On September 5, D.E.A. agents arrested epileptic patient Valerie
Corral and her husband Michael in Santa Cruz, Calif., on charges of
cultivating marijuana for distribution.
The Corrals have made no secret of the fact that their Women's
Alliance for Medical Marijuana cooperative serves the needs of
seriously ill Californians who have recommendations from their doctors
to use marijuana for medicine. W.A.M.M. operated under state law and
with the blessing of local officials, but has become the latest victim
of an alarming pattern of heavy-handed federal interference in state
[continues 851 words]
Medical marijuana's history began thousands of years ago in China and
India. In India, marijuana has had a solid position in Ayruvedic medicine
and is still prescribed today.
The world's first encyclopedia of medicines, compiled in 1 A.D. by Chinese
authors, suggests marijuana for over 100 conditions such as malaria and
absentmindedness. Even in the United States, pharmaceutical companies
produced marijuana-based drugs until 1937, when high taxes and extensive
paperwork discouraged doctors from treating patients with marijuana.
[continues 2101 words]
Drug initiative backers with the contumacy to flank a laggard
government by appealing directly to the people are met yet again with a
covert, multi-state gathering of government officials planning partisan
electioneering on the public dime. And, given the presentation by the
Bush Administration's drug policy second-in-command - a job senior
enough to require Senate confirmation - the White House-backed effort
will apparently include government propaganda to sway the vote of those
who pay for it.
[continues 6661 words]
By Frances Robles
BOGOTA - The amount of land under coca cultivation in Colombia dropped
substantially last year, the first time in a decade that reflected any
progress in the nation's drug war, according to United Nations figures
U.N. surveillance photos taken Nov. 2001 show 355,824 acres committed to
the growth of coca -- the plant that is used to manufacture cocaine. The
year before, it was 11 percent higher at 402,773 acres.
"There's no reason to be euphoric," said Klaus Nyholm, head of the UN's
Drug Control office in Bogota. "Colombia remains the world's No. 1 cocaine
producer -- 80 percent of the cocaine in the world."
[continues 408 words]
This time, reefer rebels not so dazed and confused
In the fifth grade, one of the best things was the government-issue
films on everything from flossing and hygiene to sexuality and
interstellar space. Not only were they hilarious, but they were always
a welcome reprieve from the monotony of class.
I'll always remember the one about human genetic experiments that
benefit humanity by giving them plantlike skin that turns sunlight
into energy. Then there's the one about drugs.
[continues 593 words]
Christine Logslett's Aug. 13 letter, "Culture harmful to our children,"
included some assertions about marijuana that must be challenged.
In March 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report, "Marijuana and
Medicine, Assessing the Science Base," commissioned by drug czar Barry
McCaffrey. It reported: "There is no conclusive evidence that the drug
effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other
While Logslett is correct that "marijuana is not approved by the Food and
Drug Administration for a reason," the reason is political, not scientific,
and has nothing to do with the safety or medical efficacy of marijuana.
[continues 130 words]
Gary Storck of Madison uses marijuana to relieve the chronic pain of Noonan
syndrome, which he was born with 47 years ago.
He's had heart surgery three times, has never driven a car due to extremely
limited vision and is on medical disability. He's a member of several
groups that advocate for reform of drug laws.
"I've come to the conclusion, like a lot of other people, that the drug war
is causing way more harm than it's preventing," Storck says. "It's unjust.
It targets minorities, it targets a lot of good people."
[continues 1085 words]
Nicole Kidman and action movie hero Vin Diesel, who stars in "XXX," had
dinner together at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills on Sunday night,
reported the New York Daily News, which said she was giggling at his
witticisms. Kidman's PR person said they were talking about working together.
Could be he was witty; could be there's a project; could be this scene took
place in public to enable columnists describing it to give Diesel's new
movie a boost. So there.
[continues 699 words]
During the 1980s, in every election year, the U.S. government enacted new
anti-drug laws. But in the 1990s, as the costs from the election-year
drug-war pandering began to come due, we thankfully did not build on those
This year, the big drug fear is ecstasy (MDMA). The U.S. Senate seems to be
rushing toward enacting an election-year anti-ecstasy bill. The bill is
called the Reducing Americans Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002 (S2633)
(the RAVE Act).
[continues 1081 words]
BARCELONA, Spain - Former President Bill Clinton said at an international
AIDS conference Thursday night that he regretted not having done more about
AIDS while he was in office.
Clinton said he had erred in failing to support funding for needle exchange
programs to prevent the spread of the virus among injecting drug users.
In an interview after a session of the 14th International AIDS Conference
in Barcelona, Clinton also urged leaders in hard-hit Africa, the Caribbean
and Asia to speak out forcefully and develop plans to stop the spread of
[continues 482 words]
BARCELONA, Spain -- Former President Clinton acknowledged, "I was wrong"
about one of the most controversial AIDS decisions of his presidency: his
refusal to lift the ban on federal funding of needle-exchange programs.
A government panel advised him at the time that the practice, used to slow
the spread of HIV among injection-drug users, was effective and didn't
promote drug abuse. But Mr. Clinton sided with his drug czar, Gen. Barry
McCaffrey, who opposed it, Mr. Clinton said Thursday, because of "the
message it would send on the drug front."
[continues 338 words]
Frank Montelione's letter "Medical marijuana is not needed" July 3 makes me
wonder what Internet sites he's been visiting to get his information.
Certainly not the site that displays the Institute of Medicine Report, a
federally funded, $1 million study commissioned by ex-drug czar Barry
McCaffrey in 1997 and released in March 1999
(http://books.nap.edu/html/marimed/) requested by me.
The study notes, in discussing the use of marijuana for pain, "All of the
currently available analgesic (pain-relieving) drugs have limited efficacy
for some types of pain. Some are limited by dose-related side effects and
some by the development of tolerance or dependence. A cannabinoid, or other
analgesic, could potentially be useful."
[continues 125 words]
The U.S. selected Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide as its private partner in the
prestigious White House advertising campaign to eradicate youth drug abuse.
The decision gives the Madison Avenue powerhouse a new $762.1 million
contract with the government and a significant advantage in its struggle to
remain the key private player in a public-health advertising effort that
lately has suffered some embarrassing blows.
"To the surprise of a lot of people, Ogilvy has retained this very
important contract," says Rich Hamilton, chief executive of Zenith
Optimedia Group in New York, one of the agencies that was a finalist in an
eight-month showdown for the prize advertising assignment. "It is a huge
shock to a lot of us."
[continues 680 words]
Advertising Age columnist Richard Linnett's article (6/10/02) on my
recently published work demands a response. He wrote of my months-long
study published by the Washington think tank, the Institute for Policy
Studies. It discusses the covert campaign - pursued by public employees
while on the clock - embarked on by the administration of Gov. Bob Taft
(R-OH) to defeat a treatment rather than incarceration initiative likely to
appear on the ballot in Ohio this November. It's modeled on a similar
ballot measure, Proposition 36, that passed overwhelmingly in California in
2000. Among other topics, the report discusses the supposedly apolitical
Partnership for a Drug-Free America's cooperation with the Taft
administration effort. Its URL: www.ips-dc.org/projects/drugpolicy/ohio.htm
[continues 1947 words]
There are three immediate actions that would go far in stopping the spread
of HIV/AIDS, reducing crime, reducing death rates from overdosing, and
returning persons who are suffering from heroin addiction to healthy
productive members of society for the benefit of themselves, their loved
ones and our general society.
1. The establishment of a syringe exchange to distribute to heroin addicts,
since more than half of all new HIV/AIDS cases result from the sharing of
dirty needles. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that prohibits the
purchase of needles without a prescription. This short-sighted approach
encourages the re-use and sharing of dirty needles. Furthermore, syringe
exchanges collect and dispose of used syringes and are a vital link for
providing addicts who want to beat the habit with information and assistance.
[continues 383 words]
Marijuana appears to be very effective for treating pain and a variety of
other conditions, particularly in patients who have not been helped by
prescription drugs, its advocates claim, despite the debate about the
legality of using the drug as a medication.
"It's a very effective medication for many people who have failed to get
good results from standard medications and that's why so many people are
devoted to it and risking their lives and career to get this drug," Ethan
Russo, a neurologist in private practice in Missoula, Mont., who has studied
medicinal marijuana, told United Press International.
[continues 1002 words]
More people are dying of drug overdoses in Palm Beach County, yet the
numbers are down in Miami-Dade. Why the disparity?
"Palm Beach County has a problem," says Jim McDonough, director of
Florida's Office of Drug Control. "In places like Miami, where we
have grassroots coalitions, we see drug use going down."
Public concern about substance abuse waxes and wanes in direct
correlation to how dire the problem appears. After one generation of
kids sees disastrous damage from drugs, the numbers go down. Then
comes a generation that hasn't known the hazards first-hand and the
numbers shoot up again. So does public anxiety. So figures cited
recently by Gov. Bush should soothe some of that anxiety.
[continues 597 words]
Amid Longtime War And Drug Production, Colombians Prepare For A Crucial
THE UNITED States military is engaged in a place where warfare has gone on
for generations, where large areas are in the hands of dangerous fighters
with loyalties to only themselves. Many poor residents find cultivating
illegal drugs the best way to make a living. To defeat the worst of the
insurgents, some advocate making alliances with unsavory characters,
otherwise the fighting is left to a national army of questionable
competence and undeniable corruption.
[continues 1438 words]
TIJUANA, Mexico- The fifth man to serve as the U.S. drug czar Wednesday
visited a city ravaged by addiction, corruption and violence to renew the
vow of his predecessors to fight narcotics traffickers and stem America's
appetite for their wares.
"We intend to drive down demand and we intend to go after those who are
suppliers with renewed vigor," John P. Walters said as he toured a
residential drug treatment center in Tijuana.
Walters, director of national drug control policy, visited the center as
part of a two-day swing through Southern California and Tijuana, his first
since he was appointed by President Bush and announced a goal of reducing
U.S. drug use by 10 percent in two years.
[continues 473 words]