In The News
Canadian Hemp Growing Permits Delayed
According to The Ottawa Citizen, June 11th, 1998, about 25% of the hemp-grower applicants had to leave their fields bare because the federal government failed to grant the licenses in time for planting. It is not yet known how many people have applied for licenses, nor how many licenses will be issued.
The delays are due to Health Canada's lengthy, approval process.
Despite the delays, seed distributing companies, Kenex Ltd., and Cantera combined have supplied 175 farmers with hemp seeds which will yield approximately 5,400 hectares.
Industrial hemp is so versatile that the U.S. imports $100 million worth of the product every year.
Federal Judge John Kane, Jr. speaking out
John Kane Jr., a senior trial judge, told the Rocky Mountain News on June 4, 1998, he wants the government to take drug use out of the "Criminal" arena and instead deal with it as a public health issue. He thinks the drug war is already lost, (as does senior federal trial judge, Robert Sweet, Senior Judge John Curtin and others.) Kane believes that public health clinics or physicians and pharmacists, ought to be providing drugs to anybody, under medical supervisionand at no cost, if necessary."
He doesn't advocate making all drugs legal for anybody who wants them. "The purpose isn't to encourage people to use drugs, but to eliminate the illegal market for them," Kane explained, "Prosecution and severe criminal penalties should still be maintained for the illegal manufacture, distribution for sale and illegal importing of drugs."
Another Vitamin Bust
Jordan Edmondson, an 8-year-old from Loveland, CO, was suspended from his elementary school for giving a chewable vitamin C tablet to a classmate. It is against the school's policy on drugs to have vitamin C at school.
Imprisoned for Grandmother's Ashes
Stacy Dimakakos for DRCNet
On May 28, Michael Anthony Horne filed suit for false imprisonment against the city of San Antonio, Texas. Horne, who could not raise bail money, sat in jail for over a month after San Antonio Police mistook the earthly remains of his deceased grandmother for methamphetamine. While incarcerated, Horne lost his job, his apartment, and his military reserve status.
In July of last year, Horne pulled over to the side of a San Antonio road to take a nap. Officer Michael Katsfey saw Horne asleep in his vehicle and took that as probable cause to conduct what Assistant City Attorney Amy Embanks called a "justified search" of the vehicle. Officer Katsfey arrested Horne upon finding a small bag filled with a grayish powdery substance, despite Horne's pleas that the bag contained only his grandmother's ashes. According to San Antonio police, an initial test of the substance came back positive for methamphetamine.
Horne spent the next month in jail waiting for the results of a second test, which, in fact confirmed Horne's original statements as to the bag's contents.
Assistant City Attorney Embanks told The Week Online that although the initial test was taken nearly a year ago, it is still "too early in the investigation to know why the first test was so inaccurate." She also said that Horne's month in jail was simply the result of the city "trying to exercise federal law" and that "conducting a second test takes up to 2-3 weeks."
PARIS: Alcohol is More Hazardous to your Health than Cannabis
The state medical research institute INSERM, along with other foreign experts, identified alcohol, heroin, and cocaine in the group of substances most dangerous to your health. Tobacco, psycho-tropic drugs, tranquilizers and hallucinogens are in a second group, with cannabis well down the list of substances categorized as posing relatively little danger.
The report, came just a few days after President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin rejected calls to decriminalize soft drugs.
The report said both alcohol and heroin are highly addictive, physically and psychologically, damaging to health, and encourages dangerous social behavior.
Heroin is the most lethal drug as it carries the added hazards of overdose and infection through used syringes.
Alcohol and tobacco were next. It is associated with cancer, hepatitis and cardiovascular ailments. Drunkenness is also seen as a major cause of suicides, murders, traffic and workplace accidents.
But cannabis is seen as having low toxicity, little addictive power, and posing only a minor threat to social behavior.
According to the Tulsa World 6-4-98, Oklahoma Department of Corrections officials is looking at future problems of having inmates who are 60 years and older. Currently about 400 of the 20,000 inmate population are coined as "Codger-Cons," and this number is expected to grow. Dealing with "codger-cons," as well as those who are disabled or infirm, is a serious and growing issue.
Elderly, disabled and infirm inmates currently are scattered among the state's penal institutions. The corrections department spends about $2.2 million a year to transport those in need of medical care to two state-operated health facilities Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman and University Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Corrections officials are proposing the construction of a 380-bed medium/ maximum-security facility as a part of the Joseph Harp Correctional Center at Lexington. The facility, would include; 250 beds for geriatric, disabled and infirm inmates, a 50-bed infirmary for post-operative and other health care problems, and an 80-bed transit unit where inmates from throughout the system could be housed for transport to close by hospitals at Norman and Oklahoma City. The estimated costs are $18.7 million to build and $6.5 million a year to operate.
On June 14, 1998, The Seattle Times ran an article which was authored by Jack Nelson and Ronald J. Ostrow, of the Los Angeles Times stating, the number of federal, state and local officials in federal prisons has grown fivefold over the last four years, increasing from 107 in 1994 to 548 today, (according to the federal Bureau of Prisons). The reason being, more and more police are giving-in to the temptations of huge amounts of cash from illegal drugs.
Although this represents only a small fraction of the nation's law-enforcement officials, the government's "war on drugs," is a problem that is defying unified efforts to stamp it out.
"It's a big problem across the country, in big towns and small towns, and it's not getting any better," said Michael Hoke, superintendent for internal affairs of the Chicago Police Department.
Hoke and police officials of 51 other major cities met in Sun Valley, Idaho, in June, to review a new report, "Misconduct to Corruption," which was compiled by officials from 15 cities with assistance from the FBI.
They found several cases of officers' robbing drug dealers. In Indianapolis, one of two officers charged with murdering a drug dealer during a robbery admitted that they had been robbing drug dealers for four years.
Cities that have experienced major law-enforcement scandals involving illegal drugs include, Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga.
Even smaller communities, especially in the South and Southwest, have experienced drug-related corruption in police or sheriff's departments.
"You can't just look at the numbers" in measuring the effect on the community of "a police officer abusing citizens through corruption," said Neil Gallagher, deputy assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigative division. "Corruption erodes public confidence in government."
California Prison Population Soars
The California State Prison population in January, 1997 was 146,500. Up 21,000 from 1995. The California Department of Corrections consumes about 8.5% of the state budget. In addition to the 146,500 California Department of Corrections prisoners, another 90,000 persons are incarcerated in California in everything from federal prisons and local jails to county camps and juvenile facilities. By contrast, Canadian and Provincial prisons held 33,785 on any given day in 1996, up by a mere 26 prisoners from 1995, the third straight year of non-growth. Prison Legal News