in September. Fall semester of 1999 promises to be a breakthrough year for campus activism around drug policy reform. Issues such as prison vs. higher education spending and harm reduction on campuses offer opportunities to engage larger numbers of students in a discourse over the consequences of the drug war. A national student leadership conference on drug policy reform is being planned at George Washington University in November. E-mail discussion groups are being formed for students who want to get more involved in the HEA reform campaign and other student efforts. If you have any ideas, questions, or would just like to play a larger role, send an e-mail to email@example.com. *** 7. Conviction of Juror in Nullification Case Overturned - Marc Brandl Colorado juror Laura Kriho, convicted in 1997 of contempt of court for failing to inform attorneys during jury selection on a drug case of her opposition to the drug laws, has won her appeal. In 1994, Laura Kriho was the lone holdout against conviction in a Gilpin County, Colorado drug possession case. During deliberations, Kriho told her fellow jurors about the penalty the defendant faced if convicted, and she told them that she was opposed to the current drug laws, and that drug problems should be handled by families, not the courts. She also shared with them her understanding of legal doctrine known as jury nullification, which holds that jurors may judge a law on its merits and to refuse to convict when doing so would violate their consciences. When the judge found out what she said, and that she had not informed the prosecution during jury selection of her views on the drug war, he charged her with contempt of court. She was convicted in 1997, and fined $1,200. In his ruling, judge Henry Nieto wrote that Kriho "deliberately and willfully withheld and concealed information which was relevant and important to selecting a fair and impartial jury, and that Ms. Kriho did so with the intent of serving on the jury for the purpose of obstructing justice." Last month (4/29), a Colorado court of appeals disagreed, and Nieto's ruling was overturned. Legal experts and nullification activists have kept a close watch on the case. "What happened to Laura Kriho was bizarre and completely unfair," said Clay Conrad, a Texas attorney and author of Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine. "It is obvious from the context of the entire case they prosecuted her for her verdict. If they can punish jurors for their verdicts, the jury system is just a living fossil brought out to harm people. There is nothing left if jurors can't be independent and vote their own consciences." The 62-page appellate ruling was based not on whether nullification had been used, but whether allowing jurors to testify about conversations that took place during jury deliberations violates the sanctity of those deliberations. "You can't use evidence of juror deliberations in a court proceeding," explained Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. "Certainly, this is something that encourages jurors to be as candid as possible during the proceeding." Volokh said he was concerned that the recent popularity of jury nullification could make the practice too commonplace. "I think it's right that we can't throw a juror in jail for nullifying. At the same time, we should also not encourage jurors to nullify. If jurors would only nullify bad laws and never nullify good laws, that would be great. The downside of jury nullification is you are more likely to get decisions based on racial considerations, or just whether the person seems appealing or not. These judgments will be used to invalidate and nullify laws that are actually good laws." What effect, if any, jury nullification can have on drug laws remains a point of contention. While many judges discourage the practice, Conrad said some may welcome nullification as a way to counter the effects of mandatory minimums. "A great many trial judges are opposed to the sentencing guidelines. A lot of them don't like being drafted into becoming soldiers of the war on drugs. These trial judges might just start allowing nullification arguments in their courtroom," he said. "This allows the defense some out once they realize they have the prerogative of allowing such arguments to be made." Nullification activist Larry Dodge told the Week Online, "What you're looking at here is a chance for the people to remark on the laws which govern them, to bring them back in alignment with the will of the people. Isn't that what democracy is all about? Here the government is trying to clean up the juries so the verdict will be pro-government. We shouldn't be cleaning up juries so the drug war is prolonged." But Volokh said the disconnect between jurors and the drug laws is often overestimated. "It is not as if it is the good, virtuous jurors against the bad, evil legislator," he said. "Jurors are also voters and as voters they support legislators that support the war on drugs. You shouldn't expect too much from jury nullification." As for Kriho, she could be retried, but the appeals court ruled that the opinions she revealed during jury deliberations, which were used as evidence to convict her, will not be admissible in any future case against her. "I'm happy that it was overturned," she said of her conviction. "I wish it had gone further to protect jurors from being prosecuted." For more information on jury nullification, visit the Fully Informed Jury Association online at http://www.fija.org. *** 8. New York: No Rockefeller Reform This Year, Presentations in Westchester Area by ReconsiDer An article in Thursday's New York Times reported that the Democratic leadership in the state legislature has rejected a proposal by the Republican governor to enact modest reforms to the state's harsh Rockefeller Drug Laws, disappointing members of the party who saw the Pataki proposal as a rare opportunity to change sentencing laws that the party has long opposed. A detailed report on the situation will appear in next week's issue of the Week Online. Learn about the campaign against the Rockefeller Drug Laws on the web site of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, http://www.kunstler.org/. The Rockefeller Drug Laws have been criticized by the respected human rights organization Human Rights Watch. HRW holds that these and similar mandatory minimum laws violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Visit Human Rights Watch's Drugs and Human Rights in the United States Campaign online at http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/drugs/, including substantial information on the impact of the Rockefeller laws. Peter Christ, retired police captain and leading speaker of the New York State-based ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy, will be appearing at WESPAC in White Plains, NY, on May 28th, 7:30pm. WESPAC is located at 255 Martin Luther Blvd., near E. Post Rd. Contact WESPAC for further information at (914) 682-0488. Peter is tentatively scheduled to speak at a residence in Northern Westchester on Thursday, May 27th. For those interested, contact Jeff at (914) 764-8641. Contact Mike Smithson at the ReconsiDer speakers bureau at (315) 488-3630 to schedule further talks. *** 9. EDITORIAL: Growing Pains Adam J. Smith, Associate Director, firstname.lastname@example.org As the issues of drug policy and reform come to the fore in American political debate, the sunlight shines on an incredibly diverse and fast-growing movement. Differing perspectives, varying agendas and widely disparate tactical imperatives highlight the relationships between the more than 350 groups and organizations who consider themselves, in some respect at least, drug policy reformers. There are groups who are concerned specifically with marijuana laws (and in some cases, specifically with marijuana itself). There are groups that work on sentencing policy, syringe exchange, and broader harm-reduction. There are groups advocating for study into the therapeutic value of psychedelics, for access to adequate medication for chronic pain patients, or against the practice of civil asset forfeiture. There are organizations concerned solely with the impact of the drug war on Latin America and its indigenous peoples, fighting for greater access to methadone, and for the legalization of industrial hemp. And of course, there are a growing number of organizations who advocate for a re-thinking of the entire drug war, to whom all of these issues are simply symptoms of the disease of Prohibition. A reporter called my office this week to ask about this very phenomenon. "Why so many different groups?", he asked. "Is the fragmentation a threat to the cause of reform? What of the disagreements between them?" There is no doubt that the drug policy reform movement is larger and more potent than at any time since the "Wets" rose up and overturned alcohol prohibition. A growing number of successes at the ballot box, a higher profile in the mainstream media and a shift in the way various drug policy issues are being addressed at the national level all speak to the progress that is being made. "The growing number of groups working in reform," I told the reporter, "is most certainly a product of the rise of these issues to national prominence." A good thing, all in all, though certainly there are growing pains. The majority of those growing pains are simply a matter of the movement's funding not keeping up with its growth. Drug policy reform is not unique among maturing movements in that respect, but certainly, the issue's potency has made it more difficult to raise funds for than, say, cancer research or the symphony. Larger numbers of activists, therefore, have found themselves in fierce competition for limited funding, creating feelings of jealousy and frustration and highlighting disagreements over priorities. The other major internal issue has been about tactics. Should an organization that is fighting for legal syringe exchange, with AIDS spreading like wildfire through poor communities and thousands of lives on the line, feel obliged to put its weight behind broader reforms, even if they agree wholeheartedly with these, at the risk of alienating political allies who have not yet come around on these other issues? And what of the marijuana rallies? 50,000 people coming together on the Boston Commons to hear speeches, listen to music and partake in the civil disobedience of lighting up in public is a powerful sight and an empowering experience. But what of the negative repercussions? The stereotyping of reformers as users, potentially frightening away non-using supporters who will be necessary in the coming political battles? What of the adolescents who will undoubtedly be present, and the impact of their red-eyed, droopy-lidded pictures in the newspapers? What impact do those pictures have on the work of other reformers who are working hard to bring new coalitions to the table in the name of reform? And yet, marijuana is the single most used illicit substance, with over 70 million Americans admitting to having tried it at least once. Don't its users, both regular and occasional, comprise the largest segment of those put at risk by punitive prohibition? And what gives anyone the right to question them for publicly displaying their outrage, as the government seeks to take their freedom, their homes, their property and even their families by force, while users of licit drugs such as tobacco and alcohol -- who undoubtedly do more damage both to themselves and to others -- are afforded all of the rights of other Americans? The drug policy reform movement stands at an interesting precipice. Ready to step into the fight as a legitimate and mainstream issue on the American political scene, it is dogged by issues both standard for any growing movement and unique unto itself. The funding will come, and though not every organization will benefit, those who are having the most impact will generally be supported. The stigmatization of the issue, borne of decades of government propaganda as well as of a concerted effort by many in power to label any reform effort as "pro-drug," is also beginning to fade. What will not change is the wide array of issues subsumed under the rubric of drug policy, and the widely disparate constituencies that these issues represent. But while disagreement over tactics and priorities are likely to continue, the fact is that nearly everyone who comes to the issue of drug policy -- whether through the prism of AIDS or incarceration or asset forfeiture or marijuana -- soon discovers that the problem is the drug war, and the very paradigm within which our nation has chosen to deal with substances, the rights of free people to use them, and the consequences of their abuse. In the end, then, the movement, such as it is, is headed in the right direction. We are reaching larger and larger segments of the population through various, interconnected issues by the use of tactics of all kinds, some inarguably more effective than others. At some point in the not-too- distant future, the melding will occur. Whether it will be the result of a single, unifying event, or the rise of a charismatic and nationally recognized leader, or simply by the process of a national realization, over time, that we must find a more rational way to deal with drugs -- both licit and illicit. It is coming. The rapid growth and burgeoning diversity of the people and organizations who are advocating for reform is testimony to its inevitability. *** DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, or made by credit card at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made by check to the DRCNet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax- exempt organization, same address. PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. 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------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Weekly, No. 98 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - Drug Policy Foundation conference 'best ever,' by Mark Greer. The Weekly News in Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including - America's altered states; Drug abuse fight could use cash fix; Legalizing drugs can help us get control; Drug museum's shining example of decadence; U.S. military opens new antidrug bases; Assembly passes needle exchange bill. Articles about Law Enforcement & Prisons include - Students fight ban on college funds for drug offenders; Why some get busted and some go free; Unequal justice; and, Dalton hearing in San Francisco. News about Cannabis & Hemp includes - Bill curbs medical marijuana; Marijuana law is proving to be a pain; Hemp's backers try for a comeback; and, Bus driver had been fired for drugs; International News includes - Time to prick a drugs myth; Heroin UK - Close-knit gangs who deal in death; Australia: At war over drugs; Australia: editorial: Drug blindness; Canada: Society is committing genocide against intravenous drug users; and, Canada: Sick can apply for medical use of marijuana. The weekly Hot Off The 'Net provides the URLs for the Orange County Register's recent article, Cannabis may help combat schizophrenia, including an online poll about medical marijuana; and Sam Smith's Progressive Review. The Quote of the Week cites J.S. Mill.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (DrugSense) To: email@example.com Subject: DrugSense Weekly, May 21, 1999 #98 Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 10:00:15 -0700 Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Lines: 852 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com *** DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly, May 21, 1999 #98 A DrugSense publication http://www.drugsense.org/ This Publication May Be Read On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n98.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER Please consider writing a letter to the editor using the email addresses on any of the articles below. Send a copy of your LTE to MGreer@mapinc.org. *** TABLE OF CONTENTS: * Feature Article DPF Conference "Best Ever" by Mark Greer * Weekly News in Review Drug War Policy- (1) America's Altered States (2) Drug Abuse Fight Could Use Cash Fix (3) Legalizing Drugs Can Help Us Get Control (4) Drug Museum's Shining Example of Decadence (5) U.S. Military Opens New Antidrug Bases (6) Assembly Passes Needle Exchange Bill Law Enforcement & Prisons- (7) Students Fight Ban on College Funds for Drug Offenders (8) Why Some Get Busted and Some Go Free (9) Unequal Justice (10) Dalton Hearing in San Francisco Cannabis & Hemp- (11) Bill Curbs Medical Marijuana (12) Marijuana Law Is Proving to Be a Pain (13) Hemp's Backers Try for a Comeback (14) Bus Driver Had Been Fired for Drugs International News- (15) Time To Prick a Drugs Myth (16) Heroin UK - Close-Knit Gangs Who Deal in Death (17) Australia: At War Over Drugs (18) Australia: Editorial: Drug Blindness (19) Canada: Society Is Committing Genocide Against Intravenous Drug Users (20) Canada: Sick can apply for medical use of marijuana * Hot Off The 'Net Cannabis may help combat schizophrenia (with MMJ Poll) Sam Smith's Progressive Review * Quote of the Week J.S. Mill *** FEATURE ARTICLE DPF Conference "Best Ever" by Mark Greer The Drug Policy Foundation Conference in Bethesda MD last week was by far the best I ever attended. This impression may be partly due to the fact that it seemed to me that the accolades for Internet activism were coming from many and varied sources and that for the first time it seemed that a good percentage of the attendees were cognizant of the impact that electronic communications has meant and will mean to the future of reform. I was also very happy to see a first ever plenary session on Internet communications. While I realize that electronic communications is only one of a very wide range of valuable activities that the reform movement uses to move us towards our objectives, I had the impression that a very large percentage of those at the conference had come to realize that this new tool offers a real boon to reform in the areas of inter-group communication and coordination, building a more cohesive and organized reform movement, information dissemination, and media outreach and activism. Hearty Congratulations to DPF for this excellent conference. *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW Note: We took last week off for the DPF Meeting, therefore this issue of the Weekly covers articles collected by Newshawks and archived by our editors for two weeks (May 4 thru May 18). *** Domestic News- Policy *** COMMENT: (1) An intelligent and highly personalized look at America's drug policy by a young writer who had himself used mood altering drugs therapeutically appeared in the May Harper's Magazine. It offered further evidence that America's drug policy no longer has much to do with drugs or their effects. *** (1) AMERICA'S ALTERED STATES When Does Legal Relief Of Pain Become Illegal Pursuit Of Pleasure? Fear and suspicion, secrecy and shame, the yearning for pleasure, and the wish to avoid men in blue uniforms. This is (in rough, incomplete terms) an emotional report from the front. The drug wars - which, having spanned more than eight decades, require the plural - are palpable in New York City. The mayor blends propaganda, brute force, and guerrilla tactics, dispatching undercover cops to call "smoke, smoke" and "bud, bud" - and to arrest those who answer. [snip] Here we come to the truth about the line and how it is maintained. With rare exceptions, everything we know about legal drugs comes from research sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Naturally, this work emphasizes the benefits and downplays the accompanying risks. On the other hand, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funds more than 85 percent of the world's health research on illegal drugs, emphasizes the dangers and all hut ignores potential benefits. [snip] A black market spawns violence,thievery, and illnesses - all can be blamed on the demon drugs. For a reminder, we need only go to the movies (in which drug dealers are the stock villains). Or watch Cops, in which, one by one, the bedraggled junkies, fearsome crack dealers, and hapless dope smokers are led away in chains. [snip] We believe that lashing at the illegal drug user will purify us. We try to separate the "evil" from the "good" of drugs, what we love and what we fear about them, to enforce a drug-free America with handcuffs and jail cells while legal drugs grow in popularity and variety. But we cannot separate the inseparable. We know the truth about ourselves. It is time to begin living with that horror, and that blessing. Pubdate: May 1999 Source: Harper's Magazine Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.harpers.org Author: Joshua Wolf Shenk URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n480.a03.html (Part 1) URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n482.a07.html (Part 2) *** COMMENT: (2-3) Traditionally, except for mavericks like Molly Ivins, Texas newspapers are tough on drugs- precisely why the decidedly non-traditional stances taken in these op-eds from the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News respectively, are important straws in the wind. *** (2) DRUG ABUSE FIGHT COULD USE CASH FIX Almost Everywhere Drugs Go, Money Follows Money is why farmers produce plants to be processed into illegal drugs instead of cultivating crops of less-profitable food or fiber. Money is the motivation driving drug dealers. Stealing for money to buy drugs is behind that big percentage of crime attributed to substance abusers. Fighting drugs is but the flip side of the same coin. Seizing assets from suspects in drug cases has proved quite lucrative for law enforcement agencies. This is on top of the vast sums of public money the government continues pouring into its so-called drug war year after year, despite an appalling lack of progress to show for it. Even when it comes to treatment of drug abusers, some high-cost private facilities have gleaned great profits by keeping drug abusers until their insurance coverage is exhausted and then releasing them. [snip] Pubdate: Sun, 09 May 1999 Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) Copyright: 1999 Houston Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Forum: http://www.chron.com/content/hcitalk/index.html Author: THOM MARSHALL URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n491.a08.html *** (3) LEGALIZING DRUGS CAN HELP US GET CONTROL The struggle against drug trafficking and drug addiction never has received wholehearted support from our body politic. Educators, industrialists, physicians and religious leaders probably are more opposed to the use of life-impairing drugs than are most families, which cherish the illusion that narcotics never will reach them. [snip] One thing is certain: The drug business won't evaporate by wishing and hoping. It will dry up when the business no longer is profitable. If the public wants alternative methods of regulation to those brought forth by the groups that advocate the legalization of drugs, let those ideas be discussed and debated. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 11 May 1999 Source: Dallas Morning News (TX) Copyright: 1999 The Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com/ Forum: http://forums.dallasnews.com:81/webx Author: Stanley Marcus URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n499.a04.html *** COMMENT: (4-5) The prohibitionists weren't idle- the DEA opened a small museum in DC; the way one British columnist dutifully reported its revisionist propaganda must have warmed the heart of its curator, designated DEA "Historian," Jill Jonnes. In the Caribbean and elsewhere, the impending loss of Panama as an "anti-drug" base has the US checking out numerous potential replacements. No doubt we'll find someone willing to work for the Yankee dollar. *** (4) DRUG MUSEUM'S SHINING EXAMPLE OF DECADENCE By Hugo Gurdon in Pentagon City THE most telling exhibits in America's newest museum are burnt and bent teaspoons, stained rags, used soda bottles and a diamond-encrusted Colt 45. They expose the sordid, deadly reality and phoney glamour of their subject, which is drugs. Gathered in glass display cases are the paraphernalia of America's century-long battle for and against the right to "get high" - bongs, psychedelic posters, liquorice rolling papers, Tommy guns and grenades. The Drug Enforcement Administration museum, which opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, lays bare the willful self-delusion of the 1960s and 1970s, when Baby Boomers swept aside a mass of historical evidence and argued that drugs were intrinsic to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rather than the low road to ruin. [snip] Pubdate: 13 May 1999 Source: Daily Telegraph (UK) Copyright: of Telegraph Group Limited 1999 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Author: Hugo Gurdon URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n511.a03.html *** (5) U.S. MILITARY OPENS NEW ANTIDRUG BASES Curacao, Aruba, Ecuador, possibly Costa Rica, replace Panama Ecuador and the Dutch Caribbean islands of Curacao and Aruba are the new front lines in the U.S. military's war on drugs, the result of the American troop withdrawal from Panama under the 1977 Panama Canal treaties. ``We started counter drug air operations effective May 1 from all three sites,'' Raul Duany, spokesman for the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, said Wednesday. That was the day that airfield operations ended at Howard Air Force Base in Panama, the previous base for counter drug surveillance flights. Howard is to be turned over to Panama on Nov. 1. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 07 May 1999 Source: Miami Herald (FL) Copyright: 1999 The Miami Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: One Herald Plaza, Miami FL 33132-1693 Fax: (305) 376-8950 Website: http://www.herald.com/ Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?mherald Author: Don Bohning, Herald Staff Writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n496.a03.html *** COMMENT: (6) Needle exchange is the other national issue (besides medical Cannabis) behind which drug reformers can muster a majority of voters. The strong probability that newly-elected Governor Davis would sign a needle exchange bill makes its passage by the legislature especially important. *** (6) ASSEMBLY PASSES NEEDLE EXCHANGE BILL SACRAMENTO, May 13 (UPI) - Previously vetoed legislation that would authorize needle exchange programs to slow the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases has advanced to the California Senate. The Assembly passed the bill by Assembly woman Kerry Mazzoni, D-San Rafael, today with two votes to spare over objections that it would condone illegal drug use. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 13 May 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n506.a11.html *** Law Enforcement & Prisons *** COMMENT: (7-10) A hallmark of drug prohibition is its unfairness. To the extent the policy fails to achieve announced goals, it becomes more oppressive - injuring more people - and thus recruiting new reformers. That college students are beginning to experience this unfairness is good news for us; they are far more likely than politically voiceless inner city youths to organize and raise a fuss. Another unfair aspect of our drug policy receiving increased attention from the print media is its easily appreciated racism. This scrutiny was evidenced by two important articles in the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun. The Anderson Valley Advertiser is hardly in their class as a newspaper, but it reports drug issues accurately - as it did in revealing the shocking lengths to which the DEA will go for a conviction. *** (7) STUDENTS FIGHT BAN ON COLLEGE FUNDS FOR DRUG OFFENDERS Opposition is growing on college campuses to a provision of the Higher Education Act that withholds federal financial aid from students convicted of selling or possessing drugs. Congress passed the provision in the fall to send a message to young drug users, but opponents say that it denies money to troubled students when they need it most to turn their lives around, that it fails to address drug intervention and education, and that it ignores other types of criminal behavior. [snip] Pubdate: Sun, 16 May 1999 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ Author: Carol Lewis URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n516.a03.html *** (8) WHY SOME GET BUSTED AND SOME GO FREE Drug arrests on the 10 o'clock news tend to show inner-city blacks and Latinos being led away in handcuffs. But Federal health statistics show only slight differences in the rates of drug use for whites and people of color -- and define the typical drug addict as a white male in his 20's who lives in a suburb where drug busts almost never happen. [snip] Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Section: Editorial Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://www10.nytimes.com/comment/ URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n495.a04.html *** (9) UNEQUAL JUSTICE Although the American criminal justice system has a long history of racial bias, the United States is only now starting to take an honest look at the problem. THANKS TO the New York police force, Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo have become household names. Thanks to state police in New Jersey, Maryland and elsewhere, "Driving While Black" has entered the general lexicon. For the moment, the nation seems to be taking seriously the issue of racial bias in the criminal justice system. It's about time. [snip] Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sunspot.net/ Forum: http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/ultbb/Ultimate.cgi?actionintro Author: David Cole URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n517.a02.html *** (10) DALTON HEARING IN SAN FRANCISCO MONDAY, MAY 17 at 8 am Redwood Valley resident John Dalton will get a full evidentiary hearing on Outrageous Government Conduct at the Federal Courthouse on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. Judge Susan Illston has ordered the unprecedented hearing to explore the conduct of the Drug Enforcement Administration agents who busted Dalton two years ago on a variety of charges related to marijuana production. In their zeal to bust Dalton, DEA Special Agent Mark Nelson stepped way over the line of acceptable law enforcement practices; he seduced Dalton's mentally ill wife, telling her she was a special agent of the DEA. [snip] Pubdate: 12 May 1999 Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA) Copyright: Anderson Valley Advertiser Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Tele: 707-895-3016 Fax: 707-895-3355 Author: Mark Heimann URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n517.a03.html *** Cannabis & Hemp *** COMMENT: (11-12) Anyone who has lived in California since November, 1996 understands that winning at the ballot box is the easy part; what's hard is providing legal Cannabis to bona-fide patients; two articles from states with new initiatives explain why. Alaska's (state) Senator Leman would make an excellent target the next time he runs for office. Hemp agriculture is making a bid in California along with several other states. That the bus driver tested positive for cannabinoids will be trumpeted by prohibitionists who won't understand that it only confirms that testing is a complete waste of public funds and says nothing about the role his use might have played in the accident. *** (11) BILL CURBS MEDICAL MARIJUANA SENATE OKs POT LIMIT, MANDATORY REGISTRY JUNEAU - The state Senate passed a bill Thursday placing new limits on the medical marijuana law voters adopted last fall. "I assure members that this does not repeal the law," the bill's sponsor, Sen. Loren Leman, said. "It makes it work." [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 14 May 1999 Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK) Copyright: 1999 The Anchorage Daily News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.adn.com/ Author: LIZ RUSKIN, Daily News reporter URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n514.a08.html *** (12) MARIJUANA LAW IS PROVING TO BE A PAIN Sufferers who want to try Oregon's new program find it hard to get a doctor's approval or the drug [snip] But she's run into two big problems: She can't find a doctor who'll approve marijuana as a treatment. The law requires a doctor's permission for a patient to join the program. She doesn't have any idea where to get marijuana. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, May 07 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Patrick O'Neill, The Oregonian staff URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n484.a08.html *** (13) HEMP'S BACKERS TRY FOR A COMEBACK Legalization Sought For Cousin Of Pot In California these days there is the hemp movement and the other hemp movement -- this second one backing the kind you can't smoke or bake into brownies for an altered state. [snip] Pubdate: Sun, 09 May 1999 Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Examiner Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Forum: http://examiner.com/cgi-bin/WebX Author: Katherine Seligman OF THE EXAMINER STAFF URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n490.a05.html *** (14) BUS DRIVER HAD BEEN FIRED FOR DRUGS NEW ORLEANS (AP) The driver of a charter bus that crashed and killed 22 people was fired from bus companies in 1996 and 1989 after testing positive for marijuana four times, authorities said Thursday. A federal investigator also confirmed a report that Frank Bedell, 46, tested positive for marijuana when he was hospitalized Sunday after the bus veered off a highway and plunged into an embankment. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 13 May 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press Author: Alan Sayre, Associated Press Writer URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n507.a09.html *** International News *** COMMENT: (15-20) Internationally, a thriving global heroin trade (downplayed in the US) is producing record numbers of overdose deaths and sparking bitter disputes throughout the English-speaking world. Amazingly, advocates of "tough on drugs" policies hold up the US experience as a model to be emulated! The item from the Times is public health opinion offered by a UK constable who blames needle exchange for the increase in heroin use; it's as irresponsible and scurrilous as anything ever penned by McCzar. The second article from the Independent, details the size of the UK heroin problem and the degree to which it is out of "control." Canada and Australia have no better handle on heroin, despite intense debate. Both are in the grip of stubbornly prohibitionist governments. Harm reduction measures, while strenuously opposed, are generally more available than in most locations in the US. In a non-heroin item, an unusual decision by a Canadian judge may pressure Health Minister Alan Rock into finally doing something he's avoided for months- taking an identifiable position on the medical use of Cannabis. Then again, given Mr. Rock's demonstrated evasive skills- it may not. *** (15) TIME TO PRICK A DRUGS MYTH In 1998, three pharmacies on the fringes of Aberdeen distributed more than 120,000 hypodermic syringes to people who were injecting illicit drugs. It is a common and rising statistic throughout the UK's big cities. [snip] Much of the support for NEPs in North America and the UK appears to be based on anecdotal evidence and the use of statistics, which have been demonstrated to be unreliable. What is of great concern is that after 12 years there has been no official assessment of this "act of faith" when there has been a concomitant rise in drug use. [snip] Pubdate: 9 May 1999 Source: Sunday Times (UK) Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/ Author: Ian Oliver, former chief constable of Grampian Police URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n493.a07.html *** (16) HEROIN UK - CLOSE-KNIT GANGS WHO DEAL IN DEATH THE POLICE and MI5 have identified 30 drug gangs who are controlling the distribution of heroin throughout Britain and Ireland. Detectives also believe there is a new threat from the South American drug barons, notably from Colombia, who are planning to ship large quantities of heroin into Europe for the first time. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 13 May 1999 Source: Independent, The (UK) Copyright: 1999 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd. Contact: email@example.com Address: 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n511.a10.html *** (17) AT WAR OVER DRUGS Most have lost children to drugs, but this does not give them a common cause. In fact, as these parents prepare for next week's drug summit, the battle lines are being dug even deeper. DEBORAH SNOW reports. TO AN outsider there seems so much to unite them. They are the battle-scarred veterans of the "war" against illicit drugs, the parents who've been through the unutterable pain of losing a child to addiction, or drug-related death. A club, one of them says, that "you'd never want to join". Having endured it, you ask yourself, how could they not have a common cause? [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: Cairns Post, The (Australia) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n503.a01.html *** (18) AUSTRALIA: EDITORIAL: DRUG BLINDNESS DESPITE their claims to the contrary, it is short-sighted politicians and religious tub-thumpers like the Rev Fred Nile who are turning the law into a joke, not the organisers of Sydney's illegal heroin shooting gallery. When the law is so completely at odds with reality and has proved impossible to enforce successfully, it is time to change it - not to keep trying to ram it down people's throats. [snip] Pubdate: Thu, 06 May 1999 Source: Cairns Post, The (Australia) Contact: email@example.com URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n503.a01.html *** (19) CANADA: SOCIETY IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST INTRAVENOUS DRUG USERS Society is committing genocide against intravenous drug users and everybody knows it, delegates at the eighth annual Canadian conference on HIV/AIDS research were told Tuesday in Victoria. "The government has the means to stop it and they are not doing anything about it," Dr. Martin Schechter told the conference's closing session. "If someone from Mars landed here, they'd say this is social murder. It's going to get very grim." [snip] Pubdate: Wed, 05 May 1999 Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: Louise Dickson URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n478.a02.html *** (20) CANADA: SICK CAN APPLY FOR MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA For the first time in Canada, the federal government has set up a process for sick and terminally ill people to apply for the right to use marijuana without fear of being prosecuted. But the guidelines, unveiled yesterday, are already being called seriously flawed because those who sell pot to sick people can still be charged as illegal traffickers. "It's unfair. It's just patently unfair," Mr. Justice Harry LaForme said yesterday after a senior government official presented the new guidelines in Ontario's Superior Court. [snip] "One gets the impression," LaForme remarked, that Ottawa has reached even this point "kicking and screaming." As part of the application process, Ottawa has now asked Wakeford to name his marijuana supplier. [snip] Source: The Toronto Star (Canada) Pubdate: Friday, May 7, 1999 Contact: email@example.com Authors: Barbara Turnbull and Tracey Tyler, Staff reporters URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n486.a01.html *** HOT OFF THE 'NET *** Thanks to Gary Stork for this heads up: Major news out of UC Irvine -- Cannabis may help combat schizophrenia. Related article at the web page below. There is also an on-line poll "Should Marijuana be legalized for medical purposes" at the URL below. As is usually the case in all on-line polls the reform perspective dominates with a whopping 87% Yes vote http://home.digitalcity.com/orangecounty/opinion/main.dci?page=marijuan#artic le *** Eric Sterling writes: I am forwarding the URL for Sam Smith's Progressive Review. I suggest adding it to your bookmark or favorite places list or subscribing to his email newsletter. http://emporium.turnpike.net/P/ProRev/index.html *** QUOTE OF THE WEEK *** "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind" - J.S. Mill - *** DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you. TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm News/COMMENTS-Editor: Tom O'Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (email@example.com) We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter writing activists. NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 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