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REPUBLICANS' 1998 USA drug war legislation. They sponsored nearly all the bad bills. A summary of their 1998 drug war escalation. The Year of the Newt (Gingrich). Republicans lead, Democrats follow. Citizen initiatives fight back against fascism.
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*Table of Contents. After text loads, click topics below. Click TopLink, back button, or HomeKey to return here fast.

*Introduction. NEWT Gingrich.  

*Beginning of 1998 DPF email.
*1998 citizen INITIATIVES.
*1998 drug war LEGISLATION.

*Drug War charts, and more.

Introduction. [TopLink]

1998 was a year of escalation in the drug war. Newt Gingrich was one of the Republican demagogues who again used the drug war to whip up typical, mindless, "law-and-order" solutions to societal problems. As usual, Democrats, as the mindless, corporate, "left" wing of the Republicrat corporate party, obeyed their Republican masters and kissed Republican butt (again) concerning drug war issues.

For much more detail on 1998 and other years, Newt Gingrich, etc., see this web page:

*Republicans lead U.S. Drug War. Democrats follow Republican evil. Huge LINKS list! U.S. Drug-war Industrial Complex. Republican fundamentalist holy war. Friendly Fascism. Drug war leaders are the rabid right, hate radio, hate television, NRA (National Rifle Association), religious right, (snortin') George Bush the hypocrite, etc.. Republican-led drug war disenfranchises (no voting rights) millions of voters (mostly Democrat-voting blacks).
https://corporatism.tripod.com/gop.htm and


Beginning of 1998 DPF (Drug Policy Foundation) email. [TopLink]

What follows is a mass email from the Drug Policy Foundation:
(Some formatting was added: emphasis, bold, italics. No text was changed.). Note that Republicans (GOP) were the main sponsors of nearly all of the bad 1998 Drug War legislation. Know your main enemies.

-----Original Message-----
From: Drug Policy News Service <dpf-mod@dpf.org>
To: Multiple recipients of list <dpnews@dpf.org>
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 10:05 AM
Subject: DPF's Network News (October/November 1998)

******A Monthly Publication for DPF's Advocacy Network******

The months of October and November have brought a flurry of activity to DPF’s public policy office, including tracking end-of-session legislative activity by the 105th Congress, and publishing Election ’98: The Vote for Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy Reform. (Thanks to DRCNet for making it available online at http://www.drcnet.org/election98/ .) This in-depth analysis of this year’s successful drug policy reform ballot initiatives was distributed to the media, the public, and drug policy reformers to summarize the different initiatives and evaluate key provisions in each.

Because October was such a busy month, we have combined the October and November editions of Network News. We have included an overview of the results of the drug policy reform initiatives and a list of the major drug policy-related legislation we followed this year.

Overwhelmingly Approve Medical Marijuana, Drug Policy Reform Initiatives.
Congress Orders D.C. Vote on Medical Marijuana Voided. [TopLink]

In states across the country, voters approved medicinal marijuana and broader drug policy reform initiatives on November 3. In Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, voters passed medical marijuana initiatives, while Arizona and Oregon voters rejected attempts by the state legislatures to make drug laws more repressive. "This is further evidence that a growing number of Americans do not believe that people should be arrested for using marijuana," said H. Alexander Robinson, DPF’s Public Policy Director.

In the District of Columbia, the vote count on the medical marijuana referendum, Initiative 59, was not released because Congress prohibited any city funds from being spent on the initiative. The "prohibition on democracy" was included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill thanks to a clause authored by a Republican authoritarian from Georgia, Rep. Bob Barr. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on October 30 to have the votes released and the results certified. The lawsuit asks Judge Richard Roberts to order city officials to certify the results of the vote. It also filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the District’s election board for the public release of the vote tally. Unfortunately, even if the measure passes and is certified, Congress has to approve the vote, which probably will not happen.

Despite the fact that the results of the vote have not been announced, an exit poll conducted by Americans for Medical Rights showed that 69% of D.C. voters approved Initiative 59.

Following are the results of the medicinal marijuana and drug policy reform initiatives that were on the ballot in 1998:

Alaska – Proposition 8 (Medical Marijuana)
Yes (58%); No (42%)

Proposition 300 ("No" Vote for Reform, Medical Use of Schedule One Drugs)
Yes (43%); No (57%)

Proposition 301 ("No" Vote for Reform, Reduces Drug Possession Sentencing)
Yes (48%); No (52%)

D.C. – Initiative 59 (Medical Marijuana)
Yes (69%); No (31%) (exit polls; not official results)

Nevada – Ballot Question 9 (Medical Marijuana)
Yes (59%); No (41%)

Measure 57 ("No" Vote for Reform,
Marijuana Decriminalization)
Yes (33%); No (67%)

Measure 67 (Medical Marijuana)
Yes (55%); No (45%)

Washington – Initiative 692 (Medical Marijuana)
Yes (59%); No (41%)

DPF congratulates all the people who worked so hard to make the initiatives a success, including the staffs of Americans for Medical Rights and their affiliates, The People Have Spoken, ACT UP-DC, and the Marijuana Policy Project.

105th Congress Approves Broad Range of Drug War Legislation.
DPF Responds to D.C. Syringe Exchange Funding Ban by Donating $25,000. [TopLink]

Congress passed a variety of anti-drug laws in the last day of the legislative session as part of the Omnibus Appropriations bill. Included within the bill was:

• a Small Business Administration grant program to promote drug testing in small businesses;

• harsher mandatory minimum sentences for methamphetamine;

• prohibitions on syringe exchange funding in the District of Columbia;

• a prohibition on D.C. spending funds to certify a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative;

• a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that medical marijuana must first be approved by the Food and Drug Administration; and

• over an additional $2 billion for supply reduction efforts.

Earlier in October, the Higher Education Appropriations bill was signed into law. It restricts student loan eligibility for persons convicted of drug possession or sales.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) authored the D.C. syringe exchange funding restrictions and were included within the D.C. Appropriations section of the Omnibus Appropriations bill. The District is not permitted to fund a needle exchange program with its own tax monies, nor can non-profits that receive any federal funding run a needle exchange program. The provisions were a direct threat to the Whitman-Walker clinic, the District’s largest HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention organization, which operates a needle exchange program with city monies.

In response to Congress’ attempt to prohibit syringe exchange in the District, Whitman-Walker Clinic made a donation to a newly formed independent corporation, Prevention Works!, to operate the syringe exchange. The Drug Policy Foundation gave Prevention Works! $25,000 at an October 22 press conference that featured D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, two city council members, Whitman-Walker Clinic Executive Director Jim Graham, Jane Silver, public policy director of American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), and Jeff Jacobs, government affairs director of AIDS Action Council. DPF Executive Director Sher Horosko blasted the congressional action as "passive genocide" and noted that "no amount of fear or prejudice will stop needle exchange in the District and other programs like it from preserving human life." The Associated Press mentioned DPF’s grant to Prevention Works! in an October 23 story, as did numerous local media outlets.

Following is a list of the various bills that the Drug Policy Foundation tracked over the past year, including those pieces of legislation that did not pass:

Bill Title: Higher Education Program Authorization Bill (H.R. 6/S. 1882).

Sponsors: Rep. McKeon (R-Ca.); Rep. Souder (R-Ind.) sponsored the Drug-Free Student Loan Amendment

House: Passed May 6, 1998
Senate: Passed June 9, 1998
Became Law: October 7, 1998

Key Provisions:
The Drug-Free Student Loan Amendment (Sec. 484(r)) restricts loan, grant, and work assistance eligibility for students convicted of drug possession or sales.

Ineligibility is:

1 year (2 years) after conviction for 1st possession (sales) conviction;
2 years (indefinite) for 2nd possession (sales) conviction;
indefinite for 3rd possession conviction;

Loan eligibility can be resumed if student completes drug rehabilitation program; must include 2 unannounced drug tests.

Bill Title: Drug-Free Workplace Act (H.R. 3853/S. 2203; passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277))

Sponsors: Rep. Portman (R-Ohio); Sen. Coverdell (R-Ga.)

House: Passed June 23, 1998
Senate: Incorporated into Omnibus Appropriations bill
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
The Omnibus Appropriations bill authorized $9 million in 1999 to establish a Drug-Free Workplace Demonstration Program by the Small Business Administration (Title IX). Federal grants will be given to non-profit organizations to establish drug-free workplace programs within small businesses. The programs must adhere to specific federal guidelines, including establishing an employee drug-testing program.

Congress also recommends that states provide financial incentives (reduce workers' compensation premiums or unemployment insurance premiums, tax deductions, etc.) for businesses to establish drug-free workplace programs.

Bill Title: Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998 (H.R. 3898/S. 2024; passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277))

Sponsors: Rep. McCollum (R-Fla.); Sen. Ashcroft (R-Mo.)

House: Passed
Senate: Incorporated into Omnibus Appropriations bill
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
Cuts in half the amount of methamphetamine required to receive a five- and ten-year mandatory minimum, resulting in sentences equivalent to those levied for crack cocaine offenses.

Persons convicted of distributing or attempting to distribute five grams of methamphetamine will receive a five-year mandatory minimum. Fifty grams will result in a 10-year sentence.

Bill Title: D.C. Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4380; passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277))

Sponsors: Rep. Tiahrt (R-Kan.) sponsored the anti-SEP amendment; Rep. Barr (R-Ga.) authored amendment to prohibit medical marijuana initiative, Initiative 59

House: Passed August 6, 1998
Senate: Incorporated into Omnibus Appropriations bill
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
Prohibits both D.C. city funds and federal funds from being used to support syringe exchange in the District. Also prohibits any private organization operating in the District that receives D.C. funds or federal funds from conducting syringe exchange.

Prohibits D.C. appropriations from being used to "conduct any ballot initiative which seeks to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance...."

Bill Number: H.J.Res. 117/S.J.Res. 56; passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277)

Sponsors: Rep. McCollum (R-Fl.)/Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa)

House: Passed Sept. 15, 1998
Senate: Incorporated into Omnibus Appropriations bill
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
Resolution expressing the sense of Congress supports "the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of drugs and opposes efforts to circumvent this process by legalizing marijuana and other Schedule I drugs ... without ... the approval of the Food and Drug Administration."

Bill Title: Citizens Protection Act of 1998 (H.R. 4276 (Justice Appropriations)/S. 2260; passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277))

Sponsors: Rep. McDade (R-Pa.); Rep. Murtha (R-Pa.)

House: Passed August 6, 1998
Senate: Passed July 23, 1998
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
Sec. 801. Ethical Standards for Federal Prosecutors. Requires federal prosecutors and other federal government attorneys to be subject to the same rules and laws that state attorneys are subject to.

Bill Title: Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act (H.R. 4300/S. 2341;
passed as part of H.R. 4328 (PL 105-277))

Sponsors: Rep. McCollum (R-Fl.); Sen. DeWine (R-Ohio)

House: Passed Sept. 16, 1998
Senate: Incorporated into Omnibus Appropriations bill
Became Law: October 21, 1998

Key Provisions:
Approximately 90% of the $2.6 billion authorized by this bill was incorporated into the Omnibus Appropriations bill, according to Rep. McCollum (CR, Oct. 15, 1998, p. H10995). Adds over $2 billion to increase interdiction, crop substitution, and other supply reduction efforts. House version required troops to be put on the U.S./Mexican border and requires the Dept. of Defense to make the war on drugs its second-highest priority.

Selected Bad Bills That Did Not Pass.

Money Laundering Act of 1998 (H.R. 3745) -- Would have greatly expanded the federal government's civil asset forfeiture powers.

Empowering Parents to Fight Drugs Act (H.R. 4378) -- Would have established a grant program to enable local schools to perform random drug testing for grades 7 through 12.

Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 1998 (H.R. 4006/S. 2151) -- Would have prohibited doctors from dispensing or distributing a controlled substance to perform an assisted suicide. Doctors who are found to be using controlled substances in euthanasia proceedings would have their prescribing license revoked.

Selected Good Bills That Did Not Pass

Bill Title: Crack-Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 1997 (H.R. 2031)
Sponsor: Rep. Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Key Provisions:
Would have eliminated the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine by removing any distinction between the two forms of the drug.

Bill Title: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (H.R. 1835)
Sponsor: Rep. Hyde (R-Ill.)
Key Provisions:
Would have significantly reformed the federal civil asset forfeiture laws by shifting the burden of proof to the government; eliminating the cost bond requirement; providing court-appointed counsel for indigents; and providing an innocent owner defense.

Bill Title: Medical Use of Marijuana Act (H.R. 1782)
Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Key Provisions:
Would have rescheduled marijuana to Schedule II. Allowed doctors to prescribe, patients to use, pharmacies to dispense, and suppliers to grow marijuana in states that approved its use in medicine.

Bill Title: Traffic Stops Statistics Act (H.R. 118)
Sponsor: Rep. Conyers (D-Mich.)
Key Provisions:
Would have required the Attorney General to conduct a study on traffic stops, including determining the nature of stops, race/ethnicity of individuals stopped, whether a search was conducted, and other related data.


DPF’s Network News

Network News is DPF’s monthly newsletter that will keep you updated on the latest legislative and regulatory drug policy proposals in Congress and the Administration.

To receive Network News and legislative Action Alerts, join DPF’s Advocacy Network. Just send us your name, fax number, and/or email.

Drug Policy Foundation
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ph: (202) 537-5005
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Network News was brought to you by the Drug Policy News Service, a service of the Drug Policy Foundation. To sign up for the Drug Policy News Service, send email to listproc@dpf.org with the following in the message: subscribe dpnews <Firstname Lastname>.

-------- End of DPF email article. ----------


Drug War charts, and more. [TopLink]