------------------------------------------------------------------- Appeals court asked to decide the status of paid petitioners (An Associated Press article in the Oregonian says the state Employment Department asked the Oregon Court of Appeals Thursday to decide whether paid signature collectors for state ballot measures are independent contractors or employees. Apparently the Employment Department doesn't think a related recent U.S. Supreme Court decision applies to it.) From: "sburbank" (email@example.com) To: "DPFOR" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFOR: Appeals court asked to decide the status of paid petitioners Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 07:03:41 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Source: The Oregonian Date: Friday, February 5,1999 page B-10 contact: letters @news.oregonian.com Appeals court asked to decide the status of paid petitioners SALEM- In a case that could mean new financial burdens for initiative sponsors, the Oregon Court of Appeals was asked Thursday to decide whether paid signature collectors are independent contractors or employees. The increasing use of hired signature gatherers, usually paid on a per-signature basis, has helped boost the number of initiative measures on Oregon's statewide ballots in recent years. The collectors typically earn from 50 cents to $2 per signature. At issue in the court case is whether the state can force sponsors to pay un-employment taxes and other expenses for people who round up signatures. In 1996, the state Employment Department sent bills for unemployment taxes to two signature-gathering companies that worked on ballot measure campaigns. Employees of Canvasser Services and Affinity Communications had filed for unemployment benefits, but neither employer had been paying unemployment insurance taxes for those workers. The department claims Affinity owes $16,000 in back unemployment insurance taxes and that Canvassers Services owes $10,500. The businesses are challenging the bills in the appeals court. Some initiative activists say imposing tax burdens and other government expenses would mean only affluent sponsors could afford to be involved in the process. But the Employment Department says the petitioner don't meet the state law for independent contractors. If petitioners are found to be regular employees, employers could be liable to pay the $6.50 an hour minimum wage and workers' compensation insurance premiums. The two businesses appealed after the department ruled that the petitioners should be considered employees. The Associated Press *** Sandee Burbank, Director Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse 2255 State Road, Mosier, OR 97040 phone or fax 541-298-1031 email@example.com Join MAMA today! http://www.mamas.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- City Of Seattle's Drug Testing Upheld (The Seattle Times says King County Superior Court Judge R. Joseph Wesley on Jan. 26 upheld a nearly 3-year-old policy requiring urine tests of applicants for some safety-related jobs. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, which originally filed suit in 1997, said it would appeal the decision to an unspecified court. Plus commentary from a list subscriber.) Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 06:30:24 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US WA: City Of Seattle's Drug Testing Upheld Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 Source: Seattle-Times (WA) Copyright: 1998 The Seattle Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Tom Brune, Seattle Times staff reporter CITY OF SEATTLE'S DRUG TESTING UPHELD The city of Seattle can require drug screening of applicants for some safety-related jobs, a judge has ruled in rejecting a challenge to the nearly 3-year-old policy. It is the first court decision on the issue since the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state filed a lawsuit in 1997 charging that mandatory pre-employment drug testing by the city is an invasion of privacy. Under the city's present policy, about 100 applicants a month are screened for illegal drugs in their urine. But the Jan. 26 ruling by King County Superior Court Judge R. Joseph Wesley is not an end of the battle by those opposed to the policy, who include former Mayor Charles Royer and former Councilman Charlie Chong. The ACLU will appeal the ruling, said its spokesman, Doug Honig. "One shouldn't have to pee in a cup to get a job with the city when there is no evidence that the individual has any problem with drug abuse," Honig said. The city disagrees. Evidence shows drug testing is needed because some people in the job market have drug problems that may affect their ability to perform their jobs safely, said Assistant City Attorney Fritz Wollett. Widespread literature and studies describe the impact of drug use in the workplace, the potential safety threat to the drug users themselves as well as their coworkers, he said. And drug-using employees more likely are absent and have worker's compensation claims, he said. The city, like many corporate employers, thinks drug testing is an effective and efficient way of screening out those potential problems. Honig countered that there are better ways that are less intrusive on privacy rights. For example, the city could simply check an applicant's references with previous employers. Even though the ACLU lost this round of the legal battle, Honig said, "The city has drastically cut back on its program in response to the lawsuit on two different occasions." It was in July 1996 that the city began requiring a urine sample from all applicants to test for marijuana, cocaine, pcp, amphetamines and opiates. In the first 18 months of the policy, it tested 2,365 applicants, and 120 failed. In November 1997, the council limited testing to those in public safety, working with dangerous substances, performing hazardous physical activities, operating vehicles or heavy machinery, directly handling money or working with minors. Last year, the council exempted handling money and working with minors. In the first three quarters of 1998, the city tested 877 applicants; 43 failed. In his ruling, Wesley said, "The city has carefully crafted a program significantly tailored to address specific, documented concerns over drug use by potential employees." But Honig disagrees, saying that many of the categories of jobs are too vague. The ACLU does not challenge the drug-screening of applicants for jobs that require commercial drivers licenses, which is federally mandated, or of those seeking to become police officers or firefighters, Honig said. He complains, however, that the city cannot clearly define the jobs affected by the less precise categories. Wollett said that when city departments have a job vacancy, they determine whether the position fits into the safety-related categories requiring drug screening. Then the job posting notes that an applicant must pass a drug test to get the job. *** Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 10:31:49 -0800 To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: R Givens (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Sent LTE City Of Seattle's Drug Testing Upheld Everybody knows that drug testing is justified by the need to prevent dangerous typos and lethal paper cuts among office workers. Preventing these dangerous injuries must take precedence over the Bill or Rights or any other human consideration, like the right to a job a person is qualified for. Drug prohibition isn't rational, but, by god, it's the law and every one should support our bad drug laws to the hilt. The true importance of drug testing is that it provides a great deal of income to a few of former President Reagan's pals who got drug testing programs put into law while they were in office. Interfering with their profits from peddling phony drug tests is unconscionable. Former drug czars Robert Dupont, Carlton Turner and Peter Bensinger went to a great deal of trouble getting drug testing laws enacted and now they deserve to reap millions of dollars in profits supplying useless drug kits and screening procedures to businesses with their drug testing company (Bensinger, Dupont & Associates - Specializing in problems of addiction in the workplace.). Although substance screening doesn't improve workplace safety or production, drug testing laws fill a vital need for companies making testing kits. Namely they insure high profits for investors like Robert Dupont, Carlton Turner and Peter Bensinger. Support drug testing; it's the American way. R Givens
------------------------------------------------------------------- Where the Grass is Greener (The San Francisco Chronicle says Dennis Peron's urbanite days are mostly behind him now. The former proprietor of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club has turned over a new leaf, and is rusticating on a 20-acre farm in Lake County, growing and giving away what he once sold. "I'll never deal pot again," he vowed. "No more buying it and selling it. From now on, I'm strictly growing it.") Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 19:30:40 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Where the Grass is Greener Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ Author: Glen Martin, Chronicle Staff Writer WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER Dennis Peron has taken to growing and giving away marijuana on his farm Dennis Peron hardly seems the typical gentleman farmer -- throughout his long and checkered career, he has been the quintessential San Francisco bohemian, a canny gay activist and medical marijuana advocate who loved the clangor of the city's busy streets. But his urbanite days are mostly behind him now. These days, Peron is rusticating on a 20-acre farm in the rolling hills near Clear Lake, growing and giving away what he once sold: medical marijuana. Peron and a few disciples came up to the property -- which is owned by an admirer -- after their Market Street Cannabis Buyers Club was closed last year by a San Francisco Superior Court judge. The club had served 9,000 clients under the tenets of Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative that passed in 1996. Drafted by Peron, it was designed to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. But Peron's pot club and others around the state came under assault by former state Attorney General Dan Lungren and the U.S. Justice Department, which charged that they were illegal under federal law. So now Peron has regrouped and is trying a different angle: providing living plants to patients rather than dried smokable product. And he says his new man-of-the-soil persona suits him just fine. ``I've wanted to live out here in the country for a long time,'' Peron said in a recent interview, as he surveyed his pastoral retreat from his front yard. With his snow-white hair, white sweatshirt and white Pomeranian nestled in his arm, Peron looks like a Hermes ad for summer ensembles - except for the thumb-size spliff he is drawing on. ``I was getting tired of the city,'' he said, exhaling a blue cloud of resinous smoke. ``Up here it's quiet, the air is clean. We can grow our own food and medicine. It's wonderful.'' Peron's plans for the farm are ambitious: to grow thousands of marijuana plants in two-gallon pots, raise them to the point that they are ready to flower, then give them away or sell them at cost to his former cannabis club clients. Peron says the patients -- now numbering about 200 -- force the plants to flower with special lights, providing ample quantities of potent ``buds'' at minimal expense. ``We're running the farm as a co-operative,'' Peron said. ``Basically, everyone kicks in about $20 a month. Our rent is minimal and our expenses are low, so we get by.'' Although it is currently the dead of winter, Peron's farm is already producing plants, thanks to a complicated indoor cultivation system maintained by his lieutenant, John Entwistle. A thin, fast-talking man whose speech only gets faster as he speaks of passions such as marijuana, Entwistle has displayed a phenomenal aptitude for pot farming. ``We're working on our own strains here, some that are good for relaxation, some for pain control, some for appetite stimulation -- there's a tremendous amount of genetic variation in cannabis,'' Entwistle said as he bustled around a hothouse full of thriving potted pot plants, adjusting lights and spritzing the glossy foliage with a spray bottle. The plants grow in a medium of composted horse manure, bat guano and finely sifted soil, all mixed to Entwistle's exacting specifications. ``When a patient gets one of our plants, he doesn't have to worry about fertilizer,'' Entwistle said. ``All he has to do is water it and put it under the proper lighting schedule to force the flowers.'' Right now, the farm ships about three dozen plants a week to patients around Northern California. But Peron envisions a far greater output. He has cleared two acres of land near the farm's rambling house, which he says he will plant to marijuana this spring. ``We're going to ship hundreds of plants out of here,'' he said. ``Our patients still need their medicine, and we're going to do the best we can to get it to them.'' Peron's unyielding style has put him at odds with law enforcement, which alleged that his San Francisco club was doing little to verify the medical needs of its clients before it was shut down last May. But Peron said he has arrived at an understanding with Lake County Sheriff Rodney K. Mitchell about his new operation. ``We were raided by federal DEA agents last year, and some sheriff's deputies participated,'' Peron said. ``They took a few plants, but they saw we were legal under Proposition 215, and they haven't bothered us since. (Mitchell) is a good man -- he doesn't want to spend his time busting sick people.'' Mitchell groaned wearily when informed he had Peron's heartfelt endorsement and emphasized that he does not condone marijuana consumption, medical or otherwise. ``Dennis has a tendency to stretch the truth,'' Mitchell said. ``The facts are that we both support Proposition 215 because it is the law, and we will also enforce other laws regarding (the illegal possession or sale of) marijuana.'' Mitchell said his deputies have not taken any steps against the farm because ``we have not had clear evidence presented to us of a violation.'' ``If we develop evidence of a violation, we most definitely will step in.'' Such evidence, said Mitchell, could consist of verifiable accounts that Peron was involved in the illegal distribution of marijuana or was growing more plants than could be considered reasonable under Proposition 215. Many of the farm's plants end up in San Francisco, where most of Peron's former cannabis club patrons live. Jim Mallett and Harold Torres, two San Francisco State University area residents who are suffering from AIDS, are growing several Lake County plants in their apartment. As he and Torres snipped flowers from one of the plants preparatory to drying them, Mallett extolled the medicinal virtues of marijuana. ``We smoke the buds and use the leaves for brownies,'' he said. ``It stimulates our appetites so we can keep weight on, and it stops the nausea that our other medications cause. We'd really be in trouble without it.'' Mallett said he and Torres would not be able to afford the marijuana they need if they had to buy it on the street. ``Good marijuana costs $500 an ounce now,'' he said. Torres and Mallett also like the idea that their pot is grown organically and that it comes from a local farm run by their friends. ``We go up there a lot,'' said Torres. ``I like to cook for people and work in the garden.'' As for Peron, he says he has turned over a new leaf. ``I'll never deal pot again,'' he vowed. ``No more buying it and selling it. From now on, I'm strictly growing it.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marvin Chavez update 2/5/99 (A list subscriber describes a visit to the Orange County jail to visit the medical marijuana patient/activist just sentenced to six years in a Caifornia prison.) From: theHEMPEROR@webtv.net (JR Irvin) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 17:53:16 -0800 (PST) To: NTList@fornits.com2 Subject: [ntlist] Marvin Chavez update 2/5/99 Reply-To: theHEMPEROR@webtv.net (JR Irvin) Hi all, I went to see Marvin in the Orange County jail this afternoon. Marvin's spirits are holding out, barely. He told me to tell all of you that his spirits are good and his body is in agony. He was very happy to see a familiar face, and asked me to ask ALL of you whether or not you know him to come and make a visit or send him a letter. You could see his spirits uplift just for having a visitor. Marvin informed me that probably this coming thursday he will be transfered to Wasco prison where he will begin to serve his term. He is, of coarse, having medical difficulties. On his transfer next week to Wasco he is requesting a neck brace to support his neck for the bus drive to the prison. So far the prison nurse has refused his request. Marvin has serious spinal damage and is at high risk for serious injury during the transportation. Any abrupt stops could fracture or dislodge a disk. Marvin has asked me to ask ALL of you for help to insure that his one request is met. Please Write the Orange county Jail, and DA's office to insure this happens. This may require some organization of CFF. Please write or visit Marvin whether or not you know him just so that he knows we haven't forgoten him. It really makes a difference, especially to him. He has to know that we are here. After all, He risked it all for us. Marvin says that he is working hard inside the jails to teach of hemp and cannabis to the inmates. He informed me that he has convinced several other inmates to request their medical marijuana recomendations. The jail of coarse has refused to give him or any of the inmates any medical cannabis even though it is a medicine under California law. The jail nurses are required to make a note of the cannabis requests on the medical books. The jail will dispense harder drugs to the inmates such as prozac. I informed Marvin of the Kubby incident with the spying from the woods. As expected, he was shocked. Please call the Orange County DA's office at: 714-834-3600 Just in case that number doesn't work, try the new area code (949). For people calling from outside orange county, call 1-888-594-7600 and Jail at 714-647-4666 and politely request that Marvin at least recieve the neck brace for transport. To write or visit Marvin, Marvin Chavez Booking # 1860728 Santa Ana Central Men's Jail 550 N Flower Ave Santa Ana, CA 92703 Thank you, JR Irvin Fullerton, Orange County CA *** For help, send a HELP command to: ntlist-Request@Fornits.com To join/leave send join ntlist or leave ntlist More info: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6443/ntl.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Program Hinges On Outcome Of Class Action Suit (A press release comes from an unusual source, Bryan Krumm, a registered nurse who is one of 165 litigants in the class action federal lawsuit seeking access to medical marijuana that has been filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania by Lawrence Elliot Hirsch. Krumm says Judge Marvin Katz's decision in the case may revive New Mexico's moribund Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1978, the first state law in the nation to re-legalize medical marijuana.) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 21:05:19 -0700 (MST) From: bryan krumm (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: No medical marijuana for New Mexico "yet" Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org PRESS RELEASE 2/5/1999 NEW MEXICO'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM HINGES ON OUTCOME OF CLASS ACTION SUIT. New Mexico was the first state to re-allow the medical medical use of marijuana with the passage of the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act in 1978. Unfortunately, the State program relied on the federal govenment as a source for marijuana, and the feds have refused to allow access to this medication since 1991. This could all change due to a class action suit that has been filed in the United States District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania by Lawrence Elliot Hirsch. This suit has been filed on behalf of 165 people from 49 states who need marijuana for its therapeutic properties. The case was heard on October 21, 1998 by Judge Marvin Katz, who recommended that the litigants be placed into the Investigational New Drug Program (IND) and be supplied with 300 pre-rolled joints every month, just like the 8 individuals who were grandfathered into the program prior to its closure. These 8 people have been allowed to have access to needed medication while thousands of other American citizens are denied equal protection of the law and face serious criminal and civil penalties for treating thier illnesses with marijuana. Unfortunately, in spite of Judge Katz's recommended settlement in the case, the federal government continues to deny needed mediaction to the sick and suffering. Mr. Hirsch will be filing a motion for summary judgment in the case soon. As one of the litigants in the case, I have a direct stake in its outcome. More importantly however, reopening of the IND would allow New Mexico's medical marijuana program function once again since we would once again have a source for this medication. That is what some of our legislators are hoping for as well. I have been working with Rep. Rhonda King and Rep. James Taylor to find a way to re-open our medical marijuana program. It is felt that attempting to pass legislation during this session would be premature since it is likely that our program can be reopened when the class action is settled. However, in the event that the federal government continues to deny this medication to those in need, it may be possible to enter legislation into next years session which would allow the State to create its own supply of marijuana for the program. The people of New Mexico have a right to have access to the safest and most effective medications available. Marijuana has over 60 cannabinoids which may be therapeutically beneficial either by themselves or in some combination. In recent years scientists have discovered that many diseases may be related to improper functioning of our internal cannabinoid system and cannabinoids, such as those found in whole marijuana, may be the most effective method of treating those diseases. Legally available THC is ineffective in treating many of these diseases and has more serious side effects than whole marijuana. Hopefully, this case will put an end to police harrassment of New Mexico's sick and suffering. Bryan A. Krumm RN
------------------------------------------------------------------- Missing Marijuana Prompts Request to Dismiss Case (The Topeka Capital-Journal, in Kansas, says a public defender once again asked the Shawnee County District Court to dismiss marijuana charges against her client Thursday, since law enforcement officials got to smoke more of it than he did. In her appeal, Kris Savage summarized the 1996 Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe into the theft of 0.75 ounce of cocaine from a sheriff's department property room.) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 19:38:10 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US KS: Missing Marijuana Prompts Request to Dismiss Case Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: February 5, 1999 Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS) Copyright: 1999 The Topeka Capital-Journal Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://cjonline.com/ Author: Steve Fry The Capital-Journal MISSING MARIJUANA PROMPTS REQUEST TO DISMISS CASE Citing alleged misconduct by Shawnee County sheriff's narcotics officers in 1995 and a break in the chain of custody of marijuana confiscated in a drug case, a public defender wants the case dismissed. The request to the Shawnee County District Court to dismiss the drug case against Carlos Hernandez was filed Thursday by Kris Savage, the public defender assigned to the Northeast Kansas Conflicts Office. Hernandez is charged with felony failure to pay the Kansas drug tax and misdemeanor marijuana possession. During a preliminary hearing Jan. 20, the drug weighed almost 0.5 ounce less than when it was confiscated in January 1995. On Jan. 20, a judge denied Savage's initial request to dismiss charges. "Because of obvious and egregious misconduct by sheriff deputies during the time of the Hernandez case, any testimony by these deputies concerning the chain of custody is inherently suspect," Savage wrote in the appeal. The court can't ensure Hernandez' fundamental right to a fair trial, Savage said. In the appeal, Savage summarized the 1996 Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe into the theft of 0.75 ounce of cocaine from a sheriff's department property room. Savage included allegations and denials that Cpl. Timothy P. Oblander had taken and tampered with drug evidence, that drugs were missing from Oblander's canine training aids, that Oblander disappeared in May 1995 and that Oblander had invoked the Fifth Amendment when called to testify at an inquisition July 26, 1996. Oblander denied stealing cocaine from the sheriff's department evidence locker, denied being a cocaine user and denied telling Meneley that he stole the cocaine and was a cocaine user. Oblander said he used the Fifth Amendment during the inquisition and again Nov. 23, 1998, during another drug preliminary hearing to avoid disclosing past alcohol problems. In the challenge to throw out charges against Hernandez, Savage cited a Dec. 11, 1998, news conference by Meneley, noting the sheriff called statements by three of his deputies lies. In a prepared statement at the news conference, Meneley said statements by some deputies that he knew who took cocaine from the evidence locker in 1994 were "a lie." The statements of detective Scott Holladay, the primary investigator in the Hernandez case and a deputy who told KBI agents that Oblander's partner related to Holladay that Oblander had a cocaine problem and had entered an alcohol-drug treatment program and that Meneley knew about the problem, didn't dovetail with Meneley in the KBI investigation, Savage said. Holladay passed a polygraph test in the missing cocaine case. District Attorney Joan Hamilton has given Meneley until Sunday to give her a "reasonable and detailed explanation" of why the marijuana weighed less or her office would join the defense in a motion to dismiss the case against Hernandez. Based on examinations of other confiscated drugs in the property room, there can be "shrinkage" of 15 percent to 30 percent in marijuana due to drying, Meneley has said. Meneley has said Keith Coonrod, an expert from the New York City Police Department, would audit the sheriff's department evidence room, including drugs, on Saturday. Coonrod will make recommendations based on his findings, Meneley said. A KBI probe was triggered by the disappearance in 1994 of cocaine from the sheriff's department evidence locker. At Hamilton's request, the attorney general's office ordered the KBI to investigate the case in 1996. However, the attorney general's office concluded there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute anyone.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lobbyists May Push For Limited Legalization Of Hemp (An Associated Press article from the Free Press of Mankato, republished in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, features an interview with Minnesota state Representative Bob Gunther, a conservative grocer from Fairmont who plans to support an industrial hemp bill in the legislature. Kentucky is already allowing hemp to be cultivated in a demonstration project. "It proves to be more profitable in Kentucky, apparently, than corn and soybeans," Gunther said. He also notes that hemp was grown in Blue Earth County and other parts of Minnesota during both world wars.) Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 14:28:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MN: Lobbyists May Push For Limited Legalization Of Hemp Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 (Original Unknown) Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Copyright: Original Unknown Star Tribune Feedback: http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Website: http://www.startribune.com/ Forum: http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Author: Mark Fischenich / The Free Press of Mankato LOBBYISTS MAY PUSH FOR LIMITED LEGALIZATION OF HEMP Original Source: The Free Press of Mankato Contact: Editor@mankato-freepress.com Website: http://www.mankato-freepress.com/ ST. PAUL (AP) -- Rep. Bob Gunther, a fairly conservative grocer from Fairmont, knows he will be joining an interesting group of lobbyists if he goes ahead with plans to push for the limited legalization of hemp. Gunther sees the fibrous plant as a new alternative crop for farmers in southern Minnesota not to be used for smoking but for paper and fabric production. But in calling for legislation to allow a crop of hemp to be grown as a demonstration project, Gunther will be joining a cause often associated with hippies, head-shop owners and stoners. "It makes you wonder if you really want to do it," said Gunther, a Republican whose district includes southwestern Blue Earth County. "But I look at the greater concern, the pocketbooks of my constituents, and then I'm not so reluctant." Growing hemp is illegal in the United States, even the non-narcotic variety Gunther proposes as an alternative cash crop to soybeans and corn. The hemp he's talking about contains virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol. Better known as THC, that's the stuff which makes marijuana a potent plant for those who smoke its leaves and buds. Gunther's idea, however, is far from revolutionary. Canada already allows farmers to grow it and Kentucky is allowing it to be raised in a demonstration project. "It proves to be more profitable in Kentucky, apparently, than corn and soybeans," Gunther said. He also notes that hemp was grown in Blue Earth County and other parts of Minnesota during both world wars to supply rope to Allied forces. Still, law enforcement officials are resistant to seeing hemp legalized in any form. They' re still trying to get rid of the plants growing wild since World War II, so they'd rather not see any more planted. "It would be a great concern," said Le Sueur County Sheriff Dave Gliszinski, who also heads the county Drug Task Force. "We have eradication of wild hemp presently in summer and fall. It's growing wild all over." The wild plants generally don't pack much narcotic punch, but that doesn't stop it from being smoked and sold, Gliszinski said. "We have young kids finding it also and trying to smoke it or sell it," he said. The presence of wild hemp also makes it easier for people to hide their own plantings of marijuana, Gliszinski said. "They hide it in corn fields, they hide it in wooded areas, along marshes, in county ditches where you have a good camouflage of other weeds," he said. In addition, those transplanted marijuana plants can cross-pollinate with the wild hemp and increase its potency, Gliszinski said. He hates to think how much illegal marijuana might be hidden in a field of legal hemp, especially when a major crop of pot went unnoticed in a more obvious place in the mid-1980s. "We seized approximately 2,000 pounds of high-grade marijuana growing in a corn field in Le Sueur County," he said, adding that it wasn't discovered until a drug ring was broken. But Gunther said industrial hemp acts almost as a natural herbicide when it comes in contact with other weeds, overgrowing and killing them, making it impossible for marijuana plants to be mixed with hemp in a field. Most importantly, according to Gunther, hemp might turn out to be a valuable crop for farmers and for Minnesota's paper industry. "We're doing too good a job of raising soybeans and corn and hogs," Gunther said, referring to low prices wrought by a glut in the market for those commodities. "We need some alternative to that. They say this is one alternative." Any widespread impact would probably take time because farmers would need to find the equipment necessary to grow and harvest the crop, and buyers such as the Blandin and Boise-Cascade paper companies would need to be developed, Gunther said. But a demonstration project and some accompanying research funding might be the start of something positive for struggling Minnesota farmers. "A lot of research has to be done, and all I want to do is allow that research," Gunther said. "If it proves to be a viable alternative to soybeans and corn, I think it could be very useful."
------------------------------------------------------------------- High Court Asked To Clarify Rules In No-Knock Drug Cases (The Wisconsin State Journal says state appellate judges want the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide whether evidence obtained by prohibition agents who burst into homes unannounced can be used at trial. The dispute arises from three southern Wisconsin cases affected by a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said Wisconsin's highest court erred when it allowed no-knock searches in all felony drug cases.) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) Sent: Sunday, February 07, 1999 4:04 PM To: email@example.com Subject: HIGH COURT ASKED TO CLARIFY RULES IN NO-KNOCK DRUG Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 05 Feb 1999 Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.madison.com/ HIGH COURT ASKED TO CLARIFY RULES IN NO-KNOCK DRUG CASES Appellate judges want the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide whether evidence police obtained in drug investigations by rushing into homes unannounced can be used at trial. The dispute arose in three southern Wisconsin cases - two from Rock County and one from Columbia County - because of a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the state Supreme Court was wrong when it allowed no-knock searches in all felony drug cases. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused to create an exception to its 1995 decision that said no-knock entries usually are unlawful, prohibited by the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. Prosecutions of the three cases, involving searches of homes in Beloit and Portage, proceeded after the 1997 high court ruling, but the evidence used in them was obtained before a no-knock search was considered illegal. Other prosecutions for drug-related crimes are at stake in the legal dispute, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Kleinmaier said. "At least 10 or 12 other similar cases could be affected," he said. The state contends the evidence obtained in the searches can be used because police were acting under a law they thought was constitutional; thus they were acting in good faith. The 4th District Court of Appeals asked Thursday that the Supreme Court take up the issue, saying the dispute has ties to a 1923 court decision fashioned to deter police violations of the state Constitution. In a no-knock search, officers have a judge's permission to barge into a home without any announcement of who they are. Police say such power is needed because drug dealers often are armed, and a speedy, surprise entry prevents the destruction of evidence. "Cops are doing this every day," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Balistreri said. "It is one of the bread-and-butter law enforcement issues."
------------------------------------------------------------------- State High Court Is Asked For Ruling On Drug Searches (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel version) Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 23:22:27 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: State High Court Is Asked For Ruling On Drug Searches Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 05 Feb 1999 Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.jsonline.com/ Fax: 414-224-8280 Forum: http://www.jsonline.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimate.cgi Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. STATE HIGH COURT IS ASKED FOR RULING ON DRUG SEARCHES Issue involves evidence that police obtained after surprise entry of homes Appellate judges on Thursday asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide whether evidence police obtained in drug investigations by rushing into homes unannounced can be used at trial. The dispute arose in three southern Wisconsin cases two from Rock County and one from Columbia County because of a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the Wisconsin Supreme Court was wrong when it allowed no-knock searches in all felony drug cases. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused to create an exception to its 1995 decision that said no-knock entries usually are unlawful, prohibited by the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. Prosecution of the three cases, involving searches of homes in Beloit and Portage, proceeded after the 1997 ruling, but the evidence used in them was obtained before a no-knock search was considered illegal. Other prosecutions for drug-related crimes are at stake in the dispute, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Kleinmaier said, adding that at least 10 or 12 similar cases could be affected. The state has contended that the evidence obtained in the searches may be used because police were acting under a law they thought was constitutional, thus they were acting in good faith. The 4th District Court of Appeals asked the Supreme Court to take up the issue, saying the dispute has ties to a 1923 court decision fashioned to deter police violations of the state constitution, court records show. In a no-knock search, officers have a judge's permission to barge into a home without any announcement of who they are. Police have said such power is needed because drug dealers often are armed and a speedy, surprise entry prevents the destruction of evidence. The 1997 decision said that police had to give a judge specific reasons to obtain a no-knock search warrant that wouldn't violate a suspect's constitutional rights. In the three cases being referred to the state Supreme Court, two circuit judges ruled that the evidence obtained in no-knock searches could be used at trial, but a third judge said it couldn't. All the judges made their rulings after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision was handed down. Attorneys for defendants argue in the appeals that there is "no good-faith exception" allowing the evidence obtained in a tainted search to be used at trial, because the state Supreme Court has never created such an exception. The 4th District Court of Appeals panel agreed. "The Wisconsin Supreme Court's pronouncements on the question bear out the view that the good-faith issue remains unresolved," the panel said. "It is our recently expressed view that Wisconsin does not have a good-faith exception." Assistant State Public Defender William Schmaal said the central issue of the appeals has come up before in cases before the high court, but the justices avoided having to deal with it.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Less Lewinsky, More Barry Seal (Arkansas Times columnist Mara Leveritt considers the impeachment trial unfolding in Washington, D.C., little more than a tawdry spectacle - bread and circuses, if you will - distracting us not only from crucial affairs of state, but from a far nastier scandal that could tarnish Democrats and Republicans alike. President Clinton has yet to offer the slightest explanation for why Barry Seal was allowed to smuggle cocaine unimpeded into Mena airport in Arkansas for years, even though the nature and scope of Seal's activities were known to the DEA, the FBI, the IRS, the Louisiana State Police, and the Arkansas State Police.) Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 13:06:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AR: Column: Less Lewinsky, More Barry Seal Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: James Markes Pubdate: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 Source: Arkansas Times (AR) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.arktimes.com/ Author: Mara Leveritt - Opinion Columnist Copyright: 1998 Arkansas Times Limited Partnership LESS LEWINSKY, MORE BARRY SEAL I consider the trial unfolding in Washington little more than a tawdry spectacle -- bread and circuses, if you will -- distracting us not only from crucial affairs of state, but from a far nastier scandal that could tarnish Democrats and Republicans alike. The bipartisan nature of this ugliness, I suspect, is why no one has made much of a stink of it. To me, what's being avoided while we engage in this silliness is no less than a question of aid for the enemy at a time when we are at war. I would go so far as to use the word treason if this were a formal, military conflict, but the war I speak of is the War on Drugs, so betrayal may have a different meaning. What we do know is that while our nation has been conducting this costly War on Drugs, parts of our own government have seriously obstructed that very effort, helping major, international drug smugglers -- identified by our leaders as the enemy -- by turning a deliberate, blind eye to their activities and allowing them to continue to bring cocaine into the U.S. While we taxpayers have funded the creation of countless, state and federal drug task forces, witnessed the relentless expansion of prisons, and seen thousands doomed to life behind bars through the imposition of mandatory sentences, we also have had to face the reality that these Draconian measures are failing. In November, 1996, the San Jose Mercury-News published a remarkable series of articles by reporter Gary Webb that offered a grim look at this war's history. The gist was that, beginning in 1979, certain elements of the CIA, seeking to help Nicaragua's Contra rebels, developed questionable associations with drug smugglers, some of whom went on to supply the crack epidemic that swept Los Angeles and other cities across America. The CIA issued denials, and the Mercury-News fired Wills, saying he had overstated his case. But many Californians found the allegations credible, and in response to the resulting clamor, the CIA appointed an inspector general to investigate the series' contentions. Months later, the CIA's inspector general reported that, yes, the agency had maintained ties with suspected drug traffickers during the 1980s, though he insisted there was "no information" that the CIA had actively participated in the trafficking of drugs. The release of a second, more detailed report has been repeatedly delayed. Another disturbing bit of history has also come to light. Letters that have recently surfaced between former CIA Director William Casey and William French Smith, a former U.S. attorney general, reveal that in early 1982, the Justice Department released the CIA from its obligation to report suspected violations of U.S. narcotics laws, when the alleged violators were not CIA employees. In other words, while parts of the U.S. government were spending billions on eradication, interdiction and incarceration as tactics in the War on Drugs, the Justice Department secretly arranged for the country's main intelligence arm to legally protect drug smugglers when it chose to. This information is of particular interest here in Arkansas, where many of us have wondered for years how Barry Seal was able to operate his well-documented cocaine-smuggling business, importing, by his own account, millions of dollars worth of cocaine, without any official interference. Seal, who claimed he was working for the CIA, moved his operation to Mena in the spring of 1982 -- apparently, as the ink was drying on the Casey-Smith agreement. All that put him out of business four years later was his murder in Louisiana. The question ever since has been: who was protecting Seal? Two years ago, the CIA acknowledged that it had conducted "training exercises" at Mena while Seal had his headquarters there, and that Seal had indeed worked for the agency, in a "limited" capacity. It took a decade to extract those admissions. We can assume they're but the tip of an iceberg. Republicans will have a lot of explaining to do if questions about the CIA's connections to cocaine ever get the attention they deserve, since much of the questionable activity took place on the Reagan/Bush watch. But Democrats are on the hook too, especially President Clinton, who has yet to offer the least explanation for why Seal was allowed to operate unimpeded in Arkansas for years, even though the nature and scope of Seal's activities were known to the DEA, the FBI, the IRS, the Louisiana State Police, and the Arkansas State Police before Seal landed his first aircraft at Mena. There may be a good explanation for why our prisons were filled with petty drug dealers while people like Seal stayed in business. If so, it's time for us to hear it. If not, then this spectacle known as Monicagate is diverting attention from crimes that truly deserve the adjective "high." *** [ed. note - For more details on how the governor of one of the poorest states in the union raised enough money to run for president, see the Wormscan files, posted elsewhere at the Portland NORML site. The Mena-Clinton-Bush- Reagan-CIA-Contra-Cocaine conspiracy was thoroughly documented well before Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News discovered its peripheral manifestations. Many of those who reported various aspects of the scandal, such as Jim Norman, an editor at Forbes magazine who was fired for his efforts, had considerably more credentials than Webb or the San Jose Mercury News. About half of the material that makes up the 3.4-megabyte Wormscan files documents various aspects of the conspiracy. No one could read all the Mena- and Clinton-related material in the files without thinking it was at least worth further investigation.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- Westbound I-40 pours drug cash on police (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette describes the lucrative local drug-interdiction business along Interstate 40. Prohibition agents refer to the eastbound lanes of I-40 as "the drug side" and the westbound lanes as "the money side," where the cash is hauled back to the drug manufacturers. Under Arkansas forfeiture law, the maximum state police can keep from any single confiscation is $250,000. Any amount over the cap must go to the state's asset forfeiture fund. Because state and local law enforcement agencies that have confiscated more than $250,000 have always gone through federal forfeiture procedures to get back the money, as in Missouri, the state's asset forfeiture fund is penniless.) Date: Fri, 05 Feb 1999 12:01:03 -0500 From: Scott Dykstra (email@example.com) To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: I-40 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Westbound I-40 pours drug cash on police Ark. Dem-Gaz. 5 Feb.'99 KENNETH HEARD Westbound I-40 pours drug cash on police KENNETH HEARD ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE WEST MEMPHIS -- Routine traffic stops in Crittenden County are yielding sizable hauls of confiscated cash, indicating that drug trafficking along the corridors of Interstates 40 and 55 is on the rise, police say. Four routine traffic checks in the past month have allowed officers to collect more than $1,130,084 in cash. And law enforcement authorities say the money may be small change in the drug trade. "For every one bust, there's got to be at least 20 that get by," said Mickey Thornton, an investigator with the Crittenden County Drug Task Force. "What gets you is that we're just getting the tip of the iceberg." Police officers refer to the eastbound lanes of I-40 as "the drug side" and the westbound lanes as "the money side," where the cash is hauled back to the drug manufacturers. On Jan. 13, West Memphis police officers seized $741,104 from a vehicle on I-40. Task force agents also confiscated $72,320 during a routine stop of a passenger van on I-40 Jan. 18. Two stops this week netted other sizable takes: Monday, West Memphis police confiscated $115,660 found floating in a car's gasoline tank on I-40; the next day the Arkansas Highway Police seized $201,000 in an 18-wheeler southbound on I-55 at a Marion weigh station. In March of 1998, the Arkansas Highway Police, a traffic enforcement agency of the state Highway and Transportation Department, confiscated $3.1 million when officers conducted a routine inspection of a truck near the Lehi weigh station on I-40. It was the largest cash seizure in the state's history and the fourth-largest in the United States, department spokesman Randy Ort said. Ort said the increase in busts could be the result of more officer training. "I am hesitant to speculate on the increase," he said. "But our officers go through extensive training to inspect commercial vehicles. That extra training has obviously paid off." Officers stop vehicles on the interstates for routine traffic violations. If what officers call "red flags" are observed, they ask motorists for consent to search the vehicles. Red flags include discrepancies in drivers' and passengers' stories or odd-looking body work on vehicles. "If you stop someone who's hauling drugs or money, 99.9 percent of the time the driver and passenger will have conflicting stories about where they are headed," said Sgt. David Bassford of the West Memphis Police Department said. "If those flags go up, we ask for their consent to search the car." In many cases, motorists claim they don't know where the money came from. If the money is not tainted by drugs and detected by drug-sniffing dogs, the motorists are often released. But the money is confiscated. When money is confiscated during traffic stops, law enforcement agencies can go through either federal or state civil forfeiture procedures to obtain some of the money seized. It is more lucrative for agencies to use federal procedures because they can receive up to 80 percent of the cash. Under Arkansas forfeiture law, the maximum an agency can keep in a single confiscation is $250,000, regardless of the total seized. Any amount over the $250,000 cap would go to the state's asset forfeiture fund. Because law enforcement agencies that have confiscated more than $250,000 have always gone through federal forfeiture procedures to get back the money, the state's asset forfeiture fund is penniless, state officials say. Arkansas legislators are debating revamping the state's forfeiture statute to help fund the state Crime Laboratory. State Sen. Wayne Dowd, D-Texarkana, is sponsoring Senate Bill 94, which would require law enforcement agencies to file with the Administrative Office of Courts a record of money or other items seized during traffic stops. "If they change that, we'll be out of a job," the county drug task force's Thornton speculated about a law that would give the state a bigger bite of the money. "No local government is going to pay [for drug enforcement] that kind of money that we get [from confiscation]." Four agencies - the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Highway Police, the Crittenden County Drug Task Force and West Memphis police - are all involved in drug interdiction programs along the interstates in Crittenden County. Arkansas State Police Sgt. Steve Gray of Forrest City said that has helped in making more confiscations. "There's more people looking for it now," Gray said. "There's more of an emphasis on drugs. Everybody's looking. Sooner or later they're going to find something." But he added that he thought drug dealing also was on the rise. He said police also have noticed an increase in the use of tractor-trailer rigs to haul drugs or money across the country. The interstate system is the main route for drug dealers, police say. Drugs from California cross the country on I-40. Drugs in Texas and Mexico are hauled north on Interstate 30 to Little Rock and then east on I-40. Most of the drugs are marijuana and cocaine headed for the East Coast. "A lot of the marijuana is from Mexico, where it's a higher grade," Crittenden County Sheriff Richard Busby said. "I guess the Yankees up North like that kind. "Busts like we've had here aren't going to stop [drug trafficking]," he added. "It's a big business. If they lose a couple hundred thousand dollars but slip a million through, they've still made a lot of money." Thornton called I-40 "the drug pipeline." He said it may be more lucrative for officers to patrol only the westbound lanes of the interstate in hopes of making more cash confiscations, but such selective seizures probably would not hold up in court. "Besides," Thornton said, "drug enforcement is our job." He said dealers have become more inventive in hiding drugs and money in their vehicles. Contraband used to be hidden in bags in the trunk or in suitcases in the back seats. Now, he said, hidden compartments are common. He said he recalls one instance where deputies could access a secret panel in a vehicle's back seat only after turning on a series of vehicle instruments, including a rear-window defogger. "It's like a game for everyone," Thornton said. "How well can they hide it and how well can we find it? "There's so much money involved in the drug business. No matter what we do, they're still going to keep on doing it." 02/05/99 06:40:51 PST
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Arrests Continue (The Southwest Times Record serves as police spokesman in a one-sided account of a roundup of 22 alleged drug offenders in Van Buren, Arkansas, after a three-month undercover investigation by the 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force.) Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 04:17:57 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AR: Drug Arrests Continue Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: James Markes Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 Source: Southwest Times Record (AR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.swtimes.com/ Author: Mary L. Crider - Times Record DRUG ARRESTS CONTINUE Drug arrests continued Thursday in the wake of the warrant roundup Wednesday of alleged drug dealers targeted after a three-month, undercover 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force investigation. By late Thursday morning, the two-officer warrant teams composed of Van Buren police officers and state troopers had served 20 warrants and made two additional felony drug arrests based on probable cause stemming from the roundup, Van Buren Capt. Ronnie Blount said. The task force has one warrant left to serve and expects more arrests based on information received during the arrests already made, Van Buren Chief Mason Childers said. Warrant charges included possession and attempt to deliver methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and Lorcet and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officers seized a few ounces of marijuana from the two arrested on probable cause during the roundup, Childers said. "Everything went smooth, and there were no additional charges other than the warrant charges - we didn't have anybody attempt to flee or draw weapons on us," Blount said, attributing it to the surprise factor. Arrests released by the Van Buren Police Department as of Thursday included Robert Lewis, 18, for delivery of marijuana; Patrick Dillard, 19, for delivery of methamphetamine; Bradley Bennett, 18, for delivery of cocaine; Danny Reed, 43, for delivery of methamphetamine; Jcena Green, 19, delivery of marijuana; Barbara Pickern, 38, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia; Carrie Gregory, 18, delivery of marijuana; Steve Shearburn, 22, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana; Stillman Connacher, 50, delivery of methamphetamine; Darrell Boyd, 53, delivery of Lorcet; Harold Boyd, 53, delivery of Lorcet; Robert Jones, 27, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver; Billy Freeman, 21, delivery of marijuana; Timothy Riley, 21, conspiracy to deliver marijuana; Teresa Moses, 21, delivery of methamphetamine and marijuana; James Moses, 18, delivery of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver; and William Staggs, 18, delivery of marijuana and possession of marijuana. Those arrested may have gone quietly, but that doesn't mean they haven't fussed. One man visited the police station Thursday morning, complaining about his door having been kicked in as his warrant was served and demanding to speak to the chief. Blount pointed out the officers had a legal warrant at the time, offered him another copy of the warrant and advised him to consult an attorney if he wished to make a formal complaint. The man thanked him. With the cooperation of Van Buren Housing Authority officials and apartment complex and area business and plant owners and managers, the task force placed undercover operatives in key positions to observe drug transactions. Safety and production concerns motivated the community leaders to ask for the task force's help, Sgt. George Cabaniss said. Childers has warned that those knowing the whereabouts of and assisting wanted persons to evade arrest may be arrested themselves for hindering police efforts. Those arrested in the task force roundup are expected to be arraigned next week.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Daughter: Wynette was taking narcotics and wanted divorce when she died (The Associated Press says one of the daughters of Tammy Wynette, the country music star, says her mother was taking narcotics and wanted a divorce from her fifth husband when she died last year in Nashville, Tennessee. Jackie Daly says she has no evidence of wrongdoing, but wants an exhumation and autopsy performed in order to know if her mother's death was drug-related.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Tammy Wynette on narcotics and wanting divorce at death Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 22:21:45 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Daughter: Wynette was taking narcotics and wanted divorce when she died By JIM PATTERSON The Associated Press 02/05/99 7:55 PM Eastern NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tammy Wynette was taking narcotics and wanted a divorce from her fifth husband when she died last year, according to one of her daughters who wants her mother's body exhumed and an autopsy done. Jackie Daly said she has no evidence of wrongdoing. She just wants to erase any doubt about what killed her mother. "I'd just like to know what happened for some kind of peace of mind for myself. I'd hate to think I'd have to go forever and not know what happened," she told The Associated Press on Friday. Wynette's manager-husband, George Richey, found her body in their Nashville home April 6. Wynette's personal doctor, Wallis Marsh, flew in from Pittsburgh that evening and listed the cause of death as a blood clot to the lungs. No autopsy was performed. "If in fact it was a blood clot, then that's terrific," Daly said. "So be it and there's closure and that's all we're wanting to know. If it was drug-related or ... liver failure or whatever -- then I would also like to know that." Daly and two of her sisters, Tina Jones and Georgette Smith, wrote letters to Dr. Bruce Levy, Nashville's medical examiner, and the district attorney's office in November asking for an autopsy, Daly said. They got no response until the request became public last week after an employee in the medical examiner's office tried to sell one of letters to a supermarket tabloid, Daly said. The sisters plan to meet with Levy on Monday. Wynette, who was 55 when she died, had 20 No. 1 hits, including her anthem, "Stand By Your Man." But she endured health problems for much of her life, including intestinal scarring from several surgeries. "At one point in time she was taking (the painkiller) Stadol, she took Valium, she took Demerol," Daly said. "They were all prescription. "In the last years, I don't what she was taking, but if they do an autopsy they will most definitely find several different kind of narcotics in her." Wynette was married to Richey for 20 years, longer than any of her other husbands. Daly said her mother wanted to leave Richey, but was scared. "She told me on several occasions that she wanted to divorce him," Daly said. She didn't because she was afraid of him and worried about what her fans would think, Daly said. Richey did not return a phone message left Friday afternoon at Tammy Wynette Enterprises, which he runs. *** When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put "unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail instead (No quotation marks.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- City officer faces drug charges (The Morning Call, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says Thomas W. Ritter was charged with theft and possession of a controlled substance Thursday, a decade after the Bethlehem police vice officer stole cocaine worth about $1,600 from a police evidence room. Police say the case was broken when Ritter's wife filed for a protection-from-abuse order in early January and told police he was addicted to drugs and had stolen cocaine from an evidence locker.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Cop faces drug charges Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 22:07:03 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Source: The Morning Call Online: http://www.mcall.com:80/html/news/regional/33009.htm City officer faces drug charges His wife reported he used cocaine evidence from locker, officials say. 02/05/99 By PHIL BOYLE And DEBBIE GARLICKI Of The Morning Call About a decade ago, a Bethlehem police vice officer stole cocaine worth about $1,600 from a police evidence room, officials say. On Thursday, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli charged the officer, Thomas W. Ritter -- who in 1996 was promoted to detective sergeant -- with theft and possession of a controlled substance. Police say the case was broken when Ritter's wife, Pamela, filed for a protection-from-abuse order in early January and told police he was addicted to drugs and had stolen cocaine from a police headquarters evidence locker. At a hearing Thursday, Lehigh County Judge Thomas A. Wallitsch issued a final protection order against Thomas Ritter after Pamela Ritter testified he physically abused and threatened her and that she feared for her life -- especially after she told authorities about the stolen drugs. Her lawyer, John P. Karoly, alleged during the hearing that other officers may have known about Thomas Ritter's drug use and where he got the drugs. But Morganelli and Bethlehem Police Commissioner Eugene Learn said no other officers are involved in their investigation. ''That is absolutely not accurate,'' Morganelli said. ''There are no other officers involved. I don't know where Mr. Karoly is getting his information.'' Ritter told police he removed the evidence envelope from a 55 gallon drum in the vice office in 1990, after the drugs had been destroyed, to use it as a sample to fill out evidence and lab reports, according to an affidavit of probable cause for Ritter's arrest. Learn revealed that he accepted Ritter's resignation, effective Wednesday, and that the case involved only one theft. Ritter, 42, who has been suspended during a three-week investigation, was arraigned before District Justice James Stocklas and released on $5,000 recognizance bond pending a preliminary hearing next Friday. According to the affidavit: On Aug. 4, 1987, police seized 33.9 grams of cocaine from Eulogio Sanchez during a search of a home at 530 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem. Sanchez later was convicted of drug charges. The evidence was taken to court Feb. 16, 1988, returned to the evidence room Feb. 22 and destroyed May 10, 1996. On Jan. 4, Pamela Ritter gave the evidence envelope to Lehigh County Detective Benny Pacelli, who tested residue in the two plastic bags inside and found it was cocaine. Pacelli on Jan. 7 gave the envelop to Learn. Bethlehem police record such evidence as destroyed, place it in a box or barrel for destruction, then periodically incinerate it. Pamela Ritter told police she found the evidence envelope in her basement in June 1995 or 1996. She said one of the small bags contained a half-teaspoon of white powder, which she dumped down the toilet. She kept the envelope in her home until she gave it to Pacelli. On Jan. 5, a Lehigh County judge signed a temporary protection-from-abuse order against Thomas Ritter after Pamela Ritter said he assaulted her Dec. 30 in their home at 916 W. Lehigh St., Bethlehem. The order required Ritter to relinquish all weapons and evicted him from their house. During Thursday's protectionfrom-abuse hearing, Pamela Ritter said she became more afraid of her husband after she told authorities he had been stealing cocaine from police evidence. Thomas Ritter's lawyer, Richard Pepper, objected to many questions Karoly asked Pamela Ritter, saying Karoly was trying to ''smear'' Thomas Ritter. At the start of the hearing, Pepper said he prepared a divorce complaint for Thomas Ritter, and though Ritter did not admit his wife's allegations, there was no reason they should have contact. But Karoly said he wanted the court to hear the allegations. Pamela Ritter said her husband abused her for 3-1/2 years, often flying into a rage after coming home from work. She said she talked to her husband about his anger and he admitted he was using cocaine. He told her he got it from evidence envelopes at work, and she found some of the envelopes with cocaine in them. Pamela Ritter also said her husband told her that if she ever revealed what she had found, he would see that she would die and no one would find her body parts. Thomas Ritter also is a deputy coroner in Lehigh County. Pepper said Thomas Ritter had been under stress and had persistent pain, for which he took prescription pain medication, after a 1983 shooting and a car accident on the job several years ago that traumatized him. Pepper said Thomas Ritter's problems started in 1983 after the shooting. Pamela Ritter acknowledged that her husband voluntarily got treatment for drug abuse and never admitted using drugs after that but said he still was short-tempered and volatile. When Karoly asked Thomas Ritter if he admitted abusing his wife, Pepper objected and said Ritter would invoke his right against self-incrimination. Karoly asked: Did you threaten your wife that if she revealed your theft of drugs from the Bethlehem Police Department, you would kill her? ''Fifth Amendment, judge,'' Pepper said. Pepper questioned what evidence Karoly had of other officers being involved in corruption. Karoly said his comments weren't intended to lambast the entire police department but that there are allegations that other officers may have conspired with Ritter or known of his drug use. In an elevator after the hearing, Pamela Ritter burst into tears and cried, ''I've just been so scared.'
------------------------------------------------------------------- 5th-Grader Busted For Selling Drugs (The Associated Press says the 11-year-old boy in Middletown, New York, was charged with selling marijuana mixed with oregano and fake crack cocaine to his classmates. The news service fails to note adult prohibition has, for the last 25 years, made marijuana and other illegal substances more accessible to kids than adults: According to annual Monitoring the Future surveys, about 85 percent of high school seniors have consistently reported that marijuana is or would be easy for them to find, if they wanted it.) Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 14:28:32 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US NY: Wire: 5th-Grader Busted For Selling Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 Source: Associated Press Copyright: 1999 Associated Press 5TH-GRADER BUSTED FOR SELLING DRUGS MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (AP) An 11-year-old boy was charged with selling marijuana and fake crack to his fifth-grade classmates. Students told a teacher at Maple Hill Elementary School on Wednesday that the boy had been distributing small amounts of marijuana and clumps of bar soap passed off as crack. "Best case scenario is it's limited to five or six kids," Middletown Superintendent Robert Sigler said. "Worst case scenario, it's as many as 20 or so." The boy was released to his mother pending an appearance Feb. 12 in Orange County Family Court. He was charged with criminal sale of marijuana and the sale of an imitation controlled substance. State Police Investigator Michael DeWitt said police are still trying to determine how the boy obtained the marijuana. He said the boy had mixed the small amount of marijuana with oregano to try to make more money. Middletown is 55 miles northwest of New York City.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Need your coffee? Here's why if you can't get going (According to an MSNBC broadcast, a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth shows that for women, addiction to caffeine may "be genetic.") From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Need your coffee? Here's why If you can't get going Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 22:07:55 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org [If addiction is genetic, then drug use is like breathing and users need to be a protected minority!--cc] *** Newshawk: email@example.com Source: MSNBC.com Online: http://www.msnbc.com/local/KCBD/14982.asp Need your coffee? Here's why If you can't get going in the morning without that cup of coffee, you have a good excuse ... but only if you're a woman. A new study shows that for women, addiction to caffeine, may be genetic. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth studied nearly two thousand twins, all girls. The scientists say the genes the women inherited influenced how much caffeine they drank and how likely the were to become addicted to that early morning jolt. So how do you know if you're hooked? Dr. Kenneth Kendler, professor of Psychiatry has the answer. "If you're the kind of coffee drinker who needs to take three or four or five cups a day to feel good, to be able to get that kick in the morning, if you get a little bit of a headache when you don't have coffee for a while or you notice that you need to be drinking more caffeine to have the same effect. Dr. Kendler says women should be forewarned that the biological process that makes a person addicted to caffeine is not that different from what happens when a person is addicted to nicotine, alcohol or any other drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- McCaffrey reported to pack heat (A list subscriber posts an excerpt from the Washington Times saying the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, has been "deputized" by the U.S. Marshals Service so that he can legally carry a concealed firearm. It's sort of surprising, since McCaffrey is never seen in public, where someone might challenge his record of lies and disinformation.) Date: Mon, 08 Feb 1999 00:47:43 -0500 To: "DRCTalk Reformers' Forum" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: ltneidow@VOYAGER.NET (Lee T. Neidow) Subject: McCaffrey reported to pack heat Sender: email@example.com Washington Times, Feb. 5, 1999: Inside the Beltway revealed recently that White House drug policy adviser Barry R. McCaffrey, concerned for his personal safety, was "deputized" by the U.S. Marshals Service so that he can legally carry a concealed firearm. Curious how many other non-law enforcement types in the federal government were packing guns, we approached William M. Dempsey, chief spokesman for the Marshals Service. "There were a few more a few years ago that had special deputation, but at the present time I understand there's only three individuals outside of the law enforcement community," he discloses. "There are no members of Congress at this time, and no judges that have special deputation, but there are three individuals in the non-law enforcement office group." He identifies them only as two officials in the executive branch (including Mr. McCaffrey) and an aide to a congressman "on the receiving end of death threats." *** Whether a threat is real or imagined, violence does nothing to advance the cause of any reform movement. Lee
------------------------------------------------------------------- Clinton Budget Is Soft On Crime, Republicans Say (According to a Los Angeles Times piece syndicated in the Seattle Times, Republicans on Capitol Hill yesterday said the White House's newly released budget proposal would mean deep cuts in the war on drugs, money for local police, and other law-enforcement black holes. White House officials dismissed the GOP claims, noting that since 1993, when Clinton took office, Justice Department funding has increased 88 percent. Clinton's proposed budget calls for $17.8 billion for the federal war on some drug users, an increase of about $800 million from Clinton's budget proposal last year.) Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 04:06:07 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Clinton Budget Is Soft On Crime, Republicans Say Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/ Author: Eric Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times CLINTON BUDGET IS SOFT ON CRIME, REPUBLICANS SAY WASHINGTON - Republicans on Capitol Hill went on the attack yesterday over President Clinton's commitment to fighting crime, saying that the White House's newly released budget plan would mean deep cuts in the war on drugs, money for local police and other key law-enforcement areas. Administration officials quickly dismissed such claims, noting that since 1993, when Clinton took office, Justice Department funding has risen 88 percent. "Our commitment to fighting crime remains as high as it has ever been," department spokesman Myron Marlin said. The debate signals another bruising battle in Congress over Clinton's budget, proposed earlier this week, as Republicans seek to portray themselves as the law-and-order party and Clinton as soft on crime. "Time and time again, this administration demonstrates a reluctance to be serious about the drug war," said Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., flanked at a media briefing by five other Republican members of Congress. "There's going to have to be a major debate with the administration here." Clinton wants to severely cut funding for new police officers nationwide this year because he says his hiring program will have met its goal of putting 100,000 new officers on the street. He is also moving to eliminate $523 million in law-enforcement block grants. Justice Department officials said Clinton's plan actually represents an increase of about 1.6 percent in total department funding, but the proposal seeks to redirect money to more narrowly targeted needs - such as new technology, more prisons and the hiring of additional prosecutors and probation officers - rather than doling out largely unrestricted money. Republican critics "are focusing on what programs have been cut, rather than on the new programs that we are funding, and those are the programs that local law-enforcement officials tell us they need on a day-to-day level," said a Justice Department budget official, who asked not to be identified. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticized Clinton for seeking money "to turn prosecutors into social workers . . . and provide punishments such as recreational programs" for young, violent offenders. This would come at the expense, he said, of hundreds of millions of dollars for more worthy programs in such areas as juvenile crime and violence against women. The White House budget plan also calls for $17.8 billion to combat drugs, with continued emphasis on curtailing demand. That total represents an increase of about $800 million over Clinton's proposal last year, but a slight decrease from what was ultimately appropriated by Congress. Republicans said yesterday that they were particularly troubled by an apparent shift away from intercepting drugs at the borders, with cuts in such critical areas as the Coast Guard's drug-interdiction efforts. "This is a serious war. This is not a war you `just say maybe' about," said Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "You win this war."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Declares 'Total War' On Drugs (A Knight Ridder news service article in the Orange County Register says the Mexican government unveiled a new armada of high-tech weapons Thursday, from satellites to radar-equipped speedboats. The government's demonstration of sincerity began just as U.S. lawmakers launched their annual debate over whether to certify Mexico as an ally in the war on some drug users.) Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 04:06:17 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexico Declares 'Total War' On Drugs Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Section: News, Page 30 Author: Ricardo Sandoval - Knight Ridder Newspapers MEXICO DECLARES 'TOTAL WAR' ON DRUGS Government: The high-tech effort comes as U.S. lawmakers begin debate on that country's certification. Mexico City - Unveiling a new armada of high-tech weapons from satellites to radar-equipped speedboats, the Mexican government Thursday declared "total war" on drug trafficking, just as U.S. lawmakers begin the annual debate over whether to certify Mexico as a good ally in the war on drugs. At a joint briefing with the country's attorney general, defense minister and navy secretary, Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Labastida said President Ernesto Zedillo has decided to combat drug trafficking "with all the power of the law and the government" because "drugs constitute the greatest threat to our national security." Labastida outlined an eight-point plan that includes beefing up communications among local police and the 13 Mexican federal agencies with drug-enforcement responsibilities, as well as interdicting drugs before they enter Mexico from Central and South America. Recent U.S. reports back up what street-level drug agents in Mexico have been saying for almost a year: Traffickers are becoming more diverse in their choice of smuggling means and routes, shipping more drugs into the United States via air and water from Mexico's Caribbean coast and remote spots in Baja California. The Mexico officials said Wednesday that this nation will spend about $500 million on an array of satellite-communications technology, aircraft, naval vessels, and training of new police and military agents. Drug-money laundering has also become more of a headache for Mexico, as evidenced by a slew of recent arrests. The U.S.run Operation Casablanca sting operation snared Mexican bank officials who were handling money for drug traffickers. More recently, new evidence - and Mexican government investigations - suggests that some high-ranking Mexican politicians are linked to drug-running. The most recent accusations have been lobbed at Mario Villanueva, governor of the tourist-dependent state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula, from which more and more drugs are heading for U.S. cities, according to government reports on Mexican drug activities. Villanueva has vigorously denied any links to traffickers. Although Mexican leaders said the roll-out of the ambitious two-year plan to combat narcotics trafficking has nothing to do with the U.S. certification process, analysts who follow the illegal drug trade said the timing was intended as a clear message to the U.S. Congress. In March, after receiving reports from the Clinton administration on whether it recommends certifying the drug-fighting efforts of almost 30 countries, Congress will weigh efforts by those countries to fight drugs. Decertification could lead to trade sanctions and restrictions on U.S. aid, and there is a split in Washington over how to evaluate Mexico's performance in the drug war. State Department and White House officials are said to believe Mexico is doing better in such efforts, while Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Customs Service officials are quietly suggesting that Mexico is not worthy of certification. Despite the obvious timing, Mexican government officials insist the increase in anti-drug activity is solely for the benefit of the Mexican people. "We don't do these things because they serve the interests of the United States," said Juan Rebolledo, Mexico's deputy foreign minister in charge of U.S. relations. "We do this because (drugs) hurt us here. It corrupts from within." Drug-trade analysts say Mexico is much better at fighting drugs than many other Latin American countries - the source of more than two-thirds of the cocaine, marijuana and heroin consumed in the United States. "The timing of these moves is all about certification," said Peter Reuter, a professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs. "But the reality is the Mexico, apart from the certification process, is taking the drug problem more seriously. Other countries don't care, except when the United States is yelling at them about drug production." Yet for all of the money Mexico is about to spend to invigorate its war on drugs, few experts are convinced that high-tech gadgets like satellite trackers and X-ray machines that can spot drugs inside trucks and other vehicles will turn the tide. "There is a history of hardware not making much of a difference," Reuter said. "You can't dismiss technology, but nothing beats good human intelligence. ... For all of the high-tech equipment we in the United States use, the price of cocaine and heroin continues to come down, indicating a greater supply."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico Turns To High-Tech Tools In War On Drugs (The Los Angeles Times version in the San Francisco Chronicle) Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 04:06:19 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Mexico: Mexico Turns To High-Tech Tools In War On Drugs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Copyright: 1999 San Francisco Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Forum: http://www.sfgate.com/conferences/ Author: James F. Smith, Los Angeles Times MEXICO TURNS TO HIGH-TECH TOOLS IN WAR ON DRUGS Program could cost up to $500 million over next 3 years The Mexican government revealed a high-tech strategy yesterday to wage ``a total war against drug trafficking,'' including new satellite surveillance, X-ray detection systems and high-speed navy patrol boats. Interior Secretary Francisco Labastida Ochoa, a likely presidential candidate who is responsible for domestic security, said key government departments had spent 10 months developing the plan to fight the drug scourge, which he said ``constitutes the gravest threat to our national security.'' The announcement came just weeks before the March 1 deadline when President Clinton must inform Congress whether Mexico and 27 other countries have fully cooperated in the war on drugs. Getting a failing grade on the certification scorecard could lead to financial sanctions, and at the very least would create a major diplomatic rift between the United States and Mexico after a year of strained relations over drug-related disputes. Labastida joined Defense Secretary Enrique Cervantes Aguirre in disclosing the new strategy, highlighting the growing role of the Mexican military in the anti-drug campaign. Officials showed off some of the new equipment, including a 10-ton truck with a hydraulic X-ray arm that can detect drugs or weapons in any vehicle. Attorney General Jorge Madrazo Cuellar said five of the trucks will be installed at critical points on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala as well as at Nuevo Laredo and Mexicali on the U.S. border. Eight more rigs will be added during the year, he said, along with smaller X-ray machines that reveal hidden weapons and drugs stashed in clothing and body cavities. In all, the program calls for spending as much as $500 million in the next three years. Madrazo, who has daily control of the drug war, said Mexico ranks first worldwide in eradication of illicit crops, especially marijuana and poppies. He said 44,730 people had been arrested in Mexico on drug charges since December 1994, when President Ernesto Zedillo took office. Madrazo also said the anti-drug police will add 24 helicopters to the eradication program, bringing the fleet to 64, with greater reliance on satellite images to detect illegal crops. Labastida said the strategy includes greater emphasis on intercepting cocaine and other drugs heading into Mexico from the south, denying South American traffickers a key transit route for cocaine into the United States. The program relies heavily on cutting-edge technology, which Navy Secretary Jose Ramon Lorenzo Franco said is essential since the traffickers are diversifying their routes and using high-tech tools themselves. In response, Lorenzo Franco said, the navy is building eight gunships equipped with helicopters and high-speed boats to combat the increasing use of quick coastal drops on the Caribbean coast. After their presentations, the officials declined to answer questions. It was not clear whether any U.S. or other foreign assistance is supporting the new strategy, as has been the case in previous Mexican anti-drug programs, such as a year-old money-laundering initiative. Repeated incidents of high-level corruption, including the arrest of the country's previous anti-drug czar on trafficking charges and allegations of military involvement in drugs, have prompted angry complaints by some U.S. politicians that Mexico is not doing enough to fight drug trafficking.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Doctors Warn On Danger Of Heroin-alcohol Mix (The Age, in Melbourne, Australia, says a four-month study last year that analysed treatments at St Vincent's Hospital emergency department for intravenous drug-related problems, including overdoses, found that nearly one in four intravenous drug users treated in emergency had used alcohol or other hard drugs in conjunction with the drug which supposedly caused their "overdose." While the newspaper performs a public service by alerting intravenous drug users to a real peril, it fails to note the recent study only confirms the 1972 Consumers Union Report on Licit & Illicit Drugs, particularly the chapter on "The 'Heroin Overdose' Mystery and Other Hazards Of Addiction," which explains why so-called "heroin overdoses" are caused by prohibition, not heroin itself.) Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 23:53:41 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Doctors Warn On Danger Of Heroin-alcohol Mix Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Russell) Source: Age, The (Australia) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.theage.com.au/ Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd Pubdate: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 Author: Darren Gray DOCTORS WARN ON DANGER OF HEROIN-ALCOHOL MIX Many heroin users take heroin along with other drugs such as alcohol, increasing their risk of a fatal overdose, Melbourne doctors have warned. Emergency specialists expressed concern at the growing phenomenon, which they described as "poly drug abuse," as the state's heroin death toll continues to rise. The warning comes after an analysis of treatments at St Vincent's Hospital emergency department for intravenous drug-related problems, including overdoses. The four-month study, conducted by a fifth-year medical student from July to October last year, found nearly one in four intravenous drug users treated in emergency had both injected and swallowed drugs. Associate Professor Peter Cameron, of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, warned that heroin mixed with alcohol or sedatives worsened the impact of respiratory depression on the body. Professor Cameron, who is also the director of emergency at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said: "It's dangerous to take heroin at any time, but it makes it more dangerous when you are on these other drugs too. You only have to stop breathing for four or five minutes and you are dead." Heroin was the most commonly used intravenous drug in the St Vincent's study, accounting for 56 per cent of cases. A number of patients were treated for complications caused by intravenous drug use, such as serious bacterial infections, drug associated side-effects and vascular problems. Sixty-four per cent of cases were rated urgent or worse by hospital emergency staff. In total, 184 patients were treated in the hospital's emergency department for intravenous drug use, an average of 1.5 patients a day. Other findings include: The average age of intravenous drug-using patients was 26.4. The patients ranged in age from 16 to 45 years. Nearly two out of three patients were men. About 10 per cent of cases needed immediate resuscitation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Charmed Life Of Smuggler Who Got Away (According to the Daily Telegraph, in Britain, it could be said in the wake of a case dismissed yesterday at Bristol Crown Court that Brian Charrington, a car dealer, police informant and convicted drug smuggler, has enjoyed a remarkably charmed life. As he sits in the sun at his luxurious Spanish seaside villa, he can reflect on the fact that he has prevailed in two of the biggest drugs cases in British criminal history, after investigations by police and Customs which have cost British taxpapers tens of millions of pounds.) Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 14:28:33 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: Charmed Life Of Smuggler Who Got Away Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: 5 Feb 1999 Source: Daily Telegraph (UK) Copyright: of Telegraph Group Limited 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ CHARMED LIFE OF SMUGGLER WHO GOT AWAY BRIAN CHARRINGTON (left), car dealer, police informant and convicted drug smuggler, could be said to have have enjoyed a remarkably charmed life. As he sits in the sun, in the surroundings of his luxurious Spanish seaside villa, he can reflect on the fact that he has faced allegations in two of the biggest drugs cases in British criminal history, after investigations by police and Customs which have cost British taxpapers tens of millions of pounds. Yet he has no drugs convictions in Britain. In the first case, in 1993, brought by Customs after investigations into some of the largest cocaine smuggling activities seen in Britain, the charges against him were dropped after it was disclosed that he had been a police informant. One seizure of cocaine had totalled pounds 150 million. In the second case, which crashed yesterday at Bristol Crown Court amid criticism of Customs, he was alleged to be the mastermind behind a massive amount of cannabis on a yacht, Simon de Danser, boarded by Customs and the Special Boat Squadron, in international waters off the coast of Spain. The collapse of the case, however, forced the Crown Prosecution Service to announce that it would no longer seek Charrington's extradition from Spain over the Simon de Danser. In Spain Charrington, 41, is on pounds 100,000 bail facing drug charges unrelated to the yacht. A father of two teenage children, he was arrested in May 1997 at his villa near Calpe, on the south-east coast, after an Anglo-Spanish operation. He was accused by the investigating magistrate of being involved in drug runs from Spain. The amount and exactly what role Charrington played has not been revealed. The case was referred to the National Criminal Court in Madrid and he was bailed after six months on remand. He has to report three times a week to the authorities in Calpe. No date has been set for his trial and he lives in his villa. British police, including the Cleveland force, where he was an informant, remain ready to help the Spanish. Charrington has been convicted in his absence in France of involvement in cannabis after a yacht was seized by the French in 1995. So far, there seems to have been no move by the French to enforce the conviction. The 1993 case spurred two inquiries into Charrington's links with police - one an investigation by Thames Valley police, supervised by the Police Complaints Authority. It has been decided that no criminal or disciplinary proceedings will be taken against any police officers.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 77 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original compilation of news and calls to action regarding drug policy, including - Fungus funding; Clinton's new drug control strategy repeats mistakes of the past; Pentagon restricts use of troops in border drug war; Interview with Timothy Dunn, author of "The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992"; Needle exchange controversy in Australia; Memorial - Rod Sorge; Event info; First prisoner released under Michigan 650 Lifer Law reform; Increased penalties, prison sentences don't deter drug use, ABA study finds) Date: Fri, 05 Feb 1999 04:07:30 -0500 To: email@example.com From: DRCNet (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #77 Sender: email@example.com The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #77 - February 5, 1999 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:email@example.com for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) (This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/.) PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of The Week Online is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: Drug Reform Coordination Network, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Articles of a purely educational nature in The Week Online appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted. NOTE TO OUR READERS: Technical difficulties last week caused distribution of Issue #76 of The Week Online to be delayed for 24 hours and then to go out twice. We've also had one report of the issue not showing up in a subscriber's mailbox. We've found a partial workaround to minimize such difficulties in the future, but there will never be a perfect solution on the Internet. Please note that the current issue of The Week Online is always available on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/ -- if for some reason it doesn't show up in your mailbox, chances are you will be able to find it there from Friday morning. Please accept our apologies for last week's inconvenience. DRCNet's Associate Director, Adam J. Smith, is out with the flu, and won't be providing an editorial this week. We expect Adam and his editorials to be back next week, though, so stay tuned! If you're going into editorial withdrawal, check out some of the back issues on our WOL archives page, http://www.drcnet.org/wol/archives.html. DRCNet is in need of contributions to our 510(c)(4) lobbying organization, the Drug Reform Coordination Network. Please support our legislative work with a donation by check or credit card -- visit http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html or mail your check or money order to: DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. You can also support DRCNet by participating in the iGive online fundraising program (formerly eyegive). Register to support DRCNet at http://www.igive.com/html/ssi.cfm?CID=1060 (we earn $2 immediately when you do), and visit the iGive home page at http://www.igive.com and point and click up to five times a day to earn much needed funds for the organization! Also, tax-deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made to the DRCNet Foundation. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Fungus Funding http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#fungi2 2. Clinton's New Drug Control Strategy Repeats Mistakes of the Past http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#strategy 3. Pentagon Restricts Use of Troops in Border Drug War http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#pentagon 4. Interview with Timothy Dunn http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#dunn 5. Needle Exchange Controversy in Australia http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#redfern 6. Memorial http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#memorial 7. Event Info http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#events 8. First Prisoner Released Under Michigan 650 Lifer Law Reform http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#jedonna 9. Increased Penalties, Prison Sentences Don't Deter Drug Use, ABA Study Finds http://www.drcnet.org/wol/077.html#abastudy *** 1. Fungus Funding In last week's edition of the Week Online and DRCNN, we reported on a U.S. government-funded project to develop killer fungi to wipe out coca, opium poppy, and marijuana plants around the world. The story noted that as of press time, a spokeswoman for Agricultural Research Services (ARS), the USDA program that received the funding for the research, had not returned phone calls requesting information on the status of the project. This Monday, however, we received a call from the spokeswoman, Sandy Miller Hayes, who corrected and clarified some of the points DRCNet made in the original story. (Original story online at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/076.html#fungi.) First, Hayes stressed that contrary to most published reports about the project (including the Week Online), ARS researchers will not tamper with the fungi's genetic codes. Rather, the research will focus on naturally-occurring mycoherbicides and test the feasibility of cultivating and releasing them in greater concentrations in target areas. "We're not trying to develop any kind of superbug here," she said. Asked whether a mycoherbicide would know the difference between industrial hemp and cannabis, Hayes said, "We are asked that question a lot, and I believe the answer is no. A fungus which selectively attacked marijuana plants would probably destroy industrial hemp as well." But, she added, the ARS project will focus only on coca for the time being. What about the danger of mycoherbicides spreading to "legitimate" drug crops, grown for medicinal purposes, as well as other narcotics crops considered acceptable in some countries and not in others? Hayes acknowledged that care would have to be taken to protect medicinal crops. "Of course," she added, "every country would decide for itself whether and how to use these fungi." Finally, asked about the potential for the fungi to mutate and spread to non-drug crops, Hayes said ARS scientists believe such a scenario is unlikely. "First, the subspecies of the kind of fungus we're talking about, fusarium oxysporum erythroxyli in the case of coca, does not reproduce sexually. Second, there is no record of other subspecies of fusarium oxysporum recombining. Third, when virulent strains of fungi mutate, their pathogenicity tends to become diluted, so the new strain is less powerful than the old." Hayes said the project is still in the early phases, and there are no plans yet to introduce fusarium oxysporum erythroxyli in situ. "We're still hiring scientists" to work on the project, she said. DRCNet will continue to monitor the story. *** 2. Clinton's New Drug Control Strategy Repeats Mistakes of the Past - Scott Ehlers, Senior Policy Analyst, Drug Policy Foundation, email@example.com There are few things on which Democrats and Republicans can agree, but the budgetary priorities of the federal government's drug war is one issue that Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton have all endorsed year after year. If Clinton has his way, FY 2000 will be another one of those years when law enforcement dominates the Drug Control Budget, while treatment and prevention receive lip service and inadequate funding. On February 1, the White House released its $17.8 billion Drug Control Budget for FY 2000, an increase of $735 million (+4.3%) over 1999's regular appropriations. The request is actually slightly lower than the $17.9 billion that was allocated to federal anti-drug efforts in FY 1999 when the $844 million in "emergency support" is included. Supply reduction efforts (police, prisons, prosecutors, military, interdiction, and eradication) make up 66% of the budget, while demand reduction (drug testing, anti-drug advertising, prevention, and treatment) make up 34%. The year 2000 budget request increases allocations to supply reduction efforts by almost $525 million (+4.7%) and demand reduction by $210 million (+3.6%). Highlights include: * $50 million more for infrared and color cameras with ground sensors along the Southwest Border; * $22 million more for the DEA's Operation FIREBIRD, which will allow "DEA components around the world to act as one cohesive unit through instantaneous access to critical law enforcement and intelligence information"; * $73.5 million more for the Department of Defense's interdiction efforts; and, * $10 million more for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, for a total of $195 million for the campaign in 2000. Despite the lopsided emphasis on law enforcement efforts, Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, continues to deceptively claim that the federal government's strategy is "balanced." Unfortunately, Republicans are seeking to make the Strategy even more lopsided. On February 4, House and Senate Republicans held a press conference to accuse Clinton of being soft on drugs, calling his anti-drug budget a "just say maybe" plan because more funds were not devoted to interdiction. According to Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL), "The only way we can win this is to just say 'no'. This is a serious war. This is not a war you just say 'maybe' about. This is a war you win." Rep. Goss failed to note how many people he was willing to throw in prison to "win" the drug war. The FY 2000 drug control budget request can be viewed at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/news/press/1999/020199.html. *** 3. Pentagon Restricts Use of Troops in Border Drug War The Houston Chronicle reported last Friday (1/29) that the Pentagon has issued new rules requiring special permission for armed border anti-drug patrols, a move that experts predict all but ends the use of military personnel in such operations. Military anti-drug border missions henceforth will not take place as a matter of course, but only with the specific permission of the Secretary of Defense or his deputy, according to DOD spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Milord. The Pentagon first proposed ending its border anti-drug patrols in January of last year, following the fatal shooting of Esequiel Hernandez, a high school sophomore from the border town of Redford, Texas, by camouflaged Marines on a secret anti-drug patrol. An internal Pentagon review cited "systemic failures at every level" of the fatal mission, and a report from U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), charged that the Justice and Defense departments withheld information from the criminal investigations of the case. The Hernandez shooting did not dissuade U.S. Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) from introducing legislation to increase the number of troops on the border by 10,000, from the several hundred on patrol previously. The legislation was passed 261-150 by the House of Representatives in a vote taken in September, 1997. Troop increases were opposed, however, by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), a former Border Patrol agent, as well as the Justice and Defense departments, and the measure did not come to a vote in the Senate. Timothy Dunn, author of The Militarization of the U.S.- Mexico Border, told The Week Online, "Getting these border missions to go through the Secretary or his deputy is very significant. That's about as close as we can get to them saying, we're not going to do this, without them saying that. It is unfortunately just up to them, at their bureaucratic discretion. There's not a strong public control over it, or even public input into it, and that's unfortunate; that makes it less secure. But it is nonetheless a very significant change. And it should not have taken the loss of this boy's life to make that change." See our interview with Timothy Dunn, below. Also check out the following related links: Week Online coverage: http://www.drcnet.org/wol/011.html#borderwar http://www.drcnet.org/wol/017.html#border http://www.drcnet.org/wol/031.html#hernandez http://www.drcnet.org/wol/058.html#hernandez Drug Policy Forum of Texas Esequiel Hernandez focus, including picture gallery: http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/hernandez/ American Friends Service Committee Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project http://www.afsc.org/pdesc/pd139.htm War on Drugs: Military Perspectives and Problems -- special report for DRCNet by Joseph Miranda http://www.drcnet.org/military/ *** 4. Interview with Timothy Dunn The Week Online spoke with Timothy Dunn, author of "The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home," University of Texas Press, 1996. WOL: Is it accurate to say that the Pentagon has effectively ended their border drug patrols? Dunn: I don't know if they've ended them, but they've set themselves a much higher threshold to meet in determining whether or not they will do them. They haven't said that they won't do them, but they have said they will have to get the permission of the Secretary of Defense or one of his deputies. It's going to take something pretty extraordinary for them to decide that it's worthy of the Secretary's attention. We might do it, but we probably won't, I think that's what they're saying. So in practical terms, it probably won't happen. But they're leaving the door open that they can, and they won't have to notify anybody or tell anybody. WOL: To what extent does this new policy address the border drug policy problem? Dunn: Well, I think it affects the most obvious and the most clearly dangerous parts of the posting of armed troops along the border. The other parts of the relationship, the institutional relationship between the military and law enforcement communities, is not affected. And as you may recall from my book, I noted that Joint Task Force 6, the military unit that coordinates all the military support for anti-drug efforts of the various police bodies, they provide a vast array of types of assistance. They have 19 different types of missions, and only four or five involve the use of ground troops. So all of those other types of assistance are left on the table, things like engineering and construction support, building the border walls that have been put up in Arizona and California, road building so the Border Patrol can get in certain areas more easily. Besides that, more serious types of militarization left are training and intelligence support. In training, they're allowed to teach everything from first aid and map reading and rifle marksmanship, which sounds pretty modest, to things like suspect interrogations and the use of pyrotechnics and booby traps -- you know, some really gruesome stuff that law enforcement has no business in the world getting involved with. And you can imagine, in suspect interrogations, law enforcement at least has to wave at the Constitution. Military, in their operations abroad, do not. And all the allegations that have been lodged about training of torturers, and so forth, at the military's School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, involve that kind of stuff, suspect interrogation. So that's a very dangerous area to be getting involved with in law enforcement and the military, and that's on the books, we can do that for you. And all sorts of other stuff included, like raid planning, which is reminiscent of Waco, and all those kinds of things. So again, the law enforcement people have no business planning a raid to look like a military program, and the military certainly can't help plan a police raid, because that's not what they do. WOL: What about the Border Patrol? Is there a danger of another incident as occurred in Redford, but involving, say, Border Patrol or other civilian agencies, that have become more similar to the military in the way they function? Dunn: Well, had the Border Patrol been out there instead of the military unit that was out there when that shooting occurred of Esequiel Hernandez out in Redford, I don't think the Border Patrol agents would have shot at him. Like the military guys responded, you know, dramatically, overreached and misread the situation, and Border Patrol agents are less likely to do that. In fact, earlier that year, some Border Patrol agents were in the area when Hernandez was firing his rifle. Worrying that they could get hit by a stray bullet, they drove over and told him to knock it off. He didn't know they were there. So, the situation was resolved without the use of force; that's the positive side. On the down side, the Border Patrol has a long record of very questionable shootings along the border of people whom they viewed as threatening, and it's very questionable in certain instances whether there was a significant threat, or any threat at all. Going back to 1992, in the most famous case, a Border Patrol agent using the civilian equivalent of an M-16, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, out on a drug patrol near Nogales, Arizona, shot a Mexican, undocumented border crosser in the back, as he was running back toward the border to get away. And the guy was unarmed, and he had no drugs on him. There are a lot of incidents like that. In fact, there've been a couple in these last six to nine months in California and Arizona, where undocumented immigrants were shot by the Border Patrol. WOL: So how do things need to change? Dunn: Ultimately, the relationship between the Border Patrol and the military, or the military and civilian policing bodies generally, needs to just end. Because it's a dangerous relationship. You shouldn't have the police being trained by the military and starting to act more like the military, which can still happen under current guidelines. And you shouldn't have the military getting involved in domestic police matters. That's wholly inappropriate on both sides, and ultimately it's a threat to democracy. We should return to the status quo before the early 1980s, when this new law was passed that allowed military collaboration with the police. You did not see military collaboration with the police on a regular, ongoing basis. Failing that, they ought to at least keep the relationship limited to the less militaristic end of the continuum. WOL: Is there anything you'd like to add in conclusion? Dunn: Well, I don't want to downplay the significance of this decision. Getting these border missions to go through the Secretary or his deputy is very significant. That's about as close as we can get to them saying, we're not going to do this, without them saying that. It is unfortunately just up to them, at their bureaucratic discretion. There's not a strong public control over it, or even public input into it, and that's unfortunate; that makes it less secure. But it is nonetheless a very significant change. And it should not have taken the loss of this boy's life to make that change. You don't have to be a genius to see that the use of ground troops along the border, people who have no clue about what's going on out there and are heavily armed, it didn't take a genius to see that could lead to some kind of human rights catastrophe. Any common sense could have judged the same thing, and sure enough, that's what happened. And it shouldn't have taken the loss of that boy's life for this to happen. WOL: Common sense is not the hallmark of our national drug policy. Dunn: Not in the least, no. [laughter] WOL: Thank you for your time. (Purchase "Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border" online from amazon.com, and DRCNet will earn 15%! Just go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0292715803/drcnet/ to see more about the book and get us credit if you decide to buy it.) *** 5. Needle Exchange Controversy in Australia - Marc Brandl, firstname.lastname@example.org Pictures splashed on the pages of a Sydney paper showing a teenager shooting up has brought the issue of needle exchanges to the headlines and spurred a government official to close one exchange site. In last Sunday's edition of the Sun-Herald, several pictures appeared showing people shooting up, including one youth about to inject with the help of a fellow user. The boy was identified as being only twelve years of age. The area where the incident took place, Redfern, a suburb of Sydney, is predominantly a very low-income aboriginal community with a growing drug problem. The day after the photos were printed, New South Wales (NSW) Health Minister Andrew Refshauge closed the needle exchange in Redfern. The story didn't end though, when a memo from the Health Department in April surfaced directing all government run needle exchanges to give out clean needles to drug users regardless of age if there was a good chance the person was injecting drugs already. Information also came to light from police and people who know the youth that he was in fact 16, and not twelve and that the photos may not be very recent. State wide elections next month in NSW may have also contributed to the quick decision on the part of the Health Minister. The Week Online spoke with Dr. Alex Wodak, director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney and chair of a recent review of NSW's needle exchanges. "Had there not been elections coming so soon, it might have been handled more appropriately." According to Wodak, Health Minister Refshauge is also Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and has worked closely with the aboriginal community most of his career, including serving in the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) as a young doctor. As it turns out, the local chapter of the AMS in Redfern is opposed to needle exchange and prevailed upon the minister to close down the exchange in lieu of the pictures being published. "This is particularly unfortunate because it is a well regarded program," said Wodak. "The staff [of the Redfern clinic] do a tough job. One half the staff are aborigine themselves, and they exchange about 30,000 needles a month. They also attend about 20 overdoses a month and they haven't lost one yet. Scrapping the program is a very high risk thing to do." High rates of sexually transmitted disease among members of the aboriginal community brings a heighten sense of urgency in keeping HIV infection rates low. Wodak worries, "The presence of high rates of sexually transmitted infections means that the aborigines are at considerable risk an African type spread of HIV infection." In the wake of the needle exchange program closure and controversy, two stories on a much more positive note made the news. On Monday, The Age newspaper reported that an experimental drug user caution program in Victoria was deemed a success by several top police and health officials. The programs' supporters include the Chief Superintendent of police in the district where the trial is being held, the Chief Commissioner of police in Victoria, and the Health Minister, Rob Knowles. The program allows first time offenders caught in possession of small quantities of any illegal drug to get a "professional assessment" of their drug use and treatment rather than criminal sanctions. In other encouraging news, the Sydney Morning Herald published comments from the new president of the NSW Law Society, Ms. Margaret Hole, on Tuesday. On drug policy, she said, "For the law society, the first constructive step is to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. The second positive step this year is to support a trial, as proposed in the Australian Capital Territory, of legal heroin use." *** 6. Memorial Many of our readers in the harm reduction community knew Rod Sorge, a long-time harm reduction activist, most recently at the Harm Reduction Coalition in New York. Rod passed away last week, after a long illness, though we're told he was in good spirits in recent months. A memorial is being held on Feb. 20th, at Housing Works, 743 E. 9th St. (corner Ave. D), New York City. For more information, call Allan Clear or Paul Cherashore at (212) 213-6376. Rod Sorge received a Citizen's Action Award from the Drug Policy Foundation in 1996 -- read it on their web site at http://www.dpf.org/html/1996_awardees.html#ran1 and learn more about his considerable contributions to harm reduction and drug policy. *** 7. Event Info Last week we listed a number of upcoming seminars and conferences of interest to reformers, online at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/076.html#seminars and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/076.html#conferences in last week's archive of The Week Online. Since last week, we've learned that this year's North American Syringe Exchange Convention, scheduled for this April in Chicago, has been canceled in order to protect the solvency of NASEN's core programs. Next year's NASEC, in Portland, Oregon, is still expected to take place. We at DRCNet will miss seeing those of you who had planned to attend, and wish you well until we meet again in Portland or elsewhere. Check out NASEN's web site at http://www.nasen.org. Some new listings that have come in this week: March 10-12, Bern, Switzerland, Conference on Heroin Assisted Treatment for Dependent Drug Users. See http://www.admin.ch/bag/sucht/aktuell/e/aktuell1.htm for information. March 20-21, Toronto, Canada, The Second International Conference on Drug War Prisoners, sponsored by the Curriculum Committee of the Department of Sociology, York University. For information, contact John Beresford at email@example.com. March 27-29, Washington, DC, Families Against Mandatory Minimums workshop. For information, call FAMM at (202) 822- 6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. April 20, Oklahoma City, "PROTEST THE WAR" demonstration at the State Capitol. For information, contact Norma Sapp at (405) 840-4367 or Micheal Pearson at email@example.com. *** 8. First Prisoner Released Under Michigan 650 Lifer Law Reform (bulletin from Families Against Mandatory Minimums, http://www.famm.org) LANSING: JeDonna Young, the first person released under the reform of Michigan's notorious 650 Lifer Law, walked out of prison this morning (Friday, January 29) after serving 20 years in prison. The 650 Lifer Law mandated life without parole for anyone convicted of selling more than 650 grams of heroin or cocaine -- the harshest drug law in the nation. Young, incarcerated in Scott Correctional Facility, was one of the first individuals convicted under the law. During the 20 years she spent in prison, Young earned a B.A. degree, volunteered with children's visitation program, and worked as a prison paralegal. Young's parole was made possible by reform of the 650 Lifer Law by the Michigan legislature this summer. Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Michigan Project, spearheaded the broad coalition that worked to change the law. FAMM, a non-profit organization working for sentencing reform, has over 35,000 members nationally (3,500 members in Michigan). "We are thrilled that JeDonna Young is going home," said Laura Sager, director, MI FAMM. "Like so many others, Young was caught under a law designed for drug kingpins, that instead snared mostly low-level couriers and addicts -- including many first-time offenders, like Young. "Further reform of Michigan's drug law is urgently needed," said Sager. "Michigan's mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses are still among the harshest in the nation. We must still eliminate harsh mandatory minimum and consecutive sentences for the lesser drug offenses, that can result in decades-long sentences. Judges need to have the discretion to use sentencing guidelines, to base sentence on an individual's criminal history, role in the offense, and seriousness of the offense." NOTE: 60 Minutes II (a new Wednesday program on CBS) will air an exclusive interview with JeDonna Young and Laura Sager very soon, possibly as early as next week. Also, this week's issue of Time magazine sums up many of the problems with mandatory minimum sentences in a detailed article titled, "A Get-Tough Policy that Failed," citing Michigan as one of many states reconsidering mandatory minimum sentences. *** 9. Increased Penalties, Prison Sentences Don't Deter Drug Use, ABA Study Finds (from the NORML Weekly News, http://www.norml.org) February 4, 1999, Washington, D.C.: Increased enforcement of drug laws and stiffer penalties do not deter the use of marijuana and other drugs, a new study by the American Bar Association found. "The current policy of simply arresting and incarcerating drug users does not work," said Myrna Raeder, chairwoman of the ABA's Criminal Justice Section. The ABA study, The State of Criminal Justice, found illicit drug use on the rise despite increased federal funds, higher levels of drug arrests, and higher incarceration rates than at any time in our nation's history. The report also determined that law enforcement priorities are shifting from dealers to users. "While drug arrests were up from 1992 to 1997, nearly 80 percent of those arrests were for possession," it found. FBI figures report that police arrested nearly 700,000 Americans on marijuana charges in 1997. Eighty-seven percent of these arrests were for simple possession. In all, law enforcement arrested more than 1.5 million people on drug charges. The ABA found that the total number of people who had used drugs within the previous month increased approximately 18 percent between 1992 and 1997. It estimated that 14 million Americans are regular drug users, but noted that nearly 80 percent of them only use marijuana. Copies of the ABA report are available from the ABA Service Center at (800) 825-2221 (cite product code 5090073). *** DRCNet needs your support! Donations can be sent to 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, or made by credit card at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions supporting our educational work can be made by check to the DRCNet Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax- exempt organization, same address. *** DRCNet *** GATEWAY TO REFORM PAGE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org/ DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org/ JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html -------------------------------------------------------------------
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