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Maptalk-Digest Tuesday, December 30 1997 Volume 97 : Number 559

ART: Soldiers in battle on drugs
    From: John Wilson <>
[Fwd: Ban.Daily Art.  Vet used pot]
    From: Donald Christen <>
[Fwd: Bangor Daily  Initiative Art.]
    From: Donald Christen <>
Re: MAINE:   Competing petitions prove legislature works best
    From: Donald Christen <>


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Subj: ART: Soldiers in battle on drugs
From: John Wilson <>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 07:41:24 -0800

If you have never submitted an LTE to the 'Trib', please start now.

Newshawk: John F. Wilson <>
Source:   Waco Tribune-Herald,  pg.1A
PUB Date: December 29, 1997
Contact:  
Fax:      (254) 757-0302
P.O Box:  2588 Waco, TX. 76702

Soldiers in battle on drugs

Local narcotics task force finds hard work, not much
'Hollywood glamour' in job

By Brian Anderson  Tribune-Herald staff writer 

   The walls of Cal Luedke's tiny office near downtown Waco
are covered with photographs of drug busts gone by -- the
smiling faces of happy narcotics officers posed over heaps
of confiscated drugs and mounds of seized money.

   Luedke, project director of the Agriplex Drug Task Force,
has spent more than 15 of his 27 years in law enforcement
as a soldier in the drug war.

'It's not cut out like
the TV portrays it.
There are a lot of
sleepless nights and a
lot of time that nothing happens.
It's hours of sitting and looking.'
                        Cal Luedke,
___________drug task force director

   "I don't really know why," he said.  "It's not the pleasure
of kicking in a door.  I just know when when I was in other
police work, I was bored."

   But boredom is a constant companion to the 10 narcotics
officers who make up the multiagency task force.  Months of
tedious investigative work and days of covert surveillance are
often necessary to make criminal charges stick against
suspected drug dealers.

   "It's not cut out like the TV portrays it,"  Luedke said, 
taking a shot at the numerous crime drama shows he says have
glamorized the drug world.  "There are a lot of sleepless nights
and a lot of time that nothing happens.  Patience is one of the
biggest virtues in this business.  It's hours of sitting and 
looking."

   The officers Luedke oversees even have their own motto about
their job: Narcotics work is "90 percent bored as hell and 10
percent scared as hell."

   The scary part, officers said, is the moment they make or
break an investigation by serving their search warrants.

Officers face inherent dangers in operations

   Usually working under the cover of darkness, officers move in
own their targets home.  What follows is "the ultimate adrenaline
rush," as one officer described it.

   With only a bullet proof vest and a shotgun to protect him,
the first officer through the door never knows what awaits him
inside.  Will the bad guys be home?  Will they flush their drugs
down the toilet?  Will they come out shooting?

   Most of the task force officers have found themselves caught
in a criminal's cross hairs at one time or another.  Some have the
scares to prove it.

   "Those are few and far between.  You go in with the realization
that that could happen.  That's why you go in with your gun drawn,"
Luedke said.

   The Agriplex Task Force is one of 46 such groups operating in
Texas through federal grants.  The local task force consist of
of officers from various law enforcement agencies in Freestone,
Limestone, Falls and McLennan counties.  The group also has
a cooperative agreement with authorities in Hill County.

Making an impact

   Members have opened more than 200 individual cases since
June 1, and the hard work has recently paid off.

   This month alone, a task force officer in Freestone County
spearheaded an investigation that resulted in the arrest of 26
alleged drug dealers on Dec. 13.  Days earlier, a separate
two-year investigation came to a close with the sentencing
of a 37-year-old Waco man to 30 years in federal prison for
distributing methamphetamines in Central Texas.

   Over the past two years, task force officers have seized
more than $2.5 million in illegal narcotics, including 
marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamines.
The group has also confiscated thousands of dollars in cash
along with numerous weapons and vehicles in drug-related
activities.

   Much of the confiscated money goes back to the anti-drug
operation.

Force 'self supported'

   "For the past three years, we have been self supported,"
Luedke said.  "It hasn't cost the taxpayers of McLennan 
County a dime."

   But there's still much more work to be done, task force
officials said.

   Interstate 35 remains a prime supply line for narcotics
moving into the United States.

   "It's a pipeline from Laredo to the border with Canada,"
Luedke said.  "As long as they have that Mexican border
open like it is now, it's only going to increase.  (Texas
law enforcement agencies) are probably only getting 2
percent of the dope coming in on the highway.  There's
not enough manpower and not enough hours in the day."

   Marijuana continues to be the drug of choice for narcotics
traffickers.  A pound of pot sold for $250 near the border may
fetch $3,000 to $4,000 in the northern part of the United
States, making drug smuggling a highly profitable venture
for many would-be criminals.

   Heroin supplies are growing slowly while the methamphetamine
market, supplied by manufacturers in Mexico and California,
is flourishing.

   The local task force hopes to cope with the growing problems
by adding additional officers this year.  They also have acquired
their own narcotics detection dog for use in searches.

                          <>

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Subj: [Fwd: Ban.Daily Art.  Vet used pot]
From: Donald Christen <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 13:01:45 -0700

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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This article was run 12/29/97 in the Bangor Daily.

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Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 09:29:18 -0700
From: Donald Christen <>
Reply-To: 
Organization: Maine Vocals
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (Win16; U)
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: 
CC: 
Subject: Ban.Daily Art.  Vet used pot
Content-Type: text/plain; charsetus-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Freeport veterinarian used pot for cancer
relief

By Sharon Mack, Of the NEWS Staff -- Dr. Michael
Lindey, 65, of Freeport was a veterinarian for 35 years
when he was struck with cancer in 1995. After four
major operations and six months of chemotherapy,
Lindey said he did what he never believed he would
do: He broke the law and used marijuana to heal
himself. 

"I wanted to stay alive," he said this week. 

"When all the other medications failed to help me, I
used marijuana," Lindey said. "It made a huge
difference. While undergoing chemotherapy, I had lost
50 pounds in three months. I couldn't stop that weight
loss. The marijuana maintained my appetite and
allowed me to re-gather my strength. I never craved it
before and I don't crave it now, but I learned it is
highly effective for some things." 

Lindey said he bought his marijuana from "a supplier
who lives less than 25 miles away." He would not
reveal further details on purchasing what he views as
treatment that unfairly has not been allowed in
American society. 

"The very first day I used it, I felt a tremendous
feeling of well-being. But at the same time, it was
illegal and I didn't want to embarrass my children," he
said. "I know of a lot of people just like me that are
afraid to come forward in support of medical
marijuana. We shouldn't be driving people into illegal
situations." 

Lindey said he has never been arrested in his life and,
in his nearly four decades of animal medicine, was
never questioned about his use of medicines in his
practice. 

While undergoing his four surgeries, Lindey said, he
was medicated heavily with morphine and other highly
addictive drugs. "I can't see the difference between
morphine and marijuana, except that marijuana is not
addictive. Both should be highly controlled, however,"
he said. 

Lindey said he favors restraints on marijuana use, but
also believes patients should be allowed to go to a
pharmacy and pick up a package to medicate
themselves. It is unrealistic, he said, to expect people
diagnosed with cancer to grow their own and wait for
a harvest. "It will be too late by then," he said. 

Lindey said he backs the AMR petition drive to
legalize medical marijuana because the proposal has
limits. "There should be approved uses and restraints,"
he says. "I am definitely opposed to recreational uses,
and I do not support the open-ended Maine Vocals
petition." 

"We are surrounded by medications of all types. There
are medications for getting old and medications to get
young. Every imaginable symptom has a medication.
Marijuana is just one more," said Lindey.

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Subj: [Fwd: Bangor Daily  Initiative Art.]
From: Donald Christen <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 13:09:06 -0700

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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This article was run in the Bangor Daily  12/29/97.

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Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 09:23:25 -0700
From: Donald Christen <>
Reply-To: 
Organization: Maine Vocals
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (Win16; U)
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: 
CC: 
Subject: Bangor Daily  Initiative Art.
Content-Type: text/plain; charsetiso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable bys1-bngr.agate.net id MAA22815

Medical necessity at issue in bid to
legalize marijuana

By Sharon Mack, Of the NEWS Staff -- Voters
signing petitions that would allow a referendum on the
medical use of marijuana in Maine next fall may be
unaware that two initiatives exist which differ greatly
in the amount of pot that patients could possess and
the medical reasons for which it could be used.

The dueling initiatives have led to squabbling between
proponents of both movements. Currently, any use or
possession of marijuana is illegal in Maine.

Don Christen, founder of Maine Vocals, a
pro-marijuana lobbying group, said state voters aren't
aware that the Maine Vocals' initiative, being run by
volunteers on a shoestring budget, is being challenged
by an initiative that is part of a national movement
financed by wealthy backers from outside the state.

Christen, in turn, is being called a radical with a poor
track record by the national group sponsoring the
second initiative, and his proposal is being labeled too
liberal. Opponents claim the Vocals' proposal would
allow Maine doctors to prescribe marijuana for
everything from a headache to a hangnail.

Educating the voters about the differences between the
two initiatives is critical, said proponents on both sides.
Proponents believe if both initiatives collect the
required 52,000 signatures, they both could be on the
ballot next fall, creating a dilemma for voters
reminiscent of the recent forestry issue.

If both initiatives were to pass, the issue of the
competing laws would have to be decided in court.

The second initiative is sponsored by Mainers for
Medical Rights, the local wing of Americans for
Medical Rights. AMR formerly was known as
Californians for Medical Rights and was successful in
passing a major bill legalizing the medical use of pot on
the West Coast. AMR is active in promoting marijuana
legislation in Washington, D.C., Alaska, Colorado and
a half-dozen other states. Currently, 26 states either
have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana or have
set up research groups to study the possibility.

According to David Fratello, national spokesman for
the group, AMR is a nonprofit organization with
headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. Its three major
benefactors are George Soros of the Open Society
Institute; Peter Lewis, an Ohio insurance agent; and
John Sperling, president of the University of Phoenix,
a home-study school.

The two Maine initiatives differ in several ways, with
the AMR version more restrictive than the Vocals'.

The AMR initiative spells out a narrow range of
medical conditions for which pot can be used -
seizures and chronic conditions such as epilepsy,
multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, cancer and AIDS. The
Vocals' version allows doctors to prescribe marijuana
"for any illness for which marijuana can provide
relief."

The AMR initiative limits the quantity of marijuana a
patient can possess to 1F3 ounces and six growing
plants. The Vocals' bill allows for an unlimited supply
or crop of marijuana.

In addition, the Vocals' proposal calls for a
seven-member study committee to devise a program
for the supply and distribution of pot for those who
cannot grow their own, such as patients in nursing
homes.

Fratello said Monday that the real difference between
the two movements, however, is that Christen's
initiative is "radical, while ours is mainstream." Fratello
said the Maine Vocals petition for medical use is being
promoted "right alongside recreational use. AMR is
only promoting medical use."

Fratello said that while investigating Maine's marijuana
legislation last year, AMR representives learned "to
run, don't walk, away from Don Christen." Fratello
said Christen's criminal convictions for marijuana
violations combined with "abominable behavior at the
state Legislature, such as shouting profanities at
legislators" convinced AMR to set up its own
referendum, one not associated with Maine Vocals or
Christen. "We are trying to encourage the building of a
mainstream coalition," Fratello said.

In September 1993, Christen was one of 10 people,
including his father, arrested during a three-county,
two-state drug sweep. He was charged and convicted
of trafficking in marijuana and served seven months in
jail. The drug sweep netted $100,000 worth of
marijuana, $13,166 in cash and more than 35 guns.

In February 1996, Christen was found guilty of
furnishing marijuana during an April 1993
pro-marijuana demonstration on the steps of the
Somerset County Courthouse. He served 74 days in
jail.

In 1995 he failed a urine test and served three months
in jail for violating bail conditions that he not use illegal
drugs. The bail conditions were the result of a charge
of possession of marijuana in the town of Fairfield.

In 1991, Christen and another pro-marijuana supporter
were summoned for lighting "joints" at the Somerset
County Courthouse during a hemp rally.

Fratello said AMR's Maine initiative got under way
just three weeks ago, and already several Maine
entities have thrown their support behind it. These
include the Maine AIDS Alliance, the Maine Civil
Liberties Union, Sen. Anne Rand, Rep. Michael Quint
and Rep. J. Elizabeth Mitchell of Portland.

Mitchell said that after hearing three years of
testimony, she believes in the validity of medical uses
for marijuana. "I haven't ever supported the Maine
Vocals' efforts, however, because legislating
recreational use has never been one of our goals," she
said.

Mitchell, daughter of House speaker Elizabeth H.
Mitchell, said she believes the AMR proposal is
restrictive on possession and diagnosis, which she
favors. She agreed that based on the Vocals' petition,
people could find a sympathetic physician and be
allowed to fill their basement with pot to use whenever
they have a headache.

Lynn Plumb, R.N., is the chairman of the board of the
Maine AIDS Alliance, a group of 14 health groups,
which also is supporting the AMR proposal. "The
Alliance represents a wide variety of organizations and
a wide variety of perspectives," said Plumb. "One of
those areas is substance abuse, and so we have a
concern about being really clear with this proposal. We
feel it is important to move slowly on this so it will be
accepted by the public and so it will not be abused."

Christen said Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana,
Maine Vocals, Maine Cannabis Alliance, Maine
Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp, Maine
Green Party, and Maine Libertarian Party, however,
all object to the AMR campaign coming into Maine
and confusing Maine voters.

Christen believes that "the AMR agenda is to pass a
medical marijuana bill - period. All they want is a win
in Maine so they can pressure the federal government
into changing the law."

Christen said the wording of the AMR bill is too
restrictive and already has proved that it won't stand
up in court in California. When the California initiative
was passed without a distribution system, marijuana
"clubs" were founded to serve the ill. Courts began
shutting them down last week to uphold federal
marijuana laws. He says the AMR effort in Maine is
part of a larger numbers game.

"By passing legislation in as many states as possible,
AMR hopes to pass federal legislation," he said. "They
don't care that the bill will be meaningless to the
people it is supposed to help. They want to pass the
federal bill at any cost.'

"The people of Maine are getting bought and they
don't even know it," Christen said.

On his Web site, Charles Rollins Jr. of Alaskans for
Medical Privacy concurs with Christen that the limits
on supply in the AMR initiative are too restrictive for
the needs of the ill.

"We feel this measure will endanger the lives of the
people it is intended to protect," Rollins writes. "The
passage of the AMR petition will cause people with a
real medical need to either go to the black market or
do without needed medicine due to the petition's many
flaws and weaknesses."

Similar comments about AMR petitions are being
made on pro-marijuana Web sites originating in other
states. AMR received a communication Dec. 9
decrying its efforts by grass-roots organizations in New
York, Washington, D.C., Colorado, California, Alaska
and Maine.

Referring to the AMR petition, Christen said, "Their
efforts will conflict with all of the hard work already
done by Maine citizens, patients and activists who
have been working for years to bring this issue to the
public."

Christen said the referendum issue will boil down to
one question: "Whose plan is better for the patient?
We need to take the politics and the cops right out of
it."

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Subj: Re: MAINE:   Competing petitions prove legislature works best
From: Donald Christen <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 13:17:45 -0700

Donald Christen wrote:
> 
> This Editorial was run in The Morning Sentinel Waterville, Maine
> Guy Gannette publications.
> 
> COMPETING PETITIONS PROVE lEGISLATURE WORKS THE BEST
> 
> If ever a solid argument existed for limiting the use of referendum
> in setting government policy, it lies within the competing petitions
> to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in Maine.
> 
> An out-of-state group called the Americans for Medical Rights
> and the Maine Vocals, a pro-marijuana group based in the Pine
> Tree State, are gathering signatures on competing measures that
> both advocate the same end: allowing doctors to prescribe
> marijuana as a drug to treat ailments.
> 
> The differences between the bills, however, are stark. The AMR
> bill allows doctors to prescribe pot only for specific illnesses,
> such as epilepsy, seizures and glaucoma. It also limits patients to
> possessing only 1 G ounces of marijuana and six growing plants.
> 
> In turn, the Maine Vocals' effort would allow doctors to
> prescribe marijuana "for any illness for which marijuana could
> provide relief" (depression? loss of appetite?) and does not limit
> the amount of marijuana a patient may possess.
> 
> Don Christen, the leader of Maine Vocals who has been
> convicted of trafficking marijuana, has publicly criticized the
> AMR effort, calling it the work of law enforcement. For its part,
> AMR notes Christen's rude behavior before the Legislature and
> convictions as making him hardly the best spokesman for the cause.
> 
> All of it is smoke. By placing two competing measures before
> voters to sign, there's a goodly chance that people now have no
> idea what they are signing. There's also a good chance people
> may sign the same petition twice, wrongly thinking they have
> signed both.
> 
> And if both petition efforts manage to gather enough signatures
> to make the ballot, there is a whole new set of legal questions to
> be answered, from whether both questions will appear on the
> ballot to what happens if both pass.
> 
> It is true that the Legislature has not shown much interest in
> addressing this issue seriously, and it is true that referendums
> exist, in part, to allow residents to pick up the ball if the
> Legislature drops it.
> 
> But what value these competing referendums provide to the
> debate over the medicinal use of marijuana - and what purpose it
> serves to have the associated bickering between the competing
> organizations - is beyond us.
> 
> If we are going to consider the legalization of marijuana for
> medicinal purposes, we ought to treat it as the serious matter it
> is, and not be hauled into sideshows on the street corner.
> 
> Thanks AMR.

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End of Maptalk-Digest V97 #559
******************************

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Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
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