Under normal circumstances, there would be no question about supporting the
federal government in its crackdown on marijuana offenders in California.
After all, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that distribution
of the weed through cooperatives is illegal.
But the latest wave of federal arrests has clashed with Califonia law,
which allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and we have to
wonder what's really going on, why the sudden outburst of enforcement.
Caught in the federal-state crossfire is the city of West Hollywood,
amongst others. A cannabis club there was raided, to the dismay of more
than 900 individuals who were treated for illnesses like cancer and AIDS by
doctors acting with the approval of city officials.
[continues 218 words]
Talk Is Part Of His West Coast Bike Tour Touting Organic Living
Cal Poly Barefoot, tanned and clad in a loose-fitting hemp shirt and
matching pants, TV and film star Woody Harrelson sang the praises of
renewable natural resources and earth-friendly products to an audience of
more than 800 people at the Cal Poly Recreation Center on Monday night.
"We've got to make a connection between what we're doing and the beast,"
Harrelson told the audience.
Harrelson, who starred in movies "White Men Can't Jump" and "The People vs.
Larry Flynt" among others, rallied the audience to think about the products
they are using and the way they live their lives eating at McDonald's,
drinking Coca-Cola, driving cars and how it affects the environment.
[continues 251 words]
They Can Still Use Marijuana In States That Allow It
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 on Monday that there is no
exception in federal law for people to use marijuana to ease their pain
from cancer, AIDS or other illnesses.
Patients could still use marijuana for medical reasons in states that allow
it, legal experts said. But it would be more difficult to obtain the drug
because the Supreme Court said distribution violates federal law, they said.
Angel McClary, 35, of Oakland, said she will not stop using the drug to
help her cope with an inoperable brain tumor and a seizure disorder.
[continues 520 words]
Parents, Counselors And Others Join Discussion On Kids' Excessive Partying
San Luis Obispo -- A parent quoted from an Oscar-winning film about the
drug war to describe the local battle, during a panel discussion Monday on
drug use by local teens.
"'We're fighting this war in our own living rooms,'" said Lori La Vine,
borrowing a line from "Traffic."
La Vine is co-chair of the Tiger Parent Network, a group of San Luis Obispo
High School parents that formed two years ago to address excessive teen
partying. The group hosted a panel at the school Monday that featured local
people who work with teens and an audience of a little more than 50 people.
[continues 484 words]
Discussion Will Include Talk By Recovering Addict
Parents will get the opportunity Monday to hear straight talk from a local
17-year-old boy, who is a recovering addict, and his mother.
Both declined interviews before they share their story at a panel
discussion on the use of alcohol and other drugs by teens, titled "What Can
We Do?" But they are expected to provide the drama on a panel of experts
convened by the San Luis Obispo High School Tiger Parent Network, a group
of parents that formed two years ago over concern about teen drug use.
[continues 434 words]
Grower Had More Than 100 'Medicinal' Plants
SANTA ROSA (AP) -- One marijuana joint for medical purposes under
California's Proposition 215 normally doesn't raise too many eyebrows these
days, but when a Santa Rosa man grew nearly 100 marijuana plants to keep
pace with his ailments, authorities stepped in and arrested him.
Now a jury will need to decide: How much medical marijuana is too much?
Alan MacFarlane, 47, was arrested during two raids on his home. In May
1999, sheriff's deputies discovered 72 marijuana plants at his home. During
another visit in August 1999 they found 36 more and promptly uprooted them.
[continues 205 words]
Supervisors Will Decide How It Is Spent In County
San Luis Obispo County will receive more than $400,000 to implement a drug
treatment program required by a new voter initiative.
Proposition 36, approved by 61 percent of the state's voters last year,
takes effect July 1. It requires first- and second-time drug users to be
sent to treatment programs instead of prison or jail.
On Wednesday, the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Program announced
how it will divide $60 million among the counties to prepare for the
program. The counties also will share $120 million each year for the next
[continues 233 words]
The Commission on the California Initiative Process has a tall order -
fixing it. Reform is needed in what has been called "the fourth branch of
government." One of the main shortcomings of the current system is that
once a reform initiative passes the voters it may be shot down in a court
challenge because it is unconstitutional.
The reason is primarily that reform initiatives have not been checked by
the right authorities to make sure they are constitutionally sound before
they are placed on the ballot.
[continues 391 words]
But ACLU Spokesman Opposes Purchase, Seeing It As Unnecessary In This County
The Sheriff's Department won't get its first "tank" without a fight.
The county Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether to approve
using $49,300 in drug forfeiture money to rebuild two surplus military
armored personnel carriers into one transport for use in hostage and other
The item is on the part of the supervisors' agenda that is designed for
noncontroversial items. But not everyone thinks the purchase is routine.
[continues 339 words]
Judges, Prosecutors Say They'll Have Less Latitude
Law enforcement officials spoke out against it, newspaper editorials
statewide voiced strong opposition to it, and even a television actor who
plays the role of the American president warned of its perceived dangers.
But not even actor Martin Sheen's pleas to reject Proposition 36 - the
measure that will send many nonviolent drug offenders to treatment rather
than prison - could dissuade the majority of California voters from
approving the legislation. A full 61 percent voted in favor of the measure
in the Nov. 7 election.
[continues 675 words]
Kids Are Aware Of Dangers, But Many Still Indulge
A teen health survey released Wednesday revealed mixed news about local
kids. While most said they understood the dangers of drug and alcohol use,
for example, 41 percent of local 11th graders reported driving while drunk.
Area educators praised the good news in the results, but raised concerns
about the more worrisome figures.
"The millions of dollars we spend to educate students about the dangers of
these behaviors has been successful," said John Barnhart, assistant
superintendent from the county Office of Education. He spoke at a press
conference Wednesday, presenting results from the California Healthy Kids
[continues 619 words]
Martin Sheen (The Tribune, Oct. 21) would have done well to have watched
the PBS documentary on our failed drug war policies (Dan Walters Tribune
10/21) before going to bat for the incarceration industry. I have worked in
a jail before I can tell you, being locked-up with thieves and violent
thugs is not the best way to improve yourself.
As for myself, I have been sober for 22 years now. Alcohol was my drug. It
impaired my ability to make good judgements and made me feel sick and
tired. AA helped me get through my first couple of years of sobriety and
now I'm free of my alcohol addiction.
[continues 129 words]
I am responding to The Tribune's anti-Proposition 36 editorial. I can see
The Tribune's reasons for your stance. A large population of SLO works for
the prison system, California Men's Colony and Atascadero State Hospital.
Proposition 36 would take 25,000 simple-possession prison-bound inmates
from the system. We are talking job security.
These are the people who want to put a prison in your backyard. The war on
drugs has made prison building boomtown. Anybody out there think the war on
drugs has worked? Have I got a bridge to sell you. After 30 years of this
nonsense, drugs are cheap and more plentiful than ever and the prisons are
overflowing. It is time for a change. Rehabilitation works. You get the
most bang for your buck.
[continues 116 words]
Proposition 36, Legal Usage Were Themes Of Event
The war on drugs and a ballot measure on treatment for convicted drug
users took center stage in downtown San Luis Obispo on Sunday
afternoon when about 100 people turned out for the 8th Annual Hemp
Rally and Teach-In.
With less than a month to go until Election Day, an eclectic mix of
drug-rights activists, civil-rights defenders and interested passersby
collected on the lawn and patio in front of the San Luis Obispo County
Government Center. The event was hosted by SLO Hemp for Victory, a
grassroots group promoting the legalization of marijuana and awareness
about the law and drugs.
[continues 428 words]
When the president of the Betty Ford Center, the president of the Chief
Probation Officers of California and the president of the California
District Attorney's Association take a stand against an initiative, it's
time to stop and listen.
Those three wrote the opposition argument in the official voters' pamphlet
against Proposition 36.
Under this measure, an offender convicted of a "non-violent drug possession
offense" would generally be sentenced to probation instead of time in
prison or county jail.
[continues 394 words]
Police Call Saturday Event A Rave; Others Say Characterization Is Unfair
Saturday night's arrest of 23 party-goers - all of whom are believed to
have taken the drug Ecstasy - could be the largest group arrest in San Luis
Obispo since a 1985 punk rock concert at the Vets Hall turned violent.
Police busted a house party in the Los Verdes Park subdivision just off Los
Osos Valley Road on Saturday night after receiving a noise complaint from a
Some of the party-goers escaped through windows when officers arrived, but
the majority were transported to the police department using five city
patrol cars and one Sheriff's van.
[continues 424 words]
19- To 21-year-olds Used Drugs, Authorities Say
Twenty-three people were arrested in San Luis Obispo early Sunday on
suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance at what
police are calling a rave.
Police were investigating a noise complaint at the Los Verdes condominium
complex on Linda Way when they found approximately 50 people at a house
party. As officers approached, many party-goers fled the scene, including
one man who police say shattered the glass in a window and jumped out.
[continues 303 words]
Warrant Issued For No-show Charged With Cultivating Pot Worth Millions
One of two men charged with cultivating a marijuana crop worth an estimated
$36.8 million failed to show up for a court hearing Wednesday.
Sometime after his arrest last month, Francisco Garcia, 44, of Santa Maria,
was released from the County Jail after posting bail. He was scheduled to
appear for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Garcia's attorney, Fred Foss, said he has no idea where his client might be.
[continues 327 words]
As Robin De Jong watched her son graduate Wednesday afternoon, she
reflected on all the things he won't do.
Most importantly, Rick De Jong, 33, said he won't use drugs anymore, thanks
to his yearlong participation in county drug court. He also said he won't
lie, associate with his former drug buddies or break promises to his family.
"It's like my son is back," Robin said. "He's a person again."
Rick De Jong, who lives in Grover Beach, was one of nine people to graduate
from the county's first round of drug court - a program made possible by a
$384,000 federal grant. Over the last year, those probationers, all
convicted for felony drug use, went to regular substance abuse treatment
sessions, met weekly with a judge and were visited regularly by their
[continues 747 words]
Comparison To Vietnam Isn't As Apt, They Say
Washington - When President Clinton said last week that the $1.3 billion
aid package to Colombia will not lead to another Vietnam, some of the
plan's main critics agreed. A better comparison, they say, El Salvador.
In the 1980s, the United States helped the El Salvadoran military, despite
its human rights abuses, to fight leftist guerrillas. In Colombia, where
the "proxy war" is against drug traffickers and the leftist forces helping
them. Clinton waived human rights rules to deliver the military aid package.
[continues 433 words]