Portland NORML News - Wednesday, April 15, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Gordon Smith To Speak Out Against Medical Marijuana In Portland
9 AM Tomorrow, April 16 (Media Advisory From Office
Of The US Senator Representing Oregon)
Link to earlier story
From: "sburbank" (sburbank@orednet.org) To: "Phil Smith" (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org) Subject: Gordon Smith to speak out against medical marijuana in Portland TOMORROW-4-16-98 AT 9am Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 10:03:29 -0700 FYI This is a media advisory that was sent today from Sen. Gordon Smith's office. Sandee *** Contact: John Easton 202-224-8316 Mary Healy 202-224-8329 Senator Gordon H. Smith will join Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle and representatives from the regional drug initiative and Oregon Partnership tomorrow at an event to discuss the negative effects of legalizing drugs. Smith will also highlight his recently passed Senate amendment that instructs Congress to deny funds for medicinal marijuana. Student leaders from area schools will also participate in the event. Smith believes that we should be spending funds to find alternatives, such as more effective prescription drugs, rather than spending them on the medicinal use of an illegal drug that is highly addictive and dangerous to children. Thursday, April 16, 9am Event to speak out against drug use and medicinal marijuana with Oregon Partnership and Regional Drug Initiative. South Park Blocks 3rd and Salmon corner Portland
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Re - Gordon Smith And Medicinal Marijuana (List Subscriber Notes US Senator
Is Campaigning Against A State Initiative On Taxpayers' Time)

From: "sburbank" 
To: "Phil Smith" (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
Subject: Gordon Smith and medicinal marijuana
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:19:23 -0700

I received this post in response to mine at the bottom

Sandee,

***

I hope several people will go and repeatedly ask about whether it is
appropriate for elected and appointed officials to campaign against
an initiative on the taxpayer's dollar.

***

> > sburbank wrote:
> >
> > I wonder if this has anything to do with the coming elections November
> > in Oregon?
> > (Tongue in cheek)
> > FYI
> > This is a media advisory that was sent today from Sen. Gordon Smith's
> > office.
> > Sandee

[snip]
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Gordon Smith Contact Information (List Subscriber Tells You How
To Let The US Senator And Anti-Medical Marijuana Zealot
Know What You Think)

From: cwagoner@bendnet.com
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 08:43:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: CanPat - Gordon Smith contact info
To: cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com
Sender: owner-cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com

Contact info for Senator Gordon Smith

Sen. Gordon Smith
359 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
PH# 202-224-3753
FAX-228-3997

Bend, Oregon office:
131 NW Hawthorne
Suite 208
Bend, Oregon 97701
PH# 541-318-1298
FAX-318-1396

***

From: cwagoner@bendnet.com
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 08:55:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: CanPat - Senator Smith's e-mail address
To: cannabis-patriots-l@teleport.com

Senator Smith's e-mail addresss:

oregon@gsmith.senate.gov

***

Campaign finance records can be obtained from:

Office of Public Records
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20643
1-800-424-9530
FAX 202-219-3880

FLASHFAX SERVICE:

24 hour automated information delivery system that transmits
directly to your fax machine, any day, any hour, any time zone.

Simply dial 202-501-3413 from a touch-tone phone, follow the
instructions, and the information you request will be automatically faxed
to you.

***

I just called the 1-800-424-9530 number and requested the campaign
finance records for Senator Smith. I was told that I should receive the
information by mail in 7 to 10 working days. There is no fee for this
service.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

A Dose Of His Own Medicine ('500 Words' Staff Editorial
In Portland's 'Willamette Week' Responds To Chemical McCarthyism
In The Oregon Legislature By Posing The Same Sorts Of Questions
To Oregon Senator Randy Miller He Asked Of Ron Eachus Last Week)
Randy Miller
Willamette Week 822 SW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97205 Tel. (503) 243-2122 Fax (503) 243-1115 Letters to the Editor: Mark Zusman - mzusman@wweek.com Web: http://www.wweek.com/ A DOSE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE April 15, 1998 Someone should ask state Sen. Randy Miller a few questions. Last week, in his role as chairman of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, Lake Oswego's Republican state senator, Randy Miller, evoked the ghost of Joseph McCarthy in an outrageous inquisition. The occasion was a hearing on Ron Eachus' reappointment to the state Public Utility Commission. Miller asked about a trip Eachus took to Hanoi 30 years ago to protest U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam. He also asked whether Eachus had smoked pot while in college--again, some three decades ago. Ron Eachus As reported in Thursday's Oregonian, Eachus answered the questions directly and forthrightly--despite their personal nature and their having no bearing on his qualifications to work for the PUC. In the process, Miller disgraced the Legislature and considerably lowered the standards of public life in this state. Particularly remarkable is that Miller's own public record leaves him in no position to cast stones. Here are a few questions Miller might not like to answer. They concern conduct more recent than 30 years ago--conduct that actually has some bearing on his role as an elected representative. 1. Have you ever failed the Oregon Bar exam? How many times? Do your answers to these questions have anything to do with your taking the Legislature's time--and spending taxpayers' money--on efforts to abolish the test lawyers must pass to practice in this state? 2. How many times have you exceeded the speed limit on Oregon's highways? What's the fastest you've ever driven? Is it appropriate for taxpayers to watch you zip past them on I-5? Is this why you've taken up so much of the Legislature's time and money with efforts to raise the speed limit? (By the way, which is more dangerous to the health and well-being of your fellow Oregonians--speeding or smoking pot?) 3. What's the name of the big timber outfit you work for? Has your company been cited for violations of the Forest Practices Act? Has it been involved in any disputes with the Division of State Lands or the state Department of Environmental Quality? 4. Observers of the Legislature say that, despite a lengthy career as an elected state official, you are known for coasting rather than working hard. You also have a reputation for providing more than one person's fair share of negative energy in Salem. Can you tell us what major legislation you've originated and successfully pushed through the House and Senate? 5. What conversations have you had with Gary Wilhelms about Eachus and the PUC? Wasn't Wilhelms a paid lobbyist for U.S. West before becoming Senate President Brady Adams' right-hand man? 6. As you are aware, these questions have not been pulled out of thin air. Are you comfortable with them, or do they seem inappropriate or out of line? If they're in the latter category, perhaps you and your colleagues might think twice about subjecting model public servants to inquiries far more out of line than this. Originally published: Willamette Week - April 15, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Former Agent Charged With Growing Pot ('Associated Press' Story
Broadcast By KOIN, Portland's CBS Affiliate, Notes Medford, Oregon,
Cultivation Bust Of A US Forest Service Employee
Who Formerly Busted Other Growers)

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 18:26:05 EDT
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Phil Smith (pdxnorml@pdxnorml.org)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: ART: Former Agent Charged With Growing Pot

KOIN Channel 6
Portland, Oregon
http://www.koin.com/
letters to editor:
c6knews@koin.com

Former Agent Charged With Growing Pot

Used To Stop Pot Growing On Public Land

MEDFORD, Ore., Posted 7:31 a.m. April 15, 1998 -- A man who used to stop
people from growing marijuana on federal forest land has been indicted on
charges of growing pot himself.

The U.S. attorney's office says former Forest Service enforcement agent
Walter William Robinson III was indicted for growing 43 marijuana plants in
the Klamath National Forest.

The 46-year-old Robinson left the enforcement division in 1994, but he's
still with the Forest Service in the Happy Camp Ranger District.

Robinson was arrested yesterday by federal officers. He was arraigned in
U.S. District Court in Sacramento and released on $20,000 bail.

If he's convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000
fine.

Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press
-------------------------------------------------------------------

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Orders The Closure
Of The San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club (News Release From Office
Of California Attorney General Dan Lungren Says Judge Garcia
Issued An Injunction Based On The Club's Own Admission
That It Had Sold Marijuana To Other Dispensaries)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 23:46:19 EDT
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Scott Imler 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Garcia Orders SF CBC CLOSED

From the Office of the California Attorney General
Dan Lungren

SAN FRANCISCO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ORDERS THE CLOSURE
OF THE SAN FRANCISCO CANNABIS BUYERS CLUB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 15, 1998

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia
today ordered a permanent injunction calling for the closure of the San
Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club.

"Today's decision is based on the club's own admission that
they were selling to other cannabis buyers' clubs, which is clearly
against the law," said Lungren.

"The appellate court ruled that it is illegal for a club to
sell or give away marijuana - even if they claim it is for medicinal
purposes. The only individual who can provide marijuana under state law
to another person is a primary caregiver - a person who tends to all
of an individual's needs, not just supplying the marijuana.

The judge's decision is consistent with the First District
Court of Appeals ruling in December that cannabis buyers' clubs are not
allowed under state law. The state appellate court ruled that the clubs
are not primary caregivers and therefore cannot distribute marijuana.
In February, the State Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal.

"Rather than continuing the debate about cannabis buyers'
clubs, lets turn our focus to a question that is still undetermined -
whether marijuana has any medicinal value," said Lungren. "I have
supported legislation by Senator Vasconcellos - Senate Bill 535 - for a
three-year study of the positive and negative effects of medicinal
marijuana in order to establish a definitive study."

Senate bill 535 calls for an unbiased group of researchers
based at the University of California to study the scientific
controversy surrounding medical marijuana.

Lungren originally opposed Senate Bill 535, authored by
Senator Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara). Senator Vasconcellos worked with
Lungren's office to revise the bill so that it addressed Lungren's
concerns. The bill will fill the information gaps that have made it
difficult for ordinary Californians to know whether marijuana has any
medicinal value.

"While I believe that a study on medicinal marijuana is necessary,
I also am calling on the public to educate our children about
the hazards of drug use," said Lungren. "We must use the same vigor
used in the fight against the improper actions of the tobacco industry.

"According to a recent study, children's exposure to
marijuana doubled from 1993 to 1997. We cannot sit idly by and lose
another generation to drugs."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Judge Orders Medical Marijuana Club Shut ('Reuters' Version)

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 07:58:53 -0400
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US CA: Judge Orders Medical Marijuana Club Shut
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Wednesday, April 15, 1998

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco's trailblazing
medical marijuana club was ordered closed after a judge ruled
that it was ``illegally selling'' the drug.

Superior Court Judge David Garcia said the Cannabis
Cultivators Club and its maverick founder Dennis Peron had
overstepped the provisions of California's 1996 law which made
it legal for sick people to use marijuana to treat AIDS, cancer
and other serious diseases.

``The Court finds uncontradicted evidence in this record
that defendant Peron is currently engaging in the illegal sales
of marijuana,'' Garcia wrote in his decision.

His order granted state Attorney General Dan Lungren's
request for a nuisance abatement order allowing the club to be
seized and closed by either the county sheriff or the state
Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

Senior Assistant Attorney General John Gordnier declined to
speculate on when law enforcement might move in on the club, but
urged Peron to heed the judge's order.

``Mr. Peron has made a number of public statements that he
is a law-abiding person who wants to stay with the legal system.
If he wants to remain within the legal system, he should close
his doors voluntarily,'' Gordnier said.

Peron, who wrote the 1996 state law and has mounted a
quixotic campaign to win the Republican nomination for governor,
declared he had no intention of closing down his operation.

``We feel that this is an unconstitutional order and we
intend to appeal,'' Peron said.

He added that the club had already acted to comply with one
element of Garcia's order and had stopped providing marijuana to
caregivers, meaning that only the patients themselves would now
be supplied.

But he flatly refused to consider closing the club, which
serves some 8,000 people.

``You cannot just throw people out on the street, you cannot
just stop the will of the people,'' Peron said. ``We are
fighting for democracy here.''

Garcia's order dealt a potentially crippling blow to the
club, which has been beset by legal problems since California's
medical marijuana provision was approved by 56 percent of the
state's voters in 1996.

California's courts have already ruled that the 20-odd
marijuana clubs around the state are illegal because they are
not ``primary caregivers'' to their members - a condition set by
the state law.

And the Justice Department has taken the clubs before a
federal judge, demanding that they be closed for violation of
federal drug laws.

The clubs have won strong support from a number of local
officials, who say the federal government should respect the
will of California's voters and allow local governments time to
develop an ``airtight'' system to monitor club operations.

Mayor Willie Brown and city District Attorney Terence
Hallinan have been particularly strong supporters, going so far
as to suggest that the city itself could step in to supply
marijuana to patients if the clubs are forced to close.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marchers Protest Arrest, Ask City To Back Medicinal Use
('San Jose Mercury News' Says Members Of The Santa Clara County
Medical Cannabis Center Protested Outside San Jose City Hall On Tuesday,
Objecting To The Criminal Charges Filed Against Director Peter Baez
And Petitioning San Jose Officials For Renewed Cooperation)

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 13:30:44 -0700
From: Randy Chase 
Organization: Medical Marijuana NOW!
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: San Jose Street Protest for CBC
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
Author: Raoul V. Mowatt - Mercury News Staff Writer

MARCHERS PROTEST ARREST, ASK CITY TO BACK MEDICINAL USE

Members of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center on Tuesday
protested criminal charges against the agency's executive director and
petitioned San Jose officials for renewed cooperation.

About 30 people marched outside San Jose City Hall, attacked police and
prosecutors and supported center co-founder Peter Baez, who faces six
felony counts of selling marijuana. A short while later, patients suffering
from a range of diseases from AIDS to asthma spoke before the city council.

At times, speakers angrily accused the city of snubbing Proposition 215,
which legalized medical marijuana in 1996; at other times, they pleaded for
compromise.

``Here we are today fighting for something that I thought 215 had granted
us, that we are not criminals,'' said Don Altier, a sufferer of Lou
Gehrig's disease, who addressed city council members from his motorized
wheelchair.

Mayor Susan Hammer, both during and after the meeting, said that she and
other policy makers had almost no sway in how the charges against Baez
would be handled because they could not intervene in law enforcement
decisions.

``Neither I, nor any member of the council, nor the city manager, nor the
city attorney has anything to do with law enforcement,'' Hammer said.
``This is a law enforcement matter. We're not going to interfere with the
work of law enforcement or the district attorney.''

Police and prosecutors reiterated Tuesday that they remained committed to
Proposition 215, but that they had to investigate Baez once they suspected
potential wrongdoing.

At issue is the arrest of Baez, a 34-year-old Gilroy man who helped create
the center little more than a year ago.

Baez was arrested after prosecutors asked police to determine if a suspect
in a marijuana-possession case was a member of the center and had obtained
a recommendation for the drug from a doctor, as the proposition requires.
Although Baez said a doctor authorized that patient to use marijuana,
police said they found none of the patient's three doctors had recommended
it.

In interviews, Baez, free on $5,000 bail, has insisted that he will be
vindicated and has implied that one of the doctors felt uncomfortable
confirming to police that he gave his OK.

That led police to serve a search warrant on the center, at 265 Meridian
Ave. They arrested Baez, froze about $30,000 in club assets and seized
patient files, a sampling of marijuana and club records. The charges
against Baez could result in as much as nine years in prison.

Invasion claim

Many of the center's 270 clients have been outraged, saying the police have
invaded their privacy by seizing files. They view the move as a troublesome
shift away from local officials' liberal attitudes toward medical
marijuana.

Tuesday, some vented those frustrations.

About 1 p.m., patients and medical-marijuana advocates gathered in front of
City Hall and began to march. Some carried signs reading, ``A bit of Judas
in the arrest of Peter'' and ``Baez should be heralded, not handcuffed.''
Others carried signs threatening to vote Santa Clara County District
Attorney George Kennedy out of office.

``What about the will of the people?'' asked one protester. ``You thwart
the will of the people by arresting Baez. End reefer madness now!''

Baez, who suffers from colon cancer, was not present, saying later his
health kept him from attending.

Cash infusion

On hand at the protest was Jesse Garcia, the center's other co-founder. He
said the dispensary was still not accepting additional patients. And
despite earlier statements from Baez that center might close by the end of
the month, Garcia said the operation has received an infusion of cash to
allow it to keeping running.

But Baez also said later he was uncertain how long the center could last on
that $1,600 in donations.

``It's hard to stay open when we don't hear from the city, when we don't
know what their intentions are,'' Garcia said outside City Hall.

He and others carried their message inside city council chambers. At the
end of the meeting, people talked about why they needed marijuana and
questioned the council's commitment to it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marijuana Activist Gets Warning After Release
(Belated 'Orange County Register' Account Of Cancer Patient
Todd McCormick's Release From Federal Pretrial Detention)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:54:46 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Marijuana Activist Gets Warning After Release
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998

MARIJUANA ACTIVIST GETS WARNING AFTER RELEASE

Medical marijuana activist Todd McCormick,charged with growing thousands of
pot plants at a Bel-Air mansion, was ordered freed from prison Tuesday but
told he could be arrested again if he is found to be using the drug or its
derivatives.

U.S. District Judge George H. King ordered McCormick freed until an April
22 court hearing. He said McCormick will be tested periodically by federal
authorities to ensure he is not using marijuana.

King's ruling overturned an order by U.S. Magistrate James McMahon, who had
ordered McCormick to prison April 3 for violating bail by failing drug
tests for marijuana.

McCormick says the results were skewed because he was taking Marinol, a
legal drug containing a synthetic from of marijuana.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marijuana Initiative Gets Big Financial Boost, Again ('Associated Press'
Says Washington State Medical Marijuana Initiative 692
Has Already Received Contributions Totaling $375,000 From Three
Out-Of-State Millionaires, George Soros, Peter Lewis And John Sperling)

From: "W.H.E.N." 
To: "Talk" 
Subject: HT: WA Marijuana initiative gets big financial boost, again
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 17:00:20 -0700
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Marijuana initiative gets big financial boost - again
By HUNTER T. GEORGE
The Associated Press
04/15/98 7:55 PM Eastern

OLYMPIA (AP) -- They're as reliable as rain around these parts, perhaps
even more so.

The three out-of-state millionaires who financed a drug initiative rejected
at the polls last year already have contributed $375,000 to this year's
slimmer medical-marijuana proposal.

Backers of Initiative 692 and other ballot proposals have until July 2 to
gather the signatures of about 180,000 voters, the minimum required to grab
a spot on the November statewide ballot.

Medical-marijuana supporters are confident they can repeat last year's
successful petition drive with $125,000 contributions in recent weeks from
international financier George Soros of New York, Cleveland insurance
executive Peter Lewis and Phoenix businessman John Sperling.

The three men helped finance successful medical-marijuana campaigns in
Arizona and California. Together, they spent $1.5 million last year in
support of I-685, which was soundly rejected by Washington voters.

I-685, sponsored by Tacoma physician Rob Killian, would have allowed
regulated medical use of marijuana and possibly other illegal drugs,
including LSD and heroin. It also would have altered prison sentencing
policies to require drug treatment instead of prison in many cases.

Killian's new version is much simpler.

I-692 would protect from prosecution patients with terminal or debilitating
illnesses who grow and use marijuana with the consent of a physician. It
also would protect physicians who recommend use of marijuana and people who
act as primary caregivers for patients. It doesn't mention other drugs or
prison policies.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, an anti-drug crusader, has frequently accused Killian
of being a pawn for out-of-state millionaires who are trying to change
national drug policy.

But campaign coordinator Tim Killian, Rob's brother, said Soros, Sperling
and Lewis have Washington voters' interests at heart.

"They committed to us that if the public said (Initiative) 685 was too much
too soon, they'd help us come back with a proposal that's strictly medical
marijuana," Tim Killian said. "It speaks to their commitment to the people
of Washington."

In his book, "Soros on Soros," the billionaire currency trader advocates
"legalizing some of the less harmful drugs" and using money thus saved by
the criminal justice system to provide drug treatment.

Sperling has said he considers the nation's drug policies "nothing short of
insane. ... We've been sending $50 billion a year to the drug lords and we
think we can stop drugs from coming into this country."

Tim Killian said the signature-gathering company hired by the campaign will
soon hit the streets with petitions.

With the petition deadline just 11 weeks away, the marijuana initiative
would seem to be in the best shape.

Initiative 688, a labor-sponsored proposal to raise the minimum wage to
$6.50, reported raising $55,000 through the end of March, mostly from
unions. The biggest donation was a $10,000 contribution from the
Seattle-based Washington Machinists Council.

Backers of Initiative 691, which would eliminate the state's motor vehicle
excise tax within two years, are picking up support from car dealerships.
Early spending reports showed the campaign raised about $1,500 from dealers
in Seattle, Puyallup, Port Angeles, Renton, Auburn and Ellensburg. The
campaign also benefited from a free booth -- valued at $500 -- at the
Tacoma Dome Boat Show.

One initiative already has qualified for the ballot. Initiative 200, an
anti-affirmative action measure that would ban preferences for women and
minorities in government hiring, contracting and college admissions, was
forwarded to the ballot by the Legislature.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marijuana Pipes Smoked Out Of Smoke Shops ('University Of Washington Daily'
In Seattle Examines Consequences Likely From Passage
Of Washington State House Bill 2772, Prohibiting Paraphernalia)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 10:53:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ben 
Reply-To: Ben 
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: ART: Marijuana Pipes Smoked Out of Smoke Shops
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net
Title: Marijuana Pipes Smoked Out of Smoke Shops
Source: The University of Washington Daily
Author: Debbie Reynard
Pubdate: April 15, 1998

After June 11, local smoke shops will have to pack up their water pipes
and send them back to their suppliers. Gov. Gary Locke signed a bill April
3 that will make the sale of water pipes and some other kinds of pipes
sold in smoke ships illegal. The law will also apply to the sale of these
pipes and other paraphernalia over the Internet.

Water pipes -- also known as bongs -- cool down and filter smoke from
tobacco or marijuana. Bongs are one of the more popular methods of smoking
marijuana.

Several smoke shops on the Ave. sell water pipes for "tobacco" use.
Owners and employees of these as well as consumers will lose out when the
stores can no longer sell the pipes.

Shames Rai, an employee at Sam's Smokes on the Ave., expects the law to
take away customers. Many of the customers who won't be able to purchase
water pipes from Sam's Smokes and other head shops would have to purchase
the pipes illegally.

"People will pay the higher price on the street," he said.

Rai said he only sells water pipes "for tobacco purposes." He has no way
of controlling what his customers choose to do with the pipes after they
leave the store.

"If [drugs] are not available, these pipes are useless," Rai said. he said
he feels like the government is asking him to police what other people do.

On the other hand, Andy Lin of Tom's University Smoke Shop on the Ave.
agrees with the bill. He thinks children especially will be less likely to
try drugs if they can't buy the paraphernalia.

"It's good for our young children. It should've been done a very long time
ago," Lin said.

In the April 7 issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, an article about
the new bill targeting head shops explained how the bill originated. The
bill was reportedly pushed by a local community that was upset about the
presence of a head shop near its public schools.

Any stores selling the products listed in the new bill have a two-month
period to get rid of the soon-to-be-illegal supplies.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Re - Marijuana Pipes (Letter Sent To Editor
Of 'University Of Washington Daily' Explains Several More Aspects
Of Washington State HB 2772, Which Allows Police To Impose A $250 Fine
Without Having To Prove That A Retailer Knows A Product Is Intended
For Illegal Drug Use)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 11:01:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ben (ben@hemp.net)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: SENT: The Daily, Re: Marijuana Pipes
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

I sent this to The Daily today after reading their article on 2772.

http://www.thedaily.washington.edu/html/feedback.nclk

Re: Marijuana Pipes

Engrossed House Bill 2772 doesn't just make the sale of some pipes
illegal. First of all, it has been illegal to sell drug paraphernalia for
some time here in Washington. However, police had to prove that the
retailer knew it was intended for illegal drug use, which was virtually
impossible. With this new law, a civil infraction is created, so police
can impose a $250 fine for every sale of suspected drug paraphernalia
without proving the retailer knew the buyer would use it for illegal
drugs.

This law doesn't just criminalize the sale of bongs and pipes. Some of the
defined "drug paraphernalia" are: kits for use in illegal plant
cultivation; scales used for weighing drugs; sifters used for "refining"
marijuana; blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices for use
in "compounding" drugs; capsules, balloons, and envelopes used to package
drugs; containers used to store drugs; syringes and needles for injecting
drugs; pipes; roach clips (paper clips); and bongs.

Now the police aren't going to fine every retail outlet that sells a
blender. This will be a selectively enforced law to rid a community of
undesirable retailers. Some would think that every smoke shop in Seattle
is out of business, but that might not be the case. They can't sell pipes,
so maybe they'll give them away free. Perhaps you'll go into your favorite
smoke shop, buy a $60 Cartman t-shirt and the store will give you a free
Cartman bong.

Ben Livingston
Freshman, pre-graphic design

***

Ben Livingston
Hemp.Net Number 2 Geek
ben@hemp.net
http://www.hemp.net/~ben
Pager: (206) 405-5862
(360) 971-5233
P.O. Box 95227
Seattle, WA 98145-2227

Only the dead fish swim with the stream.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Sound Bite (List Subscriber Documents Hypocrisy Of Assertion
That The United States' War On Some Drug Users
Is For The Benefit Of The Children)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 15:23:56 +0000
To: drctalk@drcnet.org, maptalk@mapinc.org, Mattalk@Islandnet.com
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: Sound Byte

A nation having close to ten million of its underage citizens without
health care insurance can hardly be taken seriously when it insists that
drug prohibition is for the benefit of the children.

Reference:

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage for Uninsured Children:
The Next Step in Healthcare Reform?

***

Of the 9.8 million uninsured children in the US, many are
the children of working parents who fall into the gap
between Medicaid eligibility and private insurance. How they
will be covered and who will pay are issues surrounding
recent Congressional legislation.

[J Am Board Fam Pract 10(5): 363-369, 1997]

Peter Webster
email: vignes@monaco.mc
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Burying The Constitution 'For The Children' (Op-Ed
In 'Orange County Register' Says That, In The Wake Of What's No Less
Than A Moral Meltdown Among Our Youngsters, The National Priority
Of Trying To Stop Kids From Smoking Cigarettes Is Like The Police Chief
Whose Squad Was Summoned To Stop A Robbery In Progress
At A Downtown Department Store - Upon Arrival, The Chief Discovered
He Didn't Have Enough Men To Cover All The Entrances, So He Assigned His Men
To Cover The Building Next Door Because It Didn't Have So Many Entrances)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:02:30 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Burying the Constitution 'For The Children'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
Author: Walter Williams - Mr. Williams is a syndicated columnist and
teaches economics at George Mason University in Fairfax,Va.

BURYING THE CONSTITUTION 'FOR THE CHILDREN'

Last March 24, two Jonesboro Ark., middle-school youths ambushed and
murdered four classmates and a teacher. A day later, a 13-year-old Dale
City, Calif., boy, angered by a suspension, fired a shot at the school
principal, who was fortunately not injured.

On the same date in Princeton, Texas, a male student slashed three teachers
with a razor. Last week, a 15-year-old Yonkers, N.Y., girl, upset over her
teacher calling her parents about poor grades, attacked the teacher with a
hammer, hospitalizing her with multiple skull fractures.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported 11,000 violent
school incidents in 1997 where weapons were used. Those numbers don't
include the untold thousands of school assaults where weapons were not
used. And there's the nearly routine foul language spoken to or in the
presence of teachers, not to mention the rampant drug use among our youth.

Being 62 years old, I can tell you that, even in the roughest of
neighborhoods, what's routine today was unthinkable - possibly undreamable
- yesteryear. During those days, teachers' complaints were note-passing and
chewing gum in class, talking in line, and going up the down stairs.

But away from school, a number of kids smoked. Cigarettes were readily
available. I used to purchase them "loose," three for 5 cents. We didn't
smoke in front of adults; that was deemed disrespectful. If an adult
happened along while we were smoking, we'd conceal the cigarette by palming
it; we believed all adults were undercover agents for our parents.

In the wake of what's no less than a national moral meltdown among our
youngsters, what do we expend our energies on? If you said, "Trying to stop
kids from smoking cigarettes," go to the head of the class.

What we're doing reminds me of the story about a Paris police chief whose
squad was summoned to stop a robbery in progress at a downtown department
store. Upon arrival, the chief discovered that he didn't have enough men to
cover all of the department store's entrances. What do you think he did? He
assigned his men to cover the entrances of the building next door because
it didn't have so many entrances.

Our teen-age anti-smoking agenda, like the Paris police chief's strategy,
is stupid. Our big problems with our youngster are drugs, murder, rape,
teen-age pregnancy, gross disrespect for authority and scoring dead last,
or nearly so, on international comparisons of academic achievement. Those
problems threaten the nation's future, and what do we do? Like that Paris
police chief, we cover the "entrances next door"- and go after teen
smoking.

What's worse is that while trying to stop kids from smoking we are
destroying our Constitution. At a recent meeting I had with leading members
of Congress, I asked one of the congressmen to cite the article in the U.S.
Constitution that granted Congress authority to do what's no less than
extortion of the tobacco industry and its customers. I got no answer. There
wasn't even an attempt to fabricate an answer using the "commerce clause"
or the "general welfare clause."

Here's my prediction: The war on teen smoking is going to be just as
successful as the war on drugs. Just as the war on drugs has weakened our
Bill of Rights protections against unreasonable search and seizures
(Article IV) and taking of property without due process of law (Article V),
the war on tobacco promises to continue the process. When our Constitution
is finally buried, a fitting inscription for its tombstone might be, "We
Did It For The Children."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Reactions Kill Over 100,000 A Year In US, Report Says
('Associated Press' Article In 'Dallas Morning News' Says A New Report
In Wednesday's 'Journal Of The American Medical Association'
Says Bad Reactions To Prescription And Over-The-Counter Medicines
Kill More Than 100,000 Americans A Year, And Seriously Injure
An Additional 2.1 Million - Fatal Drug Reactions Killed 0.32 Percent
Of All Hospital Patients)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 19:30:29 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Drug Reactions Kill Over 100,000 a Year in U.S., Report Says
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998

DRUG REACTIONS KILL OVER 100,000 A YEAR IN U.S., REPORT SAYS

About 2 million suffer injuries from prescription medications

CHICAGO (AP) - Bad reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medicines
kill more than 100,000 Americans and seriously injure an additional 2.1
million every year - far more than most people realize, researchers say.

Such reactions, which do not include prescribing errors or drug abuse, rank
at least sixth among U.S. causes of death - behind heart disease, cancer,
lung disease, strokes and accidents, says a report based on an analysis of
existing studies.

"We're not saying, 'Don't take drugs.' They have wonderful benefits," said
Dr. Bruce H. Pomeranz, principal investigator and a neuroscience professor
at the University of Toronto.

"But what we're arguing is that there should be increased awareness also of
side effects, which until now have not been too well understood."

The harm may range from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic to stomach
bleeding from frequent doses of aspirin, Dr. Pomeranz said. The study, by
Dr. Pomeranz and two colleagues at his school, Jason Lazarou and Paul N.
Corey, did not explore which medications or illnesses were involved.

The authors analyzed 39 studies of hospital patients from 1966 to 1996.
Serious drug reactions affected 6.7 percent of patients overall and fatal
drug reactions 0.32 percent, the authors reported in Wednesday's Journal of
the American Medical Association.

In the study, serious injury was defined as being hospitalized, having to
extend a hospital stay or suffering permanent disability.

The most surprising result was the large number of deaths, the authors
said. They found adverse drug reactions ranked between fourth and sixth
among leading causes of death, depending on whether they used their most
conservative or a more liberal estimate.

In 1994, between 76,000 and 137,000 U.S. hospital patients died, and the
"ballpark estimate" is 106,000, Dr. Pomeranz said. The low estimate, 76,000
deaths, would put drug reactions sixth. The ballpark estimate would put
them fourth, he said.

An additional 1.6 million to 2.6 million patients were seriously injured,
with the ballpark estimate 2.1 million, he said.

More than two-thirds of the cases involved reactions outside hospitals
rather than in hospitals, the authors reported.

Experts commended the study but disagreed whether the estimates are on target.

Dr. David W. Bates of Partners Healthcare Systems and Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston said the estimates may be high. One reason, he said, is
that they may overrepresent large medical centers, which treat sicker than
average patients, who are more prone to reactions.

"Nonetheless, these data are important, and even if the true incidence of
adverse drug reactions is somewhat lower than that reported . . . it is
still high, and much higher than generally recognized," he added in an
editorial accompanying the study.

Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of the consumer advocacy Public Citizen
Health Research Group, said he believes the numbers are on target.

"I've read most of these studies, and they represent large hospitals, small
hospitals . . . a heterogeneous sample of the kinds of hospitals in this
country, and include a whole range," Dr. Wolfe said by telephone Tuesday
from Washington.

Many serious injuries and deaths are preventable, he added. Many drugs have
safer available alternatives, and harmful interactions between drugs - such
as those being prescribed by two different doctors - can be more carefully
avoided, he said.

In addition, doctors need to increase drug dosages slowly for many older
patients, who lack the drug tolerance of younger adults because their
kidneys and livers have declined, Dr. Wolfe said.

Finally, hospitals should find better ways to track and head off problems,
the way a model computerized system does at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

That hospital reported last year that it discovered 50 percent of its
adverse reactions were potentially preventable, including 42 percent that
happened because patients were given too much medicine for their weight and
kidney function.

The hospital now automatically calculates patients' kidney function daily.
It has reduced adverse antibiotic reactions 75 percent and suggested that
other facilities could easily do the same.

Dr. Wolfe said it is "inexcusable, given how inexpensive computers are,"
that other hospitals haven't copied the system.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Adverse Drug Reactions High On Death List ('Toronto Star' Version)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 09:07:28 -0400
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, editor@mapinc.org
From: Dave Haans 
Subject: TorStar: Adverse drug reactions high on death list
Newshawk: Dave Haans
Source: Toronto Star
Pubdate: April 15, 1998
Page: A4
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com

Adverse drug reactions high on death list

By Leslie Papp
Toronto Star Medical Reporter

Bad reactions to medicine may kill more than 100,000 people a year in the
United States and could be the fourth leading cause of death, say Toronto
researchers.

``The Canadian story is likely the same,'' says Dr. Bruce Pomeranz, a
professor in the University of Toronto's faculty of medicine. ``These
things tend to be vastly under-reported.''

Pomeranz and fellow researchers analyzed 39 studies on adverse drug
reactions in the U.S. and calculated an over-all incidence rate. In results
published in The Journal of the American Medical Association yesterday,
they estimated deaths from bad reactions at between 137,000 and 76,000. If
the higher end is correct, only heart disease, cancer and strokes kill more
Americans.

In addition to those who die, about 2.2 million people in the U.S. are
hospitalized or suffer disability each year from drug reactions, Pomeranz
says.

These are not because of malpractice or negligence, he adds, but are a
side-effect of properly prescribed and properly administered medications.

``The results surprised us and most people,'' Pomeranz said. ``They were
much higher than expected.''

About one-quarter of the reactions were allergic responses. Other harmful
side-effects included stomach bleeding from anti-inflammatory drugs such as
Aspirin. A variety of reactions can occur even from widely used drugs that
most people take without incident.

One of Canada's most common medicines almost killed Harry Spencer, 78, of
Orillia, when it triggered a rare allergic reaction in which his body shed
its outer layer of skin.

``I'm lucky to be alive, but it's knocked 10 years off my life,'' Spencer
said.

His ordeal began when he was given a 10-day sulfa prescription to fight a
bladder infection.

After eight days, he suddenly developed spots all over his chest and back,
and blisters on the soles of his feet.

``The reaction was so severe I lost all my toenails, all my fingernails and
I was in a wheelchair for six weeks,'' Spencer said. ``The inside of my
mouth was full of blisters. I lost all the skin on my hands, and skin on my
face.''

Pomeranz, who believes raising public awareness is a key to combatting the
problem, said people shouldn't panic and quit taking prescribed medication.
They should, however, ask their doctor about possible reactions so they'll
know what to watch for.

Increased awareness is also needed in the medical profession, Pomeranz says.

``There's a move afoot already - and this study might push it over the top
- to do more monitoring in hospitals and to have more accountability and
better reporting.''

Dr. Paula Rochon, a researcher at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care,
who published an earlier study on adverse drug reactions, says patients are
often hit by a ``prescribing cascade.''

This occurs when a bad reaction to a drug is mistaken for a new illness and
the person is prescribed even more drugs.

``It happens a lot,'' Rochon said. ``And it can go on for a long time.''
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Prescribed Drugs Make One In 15 Sicker -
Study - Medicines Kill 106,000 Patients A Year
('San Jose Mercury News' Version)

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 09:30:23 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Prescribed Drugs Make 1 in 15 Sicker
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
Author: Rick Weiss - Washington Post

PRESCRIBED DRUGS MAKE 1 IN 15 SICKER

Study: Medicines kill 106,000 patients a year

More than 2 million Americans become seriously ill every year because of
toxic reactions to correctly prescribed medicines taken properly, and
106,000 die from those reactions, a new study concludes. That surprisingly
high number makes drug side effects at least the sixth, and perhaps even
the fourth, most common cause of death in this country.

The analysis, the largest and most complete of its kind, suggests that 1 in
15 hospital patients in the United States can expect to suffer a serious
reaction to prescription or over-the-counter medicine, and about 5 percent
of them will die from it.

If the findings are accurate, the number of people dying each year from
drug side effects may be exceeded only by the numbers of people dying from
heart disease, cancer and stroke, and may be greater than the number dying
from lung disease, pneumonia or diabetes.

But pharmaceutical manufacturers, drug regulators and the researchers
themselves warned against overreacting to the numbers, noting that the
study made no effort to measure the benefits of the same medicines -- an
equally important part of the cost-benefit calculation that determines the
overall usefulness of a drug.

``We're not saying, `Stop taking drugs,' '' said Bruce Pomeranz, the
University of Toronto neurophysiologist who initiated the study. For
example, he said, blood thinners may cause fatal bleeding in some but also
save countless lives by preventing heart attacks.

Experts said the study, which appears in today's issue of the Journal of
the American Medical Association, is stronger than previous ones because it
looks only at cases in which drugs were taken correctly. Previous hints of
similarly high side-effect rates had been attributed in large part to
people getting the wrong medicines or taking them in the wrong doses.

Only one-quarter of the reactions were due to patients being allergic to
the drug in question. In theory, those reactions could be avoided by more
carefully asking people about known allergies. The rest of the side effects
were classified as essentially inevitable, bound to affect a certain
percentage of the population for unknown reasons.

Pomeranz called for research to determine which drugs are most problematic
and which patients are most at risk -- information the current analysis did
not try to gather. He said hospitals should set up improved systems for
tracking adverse reactions as they occur, and for reporting them to federal
regulators so medicine labels can be updated and physicians and consumers
can be better informed about the risks and benefits of their medicines.

Michael Friedman, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration,
said the agency has implemented new systems for preventing, identifying and
keeping track of adverse drug reactions. A nationwide electronic network
now allows doctors to report adverse reactions easily over computer lines.
A growing number of pharmacies are using an FDA-supported system that
automatically prints out side-effect warnings and other information for
consumers when they pick up their medications.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Study - Drug Reactions Common - Side Effects From Medications
Are The Sixth Leading Cause Of Death In The United States
('Orange County Register' Version)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:50:15 -0700
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Study: Drug Reactions Common
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Pubdate: Wed 15 Apr 1998
Author: Brenda C. Coleman - The Associated Press

STUDY: DRUG REACTIONS COMMON

Side effects from medications are the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

CHICAGO - Bad reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medicines kill
more than 100,000 Americans and seriously injure 2.1 million every year-far
more than most people realize,researchers say.

Such reactions, which do not include prescribing errors or drug abuse, rank
at least sixth among U.S. causes of death - behind heart disease, cancer,
lung disease, strokes and accidents, says a report based on an analysis of
existing studies.

"We're not saying, 'Don't take drugs.' They have wonderful benefits," said
Dr. Bruce H. Pomeranz, principal investigator and a neuroscience professor
at the University of Toronto.

"But what we're arguing is that there should be increased awareness also of
side effects.'

The harm may range from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic to stomach
bleeding from frequent doses of aspirin, Pomeranz said. The study, by
Pomeranz and two colleagues at his school, Jason Lazarou and Paul N. Corey,
did not explore which medications or illnesses were involved.

The authors analyzed 39 studies of hospital patients from 1966 to 1996.
Serious drug reactions affected 6.7 percent of patients overall and fatal
drug reactions 0.32 percent, the authors reported in today's Journal of the
American Medical Association.

In the study, serious injury was defined as being hospitalized, having to
extend a hospital stay or suffering permanent disability.

The most surprising result was the large number of deaths, the authors
said. They found adverse drug reactions ranked between fourth and sixth
among leading causes of death, depending on whether they used their most
conservative or a more liberal estimate.

In 1994, 76,000 to 137,000 U.S. hospital patients died, and the "ballpark
estimate" is 106,000, Pomeranz said. The low estimate, 76,000 deaths, would
put drug reactions sixth. The ballpark estimate would put them fourth, he
said.

More than two-thirds of the cases involved reactions outside hospitals.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Million Marijuana March (URL For Mass Demonstration May 2
In New York City)

Check it out!

The Million Marijuana March is happening in New York City on 5/2/98
in Washington Square Park.

For more details go to the Web site for Cures Not Wars:

http://www.cures-not-wars.org/
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Dutch Marijuana Use Lower Than Previously Thought - New Study
Shatters American Myth That Relaxed Dutch Marijuana Laws
Cause Increased Marijuana Use (News Release From The Lindesmith Center
In New York Notes New Dutch Survey Confirming That With Decriminalization,
People In The Netherlands Use Less Cannabis Than Americans)

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 98 18:19:14 EST
From: jpgrund@sorosny.org
To: ceehrn@ihra.org.uk, ceetf@ihra.org.uk
Subject: News: Dutch Marijuana Use Lower Than Previously Thought

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 1998

Contact:
Ben Petrone at 212-787-4822
or Ty Trippet 212-548-0604
www.marijuanafacts.org

DUTCH MARIJUANA USE LOWER
THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT:

NEW STUDY SHATTERS AMERICAN MYTH
THAT RELAXED DUTCH MARIJUANA LAWS
CAUSE INCREASED MARIJUANA USE

Despite Decriminalization, Dutch Use Less Marijuana Than Americans

A new study with sweeping implications for marijuana policy in the
United States and abroad has found the number of marijuana users in
the Netherlands to be substantially lower than previously estimated.
According to a study released today by the Centre for Drug Research
(CEDRO) at the University of Amsterdam, only about 2 to 3 percent of
the Dutch population (ages 12 years old and up) had used marijuana in
the previous month. Earlier studies had put the rate at about 5.0 to
6.5 percent.

"Previous estimates were based on surveys in Amsterdam, which has a
higher use rate than the rest of the country," said Peter Cohen, one
of the authors of the study. "By including the cities of Tilberg and
Utrecht in our survey, the results are more representative of the
Dutch population as a whole."

These findings offer new insight into the relationship between
marijuana use and marijuana policy. For the last twenty years, Dutch
citizens over the age of 18 have been able to buy and use marijuana in
government-regulated coffee shops. In the United States, where it is
illegal under federal law to grow, purchase or use marijuana, U.S.
government studies have found Americans use marijuana more often than
the Dutch. According to a 1996 U.S. government study, between 4.2
and 5.3 percent of the U.S. population (ages 12 years old and up) had
used marijuana in the past month. Despite fundamentally different
marijuana policies, the Dutch use less marijuana than Americans.

"This study is further evidence that Dutch marijuana policy has not
resulted in an explosion of marijuana use," said Dr. John P. Morgan,
co-author of the book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of
the Scientific Evidence (The Lindesmith Center, $12.95 U.S.,
paperback). "Despite an overly punitive policy toward marijuana in
the U.S., Americans still use more marijuana." Marijuana Myths,
Marijuana Facts co-author Lynn Zimmer asks, "If the Dutch are using
less marijuana, what purpose was served by arresting 642,000 Americans
for possessing marijuana last year?"

Based in New York, the Lindesmith Center (http:\\www.lindesmith.org)
is a research institute that concentrates on broadening the drug
policy debate. The guiding principle of the center is harm reduction,
an alternative approach to drug policy and treatment that focuses on
minimizing the adverse effects of both drug use and drug prohibition.
The Lindesmith Center is a project of the Open Society Institute.
Founded by philanthropist George Soros, the Open Society Institute
promotes the development of open societies around the world through
projects relating to education, media, legal reform and human rights.
The center's founder and director is Ethan Nadelmann, J.D., Ph.D.
author of numerous articles on drug policy which have appeared in
leading scholarly and popular journals.

For Further Comment:

Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D.
New York
212-255-3271

John P. Morgan, M.D.
New York
212-650-7746

Peter Cohen, Researcher
Amsterdam
(+31) 20-525-4278
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Alleged Drug Kingpin Benefits From Mexico's Inept Justice System
('New York Times' Article About The US Pursuit Of Rafael Munoz Talavera,
A Mexican Multimillionaire Who Is Accused Of Running A Cartel
That Smuggled Tons Of Cocaine Into California Several Years Ago,
Including A Still-Record 21.4 Tons Seized In Los Angeles In 1989 -
A United Nations Survey In 1996 Asked Mexicans How Much Confidence They Had
In Their Judicial System And 80 Percent Responded 'Little' Or 'None,'
The Worst Showing Of Any Latin American Country)

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 15:49:04 EDT
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: E;NYT,Corrupt Mex System frees Drug Kingpin, Apr 15 (fwd)

The New York Times, April 15, 1998

Alleged Drug Kingpin Benefits From Mexico's Inept Justice System

By SAM DILLON and CRAIG PYES

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- For nearly a decade, the U.S. government
has been trying to prosecute a Mexican multimillionaire who is
accused of running a cartel that smuggled tons of cocaine into
California several years ago.

When U.S. drug agents raided one of his warehouses, it was the
largest single drug bust in history and it remains so today. U.S.
agents thought it was an open and shut case against the suspect,
Rafael Munoz Talavera, because several traffickers who were
arrested after the drug seizure identified him as their leader.

But despite two trials, one conviction, and what U.S. prosecutors
say is overwhelming evidence against him, Munoz is free.
Authorities say he is directing a violent campaign to seize control
of a major part of the Mexican drug trade.

Neither government has ever publicly explained the collapse of the
lengthy effort to convict Munoz. But the story of the
investigation, based on interviews with law enforcement officials,
judges who tried Munoz, and an examination of documents, reveals a
Mexican criminal justice system that is rife with chaos, corruption
and mismanagement.

In the first trial, the police and prosecutors, who were later
accused of accepting bribes from the drug cartel that officials say
was run by Munoz, steered a watered-down package of evidence to a
friendly judge. A second trial, bolstered by evidence from
investigators in the United States, ended in a conviction. But a
Mexican appeals court freed Munoz, ruling that he had been
illegally tried twice for the same crime.

During the trials, Munoz was lodged in comfortable suites in
Mexican federal prisons, including one that was equipped with a
bar.

"We knew he was going to walk from the date of his arrest," said a
U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "In Mexico the
guy with the biggest pocket book always wins."

Now Munoz is back in Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El
Paso, Texas, and U.S. prosecutors are working to assemble yet
another case against him.

Munoz did not respond to requests to discuss his legal fight left
at his Juarez restaurant. But in December, in a newspaper
advertisement, he denied any involvement in drug trafficking and
described himself as "simple, hard-working man."

The lawyer who defended Munoz in his seven-year legal battle,
Sergio Roldan Ramos, was murdered in Ciudad Juarez last October.
And Roldan's partners and other lawyers who have worked for Munoz
did not respond to interview requests.

Munoz's release, and criminal comeback, dramatize the legal crisis
threatening Mexico's modernization. The economy has opened up and
opposition political parties are finding a voice. But criminal
syndicates are casting a widening shadow and the justice system is
riddled with graft and incompetence, mired in archaic procedures
and shielded from accountability.

Mexicans hold every element involved in disrepute -- from the
police and prosecutors to judges and jailers. A 1996 United Nations
survey asked Mexicans how much confidence they had in their
judicial system and 80 percent responded "little" or "none," the
worst showing of any Latin American country.

"We have a justice system immersed in the routine violation of
every basic principle," said Eduardo Lopez Betancourt, a law
professor at the national university. "Nothing is respected.
Prosecutors rig evidence and judges sell verdicts according to the
highest bidder, without delay, favoring every kind of criminal from
drug traffickers to car thieves."

Confronted with this crisis, U.S. prosecutors routinely press to
extradite traffickers for trial in U.S. courts. Although the
extradition of Mexicans is constitutionally barred, officials in
Washington say that Mexico has recently vowed to honor future
extradition requests.

Still, the U.S. government has never successfully extradited a
major Mexican drug dealer.

Four years ago, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo replaced the
entire Supreme Court and established a Judicial Council to attack
corruption. By requiring competitive examinations, the reform
cleaned up the previous system of judicial appointments, based on
cronyism. But otherwise the council has been timid.

Mario Melgar, a council member, said that of 1,538 complaints filed
against federal judges, only eight complaints have been forwarded
to prosecutors. Not one Mexican judge has been punished for
accepting payments from traffickers, he said.

"I don't see any way to know if a judge receives a bribe," Melgar
said. "It's practically impossible.

Many of the forces that foiled the prosecution of Munoz are
embedded in the nation's justice system.

-- Graft is considered rampant. In the Munoz case, only the police
and a prosecutor were accused in U.S. testimony of corruption, ,
but many judges are also suspect. In testimony last month, the
investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, the General Accounting
Office, told a committee that a specially vetted Mexican police
unit fighting organized crime trusts only one of Mexico's 500
federal judges and magistrates to authorize wiretaps without
tipping off the suspects.

-- Judges allow thousands of fugitives to avoid arrest. The police
commander who led the arrest of Munoz was later charged with taking
bribes from the drug cartel. But he was never arrested because he
got an amparo, or writ, barring his detention. Corrupt officials
and accused traffickers can easily buy an amparo from a judge for
thousands of dollars amounting to what one American official
likened to a "Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-card."

-- Court papers are secret, inhibiting accountability or
independent scrutiny. Officials at the five Mexican courts that
heard the various stages of Munoz's case refused to allow reporters
to read the trial record, citing laws that keep documents from
scholars and journalists.

-- The system is poorly managed. The judge in Munoz's second trial
found him guilty, only to be reversed on appeal because he was
tried twice for the same alleged offense. Communications are so
poor that the judge said in an interview that he had never even
heard that Munoz had been previously tried on the same charges.

-- -The Mexican attorney general's office was in such disorder that
10 successive federal attorneys were assigned to oversee his second
30-month trial. Some were on the job just weeks. Few stayed long
enough even to read the thousands of pages of documents.

Until late 1989, Munoz, who is 45, was known in Juarez as a sober,
even taciturn restaurateur from a leading local family. Agents for
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency were suspicious of a $3 million
estate he had built in El Paso, but he was not known as a major
trafficker.

"There was information on him, but not anything where you hit the
button and lights go off," one U.S. official said.

Then drug agents received a tip about suspicious comings and goings
at a warehouse in the Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar. With a search
warrant, they sliced off a $5 padlock and discovered 36 wooden
pallets stacked with boxes of cocaine. The hoard, weighing 21.4
tons, was the size of two school buses.

Ledger books showed billions of dollars of cocaine -- hundreds of
tons -- had passed through the warehouse. The seizure caused what a
cable from the American embassy in Mexico called "an earthquake"
that redefined Washington's understanding of the drug war by
highlighting the growing role of Mexican smugglers.

Not only was it clear that Mexican smugglers were significant new
players, but a dozen traffickers arrested at Sylmar identified
Munoz as their leader.

"We knew the dope came from Munoz Talavera," said James P. Walsh,
the assistant U.S. attorney who supervised the investigation. As a
result, the clamor for Munoz's detention became intense.

Five weeks later, Mexico's Federal Police arrested him in a dingy
Ciudad Juarez hotel in possession of several rifles and handguns.
Police said they had seized a small bag of cocaine during a raid on
one of his houses. He was initially arraigned on drug possession
and weapons violations which were broadened to include drug
trafficking charges. Mexican prosecutors announced triumphantly
that he was facing 60 years in jail.

But his case went before a judge with a reputation for leniency.

From the beginning, the circumstances of Munoz's arrest aroused
suspicions among U.S. officials that the prosecution was rigged.

First, authorities announced his arrest in advance, inviting
reporters to film Munoz as police escorted him handcuffed out of
the hotel. Then the hotel manager said that the room in which Munoz
was arrested had been rented not by Munoz, but by police a week
earlier.

"This was one of those deals that appeared to be prearranged," said
a Texas lawyer involved in related proceedings who spoke on the
condition of anonymity. "There was pressure on the Mexican
government to do something, and so they did something. Why arrest
him in a hotel? It smacked that he made an appointment with the
authorities so they wouldn't arrest him in front of his children."

Later, more disturbing information emerged. Two Mexican officials
involved in Munoz's arrest and trial were accused in U.S. court
testimony of receiving huge bribes from Munoz's drug organization.

Elias Ramirez Ruiz was the powerful Federal Police commander in
Chihuahua, the state in which Ciudad Juarez is located, who
orchestrated Munoz's arrest and assembled the initial evidence.
Javier Coello Trejo was Mexico's deputy attorney general, based in
Mexico City, who channeled evidence received from U.S. officials to
Mexican prosecutors in Ciudad Juarez, and supervised the Munoz
case.

In late 1990, even before Munoz's first trial ended, Ramirez, the
police commander, and Coello, the deputy attorney general, were
driven from office by a barrage of corruption charges. Since his
resignation several witnesses in at least three federal trials in
Texas have detailed how Coello received suitcases of cash from the
Ciudad Juarez and other drug cartels.

Mexican press reports accused Ramirez of staging several phony
cocaine seizures as window dressing for Mexico's anti-drug effort.
And two years later, Ramirez was charged with narcotics smuggling
and racketeering. Federal prosecutors sought his arrest, but he
obtained an amparo from a judge and has never been detained.

A year ago in a Houston courtroom, a former police officer working
for Ramirez in Ciudad Juarez at the time of Munoz's arrest and
trial, testified that both Ramirez and Coello were working with
Munoz's organization. Cesar Dominguez Becerra was asked to describe
his duties.

"Sometimes it was to pick up money, and on other occasions it was
to pick up drugs," he testified. "Sometimes it was to help with the
sacks that we got off the planes.

"Did you also do police work?" he was asked by Assistant U.S.
Attorney Jesse Rodriguez.

"Sometimes," Dominguez said.

On whose orders were you operating?

"Elias Ramirez Ruiz," he said.

Later Dominguez testified that he had personally delivered bundles
of cash from the cartel to Coello.

"Where did you deliver this money to Coello Trejo?" he was asked.

"Sometimes in the Federal Police office itself," he said.

In an interview, Coello denied that he had accepted drug bribes,
saying "no trafficker has ever paid me one cent." He scoffed at
assertions that U.S. officials suspected him of corruption, reeling
off names of U.S. agents with whom he had worked closely, and
expressed outrage at accusations that he and his prosecutors had
sabotaged the case against Munoz.

"Why say that only prosecutors are corrupt?" Coello asked. "Don't
you think some judges are corrupt too?"

Ramirez did not respond to interview requests made to him by his
Ciudad Juarez lawyer, Francisco Pena Gonzalez.

Mexican and U.S. officials said that U.S. evidence in the Sylmar
investigation was channeled to Mexico for use against Munoz,
although what was provided has never been made public.

Recently, however, a Mexican official who participated directly in
the first prosecution of Munoz described the government's
management of the case as a deliberate farce.

"It was a masquerade," the official said. "It was arranged ahead of
time. They orchestrated a trial in Mexico so that Munoz Talavera
couldn't be extradited to the United States," for prosecution.

The official said that while the charges linked Munoz to the drugs
seized at Sylmar, the evidence presented in the first trial failed
to prove the tie.

"The idea was not to present strong evidence," the official said.

A second official on the Mexican attorney general's staff who has
studied the Munoz case also acknowledged its weakness. The reason,
he said, was that U.S. officials became so suspicious of Coello's
ties to the cartel that they broke off cooperation. The U.S.
Justice Department, however, has refused to discuss the
proceedings.

Judge Librado Fuerte Chavez, who presided over the first trial,
acquitted Munoz of all charges in January 1991. Munoz's release
triggered a new problem illustrating the blatant corruption
surrounding the justice system. Mexican authority had seized
several Munoz properties, including two ranches and a mansion.

And during the trial, prosecutors and their families had squatted
in the homes. With the acquittal the judge had to order them out.
Efforts to discuss the case with the judge were unsuccessful.

A year later, a grand jury in El Paso indicted him on trafficking
and money laundering charges, and U.S.authorities later requested
his extradition. Mexican police, acting on a DEA tip, re-arrested
him in September 1992 in Tijuana.

Instead of delivering Munoz to U.S. authorities, however, Mexico
mounted a new trial, again on Sylmar-related charges, this time
before a federal judge in Sonora, the Mexican state south of
Arizona. The second trial lasted nearly more than three years.

Two assistant U.S. attorneys and a team of DEA agents helped gather
evidence, prepare testimony, and translate documents. Half a dozen
U.S. officials traveled to Sonora to testify.

But it was a waste of time. Although the second judge found Munoz
guilty in 1995 and sentenced him to 24 years in jail, an appelate
tribunal overturned the conviction ruling that Munoz had already
been tried and acquitted in Ciudad Juarez on the same charges.

Freed from prison, he returned to Ciudad Juarez, but another
trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, had taken control of the Ciudad
Juarez cartel. Munoz seemed for a time to quietly administer his
restaurant. But when Carrillo died last year, Munoz moved into
action, officials from both countries said.

Francisco Barrio Terrazas, the governor of Chihuahua, said in an
interview that Munoz forged an alliance with exceptionally violent
traffickers from Tijuana, hoping to seize control of the Ciudad
Juarez drug trade from Carrillo's followers. Months of narcotics
killings have followed. One grisly slaughter that Barrio attributed
to Munoz and his Tijuana henchmen came last August, when gunmen
sprayed a Ciudad Juarez restaurant with gunfire, killing six.

In recent weeks, Munoz has appeared to retreat from Ciudad Juarez,
a Mexican official said. But Thomas L. Kennedy, the DEA's special
agent in charge in El Paso, recently told an Austin television
station, KTBC, that he expected the bloody street wars between
Munoz and his rivals to continue. "It's liable to end up in a
crescendo of violence, a real blood bath, before somebody backs
down," Kennedy said.

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Caine Court Date (Randy Caine Says The Trial For His Constitutional Challenge
To Canadian Cannabis Prohibition Is 'On' Again, For Monday, April 20)

From: "Randy Caine" (vcaine@uniserve.com)
To: "Mattalk" (mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com)
Subject: Re: Caine Court Date
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 23:26:16 -0700

Hello,

Well, the "on again, off again" trial is slated to conclude on Monday, April
20 at 9:00 am in courtroom 516.
If there are any changes I will post that info.

Randy Caine
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cops Burn Pot Myth - Don't Believe The Hype ('Calgary Sun'
Quotes Calgary Police Who Say Their Repeated Tests Show Canadian Marijuana
Is No More Potent Than Cannabis Cultivated Elsewhere)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:24:05 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Canada: Cops Burn Pot Myth -- Don't Believe The Hype
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Pubdate: April 15, 1998
Source: Calgary Sun (Canada)
Contact: callet@sunpub.com
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/
Author: PETER SMITH, Calgary Sun

COPS BURN POT MYTH -- DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE

City cops have shattered the myth circulating round the globe that
Calgary's home-grown pot is the tops in the world.

Duped drug-runners in the U.S. have been known to do a straight swap -- one
pound of Calgary home-grown pot for one-pound of cocaine -- so powerful is
the reputation of Calgary's marijuana.

But it's all a giant smoke-screen, say police, who yesterday burst the
hydroponics marijuana bubble.

Destruction of the myth will come as a shock to traffickers in the U.S. and
Europe, where buyers pay top price believing their Calgary product to be
superior to all the rest.

"We've heard the myth, everyone has, but that's all it is -- a myth," said
Det. Pat Tetley, of the city police drug unit.

"We have done numerous tests on the THC content of Calgary's marijuana, and
it is no higher than that from Vancouver, or Winnipeg or anywhere else," he
said.

Tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in marijuana.

It's known to be more than five times higher in today's marijuana compared
to pot smoked popularly in the 1960s -- but Calgary's is no better than any
other.

"Not at all, that's just a myth," said Tetley.

"Calgary's growers export it to the States, to the Yukon, to Europe, and
they command a big dollar for it.

"In Seattle, Washington, we know of a person who traded one pound of
marijuana straight across for one pound of cocaine.

"In Los Angeles, pot that goes in Calgary for $3,000 a pound, goes for
$9,000 a pound.

"There is a huge demand for it."

Growers have carefully nurtured the myth Calgary's pot is the best in the
world to boost prices -- even publishing articles in underground drug-world
magazines.

"All this shoots their sales through the roof," said Tetley.

"These magazines have no compulsion to report accurately."

Tetley, who's often testified in court as an expert on the strength of
drugs, regularly quantifies the THC content of marijuana to keep tabs on
what's on the market.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Safe Until Proven Harmful (Letter To Editor Of 'Edmonton Sun'
Cites Evidence Contradicting Staff Editorial Opposing Decriminalization
Of Marijuana, Even For Medical Purposes, Because The Ignorant Journalists
Whose Business Is To Sell Advertising 'Don't Believe The Medical Evidence
Supports It')

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: PUB LTE: Safe until proven harmful
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 11:00:12 -0700
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Edmonton Sun
Contact: sun.letters@ccinet.ab.ca
Pubdate: April 15, 1998
Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n252.a09.html
Comment: Parenthetical remarks are the Sun editor's : headline by hawk

LETTER OF THE DAY

IN YOUR editorial of April 6, "That pot problem," you confess: "We do
not support the decriminalization of marijuana, even for medicinal
purposes, as we don't believe the medical evidence supports it."
Exactly what evidence?

Typically, medicinal herbs and drugs are considered safe until proven
harmful and not criminal until unsafe. Garlic and St. John's Wort have
never been subject to double-blind studies, yet we do not criminalize
people for using them or insist they pay more for new experimental
brand-name drugs with harmful side-effects, such as calcium channel
blockers.

How do you justify knocking medicinal cannabis users like Terry Parker
and Lynn Harichy while Health Canada fails to test the majority of new
herbs and drugs added to store shelves every year? How do you justify
wasting tax dollars and law-enforcement resources warehousing otherwise
law-abiding recreational cannabis users in our prisons while dangerous
offenders and drunk drivers are granted early release?

I do not support cannabis prohibition because not one of the many
studies on the issue or the evidence gleaned from over 60 years of
prohibition, or Edmonton's booming black market supports it.

Matthew M. Elrod

(Marijuana is illegal. Medicinal use of the substance will likely
change as evidence mounts for it.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Leader - Now Drug Plague Hits The Poor (Staff Editorial
In Britain's 'Independent' Notes The Country's Prohibition On Illegal Drugs
Is Quite Futile And Expensive - But Disagrees With Cannabis Decriminalisation
As One Step In The Right Direction, Unlike 'The Independent On Sunday')

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 06:55:54 -0700 (PDT)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: Leader - Now drug plague hits the poor
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate: April 15, 1998
Source: The Independent (U.K.)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk

URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/stories/C1504811.html

Leader - Now drug plague hits the poor

There is more heroin on the streets of Britain than there has ever
been. The authorities seized 1,747kg of this hard drug (with a value
of more than 145m) last year - a tonne more than in 1996. The trade
is, apparently, largely organised by Turkish gangs that have "flooded"
the market and reduced the price dramatically. Wraps of heroin can be
bought, retail, for as little as 2. That is the obvious supply-push
reason why use has increased. But what about demand pull? Why do
people use it in the first place - and can the law do anything to help
them stop?

The film Trainspotting showed us that heroin users can be, sometimes
at least, affable, charming even. But, unlike most of us, they are
addicted to a rush described by one character in the movie as
"superior to a thousand orgasms". When even sex can't compete we had
all better watch out. "Heroin chic" is one of the modern faces of
fashion. Its meretricious charms are all around us. Of course there
have been epidemics of heroin use before. A previous generation of
film-makers exploited the cliches of underground drug use in the late
1960s. "Chasing the dragon" caught up with us in the 1970s. But there
was something self-limiting about those previous outbreaks. Then, like
myxomatosis, this was a disease in one British species that could not
be transmitted to others: it reached a natural limit and declined
until the next wave. In short, it was a hobby of the rich. Today
heroin is cheap and attacks the deprived, those liable to have least
incentive to "grow out" of the problem like college kids: it compounds
social problems and feeds crime on run-down estates. It threatens
larger sections of our people more virulently than ever before.

Keith Hellawell, the Government's "drugs Tsar", says that 700 heroin
addicts committed 70,000 crimes within three months to fund their
habit. Researchers have claimed that the average heroin addict has to
steal goods worth more than 43,000 each year to fund a modest daily
habit. We are all in favour of being tough on those convicted of such
offences. But we need also to understand where the cause lies.

Yesterday in this newspaper Oliver James argued persuasively about
why violent crime soared in the years after 1987. Violence is caused
by being male, young and from a low-income family. So is drug abuse.
In 1979, 20 per cent of boys were raised in low-income families. By
1981 this had risen to 33 per cent and has stayed there ever since.
Some of Thatcher's children have grown up to be violent and some have
grown up to be addicts.

These arguments hold for all hard drugs, and we see no case for
relaxing the law, thereby admitting defeat; and a very good case for
the Government to tackle urban deprivation ever more passionately.

The same arguments do not apply to all soft drugs, particularly
cannabis. It would be foolish to pretend that cannabis presents the
same kind of threat to people that cocaine and heroin do. We find it
very odd that cannabis is classed in the same way as heroin. It is
silly for MPs - of all people - to abdicate their responsibilities and
be frightened of joining in the debate about drugs. But it does not
follow that the time has come to decriminalise cannabis.

Why not? Above all, because the evidence is not clear or decisive. If
it is the case that its heavy and sustained use is, on balance, not
harmful, then no reasonable person would do other than set the people
free and concentrate on licensing and regulatory questions. However,
that weight of evidence does not yet exist; we suspect that the
evidence will accumulate in the other direction. Comparisons with
legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, don't seem persuasive to us:
alcohol saturates our culture, in a way that cannabis and heroin do
not. If tobacco was first discovered this week deep in some
rainforest, and we quickly discovered how dangerous it is, would we
allow it to be legally available? Is the wider availability of
narcotics really a social good? And isn't the law, in frowning on
cannabis without being fiercely implemented, more like decent fudge
than cynical hypocrisy?

These remarks may startle some readers who have watched and supported
and marched with the campaign to decriminalise cannabis run by the
Independent on Sunday. We admire its vigour and respect its integrity.
We share its desire for a wider debate. For this newspaper, though,
the onus rests with those who favour change and that case remains to
be proved.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Vicar Calls On Ministers To Legalise Heroin (Britain's 'Independent'
Says The Reverend Peter Green, From Dudley, West Midlands,
Yesterday Called For A Debate Into The Drug's Illegal Status
And Said That Leaving The Distribution Of Heroin In The Hands
Of Organised Criminals Was 'Fraught With Dangers')

Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 06:55:33 -0700 (PDT)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: Vicar calls on ministers to legalise heroin
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate: April 15, 1998
Source: The Independent (U.K.)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk

URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/stories/A1504802.html

Vicar calls on ministers to legalise heroin

By Linus Gregoriadis

A VICAR yesterday called on the Government to consider legalising
heroin, and suggested that the drug should be sold by a state-run
monopoly with a health warning.

The Rev Peter Green, from Dudley, West Midlands, yesterday called for
a debate into the drug's illegal status and said that leaving the
distribution of heroin in the hands of organised criminals was
"fraught with dangers".

His candid remarks coincided with a warning of a heroin epidemic by
the Government's drug tsar Keith Hellawell, following the release of
Customs and Excise figures which reveal record seizures of the drug.

Mr Green, vicar at the St Barnabas Church, told The Independent
yesterday: "I am reluctantly of the view that the prohibition of drugs
such as heroin should be reconsidered. Is it worth considering
decriminalising the sale of heroin, having it supplied by a state
monopoly in conjunction with the kind of warning that surrounds the
sale of tobacco?

"I'm very concerned that the drug's prohibition is courting a whole
stack of appalling problems. I'm not in favour of heroin abuse, but my
own feeling is that prohibition isn't working. I believe it is putting
a considerable amount of money into the hands of very dangerous
people.

"Heroin use can draw people into criminal and sociopathic behaviour.
Users often go into burglary, dealing heroin, prostitution and other
criminal activities to feed their habits. This is because the drug, in
the long term, is extremely expensive."

Mr Green, aged 38, said: "My own very strong feeling is that the
control of supply should be taken out of the hands of criminals and
taken over by a state monopoly which wasn't driven by the desire for
profit. The sale would be surrounded by health warnings of the type
that govern tobacco."

The Church of England yesterday said they did not support Mr Green's
opinions. A spokesman said: "I don't think anyone who has seen first
hand the devastating impact that heroin and its derivatives has on
individuals and communities could possibly argue that there should be
no restrictions on its availability."

Mr Green's comments have been sparked by what he sees as the
"appalling effect" of crime on the community. He said: "I have seen
the effect that crime can have on people. In my own community, a whole
congregation decamped from the evening service to the morning service
because two members had been mugged in town and received quite serious
injuries the week before. Suddenly, everyone was afraid to go out in
the dark.

"There are many reasons for crime but much of it is caused by people
supplying their drug habit. I think I am aware of kids being supplied
in the vicinity and they are in the hands of unscrupulous people," he
said. "From a theological perspective, this comes under the heading:
'Not everything which is sinful should also be illegal.'"
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Tsar Warns Of Cut-Price Heroin (Britain's 'Independent'
Says Keith Hellawell Announced At A Press Conference Yesterday
That Record Amounts Of Heroin Were Seized By Customs Last Year)

Newshawk: Alan Randell
Source: Independent, The ( UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
Author: Clare Garner

DRUG TSAR WARNS OF CUT-PRICE HEROIN

Record amounts of heroin were seized by Customs last year, reflecting the
increasingly widespread availability of the drug on Britain's streets, it was
revealed yesterday.

A total of 1,747kg of heroin was seized in 1997, a tonne more than the previous
year. Police estimate the haul has a street value of more than 145m and is the
equivalent of 9 million "wraps". A wrap represents between one and four hits
and is being sold on the streets for the same price as a pint of beer.

At a press conference yesterday at which the annual Customs & Excise figures
were announced, Keith Hellawell, the Government's "drugs tsar", said heroin
dealers were getting youngsters hooked by selling the drug at a loss and
suggesting they smoke rather than inject it. Some young people take the view
that it is "all right" to smoke drugs, but "stupid" to inject, he said.

"It becomes more attractive to the young user when the pusher says 'I'm not
going to sell you stuff that gives you Aids; have this stuff to smoke, it gives you
better hits and better highs than the other stuff cannabis'."

Mr Hellawell spoke of "an erosion of resistance" towards softer drugs among
the young. "Once you get a generation believing that illegal substances - and
some legal substances - are attractive and that it doesn't matter, they naturally
will go and try something else. Youngsters are discounting cannabis. Campaigns
that are saying it ought to be legalised, that more people are doing it, mean they
just discount it . There's a sort of machoism - and whatever the equivalent word
for girls is - where they say, 'I'm going to go for it, I'm not going to play with
this stuff cannabis'."

About 80 per cent of the heroin seized comes via the Balkans. The heroin is
produced from opium grown in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is then
transported in cars, vans, coaches and lorries from Istanbul through Bulgaria,
Romania, into Austria and Germany, through the Benelux countries, and into
Britain.

Dick Kellaway, Customs' national investigation service chief, highlighted
Customs officers' successes, including the discovery of more than 200kg of
heroin under the carpets of two speedboats, and the detection of 450kg in a
consignment of bathrobes. But he called for more co-operation between drug
enforcement agencies across the world.

"The Turkish authorities have given us some assistance in tackling the problem,
but more remains to be done
BritishY Customs takes pride in
having made a significant contribution to tackling a global problem, a problem
which can only be approached by countries working together. We earnestly hope
that at a time when the UK has presidency of the European Union, there will be
further improvements in judicial co-operation to allow even more effective
joint effort."

In total, Customs seized more than 82 tonnes of drugs, with a street value of
around 656m, and disrupted 134 major drug smuggling gangs.

The amount of cocaine seized totalled more than 2 tonnes, up from 1,157 kg the
previous year; seizures of cannabis amounted to nearly 77 tonnes, slightly up on
1996.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

DrugSense Weekly, Number 42 (Summary Of Drug Policy News For Activists,
Including Original And Excellent Commentary Such As The Feature Article,
'Tobacco Deal Dead,' By Dr. Tom O'Connell)

Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:00:26 -0700
To: mgreer@mapinc.org
From: Mark Greer (MGreer@mapinc.org)
Subject: DrugSense Weekly April 15, 1998 #042

***

DRUGSENSE WEEKLY

***

DrugSense Weekly #042

April 15, 1998

A DrugSense publication

http://www.drugsense.org/

***

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

* Feature Article

Tobacco Deal "Dead"

* Weekly News In Review

Domestic News-

The Drug War

Extortion Trial Witness Tells of Police Abuses

America's Jails are Jammed

Public Housing Tenants Sue to Fight Evictions Under Drug Law

Tobacco Wars

More Teens Using Tobacco

Experts Baffled by Rise in Teen Smoking

Science Starting to Tackle Teen Smoking

Tobacco Companies Say Deal Is Up In Smoke

Ban Tobacco Like Marijuana and Cocaine

UK - Cheap Cigarettes Supplied By Drugs Gangs

Editorial - Exporting Disease

The Courts

Reagan-appointed judge refuses to enforce drug laws

Wiretap Ruling Rocks LA Legal, Police Circles

Ninth Circuit Tosses Pot Conviction Case

Needle Exchange

WP LTE - Questionable Needle Exchanges

NYT OPED - Needle Exchange in Vancouver/Montreal Worked

Hemp

Marijuana's Much-Maligned Cousin

International News-

Violence Escalates as Island Nations Crack Down on Drugs

Trinidad and Tobago Lauded for Role in Drug War

Panama Ponders Anti-Drug Installation

* Hot Off The 'Net

NewsHawks Needed - New Web Page Instructions

* DrugSense Tip Of The Week

Writing Letters and Getting Published

***

FEATURE ARTICLE

Tobacco Deal "Dead" by Thomas J. O'Connell M.D.

The recent announcement to the Press Club by Steven Goldstone, CEO of
RJR Nabisco, that the tobacco deal was "dead" should not have surprised
anyone who has followed the negotiations with Congress since June 1997.
What should distress anyone looking for evidence of sanity in our
national drug policy is the universal inability of all discussants,
including press and pundits, to isolate and deal realistically with key
factors in the controversy. Until that is done, those factors cannot be
assigned their proper weight and bad policy is almost certain to
result. Those factors can be considered under two general headings:

1) Health/Addiction. The tobacco industry is in trouble because of a
belated public perception that nicotine is addictive and chronic
smoking is a significant health hazard. The single event which
dramatically altered public perception was the photograph of tobacco
company CEOs solemnly lying to a Congressional committee with their
right hands raised. Their public image started to go downhill rapidly
after that, and with it, their political support- nobody likes a
pariah. Bob Dole, never much of a candidate to begin with, killed his
own campaign with his pronouncements on nicotine and addiction.
Politicians learn quickly from the mistakes of colleagues.

Less dramatic, but nonetheless important, has been the volume of
evidence ("Cigarette Papers") obtained and released by relentless
anti-smoking activists, from the health care industry. This is
significant, because it shows how much clout this group can have when
not paralyzed by fear and/or self-interest, as it clearly has been on
Public Health issues relating to other addictive drugs, such as needle
exchange.

The paradox involved in the health issue, which "policy" makers (do
they even understand that word?) refuse to confront is: how can a
nation which bans multiple substances on the grounds that they are
addictive and inimical to personal and public health possibly
"negotiate" with manufacturers of the product which is demonstrably the
most addictive and (chronically) the most lethal of all psychoactive
agents?

This issue is studiously avoided by all discussants. As an example of
pure denial, refusal to acknowledge this obvious linkage is comparable
to the decision of the nation's founders to charter a republic
dedicated to human freedom with a covenant guaranteeing the legitimacy
of slavery.

2) Economics/Crime. What American drug policy makers have also
absolutely refused to confront is the lesson taught by Prohibition:
creation of a criminal monopoly for production and sale of a highly
desired & easily produced psychoactive substance is a supreme act of
folly, simply because it creates an uncontrollable black market. For a
host of complex, but valid (and easily comprehensible) reasons having
more to do with historical and other factors, the alcohol Prohibition
folly played out acutely and was quickly ended by Repeal in 1933, but
the folly of drug prohibition has remained unacknowledged. Starting as
a relatively tiny criminal market, it expanded slowly in size and scope
until the Sixties, when it was discovered as a positive re-election
tool by politicians. The accelerated market development which followed
became the drug war, now an international industry with legions of
adherents and dependents around the world. These run a gamut from
peasant poppy and coca farmers through foreign political leaders,
financiers, American politicians and bureaucrats, criminal processing
and distribution networks, police agencies, prosecutors, jailers, and
health care providers. The toll exacted by this folly is difficult to
measure precisely, but it impacts all of us because the progressive
diversion of tax money from education to prison entitlement programs,
together with a growing army of alienated and marginalized prisoners
and their families, threaten our society's very underpinnings.

In this setting, any decision to witlessly create yet another criminal
market from a customer base of 40-50 million nicotine addicts should be
inconceivable; but apparently, is not. There are ways other than
criminal prohibition to create black markets; excessive taxation is
one; driving production overseas by impossibly stringent regulation is
another. As long as a desired product can be produced anywhere in the
world, it will be supplied at a price and smuggled if excessively taxed

The most logical solution to the tobacco impasse is to recognize that
creation of an illegal market in the name of Public Health is an
irresponsible act of folly. A regulated, *legal* market along the lines
of those currently existing for both alcohol and tobacco is the only
one that is either sensible or responsible. All arguments then become
about the intensity of restrictions designed to minimize adverse
consequences of use, but within a paradigm which acknowledges that
excessive restriction will inevitably create an illegal market and
should be avoided. In the final analysis, legal psychoactive markets
are an absolute necessity in any rational society.

The reason this simple solution cannot be embraced by our government,
or indeed, anyone supporting drug prohibition, is obvious: it would
expose the claimed justification of the drug war as illogical. That's
the real significance of the tobacco impasse. It's a great foil for us,
as reformers, to make our point. We need only to understand it
ourselves.

Thomas J. O'Connell M.D. (tjeffoc@drugsense.org)

***

WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW

***

Domestic News

***

The Drug War-

Extortion Trial Witness Tells of Police Abuses

America's Jails are Jammed

Public Housing Tenants Sue to Fight Evictions Under Drug Law

COMMENT:

Along with increased prominence of newer issues- medical marijuana and
needle exchange, the basic drug war continues to grind on behind the
scenes, corrupting public servants, selectively incarcerating the
black and the poor, and victimizing the innocent and elderly in new
and cruel ways, as these three articles attest.

EXTORTION TRIAL WITNESS TELLS OF POLICE ABUSES

Boston police detective yesterday became the first officer to testify
publicly about the shady practices he learned from two former
colleagues who have admitted stealing more than $200,000 from drug
dealers and other criminals in an on-the-job crime spree.

Since Walter F. Robinson Jr. and Kenneth Acerra have pleaded guilty to
avoid trial, the testimony of Detective John Brazil offers the first
glimpse into the crooked world of phony search warrants and stolen drug
money perfected by his two mentors on the night shift.

[snip]

Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Pubdate: Wed, 8 Apr 1998
Author: Patricia Nealon
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n261.a09.html

***

AMERICA'S JAILS ARE JAMMED

Hardly anyone could have missed the great prison-building boom a few
years back. All told, during the first half of the 1990s, states spent
nearly $15 billion and added some 400,000 beds to alleviate
overcrowding.

That increase in capacity, coupled with a significant slowdown in the
prison population growth rate since 1994, has brought the construction
craze to an end. So it may come as something of a surprise to learn
that across the nation, thousands of inmates still are lacking beds,
basic medical assistance and sufficient oversight.

[snip]

Pubdate: 2 Apr 1998
Source: Scripps Howard News Service
Author: Russ Freyman, Governing Magazine
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n252.a04.html

***

PUBLIC HOUSING TENANTS SUE TO FIGHT EVECTIONS UNDER DRUG LAW

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- From his cramped living room 13 floors above
the midday growl of downtown traffic, 75-year-old Herman Walker wonders
what he'll do if he's thrown out of his public housing apartment.

Walker is one of millions of tenants subject to a federal "one-strike"
drug law that can result in eviction for the wrongdoing of visitors or
relatives.

Officials say they found crack cocaine or crack pipes on three visits
to Walker's apartment. His caretaker and a friend were arrested on drug
charges.

[snip]

Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: 3 April 1998
Author: Michelle Locke
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n252.a05.html

***

Tobacco Wars-

***

More Teens Using Tobacco

Experts Baffled by Rise in Teen Smoking

Science Starting to Tackle Teen Smoking

Tobacco Companies Say Deal Is Up In Smoke

UK: Cheap Cigarettes Supplied By Drugs Gangs

COMMENT:

Despite increasing evidence that teen tobacco experimentation and
addiction are essentially unsolved Public Health problems, our
prohibitionist lawmakers are veering ever closer to declaring "war" on
tobacco. The industry, slow to sense it's political disadvantage,
seems intent on repeating the errors of the alcohol industry that led
to Prohibition. As if on cue, Washington insider Carl Rowan became the
first to issue a call for prohibition (indicating along the way, that
he's clueless about illegal markets). Perhaps a more accurate portent
of things to come is offered by the article from The UK.

Finally, the editorial comment from the IHT underscores why the
domestic market is a necessary evil for US tobacco; they need to stay
in business here so they can tap into the really big money overseas.

***

MORE TEENS USING TOBACCO

Use By Black Youths Has Nearly Doubled In Past Six Years

Tobacco use among teenagers jumped by nearly one-third during the past
six years, with an especially alarming increase among black youths,
federal health officials reported Thursday.

Rates of tobacco use - which includes consumption of cigarettes, cigars
and smokeless tobacco- rose among high school students from 27.5
percent in 1991 to 36.4 percent in 1997, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.

[snip]

Source: Herald, The (WA)
Contact: letters@heraldnet.com
Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 3 Apr 1998
Author: Marlene Cimons, Los Angeles Times
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n248.a04.html

***

EXPERTS BAFFLED BY RISE IN TEEN SMOKING

Officials try to snuff out ads, peer pressure

The three girls are 14 years old -- they look not a day older -- and
have been smoking cigarettes since they were 10.

They represent a bewildering puzzle to health authorities.

It's against the rules to smoke on school grounds, so the girls crossed
E. Locust St. before lighting up one day last week.

One cigarette among the three freshmen, passed puff-to-puff as they
shivered in the cold afternoon wind across the street from Milwaukee's
Riverside University High School.

[snip]

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Contact: jsedit@onwis.com
Fax: (414) 224-8280
Website: http://www.jsonline.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 06 Apr 1998
Author: Joe Manning and Jack Norman of the Journal Sentinel staff
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n253.a09.html

***

SCIENCE STARTING TO TACKLE TEEN SMOKING

Behavior - Researchers know adolescents kick the habit for different
reasons than adults, but there's little data to show which methods work
and why.

How can a teen be convinced to stop smoking--or persuaded never to take
up the habit at all?

[snip]

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 06 Apr 1998
Author: Kathleen Doheny, Special to The Times
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n254.a08.html

***

TOBACCO COMPANIES SAY DEAL IS UP IN SMOKE

WASHINGTON -- The nation's major cigarette makers sounded a death knell
yesterday for last summer's historic tobacco settlement, saying
Congress has twisted their offer to help cut teen smoking into a harsh
attack on their industry and sharp tax increases for American smokers.

Led by Steven Goldstone, head of No. 2 tobacco maker RJR Nabisco, the
companies vowed to fight efforts by President Clinton and Congress to
increase prices and fashion tougher restrictions on advertising.

[snip]

Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 1998
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
Website: http://www.s-t.com/
Author: Laura Meckler, Associated Press writer
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n261.a01.html

***

BAN TOBACCO LIKE MARIJUANA AND COCAINE

THE local drug pusher cornered the president of the United States at a
fund-raiser and said:

"Cocaine has been good. We paid for our mansion off cocaine. We
educated our kids off cocaine. We paved our old driveway with blacktop
off cocaine. We pay our property taxes. We pay the preacher on Sunday
morning. We overhaul our vehicles, and we buy tires. We pay our
insurance. And we pay our mules and runners, and give them Social
Security and Medicare. And we just try to live right and do right off
cocaine."

[snip]

So there will be legislation. But it probably won't be the "new
Prohibition." It will be tough enough to make a lot of farmers think of
growing collard greens, and force a lot of tobacco company employees to
look for work elsewhere. But it won't put tobacco in the same pipe with
cocaine. So a semi-black market for tobacco will arise, the health
problems will endure, and our politicians will wring their hands and
give more speeches.

[snip]

Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 11 Apr 1998
Author: Carl T. Rowan
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n267.a07.html

***

CHEAP CIGARETTES SUPPLIED BY DRUGS GANGS

Organised criminals involved in drug dealing are behind the deluge of
cheap cigarettes being smuggled into Scotland.

The trade in smuggled cigarettes costs the Scottish economy tens of
millions of pounds every year and particularly hits corner shops and
tobacconists.

Customs officers are bracing themselves for a vast increase in
cigarette smuggling into Scottish airports between now and 1 December
when 20p goes on to the price of a packet of 20 in the United Kingdom.

[snip]

Pubdate: Thu, 9 Apr 1998
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
Website: http://www.scotsman.com
Author: Graeme Stewart
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n257.a06.html

***

EXPORTING DISEASE

As communism fell in Eastern Europe, the Marlboro Man rode into town.
U.S. cigarette makers were in the vanguard, exporting their lethal
products as symbols of Western glamour and free-market prosperity. In
the former Soviet Union, the three big multinational tobacco firms
became, along with energy companies, the biggest investors.

[snip]

Source: International Herald-Tribune
Contact: iht@iht.com
Website: http://www.iht.com/
Pubdate: April 8, 1998
Author: Washington Post Editorial Board
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n263.a12.html

***

The Courts

***

Reagan-appointed judge refuses to enforce drug laws

Wiretap Ruling Rocks LA Legal, Police Circles

Ninth Circuit Tosses Pot Conviction Case

COMMENT:

There has been a cluster of favorable developments in the judicial
arena. It's too early to say whether they are flukes or represent a
long overdue arrest of the trend to deny Fourth Amendment rights to
those accused of "drug crimes." The Salon article and the one on
wiretaps are both too long and convoluted to excerpt accurately; they
should be read in their entirety by those interested.

REAGAN-APPOINTED JUDGE REFUSES TO ENFORCE HARSH U.S. DRUG LAWS

Hell No, We won't throw away the key

SERIOUS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AGAINST THE NATION'S DRUG SENTENCING
LAWS ARE BEING STAGED -- BY PROSECUTORS AND SENIOR JUDGES.

Quick - What furious debate over the parameters of morality, legality
and personal behavior has the American political and judicial system
been at vehement war with itself over? No, not the ever-morphing
Clinton/Jones/Starr/Lewinsky/Willey scandal, but an issue likely to
affect vastly more people. Drugs. Drug use, drug policy, drug
enforcement. While the press has been consumed with Tailgate, slowly
simmering discord over the war on illegal drugs has suddenly reached a
rolling boil.

[snip]

Source: Salon Magazine
Contact: salon@salonmagazine.com
Author: Bruce Shapiro
Pubdate: 03/31/98
Website: http://www.salon1999.com/
Fax: 415 882 8731
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n258.a01.html

***

WIRETAP RULING ROCKS LA LEGAL, POLICE CIRCLES

Law - All sides are watching whether judge's order to reveal phone
surveillance information will affect other cases. Some see a threat to
the practice of concealing informants.

In the abstract, there are few civil liberties the average person holds
as dear as the constitutional protection against unlawful searches and
seizures. But that affection is often tested when the 4th Amendment,
like a bolted front door, is all that stands between police and the
arrest of someone who officers say is a criminal.

That is precisely the issue in what many legal observers are calling a
groundbreaking case now before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory
Alarcon.

[snip]

Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Author: GREG KRIKORIAN, Times Staff Writer
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n259.a11.html

***

NINTH CIRCUIT TOSSES POT CONVICTION CASE

Heat detection device ruled illegal

A federal agent who used a heat detection device to gather evidence
against an alleged Oregon marijuana grower violated the suspect's
constitutional right against unreasonable searches, the U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.

In a split ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco
threw out the conviction of Danny Kyllo, an Oregonian who was arrested
in 1992 for cultivating and distributing marijuana. In a move almost
certain to be appealed further, the court ordered Kyllo's case sent
back to U.S. District Court in Portland for a new trial.

[snip]

Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Page: A24
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Author: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Apr 1998
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n259.a07.html

***

Needle Exchange-

***

Questionable Needle Exchanges

Needle Exchange in Vancouver/Montreal Worked

COMMENT:

The letter from the Washington Post is a lame attempt to blunt the
criticism Clinton and Shalala are receiving from their own AIDS
advisory panel. The second item, an 0p-ed from The New York Times, is
a devastating put down of one of General McCaffrey's more audacious
excursions into the realm of science (the realm he claims he wants to
"protect" in the case of Medical marijuana).

***

QUESTIONABLE NEEDLE EXCHANGES

The March 25 front-page story "Pr. George's Needle Plan Wins Vote"
carries the claim that "numerous federally funded studies have shown
that needle exchange programs nationwide have helped reduce new HIV
infections." This overstates the scientific status of the effectiveness
of those programs.

[snip]

In fact, the most recent and large-scale study, conducted in Montreal
using a sophisticated observational design with prospective and
case-control methods, found a consistent and independent positive
association between attendance of needle exchange programs and risk of
HIV infection.

[snip]

BRYAN KIM, Statistical Assessment Service, Washington

[snip]

Source: Washington Post
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Saturday, April 4, 1998
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n250.a05.html

***

NEEDLE EXCHANGE IN VANCOUVER/MONTREAL WORKED

Opinion: The Politics of Needles and AIDS

Debate has started up again in Washington about whether the Government
should renew its ban on subsidies for needle-exchange programs, which
advocates say can help stop the spread of AIDS.

In a letter to Congress, Barry McCaffrey, who is in charge of national
drug policy, cited two Canadian studies to show that needle-exchange
plans have failed to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes
AIDS, and may even have worsened the problem. Congressional leaders
have cited these studies to make the same argument.

As the authors of the Canadian studies, we must point out that these
officials have misinterpreted our research.

[snip]

Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 1998
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Authors: Julie Bruneau And Martin T. Schechter
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n258.a05.html

***

Hemp

***

Editorial: Marijuana's Much-Maligned Cousin

COMMENT:

Despite the abundance of other news and the fact that we've commented
on hemp two weeks in a row, this is too important to pass up- a short
editorial in the New York Times is chiding the federal government for
its witless opposition to industrial hemp. Intelligence and courage
are turning up in the strangest places.

MARIJUANA'S MUCH-MALIGNED COUSIN

Traditional jurisprudence frowns on guilt by association--unless the
defendant is a plant called industrial hemp and the prosecutor is the
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Recently a coalition of
farmers, environmentalists and businesses petitioned the drug agency
and the Department of Agriculture to stop treating this plant as a
criminal just because it is related to marijuana, a controlled
substance.

[snip]

To ease law enforcement's fears, proponents have offered a compromise.
The agency would revise its rules to legalize hemp but award
jurisdiction to the Agriculture Department. Agriculture would
distribute certified seed with a THC level of 1 percent or less to
farmers it licensed; it would inspect field too. The marketplace, not
myopic rules, should determine hemp's future in America.

Source: New York Times
Pubdate: Mon, 13 Apr 1998
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n267.a05.html

***

International News

***

Violence Escalates as Island Nations Crack Down on Drugs

Trinidad and Tobago Lauded for Role in Drug War

COMMENT:

The Cocaine traffic from South America has shown considerable ability
to adapt to interdiction pressure; when South Florida and the Mexican
border receive too much attention, it's back to the Caribbean. The
drug war is also proving to be a dandy excuse for maintaining an
American military presence well beyond the end of the Cold War. The
notion that the unsophisticated bureaucracies of these small island
nations are a match for traffickers in the multi-billion dollar
cocaine industry is ludicrous.

VIOLENCE ESCALATES AS ISLAND NATIONS CRACK DOWN ON DRUGS

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- Antigua's top anti-drug official had just leaned
over to turn up a cricket match on his car radio when a bullet smashed
through the rear window, showering him in shattered glass.

"If it were not for the cricket, I probably would not be here now,"
said Wrenford Ferrance, who believes he was targeted because he is
making it harder to launder drug profits in this Caribbean nation.

In Trinidad, a former attorney general was shot repeatedly in front of
his home in a 1995 assassination that investigators blame on drug
traffickers even though the crime officially remains unsolved.

No one has been arrested in the Feb. 13 attack on Ferrance either. But
he and other Antiguan officials say it will not deter their efforts to
fight the illegal drug trade.

In recent years, the Caribbean has become a major drug trafficking
route between the cocaine producers of South America and consumers in
the United States and Europe.

[snip]

Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 6 Apr 1998
Author: Robert Hoffman - Associated Press
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n254.a02.html

***

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO LAUDED FOR ROLE IN DRUG WAR

Albright to seek more help at meeting today

BLACK ROCK, Tobago -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called
yesterday for more cooperation against drug traffickers and praised
Trinidad and Tobago for leading the way.

In 1996, Trinidad and Tobago became the first Caribbean nation to sign
an agreement allowing U.S. authorities to pursue suspected drug
traffickers into its territorial airspace and waters.

Albright said she would discuss "the increased need to cooperate even
further . . . on a scourge that knows no boundaries" at a meeting today
with foreign ministers of the 15-member Caribbean Community.

The 1996 agreement led to severe criticism from neighboring islands,
which accused Trinidad of sacrificing its sovereignty, Prime Minister
Basdeo Panday said yesterday after meeting with Albright.

Since then, most Caribbean islands have signed drug-fighting pacts with
Washington, some allowing only air or sea pursuits.

[snip]

Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Mon, 6 Apr 1998
Author: Michelle Faul - Associated Press
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n254.a02.html

***

PANAMA PONDERS ANTI-DRUG INSTALLATION

PANAMA CITY -- On a tropical patio in a middle-class neighborhood, a
group of Panamanian intellectuals sit around a table littered with
position papers, sodas, and bowls of limp cheese puffs. They are trying
to figure out how to stop what they see as the next United States
invasion of Panama.

[snip]

Talk of a US invasion in this Central American home to the Panama Canal
may sound cold-war-ish and anachronistic, and probably comes as a
surprise to the Pentagon. Under a US-Panama treaty ratified in 1978,
the US is to relinquish control of the canal and all remaining military
bases by Dec. 31, 1999.

But Mr. Arosemena and his friends say a proposed international
drug-fighting center that would operate on one of the US military bases
here, with the support of at least 2,500 US soldiers, means occupation
all over again.

[snip]

Source: Christian Science Monitor
Contact: oped@csps.com
Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/
Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 98
Author: Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer/ Christian Science Monitor
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n264.a04.html

***

HOT OFF THE NET

NewsHawks Needed - New Web Page Instructions

The great majority of our Newshawks are doing a super job, and we all
Thank You! The following is for those few that may be new at
NewsHawking, or, perhaps, just do not understand how important being
careful about posts to editor@mapinc.org is to our process.

Please, please, DO NOT post anything BUT actual published news items
(and wire service items), complete with a Source: and Pubdate: to
editor@mapinc.org

Please do not post unpublished, but simply SENT letters to the editor
to editor@mapinc.org

The place for SENT letters is our discussion list, MAPTALK. If you are
not a subscriber to MAPTALK you can sign up by going to our lists page
(in my signature block below) on our web pages OR if you do not wish to
sign up for the MAPTALK list please send the SENT letter to Mark Greer


Also, please do not post press releases, discussions of the news, tips
on news stories, etc. to editor@mapinc.org. We are simply not set up to
process them, and do not wish to post them as news items by mistake.

What do we want? Matt Elrod, one of our webmasters, has set up a Hawk
page on our website with the basics of NewsHawking. It is at:

http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm

Please check it out for our standards/needs for items being sent to
editor@mapinc.org

Thank you for your assistance!

Richard Lake
Senior Editor; MAPnews, MAPnews-Digest and DrugNews-Digest
email: rlake@MAPinc.org
http://www.DrugSense.org/drugnews/
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

***

TIP OF THE WEEK

Getting published in the NY Times or any major publication is quite an
accomplishment. On average our letter writers get about 10% of their
letters published but some of our "seasoned Pro's" seem to get published at
will.

For newer letter writers you may want to try smaller publications where
we get much higher percentages often approaching 100%. This does not
mean to give up on the bigger papers. Experience, tenacity and
following certain guidelines seem to be the keys to success.

Those going after the "big fish" need to be patient, consistent, and
constantly strive to improve their LTEs

For some great letter witting tips and examples see
http://www.mapinc.org/3tips.htm
http://www.mapinc.org/style.htm
http://www.mapinc.org/lte/ (OVER 600 PUBLISHED LTEs)
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/activist/howlte.htm

***

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.

Comments-Editor: Tom O'Connell (tjeffoc@drugsense.org)
Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (mgreer@drugsense.org)

We wish to thank all our contributors and Newshawks.

NOTICE:

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.

REMINDER:

Please help us help reform. Send any news articles you find on any drug
related issue to editor@mapinc.org

PLEASE HELP:

DrugSense provides this service at no charge BUT IT IS NOT FREE TO PRODUCE.

We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If you
are able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort please Make
checks
payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to:

The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc.
d/b/a DrugSense
PO Box 651
Porterville,
CA 93258
(800) 266 5759
MGreer@mapinc.org
http://www.mapinc.org
http://www.drugsense.org

Mark Greer
Media Awareness Project (MAP) inc.
d/b/a DrugSense
MGreer@mapinc.org
http://www.DrugSense.org/
http://www.mapinc.org

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