Cannabis Seeds

Hemp News 03



Hemp News No. 3

Compiled by Paul Stanford



WP  02/28/93    Truce in Needle Park; Time to End the Drug War
 
By Peter Reuter
 
  IN AMERICA, when issues that once blanketed the political map suddenly slip
off altogether, the usual scapegoat is a notoriously fickle public - one that
fixes briefly and avidly on, say, Star Wars, Somalia or Los Angeles and then
forgets its sheer existence. But sometimes, when an issue slips out of public
attention, there's a politician nudging it on its way. That's what's happening
today with that one-time national call to arms, the "war on drugs."
  With little fanfare, the Clinton administration is now de-escalating that
war. In the recent White House staff cuts, the office of the drug czar lost 121
of 146 staff positions, to little media attention and no public outcry. Which
may be just as well. After the costly and largely ineffectual policies of the
'80s, drugs are one issue that may benefit from benign neglect.
  The costs of the drug problem in inner cities and prisons and treatment
centers are likely to remain high throughout the '90s unless, that is, we begin
to construct a sensible alternative - one that still takes seriously the need to
protect communities from the worst damages of violent drug traffickers and
continues to signal society's disapproval of drug use, while retaining the basic
criminal prohibitions on use and sale. Clinton's challenge will be to detach his
policies from the zero-tolerance rhetoric that was once so attractive to
politicians and the public and to rethink the objectives of federal drug
control. For fiscal, practical and humanitarian reasons, it would make sense to
modify the goal of a drug-free America in favor of the more realistic goal of
reducing the harm caused by drugs.
  It won't be easy. As long as drug use and crime are synonymous in the minds
of most Americans, any new approach to the nation's drug-related social problem
is likely to face strong political resistance. The success of the hawks in the
drug policy debate during the Reagan-Bush era was in part a function of how the
drug problem is characterized by the media. Americans are uncomfortable with
moral ambiguity; if nothing else, the war on drugs, as it has played out before
television cameras over the last decade, delivered the villains clearly labeled.
  The popular desire to "get tough" on drug users gave the hawks an
extraordinary degree of control over drug policy in the 1980s. The federal
budget for drug control increased from $1.5 billion in 1980 to almost $13
billion in 1992, two-thirds of which went to enforcement programs. State and
local governments, which together spent another $18 billion or so on drug
control in 1990, were even more enforcement-oriented, with 80 percent of their
money going for enforcement. A rough estimate of the total national governmental
budget for drug control in 1990 was $28 billion, of which $21 billion went to
enforcement.
  Congress and state legislatures also dramatically increased the penalty for
drug offenses. In 1988, for example, Congress raised the mandatory sentence for
selling 5 grams of crack cocaine to five years. Michigan imposed mandatory life
imprisonment without parole for those convicted of selling 650 grams of cocaine,
a law that was finally overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court.
  Nor were these legal changes just paper acts. At the federal level the number
of persons sent to prison on drug charges rose from 2,300 in 1980 to 13,000 in
1990. Moreover, the expected time served on average rose dramatically from 20
months to 66 months, reflecting the impact of the Sentencing Commission
guidelines as well as congressional mandates. At the state level the number
sentenced to more than 12 months rose from 11,500 in 1981 to 90,000 in 1989,
while several hundred thousand spent weeks or months in local jails.
  By contemporary American standards, drug use and drug selling have become
quite risky, at least for certain groups. A study of street-level drug dealers
in the District of Columbia in the late 1980s estimated that a regular dealer
had almost a one in four chance of going to prison in the course of a year.
  Yet the effect of these increasingly punitive and expensive policies on the
nation's drug-related social problems has been modest. Illegal drugs are just as
widely available as a decade ago. The price of cocaine is lower than ever
(adjusting for inflation). The price of marijuana is higher, reflecting the one
clear success of enforcement. Drug use in the general population has sharply
decreased, probably reflecting increased health concerns generally, as well as
greater awareness of the dangers of drug use (cocaine) and smoking (marijuana).
  In the politically powerless inner-city communities the effects of hawkish
policies have been harsh. These neighborhoods not only suffer the most from the
drug trade's effects - from crime, violence, AIDS, crack babies and a host of
other ills - they also bear the brunt of law enforcement. African Americans now
account for 40 percent of drug offenders, compared to less than one quarter 10
years ago, and a much higher percentage than for other criminal offenses.
  The vast majority of those who are locked up (black or white) are the small
fry of the drug trade, not because the police avoid the upper levels but because
there are so many more low-level dealers. A study of those sentenced in the
federal prison system, supposedly reserved for the more serious offenders, found
that nearly half were either street-level dealers or minor participants in
something larger.
  A cruel irony of tough federal sentencing guidelines is that the only
mitigating circumstance for shortening a mandatory sentence is cooperation with
the prosecutor. Unimportant dealers have little to offer; higher-ups can
provide valuable information and get off more lightly. Moreover, it seems that
many of those being incarcerated on drug offenses are not violent offenders;
with prisons overcrowded, offenders posing more serious threats to community
safety are being kept out.
  Moreover it is clear that there has been, at most, only a slight reduction in
the number of persons who are drug dependent, especially in the inner city, and
probably no reduction in the damage they cause themselves and others,
especially crime and the spread of AIDS and, more recently, tuberculosis. Drug
abuse (as opposed to use) is increasingly concentrated among the inner-city
poor, particularly young, African-American males.
  Other drug-related harms may be exacerbated by tough enforcement. Frequent
harassment of street drug sellers may increase the incentives to use violence to
maintain market share. More variability in the purity of heroin, resulting from
occasional large seizures, may cause more overdose deaths. Stringent enforcement
has raised marijuana potency, possibly increasing the hazards of consuming the
drugs, at the same time that head shop laws prevent marijuana smokers from using
water pipes - the least harmful method of consuming the drug.
 The "harm reduction" approach would relegate criminal law to a marginal role
in dealing with drug offenders and focus instead on the health consequences of
drug use. It evolved in Western Europe, where illicit drug use also ranks high
on the list of social concerns, but where associated crime and violence have not
reached the epic levels found in the United States.
  Thus Europeans tend to support policies that risk increasing the extent of
drug use but that lower the incidence of disease, especially AIDS. Syringe
exchange schemes, scarcely permitted even on a pilot basis here, have become
commonplace in Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland. Europeans prefer
less stringent enforcement if getting tough lessens the likelihood that drug
addicts will seek treatment. Markets that generate violence are subject to
intense enforcement aimed at curbing that violence; orderly drug markets may be
left alone except for recruiting users into treatment and AIDS prevention
programs.
  The Clinton administration is likely to have little sympathy for the very
tough approach that has been institutionalized in both federal- and state-level
drug control efforts. However, implementing "harm reduction" policies - such as
less stringent sentencing of federal drug offenders or reduced aggression in our
overseas programs - offers hostages to right-wing foes. The accusation of being
"soft on drugs" is one that Democrats are likely to be sensitive about.
  Even the first step of moving towards a harm-reduction drug policy - building
an effective public drug treatment system - is likely to be difficult for the
new administration. The existing drug treatment system is isolated from other
medical and social service systems, lowering both morale and effectiveness. In
recent years, the emphasis has been on increasing the number of persons in
treatment rather than improving the quality of treatment. When subject to
serious scrutiny, the current public sector drug treatment system looks weak.
  The heart of the problem is that the clients of drug treatment are people who
cause the rest of society many problems. There is little enthusiasm for
providing good services to such an unattractive bunch of clients. But in the
later stages of the drug epidemic, which is our current situation, most of what
we think of as the nation's drug problem is more amenable to a good treatment
system than to continued growth in incarceration. Law enforcement, instead of
aiming to punish, should aim to get those most needing treatment into the
system.
  Perhaps the best the Clinton administration can hope for is that the punitive
apparatus will collapse of its own weight. Not only is there the burden of all
those billions of dollars to support strict enforcement and the crowding of
prisons to 150 percent of capacity, but there is also a tremendous emotional and
professional drain on judges and police in carrying out what many have come to
regard as unfair laws and dead-end policies.
  Or, perhaps, the hawks will simply declare the war won and, in the flush of
victory, reach out a helping hand to the vanquished. It would be overdue.
 
  Peter Reuter is co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center. Portions
of this essay were adapted from an article in the Summer 1992 issue of Daedalus.
 


APn 03/01/93  1148    Drugs in the EC
 
Copyright, 1993. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
 
By JON HENLEY
 Associated Press Writer
  AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- To European Community partners that criticize
their permissive attitude toward illicit drugs, the Dutch suggest that all EC
nations legalize soft drugs together.
  "The international community has to choose between two alternatives," said
Robert Samsom, the Dutch government's main adviser on drugs. "One is to continue
on its present course and face failure. The other is to accommodate itself to
the existing realities."
  Legalization may seem unlikely at a time when removal of the community's
internal customs barriers inspires of an explosion in drug traffic. But a senior
EC official, who is not Dutch, feels the integration will ultimately help
Holland's approach gain acceptance.
  Although the 12-nation has no formal mandate to develop a single drug policy,
it plans to establish a joint Drug Monitoring Center this year.
  "There'll be a formal structure for comparing strategies, which there's never
been before," said the EC official in Brussels, who requested anonymity. "The
weight of Dutch evidence will be huge."
  Not everyone sees it that way.
  A British customs official, who would not let his name be used, said police
in his country were outraged that Holland allows some drugs to be freely
available while most other countries try to stamp them out.
  Peter Cohen, a University of Amsterdam lecturer, said British officials "are
basically just interested in tracking down drug users and locking them up."
  "In general, they overreact wildly," said Cohen, also a consultant to the
United Nations and World Health Organization. "They're just not capable of a
balanced view on the drugs issue."
  Britain ranks the Netherlands as a prime distributor of illegal drugs on a
par with Colombia, Pakistan and Thailand.
  Dutch law distinguishes between users and traffickers, and between hard drugs
and such soft ones as marijuana and hashish.
  Use of soft drugs is no longer criminal in the Netherlands and the sale of
small quantities is tolerated. Addicts are rarely prosecuted even for possessing
small amounts of heroin, but dealing in larger quantities of any drug can bring
a long prison sentence, up to 12 years for heroin trafficking.
  In Britain, marijuana possession carries a two-year prison sentence, usually
commuted to a heavy fine. France makes no distinction between soft and hard
drugs in its penalties for possession.
  A report on the world drug situation in 1992 by the U.N. International
Narcotics Control Board, issued in February, noted that Dutch policy on soft
drugs contravenes international drug treaties.
  Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers responded in a letter that Holland's death rate
from drug abuse "is very low by international standards."
  Editorials in Dutch newspapers said the report had "serious shortcomings" and
was based on "pure ideology." Algemeen Dagblad of Rotterdam declared: "The U.N.
agency is poorly informed as to the true state of affairs" in the Netherlands.
  Samsom, former chairman of the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs, said in an
interview that the danger of national economies being corrupted by drug money
"far exceeds the threat posed to society by drug abuse."
  In the legalized system he suggests, growers of narcotic plants would be
licensed, given quotas and required top sell their crops to a government
monopoly. The monopoly would control retail outlets, prices and quality. Soft
drugs would be sold with health warnings and directions for safe use.
  While Samsom acknowledged the plan would work only if implemented jointly by
several European countries, he said it "could compete successfully with illicit
suppliers, reducing their market share and increasing their operational risks."
  Many EC officials already worry about the lifting of internal customs
controls that occurred Jan. 1, however, and have little enthusiasm for
legalizing soft drugs.
  "There's no doubt more Germans are heading to Holland for drugs now that
they've seen TV pictures of unmanned customs posts," said a spokesman for the
German federal criminal office, who asked not to be identified.
  Police in Arnhem, near the border, reported detaining as many German
nationals on drug charges in the first 14 days of 1993 as in the last four
months of 1992.
  Experience in the Netherlands seems to support the government view that
decriminalization does not necessarily mean an increase in drug use.
  Although marijuana and hashish are freely available, consumption is low. An
official survey in 1990 indicated only 2.7 percent of minors used the drugs,
compared with 6.1 percent in the United States reported two years earlier.
  The estimated number of heroin addicts in Amsterdam has declined nearly
one-third since the early 1980s and the average age rises each year, suggesting
fewer people are becoming addicted.
  Holland's approach seems to be making some headway abroad. Hamburg, Zurich
and Liverpool, England, have adopted some elements of it. Germany's new National
Drug Council plans to consider the "consequences of liberalization and
legalization of soft and hard drugs for the prevention of addiction."
  But in general, other countries follow the course of penalties and law
enforcement.
  Cohen said the barrier is ideological.
  "We're talking about a clash of worlds here," he said. "They don't want to
listen. Yet where do most people die of drug-related illnesses? Certainly not
Holland."
 
 
 

APn 03/07/93  0000   Ganja Wars
 
By KEVIN NOBLET
 Associated Press Writer
  LEEDS, Jamaica (AP) -- Ganja growers Roy and Teddy Dunkerly straddled their
knobby-tired bicycles and glared at the army helicopter on its hopscotch mission
of search and burn.
  "I feel it, mon," confided Teddy, 22, who lost 50 pounds of carefully tended
marijuana a day earlier, up in a thick column of smoke. "I feel it badly."
  Cousin Roy, 28, was more angry than mournful: "If time and time they keep
comin' and mash it up, some time I'm goin' to say, `OK, it's war."'
  Mark it down as bravado.
  The Caribbean island's war on marijuana has gone on for nearly two decades
now, becoming a kind of institution. Bloodshed may be commonplace among drug
dealers in the Kingston slums, but it's rare in the pale-green growing fields.
  Why fight to the death when neither side envisions total victory?
  "It's a game," explained Sgt. Maj. Stanford Williams, who leads the army's
eradication effort, "a pepper-potting kind of thing" in which authorities target
a particular district for a few months, hunting for ganja patches to slash and
burn.
  "We want to keep the guys' heads down," he said. "When you don't have the
assets, you use strategy."
  Soldiers and growers spoke during a recent operation staged from a soccer
field in Leeds, a small town in southwest Jamaica's fertile St. Elizabeth
Parish.
  "In St. Elizabeth, the land is so arable you can grow old boots," said Maj.
Leo Campbell.
  The United States, the main market for Jamaican marijuana, sends in extra
firepower for special offensives. In early 1991, three big, mean-looking U.S.
Blackhawk choppers joined the eradication campaign for a few weeks, to the awe
of local farmers.
  But most of the time, one or two of the four Hueys provided by the United
States play a cat-and-mouse game that began with the first anti-ganja operations
in 1974. The government has little more than the $1.2 million in U.S. aid to
spend on the effort.
  "It has been institutionalized for some time now," conceded Bertrand Milwood,
the assistant police commissioner. "But we are moving. Something is being done."
  He said marijuana is planted on about 10,000 acres, down two-thirds from the
peak 15 years ago.
  Milwood sees the ganja threat as relative. "The demand is over there" in
America, he said, "and the supply is over here."
  He is more worried by the crack cocaine epidemic in Jamaica's slums, where
there has been an explosion of drug-related crime and violence.
  Soldiers and police are gentle with the ganja farmers, most of whom live
hand-to-mouth. When eradication teams descend on a planted field, the chopper
roaring and blowing, officers do not even try to catch the fleeing farmer.
  "They always run away," said Pvt. Herman McLean. "Sometimes they run into
fence wire and get cut. Some just fall down faint."
  He watched other soldiers dismantle a caretaker's tent where pillow-sized
mats of ganja supplied an aromatic mattress.
  "This guy had sweet dreams," one officer joked.
  McLean explained that growing good marijuana requires constant care.
  "They take care of it better than a young baby," he said. "They pet it. If
you want it to grow, you have to pet it and sleep with it."
  It can be worth the trouble, growers say. A quarter-acre of quality herb can
bring $18,000 if prices are running high. That will buy a small house.
  Many Jamaicans are ambivalent about the weed, which East Indian immigrants
introduced to Jamaica centuries ago. They recognize that most farmers make only
a little profit, and also that the business brings scarce hard currency into the
economy.
  Ganja is sacred to the Rastafarians, a Jamaica-based sect that worships the
late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, who use it to heighten their religious
awareness. Many rural Jamaicans consume it in a medicinal tea.
  "It's good for the pain o' belly and the pain o' head," said Michael Grun,
32, a ganja grower.
  Grun, dressed in a ragged T-shirt and broken shoes, spoke as his quarter-acre
patch was being razed and set ablaze by cutters working for the army. The
cutters, who know their herb, scornfully called Grun's crop "mad weed" --
poor-quality marijuana of little commercial value.
  Asked about those who smoke ganja, Grun said: "I'm a Christian. I go to
church. I don't know nothing about that."
  Among the jet set, and in tourist areas, marijuana is readily available. "At
an elegant dinner party, after everyone eats, a waiter always comes along with a
tray carrying cordials and three or four joints," said the manager of an
exclusive Montego Bay hotel.
  Contrary to the popular notion abroad, most Jamaicans are not dreadlocked,
reggae-addicted Rastafarians like the late Bob Marley. Jamaican society is
basically conservative, Bible-based and frowns on marijuana. Only about 5
percent of the people have tried it, according to studies.
  The reality of ganja use "is probably more than surveys show and certainly
not as much as the myths suggest," said Edna Francis-McLaren, a specialist in
social work at the University of the West Indies' psychiatric hospital in
suburban Kingston.
  "The sacred aspect of it confuses and clouds the (government's) management of
it," she said. "The ambivalence runs right through the culture."
  Commodore Peter Brady, chief of staff of the Jamaica Defense Forces, is not
troubled by doubt.
  "I don't condone it at all," he declared in an interview. "We will never wage
less than a relentless campaign against it."
  End Adv for Sunday, March 7
 
 
 
   - - - -
   KORONADAL, Philippines - Police burned 12 hectares (30 acres) of marijuana
in the southern Philippines, they said.
   - - - -
 
 

UPn 03/08/93  0625   Eleven killed in stampede on festival of color
 
  NEW DELHI, India (UPI) -- Eleven people were reported killed and six
seriously injured early Monday in a stampede while trying to take a holy dip in
the Ganges river during one of the country's most celebrated festivals, the
Press Trust of India news agency reported.
  The stampede occurred near Shimla, capital of Himachal Pradesh state 160
miles from New Delhi, as tens of thousands of devotees surged through a narrow
lane toward the sacred river, PTI said.
  The stampede took place on "Holi," one of India's most acclaimed Hindu
festivals, celebrated on the first full moon of spring. Known as the "festival
of color," it is renowned for its frivolity and goodwill, with people exchanging
sweets and throwing vibrant colored powder and water upon each other.
  Holi is predominantly celebrated in northern India and is believed to have
evolved from an ancient ceremony honoring Lord Kama, the god of love.
  Known as the "poor man's festival," Holi traditionally is a day when usual
barriers of age, sex or caste are removed.
  All government offices are closed on Holi and many people choose to stay
indoors and keep their cars off the streets to prevent them from being bombarded
with food coloring and water balloons.
  Many people consume "bhang," a traditional concoction of marijuana leaves,
nuts, milk and sugar.




UPce 03/09/93 1332   Police officer's home scene of drug bust
 
  FORT WAYNE, Ind. (UPI) -- Acting on a tip, Indiana State Police Monday raided
the home of a Fort Wayne police officer and confiscated three marijuana plants
and equipment for cultivating plants indoors.
  ISP Sgt. Richard L. Dinehart said no arrests have been made since Monday's
raid, but investigators will be talking with Fort Wayne officer Deeanne Carey,
35, and her male roommate.
  Dinehart said it is not clear whom the plants belonged to.
  State police obtained a search warrant for the house in Allen Superior Court.
Carey was not at home when the search began, but reported to the scene after
being contacted by law enforcement officials, Dinehart said.
 
 
 
UPma 03/09/93  1230     Erie man sentenced for drugs, money laundering
 
  ERIE, Pa. (UPI) -- An Erie man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to
conspiring to violate drug laws and engaging in money laundering.
  Donald Hadberg, 28, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Maurice
Cohill.
  Prosecutors say Hadberg assisted Glenn Zeny and others in setting up a
marijuana growing operation in Erie. Hadberg also admitted he obtained marijuana
from Zeny, which he sold in the Erie area.
  Hadberg admitted in March 1992 he purchased a boat and trailer and structured
three separate cash payments in order to conceal the fact the source of the
money was from his sales of marijuana.
  Hadberg is scheduled to be sentenced May 12. He faces up to life in prison
and a fine of $4 million, or both.




UPne 03/10/93 1958     Cop shot on Lower East Side
 
  NEW YORK (UPI) -- An undercover police officer was shot and killed Wednesday
during an undercover drug bust on Manhattan's Lower East Side, police said.
  Detective Louis Lopez, 35, a seven-year veteran of the force, died on the
operating table at Bellevue Hospital at approximately 5 p.m., said Sgt. Tina
Mohrmann, a police spokeswoman. He was the first officer slain in 1993.
  Lopez apparently was slain when an undercover drug transaction at the Screen
Printing Company at 114 E. First St. went awry, said Police Commissioner Ray
elly at a press briefing at the hospital.
  "Lopez had previously placed an order for 10 pounds of marijuana before he
arrived," Kelly said.
  When the officer went inside, the dealer offered him a lesser quantity of the
drug and Lopez left, ostensibly to get the money.
  "When he returned with backup to make the arrest and opened the door, shots
rang out, and Detective Lopez was mortally wounded," Kelly said.
  Three men were arrested and charged with the shooting. They were identified
as David Degondea, 22,Edward Arce, 39 of 130 Avenue D and Robert Heleneck, 37,
153 Norfolk St., both in Manhattan.
  Degondea suffered a graze wound to his hip during the shooting and was in
stable condition at St. Vincent's Hospital.
  Police said two handguns, a 9mm and a .25 caliber were recovered at the
scene. "We believe one was used in the shooting," said Officer Scott Bloch, a
police spokesman.
  Lopez, assigned to Manhattan South Narcotics, lived in Staten Island with his
wife and two children.
  He was the 15th officer shot this year.
 
 
 
  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The family of a millionaire shot to death during a
mistaken drug raid at his Malibu area ranch filed a federal civil rights lawsuit
claiming he was murdered so the government could seize his land.
  Donald P. Scott, 61, had refused to sell his ranch to the government so it
could expand the adjacent Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
  Scott was shot twice on Oct. 2 when he left his bedroom carrying a
.38-caliber revolver as deputies and federal agents burst into his home.
  No drugs were found.
  Law enforcement agents used a phony allegation that marijuana was seen on the
200-acre Ventura County ranch to obtain a search warrant, according to the
lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of Scott's widow and three children.
  The shooting was tentatively ruled as justified by Ventura County District
Attorney Michael D. Bradbury.
  ------
 



RTw 03/11/93 2154   DUTCH CONFERENCE TO ARGUE FOR SOFT POLICY ON DRUGS
 
  By Sara Henley
   ROTTERDAM, March 12, Reuter - Accused of being too soft on drugs, the
Netherlands is sponsoring an international conference to argue that its critics'
hard line may actually aggravate drug abuse problems.
   "People call us the Sodom and Gomorrah of Europe, but we say if you are
less strict it helps," says Jelle Zijlstra of the Bouman drug and alcohol
centre, host and co-organiser of the Fourth International Conference on the
Reduction of Drug-Related Harm.
   Six hundred drug experts from throughout the world will gather in Rotterdam
from March 14-18 to discuss trends in drug use and assess the controversial
approach pioneered by the Dutch.
   Known as harm reduction, its aim is simply to limit the damage drug users
do to themselves and society. For the Dutch this means first decriminalising
drug use to create trust.
   Cities from Liverpool to Hamburg and Melbourne to San Francisco have
imitated aspects of the Dutch approach. But with increasingly open European
borders, the Netherlands is being portrayed by some of its neighbours as the
enemy within on drugs.
   French officials, fearing their young are flocking to "Europe's drugs
hypermarket" in Amsterdam, have lashed out at Dutch permissiveness, warning they
may boycott European freedom of movement accords unless the Dutch clamp down.
   The United Nations said recently that the Netherlands risked becoming a
regional supplier of a potent locally grown cannabis which is sold almost as
freely as beer or wine in thousands of hash cafes, euphemistically known as
"coffee shops."
   "People believe demand for drugs is led by supply," said Zijlstra. "It
doesn't work like that."
   Dutch data partly supports his view. Individuals caught with small
quantities of cannabis and heroin are not prosecuted here, yet the number of
addicts in Amsterdam has recently stabilised and their average age is
increasing.
   Foreign concern has produced some tightening in Dutch policy. Action is
being taken to curb the spread of cannabis outlets, stop local cultivation of
hemp for drugs and crack down on drug-runners who peddle to tourists at border
towns.
   But the Dutch have refused to back down on the core approach and the theme
of next week's conference.
   The government, which spends more than $2,000 a head on heroin and cocaine
addicts each year, believes the threat of criminal charges drives drug abuse
underground rather than deterring it, and that this in turn aggravates crime and
health risks.
   "The only drawback to the Dutch approach is that other European countries
have concentrated on repression," Robert Samsom, director of drugs policy at the
Dutch health ministry, wrote in a recent policy paper.
   Samsom argued that drug abuse cannot be contained by repression, noting
that no country in the world has achieved this.
   With addicts, harm reduction starts by checking their health and building
trust so they will accept medical help when ill.
   Handing out the heroin substitute methadone -- or in theory even heroin
itself -- can be used to curb crime, create regular contact with health workers
and establish trust.
   "The first contact is not moralistic, we just give them good tips," said
Zijlstra. "About 10 per cent of them try to clean up. In our experience about
half of them stay clean for a year."
   The basic principle can be used with any addiction -- for example by
showing alcoholics how to limit brain damage by taking Vitamin B, which is found
in bananas and even some beers.
   The Dutch say harm reduction achieves its prime objective of limiting
damage, and the few comparative statistics available on drug abuse appear to
support this.
   More than two per cent of Germany's estimated 100,000 addicts died of drug
abuse last year, according to the German Anti-Addiction Centre. But less than
half a per cent of the Netherlands' 25,000 addicts die annually from their
habit.
   More than one in three of France's 150,000 drug users are estimated to be
infected with the AIDS virus, according to French charity Medecins du Monde.
Just under a tenth of drug injectors in the Netherlands were HIV-positive in
1991.
   Comprehensive needle-exchange programmes mean addicts in the Netherlands
need not share needles.
   Dutch policy also draws a line between soft drugs like cannabis, which are
thought to pose little danger to the individual or society, and addictive hard
drugs, such as heroin, which kill and are disruptive. That frees resources to
target addicts.
   Dutch data also appears to disprove the theory that soft drug use is a
slippery slope to hard drug addiction. The 25,000 or so hard drug addicts here
are but a fraction of the 500,000 to 600,000 whom the authorities estimate
regularly use cannabis.
   "Western countries hit hardest by drug abuse have failed so far to take
adequate operative measures," said Samsom.
   "It is absolutely indispensable that they allocate sufficient funds to this
area. Their continued failure to do so will only result in spreading the drug
abuse problem."
 REUTER SAH VB LS
 
 
 
UPse 03/11/93 0946   Former FSU football star arrested on bribery charges
 
  MIAMI (UPI) -- Metro-Dade County Police Officer Fred Jones, a former
defensive football star at Florida State University, is facing charges of taking
$1,000 to fake an arrest report.
  Jones, whose brother Marvin Jones also played for Florida State and is
expected to be a top-five pick in the NFL draft, was arrested Wednesday. He was
charged with official misconduct, unlawful compensation, grand theft, bribery,
possession of marijuana and forgery.
  When other officers arrested Jones, they said they found a paper bag of 5
grams of marijuana under the seat of his patrol car and a second bag containing
34 grams of marijuana in the trunk.
  Police said Jones, 27, accepted $1,000 to prepare a phony arrest report that
would make a narcotics dealer believe someone the dealer knew had been arrested.
  Jones allegedly used a false name and badge number when he prepared the bogus
report.
  Jones, a three-year police veteran, made more than 300 career tackles at
Florida State. He played briefly for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987.
 



03/15/93   Liberal Dutch policy may be the best way to combat abuse
 
by Guido De Bruin
 
Rotterdam, Mar 15, 1993 (IPS) - The often criticised liberal Dutch
policy of combating drug abuse by reducing its harmful effects
rather than trying to stamp out its use, may be the right approach
after all, health officials admitted here Monday.
 
"The harm reduction approach has gradually received acceptance
and respectability,'' said Marcus Grant of the World Health
Organisation's Programme on Substance Abuse (PSA).
 
He was among several health officials attending the opening of a
four-day Fourth International Conference on the Reduction of Drug
Related Harm, who stressed the importance of a drugs policy aimed
at harm reduction rather than the illusion of complete eradication
of drug use.
 
"This implies a realistic and pragmatic approach to the drug
problem,'' said Dutch State Secretary for Welfare, Health and
Culture, Hans Simons, referring to the Dutch strategy -- often
called the public health approach -- of combating drug trafficking
while providing care for drug users.
 
''The Dutch policy has been the model we follow with great
success, and harm reduction has become an accepted practice in
many countries,'' added Pat O'Hare, director of the Mersey Drug
Training and Information Centre in Liverpool, Britain, and one of
the conference directors.
 
According to O'Hare, the alternative hardline approach which
seeks to eradicate heroine and cocaine use, has been "a
spectacular failure, a colossal waste of money." Far from
eradicating cocaine use, it has resulted in the spread of cocaine
and crack and the rapid spread of aids, he said.
 
But buses driving around Dutch cities where intravenous drug
users are provided with methadone as a non-addictive substitute
for heroine, and clean needles to prevent the spread of AIDS, have
not yet become a familiar sight in all European countries.
 
France is a case in point, a country where, as health minister
Bernard Kouchner admitted, the public health approach has still
not gained the respectability it needs. "Many still talk about
drug addicts as madmen who must be locked up," he said.
 
"A society without drugs is a myth,'' Kouchner said, advocating
the need for methadone and needle exchange programmes. "...There
is no contradiction between repression of trafficking and care for
addicts."

"Harm reduction is a cruel necessity," he added, noting that of
the 150,000 problematic drug users in France, 30 percent are
infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. According to
Kouchner, harm reduction methods would help to bring that
percentage down.
 
Anne Coppel of the French health ministry blames the antagonistic
attitude of the Interior Ministry for hindering the introduction
of the public health approach to drug use in France.
 
"There is a fight between the health and interior ministries.
While the public health approach is gaining ground, the repression
strategy is also becoming stronger," Coppel noted. She is one of
those behind Monday's launch of the Euro-Methwork -- a European
information network on methadone programmes.
 
"We have no methadone programme in France, so we need the
experience of other countries to be able to set one up. The
government has chosen not to see the drug problem in France, it
was afraid to frighten the people and to be looked upon as
advocate of drug use," Coppel charged.
 
The Dutch drug policy has also come under critical scrutiny
recently -- at home and abroad. In November, French interior
minister Paul Quiles lashed out at the Dutch for their lenient
attitude towards soft drugs.
 
A report released recently by the United Nations International
Narcotics Control Board further charged that Dutch drug policy
goes against international conventions.
 
And at home, Dutch justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has in
recent months taken a stronger stance on soft drugs.
 
In the Netherlands, selling soft drugs like cannabis is
prohibited, although its sale is allowed under strict conditions
in so-called coffee shops.
 
But a raid on 21 coffee shops by the Amsterdam police in December
is an indication of a tougher line being taken even if the raids
were carried out on the premise that the coffee shops were not
adhering to regulations.
 
"Soft drug use is a type of behaviour that pushes people a
little closer to the edge of their functioning in society,''
Christian-Democrat Hirsch Ballin told the Dutch daily 'Volkskrant'
recently.
 
But Social-Democratic alderman of Rotterdam, Johan Henderson,
thinks the minister's approach is "too ridiculous for words."
The shortage of policemen does not even allow the police to keep
hard drug related crime within limits, he argues. "Besides, soft
drugs are absolutely harmless," he said.
 
Simons merely counted the blessings of Dutch policy with regard
to both soft and hard drugs. He noted that of the 600,000 cannabis
users in Holland, only 1,200 are addicts.
 
With regard to hard drugs, Simons is of the opinion that the
21,000 problematic hard drug users constitute a very low
percentage of the Dutch population of 15 million.
 
Furthermore, he said the number of drug-related deaths remains
relatively low (74 in 1991); that Dutch drug users commit less
property crime than drug users in other countries; that aid
workers are able to reach up to 80 percent of drug addicts; and
that three in every four heroine users are no longer intravenous
users, reducing the risk of HIV infection.
 
Henderson noted that the U.S. city of Baltimore, which has about
as many inhabitants as Rotterdam, harbours 35,000 hard drug users,
whereas Rotterdam has only 3,500. "Baltimore," he said, is very
interested in your approach."
 

UPwe 03/16/93 1509   Club owner charged in huge marijuana growing operation
 
  SEATTLE (UPI) -- An owner of RKCNDY, a popular Seattle "grunge rock" club,
pleaded not guilty Tuesday to drug charges.
  Thomas Harold O'Neil, 35, was charged Friday in King County Superior Court
with four counts of violating the uniform controlled substances act.
  Prosecutors believe O'Neil purchased his share of the club with profits from
a massive indoor marijuana-growing operation run out of several homes he owns.
Prosecutors are trying to seize the club property.
  Prosecutors say police began their investigation when an informant tipped
them that Thomas O'Neil supported himself through growing marijuana. After
finding higher-than-normal power usage at three homes O'Neil owns, then
conducting surveillance, police seized more than 250 marijuana plants and
several guns.
  Regan Hagar, 27, a Seattle drummer who recently joined a band formed by
guitarist Stone Gossard of the nationally known band Pearl Jam, was charged with
two drug counts. Also charged with two counts were RKCNDY operations manager
Leigh Anne Bryan, 23, Craig Alan Porter, and O'Neil's brother, Richard O'Neil.
  Prosecutors believe Thomas O'Neil has been growing and selling marijuana in
the Seattle area for years.
 
  

UPce 03/17/93 1100    Goshen man indicted in drug conspiracy
 
  SOUTH BEND, Ind. (UPI) -- A 28-year-old Goshen man has been indicted by a
federal grand jury on charges he conspired to sell marijuana over the past five
years.
  U.S. Attorney John Hoehner announced Wednesday that Mark Hayes was indicted
on two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana from 1988 to early 1993. The
charges each carry a maximum prison term of 45 years.
  Hoehner said the Hayes indictment was part of an on-going investigation into
illegal drug activities in northwestern Indiana. Three other men were indicted
in January in the case.
  Hayes is scheduled to appear in federal court in South Bend Friday.
 
 
 
UPne 03/22/93 1407   Justices to review government drug seizure authority
 
By GREG HENDERSON
 UPI Supreme Court Reporter
  WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Supreme Court announced Monday it would decide if the
government must scale a new set of hurdles to seize homes used in the drug trade
or to take swift control of failing banks.
  In the first of a pair of unrelated cases to be argued next term, the court
will decide if homeowners who use their property to sell drugs are entitled to
hearings in court before the government can claim ownership of their homes under
its aggressive drug seizure laws.
  Last month the court limited the scope of the drug laws when it ruled 6-to-3
that people who are given gifts such as homes paid for with drug money can keep
the property if they are unaware of its illegal origin.
  This case involves whether someone who knowingly uses his property to commit
a federal drug crime is still entitled to a due process hearing to fight
government seizure, and whether the government may be restricted by more than
the law's five-year statute of limitations.
  The second case granted Monday involves an important aspect of the
government's role in protecting federally insured financial institutions.
  The court will decide if an official with a bank or savings and loan is
entitled to a hearing before he can be fired when the government takes over his
institution.
  The government argues that any such requirement would handcuff federal
regulators when even a slight delay could mean the difference between a bank
failing or staying afloat.
  It also said direct lawsuits against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and
other such entities are illegal, even though the FDIC was sued in this case and
ordered to pay $130,000 to a fired California bank official.
  The court's orders Monday came without any reference to the announcement
Friday by Justice Byron White that he would retire this summer after 31 years on
the court.
  White, the only member of the court appointed by a Democrat but considered
conservative on most social issues, will not play a role in deciding either the
drug seizure or bank failures case, which will be argued next term.
  In other action Monday the court:
  --Let stand a ruling that adventurers who spent 13 years searching for an
estimated $1 billion in gold in the largest sunken treasure in U.S. history are
not its rightful owners.
  The justices refused to disturb a decision that insurers of the SS Central
America, which sank in 1857 and was found four years ago some 180 miles off the
South Carolina coast, retain ownership of the gold.
  The discoverers will get a chunk of the booty as its "salvors", but how large
a portion will be up to a jury.
  --Allowed competitors to continue selling devices that modify Nintendo of
America's popular video games.
  The court declined to hear Nintendo's claim that add-on hardware allowing
players to experiment with video cartridges violates federal copyright laws.
  The drug case involves James Daniel Good, sentenced to a year in jail in 1985
after Hawaii police found 89 pounds of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his
home.
  The federal government seized Good's home 4 1/2 years later on the grounds
that it had been used to commit a federal drug offense.
  The Controlled Substance Act allows such seizures within five years of an
applicable drug crime.
  Good claimed he was entitled to a court hearing before his home was taken
away, and that the government illegally delayed seizing the property.
  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed, voting 2-1
that in cases involving homes and other "real property" a due process hearing is
required before the government can take ownership.
  It also called the drug law's five-year statute of limitations an "outer
limit" that may not apply if the government is found to have procrastinated and
violated its internal guidelines.
 
 
 
 Three Talents
  IPSWICH, Mass. (AP) -- New Englander Daniel Treadwell (1791-1872) was an
inventor, publisher and educator. He fabricated a power printing press and
machines for making wood-screws and for spinning hemp for cordage.
  Treadwell also invented an improved method of making mix-pounder cannons of
iron and steel for the U.S. government.
  In 1822, Treadwell established a magazine, the Journal of Philosophy and the
Arts. From 1834 to 1845 he was Rumford professor at Harvard University.
  ------
 
 
  INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- Two prisoners were indicted Wednesday on charges of
having drugs inside the U.S. Penintentiary at Terre Haute.
  Rickey Lane Dotson, 37, of Memphis, was charged with obtaining and possessing
crack cocaine and marijuana, while Noah Wayne Bennett, 42, was charged with
obtaining and possessing hydrocodone.
  Both men are now in the U.S. Penitentiary at Lompoc, Calif., serving
sentences for firearms violations.



UPsw 03/23/93 1507 State lawmaker proclaims innocence in Valley drug case
 
By MARK LANGFORD
  AUSTIN, Texas (UPI) -- A state lawmaker indicted on federal drug charges in
South Texas proclaimed his innocence Tuesday and vowed not to resign from the
Legislature while the case is pending.
  State Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission, said it was "weird" that federal
officials took a year to "dream up a good scheme" in building their case against
him.
  Munoz, a first-term legislator representing parts of Cameron and Hidalgo
counties, was indicted on charges of possessing 626 pounds of marijuana and
conspiring to distribute over 100 kilograms of the drug. He surrendered to
federal officials in McAllen Monday and was released on a $50,000 bond.
  Upon his return to the Texas House Tuesday, Munoz was warmly greeted by
several House members who shook his hand, patted his back and offered their
condolences and support.
  Munoz told reporters that, "On the two charges we're innocent, and we're
waiting for a day in court. We feel that when we get an opportunity to really
present the facts, then we'll be okay. We just want to be given that opportunity
to actually talk about our side of the story and what actually transpired."
  The indictment alleges that Munoz was part of a plot to steal 626 pounds of
marijuana from the police department in Palmview, a small Rio Grande Valley town
where he served as city administrator.
  Former Palmview Mayor Ramiro Vela and Rodolfo Rodriguez, the city's former
police commissioner, have already pleaded guilty to marijuana conspiracy charges
in the case and are waiting sentencing.
  Munoz said he was implicated by Rodriguez in an apparent attempt to get less
prison time or "pass the blame on somebody else."
  He said, "I know the people involved, I know the informant involved. The
so-called informant worked for me. I was his supervisor. When we get to trial
we'll get to present our side of the story and we'll let the accusers present
their side of the story, and then we'll let a jury of our peers decide what is
and what is not true. "But I feel very confident that we're going to be found
not guilty. We're innocent."
  Munoz said he did not plan to resign from the Legislature and that he could
continue to be an effective lawmaker while the case is pending. A trial is not
expected until after the regular session ends in May.
  Munoz said, "If it was up to me, I'd say 'let's go for it tomorrow. I'm
ready.' I want to get it behind me. I know we're going to come out clean on
this."
 
  

RTw 03/26/93 1559    CANADIAN LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE SAYS SHE SMOKED POT
 
  OTTAWA, March 26, Reuter - Defence Minister Kim Campbell, favoured to become
Canada's first woman prime minister, said she smoked marijuana when she was a
university student, a newspaper reported on Friday.
   "And I inhaled the smoke," she told Ottawa's French-language daily Le Droit
in a reference to U.S. President Bill Clinton's remark last year that he had
tried "pot" but never inhaled.
   Campbell, a 46-year-old lawyer from Vancouver, launched her bid on Thursday
to become leader of Canada's Conservative party and succeed retiring Prime
Minister Brian Mulroney.
   She said in the newspaper interview that an architecture student pased her
a marijuana cigarette when she was a student at the University of British
Columbia in the 1960s. She said it didn't do anything for her and she didn't try
it again.
   Campbell, a former justice minister, evaded a question about whether
marijuana should be legalised, saying no one was asking for legislation on the
issue.
   If she wins the party leadership in June, Campbell will automatically take
over from Mulroney to become, like Clinton, her country's first leader born
after World War Two.
   Political analysts said smoking marijuana would not be blown into a
campaign issue as happened with Clinton.
   "Canada is more open than the United States," New Democrat party member of
Parliament Lorne Nystrom said. "Canadians judge politicians according to their
policies and programmes."
 REUTER AEB BRO SJ
 
 

UPma 03/27/93 1334 Man gets seven years for pot farm
 
  ELIZABETH, N.J. (UPI) -- A 30-year-old New Jersey man must spend at least 18
months behind bars for farming marijuana in a public park in Union County.
  A judge in Elizabeth sentenced Hugh Christopher Faggins of Rahway to seven
years with an 18-month parole disqualifier.
  Faggins was one of three people who pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana
with intent to distribute after authorities found more than a ton of the drug
being grown in three fields in Elizabeth River Park. Police say the crop was in
an isolated area of the park.
  Two co-defendants are awaiting sentencing.
  
 

UPwe 03/30/93 2028     D.A. says drug raid lacked legal justification
 
  VENTURA, Calif. (UPI) -- Investigators said Tuesday drug officers who shot
and killed a reclusive millionaire had no legal right to raid his secluded
Malibu area ranch and were inspired in part by their desire to confiscate the $5
million property.
  The Ventura County District Attorney's Office released a report saying there
was no legal justification for the raid that ended with a deputy shooting Donald
Scott, 61, Oct. 2, 1992.
  But although District Attorney Michael Bradbury said the raid was unjustified
and "the officers should not have been on Scott's property, " the shooting
itself was ruled justifiable self-defense.
  Investigators said the raid was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to
seize Scott's ranch under federal drug forfeiture laws. The 200-acre Trails End
ranch is worth approximately $5 million.
  Authorities said they believed a significant marijuana growing operation was
housed at the ranch. No trace of drugs was found.
  The report concludes that a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy shot Scott in
self-defense, but the deputy should not have been on the remote ranch in the
first place.
  Authorities said when Deputy Gary Spencer ordered Scott to lower his gun from
over his head, the gun came down in the direction of the deputy, causing him to
fear for his life. He said there was no evidence to disprove Spencer's story.
  The report concluded the search warrant authorizing the raid was invalid
because there were material misstatments or false statements in the affidavit,
which was prepared by Spencer.
  Scott was a playboy fixture on the Hollywood party scene until he dropped out
about 20 years ago and spent the rest of his life at the ranch.
  His family is suing for $200 million.
 
 
 
  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A sheriff's deputy acted in self-defense when he shot and
killed a millionaire rancher during a drug raid, but the search warrant for the
raid shouldn't have been granted, a prosecutor concluded.
  Ventura County District Attorney Michael D. Bradbury decided against filing
perjury charges, saying it cannot be proven that investigators knew that
information in their affidavits for a search warrant were false.
  His conclusions were reported by the Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles
Times, which cited sources they didn't identify saying the warrant was granted
on the basis of false or misleading information.
  About 40 law enforcement agents raided Donald P. Scott's ranch near Malibu on
Oct. 2 after a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent claimed to have
spotted marijuana plants during an aerial surveillance. No marijuana was found.
  Scott, the 61-year-old heir to a European chemical fortune, was shot when he
came out of a bedroom holding a revolver.
  Bradbury concluded that sheriff's deputy Gary Spencer, who shot Scott, acted
in self-defense.
  ------
 
 
  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A scientist testing a marijuana-sniffing device was part
of a task force that raided the home of a wealthy Malibu-area rancher and shot
him to death, according to a published report.
  The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department invited Andrei Yavrouian of the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Oct. 2 raid by a 27-member federal, state and
local task force, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Thursday..
  The researcher had a device to take air samples at the 200-acre Trail's End
Ranch in Ventura County. The test was canceled after a detective shot Donald P.
Scott, 61, to death when he confronted authorities with a handgun.
  The scientist was invited on the raid because the Sheriff's Department has a
federal grant to explore "some high-tech approaches to marijuana eradication,"
Capt. Larry Waldie said.
  The raid was called after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said
aerial surveillance had detected marijuana at the ranch. However, no marijuana
was found.
 
 
 
WP  03/30/93    'Benign Neglect' Means Danger
 
By Herbert D. Kleber
 
  Peter Reuter, describing the country's drug policies of the 1980s as "costly
and largely ineffectual," suggested in a recent Outlook piece that the drug
issue could do with a little benign neglect - that is to say, a change in focus
from public intolerance of drugs to reducing the harm they cause society.
  Specifically, this would mean cutting down on enforcement activities and
improving the public treatment system - including use of law enforcement to push
addicts into treatment instead of jailing them. While Reuter's goal of expanded
treatment is good, his suggestions for getting us there don't stand up to much
scrutiny. In fact, if the country adopts a posture of benign neglect and backs
away from public intolerance, there is a big danger that the recent progress
made against drugs will be slowed or reversed.
  Reuter attributes the sharp decrease in drug use in the general population
to increased health concerns and greater awareness of the dangers of cocaine and
marijuana. But he leaves out a more crucial factor: "denormalization." In the
1960s, '70s and early '80s, drug use became normalized throughout our country.
It was acceptable behavior in many circles to use marijuana and cocaine at
school, in the workplace and at social gatherings.
  The change in this point of view was brought about by a number of factors,
including the work of the Partnership for a Drug Free America, the public
pronouncements of both Democratic and Republican leaders, the stance taken by
our last two presidents and, most important, outspoken community leaders,
parents and teachers. Not only were employers no longer willing to tolerate drug
use in their workplaces, the workers themselves became more intolerant of use by
their co-workers, recognizing both the heightened accident risk and the
likelihood that their companies would become less competitive. Social norms at
parties changed, as did teenagers' tolerance for drug use among their peers.
  To assume that these events occurred simply because of changing general
attitudes about health is to misread the message of these years.
  Reuter pointed out, and I agree, that we have not been successful in making
drugs physically unavailable. But we can help make them "psychologically
unavailable" through denormalization and the stigmatizing of their use. The
difference in numbers between alcoholics (18 million) and cocaine addicts (2
million) shows what happens when addicting drugs are "normalized" and not
stigmatized.
  Nor would the funds badly needed for treatment be forthcoming under benign
neglect. As Reuter pointed out, many of the people who need drug treatment are
not seen as worthy recipients by the public at large. Funding for treatment has
been a bipartisan failure, with Republican administrations asking for inadequate
funds and Democratic Congresses providing even less. Would neglect improve this
situation?
  It is also evident to treatment professionals that, while many people need
treatment for drug abuse, the demand for it is not great. Most people using
illicit drugs don't come into treatment voluntarily. Many need some push from
the criminal justice system. If the justice system relaxes its sanctions, and
the addicts know the threat has little to back it up, their willingness to go
into involuntary treatment will be substantially less.
  There is good data showing that individuals who go into treatment under
pressure do just as well as those who enter voluntarily. While it makes sense to
shift priorities so that treatment, prevention and research receive 50 percent
rather than 30 percent of federal dollars, this is unlikely to happen unless the
public intensifies its pressure rather than just ignoring the drug problem.
  The effectiveness of the European harm reduction attempts that Reuter
advocates is also overstated. The Swiss recently closed their "needle park"
because the tolerance of drug abuse it represented had led to up to 20,000
people congregating there, instead of the few thousands they had predicted. The
Italians have paid for their decriminalizing possession of small amounts of
heroin for personal use with the highest heroin overdose death rate and one of
the highest addiction rates in Western Europe.
  It is difficult to determine just what drug policy will be like in this era
of new leadership. While the Office of National Drug Control Policy has been
proposed for Cabinet level, it has been reduced in size, and no one has yet been
named to head it. The House of Representatives has voted to eliminate its Select
Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.
  The change at the drug policy office may not be for the worse if a strong and
articulate leader there has President Clinton's support and sufficient funding.
But the elimination of the House select committee could do great harm. While 18
or so congressional committees and subcommittees have some aspect of the drug
issue within their purview, drugs cannot be adequately covered in such a
fragmented fashion, the problem that brought the select committee into being.
One committee in Congress needs to remain focused on the drug issue.
  While the economy and health care reform get the headlines, neither will be
adequately resolved without attention to substance abuse. Every drug treatment
professional, every law enforcement officer on the beat, every family with a
member struggling to overcome the problem of drug abuse, every social service
worker who must go into homes racked by drugs, AIDS and tuberculosis, every
community leader worried about drugs and crime in his or her neighborhood should
be worried about benign neglect.
  The writer is executive vice president and medical director of the Center on
Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
 
  
  ------
  SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- A prosecutor says the public should not
misinterpret his decision to drop charges against a woman who smokes marijuana
to control epileptic seizures.
  Valerie Corral of Davenport was to have started trial Monday, but Santa Cruz
County District Attorney Art Danner dismissed the charges Friday.
  Danner said he acted because he became convinced there was "no reasonable
possibility" a jury would convict her.
  Santa Cruz County voters approved a nonbinding medical marijuana referendum
last November, but Danner said the measure did not influence his decision.
  "It's really a case that puts everybody in a dilemma," said Danner. "It was a
round peg in a square hole that the law doesn't account for."
  Corral suffered severe head injuries in a 1973 auto accident and suffered
seizures up to five times a day, according to court records.

End

Hemp News No. 3

Compiled by Paul Stanford