James Tranmer
P.O. Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

September 5, 1996

Tom Harkin
210 Walnut
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

re: Case No. FECR047575 State of Iowa v. Helmers, Allen Douglas PIN # 483567994

People's Representative, U.S. Senator Harkin, I am a Federal Prisoner at the U.S. Pentitentiary at Lewisburg, PA.  I am serving a 35-year sentence for Conspiracy to Import and Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana.  In 1972 I visited one of your predecessors to the United States Senate, the Honorable Harold Hughes.  The subject of our discussion at that time was the religious use and the sacramentality of the herb commonly known as marijuana.  After a brief discussion of approximately one half hour, the former Senator Hughes cancelled his schedule for the following afternoon and spent that entire afternoon discussing all manner of subject matter as diverse as the possible spiritual properties of marijuana and ranging to his possible dark horse candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.  I was accompanied by two colleagues, Thomas Reilly, who later became known nationally as Brother Louv - the spokesman for the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, and Jacob Shnurman who is presently living in Des Moines and employed in some capacity by the State of Iowa.  I mention this previous encounter simply to indicate to you that I have a long and storied experience with this controversial herb and I do possess the credentials of an herb man. However, the purpose of this letter is not for myself nor is it an attempt to enlighten you concerning the spiritual properties of this "plant of renown."  I am writing you at the behest of my good friend of many years, Carl Olsen, in behalf of a man I do not know at all, Allen D. Helmers. I am sure that you are aware of the plight of Mr. Helmers.  He is attempting to petition for relief from the very real pain which he suffers daily from the physical debility that he acquired from breaking his back, initially, and, subsequently, from a traffic accident caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. Is there no one within the government at any level in these United States who possesses the human compassion to hear the cry of these helpless and hopeless folks who are suffering each day?  Isn't there anyone to speak in these legislative halls of mischief for the souls who claim that their pain is either relieved or more tolerable when they puff some smoke from a plant which has been a part of creation long before pharmaceutical manufacturers or drug enforcement operatives worked their diabolical sciences and created the propaganda that has maligned the most beneficial plant on this planet?  Is there anyone who is not brainwashed by this vicious lie about marijuana or who is not afraid of the ominous repercussions of a federal bureaucracy that thoroughly intimidates those it purports to serve? I do not see anyone whose motives have not been compromised by the political process.  Human suffering is the least of concerns by this juggernaut that has no feelings.  How is it that these people who claim to represent the people can ignore the sincere cries of medical relief that arise from thousands of suffering souls who have risked the fearsome tactics of law enforcement agencies to medicate themselves and then risk retribution when they are honest? Lord, how long will thou look on?  Let your conscience be your guide.  Everyone is accountable for their actions. With minimal hope, I remain your brother, James E. Tranmer