Portland NORML News - Monday, June 7, 1999

Philip Morris Targets Punitives (The Nation recaps a recent Associated Press
article about lawyers for the tobacco company putting Oregon Attorney General
Hardy Myers on notice they intend to dispute the state's 60 percent share of
a recent judgment against the company by a jury in Multnomah County due to
the $206 billion tobacco settlement in November between the industry and 46
state attorneys general.)

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 18:27:24 -0700
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OR: Philip Morris Targets Punitives
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: EWCHIEF
Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jun 1999
Source: Nation, The (US)
Copyright: 1999, The Nation Company
Contact: letters@thenation.com
Website: http://www.thenation.com/
Author: Bob Van Voris


Says '98 Deal Means State Must Forgo Its Share Of Trial Award.

Philip Morris Inc. thinks it has found a loophole to help take the
sting out of an $80 million punitive damages award in March to the
family of an Oregon man who died of cancer.

Lawyers for the company, the largest cigarette manufacturer in the
United States, on May 13 succeeded in getting Portland, Ore., state
court Judge Anna J. Brown to knock the number down to $32 million.
Williams v. Philip Morris, No. 9705-03957. And they have put Attorney
General Hardy Myers on notice they intend to lay 60% of that figure
off on the state of Oregon.

Mr. Myers' office is fighting back, but whatever the outcome, critics
fear it is just one of many unwelcome surprises that may result from
the convoluted $206 billion agreement between the industry and 46
state attorneys general in November.

The Oregon controversy began with a letter from Jeffrey M. Wintner, a
lawyer at New York's Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, written several
weeks after the jury in the Williams case delivered its verdict. Mr.
Wintner pointed to a recent piece of Oregon tort reform legislation
that calls for 60% of punitive damages to be paid to the state rather
than to the plaintiffs.

Mr. Wintner wrote that the state's share constitutes a released claim
under the settlement and that Philip Morris does not have to pay. Mr.
Myers answered that Philip Morris has it wrong, and his office will
seek a ruling to back him up.

The controversy may play out in other states as well. The Oregon
statute is one of at least seven so-called split-award laws
nationwide, said Andrea Curcio, a professor at Georgia State
University College of Law.

"One of the things that really worries me is nobody out there has
taken a really close look at this thing," said Graham Kelder, a lawyer
at the Tobacco Control Resource Center, an anti-tobacco group based in

When the settlement was announced in November, attorneys general had
less than a week to decide whether or not to sign. Some critics said
that was not nearly enough time to give the deal proper

And they pointed out several potential loopholes. For example, the
agreement permits the companies to obtain an offset for the proceeds
of any new federal excise taxes that are earmarked for the states.

Mr. Kelder oversaw a two-month project, completed in March, to analyze
the settlement agreement--all 60,000 words worth--with funding from
the American Cancer Society.

Another possible loophole was revealed recently when the Wawa store
chain advertised a sale on Philip Morris' Marlboro cigarettes on
Pennsylvania billboards, despite the fact that, under the agreement,
tobacco companies are not to use billboards. Faced with criticism,
Wawa took the sign down.

This article appeared in the June 7, 1999 issue of The National Law

Phoenix police admit inflating street value of drug seizures (The Associated
Press says the $500 million value police placed on nearly 997 kilograms of
cocaine they seized last month works out to about $500 per gram. The DEA
estimates the street value of cocaine at about $80 to $160 per gram. Phoenix
police say the inflated values serve a purpose. "The significance is to try
to say what the impact is on society," said Phoenix police Lt. Al Thiele.
"That's how much they have to steal to pay for it.")

From: "Bob Owen" (when@olywa.net)
To: "HempTalk" (hemp-talk@hemp.net)
Subject: HT: Phoenix police admit inflating street value of drug seizures
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 22:54:37 -0700
Organization: Washington Hemp Education Network
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Monday, 7 June 1999

Phoenix police admit inflating street value of drug seizures

PHOENIX (AP) - When Phoenix police seized nearly 997 kilograms of cocaine
last month, they said the drugs would be worth about $500 million on the

But other law enforcement agencies are questioning the formula used to reach
that whopping number, The Tribune, a newspaper serving suburban Phoenix,
reported yesterday.

Phoenix police acknowledge that they're using the higher estimate in part to
attract attention. The $500 million estimate works out to about $500 per gram
of cocaine.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration estimates the street value of
cocaine at about $80 to $160 per gram.

Two weeks after the Phoenix seizure, a man with more than 1,200 pounds of
cocaine in his pickup truck bed was arrested near Nogales, Ariz. Santa Cruz
County Sheriff Tony Estrada said the cocaine had a street value of $45
million, or about $80 per gram.

"Five hundred million seems a little exorbitant to me," Estrada said.

Phoenix police say the inflated values serve a purpose.

"The significance is to try to say what the impact is on society," said
Phoenix police Lt. Al Thiele. "We all agreed to talk about what the retail
value is. That's how much they have to steal to pay for it."

Ohio State 1999 Hempfest (Heath Wintz of the marijuana-law reform group, For
A Better Ohio, describes the 12th annual Spring Hempfest May 5 at Ohio State
University in Columbus. Things went off without a hitch. Even the OSU police
were supportive.)

From: "Heath W." (heath_cadlab@hotmail.com)
From: "CRRH mailing list" (restore@crrh.org)
To: u-net@drcnet.org, restore@crrh.org
Subject: Ohio State 99 Hempfest
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 02:44:52 GMT

Well, the beautiful day of June 5th provided a wonderful backdrop for the
12th annual Spring Hempfest. Clear, in the low 80's, nice breeze and some
great musicians. Things went off without a hitch, bands all showed up on
time at the 5 various stages, the hemp fashion show went great and we
registered nearly 200 voters for the first time. Special thanks to Don
Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery for sponsoring the fashion show. But the
highlight of the day was the Ohio State University police.

The OSU police gave us some flak early in the day, and then convienantly
disappeared for the next 8 hours. When some uniformed officers came back, I
greeted them before they had a chance to talk to anyone else. I anticipated
getting some grief again for the cars not being moved to where they wanted
them, but something strange actually happened. They praised us.

The officer said that she respected what we were doing and supported how we
were going about changing the laws with the ballot initiative and the Higher
Ed. act petitions. They felt that the crowd was very peaceful and we had
organized the event well. She later confided in me that she was off duty
and was intending on buying some hemp goods from some of the vendors.

The officers then stopped by For A Better Ohio's table and commended our
organization's other members.

I just wanted to point out a great example of educated law enforcement and
how they have not bought into the brainwashing drug war rhetoric. I know
that if the Columbus Police had jurisdiction where we planned the festival,
we would not have gone unmolested. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Heath Wintz

For A Better Ohio Student Coordinator,
President, CSCC Chapter

-Fight the good Fight


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Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp
P.O. Box 86741
Portland, OR 97286
Phone: (503) 235-4606
Fax:(503) 235-0120
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Ready supply and upper limits (A list subscriber makes some good points
explaining why medical marijuana patients are concerned about state ballot
initiatives sponsored by Americans for Medical Rights that severely restrict
the number of plants patients can cultivate.)

Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 16:45:53 -0700
To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (drctalk@drcnet.org)
From: Gerald Sutliff (gsutliff@dnai.com)
Subject: Ready supply and upper limits
Sender: owner-drctalk@drcnet.org

Dear Dave of AMR, May, et al,

One of the reasons that the upper limit is an issue with individuals with a
medical need for marijuana is that currently they have no assurance of an,
as needed, legal supply of adequate quantities of marijuana.

If the reverse were true patients would be happy about walking around with
only a two day supply. Just like one feels okay about driving around with
an eighth of a tank of gas during the daytime in a major city (assuming one
has cash or credit card). However, it's a different story out in the desert
or in a strange city at 3:00 a.m. If the service station sign says, "Last
gas for 200 miles," wouldn't we all fill up, even those with Hondas or those
with a 3/4 full tank?

When some hospitals experimented with allowing pain patients to adjust their
own morphine drip rate it was found that they often used HALF AS MUCH as
their doctor had been previously prescribing. Whereas when they were on a
four, six or however long between injections schedule they used every bit
they could get. Their logic was understandable.

By making sure the patients feel insecure about their legal supply the
governments insure controversy about the upper limits.

vty, jerry sutliff



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