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January 9, 1997

ONDCP To Fund Review Of Scientific Evidence On Medical Marijuana
NORML Expects Institute Of Medicine To Reaffirm Marijuana's Therapeutic Value

January 9, 1997: Washington, D.C.: Responding to public opposition over the Clinton administration's proposal to arrest hysicians who recommend or prescribe marijuana as a medicine in accordance with state law, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has committed $995,639 to fund a comprehensive review by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the efficacy of the therapeutic use of marijuana for specific medical conditions such as glaucoma, cancer chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS wasting syndrome. NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre announced that he was encouraged by administration's decision to review existing medical marijuana research, but criticized the plan for failing to authorize contemporary studies such as Dr. Donald Abrams' FDA-approved protocol to examine the effects of marijuana on the AIDS wasting syndrome.

"Nothing in the administration's announcement addresses granting the marijuana necessary to complete Dr. Abrams FDA-approved study in San Francisco or the 1996 state-sponsored study at Washington State University to evaluate marijuana's therapeutic value in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy. It is solely a backward-looking proposal," said St. Pierre. "We believe that a comprehensive review of the existing scientific evidence regarding the use of marijuana as a therapeutic agent by the Institute of Medicine will demonstrate that marijuana has legitimate value as a medicine, just like the Australian government's National Task Force on Cannabis concluded in 1994 and the IOM itself determined in 1982."

The following excerpts are taken from the summary conclusions of those committees:

"Cannabis and its derivatives have shown promise in the treatment of a variety of disorders. The evidence is most impressive in glaucoma, where their mechanism of action appears to be different from the standard drugs; in asthma, where they approach isoproterenol in effectiveness; and in the nausea and vomiting of cancer chemotherapy, where they have compared favorably with phenothiazines. Smaller trials have suggested cannabis might also be useful in seizures, spasticity, and other nervous system disorders.

"... Although marijuana has not been shown unequivocally superior to any existing therapy for any of these conditions, several important aspects of its therapeutic potential should be appreciated. First, its mechanisms of action and its toxicity in several diseases are different from those of drugs now being used to treat those conditions; thus, combined with use of other drugs might allow greater therapeutic efficacy without cumulative toxicity. Second, the differences in action suggest new approaches to understanding both the disease and the drugs used to treat them. Last, there may be an opportunity to synthesize derivatives of marijuana that offer better therapeutic ratios than marijuana itself.

"The committee believes that the therapeutic potential of cannabis and its derivatives and synthetic analogues warrants further research... ." - Marijuana and Health, page 150, Institute of Medicine, 1982, National Academy of Sciences

"First, there is good evidence that THC is an effective anti-emetic agent [for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy.] ... Second, there is reasonable evidence for the potential efficacy of THC and marijuana in the treatment of glaucoma, especially in cases which have proved resistant to existing anti-glaucoma agents. Further research is clearly required, but this should not prevent its use under medical supervision in poorly controlled cases. ... Third, there is sufficient suggestive evidence of the potential usefulness of various cannabinoids as analgesic, anti-asthmatic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-convulsant agents to warrant further basic pharmacological and experimental investigation, and perhaps clinical research into their effectiveness.

... Despite the positive appraisal of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids ..., they have not been widely used. ... Part of the reason for this is that research on the therapeutic use of these compounds has become a casualty of the debate in the United States about the legal status of cannabis. ... As a community we do not allow this type of thinking to deny the use of opiates for analgesia. Nor should it be used to deny access to any therapeutic uses of cannabinoid derivatives that may be revealed by pharmacological research." - The health and psychological consequences of cannabis use, pages 198-199, National Task Force on Cannabis, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1994

NORML's report: "Review Of Human Studies On The Medical Use Of Marijuana" by Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. cites well over 100 research articles on marijuana's pharmacological effects. NORML possesses many of these articles and scientific studies "in-house" and will provide them to both the ONDCP and the IOM committee when it convenes this spring.

" ... There is no question about the use of cannabis for certain [medical] conditions," said government marijuana researcher Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly in a recent interview conducted by the Journal of the International Hemp Association (JIHA). ElSohly is the current director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Marijuana Project at the University of Mississippi and one of the federal government's premiere marijuana experts. "It does have a history. It does have the utility and so on," he concluded.

NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup said he hopes the administration's announcement will encourage McCaffrey to finally meet with NORML to discuss the subject of medical marijuana. In the past, McCaffrey has publicly stated that he "welcomes" NORML's participation in the national debate on drug policy, but has denied repeated requests for meetings. "If the General genuinely wants to explore the issue of medical marijuana, then NORML will gladly supply his office with scientific studies, expert physicians, and patients," said Stroup.

"In a 1990 survey, 44 percent of oncologists said they had suggested that a patient smoke marihuana (sic) for relief of the nausea induced by chemotherapy," wrote Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School in the June 21, 1995 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). "If marihuana (sic) were actually unsafe for use even under medical supervision, as its Schedule I status explicitly affirms, this recommendation would be unthinkable. It is time for physicians to acknowledge more openly that the present classification is scientifically, legally, and morally wrong."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML. Copies of the summary conclusions of the Institute of Medicine's or the National Task Force on Cannabis' report, as well as additional scientific studies demonstrating marijuana's therapeutic value are available upon request from NORML.

[Postscript by Portland NORML]

Jon Gettman, former director of NORML, comments:

CNN announced this morning that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (The drug Czar's Office) has budgeted $1 million to have the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine evaluate marijuana's medical potential. The study by the IOM should take about 18 months.

The IOM's 1982 review of marijuana research, Marijuana and Health, is one of the most objective scientific reviews in its time, and had fair comments on marijuana's therapeutic potential. A recent publication by the IOM on Pathways of Addiction is also quite scientific on marijuana and other issues.

The IOM is independent of NIDA, NIH, and HHS. The National Academy orf Sciences is one of the most respected, objective scientific bodies in the world.

In 1982, in Marijuana and Health, the IOM summarized their findings on marijuana's therapeutic potential as follows:


"Cannabis and its derivatives have shown promise in the treatment of a variety of disorders. The evidence is most impressive in glaucoma, where their mechanism of action appears to be different from the standard drugs; in asthma, where they approach isoproterenol in effectiveness; and in the nausea and vomiting of cancer chemotherapy, where they compare favorably with phenothiazines. Smaller trials have suggested that cannabis might also be useful in seizures, spasticity, and other nervous system disorders. Effective doses usually produce psychotropic and cardiovascular effects and can be troublesome, particularly in older patients."

"Although marijuana has not been shown unequivocally superior to any existing therapy for any of these conditions, several important aspects of its therapeutic potential should be appreciated. First, its mechanisms of action and its toxicity in several diseases are different from those of drugs now being used to treat those conditions; thus, combined use with other drugs might allow greater therapeutic efficacy without cumulative toxicity. Second, the differences in action suggest new approaches to understanding both the disease and the drugs used to treat them. Last, there may be an opportunity to synthesize derivitives of marijuana that offer better thereapeutic ratios than marijuana itself." -- Institute of Medicine, Relman, A. (ed) Marijuana and Health. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 1982. pg 150.

These 1982 conclusions provide some insight as to the issues the IOM recognizes as relevant to a new review of marijuana's medical value.

Let's not lose sight of the issue - which is putting people in jail for therapeutic marijuana use. The issue is not whether or not marijuana meets the standards set for pharmaceutical substances, or whether or not marijuana is the optimum drug for a particular malady. The issue is whether or not marijuana is dangerous enough to justify making criminals out of people who use it, and in this case, use it for therapeutic purposes.

The issue is benefits minus harm minus social costs, and evaluating the criminalization of therapeutic marijuana use in that context.

The IOM is already on record as saying that marijuana doesn't have to be better to be worthwhile, only different. They are also on record as saying that derivatives might be better medically. But again, let's not lose sight of the central issue - do the people who use marijuana medically have scientific support for their own observations of its benefits, and should they be made into criminals?

[In another message, Gettman wrote:]
Do the stories from patients who use marijuana for medical benefits have scientific support?

One would expect the forthcoming Institute of Medicine review of marijuana and its medical potential, at least, will address this question. In terms of the legal status of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, this is an important question. Much has been made of the findings of Administrative Judge Francis Young that marijuana has "accepted medical use" in the United States. The formal basis for the Drug Enforcement Administration's rejection of Judge Young's findings and recommendations was that the stories from patients were irrelevant and could be disregarded. The excerpts below are from the formal statements in the Federal Register explaining DEA's reasoning:

"The evidence presented by the pro-marijuana parties regarding use of marijuana to treat various other ailments such as pain, decreased appetite, alcohol and drug addiction, epilepsy, atopic neuroderatitis, scleroderma and asthma was limited to testimony of individuals who had used marijuana for those conditions and the testimony of the psychiatrists or general practice physicians mentioned earlier. There is not a shred of credible evidence to support any of their claims." 54 Fed. Reg. 53,772 (1989)

"Why do scientists consider stories from patients and their doctors to be unreliable? First, sick people are not objective scientific observers, especially when it comes to their own health. We have all heard of the placebo effect. . . Second, most of the stories come from people who took marijuana at the same time they took prescription drugs for their symptoms . . . Third, any mind-altering drug that produces euphoria can make a sick person think he feels better. . . Fourth, long-time abusers of marijuana are not immune to illness. Many eventually get cancer, glaucoma, MS and other diseases. People who become dependent on mind-altering drugs tend to rationalize their behavior. They invent excuses, which they can come to believe, to justify their drug dependence." 57 Fed. Reg. 10,499 (1992)

Bottom line - if these statements are not true, then it is no longer reasonable to ignore patient accounts.

Some like to argue that marijuana is not optimum medication. Legally, under the scheduling provisions of the Controlled Substances Act, this is but one of several factors which are supposed to be taken into consideration. Another factor of equal weight is potential for abuse. Also of relevance is the impact criminal penalties will have on individuals who use the drug, and other social costs.

But it doesn't matter if one wants to argue under the standards of the statute and case law, or on the basis of common sense. In either context the answer to the following question is very important:

Do the observations of patients who use marijuana therapeutically have any scientific basis, are these people experiencing a placebo effect, or are they just lying?

Jon Gettman


Regional and Other News

Body Count

Only one of the seven felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, distributed in the central metropolitan area (Jan. 9, 1997, p. 11, 3M-MP-SE). No figures were published last week, so that makes the body count so far this year one out of seven, or 14.28 percent. The final tally for 1996 was 370 out of 675, or 54.81 percent.

Activist Alert - ABC To Launch 'Anti-Drug' Campaign

By Jennifer Bowles, Associated Press, Jan. 8, 1997

Warning PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - ABC will dedicate the month of March to a campaign urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs.

"We should declare this a wake-up call to all of us that this is a recurring problem and we need to focus on it with renewed energy," David Westin, president of the television network, said Wednesday.

[End quote]

You know what to do. ABC has been kind enough to give us nearly 45 days to plan how to make their lives miserable.

Vote early and vote often. Call or write your local ABC affiliate every time an ad is run in the month of March. In Oregon, the affiliate is KATU-Channel 2 in Portland:

Tel. (503) 231-4222
Fax: (503) 231-4263 or 231-4233

If you see an ad, pick up the phone and call the station. Say " I just saw a Partnership for a Drug-Free America ad on your station. The PFDA ads are unconscionable. Do you realize that the PFDA is partly *responsible* for increased teen drug use? I have just eliminated (this station) from my remote control scanner and will cease watching it as long as you run these adds." Or make up something better.

2) We have found that some TV stations have backed off once they are exposed to the Drug Reform Coordination Network library at Use it.

3) Begin today to pester ABC itself. Call or write as often as possible. Clip and save this through the end of March:

ABC News
47 W. 66th St.
New York, NY 10023
212 456 7777
212 456-4968
212 456 7477 audience relations
Fax 1212 456-4968

Also protest to:

ABC News Viewer Feedback Department
Tel. (212) 456-7477
ABC Network Programming
77 W. 66th Street
New York NY 10023

or in Seattle at:

ABC News
100 Fourth Avenue
Seattle WA 98109

Local affiliates don't make network policy. But if a few begin reporting back that their viewers are complaining, that has even more impact than complaining directly to ABC central. Local calls will also complement nationwide efforts by other activists. There may be no way to stop this round of propaganda, but speaking out may well preclude a repeat performance.

This needs to be a constant and ongoing group effort. Unfortunate as it may be, a majority of Americans get their news from the drivel that is aired by the major networks.

The most complete list of ABC affiliate stations with e-mail, posted on the World Wide Web at, allows activists to look up the stations by state. Many stations were listed but not yet on-line so it may be a good idea to check their site often for updates. All of the stations have at least snail-mail and telephone contact information listed so you may want to check for those if your local station doesn't have e-mail yet.

KJUD 08, Juneau AK,
WCFT 33/40, Birmingham AL,
WDHN, Dothan AL,
WAAY 31, Huntsville AL,
WHOA 32, Montgomery AL,
KHBS 40, Fort Smith AR,
KHOG 29, Fayetteville AR,
KATV 07, Little Rock AR,
KNXV 15, Phoenix AZ,
KGUN, Tuscon AZ,
KFSN, Fresno CA,
KABC 07, Los Angeles CA,
KNTV 11, Monterey/San Jose CA,
KESQ, Palm Springs CA,
KXTV 10, Sacramento CA,
KGTV 10, San Diego CA,
KGO 07, San Francisco CA,
KMGH 07, Denver CO,
KJCT 08, Grand Junction CO,
WTNH 08, New Haven CT,
WCJB 20, Gainesville FL,
WZVN 07, Naples/Ft. Meyers FL,
WMBB 13, Panama City FL,
WEAR, Pensacola/Mobile FL,
WWSB, Sarasota FL,
WPBF 25, West Palm Beach FL,
WSB-TV 02, Atlanta GA,
WJBF, Augusta GA,
WJCL 22, Savannah GA,
KITV 04, Honolulu HI,
KIFI 08, Idaho Falls/Pocatello ID,
WQAD, Moline IL,
WHOI, Peoria IL,
WPTA 21, Ft. Wayne IN,
WRTV 06, Indianapolis IN,
KTKA 49, Topeka KS,
KAKE 10, Wichita KS,
WTVQ, Lexington KY,
WKBO 13, Bowling green KY,
KTBS 03, Shreveport LA,
WBRZ 02, Baton Rouge LA,
WCBV 05, Boston MA,
WMDT, Salisbury MD,
WVII, Bangor ME,
WOTV, Battle Creek MI,
WZZM, Grand Rapids MI,
WDIO, Duluth MN,
KAAL 06, Rochester/ Mason City MN,
KQTV, St. Joseph MO,
KMIZ, Columbia MO,
KODE 12, Joplin MO,
KMBC 09, Kansas City MO,
KSPR 33, Springfield MO,
WTOK, Meridian MS,
WAPT, Jackson MS,
WABG 06, Greenwood MS,
WLOX 13, Biloxi MS,
WTVD 11, Durham/Raleigh NC,
WMUR 09, Manchester NH,
KOAT 07, Albuquerque NM,
KOLO 08, Reno NV,
WOKR 13, Rochester NY,
WIXT 09, Syracuse NY,
WKBW 07, Buffalo NY,
WUTR 20, Utica NY,
WWTI 50, Watertown NY,
WSYX, Columbus OH,
KOCO 05, Oklahoma City OK,
KEZI, Eugene OR,
WJET 24, Erie PA,
WHTM, Harrisburg PA,
WTAE 04, Pittsburgh PA,
WLNE 06, Province RI,
KSFY, Sioux Falls SD,
WKRN 02, Nashville TN,
WATE 06, Knoxville TN,
WTVC 09, Chattanooga TN,
WBBJ 07, Jackson TN,
WKPT, Kingsport TN,
KTXS, Abilene TX,
KXXV, Waco TX,
KVII 07, Amarillo TX,
WFAA 08, Dallas TX,
KVIA 07, El Paso TX,
KAMC 28, Lubbock TX,
KTVX 04, Salt Lake City UT,
WSET 13, Lynchburg VA,
WVEC 13, Norfolk VA,
KOMO 04, Seattle WA,
KXLY 04, Spokane WA,
KAPP 35, Yakima WA,
KVEW 42, Kennewick WA,
WQOW, La Cross WI,
WBAY 02, Green Bay WI,
WISN 12, Milwaukee WI,
WAOW 09, Wausau WI,
WCHS 08, Charleston WV,
WOAY 04, Oak Hill WV,

Stanley Fields - Showman Extraordinaire

Terry Miller, director of Portland NORML, writes:

When Stanley Fields called and asked me if I would like to be the other guest in a show along with drug czar Barry McCaffrey, there was some real excitement brewing.

Stanley Fields does a radio talk show with a nationwide audience of about 2 million. His local affiliate is KEX 1190 AM. He had also called national NORML with the same offer.

I was salivating, The opportunity to chew up McCaffrey would be a prize indeed. Fields wanted to limit the topic to medical marijuana and told me the White House had called to get McCaffrey on the show. I was elated. Stanley described his position as prohibitionist and asked me if that would bother me, going up against two. I told him I had science and medicine on my side and the numbers on the other side did not matter. After about thirty minutes of discourse, Fields began to change his mind and wanted to see research. I contacted someone with the documentation who kindly faxed info to Fields, including articles from Scientific American and The Lancet.

The next day Fields bagged the interview. However, he assured me that it was "only until Dec. 29, so my staff can research this."

I called a few days before to confirm the show on December 29, but was told arrangements had been made for other guests. He said, "I decided not to have any of you NORML guys on the show. There's too much factual distortion."

"Like what?" I asked.

"I don't want to get into it," he replied.

He didn't want to lose is more like it. After conversations with Allen St. Pierre at NORML, it was apparent that all he wanted was a cream puff for Barry McCaffrey and Stanley Fields to look good against. Too bad he couldn't find one. With all the evidence there is about the efficacy of marijuana as medicine and the endorsements from California and Arizona voters, the other side retreated from public scrutiny like bugs running for cover in the light. Among other things he just did not believe were:

1) Locally, 90% of those busted for pot cultivation are employed and have no previous record of any kind.

2) Locally, 55% of felons who receive jail or prison terms are sentenced for drug offenses.

3) 85% of police chiefs do not agree with the current approach to the drug war.

4) Over 80% of pot arrests are for possession.

5) It will cost Oregonians over $1 billion to house pot offenders in the next nine years.

When told of a local case where a rapist received 18 months while a cultivator got 22 months, his response was to question the degree of rape.

To express your opinion about Fields keeping me off his "show," call him at 503-786-6241. Be prepared for denial.


Democracy Still Works - San Francisco Cannabis Club Restraining Order Lifted

The following is a Jan. 8, 1997 press release from Californians for Compassionate Use, 1444 Market Street San Francisco, California, 94102 Voice: 1-415-621-3986 Fax: 1-415-621-0604

Judge David A. Garcia ruled today in favor of caregiver Dennis Peron and San Francisco's medical Cannabis Club. The judge's restraining order against Peron and the Club stood for five months following a raid on the Club on August 4, 1996 by state narcotics agents. Today that injunction against Peron and the Club was lifted based on what Judge Garcia called "the will of the people," as shown by 56% of California voters passing the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) on November 5, 1996.

Judge Garcia's current ruling means that the Club will reopen on January 15th as a cannabis cultivators club (for registration only -- no medicinal marijuana will be available until the following week).

Each patient who qualifies to receive medicinal marijuana should bring by a letter of diagnosis from his or her physician. The Club staff will be making phone calls to verify the diagnosis with the physician. No records will be stored at the Club and patients will be issued a card (with photo) identifying them as a Club member and medical marijuana user. Marijuana will be cultivated and distributed at the Club with fee charged to members to cover the costs of production.

"This is the first time that a ruling permitting the cultivation of marijuana for medical patients has ever been handed down by a judicial officer," said J. David Nick, counsel for Peron and the Cannabis Club.

"This is the first time in this lengthy legal process that the patients have been considered first," and attorney Wade Francois, co-counsel specializing in medical issues.

"This is our second step in a thousand mile journey towards a more compassionate society," said Club founder Dennis Peron. "Democracy still works."

[End quote]

[A jubilant Dennis Peron also announced, "I've just become the legal caregiver for over ten thousand medical marijuana patients." - Ed.]

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey Caught Lying Again

On August 16, McCaffrey told the San Francisco Chronicle, "There is not a shred of scientific evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed. This is not science. This is not medicine. This is a cruel hoax."

On December 30, McCaffrey was asked by CNN's Carl Rochelle "is there any evidence ... that marijuana is useful in a medical situation?" McCaffrey's response: "No, none at all. There are hundreds of studies that indicate that it isn't."

On January 2, McCaffrey assistant Pat Seitz, appearing on the CNN show "Burden of Proof," tried to retract the drug czar's mistaken statements, insisting, "He has not said there is no research. He has not said there is no research."

Supreme Court - Sentences Can Be Lengthened For Charges Defendants Were Acquitted Of

Court allows longer sentences for some

WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Jan. 6, 1997) -- Judges may lengthen the sentences of convicted defendants based on charges of which they were acquitted, the Supreme Court ruled today.

By a 7-2 vote in cases from California and Hawaii, the justices reinstated the sentences of two drug dealers.

In an unsigned decision, the nation's highest court said that neither federal law nor the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy bars judges from considering conduct of which defendants were acquitted.

Although both cases involved federal prosecutions, the court's discussion of constitutional law would apply to state prosecutions as well.

The justices noted that an acquittal "does not prove that the defendant is innocent; it merely proves the existence of a reasonable doubt as to his guilt."

"We therefore hold that a jury's verdict of acquittal does not prevent the sentencing court from considering conduct underlying the acquitted charge, so long as that conduct has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence," today's decision said.

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the decision brings about a "perverse result."

"The notion that a charge that cannot be sustained by proof beyond a reasonable doubt may give rise to the same punishment as if it had been so proved is repugnant," he said.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy also dissented, saying in a separate opinion that the court should have allowed lawyers in the case to submit more briefs and argue in person before issuing a decision.

Sentencing courts generally are free to take into account defendants' conduct other than that for which they were convicted, what courts called "uncharged conduct."

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that sentencing judges "cannot reconsider facts that the jury necessarily rejected by its acquittal of the defendant on another count."

Other federal appeals courts had reached the opposite conclusion, but the 9th Circuit court's ruling would have bound federal judges in nine states -- California, Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Justice Department lawyers had argued that the 9th Circuit court failed to identify "any source of authority for its judicial limitation."

In the California case, Vernon Watts was convicted in Sacramento of possessing cocaine base with the intent of distributing it. He was acquitted of charges that he used or carried a gun during a drug-trafficking offense.

When sentencing Watts to 21 years and 10 months in prison, a federal judge took the gun possession into consideration -- resulting in a longer prison term.

In the Hawaii case, Cheryl Putra was convicted in Honolulu of aiding and abetting in the possession of one ounce of cocaine with intent to distribute it. She was acquitted of conspiracy and of aiding and abetting the possession of five ounces of cocaine with intent to distribute it.

A federal judge sentenced her to two years and three months in prison after factoring in the charges on which she had been found not guilty.

In both cases, the 9th Circuit court upheld the convictions but threw out the sentences. Today's decision reversed the appeals court's ruling.

The case is U.S. vs. Watts, 95-1906.


'The Nation' Turns Its Eyes To The Drug War

Go down to your local purveyor of magazines and purchase the latest issue (January 6th) of
The Nation,. It features two excellent cover stories, one on the failure of the drug war in general and one on the fight for medical marijuana. Good magazine, excellent articles.

American Farm Bureau Federation Passes Hemp Resolution

At the AFBF annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, delegates on Jan. 9, 1997 unanimously passed the ensuing resolution:

"We recommend that American Farm Bureau Federation encourage research into the viability and economic potential of industrial hemp production in the United States."

'Washington Post' Expounds On Hemp

Splendor in the Grass?

The hemp plant comes in two varieties. One, its proponents say, could transform industries and provide an environmentally safe source of wonder products. The other is marijuana, and therein lies a debate that has business warily stalking a tantalizing raw material.

By John Mintz
The Washington Post
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 5 1997, p. H01

A fast-growing coalition of scientists, farmers, entrepreneurs and major industries thinks it has found the modern equivalent of "flubber" -- the anti-gravity goo in a 1961 film that lofted actor Fred MacMurray's car into orbit, bounced his college basketball team toward the gym ceiling and unmasked spies.

The miracle substance arousing interest now happens to be the world's oldest crop -- hemp. Proponents of the fibrous stalk say it can reshape the paper and apparel industries, reduce world deforestation and pesticide use, yield new building materials and provide nutrient-rich foods that can reduce heart disease. There's only one slight problem with hemp, however. It's, ah, illegal. It's also called marijuana.

There are two varieties of the hemp plant, or cannibas sativa. One is pot, the sweet-smelling greenish herb that gets you high when you smoke it. The other is industrial hemp, and puffing it gives you a headache.

The pro-hemp forces want state and federal authorities to study legalizing industrial hemp while continuing to ban pot. But law enforcement draws no distinction between the two weeds. "Hemp is a controlled substance under the 1972 Controlled Substances Act," explained Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman James McGivney.

Legalizing hemp would undercut the government's anti-drug stance -- especially now, McGivney said, citing new studies showing teenage marijuana use rising. California voters' approval of a November initiative allowing medicinal pot use already has complicated drug enforcers' anti-marijuana message, officials add. The DEA also is concerned that pot growers would sneak onto legalized hemp fields to grow their illicit weed. Narcs in helicopters couldn't differentiate the two, McGivney said. Hemp promoters disagree, and say the two plants look different. [See accompanying graphic, Page H5.]

Many businesses avoid publicly proclaiming interest in hemp, fearing that they'll be labeled soft on drugs. Instead, they let farmers and environmentalists push the issue in state legislatures from Kentucky to Vermont, Wisconsin and Missouri.

So far the police have stalled the "hempsters" in Washington and state capitols. In Colorado, for ex ample, dozens of narcotics investigators packed state hearings, derailing a proposed hemp study. A key argument of the agents in Denver and elsewhere is that pro-hemp business figures actually are front men for drug dealers. "They're making a cutesy argument to legalize marijuana," a White House drug enforcement official said of hemp activists. But officials who made that accusation acknowledged they didn't know the lineup of large capitalist concerns expressing interest in hemp's industrial uses. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, they aren't.

Take International Paper Co., the world's largest paper firm. Curtis Koster, IP's technology business manager, said the company is intrigued by hemp as a way to address what timber interests call the looming worldwide "fiber crisis."

The need for paper and other fiber products (such as fiberboard, packing materials and pulp) is skyrocketing in the Third World -- it seems demand for such products precisely tracks economic and educational progress. But the timber firms' costs of buying forest land, cutting trees and processing wood in the face of global environmental activism are zooming upwards, too.

So paper firms are eager for new sources of fiber -- and hemp probably is the best, said Koster, who recently joined the board of directors of a new pro-hemp business council. "It's the strongest, easiest to grow and has the broadest geographical range," he said. While trees require decades to grow, hemp matures in 100 days -- so over time, hemp yields two to four times as much fiber per acre as wood, Koster said.

"Wood fiber is very inferior to many other fiber products" such as hemp, said Koster, who speaks for himself and not his firm, and who chooses his words carefully. "There's no doubt excellent paper can be made from hemp . . . It's a remarkable thing God put on earth."

"The paper industry is by nature very cautious, but it's aggressively seeking data on hemp," said Med Byrd, a leading paper researcher at North Carolina State University. "That's a radical change." By maintaining its hard line against hemp, law enforcement "throws away science and common sense," he said. The pot controversy prevents his firm from officially expressing interest in hemp, said Koster. But he denounces federal agents' accusations that pro-hemp businesses are drug fronts -- he calls them "lies" that "make law enforcement look like baboons." "Should industry be interested in hemp?" Koster said. "Yes." He said he assumes hemp someday will be legal. But then industry would only be rediscovering a product as ancient as civilization.

Fish Nets to Apparel

By stripping apart the hemp stalk's sinewy fibers, man made the first rope. The Chinese invented fish nets with it in 4500 B.C., and later the first paper. Herodotus wrote of the fineness of hempen garments. Used to make books, maps and lamp oil, hemp was the top crop in Asia, Europe and America from 1500 to 1800. Sails were made of hemp because it doesn't mildew -- the word "canvas" is said to come from "cannabis."

Colonial Virginia and Connecticut made the cultivation of hemp mandatory. The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned hemp plantations and promoted its benefits. Many farmers paid taxes in hemp bails. Dozens of U.S. towns were named for it -- including Hempstead, N.Y.

But in the 1930s, the federal government cracked down on marijuana. The paint industry, which used hemp, persuaded officials to exempt it. But a 1937 law exacted steep taxes on it -- $1 an ounce -- and the hemp industry died.

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the "Hemp for Victory" program, inducing farmers to resume growing the crop for military use -- from boot laces to parachute webbing and backpacks.

The U.S. hemp industry died again after the war. While hemp still was grown in Europe and Asia -- and it's been legal to import it here if already processed -- it was a forgotten crop here. Until 1990, that is, when a book on hemp by author Jack Herer spurred interest by businesses imagining lucrative imports from countries such as China and Hungary.

The industry has exploded since then. In 1993, hemp's worldwide sales were $5 million; in 1995 they totaled $75 million, according to Hemptech, a California consulting firm that tracks the industry. Hemptech expects sales of $200 million in 1997, and $600 million by 2001.

One local hempster business is Fairfax-based Ecolution Inc., which imports hemp clothes and cosmetics from Eastern Europe. In its two years of operation, sales have jumped 500 percent, to $1.5 million.

Technological Hurdles

A lingering question about the young industry is whether it can develop a new generation of hemp-processing machines to churn out the product profitably. But industry executives say that's not a difficult task, technologically. Hemptech President John Roulac said some leading carpet firms -- already experimenting with hemp because it's so tough and mildew-resistant -- are investing in such efforts.

Many people in the apparel business say the obstacles are surmountable, and that with a little research and marketing, hemp could be one of the nation's top fabrics. "It's getting tremendous interest in the fashion industry," said Owen Sercus, a textile professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, a New York college tied to the industry. "It's going to be a gigantic market." Hemp is one of the most durable fabrics around -- hemp clothing typically lasts 10 years, compared with five for cotton -- and it also "breathes" better than any fabric, Sercus said. Because hemp fiber can be peeled like an onion, clothes can be made very thin, and it's machine-washable.

"Hemp produces a strong, clean yarn, with a structure that makes the cloth cool in summer, and warm and comfortable in winter," clothing company Giorgio Armani said last month in announcing a vast increase in hemp use in clothing lines. Many other companies -- such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Adidas -- also have stepped up hemp use.

Apparel firms fret about hemp's uncertain overseas availability, and the prospect of antagonizing the authorities, industry executives said. They recall then-White House drug czar Lee Brown criticizing Adidas's "cynical marketing" a year ago in naming a shoe "The Hemp." Adidas withdrew it.

But fashion executives say hemp is a marketing no-brainer because of its environmental benefits. Unlike cotton -- which may require hundreds of pounds of expensive fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides per acre -- hemp fields are chemical-free. Hemp also doesn't deplete the soil.

Hemp appeals to many farmers for the same reasons. Earlier this year the American Farm Bureau Federation -- the nation's largest farm group, with 4.5 million members -- joined the pro-hemp movement. A recent editorial in its publication called hemp "one of the most promising crops in half a century . . . [It] could be the alternative crop farmers are looking for."

Hemp also could spur new investment in rural areas because hemp-growing regions would need processing mills near the fields. "We're talking jobs," said Erwin Sholts, director of diversification at Wisconsin's agriculture department. "Why should we import a product in high demand when we can grow it here?"

Companion Crop

Farmers in Kentucky, a major hemp-grower as early as 1700, are among the most boisterous in supporting the crop. They've also set off bitter struggles signaling how emotional the debate can become.

The story there begins with farmers such as Andy Graves. One of Kentucky's biggest tobacco growers, he wants the right to uphold his father's tradition of planting hemp on their Lexington, Ky., farm, as a companion crop to tobacco, the backbone of the state's economy. "We'd like not to be so dependent on one crop, which may as well have a skull and crossbones on it," Graves said. "We're willing to try something new to save livelihoods." Graves's hopes soared in 1994, when then-Gov. Brereton Jones named a blue-ribbon panel to study hemp. But last year the panel's chairman, another prominent farmer, shut it down before even one substantive meeting, calling hemp "a complete fraud." The chairman and his allies concluded, with no evidence, that the pro-hemp farmers were in league with drug dealers, local newspapers reported.

In rural Kentucky, advocating hemp can even imperil careers. In tiny Simpsonville, a 5th grade agriculture teacher, Donna Cockrel, is fighting to keep her job after advocating that local farmers be allowed to resume growing hemp. The town's past is so tied to the crop that one street is named Hemp Ridge.

Her problems came in May, when she invited actor Woody Harrelson, a hemp advocate, to lecture students. The visit by Harrelson -- who wore hemp pants, hat and shirt -- electrified the school. Later Cockrel thrust a sheath of pro-hemp student essays into President Clinton's hand at a Louisville rally. Simpsonville police complained to school officials that Cockrel was leading students into drug use, and the officials tried to push her out of her job.

"They said I'm advocating drugs, but I'm not," she said. "I'm discussing a crop that's vital to our rural economy." Meanwhile, other pro-hemp farmers have pleaded their case at the Department of Agriculture -- but in vain. Jeffrey Gain, an Illinois farmer who chairs an independent panel set up by the Department of Agriculture to find new crop uses, said many USDA officials are enthusiastic about hemp, but stay silent.

USDA's official response to a query on hemp was indeed tortured. "Given the state of the law [banning hemp], that's the same side we're on" officially, USDA spokesman Jim Petterson said in an interview. "We haven't researched hemp in decades." "USDA is afraid of the controversy," said Gain, now a hemp advocate. "The DEA has control of the issue, and it's frustrating." Some food industry executives are vexed, too, because they want a domestic hemp supply to ensure the quality of consumable hemp.

They see a growing market for hemp edibles, in part because of recent studies extolling the nutritional benefits of one of hemp's key nutrients: omega-3 essential fatty acids. Hemp oil and fish are two of the world's best sources of this nutrient. Many studies show that fish-eaters and others with high fatty acid intake have lower heart disease rates, and apparently less risk of developing arthritis and some other diseases. These foods made from hemp seeds also have among the highest fiber and protein content of any food.

Richard Rose, president of Sharon's Finest, a California vegetarian food firm, expects sales of hemp food products to grow as fast as soybean foods have since the mid-1970s -- from a $50 million-a-year business to a $2 billion one.

Andrew Weil, a University of Arizona medical college professor and alternative medicine advocate, prescribes hemp oil to patients with auto-immunity and skin diseases. He's also convinced by data suggesting it can help protect against cancer. The Clinton administration should rethink its assumptions and grant Americans access to a healthful product, he said. "It's one of the most useful plants humans ever discovered," Weil said. "But we've denied ourselves use of it because of our [drug] obsession."


The ingredient in marijuana that makes you high is tetrahydrocannabinol, THC for short. Normally it makes up 4 percent to 7 percent of pot's weight but can account for as much as 20 percent. Industrial hemp is 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent THC, not enough to have an effect.

"Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere." -George Washington to his gardener, 1794


Law enforcement officials and hemp advocates disagree in key areas:


Police: Claim pro-hemp business figures are drug fronts. Their evidence: Some pot dealers have asked for federal approval to grow hemp experimentally; also, groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) want hemp legalized as a step toward making pot lawful.

Hemp advocates: Say they're law-abiding and seek profits, not dope.

The pro-hemp business group, the North American Industrial Hemp Council, doesn't accept pro-pot members.


Police: Say if hemp were legal, pot dealers would sneak onto hemp fields to grow the illegal weed, and that agents couldn't distinguish the plots. Say the fact foreign nations report no such problems is irrelevant, because pot is not much of a problem overseas.

Hemp advocates: Say the two plants are easily distinguishable. Pot growers cultivate plants to be low and bushy, and spaced a few feet apart -- the way to yield THC- rich flowers and leaves. Hemp plants are placed inches apart, growing 12 to 18 feet high, with sparse leaves on top. Harvesters want only the stalk. Advocates cite evidence from Britain, France, Germany, Ukraine and other hemp- growing nations reporting no police complaints about pot. Paul Mahlberg, an Indiana University molecular biologist and an expert on pot cultivation, said the two plants look so different investigators can easily tell them apart.


Police: Fear pollen from pot plants will fertilize hemp plants and raise the hemp field's THC content, turning the hemp into pot.

Hemp advocates: Say planting nearby pot and hemp fields would have the opposite effect: The hemp would reduce the pot's THC, making it undesirable as a drug. "The pot crop would always get weaker," Mahlberg said.

Mysterious Liquid Makes Media Irrational

On Jan. 7, 1997, Steven Marshank wrote:

Last week many of you saw or heard about vials of a liquid named "FX" that made people sick at a Los Angeles New Year's Eve rave. Here are some facts:

The liquid's main active ingredient is kava kava. It was extracted using super fluid extraction process to get the best active ingredients. It is totally legal. Part of my experience with it is to get a mildly entheogenic effect as well as some other effects.

According to the doctors at the hospitals, not one of the 16 people that were transported were suffering from an overdose of kava kava (the media reported 51 people transported. The manufacturer was very concerned and called about those who had been transported. Last year's NYE rave 48 were transported). Too much kava kava can make you nauseated or put you to sleep.

The biggest mistake the people who developed the FX made was bringing too much. The people who were running the rave did not allow the people with the FX to man their booth and participants at the rave just grabbed whatever they wanted and still there is no report that anyone I know has seen from a hospital pointing to the kava kava as the culprit.

The FDA interviewed the manufacturer and the people who brought the FX to the rave. They have been told that even though it is legal, they will close down their manufacturing facilities (they produce vitamins and have for 20 years) and they will not return their product. If they fight this, they will be charged with federal violations and prosecuted.

So once again, we see the strong arm tactics of the government even with a legal product and the distortion of the media. It is a good lesson to us all to be careful and realize who we are dealing with.


The Drug Czar's 'Monitoring The Future' Press Release

[From the Justice Information Center newsletter]


Marijuana and Tobacco Use Among Eighth and Tenth Graders Increases

Increases in lifetime, annual, current, and daily use of marijuana among eighth and tenth graders were reported in the 22nd annual "Monitoring The Future" study, conducted by the University of Michigan through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana use among high school seniors remained high but demonstrated no significant change. Current use of marijuana among eighth graders increased from 9.1 percent in 1995 to 11.3 percent in 1996 and increased among tenth graders from 17.2 percent in 1995 to 20.4 percent in 1995. Among high school seniors, current use of marijuana remained stable at 21.2 percent in 1995 and 21.9 percent in 1996. Other findings include:

-Daily use of alcohol increased for 8th graders and remained level but high for 10th and 12th graders.

-Current use of inhalants decreased among high school seniors, from 3.2 percent in 1995 to 2.5 percent in 1996. Use among eighth and tenth graders did not change significantly.

-For the first time, all three grades were asked about MDMA (ecstacy) use. Six percent of the twelfth graders, 5.6 percent of tenth graders, and 3.4 percent of eighth graders had used MDMA at least once in their lifetime.

To obtain more information from the "Monitoring the Future" study, please go to the University of Michigan Web site at You may also link to this site from the Justice Information Center at Click on "Drugs and Crime," then "Drug Use Indicators."

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Louisiana Cops Mug For Dateline Cameras

On Saturday, Jan. 4, 1997,
Stanton Peele wrote:
NBC's newsmagazine, Dateline, this Friday night showed Louisiana police systematically making up traffic offenses in order to stop, and frequently to confiscate significant property from, out-of-state drivers. A Dateline crew was stopped, and they recorded on camera a cop lying about their driving, then checking the driver's wallet to see if he had anything worth taking. Little old Christian ladies who had been strip (and cavity) searched and had their cars taken were interviewed. As for Mexican drivers -- forget it! (The narrator referred to stops for DWM -- Driving While Mexican.)

The show directly connected this rampant police misbehavior to laws allowing confiscation of property for "reasonable cause" without convictions. In Louisiana, the police department is able to retain 60% of the proceeds, while other chunks go to the prosecutors and judges. (This is not to mention the ample opportunities simply to pocket cash.) Dateline then traced this money to shopping sprees, donut shops, and ski vacations.

Sheriffs and other defenders of the policy (including a statement from the Governor of LA) ritualistically referred to the horrible scourge of drugs in this country in order to defend this policy. - Stanton Peele

The Pot Perplex - Mr. Soros's Agenda And The Voters' ('The New Yorker')

Comment, Jan. 6, 1997

One of the most surprising results of the November election - very nearly its only surprising result - was the passage in California and Arizona of ballot initiatives designed to permit sick people to use marijuana. The result went against the apparent mood of the electorate - to wit, a sort of center-right status-quo complacency, vaguely hospitable to conservative attitudes (for "family values," against leniency toward criminals, etc. and suspicious of anything visionary. President Clinton's political comeback was generally agreed to be a consequence of his success in coopting attitudes like these. And when Bob Dole, after weeks of flailing about, finally found an issue he thought might give him some traction, that issue turned out to be marijuana. (Mr. Dole's only effective television spot featured an old MTV clip of a smirking Mr. Clinton saying he wished he'd inhaled.) Throw in the fadeout of the Grateful Dead, and there was little reason to expect 1996 to shape up as a pot-friendly year.

Nevertheless, the initiatives passed resoundingly by fifty-six to forty-four per cent in California, and by about two to one in Arizona. This turn of events has not been an easy one for the hard-liners - those who believe that the possession of a pinch of marijuana should remain a felony and that its cultivation or sale in larger amounts should continue to be treated as a crime on a par with, say, murder - to explain. Having long taken it for granted that the debate over drug policy pits the hardworking, taxpaying public against the out-of-touch cultural (or countercultural) elite, they now confront the possibility that they no longer monopolize the populist side of the argument.

After the shock of November 5th, the drug warriors regrouped. In December, the Senate Judiciary Committee mounted a hearing whose title - "A Prescription for Addiction? The Arizona and California Medical Drug Use Initiatives" - forthrightly dispensed with any pretense of evenhandedness. So did the witness list, which consisted of five opponents of medical use and one proponent. The committee chairman, Orrin Hatch, of Utah, began the proceedings with a statement summarizing most of the testimony that followed: the initiatives passed because voters were bamboozled; the "no" side was overwhelmed by sinister big money, especially the sinister big money of George Soros; and, anyhow, marijuana has no medical use.

Senator Hatch charged, for example, that "the philanthropists of the drug legalization movement pumped millions of dollars in out-of-state soft money into stealth campaigns designed to conceal their real objective: the legalization of drugs." It's true that some of the supporters of the medical-use initiatives favor legalization, but most, including Mr. Soros, do not; and permitting sick people to use marijuana to relieve their discomfort (just as morphine, cocaine, Demerol, and many other powerful drugs are now routinely used) is a "first step" toward legalization only in the sense that movie ratings are a"first step" toward abolishing freedom of expression. The money raised by the "yes" campaigns - a little under two million dollars in California, about half that in Arizona - undoubtedly helped, but the sums were a tiny fraction of the political cash that washed over those states during the election. (In California, more than a hundred million dollars was spent on ballot initiatives alone.) In any event, few minds appear to have been changed: the polls showed that large majorities favored the initiatives before a penny was spent. The polls also showed that the voters clearly understood what they were voting on.

The attempt to turn Mr. Soros into a villain is especially preposterous. Mr. Hatch approvingly quoted a description of him as the "sugardaddy of the legalization movement," and one witness, Thomas Constantine, the administrator of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, taxed "billionaire financier and legalization advocate George Soros" with being among those who have "cynically used the suffering and illness of vulnerable people to further their own agenda." The most excitable journalistic crusader against medical marijuana, the Times' A. M. Rosenthal, has gone further, explicitly likening Mr. Soros's "gobs of money" to "the fortunes manipulated by drug criminals," and his views to "preaching the benefits of slavery."

Whoa. Mr. Soros is indeed a "billionaire financier," but he is also (in quantitative terms, at least) the most generous man in the world, and he is surely one of the world's most useful citizens. He has spent, as Judith Miller reported in the Times the other day, "$1.1 billion' most of it since 1989 trying to transform the former Soviet bloc into thriving capitalist democracies." He is indeed from "out of state," but he can't help that: he was born in Hungary, and was a refugee from both Nazism and Communism. In a letter to the Times politely correcting some of Mr. Rosenthal's more pinwheel-eyed accusations, he summarized his views this way: "I am not for legalization but for a saner drug policy."

This - apart from helping the many thousands of people who have diseases like .AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and arthritis and find that smoking marijuana relieves their suffering - is Mr. Soros's "agenda." As he put it in his letter to the Times, 'We need a free and open debate on all alternatives to current drug policies."

Mr. Hatch inadvertently hinted at why there hasn't been such a debate when, at the hearing, he offered a bit of truncated history. "Between 1987 and 1988," he said, "the D.E.A. and NORML - the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a private advocacy group - "under the guidance of an administrative law judge, collected all relevant information on the alleged medical benefits of marijuana. The D.E.A. then conducted a comprehensive examination of that data in order to determine whether those allegations had merit. At the end of that study, the D.E.A. concluded that there was no legitimate medical use for marijuana." What the Senator omitted to mention was that the judge himself, Francis L. Young, had actually come to a quite different conclusion. "The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision," Judge Young wrote. '`It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the D.E.A. to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits in light of the evidence." Judge Young's political superiors simply overruled him.

Is it too far-fetched to suggest that the medical-use initiatives might have been partly a protest against the bipartisan hypocrisy of baby-boomer politicians (the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of the House, and the keynoter of the Republican National Convention, to name four) who "experimented with" marijuana in their wayward youth (did they also "experiment with" burglary and assault?) and now refuse to countenance even a discussion of amending the laws that would have sent them to prison had they been caught? Perhaps. But such a discussion is now in prospect, thanks to the voters of California and Arizona - the grass roots, so to speak. And thanks to George Soros, who stepped into the breach when Western governments responded so unimaginatively to the disintegration of Communism, and who, in response to another abdication of governmental responsibility, has stepped into the breach again. - HENDRIK HERTZBERG

'Police Lied, And New York Pays The Price'

By David Kocieniewski
The New York Times, Jan. 5, 1997

The 30th Precinct corruption case, the New York Police Department's biggest drug scandal in a generation, has also grown into the most damaging perjury scandal in state history and may eventually become the costliest.

Prosecutors have been forced to throw out 125 cases against 98 defendants because their convictions were based on untruthful testimony by officers from the Harlem station house -- more dismissals than any other police perjury case on record in the state, according to officials at the State Office of Court Administration.

For criminals, the police officers' corruption provided what might be called a perjury dividend, by freeing several admitted drug dealers who were still in prison and sealing the records of those cases. About 70 of the defendants whose convictions were dismissed admitted in later interviews with prosecutors that they were committing crimes when they were arrested.

Beyond the criminal justice system, several of those drug dealers and perjury victims are reaching deep into the pockets of city taxpayers as they seek recourse in civil court. Some, even the confessed drug dealers, have sued the city for unlawful imprisonment and won six-figure settlements. Legal experts predict that those awards and settlements, which already total $1.3 million, could eventually cost city taxpayers $10 million. The financial toll may not be known for years, however, because prosecutors have identified 2,000 cases in which the corrupt officers' testimony tainted the evidence.

And some New Yorkers, like Daniel Batista, insist they were framed by the officers, imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and forced to spend years behind bars.

"No one believed me when I told them what happened," said Mr. Batista, 28, who spent 13 months in prison and nearly two years in a halfway house before his conviction for gun possession was overturned. "I lost my marriage and my business and almost three years of my life. And now that I'm out, nobody really cares."

But legal experts say the fallout from the scandal, exposed in 1994 with the revelation that one-sixth of the precinct's officers had routinely stolen drug money, guns and cash, will be felt for years.

William J. Bratton, who was the Police Commissioner at the time, retired the officers' badges, and the scandal quickly reverberated throughout the city, with tales unspooling day by day of officers shaking down drug dealers, raiding homes illegally and selling cocaine.

Behind the scenes, prosecutors began worrying that any arrests made by those officers would be invalidated, and their suspicions were later confirmed when the corrupt officers admitted they had lied on the witness stand at one trial after another.

As the last of the 33 officers who were convicted of drug dealing, robbery and perjury are to be sentenced this month, many judges say the officers' offenses have left an enduring imprint on criminal cases. The pattern of perjury, so routine that police officers sarcastically called it "testilying," has made it harder to find jurors who will believe their accounts. Once again, the judges say, mistrust between New Yorkers and their Police Department, especially in minority communities, has grown.

Police officials and the Manhattan District Attorney's office have started new training programs to help prosecutors and police officers detect and prevent police perjury.

But some Harlem residents say it will be difficult for officers to regain the community's trust.

"You would always hear people complaining about the cops up here," said Richard Bellows, superintendent of an apartment building on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. "But until I saw them getting arrested and talking about drug dealing and lying about their arrests, I never knew whether to believe it. I've personally had mostly good experiences with them. But now I always wonder what else they might be up to."

A Disputed Arrest 2 Officers' Word Against Witnesses'

Mr. Batista, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, said he had not been leery of police officers before the evening of June 30, 1992, when his life was changed by the 30th Precinct police scandal. He had no criminal record and had never been arrested. As Mr. Batista stood on the stoop of a building on West 149th Street, where he says he was waiting to meet a friend for dinner, he did not pay much attention to the approaching police officers until they grabbed his arm and arrested him.

The officers, David Benitez and James Velez of the 30th Precinct, later testified that they stopped Mr. Batista because they saw a bulge under his shirt and discovered an illegal handgun.

But Mr. Batista and three other witnesses insisted that the two officers planted the gun. Mr. Batista and the three witnesses who eventually testified on his behalf said the officers assumed he was a drug dealer, took his keys and tried to open the doors of a house where they had made previous drug arrests. After several minutes, the witnesses said, the officers found that the keys would not fit the doors because Mr. Batista did not live there, so Officer Benitez walked into the building next door and returned with a loaded .357 magnum.

"This gun is yours," Officer Benitez said, according to Mr. Batista's defense witnesses who testified at his trial.

Before the trial, there were warning signs that called the officers' truthfulness into question. The police Internal Affairs Bureau investigated Mr. Batista's charge that Officers Velez and Benitez had robbed and beaten him, but could not substantiate the allegation. Even more disconcerting to Elizabeth Lambert, an assistant district attorney, were inconsistencies in the two officers' testimony.

"I took them into a room and asked them what the deal was," Ms. Lambert said. "But Officer Benitez was very professional, very calm and such a nice guy that he convinced me he was telling the truth."

One of Mr. Batista's witnesses had credibility problems of his own. Julio Suarez, who corroborated Mr. Batista's version of the arrest, was wanted on a warrant because he had previously been arrested for selling cocaine at 557 West 149th Street -- the same address where Mr. Batista was taken into custody.

"It came down to the police officers' word against him and his friends," said Angela Yanovich, the jury forewoman at Mr. Batista's trial in December 1992. "His witnesses looked bad. One seemed too street smart to be telling the truth. The other one seemed like he was on heroin. And we just couldn't think of any reason why the police officers would go to the trouble of making up a story and framing someone."

At sentencing, even the judge ridiculed Mr. Batista, saying it was "preposterous" to claim that the officers had framed him.

"I don't believe you should be punished for exercising your right to trial," Justice Bernard J. Fried told the defendant in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. "But I believe it is appropriate for me to consider the perjury that you've committed in this courtroom, as I viewed it."

The minimum sentence for a first-time gun offender is one to three years in prison, and Judge Fried sentenced Mr. Batista to two to six years.

A Growing Scandal Trying to Untangle A Web of Deceit

When the first plausible complaints of drug dealing by 30th Precinct officers began filtering in during 1991, prosecutors expected it would be just another corruption investigation like the police scandals in the 77th, 75th and 73d Precincts in Brooklyn, where mainly drug-dealing, not perjury, was uncovered.

By 1993, the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the United States Attorney, Mary Jo White, and a special mayoral commission to fight police corruption had all started undercover sting operations into allegations against 30th Precinct officers. For more than a year, sordid details of the officers' drug-dealing crimes made headlines, earning the precinct the nickname the Dirty Thirty.

There were charges, later proved, of the police conducting "key jobs," or stealing drug dealers' house keys and then robbing their apartments; of a gang of officers who dragged a drug dealer's safe into the station house, pried it open and stole thousands of dollars; of a team that worked with Sgt. Kevin Nannery and stole so wantonly that they called themselves Nannery's Raiders.

At the same time the drug scandal was unfolding, police commanders and prosecutors were also quietly untangling an intricate web of deceit that the 30th Precinct officers had left in the court system.

In addition to conducting illegal raids and stealing and dealing drugs, a dozen officers later acknowledged that they routinely lied under oath. Most admitted committing perjury fewer than a dozen times, but one sergeant admitted to lying on the witness stand in 75 trials and court hearings, according to court papers.

Officer George Nova, who admitted to repeated acts of perjury, said lying under oath was standard procedure. Some officers lied to protect their own drug businesses, while others committed perjury to counterbalance the loopholes used by drug dealers to evade the police, Mr. Nova said.

"I won't generalize and say everyone," he said after he agreed to help the prosecutors, "but most of the officers at the 30th Precinct during that time were lying about arrests they were making. That's just the way things were done."

As the scope of the perjury became apparent, Dan Castleman, chief of investigations for the Manhattan District Attorney's office, assembled a team of prosecutors to review every case in which the corrupt officers had ever testified -- 2,000 in all. Although most of the officers said they had lied to help put criminals behind bars, their perjury ultimately had the opposite effect.

"It was like a 'get out of jail free' card for criminals," said Emery Adoradio, the prosecutor who handled most of the perjury cases.

Prosecutors interviewed all 98 defendants whose convictions were overturned; more than 70 admitted they were indeed breaking the law when arrested.

Drug dealers, some of whom had received life sentences because they were arrested selling several kilograms of cocaine, were set free. The same prosecutors who had convicted defendants for drug possession or selling drugs suddenly found themselves arguing for the defendants' release and the prosecution of the police officers.

"Part of our job is to put guilty people behind bars," said William Burmeister, head of the Manhattan District Attorney's public corruption unit. "But the other part is to see that no one is put away on perjured testimony or tainted evidence."

At least 25 defendants have used that tainted evidence as the ground for lawsuits against the city, and some have won six-figure damage awards or settlements.

Samuel Victor admitted that he was dealing drugs when Officers George Nova and Barry Brown arrested him, prosecutors said. But the officers admitted lying about the details of their search of Mr. Victor, so he was released from prison and filed a civil suit for unlawful imprisonment that won him a $725,000 settlement. Athos Lopez, another perjury victim, received a $15,000 settlement. Of the more than 25 lawsuits that have been filed, 20 are still pending.

Beyond the looming financial settlements, experts warn that the perjury scandal could rebound for years inside city courtrooms.

Judge Frederic S. Berman, who presided over three cases later overturned because of police perjury, said he believes that most police officers still tell the truth, but that many of the jurors in his courtroom do not share that opinion.

"Jurors, sadly, have lost confidence in some instances in police testimony," Judge Berman said. "It's harder and harder to get jurors in a case where the prosecutor's case rests on police testimony." A Freed Convict After Prison, Charges Dismissed

Daniel Batista was not among the fortunate defendants whose cases were dismissed before their sentences were finished. During his 13 months in prison, Mr. Batista said he spent day after day in the library, trying to figure out how to prove his innocence.

Joseph Holmes, who worked at the Legal Aid Society's appeals bureau, said Mr. Batista was already in a halfway house in 1995 when he read a newspaper article about the 30th Precinct scandal and learned that both of his arresting officers had themselves been arrested.

Officer Velez was convicted of perjury for falsely testifying that a Manhattan man, Robert Monzon, had been carrying drugs. Mr. Monzon was acquitted of the charges and Officer Velez was sentenced to one to three years in prison. Officer Benitez was convicted of extortion for taking payoffs from drug dealers and sentenced to six months in Federal prison.

In addition, Officer Joseph Walsh, who admitted to committing perjury 75 times -- more than any other 30th Precinct officer -- had told prosecutors of at least one incident in 1991 when he said Officers Benitez and Velez helped plant a gun on a suspect.

Officers Benitez and Velez never recanted their testimony in the Batista case. But their credibility, which was the basis for Mr. Batista's conviction, was so badly damaged that prosecutors did not contest the motion to discard that conviction.

Mr. Batista's lawyer, Zachary Flax, said there was far more evidence against Officers Velez and Benitez than there was against Mr. Batista.

"He gave a perfect description of a key job, years before anyone in the public knew what a key job was. How likely is that?" Mr. Flax asked.

Still, prosecutors are reluctant to say that Mr. Batista never committed the crime. Ms. Lambert, who has since left the District Attorney's office, said she felt "the ultimate betrayal" when she heard that one of the officers had been convicted of perjury for framing a defendant.

"To this day, I don't know what happened on that stoop," she said of the site of Mr. Batista's arrest.

"At this point, there's obviously some truth to Batista's story, although I didn't think all of his testimony sounded believable. But he may have been guilty of something. I just don't know."

Judge Fried, who presided over the case and later signed the motion to dismiss the conviction, would not discuss the case.

Mr. Batista had hoped to receive compensation for the time he spent behind bars. But he said recently that the lawyer he contacted about suing the city missed the deadline for filing the necessary paperwork. A Lingering Mistrust Efforts to Change Could Take Years

The Police Department has created several training programs to help prevent similar scandals and repair some of the damage to the department's credibility. In fact, some law enforcement officials say, the legacy of the 30th Precinct scandal may be that it forced the criminal justice system to acknowledge that police officers sometimes lie on the witness stand.

Two years ago, when prosecutors realized the extent of the perjury in the precinct, some ranking police commanders argued that officers should not be prosecuted. Police tradition, they said, allowed otherwise honest officers to occasionally "shade" their testimony by changing details of arrests to conform with search and seizure laws.

Today, New York City police cadets receive extensive training about perjury; officers are taught how to appear credible without resorting to embellishment; and commanders and assistant district attorneys are given courses on how to spot questionable police testimony.

Deputy Inspector Thomas E. Belfiore, one of the Internal Affairs detectives who led the 30th Precinct investigation, is now the commander of the city's Police Academy and has helped develop a curriculum to teach officers the steep costs of lying to strengthen a case. His course even includes a role-playing segment during which officers are forced to choose between committing perjury to protect their partner or telling the truth and, in effect, charging their partner with lying.

"We want them to recognize that this can cost them their jobs, their pensions, their self-respect," Inspector Belfiore said. "It's just not worth it."

Commissioner Safir, who assumed control of the department after the perjury was uncovered, has continued the department's hard line against lying by police officers.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy on lying," Mr. Safir said. "You can make a case the correct way, without lying, and if you don't get him the first time, you'll probably get him the next time, because most of these criminals keep breaking the law."

But others question whether a strong enough message has been sent. One of the 30th Precinct officers, Steven Pataki, was convicted of perjury that sent a man to prison for three years. Officer Pataki was given a three-month sentence.

Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, who presided over the trials of several of the 30th Precinct police officers, praised the Police Department's response, but said the legal system's response was ambiguous.

"There is a perception that the 30th Precinct police officers who committed perjury got off easy," Judge Snyder said.

And in a recent manslaughter trial of a police officer charged with choking a Bronx man to death, the judge chastised police witnesses for their contradictory testimony, calling it "a nest of perjury." He nonetheless acquitted the officer accused in the case, Francis X. Livoti, finding there was not enough evidence to substantiate the charges. None of the officers who testified have been charged with lying under oath.

Given the lingering mistrust from some segments of the community, and the resistance from some members of the police force who believe that the legal system is far too sympathetic to criminals, even optimistic commanders acknowledge that it will take years to heal the rift.

"The only way to win that kind of respect and credibility back is with the truth," Inspector Belfiore said. "What we're trying to teach officers is that the truth is what is most important. Maybe it ends up that you lose a case because of it, but you're winning a larger prize and that is credibility in the community."



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