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MAPTalk-Digest Wednesday, December 24 2003 Volume 03 : Number 287

001 Canada: Wire: Pot Law Doesn't Breach Charter: Supreme Court
    From: Richard Lake <>
002 Interesting Google-like search for scientific info
    From: Leroy Casterline <>
003 Indeed Re: Interesting Google-like search for scientific info
    From: Richard Lake <>
004 US CA: Column: Copying and Pasting Letters to the Editor Amounts to Pla
    From: Richard Lake <>
005 Count the lies in this press release. Nobody will print it anyway!
    From: Richard Lake <>


Subj: 001 Canada: Wire: Pot Law Doesn't Breach Charter: Supreme Court
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 10:29:05 -0500

Newshawk: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Tue, 23 Dec 2003
Source: Canadian Press (Canada Wire)
Copyright: 2003 The Canadian Press (CP)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Ottawa -- A federal law that bans possession of small amounts of marijuana 
does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, says Canada's top court.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 6-3 Tuesday that a law imposing criminal 
penalties -- including potential jail time -- for possessing even tiny 
amounts of pot is constitutional.

In a separate judgment, the court also upheld by 9-0 federal law 
prohibiting possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

A key question was whether Parliament has the constitutional right to 
punish marijuana possession, given the lack of proven serious harms from 
its use. Another was whether federal law violates the charter by imposing 
criminal penalties, including potential jail time, for possession of small 
amounts of pot.

The high court considered a trio of cases involving two self-described 
marijuana activists and one man who was caught smoking marijuana. All three 
had failed to persuade lower courts that the pot law is unconstitutional.

David Malmo-Levine, the most colourful of the three, smoked hashish last 
spring before arguing his case at the high court while dressed from 
head-to-toe in hemp clothes. He once ran the Harm Reduction Club, a 
non-profit co-operative in East Vancouver that offered advice on safe pot 
use while supplying it to some 1,800 members.

Another case centred on Christopher Clay, who ran the Hemp Nation in 
London, Ont., a store he started with a government loan. He sold marijuana 
seeds and seedlings in a deliberate challenge to the law.

His lawyer, University of Toronto law professor Alan Young, says Parliament 
has never proven that recreational pot use causes anything more serious 
than bronchitis.

"And most of the justifications for its prohibition have been called into 
question," Mr. Young said.

The third case involves Victor Caine, who was arrested by a police officer 
after lighting a joint in a van in a parking lot in White Rock, B.C. He was 
nabbed with 0.5 grams of pot.

Defence lawyers said criminal penalties for minor drug offences are 
disproportionate and violate the guarantee of fundamental justice in the 
charter. Federal lawyers argued there is "no free-standing right to get 
stoned" and said Parliament must be free, within reason, to criminalize 
behaviour as it sees fit.

Prime Minister Paul Martin signalled last week that he'll reintroduce a 
bill, first proposed under Jean Chretien, to wipe out criminal penalties -- 
including potential jail time and lasting records -- for those caught with 
small amounts of pot. The bill did not legalize the drug, and maintained or 
increased already stiff penalties for large-scale growers and traffickers.

The legislation died when Parliament was shut down last month to give Mr. 
Martin a fresh start in January. 


Subj: 002 Interesting Google-like search for scientific info
From: Leroy Casterline <>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 21:54:19 -0700

If you're looking for scientific/medical info, here is a Google-like search 
engine. Enjoy!


Subj: 003 Indeed Re: Interesting Google-like search for scientific info
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 00:22:47 -0500


I just tested it, asking for all articles with the words marijuana or 
cannabis and got 343 just for so far this year.

But when I go to the results, all I get is abstracts - at least without 
paying like $30 for the article (which in many cases I could probably go to 
the library of a medical college, find, and zerox for a dime or two, and 
OCR if I wanted to newshawk it).

We do have a number of scientific/medical articles in the MAP archives so I 
do know that there are at least some publications that make their articles, 
or at least some of their articles, available on-line.

Newshawking them is not like doing newspaper clippings as it takes some 
work to insure that the footnotes look good in the MAP archive, but it is 
something I have done.

If you figure out a way to find actually available articles, not just 
abstracts that then tell me to pay a totally unreasonable price to see the 
article, Leroy (or anybody) please let us know.



At 11:54 PM 12/23/03, Leroy Casterline wrote:
>If you're looking for scientific/medical info, here is a Google-like 
>search engine. Enjoy!


Subj: 004 US CA: Column: Copying and Pasting Letters to the Editor Amounts to Plagiarism
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 02:45:08 -0500

Newshawk: PUB LTE archives
Pubdate: Mon, 21 Dec 2003
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2003 The Modesto Bee
Author: Judy Sly
Note: Sly is editor of the opinions pages
Note: While we know that MAPsters would never simply copy and paste LTEs, 
or send exactly the same LTE to many newspapers, it is interesting to read 
what this newspaper editor thinks about what others do.


When a high school or college student copies material off the Internet
or out of an encyclopedia and presents it as his own work, the teacher
should give him an F. Or maybe two -- one for effort and the other for
ethics. Such an act is plagiarism.

When a Bee reader copies the work of another and submits it as a
letter to the editor with his name at the bottom, that, too, is
plagiarism. We don't give out grades, but we're doing our best to keep
such letters out of the paper.

We don't get a lot of plagiarized letters, but the number is growing.
Editors across the country report the same phenomenon.

I want to share the exchange between one editor and one plagiarizer in
another city. I can't identify the editor because I've long since
deleted his e-mail anecdote.

After discovering a letter that did not contain original thoughts, the
editor called the reader to chat. He explained that representing
someone else's material as your own is a copyright violation and a
no-no, amounting to plagiarism.

But I don't write very well and I agreed with everything this other
person wrote, the letter submitter responded. To which the editor
replied: I agree with the Declaration of Independence, but I don't
claim to have written it.

I don't think most letter submitters -- since they're not really the
writers -- realize that there's anything wrong with the copy-and-paste
practice. Most wouldn't think of themselves as common cheats or thieves.

Some people are actually encouraged to send in copycat letters.
Newspapers throughout the country received a mimeographed letter this
fall signed by American soldiers serving in Iraq. It was a testimonial
to what a great impact they felt they were having in improving the
daily living situation there. The letter, it turned out, was
mass-produced by a zealous officer and distributed to soldiers to sign
and send off to their hometown newspapers. We received two on the same
day, signed by different soldiers, so we immediately knew what was

Many copy-and-paste letters come in as part of campaigns on hot-button
issues. Organizations perched all across the political spectrum urge
people to write letters to their newspapers. Some offer a list of
points to cover. Others offer a sample letter for supporters to just
copy and paste. The first suggestion is acceptable, though it
encourages letters that read a lot alike. The second idea is
mass-market manipulation.

Editors call these "turf" letters, apparently a reference to the
effort to "AstroTurf" the media landscape with one opinion.

We know that letter campaigns originate close to home as well. We've
gotten two almost identical letters supporting Proposition 56 on the
March ballot, both from school employees. At least two candidates in
the Nov. 4 Modesto city election asked their supporters to write to
The Bee. There were common themes in both sets of letters, but they
were not identical and did not amount to plagiarism.

If you spot a letter in The Bee that matches a letter you've read
elsewhere, please let me know.

If you're inclined to write a letter, please make sure it represents
your own thinking and contains your own words. That's the standard for
students and not too much to ask of adults, either.


Subj: 005 Count the lies in this press release. Nobody will print it anyway!
From: Richard Lake <>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 14:24:30 -0500

Press Release
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003

December 24, 2003 12:23 PM US Eastern Timezone


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 24, 2003--Drug Free
America Foundation commends and supports Canada's court decision. This
decision enforces the correct perception that illegal drugs are
harmful, which is precisely the message that we need to be sending to
our children. The drug policy reform movement has been working
throughout the United States and internationally to tear down drug
laws and ultimately legalize drugs. This agenda is pursued through
decriminalization efforts and under the guise of medical excuse
marijuana, even while there has been no acceptance or approval of
smoked marijuana by any major American medical association.

"The legalization movement has suffered a major setback with the
Canadian court decision. However, we are very concerned over the
proposed bill by Prime Minister Martin that would soften penalties for
pot possession," says Calvina Fay, executive director of Drug Free
America Foundation, Inc. "Canada's proposed decriminalization, as well
as the legalization movement's desensitization of marijuana use,
creates the illusion that marijuana is not harmful." A Schedule I drug
with addictive tendencies cannot be considered harmless.

According to Dr. Eric Voth, chair of the Institute on Global Drug
Policy, a brain trust of the world's leading experts in drug
prevention, "Softening drug policy increases drug use and the
associated harm to society." History has shown us that when the
perception of the harms of drugs increased, drug use went down, and
when the perception of the harms of drug use decreased, use rose.
Hopefully, Prime Minister Martin and other Canadian policy makers will
apply this same logic.


Drug Free America Foundation, Inc., St. Petersburg
Lana Beck, 727-828-0211


End of MAPTalk-Digest V03 #287

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