Trick or Treatment

Trick or Treatment
Posted by CN Staff on July 29, 2002 at 08:40:18 PT
By Chris Shott
Source: Washington City Paper 
A D.C. Drug Initiative Would Throw Cocaine Users Into Rehab, Pot Smokers Behind Bars. If it becomes law, Initiative 62 on this fall's ballot- "Treatment Instead of Jail for Certain Non-Violent Drug Offenders"- will offer speed and cocaine offenders in the District the option of going into rehab instead of facing a trial and prison. But pot smokers and ecstasy users will continue to be put behind bars. 
The disparity is a product of the ongoing battle between D.C. drug-reform advocates and congressional overseers. In the past, Congress has stopped the District from enacting liberal-minded drug-law reforms and, at one point, even enjoined the city from counting the results of a medical-marijuana initiative. Proponents of Initiative 62, ever mindful of Capitol Hill's big-footing ways, have fashioned their measure to appease Congress. The measure excludes people charged with possessing or using Schedule I controlled substances-which include marijuana, ecstasy, and LSD- from taking advantage of the drug-treatment option. "We didn't want to poke a finger in Congress' eye," explains Bill McColl, president of the D.C. Campaign for Treatment and director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "We've drafted our law specifically to conform to Congress' concerns. We think that's still going to reach quite a number of people who really could use treatment." At issue is the so-called "Barr Amendment," spearheaded by Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr to block implementation of the District's 1998 ballot issue- approved by nearly 69 percent of D.C. voters-to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes. Barr's measure prohibited the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics from certifying the results of any ballot initiative that aimed to reduce penalties for Schedule I drug offenses. On March 24, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down the Barr Amendment, declaring it an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. But the Bush administration has challenged Sullivan's ruling, with its appeal to be heard in September. If the government wins on appeal, the current medical-marijuana measure could be thwarted before the ballot booths even open. To avoid the risk of having their own measure shot down, Initiative 62's backers removed Schedule I offenders from eligibility for treatment. The drugs categorized under Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act-which also overs heroin and PCP- are deemed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to have the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. Chemical classified under Schedule II, such as cocaine, codeine, morphine, oxycontin, and methamphetamine, are also ripe for abuse but remain widely recognized for their usefulness in medicine. TO surgeons, for instance, cocaine can serve as an effective anesthetic. An effort to reclassify marijuana for its apparent uses as a painkiller and appetite stimulator was rejected by the DEA and ultimately by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on May 24. Initiative 62 drafter Dave Fratello admits that the decision to eliminate Schedule I drugs from the ballot issue was "one of the hardest choices" that organizers had to make. "Protect some, or try to cover everyone and risk losing. It's a terrible position to be in, " says Fratello, political director for the Los Angeles-based Campaign for New Drug Policies. But with many imprisoned offenders in the District doing time for cocaine, McColl says, the initiative can serve as "an incremental measure that's going to help some people right now." Other drug-law reformers say the deletion sends a mixed message. "I understand they're trying to make some accommodations for Capitol Hill," says Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "On the other hand, it does seem a little selective to say, 'We're gonna switch from a criminal response to nonviolent drug use to a treatment mode, but for marijuana, we're going to continue to arrest you.'" Though most marijuana offenders in the District don't spend much time in jail, Stroup says, their lives are nonetheless disrupted upon arrest. Some lose their jobs. Others spend thousands of dollars on attorneys' fees to stay out of jail. Though most pot puffers "aren't sick," and therefore don't need treatment, he says, some might favor rehabilitation over fighting charges in court. Offenders themselves should make that choice, he says. "clearly, it's a step forward if we stop jailing some people and start getting them treatment," Stroup says. "But most illicit drug users don't use cocaine and amphetamines-they smoke marijuana. So in some ways, it seems to me, Initiative 62 is ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room." Source: Washington City Paper (DC)Author: Chris ShottPublished: July 26, 2002Copyright: 2002 Washington Free Weekly Inc.Contact: mail washcp.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Policy Project Policy Allianceít D.C. Votes Count? Pot May Again Go To Voters Marijuana Ban Overturned in D.C. 
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Comment #6 posted by freedom fighter on July 29, 2002 at 20:22:49 PT
Ought to abolish Controlled Substance Act.!
As well as Dan B knows, morphine and heroin comes from the same substance. Makes no sense to differ those two "drugs".Oh, I forgot something morphine is a highly refined version of heroin. The morphine is probably more expensive than the heroin or is it cheaper and controlled?Since, morphine is highly refined, in other word, not cut with bunch of crap that common heroin does on the street. 
How is that heroin on the street is a controlled substance? It's not!Does'nt the 90% of World population know that CANNABIS cannot even begin to compare these two substances, morphine and the heroin? Of course!There are so many substances under "Controlled Substance Act" that are not so infamous probably sitting in your garage or bathroom. And it's illegal! I believe that one day, Congress will quietly without much fanfare, abolish the entire act or lest, the Congress itself will be abolished.ff
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Comment #5 posted by p4me on July 29, 2002 at 12:59:25 PT
Seattle Hempfest Aug 17th and 18th
Remember last year's Hempfest that drew 150,000 people and got virtually no press. It was just a few weeks before Tom and Rollie were killed that also got no press. Anyway Cannabis Culture has a lovely picture of some of those 150,000 people that have figured out that something is really screwed up with the press of the Evil Empire as well as the screwed up medical marijuana laws, hemp laws, and the normal atrocities of the regular marijuana laws: heard a new phrase on pot-tv in regards to medical marijuana- disconnect from reality. I have no such disconnect and can clearly see that the will of 73% of the American people is being ignored and all we hear is the same broken propaganda record that marijuana has no medical value and that DEAth has 10,000 studies saying that dirt is a better medicine than marijuana.So let us see how well the conglomerate press does not cover this years Seatle Hempfest. And let's not forget the 65th anniversary of federal MJ prohibition this August 2nd. 1,2
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Comment #4 posted by Zero_G on July 29, 2002 at 12:54:34 PT
Just say know
This effort is insane, it seeks to redress an error which it admits is less than the whole grievence, on the grounds that it will help some, but not the majority, of illegitamatly persecuted individuals.Say Know - Fightin' Back - Volunteers of America!ps - We Don't Want Your Fuckin' Warhere, there or anywhere.
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Comment #3 posted by Dan B on July 29, 2002 at 11:38:14 PT:
Heroin is Schedule I here in the United States. Just thought I'd let you know; I mean no offense.Dan B
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Comment #2 posted by Dan B on July 29, 2002 at 11:36:55 PT:
Jail for cannabis users, eh?
This is only clever if we succeed in passing legislation that excludes cannabis users from prosecution altogether. It's a major gamble. I realize that if Congress accepts this initiative, it may put to lie the argument that cannabis et al. are illegal because they are "highly addictive," but I am not convinced that such will be enough to insure that prohibition of cannabis will cease. Of course, it will also serve to reveal the true focus of the war on some drugs: cannabis, but most people assume that anyway. This is what this initiative is saying: "We understand that you won't pass this initiative if it doesn't allow you to continue the drug war's primary focus--incarceration of cannabis users, who make up the bulk of the drug-using population--so instead we only want to treat those who are actually addicted to hard drugs (except heroin--we don't want heroin addicts in treatment, no-sireee!), and you can just put the true recreational users in prison like you always do."Interesting, too, that "marijuana, ecstasy, and LSD" are all relatively non-addictive substances from which people rarely (and in some cases never) overdose, but cocaine and meth (the "treatment okay" drugs) are both highly addictive and quite regularly result in overdoses. But wait . . . heroin is also schedule 1, which means that some of the most desperate addicts will not receive treatment under this plan--only incarceration. Does that sound fair at all to anyone?The more I think about this initiative, the more I think that the people who dreamed it up have no clue what they are doing. Maybe there is some "Phase II" to this initiative that I don't know about, and maybe I'll be proved wrong. But the exclusions to treatment are as ridiculous as the schedules themselves, and that doesn't make me feel very good about it at all.Dan B
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Comment #1 posted by Dimebag on July 29, 2002 at 11:29:19 PT
Scheduel's and Classifications of Drugs.
How come the Scheduel One drugs when given to a human in its purest form cant kill a person but any other scheduel drug Pure or Not can kill, Kill, Kill. Lets See: Marijuana Has Never Killed any one and Its apparently the worst drug one can Use?? Humm: LSD, in its purest form has never killed any one and if taken responsibly wont kill you but will bring you to grips with reality. You will come to realize that We are all one conscienceness experiencing itself sub-jectivly, there is no such thing as death, Life is only a dream and we are all the imagination of ourselfs. Humm, If we all realized that our Government would have no use for its self. There would be World Peace. No use for Nuclear Arms and Weapons Manufacturing. Big Loss In the U.S Economy. Our FAKE ECONOMY.OH: Ecstacy, if taken it its purest form "Pure MDMA" one would come to grips with him self and gain an understanding about his world related to others and learn not to hate but to love. Humm, another detrement to U.S Politics and Draconian Rule.But Hey at least Heroin, cocane and meth are classified as Useful in the Treatment of Patients. Remember Kids, If it dont kill you in its purest form then its bad for you. So stick to Tobacco and Alcohol cuz the government says its A O.K.Dimebag.
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