OCTOBER 10, 2004 Edition
NEW BUSINESS LOOKS LIKE OLD BUSINESS
DISTRICTS POLLED ON MARIJUANA LAW
HOUSEHOLD MEDICINE ABUSED BY THE YOUNG
HISTORY OF DRUGS FOUND IN 80% OF YOUTH OFFENDERS
PASSES SYRINGE PROPOSALS
HIDDEN POWERHOUSES UNDERLIE METH'S UGLY SPREAD: FIVE
SUPREME COURT SETS DATE FOR MARIJUANA CASE
11. NEW "OPEN LETTER TO PARENTS"
HIGHLIGHTS NEGATIVE IMPACT OF
MARIJUANA ON TEEN LEARNING AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS
COURT'S NEW BUSINESS LOOKS LIKE OLD BUSINESS
The new judicial term that begins here Monday could be dubbed:
Supreme Court, the Sequel.
In several cases over the next nine months, the justices will be
revisiting major decisions. They include a ruling in 1989 that
permits the execution of those who were juveniles when they
committed their crimes, and a decision in June in which the court
cast doubt on whether federal sentencing guidelines are
Another closely watched dispute — which tests whether U.S.
anti-drug policy overrides a California law that allows the
medical use of marijuana — will require the justices to return to
a case in 1995 that began a series of rulings that favored states'
rights over federal power.
Also familiar is the court itself: The nine
justices are back for their 11th term together. Never before have
nine U.S. justices been together for so long. The high court has
not had such a stable period since 1812-1823, when it had seven
DISTRICTS POLLED ON MARIJUANA LAW
Two area senate districts have become local test grounds in the
ongoing debate over marijuana laws.
In the Second Essex and the Third Essex and Middlesex districts,
voters will weigh in on whether possession of the drug should be
In each district, a nonbinding question asks if the district's
senator should ''introduce and vote for legislation making
possession of marijuana a civil violation like a traffic ticket."
The legislation also would require police to hold a person under
18 cited for possession ''until released to a parent, legal
guardian or brought before a judge."
The question was placed on the two senate districts ballots, and
in the 10th Norfolk House district, by the Committee to Reform
Marijuana Laws, a group that supports decriminalization of
marijuana, according to Steven S. Epstein, an attorney and
Georgetown resident who is heading up the effort.
HOUSEHOLD MEDICINE ABUSED
BY THE YOUNG
At CVS pharmacies, you now have to be at least 18 to buy Coricidin
Cough & Cold medicine. At Walgreens, there's a three-pack limit on
an extra-strength variety of those pills. And at some
independently owned drugstores, syrup bottles and blister packs of
cough suppressants have vanished from shelves and reappeared
behind the counter, near the cigarettes or the prescription drugs.
The nation's pharmacy giants are taking precautions in response to
a trend that doctors and anti-drug abuse activists say could grow
into an epidemic: teenagers and young adults using medicine to get
From acid to ecstasy, patterns of substance abuse have evolved
with the times, and in recent years, illicit use of prescription
and over-the-counter drugs has soared among a certain demographic
-- mostly suburban, mostly young and mostly middle class,
according to researchers. They get the drugs through the Internet,
at school and from their parents' medicine cabinets.
HISTORY OF DRUGS FOUND IN 80% OF YOUTH OFFENDERS
Nearly 80 percent of young people who are arrested use illegal
drugs or alcohol, but fewer than 4 percent receive substance abuse
treatment, says a new study.
Joseph A. Califano, president of the National Center on Addiction
and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), said untreated
substance abuse is likely to lead young people into lives of crime
and adult prisons.
The juvenile justice system contributes to this outcome by acting
more like "colleges of criminality" -- exposing new offenders to
hardened offenders -- than places of rehabilitation, said Mr.
Califano, a domestic policy official in the Johnson and Carter
Young offenders should be referred quickly to comprehensive
programs that address drug and alcohol abuse, as well as problems
such as learning disabilities or mental illness, said Mr. Califano,
who suggested that effective treatment would cost $5,000 per
(The CASA report "Criminal Neglect: Substance Abuse, Juvenile
Justice and The Children Left Behind" can be found at
ASSEMBLY PASSES SYRINGE PROPOSALS
TRENTON - The Assembly approved legislation yesterday to allow
needle-exchange programs to prevent the spread of blood-borne
diseases among illegal-drug users.
By the same 43-28 vote, with six abstentions, the Assembly also
voted to let pharmacies sell syringes without a prescription.
The bills await action in the Senate. Gov. McGreevey has indicated
his support for legal access to sterile syringes.
Currently, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states that do not
allow syringe access for drug addicts.
UNDERLIE METH'S UGLY SPREAD (Part 1 in the series)
A cross the West and Great Plains, small-town residents blame the
arrival of meth abuse in their communities on the influx of local
They are mistaken.
The reality is that 80 percent of meth comes from Mexican drug
cartels operating here, in the rural expanses of Central and
Southern California. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, only 20 percent of the supply is made by local
A decade ago, the cartels in California pioneered a technique for
industrial-scale production of meth that police dubbed the "superlab."
LOBBYISTS AND LOOPHOLES
(Part 2 in the series)
In his office on Washington, D.C.'s bustling Connecticut Avenue,
five blocks north of the White House, drug lobbyist Allan Rexinger
was scanning the Congressional Record one September day in 1986
when two words stopped him short.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to require
companies to keep sales and import records for these and 12 other
chemicals used in making illegal drugs. Executives would have to
give the DEA the documents when asked.
From his seven years protecting the interests of the
pharmaceutical industry, Rexinger knew that ephedrine was
important to sellers of nonprescription asthma and diet pills.
Even more important, pseudoephedrine was the leading ingredient in
the nation's $3 billion cold medication market. Every major drug
firm had a brand.
TOKEN DETERRENT (Part 3 in the series)
Thomas Narog stood outside his rented storage unit in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., one day in July 1999 while a federal inspector
checked the lock.
The 66-year-old semi-retired mortgage broker wanted to go into a
new business, but he needed the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration's approval. He wanted to sell pseudoephedrine pills
from the storage unit.
While Narog had no background in pharmaceuticals, he also had no
criminal record, and neither did the man he claimed as his sole
customer. The inspector handed Narog some brochures that warned
pseudoephedrine can be used to make methamphetamine, then told him
to report any suspicious orders to the DEA.
Two weeks later, Narog had his permit, and Seaside Pharmaceutical
Co. was in business.
It proceeded to supply millions of pseudoephedrine pills to meth
labs, federal law enforcement officials say.
SHELVED SOLUTIONS (Part 4 in the series)
Eight years ago at a laboratory in Texas, Warner-Lambert Co. began
testing a possible cure for the methamphetamine epidemic: a new
and improved cold medicine that could not be turned into the
The company was worried that federal regulators would soon ban or
restrict sales of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used to
make meth and Warner-Lambert products such as Sudafed, Actifed and
Warner-Lambert's meth-proof alternative showed promise in animal
testing, conducted at a university lab in Fort Worth. The company
quickly applied for a patent. But that is where the product's
CHILD OF THE EPIDEMIC (Part 5 in the series)
The day her mother vanished again, trading a promising run at
sobriety for yet another hit of methamphetamine, 13-year-old
MaKayla Harris joined friends at a parking-lot carnival.
She didn't want to think about the magnitude of her mother's fall
this time, how close they'd come to reuniting as a family. Mostly,
she wanted to forget that this was Mother's Day.
Chicago Mayor Richard
Daley has drawn national attention for his proposal to ease
penalties for marijuana use, the
Boston Herald reported Oct. 3.
"This is absolutely a big deal," said Andy Ko, director of the Drug
Policy Reform Project for the American Civil Liberties Union in
Washington state. "You've got a mayor in a major American city
coming out in favor of a smart and fair and just drug policy."
Daley supports ticketing people caught with small amounts of
marijuana rather than prosecuting them in court. The fine would
range from $250 to $1,000.
The idea was first raised last month by Chicago police Sgt. Thomas
Donegan, who said 94 percent of the city's 7,000 marijuana cases
filed last year involving 2.5 grams of the drug or less were
"If 99 percent of the cases are thrown out, and we have police
officers going to court to testify in the cases, why? It costs a lot
of money for police officers to go to court," said Daley.
Pat Camden, a Chicago police spokesman, couldn't recall a single
case where an offender received the state's maximum penalty of 30
days in jail and a $15,000 fine for possessing a small amount of
Experts believe that Daley's support of the proposal carries weight
because of his background. "As a former prosecutor, nobody is going
to say he's soft on crime," said Dick Simpson, a political-science
professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
If Chicago reduces the penalty for small-time marijuana possession,
it would not be the first municipality to do so. Seattle voters
approved an initiative that makes personal-use marijuana cases a low
priority for law enforcement. In addition, California and Oregon
have lowered possession of a small amount of marijuana to a
misdemeanor fine, while in Colorado, it's a petty offense.
Having failed to
get a marijuana decriminalization initiative on the November ballot
in Nevada, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana is
working on a new plan that would allow stores to sell marijuana, the
Associated Press reported Sept. 29.
The petition, which has been filed with Secretary of State Dean
Heller, requires 51,337 signatures of registered voters by Nov. 9.
If enough signatures are collected, the proposal would go before the
2005 legislature before it is presented to voters.
"It's going to be close, but we're confident we can get them," said
Larry Sandell, campaign manager for the committee.
Under the plan, the state would license stores to sell marijuana,
and the taxes raised from pot sales would go to the state. In
addition, the state would profit from the $1,000 initial licensing
fee and a $1,000 annual renewal fee charged to retailers.
The initiative reads: "Rather than spending millions of taxpayer
dollars arresting marijuana users, the state of Nevada should
instead generate millions of dollars by taxing and regulating
marijuana, and earmark part of these revenues to prevent and treat
the abuse of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs."
Scientists report that
they are inching closer to developing a vaccine that would
effectively treat drug addiction, the Wall Street Journal reported
Although the research is several years away from putting a vaccine
on the market, the studies are meeting with success. The research
suggests that the vaccine is able to activate the immune system to
block the effects of substances such as cocaine or nicotine.
The vaccine works by producing antibodies to a certain substance.
When that substance is used, the antibodies bind to it as it
enters a person's system. In doing so, the vaccine stops most of
the chemical from the drug from crossing into the brain. The
substance is then metabolized by the liver and secreted from the
The two companies furthest along in the research are Nabi
Biopharmaceuticals in Boca Raton, Fla., and Xenova Group PLC of
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals is working on a nicotine vaccine. The
company has completed a trial involving 68 smokers to test safety
and measure the levels of antibodies produced by the vaccine. The
vaccine has also resulted in smoking cessation among a group of
Xenova Group is working on a cocaine vaccine and reports that the
vaccine has reduced relapse in a small group of cocaine users.
LAS VEGAS SUN
By Cy Ryan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SUN CAPITAL BUREAU
CARSON CITY --
Backers of pot decriminalization are pushing a plan that would
establish marijuana markets, stores licensed to sell pot and taxed
by the state.
A group behind an unsuccessful plan that would have allowed adults
to possess up to one ounce of marijuana without facing a criminal
charge has started a new initiative petition to decriminalize pot in
If the signature-gathering effort succeeds, the marijuana markets
proposal would then be considered by the 2005 Legislature.
The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana filed its petition
Monday with Secretary of State Dean Heller and it has until Nov. 9
to collect 51,337 signatures of registered voters.
"It's going to be close but we're confident we can get them," Larry
Sandell, campaign manager for the committee, said.
The organization circulated a previous petition to amend the Nevada
Constitution, but didn't get the required signatures by the
deadline. It is appealing this case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
If the committee secures the signatures on the new petition, it will
be presented to the 2005 Legislature, which must act on it within 40
days. If the Legislature does not act or if it changes the petition,
the issue will go on the 2006 election ballot.
Sandell said Nevada would be the first state to set up a system of
regulation. But he said a question on the Alaska ballot this
election will deal with permitting marijuana.
The new Nevada initiative says, "Rather than spending millions of
taxpayer dollars arresting marijuana users, the state of Nevada
should instead generate millions of dollars by taxing and regulating
marijuana, and earmark part of these revenues to prevent and treat
the abuse of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs."
It said by allowing those 21 and older to use marijuana in their
homes, police would have more time to prevent and investigate
serious crimes such as murder, rape, assault, robbery and driving
under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The state would license wholesalers and retailers to sell the drug.
Each would pay $1,000 for an initial license and $1,000 annually for
A retailer or wholesaler could not locate within 500 feet of a
school or church. Licenses for selling the drug would not be issued
to gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, nightclubs,
gaming casinos or dance halls. Those businesses that sold liquor
would be barred from having a permit to sell marijuana.
The proposed initiative would continue to prohibit a person from
driving under the influence of marijuana. It would also prohibit
possessing marijuana in a public place, jail or public school.
The original petition to amend the Constitution was declared invalid
because some of the signatures were gathered from people who signed
up to vote at the time or after they signed the petition.
A panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claim of
the marijuana proponents that those signatures should be counted.
The group is now asking for a hearing before the full court.
Sandell said if the group gets the question on the ballot for the
constitutional change, it would probably drop its second petition.
SUPREME COURT SETS DATE FOR MARIJUANA CASE
October 1, 2004 - The nation's highest court has set a date to take
up the case that will determine whether the federal government has
the right to step in and overrule state medical marijuana laws. The
Ashcroft, will go before the United States Supreme
Court November 29 at
The Drug Policy Alliance is filing a brief on behalf of
medical marijuana patient.
The case, which the New York
Times has said is "certain to be one of the most closely
watched of the court's next term," already set precedent when a
the government to allow two seriously ill patients to use medical
marijuana. Attorney General John Ashcroft later appealed, and the
Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in its fall term.
NEW "OPEN LETTER TO
PARENTS" HIGHLIGHTS NEGATIVE IMPACT OF MARIJUANA ON TEEN LEARNING
AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS
** White House Drug Policy Office and Leaders in Education and
Health Urge Parents to Protect Their Teens' Futures **
This fall, more than one million high school juniors and seniors
will be preparing to take college entrance exams. Recognizing the
negative impact of marijuana on teen learning and academic success,
the Office of National Drug Control Policy today launched a new
outreach effort to educate parents about the risks of teen marijuana
use. The "Marijuana and Learning" effort features a new "Open Letter
to Parents" that will appear in The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News and World Report on October 12,
2004. The letter will also be available for viewing online at
www.TheAntiDrug.com and www.MediaCampaign.org.
The "Open Letter to Parents" and its message are being supported by
leaders in the fields of education, health, and youth drug
prevention, including the Center for College Health and Safety,
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National
Association of Asian and Pacific-American Education, United Negro
College Fund, American Academy of Family Physicians, American
Academy of Pediatrics, American School Counselor Association,
National Student Assistance Association, and the Partnership for a
"Young people who begin marijuana use at an early age when the brain
is still developing are more vulnerable to problems with memory,
attention span, and learning," said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the
National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Smoking marijuana causes some
changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin,
The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals
that almost 4 million youths aged 12 to 17 (16 percent) had used
marijuana at least once in the past year. While there has been an
11 percent decrease in marijuana use, according to the 2003
Monitoring the Future survey, NSDUH findings show almost 14 percent
of youths who bought marijuana did so on school property.
Research also shows that teens with an average grade of "D" or below
are more than four times more likely to have used marijuana in the
past year as youth who reported an average grade of "A."
And, the more a student abuses substances, the lower his or her
grade point average is likely to be. In fact, teenagers who drink
underage or use drugs are up to five times more likely than their
peers to drop out of high school.
The "Marijuana and Learning" outreach effort is part of a larger
marijuana education initiative launched by ONDCP in 2002 to dispel
myths and misconceptions about the drug among teens and their
parents. For more information about marijuana's negative impact on
teen learning and other Media Campaign efforts that you can bring to
your community, please visit www.TheAntiDrug.com,
www.MediaCampaign.org, and www.Freevibe.com.
If you have comments, thoughts or ideas about Media Campaign
resources, please contact the Campaign at: email@example.com.
ONDCP - 750 17th Street, NW | Washington, District of Columbia 20503
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