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The Purge In Portland

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"Marijuana: the Blazers' Toughest Foe" screamed the five-column banner
headline on the front page of the Portland Tribune Dec. 5. The Tribune is
a twice-weekly free paper, slightly more substantial than its San Francisco
counterpart, the Independent.

The hook was that Zach Randolph, a 22-year-old power forward who left
Michigan State in '01 after his freshman year and has blossomed into an NBA
star, got arrested last week for driving under the influence. Randolph was
driving home after a game in his Cadillac Escalade when a cop pulled him
over, ostensibly for speeding. The cop claimed he smelled marijuana.
Randolph was made to pee in a bottle. The contents of his bodily fluids
will be revealed to the world later this week. Meanwhile he has been
humiliated in the local and national media.

(Not coincidentally, a black sports agent sued the city of Oakland last
week for employing the racist cop who pulled over his Cadillac Escalade and
then ordered him to crawl! Some cops assume that any black man in a fancy
car must owe his success to "drugs," and therefore does not have any human
dignity or rights. Neither Oakland nor Portland is a Southern city; racist
cops are a national problem, exacerbated by the war on drugs.)

Blazer President Steve Patterson blamed the NBA players' association for
limiting the punishment the team could inflict on Randolph and three other
Blazers whose marijuana use came to light last season. "Our efforts have
been toward enforcing a stricter policy on our players than the collective
bargaining agreement would lead you to believe is permissible," said
Patterson. "It's a collectively-bargained issue between the union and the
league. We can't just go out and suspend Zach at this time."

Not to mention that innocent-until-proven-guilty thing.

Patterson cited the recent trade of Bonzi Wells as an example of Blazer
management's get-tough attitude towards the defiant young bloods who happen
to do the real work of the organization. He said, paternalistically, that
there had been "a lot of discussions...to put an infrastructure in place
that gets guys to comport themselves as adults and the way we expect... If
guys aren't willing to do that, we'll do things like we did today (trade
Wells to Memphis for Wesley Person, a shooting guard said to have "character").

By character is meant "participates in Bible study group."

The Portland media never mention the fact that Bonzi Wells tore up his knee
one spring and was playing again the following fall, about four months
after surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. "Playing through
pain" is also considered an indication of "character," but what has Bonzi
done for them lately?

No Portland reporter wished Wells good luck in Memphis, or expressed the
hope that playing for a new team might mean a new beginning for the
talented young man. John Canzano of the Oregonian went out of his way to
say that Wells didn't deserve any more chances. His Dec. 8 column was
hedded "New Bonzi? Been through this act before."

Other Blazers who have been charged with marijuana possession include
Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, and Qyntel Woods. Wallace and
Stoudamire were charged with possession in November, 2002, after their car
was stopped in Centralia, Washington. They were told that charges would be
dropped if they didn't violate any laws for a year. Wallace made it but
Stoudamire didn't. First he was busted with a pound at his home but a
judge ruled that the search was illegal. Then he was busted with less than
an oz at the airport in Tucson He faces charges back in Washington that
could carry a six-month jail sentence.

Said Patterson the paternal: "We worked very hard with Damon to have him go
to a rehab program that was far more extensive than what wold have been
required under the NBA's program. He did his aftercare, and he has been
very mature and clear-eyed."

The Tribune devoted five articles to the Trailblazers' marijuana use. One
concerned the financial implications of Zach Randolph's bust: "Lucrative
pact may hinge on test results. Randolph's future as the highest paid
Blazer is up in the air." According to reporter Kerry Eggers, "the team had
exercised its contract option with him for 2004-05 and talked about giving
him a seven-year contract extension that would pay him the maximum allowed.
But [General Manager John] Nash said... 'Any illegal behavior is going to
have a negative impact on commitments you are going to make in the future."
Note how the marijuana prohibition gives the bosses leverage to cut
salaries. It saves them millions.

The press conference included a contrite statement from Randolph who was
cut off by Nash. "I apologize to my teammates and the organization and our
fans. I am embarrassed and disappointed to the team. It's something that we
don't need," said the player. "Thanks, that's all you have to say," said
the boss, taking back the mike.

Eggers' piece included some financial info. "Using a estimated salary cap
figure of $44 million -that figure won't be set until the summer- Randolph
could reap as much as $11 million (25 percent of the team's payroll) next
year. He also would qualify for a deal that would earn him a package worth
$93.86 million, topping out at $19.25 million in the 2010-2011 season."

Sports fans have been programmed -by the sports pages, talk radio, and
"fantasy" leagues-to think like general managers. Although they have no
real-world money or power, they have come to regard the magnificent young
athletes as objects they can buy, own, trade, sell, etc. It's like a
virtual slave market. Sometimes on the talk shows you'll hear people
talking about the athletes' bodies -their vertical leap, their big butts
(to block out for rebounds), their wing-spans, how much they're worth...
The auction block in the computer age.


Dear Landlord...

Continuing our correspondence with the Marijuana Policy Project (a
Washington-based lobby funded by Progressive Insurance owner Peter Lewis)
on behalf of O'Shaughnessy's, the journal of the California Cannabis
Research Medical Group (10 doctors who have issued about half the approvals
to date).

On Wednesday, November 26, 2003, at 08:22 AM, Fred Gardner wrote:

Note to MPP:

The demise of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics (see attached column)
makes the survival of O'Shaughnessy's seem even more important... I'm still
waiting for the letter explaining why you turned us down. I would also like
to know the reason(s) why you keep secret the projects you choose to
support. It might make sense in a few cases, where they're trying not to
draw the heat, but in general it doesn't; a democratic movement requires a
certain level of transparency.

On 12/3/03 1:29 PM, "Chad Thevenot" (chad@mpp.org wrote:


I've just returned from vacation, so I'm just now receiving your e-mail.
MPP was a principle funder of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, so we
too regret seeing it fold. Regarding the rejection letter for your grant
application, I apologize for its delay. All rejection letters were delayed
due to my exceptionally busy schedule in November, including the DPA
conference, hiring seven new employees, and a Thanksgiving holiday. I
mailed a letter to you today. Regarding publicizing a list of projects
funded by MPP, we feel that the costs of publishing such a list outweigh
the benefits. However, I will give it further consideration.

I appreciate your feedback. However, your accusatory tone and ccing
colleagues to such a message is unproductive and unprofessional. I'm happy
to speak with you anytime but only in a mutually respectful and
professional manner. My phone number is below and has always been published
on MPP's grants Web page.

On 12/4 Fred Gardner wrote:

What accusatory tone? What are you referring to? What's wrong with ccing
the CCRMG doctors -who are directly affected by your decision- and an
attorney who has defended their interests before the state medical board?
Why is that disrespectful or unprofessional? I'm serious. Could you explain?

In fact, why shouldn't their patients and anyone else who's interested in
cannabis therapeutics know that O'Shaughnessy's got turned down by the
Marijuana Policy Project? Why should your decision or your reasoning be
kept hush-hush?

And I would still appreciate an answer to my original question: what
projects has MPP chosen to fund? I don't understand why it would it be
"costly" to list them. Obviously you maintain a list of the projects you're
funding. Is it even legal for a tax-deductible charity organization to
keep its operations concealed? The truth is, the funding decisions you
make at MPP have tremendous political ramifications. They should be made
public, and your reasoning should be subject to scrutiny by the
rank-and-file in California and elsewhere whose outrage, courage, work, and
sacrifice made your success possible.

The above is not meant in any "accusatory tone." The following is: you
sound like a prompous little fart. A pimp, a dweeb, and a liar. For sure
you're just a flunky -"Nobody makes decisions at MPP except Rob Kampia,"
they say,

Here's the state of the movement at the end of 2003: seven more useless
twits get hired by MPP to lunch with and provide strokes to politicians and
their aides, while the courageous, beleagured doctors on the front lines in
California can't afford a journal to strengthen their credibility. Shame on
you and MPP. Shame on your boss, Kampia. And shame on Peter Lewis of
Progressive Insurance, giving you all those millions to usurp, distort,
misdirect, and control our movement.

Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2003
Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA)
Column: Cannabinotes
Copyright: 2003 Anderson Valley Advertiser
Contact: ava@pacific.net