Drug Warriors Crusade Against Reform Initiatives

  Drug Warriors Crusade Against Reform Initiatives

Posted by CN Staff on October 24, 2002 at 19:59:57 PT
By Daniel Forbes, AlterNet 
Source: AlterNet 

On drug policy, the voting public has proven ready to lead spaniel-like politicians by the nose, voting for one liberalization measure after another. But government, state and local officials have begun a crusade to scuttle reform initiatives around the nation. Three wealthy drug reform proponents have backed a string of successful state ballot initiatives across the nation. Focusing initially on medical marijuana measures out west, billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis and multi-millionaire John Sperling have won 12 of 13 ballot measures since 1996.
Their handiwork also includes Proposition 36, which mandates treatment rather than prison for low-level drug offenders and was passed overwhelmingly in California in 2000. Other activists have similarly outflanked the officials who lag behind public opinion, and the reform movement as a whole has won 17 of 19 ballot measures -- much to the chagrin of drug warriors. Admitting to considerable surprise in 1996, Clinton drug czar Barry McCaffrey drew a line in the sand, in part by initiating the White House anti-drug media campaign. But all levels of government, from local district attorneys to governors and the new federal drug czar John P. Walters, have refined their counterattack on the drug reform movement. The National Counter-Attack on Drug Reform This year, the California-based Campaign for New Drug Policies, the main agency of the wealthy trio's reform ambitions, consciously set its sights on Republican-dominated states east of the Mississippi. It sought to put to vote Prop. 36-style treatment amendments in Florida, Ohio and Michigan. A cautious CNDP, which typically requires favorable poll ratings exceeding 60 percent before committing its resources to a reform inititative, proceeded with some confidence. But it has since run into a Republican-led buzzsaw (not that Democrats necessarily embrace reform more warmly), and only the Ohio measure ran the full gauntlet to make it to the ballot. In Ohio, the measure is becoming a victim of outrageous ballot language promulgated by a Republican-led elections board. Its popularity is sinking badly in the polls, currently losing by 20 points. The loaded ballot language is part of the orchestrated, improper and possibly illegal months-long anti-initiative campaign being orchestrated by Ohio Governor Bob Taft. The Ohio effort has been so cutthroat and effective, CNDP political director Dave Fratello admitted, "If we lose, it's a road map to show how to beat us in subsequent states like Michigan and Florida." Elsewhere, federal and state judges have stymied reform, in some cases by simply refusing to issue timely rulings. A Michigan appeals court blatantly let the clock run out on a Detroit medical marijuana measure, deigning to hold a hearing only long after the deadline for printing ballots had passed. In Florida, the state Supreme Court delayed holding a hearing for so long that the CNDP has decided not to gather any more signatures; it has 300,000 valid signatures in the bank should it return to the fray in 2004. And in Washington, D.C., a medical marijuana effort was shot down when a federal appeals court tossed out a lower court ruling that stated, "There can be no doubt that the Barr Amendment restricts plaintiffs' First Amendment right to engage in political speech." The reference is to the rider -- introduced by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) -- now automatically attached to the federal D.C. appropriations bills that prevents Washington from spending a single dollar to enact any reduction of marijuana penalties. Alexei Silverman, an associate with Covington & Burling who worked on the case on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project, said the appeals court basically avoided the First Amendment issues and agreed with the feds' assertions that the mechanical act of voting is part of the legislative process, not exercising the right to speech. Barr applauded the ruling, "which recognized the right and responsibility of Congress to protect citizens from dangerous, mind-altering narcotics." Going solo, Peter Lewis has boosted the funding of a dynamic, cheeky upstart, the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which in years past has pursued reform largely in state legislatures. Now, in its first electoral battle (apart from its support for the disqualified D.C. effort), MPP has spent $1.7 million shooting for the moon in Nevada. It managed to qualify in an audaciously short time a perhaps quixotic effort to legalize the possession of up to three ounces of pot. Even if it passes this year and again in 2004 as Nevada requires, the measure calls for the state to establish legal distribution channels. And, no matter what statements drug czar John Walters may have made in Nevada regarding federal respect for states' rights, the feds aren't going to let that happen. This is the same administration that's been busting medical dispensaries this fall all over California, typically targeting the ones most above-board and publicly strident in asserting their rights. Meanwhile in Arizona, John Sperling has backed a decriminalization measure, Proposition 203. It states that personal-use possession of marijuana will be punishable by a $250 civil fine. It also eliminates mandatory minimum drug sentencing and requires parole for possession of any drug unless the individual is a danger to the public. And it increases sentences for violent crimes committed under the influence of drugs. Sporting its own bit of distribution audacity, it would sidestep Arizona doctors' timorous refusal to write marijuana prescriptions by directing state police to distribute seized marijuana free of charge to certified patients. Seeking, it would seem, to sow confusion among voters, Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley -- who touted his candidacy for drug czar following President Bush's selection -- got the curiously numbered Proposition 302 on the ballot. With no real money or much public support, he turned to the legislature to put it on the ballot; the numbering mirroring Sperling's measure may be its greatest asset. If passed, it allows for the option of incarceration rather than 203's mandatory parole for simple possession. And it allows for jailing addicts who fail in treatment. If both measures pass, whichever has more votes goes into effect. Arizona, Nevada and Ohio, the main remaining battlegrounds, have all been graced by Walters' campaign appearances, who was in Nevada twice. A member of Bush's cabinet, he rails against the initiatives while dismissing criticism about publicly funded federal interference in state elections. What's more, the federal government has worked overtime issuing reports demonizing drugs, particularly marijuana. This September, the White House launched a new, taxpayer-funded ad campaign that maintains smoking pot leads to either the slaughter of innocent bystanders or, in a second ad, mere crippling for life. Though Walters told Congress in May such ads don't keep kids from drugs, they do poison the well for drug reform. "There's a certain irony in all this that the state and federal governments have learned how to beat back democracy," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation. Changing Ballot Language In Ohio Turning to specifics, though several states vie for the crown of most unabashed electioneering, Ohio trumps all comers. A concerted effort by Governor Taft, the federal government and private activists to defeat the treatment/not jail initiative in Ohio bore only mixed results: until recently, polls favored the measure. But it may be defeated by a single wordy paragraph - the crucial summary at the top of the ballot, all that many voters read - that's promulgated by the Republican-controlled Ohio Ballot Board, led by Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican. This ballot summary emphasizes the measure's $247 million seven-year cost, and it discusses the sealing of offenders' records and the 90-day maximum sentences. The state-approved summary doesn't mention the likely overall savings, nor indicate that drug dealers or violent criminals are excluded. In fact, said Fratello, until threatened with a lawsuit, the ballot board wanted to obscure even the fact that the $247 million stretched over seven years. "It's clear they're trying to skew the ballot language," he charged. "There's no talk in the summary of treatment, job training, court monitoring or jail if they fail. They just focus on the dismissal of charges, a prison limit of 90 days and especially the $247 million. That could be the whole ball of wax." In late August, the official summary then unavailable, the Columbus Dispatch found the proposal favored by 43 percent to 37 percent. Using the summary, in mid-September, the Cleveland Plain Dealer found 55 percent opposed, and only 30 percent in favor. Rather than read a long explanation, the paper asserted that, "Most voters are expected to read a one-paragraph preamble, which includes elements that appear to favor the 'no' side." An anti-initiative spokesperson admitted that the ballot language was a main cause of the steep slide in support. A subsequent Dispatch poll using the summary found 51 percent against, 31 percent in favor. The paper noted, "The specific ballot language and forceful opposition from Gov. Bob Taft and a number of statewide organizations apparently made a big difference with Ohioans." It added that the ballot language "does not detail any potential savings accrued because treatment costs about one-sixth the cost of incarceration." The Ohio CNDP asserts that, even including the cost of treatment ($3,500 a year, rather than prison's $22,000), the measure would save the state $21 million annually. In far-bigger California, according to a study sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Prop. 36 saves the state $40 million annually. CNDP's backers spent some $1 million gathering nearly 800,000 signatures to qualify for the Ohio ballot. Given the polling, the three wealthy backers gave serious consideration to cutting their losses by skipping any big, last-minute ad buy, which have been key to CNDP's many successes. But feeling that voters who understood the measure supported it, one source said, "There'll be a solid two weeks' full-court press." This source estimates that would entail $500,000 or more of television ad time pushing the measure. The ballot summary is perhaps just the last fatal blow of a concerted effort by Taft and his administration to subvert Ohio's electoral process. Details have emerged in the Ohio press as well as in my report published by the Washington think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. Taft, his wife, his chief of staff, two Ohio 'cabinet' members and numerous other officials conceived and directed an anti-initiative campaign at taxpayer expense. They were aided by Mary Ann Solberg, the nominee for the position of Office of National Drug Control Policy's deputy director, as well as a senior U.S. Senate staffer (who hosted a stategy session in the U.S. Capitol building itself), the drug czars of Florida and Michigan and a senior DEA agent. Betty Sembler, a controversial private treatment maven who is married to the former finance chair of the Republican National Committee, also participated, as did four top executives from the supposedly apolitical Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The PDFA ended up producing no ads for the Taft effort, but documents indicate its overt willingness to help with ads touting Ohio's current policies. The Taft effort involved hundreds of hours of state-paid staff time, including weekly strategy sessions, some in the governor's residence. State funds paid for out of town trips and overnight lodging, and at one point Ohio officials even proposed diverting U.S. Dept. of Justice crime-fighting grants to fund polling, focus groups and advertising. The documents detailing all these expenses cover only 2001. Since then, terming the initiative "seductive, deceptive and dangerous," Taft sent out on his letterhead a plea for donations ranging up to $25,000 to defeat it. For his part, John Walters took his show to Columbus in mid-October to blast the treatment initiative, saying "It will weaken the tools that the courts have to help get people into treatment." The Toledo Blade quoted him saying it would also "weaken the ability of society to use 'compassionate coercion' to help nonviolent drug offenders." Walters Takes On Nevada  Walters was relatively restrained in Ohio compared to his pronouncements during two trips to Nevada. In July he warned the state against becoming a "center for drug tourism." And he said the initiative would "feed the criminal organizations that are a dangerous threat to democratic institutions in the Western Hemisphere." During his mid-October visit, employing a bit of mangled syntax almost worthy of his boss, he said, "By stimulating the use of drugs, we make all other institutions of society more difficult to carry out." And he was quoted in the Reno Gazette-Journal as saying, "More crimes are stimulated by people under the influence of drugs, who become more violent, dangerous and paranoid." Walters recognizes the impropriety of what he's doing. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal "his office 'would not spend money or dedicate any resources' " to fighting the measure. Does that mean private funds pay his and his security detail's travel expenses? On a trip this week to Chicago, he told The Chicago Tribune that he campaigns against the initiatives only "reluctantly." But after being "contacted repeatedly," by prevention professionals, he agreed to appear. But, he said, "I certainly understand the dangers of federal officials, a White House official, coming to a state and talking about a state ballot issue. We didn't use to do this." With a flair for irony, he added, "There's a kind of reefer madness-madness going on here." Remarkably enough, given the DEA hammer raining down in California, Walters also told the Reivew-Journal, "People have the right to make their own decisions. I don't believe you'd see federal officials coming into Nevada to enforce possession laws." But his own ONDCP spokesman, Tom Riley, stated this August that the feds "would not allow the state to tax and sell marijuana. The sale of marijuana is a violation of federal law, and there is nothing that a state referendum can do to change that." Walters might want to coordinate with the DEA before floating his hands-off claims. A DEA spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, "We will respond to this in a way similar to the approach used for the cannabis buyers clubs in California. This is still against federal law." Officials might also want to get on the same page regarding the amount of pot involved. Nevada cops blast the initiative's three ounces as a his amount that would produce 250 joints. But still in soft-sell mode, Walters told NPR back in August that the amount is "quite small. Usually, there's no federal enforcement of possession amounts at that level, especially for marijuana." Speaking in Reno, however, Walters also used the '250 joints' estimate. Similarly, when he visited Tucson and Phoenix on October 9th to voice his opposition to the Arizona measure, joined by both major-party gubernatorial candidates, Walters told a group of elementary students and senior citizens that the Arizona measure is "a stupid, insulting con," according to The Arizona Republic. Local Nevada law enforcement officials have also been working overtime to oppose legalization. And a highly partisan state board of health hearing in early October featured not one proponents' testimony. Not surprisingly, the board voted unanimously against the measure. At that hearing, the then spokesman for the opposition, Clark County Deputy DA Gary Booker, alleged that George Soros backed drug cartels in South America, and that he'd contributed to MPP. According to the Review-Journal, Booker based his accusation on the say-so of Democratic gubernatorial candidate, state senator Joe Neal, who had lifted it from a publication owned by Lyndon LaRouche. Soros has not been linked to drug cartels and has not supported MPP's effort in Nevada. As to public officials' opposition in general, the initiative's campaign manager, Billy Rogers said, "We haven't made a big issue out of it. They can get away with it, so they do it. Part of it is the arrogance of power, but there's not a lot we can do to stop them. An old hand in politics once told me: figure out what reality is in a campaign and deal with it." Rogers said over the summer he tried to raise questions about the sheriff department's politicking using marijuana obtained from the official evidence vault, but it didn't faze them, and the media wasn't interested. "There's a good old boy network, and they do what they damn well please," he said. Rogers probably won't achieve much more traction with his complaints about the opposition including Las Vegas police department letterhead on a press release or the fact that Booker's replacement as spokesperson is also the police department's spokesperson. (The letterhead didn't appear on a subsequent release.) Last week, Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa came out against legalization, hypothesizing about potential large-scale civil liabilities if smokers of state-distributed marijuana subsequently got cancer. Rogers blasted the notion, noting that sellers of cigarettes and alcohol incur no liability. Michigan Loses Out  The anti-initiative effort in Michigan did not achieve the rarefied heights of official state support it enjoys in Ohio, while the campaign has centered on local district attorneys. One highlight was a meeting at Detroit DEA headquarters in late August where White House deputy drug czar Mary Ann Solberg addressed some four-dozen judges, sheriffs, prosecutors, state police, DEA agents, the drug czar of Michigan and private drug policy professionals from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia. According to the formal invitation, printed on DEA/U.S. Dept of Justice letterhead, participants were to: "share their ideas and strategies and possibly combine resouces in combating drug legalization proposals." (Opponents invariably refer to treatment rather than jail initiatives as 'legalization.') The meeting also intended to "provide presentations on how the DEA can assist state leaders in this battle." Solberg lectured these high-powered individuals on the Bush Administration's new anti-marijuana TV advertising. Judge Brian W. MacKenzie, a Michigan district judge, said Solberg "talked of the federal government's new initiative with regard to marijuana." He said she described it as a new nationwide ad campaign geared to educate the public about marijuana's dangers, and that it was Solberg's main focus. In fact, MacKenzie added, one attendee asked her about the possibility of the new ad campaign targeting or emphasizing Michigan and Ohio, but she replied that wasn't possible.. Detroit's own Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) disseminated the basic details of the DEA's late-August confab following his letter to DEA Director Asa Hutchinson demanding an investigation of "possible misuse of federal funds without proper authorization by Congress and in contravention of existing law. Replying, Hutchinson referred to the DEA "educat[ing] the public about the dangers of drugs." He stated that the meeting was called to evaluate the initiatives' impact and to "carefully consider how we should respond." For her part, Solberg, who advised President Clinton on the disbursement of federal anti-drug funds and has served on the board of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, launched her opposition to the Michigan and Ohio treatment initiatives long before this August meeting. Upon her July, 2001 nomination to the ONDCP deputy directorship, she received an e-mail from Ohio First Lady Hope Taft requesting assistance. Solberg referred Taft to Michigan's drug czar, Craig Yaldoo, rather than a private individual more suited to run a political campaign. She wrote: "I met with Craig last week, and he is very interested in taking up the fight and appears to be on top of the Soros people and their movements in Michigan. I suggested he form a partnership with you to fight the prop[osition]. Solberg herself worked to form the Michigan anti-initiative Committee To Protect our Kids. James Halushka, an Oakland County Deputy Prosecutor, told me she was the committee's "godmother." He added, "The spark came from Mary Ann - no question." That spark flared months after President Bush publicly nominated her to her post. As to Solberg's current involvement, Halushka said, "She has continued to be of help. She has continued to help with connections to people and data." Michigan's powerhouse Republican governor, John Engler, did his part, as well. This summer he vetoed $845 million in state revenue-sharing funds headed to local governments. He publicly promised to restore the crucial funding if voters rejected the treatment measure along with two other initiatives he decried as fiscally unsound. The Michigan legislature over-rode his veto, thrashing him with a combined vote of 141 to 2. As of now, the DEA need host no further meetings on the Michigan initiative. Due to CNDP's lawyers' mind-boggling mistake in misnumbering the petition, it was disqualified.  The Neverending Campaign Opponents slam wealthy reform backers for bamboozling the public with slick advertising. True, the rich trio and others can spend a couple of million bucks in a single state. But that pales before the taxpayers' own $150 million and more a year. Take the White House's national ad campaign which is clearly aimed at defeating the various initiatives. In one ad, the protagonist buys some pot. As events inevitably unfold in the ONDCP world view, the ad describes the chain of distribution, ending with: "And this is the family that was lined up by Dan's cartel and shot for getting in the way." Boston University School of Public Health professor William De Jong consulted with a White House contractor on the media campaign's initial design. Interpreting Solberg's remarks, he said, "Their true motivation is being revealed: to influence referenda, though they will claim otherwise." De Jong added, "They're trying to use the campaign to present information that might influence the outcome of voter referenda." Dr. David Duncan, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University, helped design a study of the ads' efficacy for an ONDCP consultant. His interpretation: "It's pretty obvious they are hoping the ads will shade people's opinions on drugs in general, and that that will spill over to their views on the initiatives." According to, various anti-marijuana ads will occupy $60 million worth of advertising between this September and January, 2003. It's all part of a second five-year media campaign that Congress authorized this year at $762 million despite Walters' admission it did not actually lower teen drug use. With the media required to sell its time and space to ONDCP on a two-for-one basis, after expenses, there'll be approximately $1.3 billion of anti-drug advertising over the next five years. Half will likely be directed at adult voters, and all of it will tend, however indirectly, to poison the drug-reform well. As I disclosed on Salon in July, 2000, the initial five-year media campaign was engendered at a meeting Barry McCaffrey convened in Washington nine days after the 1996 passage of the first two medical marijuana initiatives. Some forty officials and private sector executives met to discuss the use of taxpayer-funded messages to thwart other potential initiatives. They included two White House officials, the head of the DEA, representatives of the FBI, Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Treasury and Education, along with state law enforcement personnel and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. One private participant was quoted in the meeting's minutes as saying, "We'll work with Arizona and California to undo it and stop the spread of legalization to the other 48 states." Daniel Forbes -- ddanforbes -- writes on social policy. His recent report on state and federal political malfeasance geared to defeat treatment rather than incarceration ballot initiatives was published by the Institute for Policy Studies.See: Much of his work, including his series in Salon that led to his testimony before both the Senate and the House, is archived at The Media Awareness Project. -- AlterNetAuthor: Daniel Forbes, AlterNetPublished: October 24, 2002Copyright: 2002 Independent Media InstituteContact: info Website: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Policy Project Drug Treatment Initiativehttp://www.ohiodrugreform.orgMarijuana Questions Also on Ballot Elsewhere Czar Blasts Treatment Option Voters Support Marijuana Measure, Poll Shows Inside The White House Drug Office Tangle

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Comment #28 posted by FoM on October 28, 2002 at 09:42:58 PT

Way to go on winning the race! I understand about highs and lows. We could sure share some good horses stories I bet. I've loved horses since I was very young like 4. Once it's in your blood you can't get it out. I avoid horse stuff now because it makes me feel sad and I keep my focus on what I do here on C News. 
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Comment #27 posted by CongressmanSuet on October 27, 2002 at 17:13:20 PT:

Down, but not completely out...

 of the horse business, heck, we just won a race last Sunday! Its hard to get that kind of thrill out of your blood, its an incredible high-incredible low kinda thing. I always liked the people in Ohio,though you would be amazed how many times I heard people from Ohio called "Ohio 'ssholes' by the people in WV, probably just jealousy because most people in Ohio can read and write, I guess. Thanks for the link, my wife was all over it! That horse that was killed at night, kinda gives me the willies, it reminds me of that Chupac or something monster that is supposed to maul livestock. But I never had to worry about anything like that, my horses were all in the barn eating by darkness no matter how nice the weather was. Gotta remember, racehorses are kinda special, actually for all thier racing heart, they can be very chicken when it comes to strange animals and noises, and I would never take a chance of leaving one out overnight. Maybe Im too protective, but in all that time I only had 1 field related injury, musta been doing something right.
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on October 26, 2002 at 20:03:39 PT

Am I understanding you right when you say you are out of the horse business? If so I know how hard that is. I still own 2 horses. They are mine on paper. They've been with a good friend far from here since the mid 90s. Why not move back to Ohio instead of WV? Here's a nice hospital that your wife might look to see about a job. At least show her this link. You asked if I would be happy without the Internet out here. Sure. I love the country. We have lived here since 79 and never wanted to move because we built this little house the way we wanted it. It took many years. I can't handle cities. I just get frazzled when there is too much going on at one time. E mail me if you want too.
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Comment #25 posted by CongressmanSuet on October 26, 2002 at 19:06:51 PT:

FoM, never would I try to out do you...
 But the IGA store in the town 23 miles from my former residence filed for banckruptcy a fews years back and sold all thier fixtures, etc. The best thing I did for our[my incredible wife, who is in full time nursing school now]mental health was move back to civilisaton. I will forever miss my farm, 160 acres of untouched beauty, split rail paddocks I put up myself for my horses, a 4 stall barn with a really useless office, a treadmill for the days I couldnt excersize my horses because my homemade track washed out, a 105 year old Victorian farmhouse, that while needing renovations[ I spent my last 80,000 trying to make a go of it]was my family homestead for all those years, but the economic realities started to really set in after almost 7 years trying to make it economically feasible. My poor wife worked at a telemarketer for 3 years because it was the ONLY job available anywhere. So, now Im back in NY, where a convience store pays 8 bucks an hour. Im very envious of you FoM, for making it work, country living, while at times intellectualy stifling[what if there was no internet, would you be as happy as you are today? Something to think about] is really the best in so many ways, the self reliance it teaches is incredible, but we did not get a warm reception, being "Yankees" and that didnt help us in the transition. I miss my farm, and after getting out of the horse business once and for all[my health is total *hit] we are actually considering moving back to a more populous area in WV and trying again. With my Disability and my wifes nursing pay, we just might make it this time. Sorry to bore so many of you, but by venting alittle I just got a dose of therapy worth more than 100 bucks an hour, thanks...
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 23:37:06 PT

I thought of one more thing I wanted to mention. A family not but a few miles from here had a horse attacked and killed by something. Never figured out what killed the mare. I don't go out walking at night. 
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 23:20:28 PT

We live between 100 and 200 miles from those big cities. Our local IGA Grocery store which is over 10 miles from here has a hitching post for the horses. Now I'll tell ya! I'm rural! I'll stick with the satellite channels. I get the best of both worlds. The busy LA and New York news and still can be in no man's land where all we have are animals. Maybe even bears. Found a bear in a tree in center city Zanesville and that sure isn't rural but it isn't very far.
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Comment #22 posted by CongressmanSuet on October 25, 2002 at 23:11:40 PT

Fom, I realise you...
 Probably arent too far from a big town[Cleveland,raced there MANY times] Columbus[trained there for 2 winters, bleech] Cinncinati, etc...but you really arent missing anything by not being able to get them. I have found in my travels thru the South[with, dont forget a nice stint in WV, 23 miles from the nearest food store, plenty of game checking stations in between though, local news is really worthless when it comes to anything that is really newsworthy. One more report about how the kids at the middle school, you know the Stonewall Jackson Middle School, attendance 371 were getting 4 new computers by a donation from the Elk's club, or my favorite, where a nice big fat[no offense to anyone over weight, hey Im 60% bald, feel better?] cop does his "15" seconds of fame and anounces that there has been a major drug bust in the area, which believe it or not, last one I saw the cop said that approximately 10-15 dollars of Marijuana was found at a residence, and because at the same residence there were a number of plastic baggies found in the kitchen, police were considering trafficking charges, and proudly said a major dent had been tken out of the drug dealers with the bust. Now in WV under an oz gets you 6months probation and a fine, but because of the baggies felony charges would be filed. Forget local news FoM, you have enough on you plate....
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 11:04:17 PT

Daughter and Wife Killed Too
They all died they just said on CNN.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 11:02:03 PT

A Few Articles About Sen. Paul Wellstone 
They just said on CNN it doesn't appear there are any survivors. We lost a good man.Fighting The Drug War from The Treatment Front: Discovered Before Visit of Senator: Heads to Colombia to Question Drug:
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 10:52:20 PT

Breaking News - Sen. Paul Wellstone 
BREAKING NEWS Sen. Paul Wellstone listed as passenger on plane that has crashed with fatalities in Minnesota, sources tell CNN. Details to come. Drug War Spraying Colombia To Death:
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Comment #18 posted by DdC on October 25, 2002 at 10:47:51 PT

As for the Separatist...
There is no such thing as medicinal marijuana!There is only cannabis. It can be used medicinally.And Cannabis that can be used Industrially and Recreationally. Including the recreation of religion.Legalize Cannabis, period, and medical and hemp cannabis get legalized by default. The sham of separating "medicinal marijuana and hemp" is why the Fascist keep side tracking the issue and maintaining their profits. Many political groups practice fascism and expect the powers that be to legalize out of compassion? What saps. Those I helped get patients cannabis in the 70's didn't mind my toking when their ass was on the line. Now they think they can separate this gift plant into three sections and then whine about those who are hurting their causes? Well people have been toking it longer in this country for recreational purposes, without injury. At least since the 60's, and also turning on the first AIDs patients in the late 70's! When the Rayguns Democrats sold us all out. And the Nazi sheople voting in Bush Jr. Get the F*** Over It! Fascist prohibition is about profits on prohibition and has nothing to do with the propaganda dangers of toking. Maybe the "stoners" should let the medical and hemp separatist fend for themselves...A house divided I know my patients will get it, to hell with the rest. I probably have more "hippie" friends making a decent living on prohibitions cannabis prices. Why even bother trying to legalize? For naive sick fascist to exploit for themselves? Patoooy! Almost seems like the medicinal and hemp movements would rather work for than Freedom. Well lets see how many "stoner" hippie caregivers get the yuppie's their "medicine" How many hemp sales come from old hippies? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Marijuana is a derogitory term and has no business in medical or legislative papers. It perpetuates the stigma Hearst put on it for business reasons, nothing else. Stigma still thrust upon tokers undeservingly. Let alone by those who know better. Every damn day some act of tyranny and oppression takes place and some still think its about the dangers of toking? That we should kiss Wally's ass and submit to settling for the white powders and booze in hopes that some day (after more test of coarse), they might grant us permission to use a plant? To avoid the dangers of giving up greed and becoming a Naturist Hippie! Enough Hypocrites! One Plant One Planet!Peace, Love and Libwerty or the Fascist herding the Gullable Sheople. Legalize NOT Compromise! Deceptions Qaeda! Wally Elkhorn Manifesto Shadow of the Swastika..."Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there." - William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937. Continued... is happening to the cannabis movement, not De Je Vu, Just Stupidity and Greed repeated!"No class or group or party in Germany could escape its share of responsibility for the abandonment of the democratic Republic and the advent of Adolf Hitler. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it. ....the 63% of the German people who expressed their opposition to Hitler were much too divided and shortsighted to combine against a common danger which they must have known would overwhelm them unless they united, HOWEVER TEMPORARY, to stamp it out."
-William L. Shirer,
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Comment #17 posted by DdC on October 25, 2002 at 10:14:03 PT

Hey Dana 
I started Kindergarden in 58 ¶8)The Stones Show I saw in Cleveland was in 72...
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Comment #16 posted by schmeff on October 25, 2002 at 10:10:48 PT

The whole freakin' system is corrupt
There comes a time when the game is so rigged that it is no longer possible to change the game by playing within the rules. That point, I believe, has long since passed.We are all aware of the "add-on" charges that often accompany a drug-related charge: Getting caught with green plants is bad enough, but get caught with green plants within 1,000 feet of a school, and you may be approaching death-penalty status.A new twist on the twisted Drug War was revealed in my local paper The Columbian (Vancouver, WA) this morning. A man was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for operating a meth lab. An extra 2 years was imposed because the lab was within 1,000 feet of a school bus-stop!Think of it. There is no Drug War escalation too extreme for the zealous prohibitionist. Continue the trend, and soon they'll smugly throw the book at some poor unconnected non-Republican for possessing drugs withing 1,000 feet of a school child. "It's all for the childruuun." While we're at it, let's increase the penalties if the perp is within 1,000 feet of any school of cooking, Tai Kwon Do or dance. Eventually it should be sufficient reason for life-without-parole if the person in possession of drugs USED TO BE a schoolchild.This War on Drugs is realy a war against freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and self determination. Wake up and smell the hypocrisy, folks.
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Comment #15 posted by Nuevo Mexican on October 25, 2002 at 09:25:58 PT

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is from OHIO!
He was the boy mayor of Cleveland at age 23! I met him last week at his speech detailing the lies put forth by shrub! He recently penned 'A Prayer for America'. Awesome! This man will be President one day, as he has the vision the world needs to become a place of peace and harmony. You are so fortunate FOM to have such a treasure! I hope you are aware of this man and his incredible gift. I hope everybody at C-News attends a local protest against bushes War in Iraq on Saturday, as millions will march around the world, especially in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, with a March on Rumsfelds House in El Prado, New Mexico by thousands of 'New Mexicans' and Rocky Mountaineers! The Mayor of Taos, Fred Peralta, will redeclare Taos and Global Peace Zone, and speak to the rally of thousands expected to show up at the Bareiss Gallery at 'the old Blinking light' Hwy. 150 and Hwy.68 Saturday at 1:30pm. Organized by A.C.T. (Action Coalition of Taos) at 1-505-776-2651'Prayer for America'
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 09:16:58 PT

Example of Forfeiture Laws
Nevada Police get $360,000 More from Marijuana Bust
 LAS VEGAS, NV, October 25News 4 Local News: big drug bust has netted Nevada law enforcement groups another $360,000. Drug Enforcement Administration officials are splitting proceeds from the sale of some California property seized from Brian Degen in a marijuana trafficking case. The money will go to state and local police in Nevada and California. The DEA has shared a total of 4.1 million dollars so far in the case, US versus Mancuso. The money comes from the assets forfeited by Degan, Ciro Mancuso, and 16 other leaders of a marijuana trafficking ring that spanned seven states and 14 countries. DEA officials say the group imported and distributed over 60,000 kilograms of marijuana from the early 1970s until 1993. Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 25, 2002 at 09:00:38 PT

medicinal toker 
You are so very right. I wonder how all this happened. When I got my computer in the fall of 96 it was right after prop 215 passed. I didn't know how to find anything on line. It took me a long time to find web sites that could help me understand but I finally did. All these wasted years really bothers me. Maybe because I am doing news everyday and I appreciate the value of efficiency. Drug treatment is good but medical marijuana should have been legalized before hard drug issues were thought about. I don't buck people who are our leaders because I trust they have a reason for what they do but I still don't understand.BGreen, Forfeiture laws are what fuel drug warriors. If a person doesn't do drugs or has never done drugs spending money and buying things becomes their drug. Money is the worst drug and if we could break that chain even drug warriors would realize that approaching drug users in a different light wouldn't be hard. Money won't let them. They referred to the sniper as a gentleman but we are called drug addicts at the worst name and pot heads on the lighter side. Do they take a snipers home? NO.
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Comment #12 posted by p4me on October 25, 2002 at 08:44:53 PT

Steve Tuck subject of pot-tv and
Most importantly I want to commend the informational tone of fact presented in this article. This is an example of what journalism should be and tells it like it is. This article is as good as any and better than most. I don't see how you could cover the issue any better than this and I will add it to my best marijuana articles ever. This article is not superficial and it has the candor that is missing in almost all cannabis articles presented at Cnews.
The next thing I will do is send my compliments for an honest and informative article to AlterNet.Richard Cowan made Steve Tuck and the upcoming trials in Canada the subject of his 10/22 commentary at this link: Cowan was also on audio at todays pot-tv where he talked about the showdown coming in the Canadian courts where truth meets wishful thinking on the part of the prohibitionist. He said he would start an effort to collect funds for Steve Tuck's defence, that nothing would happen to Tuck for at least a year, and that the case will be decided on the merits and not across the border persecution and pressure. When they examine the records and conclude Steve Tuck cannot survive without cannabis, then Canadian law will not permit him to be sent back to the US where his supply of cannabis would be denied and he would die.I found a quote from George Washington's recorded at this link:"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." - George Washington, "Farewell Address to the People of the United States," September, 17961
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Comment #10 posted by medicinal toker on October 25, 2002 at 08:17:48 PT

Focus lost
"Focusing initially on medical marijuana measures out west, billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis and multi-millionaire John Sperling have won 12 of 13 ballot measures since 1996."IMHO, they should have continued to fund state mmj initiatives until so many had passed the feds had to give in. A major tactical error that has prolonged and exacerbated patients' suffering.
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on October 25, 2002 at 04:55:39 PT

How can we NOT care about our own backyard?As far as forfeiture, there is no other "crime" than drugs that gets your house and property seized. Some places seize your CAR for soliciting a prostitute, repeated drunk driving or unpaid tickets, but even the worst thieves keep their stuff.It is STEALING, but if the gov't thinks it has the right to take a life, I guess it's not too farfetched that they think they can take our stuff.Murder, Lies and Thievery ... Brought to you courtesy of the Government of the Red, White and Blue.
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Comment #8 posted by DANA on October 25, 2002 at 01:02:32 PT

The Youngbloods...The James Gang...
...DdC.....let me guess,,,,you were born in 1958.?,,or '59'?
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Comment #7 posted by DdC on October 25, 2002 at 00:05:03 PT

Cleveland + -
As a born and bred Pittsburgh suburbinite Steeler fan I've had a genetic alteration to automatically hate the Browns.But I've seen some of the best concerts in Cleveland...The Stones were, the Stones, what else is there to say, and a Crosby Stills Nash and Young show with Santana, Joe Walsh and Jessie Collin Young and ??? I forget...I think maybe someone spiked the sunshine with kool aid?Since Pa. had a 21 year drinking age Aurora's/Geneva on the Lake clubs serving at 18 got many a paycheck from me. Rock and Roll, Iron City, good cheap buds, chicks and chocolate mesc...¶8) GOHIO!
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Comment #6 posted by knox42897 on October 24, 2002 at 23:39:02 PT:

If you were thinking about donating to the Marijuana Policy Project's
ballot initiative campaign in Nevada, would you please visit right away? There are only 12 days left until
November 5. And you're not going to believe how close the vote is
so far ...The latest statewide poll of 600 Nevada voters -- completed on Tuesday
night -- shows that our ballot initiative is still trailing by a mere
44% to 46%, with 10% undecided. We have been 2% down since the polls
opened statewide on Saturday.Since Saturday, approximately 7,000 voters in the Las Vegas area have
been voting daily. (The county government issues daily reports on how
many people are voting, but not how they are voting.)With every day that passes, about 3,430 votes are falling into the
"yes" column in Las Vegas, and about 3,570 votes are falling into the
"no" column. The same trend is true on a smaller scale in Reno and the
rural counties.With every day that passes, we fall another 140 votes behind in Las
Vegas -- and a total of about 200 votes behind statewide. As of last
night, the cumulative voting from Saturday through Wednesday probably
puts us a total of 1,000 votes down statewide, out of about 50,000
votes cast.The good news is that we are still hanging on by our fingernails in
this bold campaign to end the arrest of all adult marijuana users in
Nevada. When we launched this campaign back in April, who would have
thought that we could defeat the federal government and the Nevada
police on this issue?But there is bad news, too. Our opponents are sitting on $100,000 of
the $200,000 they have raised for their TV ad campaign. They are going
to use their remaining $100,000 to blitz the Nevada electorate with
deceptive TV ads next week, and they need only maintain their 2%
margin over us during these last 12 days to defeat us.Our strategy, in the meantime, is to make up the 2% deficit and take
the lead by November 4, because literally half of the Nevada
electorate votes on November 5. Quite simply, we can do this if we
outspend our opponents two-to-one on TV next week. I reported to you
on Monday that our campaign needs to raise $100,000 from you and other
supporters this week. The $100,000 worth of TV ads we had already
reserved for next week, plus a new $100,000 from this e-mail list this
week, will mean that our TV ad blitz will double our opponents' blitz
next week, taking us to victory on November 5.Since Monday, our e-mail list and the Libertarian Party's e-mail list
have generated an astounding $24,500 for the Nevada campaign, leaving
us in need of only $75,500.Would you please visit to donate some of the
remaining $75,500 that is needed to finish off this campaign and
achieve victory on November 5?A donation of $10 will mean that 600 Nevada voters will see one of our
TV ads one time each; a donation of $50 means that 3,000 voters will
see our ad once. And a $250 donation -- which will pay for 15,000
voter impressions -- can be tax-deductible by visiting and checking the appropriate box.To give some perspective on how important the final $100,000 is to
this campaign, please consider this: The final $100,000 will ensure
that all 835,000 potential Nevada voters will see one of our TV ads
eight times each.This initiative to end the arrest of all marijuana users is by far the
best opportunity we have ever had to end marijuana prohibition
anywhere in the U.S. And this initiative has received generous support
from passionate MPP members and other allies in all 50 states ...Since we launched the Nevada campaign, 4,346 people in all 50 states
have donated financially to this effort. Unfortunately, 29,388 people
on this e-mail list have not donated anything.I want to thank you in advance if you decide you are able to make a
last-minute donation. Money equals TV airtime. Thank you!Sincerely,Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.P.S. By donating $250 or more now, you will receive a videotape of the
   TV news coverage and all TV ads from the Nevada campaign. Better
   yet, we are making a special offer whereby donations of $250 or
   more can be tax-deductible.P.P.S. Our first-ever national conference will begin three days after
    Election Day in Anaheim, California. To join us for what will
    hopefully be a victory celebration, please register at .P.P.P.S. To donate through the mail, please send your check to MPP's
     Nevada Campaign, P.O. Box 77492, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
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Comment #5 posted by DdC on October 24, 2002 at 23:21:16 PT

The Drug War Gravy Train...
By Daniel Forbes, Drugs & Civil Liberties - Ministers of Truth House Defends TV Drug-Ad Deal, 90210 Script Doctors Money, How the White House Secretly Hooked TV To Drug Czar: Busted! - Salon Magazine Article: Paid To Spout Drug War Propaganda - DrugSense Focus Alert Annual Ditchweed Eradication Boondoggle Underway Again -- Feds Spend $13 Million on Summer Jobs Program for Midwest
Students, Bored Cops of Arnold Leff, M.D. v. McCaffrey:'s Insanity
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 24, 2002 at 22:31:38 PT

One More Thing and Then I'm Done
I don't want anyone who might read this to feel that I am being selfish when I want something about Cannabis on an Ohio Initiative. I personally want to see the worst states laws changed first because our state is one of the best but we need change in one area. I think the area that needs change as far as Cannabis is concerned is forfeiture laws. Taking people's homes is really wrong. That is very cruel and if there were statistics somewhere I believe most forfeitures come from Marijuana related offenses but not hard and dangerous drugs. Maybe I'm wrong but forfeiture is not good for anyone except the authorities and makes police chase easy going people because they see money as the reward. I don't like that one little bit.There I feel better now.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 24, 2002 at 22:09:54 PT

Just a Note
If Cannabis had been on an Initiative in Ohio I would have made sure I had local tv channels. That would make me switch and give up the channels I use now. Maybe next year. I sure hope so. Gotta have hope!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 24, 2002 at 21:53:04 PT

I know about the Columbus Dispatch being a pay site now. I don't get any Ohio TV channels either. We get New York, Chicago and LA. I have no idea what is going on in Ohio. I only live in Ohio but am lost about what's happening. I could get local channels but I like the ones I get and can keep informed of what's going on out west and back east and I like that.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on October 24, 2002 at 21:44:11 PT:

'compassionate coercion' Does Not Cut It!
Ohio Issue 1 Polls:columbus dispatch" is provided at no charge to print subscribers of The Columbus Dispatch and at $4.95 per month to all others."
No Letters to the Editor without payment.No wonder the state capital polls so low on Issue 1, you have to pay just to object to the Editorial opposition to Issue 1. Of course the state Governor, Robert Taft, is also a staunch opponent. I wanted to tell them that I object caging humans for a medical problem instead of providing treatment, which will help the individual and save the state money. I guess they don't want to hear my opinion. ***************************************Cleveland.comElection 2002Plain Dealer Voter GuideSpecial Poll Q. Are you for or against the drug initiative labeled Issue 1? Latest Poll Results:For 87.3% Against 12.7% Vote in the cleveland poll (Home of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame): 

The Plain Dealer
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