Federal Workers Face Drug Tests

Federal Workers Face Drug Tests
Posted by CN Staff on April 06, 2004 at 22:42:03 PT
By Audrey Hudson, Washington Times
Source: Washington Times 
The federal government will soon use hair, sweat and saliva samples to test whether some 400,000 of its employees are using illegal drugs.   The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) yesterday announced the new rule that becomes effective in 180 days after a public-comment period. However, an agency spokeswoman said the more likely timetable for such testing to begin is next year.
About 400,000 federal workers who carry guns, have security clearance, deal with national security, and even presidential appointees can be subjected to the new testing procedures.   "Hopefully, federal employees found to be using illegal drugs will seek treatment to allow them to attain a healthy life in the community," SAMHSA Director Charles Curie said in a statement. "At the same time, we believe that drug testing provides a powerful deterrent to the destructive and dangerous conditions drug use creates."   The targeted employees are already subjected to random drug testing, tested after workplace accidents, or have shown signs of drug use. In 2000, the latest figure for testing, 106,493 workers from 118 agencies were tested for drugs, with 0.5 percent, or 532 persons, testing positive, SAMHSA spokeswoman Leah Young said.   With government approval for the testing on the horizon, private businesses will be encouraged to adopt similar testing for private-sector employees, said Anthony Oncidi who heads the Los Angeles law office of Proskavert and Rose, which represents business owners.   "It's helpful, because it provides a uniform set of guidelines with regards to hair, saliva and sweat testing that most employers have not used as a means of obtaining samples," Mr. Oncidi said.   These tests would also solve a chain-of-evidence problem — some employees substitute another person's urine for their own. Urine can be bought on the Internet for the specific purpose of foiling a drug test, Mrs. Young said.   Current drug-testing methods are limited to urine samples, but the new rule allows federal agencies to determine which drug-testing method is best-suited and least intrusive.   Numerous products on the market that can beat or alter urine-based drug tests have prompted the change in how tests are conducted.   However, products to counter new testing are already available, including detox shampoos marketed to beat hair drug tests. "Pass any drug test with confidence" promises one Web site. There are no current countermeasures to saliva tests.   The new rules will also determine standards for laboratories conducting the tests.   A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said the three forms of testing have been approved as safe and reliable. Critics of the proposed rule, however, question the effectiveness of the tests and are concerned that innocent workers could be accused of using drugs.   "They are using science that might not work," said Graham Boyd, director of the drug-policy litigation project at the American Civil Liberties Union.   "The big story here is to follow the money. This is a multimillion-dollar business and the companies that make these tests all want in on this," Mr. Boyd said. "I'm sure this is a very happy day for them."   Testing with urine samples runs $20 to $50 a test for the federal government, Mrs. Young said. The new tests will cost more, but officials expect the cost to get cheaper as the tests are more widely available.   One online store hawking drug-test kits sells urine tests for as much as $12, hair tests for $50 and saliva tests for $25.   Urine can be used to test for the presence of marijuana for up to five weeks, cocaine up to four days, opiates (morphine and heroin) up to two days, methamphetamines up to two days, and phencyclidine (PCP or angel dust) and Ecstasy for an undetermined time.   Sweat testing is done with a patch worn on the skin, which Mr. Boyd said can be contaminated by external factors, such as being in the room where marijuana is being smoked.   "It should be validated, proven, and regulated before you turn it loose on the public," Mr. Boyd said. Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Audrey Hudson, Washington TimesPublished: April 07, 2004 Copyright: 2004 News World Communications, Inc. Website: letters  Related Articles & Web Site:ACLU Government To Overhaul Employee Drug Tests Anti-Drug War Proves Effective Drug Testing Archives 
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Comment #34 posted by BigDawg on April 08, 2004 at 04:43:53 PT
Killing a hard drive
My fav geek magazine says that the best way for the layman to prevent personal info from being gleaned from an old hard drive is to place a high powered magnet on the drive for awhile then drill holes thru it before discarding.No doubt the NSA could still get something from it... but if they are after you... the hard drive is prolly the least of your problems ;)
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 16:23:54 PT
Bye Bye! LOL!
kapt I'll do that! 
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Comment #32 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 16:15:22 PT:
Thanks, Jose
The only reason I mentioned the method I suggested is that most people have Windows, and they can make boot disks using the facilities found under Add/Remove Programs/Boot Disk, rather than go out and purchase additional software. I just know that some Guv'mint agencies require a 5-wipe to ensure nothing at all is left. Better to be safe than sorry.But if the machines are as dead as FoM's, then the matter is moot and there's no point in trying. Just pack them off to wherever and wave goodbye.
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Comment #31 posted by jose melendez on April 07, 2004 at 16:02:25 PT
um, kapt?
from:"When you partition and format a drive (using fdisk and format) . . . less than 1% of the blocks on the drive actually get modified. It's trivial to retrieve data from a drive which has been formatted."'Nuff said? There is software out there that will do what you suggest:see:, from:"The only way to effectively hide data on a hard drive is to over-write        it multiple times. With each pass the trace becomes weaker, until        it can no longer be recovered with even the most sophisticated equipment.        Certain government agencies require over-writing seven times, together        with a low-level format, before the drive is considered sterilized.        This same standard should be followed by local law enforcement and        most financial and medical institutions, but usually isn't. "
        the best list I found on disk 'shredders' is here:"Indeed, there is some consensus among researchers         that, for many applications, overwriting a disk with a few         random passes will sufficiently sanitize it. An engineer at         Maxtor, one of the world's largest disk-drive vendors, recently         told us that recovering overwritten data as something akin "to         UFO experiences. I believe that it is probably possible...but         it is not going to be something that is readily available to         anyone outside the National Security Agency.""Of course, a video tape bulk eraser followed by a sledge hammer would probably suffice.Also, if those sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of this United States respected the inviolable rights laid out in THAT document, shredding would only be necessary for those committing REAL crimes.Like taking money from the legal drug industries while making laws that make criminals out of those that choose pot over poison . . .
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 15:07:09 PT
I like that! Thanks!
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Comment #29 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 14:53:47 PT
His heart is realized in more ways than one!
The Wizard of Oz: A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. :-)
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 14:40:06 PT
Oh but Dr. Russo has a big heart! Tinman played by Dr. Russo
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Comment #27 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 14:13:36 PT
The Wizard of Hemp!
Dorothy played by Joe PublicCowardly Lion played by John AshcroftTinman played by Dr. RussoScarecrow played by Scarecrow stuffed with hempDorothy: My Goodness, what a fuss you're making. Well naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you're nothing but a great big coward. Cowardly Lion: [crying] You're right, I am a coward! I haven't any courage at all. I even scare myself. [sobs] Cowardly Lion: Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven't slept in weeks. Tin Woodsman: Why don't you try counting sheep? Cowardly Lion: That doesn't do any good. I'm afraid of them. [sobs loud] Scarecrow: Ah, that's too bad.
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 14:06:04 PT
Thanks kaptinemo
Both of my computers crashed and they are as dead as a door nail. I'll see if we have anywhere to recycle but I don't think so. I can ask my sister and she would know since she is doing volunteer work trying to stop a landfill from coming into her county.
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Comment #25 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 13:54:35 PT:
That's the rub
The problem with junking boxes is that they *do* have some nasty heavy metal components - like cadmium, selenium, gallium, arsenic, etc. and other very poisonous heavy metals. If there are places that do computer recycling nearby, I'd take it to them.THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!DO NOT TRY THE FOLLOWING ON YOUR NEW MACHINE, ONLY THE ONE YOU WANT TO GET RID OF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Friends, any hard drive you have inside of a box you want to get rid of, no matter how old it is, HAS PERSONAL INFORMATION ON IT. If you are sure you are not going to use that machine anymore, then I'd format the drive. Then you could, if you have the install CD, re-install Windows on it before you give it up. Or, if you are not going to give it away but trash it, don't bother putting a new operating system on it - but DO wipe it.If you can, get a Windows 95 or 98 boot disk. Put it in the floppy drive of the old machine you want to get rid of and start the machine with it. Then at the "A:" type FORMAT, hit the space bar, then type "C:" (no quotes on either entries). Hit ENTER and kiss the data goodbye. DO THIS 5 TIMES!!!!!!!!! Nothing recognizable will be left. It will be as if the machine were lobotomized.It's amazing how much downright embarrassing stuff is on some people's machines...
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 13:31:18 PT
Thanks EJ
I guess they will go out in the trash then.
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Comment #23 posted by E_Johnson on April 07, 2004 at 13:19:54 PT
Might be less toxic to trash it than recycle FoM
I'm not sure about whether they use toxic solvents in recycling chips but I read somewhere that the biggest threat to the environment from a computer is in the toxic solvents they use to wash the chips before they go into the computer. 
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 13:10:38 PT
Thanks kaptinemo
My other computer besides me business computer is just a Pentium. Is it safe for the environment to just trash them? I worry about toxic components. I guess I shouldn't worry the dumps are full of toxic waste but I do. I laughed when you said look inside the computer. I'm afraid to look inside my computer. Something might be alive in there! LOL! I'm just kidding.
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Comment #21 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 13:03:32 PT:
A good rule of thumb to follow
Look at the front of the machine. If it just says "Pentium", not Pentium (Roman numeral) II or III, then it is hopelessly outdated and can be junked with good conscience; even the parts are just about useless. The technology has advanced far beyond those days.The ugly fact is that if you bought a 'puter today, in 6 months it would be obsolete. But it's still usable by the standards of someone without anything, or an earlier model.A Pentium II or III can be rehabilitated, as parts can be found that will match most of the components. You can pick up such components at swap meets and garage sales and some 'puter stores that do their own repair work very cheaply (how I do it when I occasionally run out; I rarely buy new parts with so many old machines literally being left at curbside for the trashman).Also, your friendly neighborhood 'puter geek would generally be happy to give away old stuff if only to keep from drowning in circuit boards. You'll find them at various 'puter clubs at local high schools and colleges. All good techies are natural pack rats; it *always* gets used, sooner or later. Linux heads (proudly raising the Tux salute!) are especially famous for this.Good people, I keep telling folks that what I do for a living is not 'rocket science'; it's more like shade-tree mechanics (which I've also done). If you have an old box you are not using, you can open it and see where things fit. Yeah, it's complicated in there, but with patience you see that everything is color coded, connectors only go one way, and cards fit in slots only one way, etc. And there's lots of books that can help; anything that says "A+" is very good, as that's the standard knowledge base now, and most of us geeks (say it with a smile, friend!) have A+ certs.Just use common sense when poking around inside; pull the plug, no magnets inside and no sharp stuff, and you'll be fine. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 11:56:32 PT
I have two computers we want to throw away but I'm not sure if it's good to just send them out with the trash? They both are ancient. One is our old business computer still in black and white but the hard drive was wiped out accidentially by a relative.
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Comment #19 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 11:21:07 PT:
This why I fix obsolete machines and give them
to old folks, families that can't afford them for kid's (you're really effed in school if you don't have a box at home, anymore) and other such unfortunates in my area.They may not be able to afford a new box, but many can afford 25 bucks a month for a dial-up ISP.The more who get online, the fewer who can be bamboozled by corp-rat media.People, if you're upgrading, I'm asking you to wipe your data and find somebody who hasn't got a box, and pass it on. As the subtitle of the old *X-iles* used to say, "The truth is out there." The truth of that is becoming more evident every day; compare what you see on TV with what you read at places like this. I've gotten so sick of the continual insults-to-intelligence that comprise TV news that I hardly watch it anymore. Just enough to see how brazen the lying gets.
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Comment #18 posted by Max Flowers on April 07, 2004 at 10:08:16 PT
westnyc, hang in there
I know exactly how you feel. Whatever you do, don't feel alone in your frustration and anguish because there are in fact millions of us.Things are changing, it's just very strange in that they are changing in two directions simultaneously: they are getting better and getting worse at the same time. How is that possible? It's like a game of tug of war, played with not one rope but many tied together. Eventually though I believe that either good or evil will prevail... I can't see it going on and on like this forever. Even McCarthyism ended eventually. We are making huge strides on several fronts.A major case of complacency had set in, but that is now being awoken from (thanks George!), and it's a slow process because there are so many milions of people in this country. I do feel it building, however. The traditional news outlets are feeling the heat from competing internet delivery from less biased/more truthful sources. This is a major change, on the scale of when CNN and the cable TV revolution occurred. That took a few years to really kick in also. This is taking longer because people have to buy something new (the computer) and learn to use it, rather than just getting cable hooked up and staring slack-jawed at CNN. But it is happening... 
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 09:28:15 PT
I agree with you.
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Comment #16 posted by goneposthole on April 07, 2004 at 09:26:38 PT
drug tests are for drug users
The hapless agents over at the DEA need to sober up.You don't need to test them for drugs, just take the bottles away from them.Seagram's opened a new distillery to supply the agents in the DEA.Drunkeness is permitted, drugs Verboten. 'one whiskey, one scotch and one beer'More toasting going on over there than a warehouse full of Sunbeam toasters.
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Comment #15 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 09:24:45 PT
I don't like Limbaugh anymore than the next guy here. Still, I believe that a person's medical records should be kept private and should never be subjected and utilized by a prosecutor's discretion. Even Rushs'.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 09:13:22 PT
News Brief from The Associated Press
I bet they haven't drug testing Limbaugh. He recovered way to fast.***Appeals Court Hears Limbaugh's Case To Keep Records Sealed By Jill Barton, Associated Press WriterWest Palm Beach, Fla. — Rush Limbaugh's attorney argued Wednesday that the conservative commentator's privacy rights were trampled when investigators went into his doctor's office to seize his medical records for a criminal investigation last year.But Assistant State Attorney Jim Martz said taking the records any other way would have limited law enforcement's ability to investigate whether Limbaugh illegally obtained drugs.Both sides argued before the 4th District Court of Appeals that the Florida Legislature was on their side.Limbaugh attorney Roy Black maintained that investigators should have provided some notice they were going to seize years worth of records containing the most private of information.But Martz said the Legislature has protected law enforcement's ability to conduct criminal investigations.If Limbaugh's appeal succeeds, the criminal case against him could be stalled for good. If the appellate court sides with prosecutors, the ruling could finally open the records to prosecutors who have been waiting for months to pursue their case against Limbaugh.The judges did not say when they would release their ruling.Palm Beach prosecutors allege that Limbaugh illegally went "doctor shopping" to obtain pain pills. The practice refers to visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions of controlled narcotics.April 7, 2004 Copyright 2004 Associated Press
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 07, 2004 at 08:46:39 PT
I wondered that too. Drug testing is a big insult to our rights. I am a very private person and drug testing is invasive.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on April 07, 2004 at 08:34:57 PT
ACLU rhetoric
Why is he quibbling over the efficacy of the testing methods? All my rhetoric would be focussed on the fundamental violation of human dignity and right to privacy.And also the fact that employee drug testing is almost always on staff-level workers and never on managers and executives.Of course Congress should be the first ones to be tested, preferably with an anal probe. Why not get in there and find out EXACTLY what the person's been putting into their bodies?
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Comment #11 posted by mamawillie on April 07, 2004 at 07:58:15 PT
.5% is a justification?
They clearly say in the article that the last round of testing produced a .5% positive rate. That justifies the spending of OUR TAXPAYER MONEY because why??? WHY??? Because they already believe that the numbers are much higher and therefore people MUST be substituting their urine. Guilty before proven innocent, even when the numbers side with the innocents...
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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on April 07, 2004 at 07:58:08 PT:
Where's Mary Jane?
Where's Mary Jane?
Miscellaneous with Pot-TV
Running Time: 2 min 
Date Entered: 05 Apr 2004by Matt Frame
"Marijuana and the media in this masterfully spliced pot-montage aired on ZED."
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Comment #9 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 07:10:52 PT
God bless Air America Radio. Please support them by at least listening because they are our voice!!!
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 06:34:20 PT:
I suggest it's time to read an old book
Sinclair Lewis's classic "It Can't happen Here". In it, an 'anschluss' of Fundamentalist religionists and corporate power takes place, and after the election of it's stooge, begins the dismantling of the Constitution and imprisoning of 'radicals' (meaning anyone who disagrees with the government). Look familiar?Then read Robert Heinlein's "Revolt in 2100AD" to see what will have to be done after 'it' does.Because, my friends, 'it' IS happening here... 
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Comment #7 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 06:22:22 PT
Nope - Different rules for them!
The Supreme Court already ruled (in a Georgia Case I bleieve) that it is unconstitutional to test elected or appointed representatives. This law applies to the slaves and not the masters (who protect us from evil).
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on April 07, 2004 at 06:21:31 PT:
Mr. Sullum said it better than I ever could's dignity is *more* precious? Who has *more* rights than you? The ones who can dodge these tests and say the 'dignity of the office' prevents them from doing as they demand others to do. Evidently, some animals really *are* more 'equal than others'. 
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Comment #5 posted by BigDawg on April 07, 2004 at 05:33:12 PT
I agree with JR Bob Dobbs
If it is a requirement for federal employees to be drug tested... I want the president and congress to go first.They ARE federal employees....
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Comment #4 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on April 07, 2004 at 00:44:47 PT
Let George Do It
Federal drug testing should start from the top. Dubya should pee in a cup and then ask all of Congress to do the same. Make the Supreme Court submit, too. If we have to do it for a job at Burger Bunker, the guy in charge of the "free" world ought to have to do it as well.
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on April 07, 2004 at 00:32:38 PT
Yay Montel, and test pot for Alzheimers of the drugs they're using for Alzheimers seem to help." "In my opinion, in 10 years we'll be embarrassed by how much of this stuff we prescribed," Dr. Finucane said, adding that he thought hundreds of millions of dollars were being wasted on the drugs. But he also said he understood why patients and families wanted them."Alzheimer's disease is a slow-motion disaster," he said. "It's very hard to sit by and watch. There is an overwhelming desire to do something, even if it's to give a useless pill every day.""
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Comment #2 posted by westnyc on April 07, 2004 at 00:28:31 PT
I'm feeling defeated!
I can’t find the words to express how enraged I feel after reading this. I am an American Citizen and I want to know where are my RIGHTS? If you smoke or indulge in anything the Government claims as inappropriate – no more will you be able to provide for yourself or your family. If you take a stand and refuse on a Constitutional ground – it will be considered “Refusal to Test” and therefore positive and you will lose your job and your reputation will be disgraced. For those of you who refuse to work for an employer who tests – just wait until it becomes law that anyone who drives can be hair tested as part of a licensing requirement or simply if required to do so by a police officer at his discretion. Remember, driving is a privilege! I don’t need to tell anyone here - our country has been hijacked by these special interest lobbying groups and I can’t believe that this is really happening. First they take our urine for analysis with no warrant, suspicion – nothing; and, next it is our hair. It seems too surreal to be true because this type of testing is indeed a violation to our Constitutional Rights. THE SUPREME COURT SAYS IT ISN’T – BUT IT IS! What happens when they discover that a partial liver abstraction will yield even more? What’s worse – if you want to earn a living you can’t even partake in Civil Disobedience. These Justices have taken an absolute vow to uphold the Bill of Rights; instead, they are taking away and forcing Americans into coercive behavior modification programming. SICK TRAITOROUS BASTARDS!I am a Patriot, yet I feel totally helpless against this corruption and I want to find a way to protect myself from these profiteers. But what can one do? One can’t ask the Supremes because they were the group who made this all legal in the first place.I am so depressed and angry all the time. I sit and listen to Air America Radio and it does make me feel somewhat better to have Al Frankens and Michael Moores and not just Sean Hannitys’ and Bill O’Reilleys’. Today I was so exhausted from working a fourteen-hour day that I was pulled-over in my car for not using my turn signal by a cop who was actually a very nice cop; and all I felt was an immense resentment for someone who asked me to be more careful so that nobody gets hurt. This isn’t the kind of person that I am; I’ve never been the kind of person who resents someone because they care – even if it is their job to care. I love my country; but, I don’t think I can continue living in a society being watched and scrutinized by cameras, having my spending habits monitored as well as my thoughts on the internet – literally everything I do - by a Government who somehow has convinced so many that this is necessary and for everyone’s betterment, mine included. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 06, 2004 at 23:35:13 PT
Breaking News DPFMI
DPFMI: BREAKING NEWS-- Montel Williams Headed to Motown to Endorse Medical Marijuana Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 Friends, it is with great pleasure I can finally announce that Montel Williams is coming to Detroit on either May 3rd or May 7th, to do a formal press conference/media event to endorse the Detroit Medical Marijuana Initiative and formally kick off the introduction of State Senator Hansen Clarke's statewide medical mj bill in the Michigan Legislature.There is the distinct possibility that this story will go "national" (thats the plan anyway), and could be a key factor in nailing down a win in Detroit in August.Again, a rousing cheer for our friends at MPP in Washington is in order, as they are the primary movers and shakers in this major new development. Will keep you posted as things evolve. Best Regards, Tim Beck, Chairman, Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care First National Building 660 Woodward Ave, Ste 1141 Detroit MI, 48226 (313) 964-0249 Timmichben aol.com
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