Hemp News 23

Hemp News No. 23

Compiled by

Paul Stanford



The following wire stories are provided as a public service by
Tree Free EcoPaper, makers of 50% hemp (cannabis) and 50% cereal straw
paper. Tree Free EcoPaper is the world's first and largest supplier of
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whole hempstalks and 100% hemp textiles and bast fiber by the truckload. 
Without further ado, please enjoy the news:


circa  06/30/94      Police in a pickle over plastic pot plant

     CHELTENHAM, England (Reuter) - Hairdresser Rob Andrews sparked a police
raid when he put a plastic pot plant in his salon window.
     Officers were tipped off that the plant was marijuana but quickly realised
the mistake when they raided the premises in this western English town.
     "They went over to it and realised straightaway that it was plastic. I
don't think they were very amused," Andrews said after the police had left.
      - - - -


RTw  06/30/94      PLASTIC POT PLANT PUZZLES POLICE

    CHELTENHAM, England, June 30 (Reuter) - Hairdresser Rob Andrews sparked a
police raid when he put a plastic pot plant in his salon window.
     Officers were tipped off that the plant was cannabis but quickly realised
the mistake when they raided the premises in this western English town.
     "They went over to it and realised straightaway that it was plastic. I
don't think they were very amused," Andrews said after the police had left.
  REUTER



RTf  07/04/94      U.K. to promote non-food crops for industrial use

    LONDON, July 4 (Reuter) - Britain will step up its help to farmers to
develop land for producing non-food crops for industry, Agriculture Minister
Gillian Shephard said.
    "Opportunities are beginning to emerge that will enable farmers to use the
land productively for renewable raw materials as well as the food we need,"
Shephard told a gathering at the annual Royal Show at Stoneleigh in central
England.
    Land set aside from food production under the EU's Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP) could be used to produce industrial oilseeds -- for paints and
pharmaceuticals -- and fibres like flax and hemp for use in paper and textiles,
 she said.
    Shephard announced an increase in her ministry's research and development
budget on such crops to nearly 1.3 million stg a year. She also announced a new
consultation document on such crops and the creation of a special unit in the
farm ministry to coordinate links between growers, researchers and industry.
    "The U.K. can take an early lead in developing new crops for uses other than
food," Shephard said.
    About a sixth of U.K. arable land -- or some 600,000 hectares -- are set
aside, of which about 125,000 may have been used for non-food crops, the
ministry said.
    --London Newsroom +44 71 510 8065
 REUTER



APn  07/04/94      Drugs-Drivers' Licenses

By CAROLYN SKORNECK
 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The goal was to crack down on drug use by coercing states
into yanking drivers' licenses from all drug offenders, no matter how minor the
infraction. The stick wielded by Congress was a threatened loss of federal
highway funds.
   But it hasn't worked out that way.
   Thirty states have defied that pressure, opting for a congressionally
 sanctioned alternative: Their legislatures passed resolutions declaring
opposition to mandatory six-month license suspensions for drug offenders, and
governors of these states supported that position, the Federal Highway
Administration says.
   Only 14 states have complied by requiring the license suspensions.
   Federal action is pending for another six states, putting at risk a portion
of their federal highway funds this year. These states, including four that have
moved to suspend licenses, can still get their full allotment if they comply by
Oct. 1, said Mila Plosky, an FHWA official.
   "It's turned out much better than I expected," said Kevin Zeese of the Drug
Policy Foundation, which opposed the legislation and advocates treating drug
abuse as a medical problem, not a crime.
    "Back in 1990, when it was passed, I would have bet that less than five
states would pass resolutions saying, `No, thank you,'" Zeese said in a recent
interview.
   But the legislation's sponsor is also happy with the results.
   "It's worked out very, very well," said Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y.
   The 14 states that imposed mandatory suspensions, he said, "are major
population states." They include six of the 10 most populous states: New York,
Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey.
   Even though 30 states rejected his plan, Solomon said, "We have made our
point. We have gotten every state in the union to focus in on this terrible
problem."
   Although the legislation passed in 1990, at the height of then-President
 Bush's war on drugs, states did not risk losing money until the current fiscal
year, which began last Oct. 1. States not in compliance were to lose 5 percent
of their share of the four biggest highway programs. After Oct. 1, 1995,
non-complying states are to lose 10 percent.
   Of the $17.5 billion the FHWA planned to give to states this year, California
and New York were slated to get the biggest chunks, with California up for $1.6
billion and New York, $908 million.
   California is at risk to lose $51.8 million.
   The legislation, tucked into the fiscal 1991 transportation appropriations
bill, applied to all illegal drugs, all drug offenses and all states, including
the 10 that had decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana but
still considered it an infraction of the law.
    The two most populous of such states, California and New York, were Solomon's
primary targets.
   New York responded by passing a law requiring the suspensions of drug
offenders' drivers' licenses, effective last Sept. 30, a day before the
deadline.
   Two years ago, California's Democratic-dominated legislature passed a
resolution opposing a law requiring the license suspensions, but Republican Gov.
Pete Wilson vetoed it.
   Wilson came back with a "smoke a joint, lose your license" measure. It went
nowhere last year, but the state Assembly passed a revised version, 46-13, in
early June. State Senate action is pending.
   Of the other five states that are not in compliance officially, four have
 passed legislation requiring the license suspensions and one has passed a
resolution saying it would not do so. The federal highway agency is reviewing
these actions.
   If federal officials accept these efforts, 18 states, the District of
Columbia and Puerto Rico will require license suspensions for drug offenders and
31 states will not.
   The National Governors' Association opposes the federal requirement.
   "It's not fair to have a mandate imposed that would withhold highway funds,"
said the NGA's Lydia Conrad. "States face 19 mandates on their highway funds if
they don't meet a variety of requirements," ranging from control of junkyards to
using recycled material in asphalt, she said.



UPn  07/05/94      Two Europeans could face death penalty

   MANILA, July 5 (UPI) -- The Philippine authorities Tuesday charged a German
and a Swiss with illegal possession of five million pesos ($185, 000) worth of
hashish and the two could face the death penalty if convicted.
   Helmut Herbst, 46, of Germany and Remo Dalla Corte, 31, of Switzerland were
arrested in April in the beach resort town of Puerto Galera for possessing 159
pounds (72 kg) of hashish, a drug derived from marijuana resin.
   State Prosecutor Emmanuel Medina said the "unshaken statements" of the Bureau
of Immigration operatives who apprehended the two suspects would be the key
piece of evidence in the trial.
   Herbst and Corte have pleaded not guilty.
    Drug trafficking is a non-bailable offense with a maximum penalty of death
under the country's capital punishment law that went into effect Jan. 1.
   The Philippines now has one of the broadest death penalty laws outside the
Muslim world, allowing the execution of criminals convicted murder, drug
trafficking, rape, arson, kidnapping, treason and the large-scale looting of
government funds.
   Sen. Ernesto Herrera, chairman of the committee on illegal drugs, has said
the two Europeans should be executed "as a warning to international drug
traffickers operating in the country." 



RTf  07/06/94      Psychemedics (PCMCO) hair drug test gets patent

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 6 (Reuter) - Psychemedics Corp said it was granted a
patent for its proprietary hair analysis method for drug testing.
    The company said its test can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates,
methamphetamines and PCP use by examining a small hair sample.
    -- New York Newsdesk, 212-603-3310.
 REUTER
 


UPn  07/06/94      Thai MP threatens U.S. over drug charge

By JOHN HAIL
   BANGKOK, July 6 (UPI) -- A senior Thai member of parliament suspected by the
United States of drug dealing threatened legal action Wednesday if his accusers
fail to produce evidence against him within one week.
   Wattana Asavahame, deputy leader of the opposition Chat Thai Party, livened
an otherwise routine budget debate in parliament with an impassioned speech
about the narcotics allegations.
   According to a statement issued July 1 by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, the
longtime member of parliament and former deputy interior minister was denied a
U.S. visa because "there is reason to believe he is or has been an illicit
 trafficker in a controlled substance."
   "You know how these accusations have damaged me," Wattana told his fellow
parliamentarians. "I strongly condemn such action by the U.S. authorities
against me."
   He said the accusations were "an insult to the Thai Parliament."
   Wattana, 58, called on the House of Representatives and the government of
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai to take legal action against the U.S. government.
   He said if the Americans fail to produce concrete evidence against him he
would have "no choice" but to sue the U.S. for material compensation for the
damage to his reputation.
   On Tuesday Chavalit Yodmanee, chief of Thailand's Narcotics Control Board,
met with senior U.S. Embassy and Drug Enforcement Administration officials and
 quoted them as saying they had evidence against Wattana.
   But he said the American officials did not disclose the nature of the
evidence. 
   Wattana is the third Thai politician to be publicly accused of drug dealing
by the United States in the past two months.
   Another Chat Thai MP, Thanong Siriprechapong, was accused in May of exporting
nearly 50 tons of Thai marijuana to the U.S. West Coast over a ten-year period.
   Shortly afterward, Mongkol Chongsuttanamanee, an MP from the opposition Chat
Pattana Party, also was hit by American drug dealing charges.
   The accusations have prompted opposition leaders to accuse the government of
leaking the allegations for political purposes.
   Chat Thai Party leader Banharn Silapa-archa was quoted by party members as
 advising other Chat Thai MPs to refrain from applying for entry visas to the
U.S. because they might fall victim to the "smear campaign."
   Because of the drug allegations, the Chat Thai and other opposition parties
boycotted a U.S. Embassy party celebrating the 4th of July.
   Meanwhile, Prime Minister Chuan, whose ruling coalition has not been tainted
by the drug scandal, played down any possible damage it might have to bilateral
relations with the U.S.
   "Relations between Thailand and the United States are not at stake," he said.
"The U.S. is Thailand's single biggest trading partner, with whom we have a huge
trade surplus. That's why we should try to prevent personal affairs from
affecting bilateral relations."



UPn  07/07/94      China says English prisoner ``content''

   BEIJING, July 7 (UPI) -- An English drugs trafficker, languishing in a
Chinese jail for attempting to smuggle marijuana into Japan, says he is well
treated and content, the official media said Thursday.
   "I am content with life here and the warders treat me well," 31- year-old
Mark Baber told Xinhua news agency.
   "On my birthday, the prison specially baked a cake for me," he said, adding
"I watch TV in the evening and read the China Daily."
   Baber was arrested at the port in Shanghai for trying to smuggle  "several
kilos" of marijuana out of China and into Japan.
   "I violated Chinese law and was obliged to bow to the justice of the Chinese
 authorities," he told the news agency.
   Baber, a graduate of Oxford University, has one year to serve of his
four-year term and plans to remain in China when he is released.
   He has learnt Chinese in prison and wants "to do business in China in the
future," the news agency reported.
   Baber has his own cell, is allowed to play football and sunbathe and has
special vegetarian food cooked for him, Xinhua news agency said.
   Chinese prisoners however are not so fortunate.
   China's jails are generally cramped and prisoners are subject to fierce
discipline.
   Human rights groups have accused China of torturing prison inmates, forcing
them to work 15-hour days and feeding them gruel.
    In a report released in May, Human Rights Watch-Asia claimed China cleaned up
an entire wing of Beijing's No. 2 Prison for an anticipated visit of the Red
Cross.
   Glass was put in window frames, menu boards were changed to show meat and
rice dishes instead of dough buns and watery soup, the group said.



UPwe 07/08/94      Raids net 2,070 marijuana plants

   SANTA ROSA, Calif., July 8 (UPI) -- Sonoma County authorities announced
Friday they have staged a series of raids in California's infamous Emerald
Triangle marijuana growing region, seizing 2,070 plants worth more than $6
million and arresting an alleged grower.
   Lt. Mike Brown, of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, said the raids
were undertaken over a three-day period ending June 7.
   "It's harvesting time," Brown said. "There should be a great of action up
here for the next few months."
   The first raid began early Tuesday with agents sweeping a site south of the
Gualala River, 4 miles south of the town of Gualala. Authorities said 1,003
 plants ranging in size up to 3 to 4 feet were destroyed. Brown said the plants
had a street value of $3 million.
   On Wednesday, two sheriff's deputies and a Fish and Wildlife game officer
stumbled onto several small marijuana farms near Annapolis and saw a Jon Gregory
Patrick riding a camouflage-covered all terrain vehicle in the fields.
   A chase ensued with Patrick observed reaching into his waistband several
times. Once apprehended, it was discovered Patrick was carrying a semi-automatic
pistol loaded with hollow point bullets and equipped with a laser sight.
   Patrick was taken into custody and is being held in Sonoma County Jail.
Officers also seized 103 marijuana plants with a street value estimated to be
$300,000.
   The final raid took place on Thursday when officers destroyed 964 plants
 found growing near Sea Ranch. The plants, ranging in size from 3 to 6 feet, had
a street value of $2,982,000.


circa  07/08/94      [untitled - Sickle Cell Patient Arraignment]

   8 a.m. -- Los Angeles -- Arraignment for Sister Somayah Moore-Kambui, a
sickle cell patient who uses marijuana and hemp seed oil to abate pain from the
disease, on charges of possession of a marijuana plant. Criminal Courts
Building, Div.30. Contacts: Lynnette Shaw or Sister Somayah at 213-234-8701.



RTw  07/09/94      SINGAPORE TO HANG MALAYSIAN FOR DRUGS - NEWSPAPER

    SINGAPORE, July 9 (Reuter) - Singapore's high court on Friday sentenced to
death a Malaysian for importing into Singapore nearly 1.4 kg (just over three
pounds) of cannabis, The Straits Times said on Saturday.
     He had pleaded not guilty.
     Under Singapore's strict anti-drugs laws, the death sentence is mandatory
for anyone found guilty of trafficking in more than 15 grams (half an ounce) of
heroin, 30 grams (one ounce) of morphine or 500 grams (18 ounces) of cannabis.
     The court found Ibrahim Yaacob guilty of bringing in the drugs in the boot
of a car driven from the neighbouring Malaysian city of Johor Baru in September
last year.
      The newspaper said the court rejected the 31-year-old salesman's denial of
oral and written confessions he was alleged to have made earlier to the Central
Narcotics Bureau. It did not accept the accused's plea he was coerced into
making the statements.
     Singapore has hanged 59 people for drug trafficking since it introduced its
anti-drug laws in 1975.
  REUTER



RTw  07/09/94     IRISH POLICE SEIZE $15 MILLION CANNABIS CARGO

    DUBLIN, July 9 (Reuter) - Irish security forces seized more than a ton of
cannabis with an estimated street value of $15 million when they intercepted a
yacht in Galway Bay on Saturday, police said.
     Security and customs officials watched the yacht for 10 days and moved in
as it was about to be unloaded at a beach in Connemara on the west coast of
Ireland. Four Irishmen on shore were detained.
     The yacht, named by police as the "Nikoletto," had been chartered in France
or Spain and had come from North Africa, a police spokesman said.
  REUTER



RTw  07/10/94      INDONESIA UNCOVERS MARIJUANA FIELD

    JAKARTA, July 10 (Reuter) - The Indonesian military has uncovered a
37-hectare (90 acre) field of marijuana in northern Sumatra's Aceh province, the
official Antara news agency said on Sunday.
     A local military commander was quoted by the agency as saying 59 tons of
marijuana were seized in a raid earlier this week.
     The owner of the drugs and his workers escaped.
  REUTER



RTw  07/11/94     ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN WORKING, LEBANON MINISTER SAYS

    DAMASCUS, July 11 (Reuter) - A campaign launched in 1992 to rid Lebanese
land of narcotics production is succeeding with help from Syrian troops
stationed in the country, Lebanon's interior minister has said.
     The minister, Bechara Merhej, said in an interview with the Syrian official
newspaper al-Baath published on Monday:
     "There is no new cannabis production now. There might still be some stocks
that we have not found yet, but we are continuing our drive to discover them.
     "In 1992 an area of 5,680 hectares (more than 14,000 acres) planted with
cannabis was destroyed ... our drug-fighting units have proof that there are no
areas planted with drugs in 1994," the minister said.
      He said the campaign was conducted with full cooperation from Syrian troops
operating in Lebanon. Syria has some 35,000 troops stationed mainly in Lebanon's
Bekaa Valley, where most of the narcotics planting has occurred.
     "The Syrian army has helped us in confiscating and destroying operations
and we called mayors in the Bekaa Valley to request their full cooperation to
uproot opium poppy planting," he added.
     He said cooperation with Syrian troops led to confiscation of some 7,500 kg
(about 16,500 pounds) of stored hashish in February 1992.
     The government had also stepped up airport and harbour checks to halt drug
smuggling, and measures had been adopted with help from the United Nations to
rehabilitate addicts and compensate farmers who used to plant drugs.
     But Merhej said the $3.5 million in U.N. aid was not enough to provide full
 compensation.
  REUTER



UPce 07/15/94     Leader of drug ring sentenced to 40 years

   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (UPI) -- A Belleville man is in jail (Friday) after
being sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for a number of convictions
stemming from his leadership of a drug ring that sold hundreds of pounds of
marijuana. A federal jury convicted Timothy Gibbs of numerous drug and
conspiracy charges in May.



UPma 07/16/94     Democratic party leader arrested

   AKRON, Ohio July 16 (UPI) -- The first vice chairman of the Summit County
Democratic Party and Sheriff David Troutman's personnel director, Calvin Brown,
has been arrested for allegedly possessing cocaine and marijuana after leaving a
suspected crack house in Akron.
   Also arrested along with Brown was Lisa Stevens, 35, who lives in the house.
   Troutman said police officers had watched the house for several months and
had observed Brown's car there on several occasions.
   Troutman said the FBI was notified of Brown's potential involvement. He says
more arrests are expected in connection with the case.
   Brown, 40, of Akron, was arrested Thursday and pleaded innocent Friday to one
 count of felony drug abuse. He was released from jail after posting a $5,000
signature bond.
   Stevens is free on a $2,500 signature bond.
   Troutman, who hired Brown in 1987, said he had a good relationship with Brown
and found it difficult to arrest him.
   "Throughout the course of being here, he became a friend. It's
disappointing," Troutman said.
   Troutman said Brown told him that he plans to resign from his $50, 000-a-year
job. Brown was responsible for hiring personnel, implementing an employee drug
and alcohol assistance program, and handling personnel grievances.
   Troutman said Brown had bought the cocaine Thursday for personal use and
there was no evidence that Brown had been dealing drugs.
    When Brown won the 1992 election to the first vice chairmanship, he became
the highest-ranking black in the Summit County Democratic Party leadership. He
was re-elected to a second term at the party's meeting in May.
   Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Treichler says the party would not seek to remove
Brown based on the arrest.
   "I would assume if he's convicted, he'd resign," said Treichler.



RTw  07/17/94     BOB DYLAN MEETS HAVEL, DAZZLES CZECH AUDIENCE

    PRAGUE, July 17 (Reuter) - Czech President Vaclav Havel added to his list of
meetings with visiting entertainers this weekend when American folk and rock
legend Bob Dylan made his first concert appearance in Prague.
     Others to be greeted by Havel since the overthrow of communism here in in
1989 are the British Rolling Stones group and American singer Paul Simon.
     Dylan, 53, and Havel, 57, met backstage on Saturday before the American
singer captivated an ecstatic crowd of 15,000 for 100 minutes at an ice hockey
arena in the Czech capital. No details of what was described as a private chat
appeared in a statement issued by Havel's office.
     Clouds of cigarette and marijuana billowed in the air of the arena, where
 heat-wave-driven temperatures edged towards 40 degrees centigrade (about 100
fahrenheit).
     The 15 songs Dylan performed included the 1960s' hits "Maggie's Farm," "It
Ain't Me Babe," "Love Minus Zero" and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" as well as
"Tangled Up In Blue" and "The Simple Twist of Fate" from the 1970s.
     He finished a three-song encore with the folk anthem "Blowin' In the Wind,"
his first hit 32 years ago.
     Dylan is on a European tour that has already taken him to France and
Austria. His next stops will be Poland and Germany.
  REUTER



circa   07/17/94     [untitled - Sunday Telegraph Reports Bill Clinton Inhaled]

UK CLINTON (LONDON)
   London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper says US President BILL  CLINTON was a
regular consumer of cocaine and marijuana when he was  governor of Arkansas and
took part in wild parties.
   The main evidence in a series of interviews comes from  41-year-old JANE
PARKS, who lived next door to CLINTON'S brother,  ROGER, in Little Rock,
Arkansas, for two months in 1984.
   PARKS told the newspaper she heard through the adjoining wall  the CLINTON
brothers discussing the quality of marijuana or cocaine  they'd used.
 


WP   07/17/94       Let's Get Soft On Criminals!; Put the Nonviolent to Work 

By Charles W. Colson

    I WAS once federal prisoner 23226: a resident of Dormitory G at the Maxwell
Federal Prison Camp in Alabama. I was surrounded by 45 criminals - I should say
other criminals - a collection of human beings as pathetic and forlorn as I've
encountered anywhere.
    To be sure, the camp contained a handful of stereotypical thugs: burly,
tattooed men who had committed violent crimes. But most were like Cecil, a
white-haired, Kentucky mountaineer who could not write and could scarcely read.
 Cecil's chosen occupation was making whiskey. It was an altogether honorable
profession in his part of the country, but the revenuers took a different view
of it. And so Cecil was quietly doing his time, as had several of his friends
and an older brother before him.
    Then there was Pete. He was doing his third stint for passing bad checks and
other penny-ante scams. Pete was a pudgy-faced fellow with a wonderful laugh. He
pursued his illicit profession apparently out of sheer enjoyment. "I can't help
myself," he told me. "It's so easy - and fun." After my release I kept in touch
with Pete for a while; like a compulsive gambler, he kept returning to prison.
    One of the brighter personalities I met was Jerry, a handsome young man who
had been raised by his mother and a succession of her male companions. Jerry
managed to land a scholarship to a state junior college, where he was caught
 transporting $30,000 worth of drugs. A first offense, it got him three years.
Jerry was typical of many young men behind bars: not smart enough to be a
successful crook, not bold enough to do any big-time stuff and not rich enough
to snare a good lawyer to get him off the hook.
    None of the boys of Dormitory G would have committed a violent crime. Night
after night, I listened as they replayed their cases, fervently protesting their
innocence. Many received Dear John letters from wives or girlfriends. They lost
touch with their children. Those who had careers saw their life's work slip
through their fingers. And over time they grew bitter. Many talked about getting
even with "the system" when they got out, or outsmarting it the next time
around.
    I served my sentence nearly 20 years ago, but today's prisons are still
 filled with the same kind of low-level criminals I knew. The dirty little secret
of the American prison system is that two out of three of prison inmates are
sentenced for nonviolent offenses. The cost of their incarceration is high.
Taxpayers shell out an average of $20,000 per year per inmate in state prisons,
roughly $30,000 in the more modern and humane federal prisons. 
 _ Looking around at my prison mates, I wondered at the time why our system
fails to distinguish between the hardened, dangerous criminal and the nonviolent
offenders I was rubbing shoulders with. Yes, society must punish lawbreakers;
justice requires it. But is prison really the most effective way to punish
nonviolent offenders who pose no direct threat to the community? Many states
have strictly supervised, successful, community-based programs where offenders
can work, support their families and compensate their victims. Why can't many
 more?
   In prison I manned the laundry alongside a man named Doc Crenshaw. Doc had
been an eminently successful obstetrician, a former chairman of the American
Medical Association. A cultured man in his late fifties, his big mistake was to
serve on the board of a bank that misused depositors' funds. The entire board
went down. Behind bars, Doc repeatedly begged to be allowed to work in the local
hospitals, which suffered from a shortage of obstetricians. He was told to shut
up and do his time. So taxpayers footed the bill for a trained obstetrician to
spend two years folding undershorts.
    Doc Crenshaw is the quintessential example of an offender who should have
been sentenced to community service. Alternatives to prison save money and
reserve prison space for truly dangerous offenders. They also serve a powerful
 redemptive function. My group, Prison Fellowship, runs scores of community
service projects put nonviolent prisoners to work with hammer and nails,
renovating houses for poor families. I've talked with hundreds of inmate
patients who say they feel good about the chance to help others, to contribute
in a positive way to society, instead of sulking in a cell like the men I knew
in Dormitory G.
    Sensible as these policies may sound, they are not likely to strike a chord
in today's climate of panic over crime. In response to the public's fear of
crime, politicians are doing what politicians always do: talking tough and
proposing tough new laws. Therefore we have the budget-busting, billion-dollar
omnibus crime bill.
    In a perverse way this bill may compound our current prison problem,
 producing a lot more places like Dormitory G. While some funds are earmarked for
alternative forms of punishment, the overall thrust is for more police, more
prisons, longer sentences. For example, the Senate version expands mandatory
minimum sentencing. But mandatory minimums toss people into prison with no
regard for individual circumstances. Take the case of Richard Anderson, a
48-year-old longshoreman with no previous record, no evidence of drug use and 24
years of employment. In return for $5 in gas money, Anderson drove a friend to a
fast-food restaurant where the friend sold drugs to a DEA agent. Under a
mandatory sentencing law, the judge had no choice but to give Anderson a 10-year
prison sentence with no possibility of parole.
    Later, Anderson's sentence was reduced; not all prisoners are as lucky. Even
the chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Judge William Wilkins, has said
 mandatory minimums lead to "unfair sentences." Under current federal law, every
year 3,200 first-time offenders are given minimum sentences of five years or
longer. Do we really want to increase the number of laws that impose such
draconian sentences? If so, we'd better be prepared to build a lot more versions
of Dormitory G. 
  Still, the most dangerous aspect of the proposed crime bill is the brazen
federal takeover of state systems. The bill provides for 10 new regional prisons
for violent offenders. That sounds good until you read the fine print. To
transfer inmates to the regional prisons, states must first qualify by bringing
state sentencing policies in line with federal practices - precisely the kind
that put people away 10 years for a $5 offense.
    Today the federal system holds a much higher percentage of nonviolent
 offenders than do the states. But under the new system, the feds will require
states to follow suit, filling their already glutted prisons with Cecils, Jerrys
and Docs. A study conducted for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association
found that the new regional prisons will absorb an average of 375 prisoners from
each state - but the state will have to add 12,000 new prisoners to its own
system. The upshot is that for every $1 of federal help, states will have to
shell out $30. Not much of a bargain.
    Since serving my own sentence, I have worked in prisons for 20 years,
visiting 600 prisons in 35 countries, and I have discovered that the old
strategies for getting tough on crime don't do the job, no matter how
politically attractive they may be. For far less money, we could create tough,
supervised community work programs for nonviolent offenders - programs with
 teeth, holding offenders accountable and requiring them to pay compensation to
their victims. As for the real predators in our communities, we'd then have the
prison space to keep them locked up for a good long time.
    Take it from Prisoner 23226. If the House and Senate conferees want to break
their deadlock and produce an effective crime bill, they should talk with the
boys in Dormitory G. 

    Charles Colson, convicted in 1973 of Watergate-related crimes, founded
Prison Fellowship, the world's largest prisoner outreach, in 1976. He is the
1993 winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. 



UPn  07/18/94   Burmese burn mountain of drugs

   RANGOON, July 18 (UPI) -- Burmese military authorities Monday staged their
eighth annual public burning of seized illegal drugs, vowing to crack down on
the "scourge of drug abuse."
   Under a gloomy, overcast sky, the leaders of the ruling military junta and
Rangoon-based foreign diplomats clapped their hands and cheered as four large
piles of drugs were put to the torch.
   The Exhibition of Destruction of Narcotics Seized by Law Enforcement
Agencies, as the ceremony was officially billed, took place at 9 a.m. in the
compound of the Police Department's Victory guesthouse in North Rangoon.
   Military Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, widely regarded as the most
 powerful figure in the junta, led the government delegation at the ceremony.
   Before the huge bonfire of narcotics was ignited, two steamrollers rolled
back and forth to crush about 6,000 bottles of seized phensedyl, teradyl and
phencodine that had been placed in rows on two rectangular patches of ground in
the heavily guarded compound.
   The drugs destroyed included 2,846 pounds (1,291 kg) of opium, 357 pounds
(162 kg) of heroin, 11 pounds (5 kg) of opium oil, 4 pounds (2 kg) of liquid
opium and 582 pounds (264 kg) of marijuana.
   In a speech, police Col. Ngwe Soe Tun, joint secretary of the Central
Committee for Drug Abuse Control, said Burma had made great sacrifices in the
fight against narcotics since the mid-1970s.
   He said that in the current military campaign against Shan warlord and
 reputed narcotics kingpin Khun Sa, the Burmese army had suffered huge losses,
including the deaths of 196 soldiers and the wounding of 357 in a single battle.
   Ngwe So Tun said Burma has been cooperating with the United Nations Drug
Control Program and with neighboring China, Thailand and Laos to suppression the
narcotics trade.
   "The scourge of drug abuse has become an international concern, a global
problem," he said. "So only with the united efforts of all nations can this
danger be averted."



RTw  07/19/94      NEARLY TWO TONNES OF DRUGS TORCHED IN BURMA

    BANGKOK, July 19 (Reuter) - Burmese leaders, foreign diplomats and United
Nations officials watched as nearly two tonnes of drugs were put to the torch at
a ceremony outside the Burmese capital, Burma's state-run media reported.
     Burmese television, in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok late on Monday,
said the ceremony was the eighth in which drugs seized by police and customs
agents were destroyed.
     Among the drugs destroyed on Monday were 162 kg (360 lb) of heroin, 1,292
kg (2,840 lb) of opium and 264 kg (580 lb) of marijuana. The country is the
world's main source of illicit opium and heroin.
     Burma's military intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt was
 among the Burmese officials at the ceremony.
     U.S. officials say 60 per cent of heroin in the United States comes from
the Burmese section of the Golden Triangle, the mountainous region where Burma,
Thailand and Laos meet.
     Burma was always ready to act against narcotics and cooperate with others
in solving one of the most serious problems facing mankind, police Colonel Ngwe
Soe Tun, joint secretary of Burma's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control
said in a speech at the ceremony.
     But the country has faced criticism for not making serious efforts to stem
the flow of drugs from its territory and some Rangoon-based diplomats have said
the burning ceremonies were largely a public relations exercise.
     "The government of Burma has not undertaken serious or sustained narcotics
 control efforts since 1988, despite frequent public statements and some law
enforcement actions," the U.S. State Department's narcotics bureau said in a
report released in April.
     The United States cut off all aid to Burma, including narcotics suppression
assistance, following the 1988 crushing of a democracy uprising.
  REUTER


APn  07/19/94      Marijuana Ban

By LAURAN NEERGAARD
 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dying patients can't get individual prescriptions for
marijuana under a Clinton administration decision to uphold the ban on the
medicinal use of the illegal drug.
   But the Public Health Service's decision Monday left open the possibility of
privately funded studies to finally prove whether marijuana has health benefits.
   "Sound scientific studies supporting these claims are lacking despite
 anecdotal claims that smoked marijuana is beneficial," Assistant Health
Secretary Philip Lee wrote members of Congress who support medicinal marijuana.
   "This is a bureaucracy that is too dumb to figure out whether a weed could
help AIDS patients survive," responded Robert Randall, the first person to
legally receive medicinal marijuana under a government program.
   Starting in 1976, certain patients who didn't find relief in traditional
medications could apply to the Food and Drug Administration for permission to
use marijuana.
   The FDA allowed medicinal marijuana to ease nausea and loss of appetite
caused by cancer and AIDS treatments, ease muscle spasms for people with spinal
cord injuries or multiple sclerosis and alleviate the eye pressure that blinds
glaucoma sufferers like Randall.
    Some studies showed marijuana helped those diseases, but others disagreed.
President Bush in 1992 banned the medical testing or use of marijuana, saying it
could harm patients who had safer alternatives. The 15 people then receiving the
drug, including Randall, were allowed to continue; eight are still alive.
   Advocates pushed President Clinton to allow medicinal marijuana, citing the
pleas of dying patients who believe it could help and noting that various
groups, including the legislatures of California and Missouri, support lifting
the ban. Lee announced in January that he was reviewing the policy.
   In Monday's letter, he concluded that there are legal drugs to help all the
diseases marijuana advocates fear but that marijuana studies aren't
scientifically sound.
   But, Lee wrote, private groups who want to test marijuana can apply to do so.
 They will be subject to the same regulations governing safety and effectiveness
that FDA requires of any other medicines, he said.
   The Drug Policy Foundation of Washington already is discussing such trials,
said president Arnold Trebach. "But while that is being settled -- and it could
take a while -- there is no reason in the world to say to a patient who is
suffering from AIDS or cancer that you cannot try this drug."


circa  07/19/94      [untitled - Mexico Seizes 4 Tons of Pot]

   MEXICO CITY (AP) -- More than four metric tons of marijuana was seized in
Baja California state and marijuana fields were found in two other northern
states, Sonora and Durango, in recent operations, the government said Monday.
    The Attorney General's office said the dried and packed marijuana was seized
from a truck, apparently bound for the United States, during a roadcheck on the
highway between San Luis Colorado and Mexicali.
   Federal agents burned the marijuana fields, it said in a statement.
 

End



Compiled by Paul Stanford