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... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.

February 23, 1995

Drug Watch International And The DEA Combine Forces To Kill
Colorado Hemp Bill With Two Powerful Weapons: Lies And Threats

        February 16, Denver, CO, Colorado's Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy voted down Senate Bill 132, the Colorado Hemp Production Act.
        The bill, sponsored by state senator Lloyd Casey (D-Northglenn), sought to 1.) establish a commission to study hemp as a cash crop and the federal laws governing hemp cultivation [Similar to the commission recently established by Kentucky's governor. -ed.], and 2.) create a 'vehicle' for the establishment of a legal hemp industry in Colorado.  The measures were voted down 4-3 and 6-1 respectively.
        While it is unfortunate that the citizens of Colorado are temporarily unable to enjoy the economic benefits of a legal hemp industry, the most disturbing aspect of these hearings was the apparent impact of testimony provided by The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Drug Watch International (DWI) [prohibitionist organization -ed.].
        First, DWI representative Beverly Kinard gave bizarre testimony that included wild misrepresentations about hemp production, the health effects associated with marijuana use and the groups and individuals who advocate changing the laws governing marijuana. Some of Mrs. Kinard's more notable direct quotes follow:

        -The Dutch National Board of Drug Prevention is extremely concerned because even with low THC marijuana, high concentrations of THC may be produced in some organs.  [There is no such office entitled the "Dutch National Board of Drug Prevention". -ed.]
        -Legalizing drugs in the Netherlands brought the crime rate up 400%.  ["Drugs" are not legal in Holland and the violent crime rate has declined over The last 12 years. -ed.]
        -Hemp oil [derived from marijuana seeds -ed.] causes skin cancer overnight on laboratory rats.  [Hemp seed oil is sold in health food stores. -ed.]
        -Marijuana affects every cell, every system and every organ in the body. The mental disorders include acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, flashbacks, delusions, depersonalization, hallucinations, paranoia, depression and UNCONTROLLABLE HOSTILITY.  [Emphasis not added!  If so, why has violent crime declined in Holland? -ed.]
        While NORML contends that nearly all of Mrs. Kinard's testimony was nonsensical, the DEA proved DWI one better.  Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Rocky Mountain Field Division, Philip W. Perry, testified that the DEA strongly opposes any democratically-inspired challenges to their supreme control of marijuana prohibition.  In his written testimony, Agent Perry asserts that "In cases where federal and state law are in opposition, the question of which law would control is well settled."  Agent Perry felt it necessary to reiterate for the committee: "Let us be clear that what we are talking about in this Bill is marijuana.  Calling it "hemp" on the basis of an artificial threshold level of psychoactive ingredient does not erase the fact that it is botanically and legally the same plant."  [Yes, that is exactly the point! -ed.]
        Agent Perry concluded by forcefully reasserting the federal government's recalcitrant position regarding hemp and even more bizarre, his interpretation of the parental-like role of federal law enforcement: "Although I am not an expert in the economics of crop production [question: why then are you testifying in an agriculture committee hearing? -ed.]...With 31 years of service in law enforcement...I can tell you, in my professional opinion, this legislation is no more than a shallow ruse being advanced by those who seek to legalize marijuana.  The people of Colorado deserve to be protected from this sort of subterfuge.
        The federal criminal law on this subject does provide such protection and will be enforced with all the vigor at DEA's command." [Emphasis added. -ed.]

        [For more information on this legislative debacle, including copies of the DWI and DEA's tendentious written testimonies, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML, 202-483-5500.]

DEA's Next Target: Hawaii

        February 13, Kailua-Kona, In a letter from the mayor of Hawaii County to the DEA, Mayor Stephen K. Yamashiro's executive assistant asserted that the Mayor is totally supportive of hemp activist Roger Christie's efforts to establish a legal hemp industry on Hawaii.
        Executive Assistant R.B. Legaspi writes, in part, that Mr. Christie has secured the Mayor's endorsement and that "The Mayor [has] offered the use of county lands for an experimental project growing low grade hemp for commercial purposes.
        In his letter, Mr. Legaspi pointed out to the DEA that this past June 7, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12919, which amongst other things, recognizes hemp as a "Food Resource".
        The letter concludes with a reiteration, "Mayor Yamashiro does endorse...the cultivation of hemp and its conversion to products useful to mankind."  [Editor's note: Despite the Mayor's pragmatism and support, the County of Hawaii is not going to be able to legally cultivate hemp.  The DEA will likely employ the same heavy-handed tactics that it successfully used in the above cited case in Colorado and deny Mr. Christie his permit needed to legally cultivate hemp.  The disproportional level of influence and power the DEA asserts over democratically-elected local and state officials is a clear violation of the 9th and 10th Amendments.]

        [For further information on Hawaii's efforts to legalize hemp production, please contact either activist Roger Christie, 808-961-0488 or Mayor Stephen K. Yamashiro, 808-961-8211.]

Top U.S. General Says The U.S.'s Multibillion - Dollar 'Drug War'
Has Accomplished Little

        February 16, The Associated Press (AP) reported that Gen. Barry R. McCafferey recently told law makers that despite a well organized and costly-counter-drug operation, "these current efforts are not achieving their purpose.
        "A multiyear effort involving substantial resources and enormous energy and creativity," McCafferey said, "has not had the effects we desired."
        AP reports that McCafferey portrayed an insatiable drug market able to adapt to law enforcement agencies by quickly changing drug routes and methods of production.
        Gen. McCafferey acknowledged the difficulty of tackling the drug problem, but like any true believer he concluded: "I Think part of the problem has been our decision to call it a war...I prefer to think of it as a cancer.  I don't think about achieving victory but about dealing with the problem."  [NORML's National Director Richard Cowan's comment: "With this kind of mentality, America will always be engaged in a "drug war" until we die of the cancer of prohibition -ed.]

The New York Times Magazine Runs A Very High Times-Type Article

        February 19, The New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy cover article entitled "Marijuana in the 90's".  The article examined indoor marijuana cultivation from the point of view of an avid gardener [Writer Michael Pollan is Harper Magazine's gardening editor. -ed.].  The article examines and rightly lays blame for the phenomenal explosion of indoor marijuana cultivation at the U.S. government's feet.  The article extensively examines the economics of contraband both in the U.S. and The Netherlands.  The pictures alone are amazing.  This is a must read article!

        [For more information on this 10-page article, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML, 202-483-5500.]



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