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The Week Online with DRCNet
(renamed "Drug War Chronicle" effective issue #300, August 2003)

Issue #60, 9/25/98

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

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  1. DRCNet Nearing the 7,000 Mark -- Your Voice Needed
  2. ALERT: Congress Considers Jailing Children With Adults
  3. ALERT: from the Andean Information Network
  4. On The Web
  5. Canadian Hemp Shop Bust Aided by U.S. Agents
  6. Hemp B.C. Business License Hearing Scheduled for Next Week
  7. MEDIA NOTE: CBS Drama to Highlight Medical Marijuana
  8. Volunteers Needed for Washington, D.C. Medical Marijuana Initiative
  9. New Study Indicates that Cannabis Relieves Pain
  10. Drug War Militarization Bill Passes House Over Objections of Colombia
  11. Background on Juvenile Justice Bill
  12. Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to U.S.
  13. Minnesota Marijuana Law Faces Constitutional Challenge
  14. Human Rights Activists Accuse Russian Police of Planting Drugs
  15. National Conference on Prisons This Weekend
  16. EDITORIAL: Repentance for the Drug War
(visit last week's Week Online)

or check out The Week Online archives

DRCNet Approaching 7,000 Mark -- Your Voice Needed

As autumn approaches in the United States, new subscribers are signing on to DRCNet, and our numbers have broken 6,900 and are rapidly approaching 7,000. Think about the letters hundreds of you have sent to Oklahoma (see alert summary below), and think how much impact you will have for drug policy reform when those hundreds turn into thousands and tens of thousands. We need your help to get there. Here are a few ways you can be involved:

  1. Take Action: Keep watching for our alerts and write those letters, make those phone calls, let the powers that be know that we are there, that we vote and that we want a new drug policy. Send copies of your letters, or just short notes letting us know how you are using our alerts and information; write to us at [email protected] or just reply to any of our bulletins.
  2. Join DRCNet: About 1,050 of you have made a donation of some size to DRCNet. We need help from all of you to keep the organization healthy and able to pay its staff -- and eventually to prospect for members, take out ads, the sky's the limit -- it depends on you. Your money goes further than you think, as each month we report to our major donors on how many new members have come on board and how much members have donated. Your financial support for DRCNet is a vote of confidence that gives our donors confidence to invest in the organization -- making much more possible and enabling us to advance the cause further and further. DONATE $35 OR MORE AND GET A FREE COPY OF SHATTERED LIVES: PORTRAITS FROM AMERICA'S DRUG WAR -- to donate, use our form at (encrypted transmission, especially for credit card donations), or (no encryption, recommended you print it out and mail in with a check), or just send your check or money order to: DRCNet, 2000 P St. NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036.
  3. Recruit: Our Rapid Response Team/Week Online e-mail list is free to all interested parties. Send your friends or local reporters to or to fill out our "quick-signup" form, and they will be in touch with the issue every week, getting all the most important news and action items in the war over the war on drugs. (Please don't sign them up without their prior permission.) Another great way to get the word out is to redistribute our articles and get them reprinted online or in print -- see our reprint policy at the top of this issue
  4. Eyegive: Nearly 500 of you have signed up for the eyegive online fundraising program, raising $20 a day for DRCNet -- $6,000 a year -- and growing fast! You can raise needed funds for the organization, without spending a penny, just by visiting and clicking on the page 1-5 times, any day that you can -- one person pointing and clicking for just a few seconds each day can earn DRCNet up to $125 a year! Point your web browser to to automatically select DRCNet as your recipient non-profit.
  5. Gather Information: Let us know what's going in the drug war and drug reform efforts in your region. Events, incidents, legislation, local organizations, all of this will help us make DRCNet maximally useful. Thank you for your participation!

2. ALERT: Congress Considers Jailing Children With Adults

A barbaric, extremist bill sponsored by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), for which House leaders were not able to gain support in the Senate, has been attached as an amendment to a highly popular bill funding programs for missing children.  S. 2073 would require schools to expel students caught with possession of small quantities of drugs, give prosecutors unreviewable power to try children as young as 14 as adults, whether or not violence was involved in the offense, would allow these children to be incarcerated with adult offenders, remove judicial discretion in sentencing, and force states to focus on punitive approaches to juvenile crime instead of positive alternatives.  Please call your two Senators at (202) 225-3121 and President Clinton at (202) 456-1111 -- or send faxes for free through the ACLU's web site at

3. ALERT from the Andean Information Network

(From Lee Cridland, 9/23, concerning the state of negotiations between the Bolivian Government (GOB) and the cocaleros.)

On August 10, the coca growers from the Chapare started a peaceful and legal march to La Paz to take their demands to the seat of the national government.  The march was the culmination of a series of protest against the militarization and violence in the tropics since April 1. 

The growers' demands are as follows:

  1. Demilitarization of the Chapare region.

    As of April 1 the entire zone has been militarized and troops are being used to forcibly eradicate coca plants.  The entrance of the military into the zone and into the antinarcotics forces has increased violence and human rights violations, especially during eradication operations.  Fifteen people have died during confrontations, including two policemen.  The military, as well as UMOPAR (drug police) and the Ecological Police, are reported to be participating in robberies, beating and torture during eradication operations.

  2. Compliance by the GOB with the treaty signed October of 1997 with the cocaleros.

    This is the treaty that was signed at the end of last year which enabled the GOB to be certified by the U.S. government and continue to receive certain categories of foreign aid.  The coca growers agreed to voluntarily eradicate 3,600 hectares of coca before December 1st 1997.  The Bolivian government in turn agreed to several still unfulfilled promises including the development of an agricultural-industrial complex which would advance alternative development in the region.

  3. Dialogue over various components of the GOB infamous Five Year Plan which calls for the eradication of all illegal coca in the country during Banzer's term.

    This plan, which proposes to be a product of national consensus, has in fact never been debated by the county's Congress or any of their standing committees.  Cocaleros as well as other sectors of civilian society would like the plan to be analyzed, especially those sections of the plan which are in violation of the already existing antinarcotic law, Law 1008.

  4. Compensation for those families who lost members during the violent confrontation in April and May of this year.

    The cocaleros, accompanied by other sections of the popular movement, including the COB, arrived in La Paz on August 31 and found the doors to the negotiating table closed.  On September 14, approximately 50 cocaleros, including the president of the union, Evo Morales, entered into an indefinite hunger strike.  After much pressure from human rights organization and unions, the Catholic church has agreed to serve as negotiator.  This is viewed as a positive step and it is now up to the GOB to agree to enter in negotiations.

In a national meeting last weekend, the cocaleros gave the government a week to demonstrate good will toward serious negotiations.  If progress isn't seen by September 28, they intend to once again block the main highway between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

The following day, the government announced the movement of more military units into the area and guaranteed the right of passage for all.  Monsignor Ren‚ Fernandez responded by stating "that the church wants to approach both sides in a dialogue.  The problem of the coca is complex, but we understand that the innocent citizens of Chapare should not be punished."

AIN and other organizations in the country believe that negotiations are the only manner in which further violence and ultimately deaths can be avoided.  It is crucial that the GOB understand that the international community is aware that the decision rests with them.  The willingness of the government to negotiate is critical in preventing further escalation of violence in the region.  AIN is asking that letters be sent to the President and Minister of Government asking them not to follow the path of further violence but to instead agree to sit down at the bargaining table and begin to search for peaceful resolution to the conflict.  Please send your letter this week and e-mail a copy to AIN at [email protected] (and as always to DRCNet at [email protected]).

    Minister of Government
    Guido Nayar
    Avenida Arce Esq.
Wahaya     La Paz
    Fax 591 2 370460

    President of the Republic
    Hugo Banzer
    Palacio de Gobierno
    La Paz
    fax 591 2 359779

4. On the Web

WAR OR PSEUDO-WAR? -- A new article by Joseph Miranda, editor of California Liberty and DRCNet's consultant on military affairs, appears in this month's edition of "Social Justice" magazine.  Social Justice is not an online publication, but an earlier version of the article is online at, and Social Justice can be contacted at [email protected].  See another of Miranda's articles on our web site at

FOCAL POINT MARIJUANA REGULATION -- The Lindesmith Center presents its newest collection of full-text documents, examining the causes and consequences of cannabis decriminalization in various countries as well as proposals for the responsible regulation of cannabis.  These articles, studies, reports and papers were collected in conjunction with "Regulating Cannabis Options for Control in the 21st Century," the September 5, 1998 symposium in London.  See

5. Canadian Hemp Shop Bust Aided by U.S. Agents

On September 17, the Vancouver Province reported that U.S. military agents had participated in the undercover investigation of Hemp B.C. and the Cannabis Cafe which lead to a raid on the hemp stores last April.  According to court documents, four U.S. Navy agents were escorted by local police to Hemp B.C., where they attempted to purchase marijuana.  The U.S. agents were not successful, but their involvement has raised eyebrows among Canadians, who are concerned about the reach of the U.S. Drug War into a country in the midst of its own dialogue about drug policy. Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd told the Province that the Navy's participation "raises questions about...who is really controlling drug policy in Vancouver."

Vancouver Police were not available for comment at press time.

6. Hemp B.C. Business License Hearing Scheduled for Next Week

The Vancouver City Council is set to hold a "show-cause" hearing on September 29 to determine whether Hemp B.C. should be granted a business license.  City officials have so far denied Hemp B.C.'s application for a license, disputing Shelley Francis' ownership of the store and citing criminal charges pending against the store's founder and former owner, Marc Emery.  Hemp B.C. encourages Vancouver residents to meet at City Hall on September 29 to show their support for the store.  To read Hemp B.C.'s description of the problem, and to learn about the $1,000,000 suit they have filed against the City of Vancouver, visit their web site at

7. MEDIA NOTE  CBS Drama to Highlight Medical Marijuana

DRCNet has been informed that next Monday's episode (9/28) of the CBS medical drama "L.A. Doctors" will deal with the issue of medical marijuana.  We do not know whether the subject will be dealt with in a positive or a negative light, or whether it will be factually accurate.  Let's check it out and tell CBS what we think next week.

8. Volunteers Needed for Washington, D.C. Medical Marijuana Initiative

Supporters of Initiative 59, which would allow for the possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the nation's capitol, are looking for volunteers.  D.C. residents can help by making phone calls, putting signs up in their yards, flyering neighborhoods and parking lots, or just registering to vote and making it to the polls. To volunteer call (202) 546-2845 -- ask for Troy or Marc, send e-mail to [email protected] or fax to at 202-232-0442.

9. New Study Indicates that Cannabis Relieves Pain

Dr. Ian Meng and researchers from the University of California at San Francisco released the results of a report this week (9/23) which indicates that cannabinoids act upon the same part of the brain as morphine and, while they effect the brain differently, reduce pain without the unpleasant side effects or the threat of addiction commonly associated with opiates.

The study, conducted with a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, showed that cannabinoids affect the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), an area of the braid responsible for the sensation of pain.  "These results indicate that the marijuana-like drug can reduce pain by affecting the same pain modulating neurons as morphine, but through  separate mechanisms" said Meng.

Meng continued, "the implications for future development or treatment would be looking at different combinations of therapies, a lower dose of morphine combined with a low dose of cannabinoid.  Perhaps you could eliminate the nausea (caused by the opiates) or at least reduce it and increase the pain-killing effects."

10. Drug War Militarization Bill Passes House Over     Objections of Colombia

H.R.4300, the "Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act," which would target more than $200 Million in military and related aid to Colombia passed the house last week (9/16) by a vote of 384-39.  The overwhelming victory came despite the protestations of both U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and newly elected Colombian President Andres Pastrana, who is in the midst of negotiations aimed at ending his nation's 35 year-old civil war.

Of major concern to Pastrana is an amendment to the bill stipulating that the aid will not be forthcoming if Pastrana's plan to withdraw troops from a swath of Colombia's southern region as part of his negotiations with guerilla leaders interferes with counternarcotics efforts in the area.  Pastrana has worried U.S. drug warriors with his recent statements regarding the unworkability of aerial herbicide sprayings of coca and opium-producing regions, a favorite U.S. drug warrior program.  Disagreement over the sprayings came to a head earlier this month when Ruben Olarte Reyes, the anti-drug chief of the new Pastrana government, publicly stated that the use of Tebuthiuron, an herbicidal substance favored by the U.S. State Department, "is not on the agenda."  The U.S. has pushed Colombia to use Tebuthiuron, a granular substance that can be dropped from much higher altitudes than traditional liquid herbicides, despite warnings from its manufacturer, Dow Chemical, that such uncontrolled application could be hazardous both to people and to desirous plant life in the Andean region (see

Despite broad support among drug war hawks for the strategy and increasing implementation of herbicidal eradication, it has been estimated that during the past four years coca cultivation in Colombia has doubled to nearly 80,000 hectares.  According to Reyes, "Unfortunately, we have to recognize that crop eradication, in the manner that it has been carried out so far, has failed.  There is no doubt that there will have to be a profound revision of the crop eradication program."

Pastrana, elected by a wide margin this year, has already shown great determination in fulfilling his mandate to end Colombia's horrific and longstanding civil war.  Almost immediately after his election, Pastrana took his life in his hands by traveling into guerrilla-controlled territory for a face to face meeting with the opposition's legendary leader, 68 year-old Manuel Marulanda, to discuss possible scenarios for ending the three-sided conflict.  At the heart of the struggle is the issue of agrarian and economic reform.  But the presence of the drug crops, and their prohibition-enhanced value, has become inexorably intertwined in the struggle as drug money feeds and arms each side to one degree or another.

On Sunday (9/20) President Pastrana, speaking from Bogota, accused Republican lawmakers of politicizing the issue.  "They politicized it for Colombia, and it's the worst thing that has happened to us in the last four years" and that they (Republicans) were narrowly focused on "the simple thesis of an all-out war against drug trafficking" to the detriment of a delicate and complex process of peace in the war-torn nation.  Pastrana praised U.S. Democrats, saying that they, at least, understand that "we can't just talk about repression, fumigation and eradication."

Barry McCaffrey this week called on the Senate to reject H.R. 4300 (now S. 2341), saying that while the money was important, the stated goals of the bill (including an 80% reduction in the flow of illegal narcotics into the US) were "completely unrealistic" and not tied to a coherent strategy.  He said that the bill's passage in the House might well have been driven by election year politics and decried micromanagement by legislation.

Pastrana quickly arranged for a trip to Washington, set for Thursday (9/24), during which he will come to Capitol Hill to speak with House and Senate leaders.  Pastrana had already been scheduled to visit the United Nations in New York earlier in the week.

Before beginning his meetings on Thursday, Pastrana told the press, "The peace process is moving on." Pastrana's schedule included meetings with senior House members, including Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), chairman of the International Relations Committee, as well as Rep. Lee Hamilton, the committee's ranking Democrat, and members of Congress' Hispanic Caucus.

Contacted by The Week Online, an official at the Colombian Embassy said, "There are three topics which will be discussed, and these are all intertwined.  The peace process, eradication, and bilateral cooperation.  I cannot say what the content of President Pastrana's message will be, only that he will come with a large amount of information.  It is our hope that after these talks, many things will be clarified, as there currently seem to be some misunderstandings between the parties, perhaps particularly with regard to the House of Representatives.  We believe, however, that this visit will mark a very important juncture in the relationship between the countries."

As to the question of the U.S. Congress overstepping the bounds of Colombia's sovereignty, the official would say only ,"The one thing that is clear is that the decision about where, when and how much the United States will help Colombia is a decision to be made by the United States government.  It is their prerogative.  The process and the relationship between our two countries is an ongoing one, and we feel that President Pastrana will move that relationship forward with his visit tomorrow."

11. Background on Juvenile Justice Bill
  - Shawn Heller

(This article provides further information on the legislative process surrounding the Juvenile Crime Control Act, alert for which appears above.)

On 9/15, Rep. Bill McCollum, with five other House Republicans, attached a controversial trailer (Juvenile Crime Control Act of 1997) onto a bill introduced by Senator Orrin G. Hatch last spring (S. 2072).  This bill was intended to authorize appropriations for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The trailer, H.R. 3, would give federal prosecutors the power to remove cases involving juvenile offenders from the state court system and try them in adult federal criminal court.  If this bill passes, children as young as 13 will be placed in adult federal criminal prisons and jails with adult criminals, both before trial and after conviction.

H.R. 3 is the House version of the Senate Bill S. 10, which has been under much scrutiny in the Senate because of its controversial features.  The Senate has not engaged in a significant floor debate and has not come to any majority decision on S. 10.  However, it has now bypassed Senate debate and has been handed over to its supporters in the House/Senate Conference Committee for their stamp of approval.

In the minority view, published in the Committee Report on S. 10, Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Biden, Kohl, Feingold and Durbin write "This bill chooses sound bite over sound policy.  It reacts to the headlines about remorseless young criminals committing horrific crimes with a hodgepodge of so-called "get tough" fixes, an amalgam of good and bad ideas on how to spend federal funds, and one-size "Washington-knows-best" approach to juvenile crime that will undoubtedly worsen the juvenile crime problem."

Shannon Gravitte, press secretary for Rep. McCollum, told The Week Online, "In May 1997 H.R. 3 passed the house and is a compromise to the Senate's S. 10."  She went on to say that they are not using roundabout methods to attach H.R. 3 to S. 2073, rather that there is language in S. 2073 that allows for such procedural bypass of debate.  Although H.R. 3 has been amended in the House, it has not been debated or amended by the full Senate, nor will it.

The final bill will not be subject to amendment or debate; rather, the bill, as amended, will come to a "yes" or "no" vote by the full Senate.  Hence, the Senate may enact H.R. 3 without having the chance to ever amend the proposal, causing radical changes in the relationship between the federal government and the states regarding juvenile crime.

Opponents of the bill include Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist and the Children's Defense Fund.

12. Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to U.S.
-Marc Brandl

At approximately 430am, Thursday, 18 family members, including two teenagers, six children, and one infant, where led out of their bedrooms at gun point, lined against a patio wall and gunned down with eighty bullets coming from nine or ten AK-47 wielding gunmen.  The incident happened in a sleepy suburb of the Mexican resort town of Ensenada, a popular destination for American tourists, only a ninety minute drive from the U.S. Mexico border and home to hundreds of American ex-patriots.

The gruesome scene of the shooting, shown across Mexico and on several Spanish language U.S. channels, depicted a line of bloodied bodies still in their sleepwear with the children holding on to their toys and teddy bears.

The cause behind the Ensenada massacre is believed to be a rivalry between two Mexican drug cartels.  Fermin Castro, one of the only survivors, in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head and body, is allegedly in charge of marijuana cultivation for the Arellano Felix drug gang which controls the drugs flowing through the Southwestern corridor into the U.S.  The lead theory at this point is that it was drug traffickers retaliating for the killing of drug kingpin Munoz Talavera, who are thought to control the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso section of the border.  Both groups are thought to have been violent rivals for sometime.

"If this was indeed retaliation, whoever did it sent a heck of a message to the Arellano Felix gang," Phil Jordan, a Dallas security specialist and former senior agent with the DEA told the Dallas Morning News on Friday, 18th.  "It's the kind of drug-related violence that puts Mexico one step closer to Colombia.  It's not good for Mexico, and it's not good for the United States.  And as long as narco-political corruption exists in Mexico, I don't think the situation will get any better."

John Walsh, a research associate for Drug Strategies concurs.  "There is a recognition that the way the Mexicans have taken over cocaine trafficking from the Colombians has emboldened them in terms of corruption and the level of violence.  This incident falls into that category.  But even if the situation doesn't become as dire as Columbia, the fact that its on our border makes it a serious situation."

So far the investigation into the massacre has had few leads.  Mexican officials did find a cache of guns nearby that may have been used in the killings, but as of press time no suspects have been brought into custody, and few local residences are willing to talk.

The violence along the border "continues to be a concern," said John Woodard, chief of staff to Rep. Brian Bilbray (R- CA).  Woodard told the WOL, "We've seen similar drug related incidents in Coronado and San Diego.  It's obvious this type of stuff spreads across the border."  Rep. Bilbray's 49th Congressional district begins the western border between Mexico and the U.S. and continues along past the two main Southwestern border checkpoints leading into Tijuana.  In the past Rep. Bilbray has supported the certification of Mexico as a drug war ally , but with incidents such as this and several high profile drug corruption related cases in the Mexican military and police, "it's too early to tell whether he'll support certification" again when it comes up for a vote next spring in the 106th Congress.

13. Minnesota Marijuana Law faces Constitutional Challenge in Court Case

On Tuesday (9/29), the Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the criminal appeal of Thomas Wright, who was earlier convicted on a marijuana charge.  Wright is arguing that the state's marijuana prohibition is in violation of the Minnesota Constitution, Article XIII, Section 7, which states, "Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefore."

During Wright's trial, his attorney, Randall Teague, made a motion for dismissal based on A13, S7, explaining to Judge Alan Oleisky that the state cannot have the greater power of making marijuana completely illegal if it does not have the lesser power of requiring a license.  Teague produced evidence that marijuana was a "product of the farm or garden" in 1906 when the section was voted into the Minnesota constitution, and continued to be so until 1935 when the state adopted the Uniform Narcotics Control Act and its optional marijuana provision.  He argued that the state's controlled substances act says that you can be in legal possession and be a manufacturer if you have a license through the board of pharmacy.

Wright told The Week Online, "The truth of the matter is that the truth doesn't matter.  The logic of my claim is undeniable but I know that they'll develop a legal construct that usurps the right of farmers.  No matter, though, I'm prepared to take this to the Supreme Court."

14. Human Rights Activists Accuse Russian Police of Planting Drugs

On Monday (9/22), human rights activists in the former Soviet Union accused Russian police of planting drugs on innocent persons.  At a press conference in Moscow, human rights activist Lev Ponomaryev told reporters that "an organization of crooked policemen... are persecuting people who have nothing to do with drugs" and that the police were acting "either under orders, or else to embellish their own track records."

Sergei Bachinin, editor in chief or the newspaper Vyatski Nabliodatel, who was arrested last year after police allegedly found less than a gram of marijuana in his office, headed the inquiry into the corruption.  He told reporters that he was "convinced that there are many files falsified with the help of fake testimonies and provocation."

15. National Conference on Prisons This Weekend

"Critical Resistance Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex", a national conference on the rise and destructiveness of the world's largest prison state, will be held this weekend (9/25-9/27) at the University of California at Berkeley.  Featured speakers will include Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem and the 1998 MacArthur "Genius Award" winner Ellen Barry of the San Francisco-based Legal Services for Prisoners With Children.  For more information call (510) 238-8555.  If you make it to the conference, stop by DRCNet's table to say hello.

The U.S. jail and prison population (federal, state and local) stands at nearly 2,000,000 up from just over 200,000 in 1972.

EDITORIAL Repentance for the Drug War

Sundown on Tuesday, September 29, marks the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur, day of atonement.  Judaism is not alone among the world's religions in setting aside a time for personal reflection and repentance through fasting or self-sacrifice -- Catholics observe Lent, for instance, and Muslims observe Ramadan to name two -- indicating that an understanding of the value of setting aside a time for taking stock of one's actions, for acknowledging wrongdoing and seeking forgiveness is deeply embedded in the human spirit.

In honor, then, of Yom Kippur, the oldest of such traditions, I write today in respectful suggestion to a handful of people who might want to spend some time in communion with their maker, if not this week than certainly soon, seeking forgiveness for behavior which, under any rational understanding of the intent of a supreme being, must be considered sinful.

Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, for her steadfast refusal to consider the advice of either the world's scientific community or her own commission on AIDS to allow implementation of syringe exchange programs in that state.  New Jersey has the third-highest rate of injection- related AIDS in the nation and ranks near the top in the incidence of childhood HIV infection, which is nearly always caused, indirectly, by dirty needles.

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, who, during the past year has proffered blatant misinformation regarding the medicinal potential of cannabis, the efficacy of needle exchange, the commercial viability and practical applications of hemp, domestic policies and their impact in such nations as Switzerland and The Netherlands, the impact and intent of the US policy for which he is an apologist, and the nature and intentions of those with whom he disagrees.

Rep. James Traficant, (OH) for continuously pushing for legislation which would further militarize the U.S.-Mexican border, despite the fact that his district is more than a thousand miles away from that border and despite the fact that representatives from border districts, whose constituents would bear the costs and dangers of such legislation, have voiced grave concerns over such plans.

Speaker Newt Gingrich, once a sponsor of pro-medical cannabis legislation and a staunch opponent of the broad powers of the FDA over the lives and decisions of doctors and patients, for shepherding through the House legislation that hides behind the FDA approval process for the purpose expressing opposition to the personal choices of medical cannabis users everywhere.

House Republicans, for overwhelmingly supporting legislation which would both further militarize the civil conflict in Colombia and attempt to dictate the actions of newly elected President Andres Pastrana to the detriment of his courageous and delicate peace plan.

And again, for their willingness to speak out about the need to get the government out of the lives of Americans while hypocritically championing the single most intrusive government policy in existence, the "right" of the government to go to any lengths to find and to punish those who would ingest, into their own bodies, unapproved substances.

House Democrats, for their willingness to compromise their "core values" of civil rights, help for the disadvantaged and the reigning-in of corporate power in the name of a policy that is imprisoning enormous numbers of the poor and the non-white, as well as those who choose either a medicine or an intoxicant that is not owned and patented by either a pharmaceutical, liquor or tobacco company.

President Clinton, for bemoaning an invasion of his privacy in the Lewinsky affair, while presiding over a drug war which arrested over 600,000 people for possession of a plant in 1997.

The list goes on, of course.  But the point is that war, the most terrible and destructive of all human endeavors, is being waged as domestic policy by a generation of American leaders in the false name of morality itself.  And while this is not to suggest that the people named above should observe the ritual of any particular religion or belief, perhaps the coming of Yom Kippur can at least serve as a reminder to them that given their behavior over the past year, a little atonement is definitely in order.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director

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