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Maptalk-Digest Wednesday, December 30 1998 Volume 98 : Number 509

Talk of the Nation - NPR 12/29/98
    From: "McNamara, Mark P." <>
SENT: Drug testing
    From: 
fwd: Lockyer to back medical marijuana (CA)
    From:  (A H Clements)
Canada: PUB LTE: Learn to live with drugs
    From:  (Matt Elrod)
ART: Medical marijuana law poses questions
    From: Phil Smith <>


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj: Talk of the Nation - NPR 12/29/98
From: "McNamara, Mark P." <>
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 19:03:33 -0600

Talk of the Nation topic - "America's War on Drugs"

My local announcer (KWMU-St. Louis) lead in the program note with "Some
people say it's just not working."

It starts at 8:00pm Central, but I think it's a re-broadcast of an
earlier show.

TTFN,
Mark McNamara
There is only one basic human right - the right to be left alone.

------------------------------

Subj: SENT: Drug testing
From: 
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 09:01:27 -0600 (CST)

<---- Begin Included Message ---->
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 08:41:14 -0600 (CST)
Message-Id: <>
From: 
Subject: Drug testing
To: 

Dear Editor,

A recent article in your paper showed a majority of McKinney
parents supported drug testing students. They are under the 
impression that drug testing is some type of panacea that will 
halt illicit drug use. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What will happen after the drug test is administered? The kids will 
have a green light to use drugs. They know it will be weeks or 
months until the next test.  Weekly testing of students would be 
extremely expensive. Instead of spending money on drug testing, 
letís spend it on rehab for students with actual drug problems. 
Why should we waste money testing the majority of the kids that 
do not do drugs? Afterall, they are in the majority.

Another reason drug testing is not a good idea, is that the least 
dangerous drug these kids try -- marijuana -- is the one that stays 
in their system the longest. Kids, knowing they may be drug tested, 
might resort to more  dangerous substances that are not detectable 
after a few days of use, such as methamphetamine and heroin.

There is one more reason drug testing is a bad idea. A *false 
positive* can occur on any drug screen. Can you imagine what it would 
be like to falsely be labeled a drug user? That, in itself, could lead 
a kid to start using drugs. It's the old, "Well, if they think I'm 
already doing it, I might as well go ahead and give it a try."

The only people who benefit from drug testing are the companies
that sell the drug test kits.

Sincerely,

Alan Bryan
Drug Policy Forum of Texas

<---- End Included Message ---->

------------------------------

Subj: fwd: Lockyer to back medical marijuana (CA)
From:  (A H Clements)
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 10:09:28 -0500

[Forwarded from  & Mike S. <> & Peter
M. <> (among others).]

Lockyer to back medical marijuana
By Robert Salladay
EXAMINER CAPITOL BUREAU
Tuesday, December 29, 1998
1998 San Francisco Examiner
URL:

SACRAMENTO - With Gov.-elect Gray Davis promising, almost wryly, a
soaring era of government moderation and political fine-tuning, the most
radical change in Sacramento may occur just three blocks away in the
attorney general's office.

At the fortress-like red marble Department of Justice building on I
Street, Democratic Attorney General-elect Bill Lockyer has already
unrolled a list of priorities - priorities that bear little resemblance
to those set by his Republican predecessor, Dan Lungren, during his two
terms.
While Lungren focused almost exclusively on crime and punishment,
Lockyer's list of 12 key issues takes on a far different tone. His list
includes passing an enforceable ban on assault weapons and beefing up
civil rights and environmental and consumer protections. He wants to
reform the death penalty appeals process, curb school violence and
regulate the state's gambling industry.

As his 10th priority, Lockyer promises to focus on legalizing the use of
medical marijuana in the wake of Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative
that was intended to allow seriously ill patients grow and use marijuana
for pain relief with a doctor's recommendation.

The initiative has largely failed because of efforts made through the
courts by Lungren and the federal government.
But Lockyer says he wants to make Prop. 215 work. "That means
cooperating with local communities if they have different approaches. So
San Francisco would be different than Kern County," Lockyer said.
The issue highlights one of the bigger differences between Lockyer and
Lungren.
Many marijuana clubs around the state, including the 9,000-member
Cannabis Healing Center in The City, have been shut down since the
passage of Prop. 215 through Lungren's efforts and those of the Clinton
administration's Justice Department, seeking to enforce federal laws
against marijuana distribution.
"I think (Lungren) was overly zealous in continuing to oppose (Prop.
215), even after the people had adopted it," Lockyer said. "I joke that
there are days when I thought Dan had a copy of "Reefer Madness' at
home."

Issues aside, perhaps the most noticeable change between his hand ling
of the job and Lungren's will be Lockyer's desire to demythologize the
role of attorney general.

Lockyer acknowledged he can be a powerful force in supporting crime
legislation, and that his office has a huge role in handling criminal
appeals. In the end, however, the job has limited influence over actual
street crime and the criminal courtrooms.

"My view is perhaps Dan Lungren felt like he was the pinnacle of the
law- enforcement community, and I see my role as more of a support
service for local DAs and local law enforcement," said Lockyer, who
takes office Monday. "Of course, in four years I hope to run ads taking
credit for all the fine work they do, which is what attorneys general
tend to do."

During the campaign leading up to his election in November, Lockyer, a
longtime Democratic lawmaker from Hayward, got slapped around by
Republican opponent Dave Stirling, a conservative former judge and chief
deputy attorney general. Stirling portrayed Lockyer as a dangerously
squishy liberal who may or may not have smoked pot. He accused Lockyer
of trying to trash the state's "three strikes" law. And he said Lockyer
would likely cause the crime rate to soar.

It didn't sell. Although voters generally view the attorney general as
the state's "top cop," they picked Lockyer over Stirling by 10
percentage points.

While Lockyer will have many unresolved issues to face, including 50,000
ongoing lawsuits and criminal appeals, among the biggest will likely be
dealing with Prop. 215.

The 7,000-member California Narcotics Officers Association endorsed
Stirling and differs with Lockyer on medical marijuana, calling Prop.
215 a sham. Christy McCampbell, president of the association, said she
has met with Lockyer, found him to be interested in her work and thinks
the Stirling endorsement can be put behind them as "politics is
politics."

"I think it's going to be kind of a learning experience, all the way
around. He's learning a new position and we really don't want to be
involved in the politics.

Our membership is trying to do a job and trying to uphold the laws on
the street."
Although medical marijuana distribution centers have now gone
underground, supporters were buoyed last month when five states -
Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Washington and Oregon - approved statutes
similar to California's.

Lockyer, whose mother and a sister died of leukemia, supported Prop.
215. During his campaign he said he wants "clinics, not cults." He has
appointed a task force that includes state Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-San
Jose, and Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, to find
ways to make Prop. 215 work.

"The change from Lungren is potentially very significant," said Dave
Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights. "Lockyer has said
he understands the conflict we have with federal law and would like to
see this initiative work. And he has even said he would support
regulated distribution of marijuana, as long as there were safeguards."
Fratello said 1999 could bring efforts to set up an official registry,
perhaps in the state Department of Health, so that medical marijuana
users could show police an identification card if they are stopped.
There may be a move to determine exactly how much marijuana is
appropriate per patient.

Meanwhile, Lockyer isn't pretending he knows everything about the agency
he's about to head. He still hasn't announced his picks for many
top-level positions, from the criminal law division to civil rights and,
perhaps, a new position in charge of environmental enforcement.
"The good news is that there are a lot of really fine law-enforcement
professionals who are willing to take on the task of managing the cop
shop," Lockyer said. "Once that person is in place, I would want to get
his recommendations about the best way to use the department's budget."

Lockyer has asked Gov.-elect Davis for $258Fmillion in extra funding
over last year's budget to hire more attorneys in some departments and
to strengthen the state's crime labs.

He describes taking over the sprawling agency as similar to being
lowered from a helicopter onto a massive aircraft carrier at sea.
Lockyer has spent the past two months exploring his new digs.

He marvels that the attorney general's supercomputer processes about 1.5
million local law enforcement inquiries a day. He'll go from 50
employees in the Senate to 5,000 as attorney general. He was astonished
to find the division of civil rights enforcement somewhere below the
Registry of Charitable Trusts on an internal organizational chart.

As a lawmaker, Lockyer was certainly influential as Senate president pro
tem, but ultimately he was just one chattering voice among 120 senators
and Assembly members.

Not anymore. "(It's) the difference between having an opinion and having
a legal opinion," Lockyer said. "We all have opinions, and policy makers
are full of them. But having a legal opinion requires a certain kind of
discipline. And trying to motivate and manage and be a good team leader
for 5,000 is a very challenging task as well."

A91998 San Francisco Examiner A0

------------------------------

Subj: Canada: PUB LTE: Learn to live with drugs
From:  (Matt Elrod)
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 09:28:34 -0800

Newshawk: 
Source: Calgary Sun (Canada)
Contact: 
Pubdate: December 30, 1998
Comment: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor : headline by hawk
Author: Pat Dolan

   BILL KAUFMANN cites Jean-Pierre Levesque of Criminal Intelligence
   Service Canada, as saying that it costs $2 million to investigate a
   two-man biker team. ("Biker battle feared," Dec. 28.)

   And all that because they are suspected of profiting from consensual
   crime, to wit, narcotics and prostitution.

   Well now, prostitution and narcotics have been around for the last
   5,000 years.

   Perhaps it might be time to consider learning to live with them in
   less socially harmful ways.

   We have learned to live with bugs. The idea of a bug-free or a
   drug-free world is unrealistic.

   Why continue, then, to prohibit something which history tells us
   cannot be successfully prohibited? Why continue this childish game of
   "cops and robbers"?

   It is, after all, as researcher Levesque pointed out, not only
   pointless, but very, very expensive.

   Pat Dolan

   (Bugs can be kept at bay and so can outlaw bikers.)

------------------------------

Subj: ART: Medical marijuana law poses questions
From: Phil Smith <>
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 10:52:57 -0800 (PST)

[Newshawk note and open question: In the article below, which I just typed
in manually, since the Oregonian apparently does not post to its web site
most of the rabid articles it prints about marijuana, the newspaper says the
Drug-Free Workplace requirements are the result of "a 1991 federal law,
passed after a train wreck in Maryland killed 17 people and injured 170.
Investigators found the crew of one train had been smoking marijuana before
the wreck."

Note the curous wording - "one train," as if maybe the reporter is really
talking about two separate incidents.

Below this article is a refutation Steve Kubby posted a couple years ago
about a malicious and erroneous claim that pot smoking caused a train wreck
in Pennsylvania, made by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. (Which I
have kept archived at the Portland NORML site at:)

http://www.pdxnorml.org/030697.html#mmg

Could somebody make sure Steve Kubby gets a copy of this? Could anyone say
whether the two train wrecks, in Pennsylvania and Maryland, have been
confused by The Oregonian? If not, could Steve or anyone else research the
particulars of the alleged train wreck in Maryland? I don't have time for
it, but I think this is a very major allegation and it should be
investigated and, if possible, refuted, just like the Pennsylvania train
wreck. Thanks, Phil Smith]

***

The Oregonian
Contact: 
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193 
Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/
Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/
Section: Business page cover, D1-D2

Medical marijuana law poses questions

* Employers in Oregon are searching for a way to comply with federal
drug-free requirements while allowing medicinal use of marijuana

By Patrick O'Neill
of The Oregonian staff

Oregon's new medical marijuana law has removed criminal penalties for using
the drug to ease the discomfort caused by some diseases.

But federal law still regards marijuana as a dangerous and illegal drug.

This disagreement could jeopardize the jobs of some Oregonians who use
medicinal marijuana. And it raises questions for employers who must enforce
federally imposed anti-drug programs.

The difference between the state and federal marijuana laws has created a
mess for employers, says Paula A. Barran, a Portland attorney who specializes
in labor law. Barran's firm, Barran Liebman, is one of the state's largest
labor specialty firms.

Employers can refuse to accommodate medical use of marijuana at work under
Oregon's and most other states' medical marijuana laws, said Dave Fratello,
spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, a national organization
supporting the use of medicinal marijuana.

But the law doesn't specifically address what to do if an employee tests
positive for marijuana use.

Barran says the medicinal marijuana law will have different effects on three
categories of businesses: the transportation industry; government contractors
who are required to maintain a drug-free workplace; and other businesses,
which aren't tied to federal anti-drug regulations but nonetheless don't want
their workers using drugs.

For transportation employees, the law is specific and inflexible, she said:
Commercial drivers who test positive for marijuana are pulled off the road.

Among those who could jeopardize their jobs, Barran says, are the 108,000
Oregonians who hold commercial driver's licenses. Under federal law, they are
subject to random tests for drug and alcohol use, as well as tests after
accidents or when a supervisor has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is
using drugs.

In addition, federal law requires random drug testing of people who hold
"safety-sensitive" jobs in aviation, rail transport, pipelines and the
commercial marine industry.

The requirements are the result of a 1991 federal law, passed after a train
wreck in Maryland killed 17 people and injured 170. Investigators found the
crew of one train had been smoking marijuana before the wreck.

Oregon's new law, passed by voters in November, permits people with a wide
range of illnesses to use medicinal marijuana. The law applies not only to
people with terminal illnesses, but also to those who are well enough to go
to work - people undergoing chemotherapy who smoke marijuana to ward off
nausea, for example.

Testing protocol is big question

Tests for marijuana use can pick up traces of the drug for as long as a
month after use. So, Barran says, it's likely that some employees could
report to work with measureable traces of marijuana in their systems. And
even though they aren't impaired by the drug, just the traces of marijuana
violate federal law, she said.

Once they're pulled off the road, drivers and others covered by the law can't
go back to work until they have been reviewed by a substance abuse worker and
have complied with recommended rehabilitation - and have a clean drug test.

Under the law, follow-up testing might be required to make sure the driver
has given up drugs.

Barran says Oregon law blurs the line between legal and illegal drugs,
creating hidden pitfalls.

"Nobody was focusing on this when the initiative was being debated," she
said. The measure "was promoted as a measure for people who are terminally
ill.

"But a lot of folks, who are going to be using medical marijuana will be
holding down jobs - people who use it for chemotherapy. People who have
multiple sclerosis are employed. It's not just allowable for late stages of
diseases where death is imminent."

Employers fear unknown

Judith L. Clark, president of H.R. Northwest, the largest independent human
resources consulting firm in the Northwest, says Oregon employers are
becoming increasingly worried about how the new law will affect them.

Employers, she said, are really waking up.

"I think that it probably is in the incubation stage right now," Clark said.

But after the state Health Division begins issuing registration cards in May,
she said, there will be much more interest.

Clark said she thinks the medicinal marijuana issue could cause dissension in
the workplace because of the moral implications surrounding the drug's use.

"There are a lot of folks who are opposed to medical marijuana on moral
grounds," she said. "I can't think of many other things an employer can do
that has the ability to generate as high an emotional response. It is more
likely that it will cause workplace dissension. There are some very strong
morality issues relative to this."

Labor-law changes confusing

The 113,000-member Society for Human Resources Management hasn't studied the
ramifications of the medicinal marijuana laws yet. But it's on the radar
screen.

Michael Losey, president of the international organization, said employment
law is changing so fast that "assumptions are being blown right out of the
water."

As late as the 1970s, he said, women who became pregnant were expected to
quit their jobs. But legislation changed all of that. So Losey isn't going to
make any sweeping predictions about the future of medicinal marijuana in the
workplace.

One concerned employer is the Port of Portland.

"We're in the question-asking phase," said Aaron Ellis, spokesman for the
Port of Portland. "What are the impacts with the state law and how would they
impact the federal drug-testing programs for the Coast Guard? We have over
100 people who have a CDL (commercial drivers license) or are certified under
Coast Guard provisions. We're trying to figure out how these people would be
affected."

Ellis said the port is "thoroughly researching and analyzing all the ins and
outs of these questions . . . We'll create a policy that will be fair to all
employees."

Federal contractors can't choose

Peter Conte, spokesman for the Seattle-based Boeing Co., said the company
doesn't have any specific policies on the use of medicinal marijuana.
Washington voters also passed a medical marijuana initiative in November;
Boeing has 2,000 workers in Oregon and 99,000 in Washington.

"Clearly, where use could potentially impair the ability to perform a job
safely it would not be permitted," he said.

As a defense contractor, the aerospace corporation is required by the federal
government to maintain a drug-free workplace. Under that policy, Boeing and
many other companies with government contracts have an anti-drug policy in
place - and enforce it. Failure to do so could jeopardize the company's
contracts.

Conte says the company plans to walk a fine line between accommodating
medicinal marijuana and following federal law.

"Boeing would, on a case-by-case basis, evaluate use of drugs that could
impair a person's ability to perform a job," Conte said.

Insurers also at a loss

Cheryl Harmon, director of human resources administrative services for Kaiser
Permanente Northwest, said Kaiser officials discussed ramifications of the
new law last week.

"If an employee has a certificate and they're using marijuana for medical
reasons, we'd treat them like they were taking any other kind of prescription
medication," she said.

Likewise, if a job applicant tested positive for marijuana in pre-employment
drug screening, Kaiser probably would disregard the finding if the applicant
had a certificate, she said.

But Kaiser hasn't decided how to address the conflict between state and
federal law in its Drug-Free Workplace program.

"We're going to have to ask legal counsel about that," she said.

***

* Medical Marijuana Group Charges PDFA With Railroading Amtrak-Conrail 'Hoax'

AMERICAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA ORGANIZATION (AMMO)
Defending The Rights Of America's Medical Marijuana Patients
1635 E 22nd St., OAKLAND, CA 94606, (510) 533-0605
E-MAIL: Ed Rosenthal , 

March 2, 1997

An Open Letter to ABC affiliates

Please, don't air commercials from Partnership For A Drug-Free America that
spread lies and hate towards medical marijuana patients such as myself. We
are only trying to stay alive, using a medicine that our doctors tell us is
helping. Every time you air a commercial from Partnership For A Drug-Free
America, you place medical marijuana patients in grave peril.

Remember the 1987 Amtrak-Conrail train accident, in Harrisburg Pennsylvania?
Fifteen people were killed and another 176 were injured in the worst
accident in Amtrak's history. Partnership For A Drug-Free America aired
millions of dollars worth of free radio spots which proclaimed: "They say
marijuana doesn't kill, but I lost my wife and two children in a train
accident caused by marijuana."

It was all a hoax. Dr. Delbert J. Lacefield, chief of the Federal Aviation
Administration's forensic toxicology unit, later admitted to falsifying
blood test results in the Amtrak-Conrail crash, as well as numerous other
crashes. Lacefield's claims that THC had been found in blood samples taken
from railway employees were exposed as fraudulent in court. Court records
show that Lacefield never even performed the laboratory analysis required to
detect THC. No one was ever found guilty of using pot and there is no
evidence that pot is related to any increase in railway accidents. Since
drug testing was instituted, as a federal response to the alleged use of pot
in the Amtrak crash, there has been no decline in railway accidents. The
engineer accused of smoking pot was, in fact, drunk and had been convicted
of driving under the influence a few months earlier.

Partnership For A Drug-Free America is also the group that got caught lying
about dysfunctional brain waves from a fictitious marijuana smoker. Their
record of lying about drugs sends the wrong message to kids, who want the
truth, not lies.

Stop the Lies! Please!

Sincerely,

Steve Kubby
Director
AMMO

------------------------------

End of Maptalk-Digest V98 #509
******************************

Mark Greer ()         ___ ___     _ _  _ _
Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
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Porterville, CA 93258                (_) (_) (_) \__,_)| ,__/
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