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151 UK: PUB LTE: Success[Tue, 01 Apr 1997]
Source:Scotsman (UK) Author:Young, Stuart Area:United Kingdom Lines:30 Added:04/01/1997

A Dutch government report, Drugs Policy In The Netherlands, which analyses drugs policy pursued throughout the European Community over the last 20 years, compares rates of drug use and addiction between countries. It says that Holland has the lowest rate of heroin addiction in Europe, the oldest addict population, and the lowest level of HIV infection. It also has lower levels of teenage cannabis use than countries which prohibit its sale. Apparently, the "coffee shops serve a useful social function for young people, by acting as a buffer against the criminal underworld associated with hard drugs".

Unlike Mr Armstrong, I am not appalled that the Church of Scotland is considering legalising cannabis. If Scotland had coffee shops there would be less harm caused by drugs.

Stuart Young Portland Place, Edinburgh

[end]

152 US CA: PUB LTE: Doctors And Marijuana[Tue, 01 Apr 1997]
Source:San Francisco Examiner (CA) Author:O'Connell, Thomas J. Area:California Lines:29 Added:04/01/1997

The obsequious plea of AMA and CMA to the parties in the lawsuit to accept these "guidelines" as a basis for settlement is disgraceful. All the government has conceded thus far is that we still have a First Amendment. It has refused to back down from threats to prosecute physicians.

No settlement short of rescheduling marijuana to Schedule 2 or an iron-clad guarantee of immunity for physicians who recommend its use in appropriate cases should suffice. One of the fears expressed by the drug prohibition lobby in opposition to Proposition 215 was that it would further the cause of "legalization" of marijuana and other drugs. It has worked that way, but hardly in the manner predicted. Instead, 215 has been a giant can-opener exposing the worms hidden within our national policy of drug prohibition. It is a policy completely lacking moral, logical or scientific support.

Thomas J. O'Connell San Mateo

[end]

153 Canada: PUB LTE: Re: Hemp Retailer Is Set To Fight Drug ChargesMon, 05 May 1997
Source:Toronto Star (Canada) Author:Conlon, Kelly Area:Canada Lines:16 Added:05/05/1997

Hemp retailer is set to fight drug charges. It's about time someone challenged our antiquated marijuana laws.

Had politicians acted on the recommendations of the LeDain commission more than 20 years ago, the enormous amount of money we now spend chasing down pot smokers could be used to chase down real criminals.

Kelly T. Conlon Hamilton

[end]

154 US OR: PUB LTE: Try Alternatives To Jailing Pot SmokersSat, 17 May 1997
Source:Oregonian (OR) Author:Sobey, Arthur Area:Oregon Lines:28 Added:05/17/1997

Your story about Phil Smith "Marijuana advocate makes deal" (May 7), is indicative of the schizophrenic nature of the debate that is ongoing in Oregon about marijuana.

On one hand, many, including your newspaper, cry out for stronger criminal laws regarding marijuana, and the additional prisons that will be required to incarcerate people like Smith. Such laws, it is believed, will somehow reduce drug experimentation and use by curious teens.

On the other hand, the judge has allowed Smith to serve his three-year sentence of probation and work release in California, where the medicine needed by Smith, marijuana, is legally available.

This compassionate judge was not bound by mandatory sentencing requirements. We need more people interested in workable solutions for controlling drugs, and fewer of the reefer maniacs whose sole interest seems to be filling up jails with non-violent drug users.

Arthur R. Sobey

Corpus Christi, Texas

[end]

155 CN ON: PUB LTE: Throwing Pot Smokers In Jail Is No SolutionSat, 17 May 1997
Source:London Free Press (CN ON) Author:Clay, Robin Area:Ontario Lines:106 Added:05/17/1997

Education and treatment for those who abuse any drug, including alcohol and tobacco, is the best way to cope with abuse.

By Robin Clay

The writer is a London resident. Many people have questioned me about the constitutional challenge launched by my son, Chris Clay, and how I feel about what he is trying to accomplish.

I would have preferred that Chris champion another cause, because of the penalties he could face if his challenge is unsuccessful. I love my son, but find it hard to understand why he would risk his future over this issue. However, he passionately believes Canada's drug laws are wrong and, over time, I have come to believe he is right.

[continues 668 words]

156 US: PUB LTE: Re: Drug WarsMon, 19 May 1997
Source:Seattle/Portland Rocket Author:Landrath, Floyd Ferris Area:United States Lines:49 Added:05/19/1997

As more people get victimized by this criminal injustice system, anger and discontent towards it grows. We must stress the PEACEFUL and NON-VIOLENT nature of our ACTIVE DISSENT. Events like "Hempfest" are absolutely essential to the 'legalization' movement if, and only if, they stress the importance of POLITICAL ACTION (voter registration, petitions, volunteering, etc.). Otherwise they amount to little more than 'hemp' trade shows with lots of music and mindless pot smoking (neither of which I have anything against, but there's a time and place for everything).

[continues 249 words]

157 US WA: PUB LTE: Drug War Side Effects IntolerableMon, 19 May 1997
Source:Spokesman-Review (WA) Author:Starkey, Sarah Area:Washington Lines:31 Added:05/19/1997

The government and police departments are not focused enough on violent crime. They are on a rampage against drugs.

The nation's war on drugs is taking valuable police officers off the street and putting them on special drug units. With all of their efforts, the war on drugs is not slowing drug use or supply in America. It is, however, allowing violent crime to enter society in higher levels than ever.

Because of the amount of nonviolent drug offenders taking up so much prison space, violent criminals are being released back into society, to commit more violent crimes.

[continues 62 words]

158 US WA: PUB LTE: Drug War Ruinous Of SocietyMon, 19 May 1997
Source:Spokesman-Review (WA) Author:Hawkins, Tom Area:Washington Lines:36 Added:05/19/1997

Bravo to the November Coalition for their wonderfully truthful depiction of the effects of the so-called "War On Drugs" on American families. (Your View cartoon. May 10.)

There are those who continue to shout about the breakdown of our society without considering the devastation wrought by arresting non-violent drug users.

Until we acknowledge the war on drugs as the war on families there is little chance of things getting better.

I agree with the November Coalition: Free the POWs in this modern civil war. Let them return to their families and their jobs. The harm done by taking productive people out of society for an act of freedom of choice is greater than we could have imagined. Prohibition is far more harmful to society than the use of the substances it attempts to control. That's why every major study conducted so far has recommended decriminalization of marijuana.

The citizens of America are waking up to the truth. Let's hope our elected officials will do so, and soon. We have precious little time before our society is in ruins, just another casualty of the war on drugs.

Sincerely,

Tom G. Hawkins

Grand Coulee

[end]

159 US TX: PUB LTE: Drug LawsFri, 23 May 1997
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wilson, John Area:Texas Lines:46 Added:05/23/1997

Recent studies recommending that the penalty for crack be reduced are right on target. Unfortunately, current drug laws owe their origin to racism rather than justice.

Whatever the reasons, crack cocaine use is more common than powder cocaine use in low-income communities where African-Americans are disproportionately represented.

"To determine whether or not a drug should be controlled, it is important to know the pattern of abuse of that substance, including the socio-economic characteristics of the segments of the population involved in such abuse." - Controlled Substances Act, 1970.

[continues 102 words]

160 Canada: PUB LTE: Reefer MadnessFri, 23 May 1997
Source:Victoria Times Colonist (Canada) Author:Givens, Redford Area:Canada Lines:40 Added:05/23/1997

Re: "New drug law allows seizure of houses", May 15.

It is very sad to see Canada following the same Reefer Madness lunacy that prevails in the United States. The narcs here promised years ago that they would only confiscate the property of "kingpins", but now we have narcs taking cars for a single joint! Homes and farms of ordinary people are taken for a few marijuana plants. They said that they would never do that here, but they lied!

Canada is well on its way by allowing an innocent party's property to be confiscated.

[continues 95 words]

161 UK: PUB LTE: Theory On Drugs Is `Long Discredited'Sat, 24 May 1997
Source:Scotsman (UK) Author:Williams, Derek Area:United Kingdom Lines:37 Added:05/24/1997

Sir,

- In your editorial (20 May) criticising the call from the Church of Scotland for the decriminalisation of cannabis, you say the "Kirk finds itself at odds with the new Government, which believes that pot smoking can lead to harder and more harmful drugs and should therefore be banned". This is not the case, as the Government does not claim that using cannabis leads to harder drugs: the "progression theory" has long been discredited.

You go on to state that "there is no evidence that decriminalisation alleviates the drug problem". Again, that is simply not true. The experience in the Netherlands is precisely that; indeed, decriminalisation there has reduced hard drug abuse substantially.

[continues 106 words]

162 UK: PUB LTE: Tired ArgumentsWed, 24 May 1997
Source:Scotsman (UK) Author:Garbut, Errol Area:United Kingdom Lines:44 Added:05/24/1997

- I read with interest your report on the Church of Scotland's call for the decriminalisation of cannabis, and then with dismay your editorial comment relating to it. It saddens me that at a time when the General Assembly finally becomes enlightened about the stupidity of the prohibition of the harmless drug, cannabis, the Scotsman reiterates those same, tired arguments.

Your view that it is the Government's belief that "pot smoking can lead to harder and more harmful drugs" and, therefore, should be banned, ignores the vital point that it is the illegal status of cannabis which allows the users to be introduced to these harder drugs. It is unlikely that a chemist or a legal "coffee shop" selling cannabis would try to push other drugs on to the consumer, whereas dealers are only too happy to do this.

[continues 135 words]

163 US TX: PUB LTE: Addiction Rate StaticSat, 24 May 1997
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Epstein, Jerry Area:Texas Lines:45 Added:05/24/1997

Dear Viewpoints,

The Viewpoints letter of May 19 ("Drug facts are clarified"), by Sterlene Donahue was inaccurate. Drug arrests for marijuana use and possession have reached the all-time high of one every 54 seconds. Donahue distorted statistics by incorrectly equating recidivism with violence - a recidivist nonviolent offender is still nonviolent.

She stated that the use of other illegal drugs has increased for decades, even though the government estimates the number of heroin and cocaine users has been reduced from about 24 million in 1979 to around 12 million today.

[continues 164 words]

164 UK: PUB LTE: Despotic PositionMon, 26 May 1997
Source:Scotsman (UK) Author:Robertson, Hugh Area:United Kingdom Lines:28 Added:05/26/1997

Sir,

- In your editorial, "Kirk in cloud-cuckoo land" (20 May) you say "the Government's position is unequivocal and right". It appears to me it is you who are unaware of the facts, and not the Kirk.

The Government is so set in its position, it has said it will not decriminalise, or legalise, cannabis even if that were the recommendations of a Royal Commission. How can you blindly support a Government that takes such a despotic position, especially in light of recommendations of numerous reports in the past?

The Scottish Affairs Report 1994, Baroness Wooton's report, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report and the Consumers Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs are just a few that recommend an end to the failed attempted prohibition of cannabis. Hugh Robertson

[end]

165 US WA: PUB LTE: Hemp And Marijuana: Stupid Is ...Tue, 27 May 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Bigelow, Allison Area:Washington Lines:53 Added:05/27/1997

The following is in response to the recent letter to the editor about hemp and marijuana titled "Only stupid people need it" (May 16).

Stupid is spending $750,000,000 a year on the D.A.R.E. program when we know that it doesn't work.... The Research Triangle Institute of Durham, N.C., conducted a statistical analysis of all D.A.R.E. research ... -- eight studies involving 9,500 children -- and says D.A.R.E. has "a limited to essentially nonexistent effect" on drug use.

[continues 309 words]

166 Canada: PUB LTE: Successful ApproachWed, 28 May 1997
Source:Halifax Daily News (Canada) Author:Clay, Chris Area:Canada Lines:36 Added:05/28/1997

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor (Decline in Principles, May 22), Patrick Carroll laments the introduction of harm reduction policies in Nova Scotia schools. However, experience tells us that our current approach isn't working since cannabis use has doubled among teens in the last few years.

The harm reduction approach in the Netherlands, based on a de facto legalization of marijuana, has been very successful. According to Dr. Patricia Erickson of the Addiction Research Foundation, only 5.4 per cent of Dutch young people have tried marijuana, compared with 22 per cent in Canada.

[continues 87 words]

167 CN ON: PUB LTE: The Real ProblemWed, 28 May 1997
Source:Hamilton Spectator (canada) Author:Ker, Carey Area:Ontario Lines:26 Added:05/28/1997

RE: 'Drug-sniffing dogs in the classroom?' (May 27).

It is a sad day for Canadian society when our police forces feel compelled to order narco-sweeps of our children's classrooms by the canine drug squad.

We should ask ourselves what kind of message this sends to our children. Do we really want to foster a cloud of suspicion within our society similar to the darkest days of the Stalin era?

Of course, we should be able to deal with drug-usage by our children but is police intervention really necessary? Drug abuse is a health problem, not a crime.

Carey Ker, Toronto.

[end]

168 CN ON: PUB LTE: Re: Drug Sniffing Dogs In The ClassroomWed, 28 May 1997
Source:Hamilton Spectator (CN ON) Author:Conlon, Kelly T. Area:Ontario Lines:31 Added:05/28/1997

I have some thoughts regarding your article on drugs in high schools.

Following the use of drug-sniffing dogs to seach lockers, Sgt. Brad Brand of the Halton police thinks the next logical step is to take them into the classroom.

He is either foolish, or willfully dishonest. He does not seem to think that Halton-area high schol students should have a reasonable expectation of privacy; so it seems to me that the next logical step is to conduct random, warrantless searches of the students' bedrooms.

[continues 63 words]

169 US: PUB LTE: When Courts Violate The Founders' IntentWed, 28 May 1997
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Kriho, Laura Area:United States Lines:64 Added:05/28/1997

Although I did discuss jury nullification in the jury room, I was not trying to nullify the drug laws. I had reasonable doubts that the defendant was guilty based on the lack of evidence.

My investigation and prosecution was caused by "improper" arguments I made in the jury room about jury nullification and the harsh sentence the defendant could receive. If I had voted guilty, I never would have been prosecuted.

My conviction for contempt illustrates just how threatened judges and prosecutors are by jurors. Many judges and prosecutors see jurors as an inconvenience, a formality and an impediment to conviction. I believe they want to make me an example to other jurors: an example of what will happen if you refuse to convict.

[continues 111 words]

170 New Zealand: PUB LTE: Police And DrugsSat, 31 May 1997
Source:Dominion, The (New Zealand) Author:Hadorn, David Area:New Zealand Lines:36 Added:05/31/1997

How ironic that Police Association president Greg O'Connor would complain that the Bill of Rights "hamstrings police powers" while innocent party-goers are being lined up and searched (many strip-searched) for drugs, based on the false tip of an undercover cop (May 19). Perhaps a little more hamstringing is in order!

New Zealand already has too few police to deal with its violent crimes and burglaries, and officers are leaving the force in droves. Can police officials and the Minister of Police justify devoting so much time, effort, and money to drug law enforcement?

[continues 101 words]

171 New Zealand: PUB LTE: Why Cannabis Laws Should Be Relaxed: More Liberal LiquorThu, 08 May 1997
Source:New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) Author:Hadorn, David Area:New Zealand Lines:123 Added:05/08/1997

The Liquor Review Advisory Committee recently recommended relaxing the rules on when and where alcoholic beverages can be sold, and to whom. These recommendations have been generally embraced by MPs and are likely to be implemented next year.

Although few commentators have been indelicate enough to say so, the central arguments advanced for relaxing restrictions on alcohol apply equally well to cannabis.

For example, one common argument is that increased availability does not generally lead to increased consumption. In the case of alcohol, the marked liberalisation of availability entailed by the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 has been followed by a decline in total alcohol consumption.

[continues 858 words]

172 US TX: PUB LTE: Myths That Support Our Current Foolish Drug PoliciesThu, 08 May 1997
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Epstein, Jerry Area:Texas Lines:43 Added:05/08/1997

I hope a small but important article in the Chronicle will help to shatter one of the myths that support our current foolish drug policies. Most addicts, with their drug, are quite capable of reasonably normal work and behavior.

Samir Krilic describes addicts in Portugal who "worked from dawn to dusk" in the construction industry for three daily doses of heroin or cocaine instead of pay. This resembles what a diabetic does who must inject insulin daily.

Consumer Reports, in the excellent "Licit & Illicit Drugs," points out that addicts are generally indistinguishable from non-users. After several hundred pages of scientific review, they argue that an alcohol addiction is more harmful. They conclude, "Almost all the deleterious effects ordinarily attributed to the opiates, indeed, appear to be the effects of the narcotics laws instead."

[continues 141 words]

173 US OR: PUB LTE: Prison Isn't Best Remedy For Those Who Use DrugsThu, 08 May 1997
Source:Oregonian (OR) Author:Wools, Johanna Area:Oregon Lines:26 Added:05/08/1997

Just because something is dangerous does not automatically mean that the best approach to those dangers is to throw millions of people in prison. We all know that tobacco, alcohol and AIDS are hazardous to your health. But prison is not the best public policy for those hazards. Prison, in fact, would be a terrible mistake.

It is the same principle with illegal drugs. We can assume that drugs are dangerous. That is not the question. The question is: What is the best public policy for those dangers?

On this question, every major study of drug policy has agreed that, whatever the dangers may be, prison is the wrong approach. These studies recommend decriminalization because of those dangers, and because prison is the worst approach. Bigger prisons do not equal better public health policy.

Joanna Wools

Grand Coulee, Wash.

[end]

174 US TX: PUB LTE: Drug Offenders Dominate Courts, JailsSat, 10 May 1997
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Robison, G. Alan Area:Texas Lines:60 Added:05/10/1997

William R. Boman suggests as a hypothetical possibility (Viewpoints, April 28) that if we had mandatory minimum sentencing in Texas there might be a lot of violent criminals in our prisons who would have to be released to make room for nonviolent ones. Far from a hypothetical possibility, this is in fact what has happened as a result of the mandatory sentences imposed in federal courts for so-called "drug-related" offenses.

Approximately two-thirds of the 1.6 million people in state and federal penitentiaries are there because of a drug-related offense, and about half of these werr nonviolent offenders. The offenses committed by these people should more properly be referred to as "prohibition-related."

[continues 284 words]

175 US WA: PUB LTE: The Definition Of InsanitySun, 11 May 1997
Source:Olympian (WA) Author:Edwards, David Area:Washington Lines:58 Added:05/11/1997

The proposal to convert the unused hulk of the abandoned Satsop nuclear power plant into jail facilities strikes me as another measure of the absurdity of the failed Drug War.

The desperate need for more jail cells, mostly to warehouse drug Prisoners Of War calls into question the efficacy of our combat strategy which has quadrupled our jail population since 1970 while drugs are, if anything, more plentiful than ever. The notion of a " Drug-free America' is as remote as ever, even if one excepts the very addictive and harmful drugs - alcohol and tobacco - which are " OK " and somehow don't send bad messages to kids.

[continues 230 words]

176 US OR: PUB LTE: The Government Should Not Be Initiating ViolenceMon, 12 May 1997
Source:Eugene Register Guard (OR) Author:House, Bruce Area:Oregon Lines:40 Added:05/12/1997

State Politicians in Oregon are now considering re-criminalizing Marijuana and building 10 new prisons. In 1995-97 Oregon spent 467 Million dollars on prisons. In 1997-99 the Republicans propose 679 Million dollars and the Democratic Governor proposes 736 Million. Thats a 45% to 57% increase in taxes for prisons! (source: RG pge 8A, 4/7/97)

We don't need 10 more prisons, we need to end drug prohibition. 30% of the States jail population and at least 50% of all police arrests are due to non-violent drug offenders. Also, many violent crimes are directly caused by drug prohibition, not drug use. You don't see liquor store owners shooting it out in the streets nor do you see children or illegal immigrants making a living selling alcohol because it is regulated. Violent crime dropped by 60% and the murder rate dropped by 50% at the end of alcohol prohibition.

[continues 148 words]

177 US TX: PUB LTE: City Should Rethink Random Drug Testing ProposalMon, 12 May 1997
Source:Galveston County Daily News (TX) Author:Casey, Jim Area:Texas Lines:68 Added:05/12/1997

Acting City Manager Steve LeBlanc has suggested random drug testing for some city employees. The City Council should view this proposal skeptically.

Every action by a government body must pass two tests: The benefits must exceed the costs, and the action must be justified in light of government's unique power to compel. Unlike a private entity, government can sieze assets and restrict liberty, within the limits set by the Constitution.

The rationalization for drug testing is that users of illegal drugs are more likely than non-users to have accidents, or commit crimes on the job -- though there is little evidence of this.

[continues 304 words]

178 US CA: PUB LTE: Gestapo-Like Police ActionSun, 01 Jun 1997
Source:Oakland Tribune (CA) Author:Sutliff, Gerald M. Area:California Lines:37 Added:06/01/1997

It hit me hard, but not the way, I think, he intended. His conclusion bears repeating here:

"(When asked the question) have you ever been face-to-face with a real Nazi? I could have truthfully answered yes; yes, I have. It happened long ago in Vienna. Some men with swastika armbans were systematically ransacking my family's home. It's something that, even today, I don't take lightly I don't think anyone else should either."

Neither do I. Today here in America, police and federal agents wearing body armor and helmets) regularly crash in the doors of families, hold the occupants (including women and children) at gunpoint and "systematically ransack" the occupants' homes. I'm writing of the homes of ordinary families who have been informed upon by the most dubious of sources. When nothing is found, no apologies are offered.

[continues 66 words]

179 US WA: PUB LTE: Reread The ConstitutionThu, 05 Jun 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Greer, Mark Area:Washington Lines:31 Added:06/05/1997

Owen is laboring under the misguided assumption that, since prohibition of drugs has been such a dismal failure, we should erode Constitutional law so that we can do more of it. It is just this kind of oddball rationale that has caused us to waste over $1 trillion on the drug war, ruin our criminal-justice system, and destroy our economy. Meanwhile any 8-year-old can score a bag of weed.

It simply amazes me that our country puts such people in positions of power. What does it take to convince our "leaders" that prohibition doesn't work? Over 30 percent of African-American males aged 20-30 are under criminal-justice supervision. What would Owen consider winning? One hundred percent perhaps?

[continues 70 words]

180 US WA: PUB LTE: Legal Markets Can Be ControlledThu, 05 Jun 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Givens, R. J. Area:Washington Lines:23 Added:06/05/1997

The drug war is a failure and it is time to try something that works: namely legalization and regulation. When alcohol was illegal, society had very little control over distribution, zoning, age limits, purity and so on. But once alcohol was relegalized, reasonable regulation was easily enforced.

The difference between a legal market and an illicit black market is that legal markets can be controlled while illicit ones cannot.

Robin Givens San Francisco

[end]

181 US WA: PUB LTE: Guard Is To Protect CitizensThu, 05 Jun 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Hawkins, Tom Area:Washington Lines:24 Added:06/05/1997

I see Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is at it again. It wasn't enough for him to be printed statewide, ranting against Dr. Killian's medical marijuana initiative. Now he is crying about the proposed cuts in using the National Guard against American citizens.

Unlike our prohibitionist lieutenant governor, I am glad that cuts are being made in the use of our National Guard in the drug war. National Guard resources are meant for protecting the citizenry, not fighting them. History shows that when the Guard is turned against Americans, it often ends up a horrible tragedy.

When will Owen realize that attacking people in the name of the war on drugs is wrong? Enough, Lt. Gov. Owen! The people are tired of war lust.

Tom G. Hawkins

Grand Coulee

[end]

182 Ireland: PUB LTE: Cannabis Party Was Right: It Is Not A Gateway To AddictionTue, 10 Jun 1997
Source:Cork Examiner, County Cork, Ireland Author:Robertson, Hugh Area:Ireland Lines:65 Added:06/10/1997

In your editorial (The Examiner, May 28th), you state 'the reality that cannabis is a stepping stone to addiction and harder drugs. That is accepted wherever the drugs menace is prevalent and remains a central reason for not legalising its use.'

I would like to point out that all the research done has refuted this piece of propoganda. I would refer you to:

1. The La Guardia report which states: "The use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction."

[continues 380 words]

183 Canada: PUB LTE: The Prohibition Of Cannabis Is Irrational And UnjustifiedWed, 11 Jun 1997
Source:Toronto Star (Canada) Author:Clay, Chris Area:Canada Lines:39 Added:06/11/1997

The Seemans assume we are trying to decriminalize all drugs. However, my case focuses specifically on cannabis.

They also imply that illicit drugs are "so terrible for us", yet they don't make a disctinction between marijuana and "hard drugs" like crack cocaine and heroin.

In 1972, the Ledain Commission recommended decriminalization of marijuana after years of research.

Twenty-five years later, many prominent experts reaffirmed their conclusions during my recent trial, saying marijuana is relatively safe compared to alcohol and tobacco.

[continues 77 words]

184 Canada: PUB LTE: Re: Say No To Drug Legalization (opinion Page, June 3)Wed, 11 Jun 1997
Source:Toronto Star (Canada) Author:Ker, Carey Area:Canada Lines:44 Added:06/11/1997

Philip and Neil Seeman appear to be guilty of rash generalizations in their tome against the legalization of drugs.

They make a number of factual inaccuracies on their way to concluding that "...the state has a moral duty to regulate [the drug-taker's] activity under criminal law."

For instance they state that the greater availability of drugs is "... positively, and irrefutably, related to higher usage," without providing any factual context.

In the Netherlands, where cannabis enjoys a quasi-legal status and is certainly much more freely available than in Canada, the Trimbos-institute (Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction) estimates that 4.6% of the population of 12 years and older regularly use marijuana versus an estimated 10% of Canadians.

[continues 98 words]

185 Canada: PUB LTE: Say No IndeedWed, 11 Jun 1997
Source:Toronto Star (Canada) Author:Galbraith, Kathy Area:Canada Lines:25 Added:06/11/1997

Say no indeed, to nonsense such as the Seaman's article on drugs. It is so important for people who know better in cases like this to speak up where blatant propaganda is being foisted on the Canadian public, just to try and maintain the status quo.

The latest information shows that drugs should be treated as the health problem they are, not create criminals out of youth and others who merely experiment or choose to use drugs that are unavailable at the local pharmacy.

Legalization is the way to gain control over these drugs and the harm that is being caused to society, no matter what some people try to say with their lame scare tactics.

Kathy Galbraith

Stirling,Alberta

[end]

186 Canada: PUB LTE: Lessons From HistoryWed, 11 Jun 1997
Source:Toronto Star (Canada) Author:Meehan, Timothy J. Area:Canada Lines:19 Added:06/11/1997

Putting aside the facts that marijuana, for instance, has no known lethal dose and been proven to be non-addictive, why not apply the same logic to Canada's number one casual drug of choice, alcohol? History shows us what a great success prohibition on that substance was.

Timothy J. Meehan

[end]

187 US OH: PUB LTE: Journey For JusticeFri, 13 Jun 1997
Source:Blade (OH) Author:Lake, Richard Area:Ohio Lines:38 Added:06/13/1997

Two Blade articles about the Journey for Justice mentioned Elvy Musikka of Florida smoking marijuana in public before the press and police. Both indicated that while this is not legal in Ohio, it is in the Sunshine state.

To the contrary, there is no legal protection for medical marijuana users in Florida. But Ms. Musikka was not showing disrespect for either state's laws. Ms.Musikka is one of eight patients being supplied medical marijuana by the federal government, and has been for over eight years.

[continues 133 words]

188 Canada: PUB LTE: Re: Municipalities Wrestle With Tough Line On DrugsSun, 15 Jun 1997
Source:Daily News, The (CN NS) Author:Ker, Carey Area:Canada Lines:42 Added:06/15/1997

(Sunday June 8, 1997)

To the editors,

Re: Municipalities wrestle with tough line on drugs (Sunday June 8, 1997)

It is amazing how little creativity and insight our politicians have when it comes to discussing drugs. The drug policy resolution that was endorsed by our country's mayors last weekend provides ample evidence of the intellectual vacuity that exists in the town halls of this nation.

A number a major studies such as Canada's own Le Dain Commission have concluded that punitive measures imposed upon drug users don't work. Ultimately, the losers in the American-style War on (some) Drugs will be the Canadian population as justice and truth get thrown by the wayside as our politicians scramble to emulate our neighbours.

[continues 66 words]

189 US OH: PUB LTE: If Drugs Are Really To Be Banned, Definitions MatterMon, 02 Jun 1997
Source:Cincinnati Post (OH) Author:Elrick, Richard D. Area:Ohio Lines:61 Added:06/02/1997

Let me get this straight:

Out of two Post stories for May 23: the U.S. House of Representatives can't pass a flood-relief bill that will affect 35 states - and North Dakota a great deal (page 2A) - but they can pass 420-1 a bill that Rep. Rob Portman titled ''The Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997'' (page 4A).

Yeah, right, Honorable Rob and congressional colleagues. The millennium has arrived and we'll have ''drug-free communities'' in the USA.

[continues 266 words]

190 US VT: PUB LTE: A Tale Of Two CitiesWed, 18 Jun 1997
Source:Burlington Free Press (VT) Author:Melamede, Robert Area:Vermont Lines:26 Added:06/18/1997

During the past week juries have handed down guilty verdicts concluding Federal trials in Denver. and Burlington A comparison of the causes and the effects of these trials is important. The Denver trial resulted from the mass murder of innocent citizens. The defendant was found guilty on all counts. People throughout the country, particularly the victims, family members and friends in Oklahoma city are satisfied if not happy with the verdict.

Contrast this situation with what occurred in Burlington. Respected and loved Vermonters face long prison sentences for cannabis crimes. Where are the victims? The dozens of people that I have spoken with indicate that the victims are in jail. The additional victims are the family and friends of these good people who bear the brunt of bad laws and misguided prosecution. These laws will continue to be broken by millions everyday. Hopefully, they will not remain silent in an effort to escape the probing eyes of our guardians of behavioral purity.

[continues 3 words]

191 Canada: PUB LTE: Dupont Acquitted Of Suppressing HempWed, 18 Jun 1997
Source:Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author:Conlon, Kelly T. Area:Canada Lines:33 Added:06/18/1997

I have thoroughly enjoyed the series of letters concerning the status of cannabis and hemp (May 30 and June 6, 10 and 16).

However, Robbie Anderman's claim of an industrial conspiracy to outlaw cannabis, while making for interesting reading, is nothing but an urban myth that was popularized several years ago by the California writer Jack Herer.

The prohibition of cannabis started much earlier, at the state level, in the southwestern United States, beginning with Utah in 1914.

The first laws criminalizing cannabis were passed out of race hatred and hostility towards migrant Mexican farm labourers who smoked cannabis, much as the first laws criminalizing opium were passed in order to harass newly arrived migrant workers from China.

Kelly T. Conlon

Hamilton

[end]

192 US TX: PUB LTE: Society Has A ChoiceSat, 21 Jun 1997
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Schroer, Craig Area:Texas Lines:29 Added:06/21/1997

The Chronicle June 8 article, "Prisons modern day gushers for Beaumont; Oil derricks replaced by new guard towers," managed to find a silver lining in the most unlikely place. The fact that America has the highest per capita incarceration rate of any developed country is hardly cause for celebration. Rather, it is time to reflect on how our misguided war on drugs has fed the prison boom by misusing law enforcement to deal with what is primarily a social and medical problem.

[continues 62 words]

193 US TX: PUB LTE: Drug War Has Failed MiserablySun, 22 Jun 1997
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Epstein, Jerry Area:Texas Lines:93 Added:06/22/1997

Ezequiel Hernandez is dead, another victim not of drugs but of the war on drugs.

An innocent 18 year-old high school student from the small Texas border town of Redford, who was just tending his family's goats, has been shot by Marines given the job of stopping the drug flow.

Most Americans have a good sense of the fact that the war on drugs has failed in its basic intent to curb the availability or the abuse of drugs. Ezequiel's death is a tragic example of a less understood facet: the damage done by the unintended consequences of our policy.

[continues 563 words]

194 US: PUB LTE: Cartels Don't NegotiateFri, 27 Jun 1997
Source:USA Today (US) Author:O'Connell, Thomas J. Area:United States Lines:33 Added:06/27/1997

USA Today, along with every other newspaper in the country, headlines the story of the deal between cigarette manufacturers and the several states suing them for damage to the health of their citizens. If approved by Congress and signed by the President as expected, this agreement will allow the tobacco industry to continue operating and earning profits as they pass the costs of the settlement on to their (addicted) customers.

If any proof were needed that for decades, America has conducted a drug policy beyond logic, or even sanity, this deal provides it. A moment's thought is enough to understand that the tobacco industry entered into the deal because they want to remain legal; in other words, government has enormous clout with a legal industry. Ask yourself if the producers and marketers of "illicit" drugs could ever be prevailed upon to enter a room and negotiate with the government. Ask yourself also if the vaunted war on drugs has been successful at anything but enriching criminals, wrecking lives, filling prisons and wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere. Then ask yourself how long we can, in conscience continue to support a destructive insanity with increasing billions of our tax dollars every year.

Thomas J. O'Connell San Mateo, CA

[end]

195 US NY: PUB LTE: Cartels Don't NegotiateFri, 27 Jun 1997
Source:Newsday Long Island (NY) Author:O'Connell, Thomas J. Area:New York Lines:29 Added:06/27/1997

Newsday,along with every other newspaper in the country, headlines the story of the deal between cigarette manufacturers and the several states suing them for damage to the health of their citizens. If approved by Congress and signed by the President as expected, this agreement will allow the tobacco industry to continue operating and earning profits as they pass the costs of the settlement on to their (addicted) customers.

If any proof were needed that for decades, America has conducted a drug policy beyond logic, or even sanity, this deal provides it. A moment's thought is enough to understand that the tobacco industry entered into the deal because they want to remain legal; in other words, government has enormous clout with a legal industry. Ask yourself if the producers and marketers of "illicit" drugs could ever be prevailed upon to enter a room and negotiate with the government. Ask yourself also if the vaunted war on drugs has been successful at anything but enriching criminals, wrecking lives, filling prisons and wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere. Then ask yourself how long we can, in conscience continue to support a destructive insanity with increasing billions of our tax dollars every year.

Thomas J. O'Connell San Mateo, CA

[end]

196 US: PUB LTE: Drug Laws Help Foster Juror RebellionsTue, 03 Jun 1997
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Wilson, Aaron D. Area:United States Lines:58 Added:06/03/1997

To the Editor:

In your May 27 editorial "When Jurors Ignore the Law," you say that the recent Federal Appeals Court ruling that grants authority to judges to remove jurors who practice nullification "leaves unaddressed the problem many Americans think of loosely as jury nullification but which is really something deeper, and more subtle.

That is the big gulf in how jurors of different racial backgrounds and life experiences tend to perceive the law. . . ." This is true, but it is not merely a matter of institutionalized racism, or a perceptual divide between white and nonwhite Americans.

[continues 175 words]

197 UX TX: PUB LTE: Pot As MedicineTue, 03 Jun 1997
Source:Waco Tribune-Herald (TX) Author:Wilson, John F. Area:Texas Lines:39 Added:06/03/1997

Schedule I drugs are said to have no medical value. Any use of a schedule I drug is considered abuse.

Schedule II drugs are available by prescription. Angel Dust (PCP) is available by prescription. Speed (methamphetamine) is available by prescription. Cocaine is available by prescription.

Tobacco is sold over the counter. Tobacco kills approximately 1,200 Americans everyday. Where is the medical value of tobacco? How does anyone use tobacco without abuse? When was the last time your doctor said, "Smoke two cigarettes and call me in the morning?"

[continues 85 words]

198 US WA: PUB LTE: Drug Warrior Owen Doubly WrongSun, 04 May 1997
Source:Spokesman-Review (WA) Author:Hawkins, Tom Area:Washington Lines:26 Added:06/04/1997

I see Lt. Governor Brad Owen is at it again. It wasn't enough for him to be printed state wide ranting against Dr. Rob Killian's medical marijuana initiative. Now, he is crying about the proposed cuts in using the National Guard against American citizens.

Unlike our prohibitionist lieutenant governor, I am glad that cuts are being made in the use of our National Guard in the Drug War. National Guard resources are meant for protecting the people, not fighting them. History shows that when the Guard is turned against Americans a horrible tragedy often takes place.

When will Owen realize that attacking people in the name of the War On Drugs is wrong? Enough! The people are tired of war lust.

Sincerely,

Tom G. Hawkins

Grand Coulee

[end]

199 US WA: PUB LTE: It Worked So Well In The PastThu, 05 Jun 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Battle, Clark Area:Washington Lines:30 Added:06/05/1997

In order to protect our children from the scourge of drugs we need to fund and encourage our police/military to crack down on us even tougher. Do away with cumbersome trials by compassionate juries and make possession a capital offense, like Newt Gingrich has suggested. Although this policy doesn't reduce drug use in Malaysia, I am confident in our National Guard's ability to make it work in America.

I would gleefully support a police state led by Lt. Gov. Owen because I am secure in the belief that, as a law-obedient citizen, the inevitable abuses of police and military power will not come back to endanger me or my loved ones. Besides, everyone knows criminal-law enforcement is the best and only way to reduce drug abuse -- it has worked so well in the past. Right?

Clark Battle

Secane, Pa.

[end]

200 US WA: PUB LTE: They've Put Drugs EverywhereThu, 05 Jun 1997
Source:Skagit Valley Herald (WA) Author:Gierach, James E. Area:Washington Lines:31 Added:06/05/1997

The drug war and American drug policy have put drugs everywhere, and conscription of the National Guard forces and more money for their anti-drug games (playing narc agent) only further the interests of the drug barons, who, interestingly, also support drug war and drug-war maneuvers. Capone, like Abrego, like Fuentes, like Escobar, like President Clinton, Sen. Dole, United We Stand Perot and Lt. Gov. Owen -- all support drug war, soldiers and police in classrooms (free advertising for the drug cartels), drug seizure nonsense for photo ops and more money for the big anti-drug fight. Silliness.

[continues 79 words]


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