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The Week Online with DRCNet
(renamed "Drug War Chronicle" effective issue #300, August 2003)

Issue #262, 11/8/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: More to This Vote Than Meets the Eye
  2. Black Tuesday for Drug Reform
  3. Arizona Steps Back as Decrim Initiative Loses, Anti-Reform Sentencing Initiative Wins
  4. Legal Pot in Nevada? Not This Year
  5. New York: Pataki Victory Swamps Dems, Golisano, Marijuana Reform Party, Libertarians
  6. Ohio "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Runs Into Drug War Buzzsaw
  7. No Hemp, No New Rights for Defendants in South Dakota
  8. Wisconsin: Libertarian Thompson Gets Ten Percent
  9. DC Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Treatment Not Jail Initiative
  10. Massachusetts Voters Tell Reps to Support Marijuana Decrim
  11. San Francisco Voters Ask City to Look at Growing Its Own
  12. FAMM Victory: Amendment to Cap Federal Guideline Sentences for Low-Level Drug Offenders is Now Law
  13. Colombian Campaign for Drug Legalization
  14. Anti-Prohibitionists Meet Human Rights Advocates and Political Leaders at Albania Congress of Transnational Radical Party
  15. Newsbrief: Nordic Prohibitionists Beginning Counter-Campaign Supporting UN Drug Conventions
  16. Web Scan: Forbes on Hope Taft, Newsday on Tony Papa, New Scientist on Cannabis, Raich v. Ashcroft Lawsuit Docs
  17. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Editorial: More to This Vote Than Meets the Eye

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 11/8/02

Activists have barely begun the debate on this year's round of drug reform votes -- "Black Tuesday," as our lead article calls it. Some of the losses, however, may have more to them than meets the eye.

Nevada's marijuana initiative, Question 9, sponsored by Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, a campaign of the Marijuana Policy Project, is a good example. With 61% against and 39% for, a CNN report the next day described the initiative, which would have established a legal framework for adults possessing up to three ounces of marijuana, as having been "soundly defeated." In electoral terms, it was.

But a glass can be half empty or half full -- in this case, 39% full. Nearly four out of ten voters in Nevada chose to effectively make marijuana legal -- a clear demonstration that legalization of marijuana at least is a mainstream viewpoint, not the "fringe" or "radical" notion as charged by prohibitionists. And not only did those 39% choose legalization. They chose to have Nevada go that route alone, in advance of every other state in the country.

Add to those 39% the Nevadans who would go for legalization or regulation as part of a nationwide or worldwide reform. Add the people who had problems only with specific details of the provision in this yes or no vote, such as the fairly substantial three ounce limit, but would have opted for some similar initiative. And add to all of them the Nevadan voters who tended to favor it, but weren't sure and were hesitant in these uncertain times to approve a significant policy change whose ramifications they hadn't had a chance to fully analyze and think through, the usual drop in support suffered by most controversial ballot measures in their final days.

Then consider the overall conservative tide, and Nevada's anti-gay marriage initiative, which likely mobilized significant numbers of religious cultural conservatives to get to the polls, passing it by a wide margin. The same voters who saw fit to interfere through the force of government with the private relationship decisions of consenting individuals, are also likely to have opposed the marijuana initiative as well. This probably worked to the detriment of Question 9, but without necessarily reflecting on overall public sentiment.

Put it all together, and public support in Nevada for ending marijuana prohibition is probably pretty close to the 50% mark -- as polling showed more than once. Prohibitionist opponents of Question 9 will doubtless hold it up as an example of the public rejecting drug legalization. But that is only one side of the story.

The real message of Question 9 is that anti-prohibitionism is a cause that is not yet at the point of victory, but is gaining ground and is well inside the mainstream of political thought. Question 9 didn't change Nevada law this year, but it did take the discussion to the cover of Time magazine and TV screens and households around the country. Whether mounting Question 9 was the right decision is an issue that will be debated in reform circles for years to come, and there may never be consensus on that point. Nevertheless, NRLE and MPP deserve credit for taking the issue to a new level. This fight has only just begun.

2. Black Tuesday for Drug Reform

Drug reform movement leaders and funders must feel like Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt after the shellacking they took on Tuesday. The same conservative tide that delivered the Senate to the Republicans also swamped heavily-funded initiatives in three closely watched states. South Dakota's low-budget initiatives suffered the same fate, as did the New York Marijuana Reform Party's shoestring effort to obtain ballot status.

Though a bad day for drug reformers overall and an occasion for strategic rethinking, Election 2002 was not a total wash, as DC, San Francisco and Massachusetts show.

Reform movement funders, leaders, and bases alike are beginning the post-mortems on an election that saw momentum for drug reform come up against a brick wall. The fact that millions of dollars were spent on failed electoral efforts, while grassroots groups go begging for funds, is certain to be part of an intense debate on drug reform strategy -- as well the fact that 19 out of 24 major initiative campaigns overall have passed over the last six years.

DRCNet will be covering the analyses of what went right and what went wrong, but this week your correspondent has been on the road, first to Las Vegas, NV where a hoped for victory celebration turned into a wake, and then to Anaheim, CA to cover the Marijuana Policy Project/Students for Sensible Drug Policy conference, today through Sunday, November 8-10. (Come out to the Hilton Anaheim and register on site if you can make it!) What follows below is a "just the facts, ma'am" look at the election results. Expect the Week Online to delve more deeply into the post-election debate on the movement's direction in coming issues.

3. Arizona Steps Back as Decrim Initiative Loses, Anti-Reform Sentencing Initiative Wins

Arizona voters approved groundbreaking drug reform initiatives in 1996 and 1998, but balked on Tuesday at decriminalizing marijuana possession and requiring state police to distribute medical marijuana. While voters rejected Proposition 203 57% to 43%, they approved a measure allowing judges to impose jail time on drug offenders who refuse drug treatment.

Prop. 203 was spearheaded by The People Have Spoken, the same group that ran the two successful earlier initiatives and was largely funded by University of Phoenix founder John Sperling, with help from financier George Soros and Progressive Insurance magnate Peter Lewis. The multi-faceted initiative would also have effectively ended the jailing of drug offenders.

But it faltered under a counterattack by Arizona prohibitionists, with help from federal officials such as drug czar John Walters, who campaigned against the measure in the state last month. Led by Maricopa County Attorney and drug czar wannabe Rick Romley, opponents also struck back with Proposition 302, which will enhance the ability of drug court judges to punish relapses by drug offenders in treatment by sending them to jail.

"A defeat (of 203) will have national ramifications," Romley told the Arizona Republic Tuesday evening. "Every state is watching Arizona because the tide will have turned. People will say: 'Is it really about medical marijuana, or is it about drug legalization?'"

Romley also cheered the passage of Prop. 302, which will allow judges to jail first- and second-time drug offenders who fail drug treatment programs. Under current Arizona law, only third-time offenders are now subject to such treatment. "This is the hammer we needed to get some people off heroin and amphetamine," he said Tuesday.

4. Legal Pot in Nevada? Not This Year

There was no joy on Sahara Boulevard in Las Vegas Tuesday night as supporters of Nevada's high-spending marijuana legalization initiative gathered in what they hoped would be a victory party. Instead, it turned out to be a wake as Question 9, which would have enacted legal regulation instead of prohibition for possession of up to three ounces of marijuana, and which many in the drug reform movement hoped would finally break the electoral barrier, was defeated decisively. Nevada voters rejected Question 9 by 61% to 39%.

Marijuana Policy Project ( director Rob Kampia huddled with Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement's ( Billy Rogers and state representative Chris Giunchigliani (D-Las Vegas) as the voting ended, but they saw defeat staring them in the face early on. While volunteers at NRLE headquarters waited anxiously -- nobody felt like eating -- Kampia, Rogers and Giunchigliani, who had sponsored last year's successful bill to make marijuana possession no longer a felony and who signed on consult with the Question 9 campaign, tried to figure out how long to hold onto the hope of victory.

But by 8:50pm, less than two hours after the polls closed, it was all over. Reporters, TV crews and volunteers -- some now breaking out in tears -- listened as NRLE conceded. "Change is never easy," Rogers said, comparing the drug war to the social struggles of the 1960s. "The civil rights movement took a long time to achieve success. One day down the road, we will change these bad laws. This is the first of many battles."

"This was about responsible adults using marijuana in the privacy of their own homes," said Kampia. "This was about not getting your door kicked in for doing so. But our message didn't get out."

It wasn't for lack of money. MPP and its affiliate, NRLE, spent over $2 million in the Nevada effort and waged a TV advertising campaign, as well as hiring locals such as Giunchigliani and former Nevada Council of Police and Sheriffs head Andy Anderson in an effort to rebut charges that the campaign was inflicted on the state by outside interests. But as in Ohio and Arizona, while the prohibitionist opposition may have been caught flat-footed at first, local law enforcement and anti-drunk driving groups hooked up with the federal drug war bureaucracy to wage an all-out campaign against Question 9.

Opponents used a series of widely publicized traffic fatalities linked to marijuana use to great advantage, telling Nevadans they would face a plague of stoned drivers. They also made a great deal of the three ounce provision, waving baggies full of joints at every TV camera in sight and claiming that so much pot could not possibly be for personal use. As in Ohio, there is evidence that some opponents violated state laws by campaigning against the measure while on the state time clock. And as if fear-mongering and illegal actions weren't enough, opponents also enlisted drug czar John Walters, who was all too willing to come to the state and pronounce loudly and repeatedly against the pernicious weed. The drug czar's national anti-marijuana TV advertising campaign also saturated Nevada air waves with what amounted to free advertising for Question 9 opponents.

Rogers told DRCNet that in addition to the drug czar's campaigning and widely repeated concerns about driving while stoned, the effort also fell prey to national political currents. "That conservative wave that swept across the nation Tuesday also swept across Nevada," he said. Even normally Democratic Clark County [Las Vegas] went Republican, and that hurt us badly," he said.

Another possible factor was an anti-gay marriage state initiative that passed overwhelmingly. It is possible, though not yet verified by DRCNet, that a voter mobilization by religious cultural conservatives for that initiative brought out a large turnout of people who would also vote against the reform bill.

As the evening wore on, Kampia was watching the numbers and hoping out loud that at least a record high pro-legalization vote would be reached. "Only three times has marijuana legalization been on a state ballot," he said. "It got 34% in California in 1972, 26% in Oregon in 1986, and 41% in Arizona in 2000. If we can get more than 41%, that's a record," he said.

Almost but not quite. Absentee ballot counts released shortly after the polls closed (delayed until about 7:45 in some Las Vegas precincts because of long lines), showed Question 9 at 37%, and the absentee ballots turned out to be low but not very, with the measure maxing out at 39% as the ballots were counted.

Rogers, a political operative imported from Texas to run the campaign, turned to some home state imagery as he urged supporters not to get dispirited. "It may take two years or four years or ten years, but we will win," he said. "In 1836, the Texans were defeated at the Alamo, but soon after Sam Houston was president of the Republic of Texas. We lost a battle, but we haven't lost the war."

5. New York: Pataki Victory Swamps Dems, Golisano, Marijuana Reform Party, Libertarians

Although reform or repeal of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws was an issue in the Empire State's gubernatorial campaign, incumbent Gov. George Pataki gathered enough popular support to easily swamp the opposition. With 99% of precincts reporting, Pataki won a plurality with 49% of the vote, while Democratic challenger Carl McCall got 33% and independent candidate Tom Golisano, who in October called for outright repeal of the Rockefeller laws, came in with 14%. In bad news for drug reformers, neither Marijuana Reform Party candidate Tom Leighton nor Libertarian Party candidate Scott Jeffrey managed to crack the 50,000 vote barrier. If they had managed to get above 50,000 votes, the two parties would have been granted ballot lines for the next four years.

Leighton 22,500 votes, less than 1%, while the Libertarian's Jeffrey scored only 9,076. It seems likely that the Golisano effort, funded with $65 million of Golisano's personal fortune, sucked the air out of the campaign for all minor parties. Along with the Marijuana Reform Party and the Libertarians, the Right to Life Party, the Green Party, and the Liberal Party all failed to earn ballot status this year.

At least Leighton got a nice plug from Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review, writing in a column in the New York Observer in the days before the election. He contrasted the MRP with the Conservative Party, which Brookhiser feels abandoned its ideological principles in supporting Pataki (principles quite divergent on many issues from the generally liberal MRP). Parties like the MRP are needed to keep a focus on such issues and can force more prominent candidates, such as Golisano and McCall in this case, to devote attention to them, Brookhiser wrote.

While both McCall and Pataki called for Rockefeller law reform during the campaign, and Pataki even offered up a few concessions to the Democratic-led legislature, reforms have been talked about but not enacted for the last three years. Whether an emboldened Pataki will be willing to negotiate further with the Democrats remains to be seen. Neither reform proposal draws strong support from groups such as the Kunstler Fund or Drop the Rock, a grassroots campaign to repeal the Rockefeller laws.

McCall, the first black major party gubernatorial candidate in state history, never caught up to Pataki in the campaign funding race and was largely abandoned by the national Democratic Party as it became apparent that his was a lost cause. He was also abandoned by many traditional Democratic voters, the New York Times reported. Pataki, for his part, continued his evolution from conservative crime fighter to northeastern Republican liberal, touting social programs during his administration and claiming a willingness to address Rockefeller law reform, even if his proposals left most drug reformers lukewarm at best.

Golisano, who became a billionaire as head of Paychex, the payroll administration company, and who, despite calling himself "the only true conservative in the campaign," made a radical call for repeal of the Rockefeller laws, sounded a theme similar to Wisconsin's Ed Thompson in defeat. In his concession speech Tuesday night, Golisano warned the major parties to watch out. "If we achieved anything," he said, "it's for the next several years, the two-party system in this state has got to keep their eye out on us, because we're going to be watching them."

6. Ohio "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Runs Into Drug War Buzzsaw

Issue One, the proposed Ohio constitutional amendment that would have made drug treatment instead of jail stays a guaranteed option for first- and second-time drug offenders, was crushed at the polls Tuesday, losing by a two-to-one margin. The Ohio campaign marked the emergence of formidable, coordinated opposition to the wave of -- until this year -- successful drug reform initiatives funded by a quartet of wealthy individuals.

"Issue One is deader than a dodo," crowed Republican Gov. Robert Taft less than two hours after the polls closed Tuesday. Taft and his wife, Hope, led a strong campaign against the initiative -- one that may well have strayed over the line of unlawful government conduct, as Dan Forbes reported earlier this fall. State and local elected and appointed officials in several states worked with federal government officials to craft an anti-reform strategy that managed to keep initiatives off the ballot in Florida and Michigan and bring crushing defeat to the Ohio measure.

(And as Forbes reported this week, Hope Taft may have added assault to the list of offenses against drug reformers. Medical marijuana activist Dee Dee Zoretic was physically restrained from addressing the governor by Mrs. Taft at a campaign event in Cleveland. Taft responded to Zoretic's allegation with a "fine non-denial denial," Forbes reported. Visit for the story.)

In a major coup for the anti forces, Ohio officials crafted ballot language for the measure that put the amendment's estimated seven-year cost of $247 million right in front of voters' eyes on the ballot. The ballot language made no mention of the estimated $20 million annual net savings the measure would have garnered for Ohio taxpayers. But it wasn't merely a question of bad wording on the ballot. The anti forces crafted a statewide coalition of law enforcement, drug court judges, and treatment providers that filled op-ed pages and local television news stories with invective decrying the initiative. And, of course, drug czar John Walters came to the state to amplify the message against drug reform.

And while the initiative battle took on a partisan tinge when Democratic gubernatorial challenger Tim Hagan endorsed Issue One, other Ohio Democrats joined the Republican state establishment in foiling Issue One. Toledo's Democratic Mayor Jack Ford, for instance, was a co-chair of the anti-Issue One organization, while Democratic judges stood with their GOP brethren in defense of their sentencing prerogatives. Ford was rewarded for his efforts when Gov. Taft called him "a true profile in courage" for opposing the initiative.

Initiative opponents also hammered on the "billionaire outsiders" theme to good effect, despite the fact that two of the big funders, Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance and Richard Wolfe, have strong Ohio ties. "A few people thought their will and their money could buy an election," said Hope Taft, reprising the theme Tuesday night. "I'm here to tell them that Ohio is not for sale."

For the moment, at least, the Campaign for New Drug Policies and its Ohio affiliate are hanging tough. Even as he accepted defeat Tuesday evening, Ohio initiative campaign head Ed Orlett told the Toledo Blade the group had just begun to fight. "They've won a small skirmish in what is a great battle. It's a rather hollow victory based on a very negative campaign. I've had judges tell me that there are courtrooms where first-time offenders are sent to jail and it's a tremendous cost that we don't need to bear," he said.

7. No Hemp, No New Rights for Defendants in South Dakota

Two initiatives championed by South Dakota's one-man drug reform movement, Bob Newland, went down in flames on Tuesday. An industrial hemp initiative was rejected by 62% of the voters, and the attention-grabbing Amendment A, also known as the Common Sense Justice Amendment, was defeated even more decisively, winning only 22%, according to unofficial counts.

While the hemp initiative received almost no attention, the Common Sense Justice Amendment, which would have allowed defendants in criminal cases to argue the merits, applicability and validity of the law, roused national interest, including a not unsympathetic piece in the Wall Street Journal. But it also roused the state's legal establishment, with defense attorneys as well as prosecutors denouncing the measure as leading to legal chaos and anarchy. The two major party candidates for Attorney General stood together to jointly oppose Amendment A.

On the other side were Newland, a coterie of hard-working volunteers, and Amendment A poster child Matthew Duchenaux, a Lakota Indian who was arrested for smoking marijuana to ease tremors caused by Multiple Sclerosis. Duchenaux's attorney's attempt to raise a medical necessity defense was okayed by a circuit court judge, but overturned on appeal. Duchenaux was convicted earlier this fall and sentenced to probation. Newland and other Amendment A supporters argued that it would have allowed Duchenaux to tell jurors that it was silly to convict him. But South Dakotans weren't buying, despite Newland's chilling last-minute presentation of legal horror stories inflicted on South Dakotans by the criminal justice system.

Visit to read Newland's presentation on the issue.

8. Wisconsin: Libertarian Thompson Gets Ten Percent

Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson, in a campaign that emphasized the failure of the drug war, got 10% of the vote Tuesday, according to unofficial figures. While far from enough to win, Thompson's tally was the best third-party showing in Wisconsin since Robert LaFollette won as the Progressive Party candidate in 1942. And if Thompson stays above 10% in the official tally, the Libertarians will gain a seat on the state's Board of Elections.

"We changed the face of politics in Wisconsin," Thompson said during his concession speech Tuesday night. "We've made the third party viable. And we've put Wisconsin leaders on notice that we are a voice that needs to be heard."

Thompson said that the state's two major parties had received a wake-up call and now they will "know for sure we're watching, my friends." And he promised to stay active in politics -- one way or another. "Right now, I'm going to stay in it. I don't know if it's running, or maybe taking a back seat. Maybe there's a better candidate."

Thompson's lack of support two months ago was critical for his campaign's chances. He needed to reach 6% of the vote in the September primary to qualify for more than $200,000 in state campaign funding, but he fell short. The lack of state money meant Thompson could not afford big media buys; he ended up running only a few radio spots and a Libertarian Party ad on marijuana legalization on Madison cable television. While major party candidates, Democratic winner Scott McCallum and Republican Jim Doyle, spent somewhere between $11 and $14 million on the campaign, Thompson's low-budget crusade gathered only $315,000 -- a third of it in the last three months of the campaign.

Thompson's poor showing in September also kept him out of the first televised gubernatorial debate, and while he did appear in later debates, he lost a prime opportunity to get his message out to Wisconsin voters. While drug policy was not a big issue in the campaign -- except for Thompson -- both McCallum and Doyle espoused doctrinaire drug war stances, and now drug war orthodoxy continues to reign supreme at the governor's mansion.

9. DC Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Treatment Not Jail Initiative

Tuesday didn't bring all bad news. Though Ohio voters rejected a similar initiative, voters in the nation's capital issued a broad mandate for drug treatment instead of prison for nonviolent drug offenders. DC's Measure 62, organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, passed by a whopping margin of 78% to 22%. The measure had been opposed editorially by both the Washington Post and the Washington Times, but otherwise saw no significant organized opposition.

With the passage of Measure 62, District residents charged with the possession of other than Schedule I drugs will be able to opt for drug treatment in place of conviction or imprisonment for illegal drug possession. All legal proceedings against covered drug possession defendants would be dismissed upon completion of drug treatment.

Schedule I drugs -- including heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and marijuana -- are widely used in the District and their users are often arrested, but campaign organizers told DRCNet they were excluded because of fears of arousing congressional action against any measure that would effectively reduce marijuana penalties.

While the DC campaign can claim a rare victory for drug reform, the election victory is only the beginning. Measure 62 supporters will have to gain funding to implement the treatment program, and that funding will have to be approved by a GOP-controlled Congress, whether it comes from local funds or federal. The measure is set to become law on October 1 next year, and Measure 62 organizers are already calling on supporters to build a broad coalition to ensure funding and proper implementation. They have won a battle in DC, but the war continues.

Visit to keep up with Measure 62.

10. Massachusetts Voters Tell Reps to Support Marijuana Decrim

Building on similar success in 2000, MassCann and the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts won a clean sweep of marijuana decriminalization local advisory ballots in 42 Bay State towns and cities. The local advisory ballots are non-binding resolutions urging elected representatives in the districts at stake to vote in support of measures removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession or use. According to a report from DPFMA, the measures passed in every city and town they were on the ballot. In Boston, for example, the measure passed at 61%, while in Quincy it came in with 59%.

Official results have yet to be posted on the Secretary of State's web site, and the Boston Globe hasn't bothered to mention them either, so DRCNet thanks DPF Massachusetts for making this information available.

11. San Francisco Voters Ask City to Look At Growing Its Own

Never a city where rising conservative tides matter one whit, San Francisco Tuesday once again demonstrated that it is willing to go its own way no matter what the mood of the rest of the nation. Angered by the federal assault on medical marijuana patients and providers in California, the city's Board of Supervisors placed on the ballot a measure, Proposition S, which asked citizens to decide whether to urge the city government to grow and distribute its own medical marijuana. By a margin of 63% to 37%, San Franciscans told the city's leaders to move ahead.

In a city where 4,000 people are enrolled in a municipal medical marijuana ID card program, the supply of medical marijuana is an issue that resonates. With some providers now facing lengthy prison sentences on federal manufacture charges and some dispensaries shutting down for fear of the same, the provision of medical marijuana has become an increasingly urgent issue. Now the city has a clear signal from voters to start looking seriously at growing its own.

Supervisors who supported Proposition S wrote that the city "will do whatever it takes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens." The measure "shines a light on an outdated and scientifically unsound federal medical cannabis policy for the entire world to see," they added. "The will of the voters of California and eight other states must be respected."

The loneliest man in San Francisco disagreed. "We think it sends the wrong message to the country as a whole that the city of San Francisco will get into the business of growing marijuana," DEA San Francisco spokesman Richard Meyer told Agence France Presse -- the only news service or newspaper to file a report on the measure. "The US Congress has not rescheduled marijuana which remains a Schedule 1 substance with no acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse," said Meyer. "We will uphold these laws."

Now the city of San Francisco will ponder its next move. Actually growing medical marijuana would set the city up in a direct confrontation with the Ashcroft Justice Department -- and that's just fine with some activists. In fact, they would like to see the state of California take up the challenge and start providing medical marijuana itself. "The state should be supporting voters and patients by taking the risks on themselves to go up against the feds, and it lays down the gauntlet for the state to do something," Hilary McQuie, campaign coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, told AFP.

12. FAMM Victory: Amendment to Cap Federal Guideline Sentences for Low-Level Drug Offenders is Now Law

(press release from Families Against Mandatory Minimums)

On November 1, 2002, a federal sentencing guideline amendment to "cap" sentences for the least culpable drug offenders became law.

Amendment 4 is designed to limit the exposure of low level drug offenders to increased penalties based on drug quantity alone. The guideline puts a ceiling on the sentence of a defendant who is a minimal or minor participant.

"Amendment 4 targets the least culpable of all drug defendants, capping their base sentences at Level 30, roughly 10 years," commented Julie Stewart, president and founder of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). "This cap prevents their sentences from being driven above Level 30 by drug quantity, which is the primary factor that determines sentence length. Drug quantity may be a relevant sentencing factor, but a defendant's role in the offense is also a very important factor in determining a just sentence. Amendment 4 strikes a reasonable balance between these factors."

Amendment 4 will not result in wholesale changes to drug sentences. The only defendants covered by it are those found by a court to have been minor or minimal participants in drug offenses. While the amendment would cap their base offense level at 30, it does not prohibit a judge from increasing the sentence based on any other factor the court deems appropriate. The Sentencing Commission estimates that only six percent of all drug defendants -- those who receive a minimal role adjustment -- will qualify, approximately 240 people each year.

FAMM urges the Commission to make Amendment 4 retroactive to apply to those prisoners with mitigating role adjustments whose sentences are above Level 30. Visit to read the language of Amendment 4, plus other amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines. Visit for further information on mandatory minimum sentencing.

13. Colombian Campaign for Drug Legalization

Our friends at Narco News ( have this week reported on "A Colombian's Call for a Referendum on Drug Legalization," a manifesto and campaign for legalization launched by Colombian citizen José Cuesta. Cuesta writes:

"It's a fatal paradox that a war on drugs is imposed on the Colombian people, while in the United States some of its citizens can use the instrument of referendum to deal with this spiny issue: through this route, democracy ends up being a strange and discriminatory privilege for the societies of the world: The Anglo-Saxons get citizen participation while the countries to the South get a devastating war...

"Because we believe in the universal character of democracy, and because we understand that after more than four decades of the drug war its results are an absolute failure, we propose the continuation of a worldwide battle for drug legalization... The United States speaks to us in this way: We conduct their war, we supply the deaths, we devastate the Amazon, and they consolidate their economy by incorporating millions of narco-dollars."

Visit for the full article, including the full-text of the manifesto and e-mail addresses for a letter-writing campaign to Colombian decision makers.

14. Anti-Prohibitionists Meet Human Rights Advocates and Political Leaders at Albania Congress of Transnational Radical Party

(submitted by Dale Gieringer)

Opponents of drug prohibition joined supporters of human rights and democracy from around the world at the 38th Congress of the Transnational Radical Party last week.

Led by Arnold Trebach, president of the newly reconstituted International Anti-Prohibitionist League, a TRP-affiliated global anti-prohibition organization, with European Parliament members Marco Cappato and TRP official Marco Perduca, the Congress included a session entitled, "The antiprohibitionists on science and conscience, on drug, alcohol, sex and everything else."

American participants included Trebach, who explained the IAL's vision for ending world drug prohibition, Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who spoke of his experiences as a former drug agent, and Dale Gieringer of the Drug Policy Forum of California and California NORML, who spoke about the DEA's war on medical marijuana. Other participants addressed such varied topics as restrictions on stem cell research, access to contraception, and the evils of female genital mutilation.

An impressive array of advocates for human rights and democracy spoke at the general session. Among them were spokesmen for Uyghur Turks oppressed by the Chinese in Xinjiang; the Falun Gong sect, thousands of whom have been imprisoned or tortured in China; African women afflicted by genital mutilation; Montagnards suffering death and oppression at the hands of the Vietnamese; advocates of democracy imprisoned in Egypt and China; Chechen leaders wrongly accused of terrorism by Russian president Vladimir Putin; Afghan women threatened by a resurgence of Taliban misogynists; and so on and on around the world.

The proceedings took place in a magnificent new conference hall, before some 300 delegates from around the world, with translation into five languages (Albanian, English, Russian, French and Italian). The majority of delegates were Italian, led by the founder of the Radical Party, Marco Pannella, the grand old man of the party, a leonine figure with a genius for passionate, stentorian oratory on the virtues of democrazia, liberta, non-violenza and anti-proibizionismo. Panella is also famous for his well-publicized protests against cannabis prohibition, in which he and other Radicals have turned hashish over to the police in civil disobedience of the laws. He currently has a four-month jail sentence awaiting him for his derelictions. Another inspiring presence was that of Emma Bonino, former human rights commissioner for the EU, who brought world attention to the plight of Afghan women by getting herself arrested by the Taliban, and who is now focusing on the fight for democracy in Egypt.

The Congress attracted favorable attention and hospitality from the Albanians. The Prime Minister, former Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense all came to speak. A highlight of the conference was the Mayor of Tirana, who mounted the podium in jeans and a Levis jacket and thanked the audience for coming to "the land of the prostitutes and illegal immigrants." He went on to denounce the evils of prohibition and proclaim himself a member of the Radical Party. The Mayor is a serious figure, having won recognition from the UN for his work to develop Tirana. The hotel at which Congress attendees stayed was a case in point, a modern new skyscraper with flawless facilities, on par with any of the western world's hotels. Outside, the countryside, still littered with debris and the shells of concrete bunkers built by its xenophobic former dictator, is dotted with simple peasant homes lying in a verdant Mediterranean valley with scenic mountains looming in the background. Piece by piece, Tirana appears to be arising from the squalid torpor of its Communist past.

Visit for the full proceedings of the Tirana TRP Congress, including video footage.

15. Newsbrief: Nordic Prohibitionists Beginning Counter-Campaign Supporting UN Drug Conventions

Rabid Swedish prohibitionists are not taking perceived threats to the United Nations' Single Convention on Narcotics lightly. Already upset that anti-prohibitionists met in facilities of the European Union last month to plan an offensive against the Convention, the legal backbone of the global prohibition regime, the Hassela Nordic Network is now striking back with an declaration in support of the current set of UN treaties. They are up for review in Vienna in April.

Hassela's "Vienna Declaration" warns that: "For several years individuals and organisations have made efforts to undermine the UN Conventions on Drugs and to disregard the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to facilitate drug use and even promote legalisation of certain drugs, the ultimate purpose being to end prohibition to use illicit drugs. By trying to promote pro-drug ideas in political settings, pro-drug advocates obviously hope to make their disastrous agenda look decent... Efforts to legalise drugs are a serious violation of the contents of the UN Conventions on Drugs, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, especially article 33: States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances."

And then the Swedes asked what they thought were the provocative questions: "Do you want your children to have easier access to drugs? Do you want more drugs and violence in your neighbourhood? Do you want to support the marijuana industries or industries producing other illicit drugs?"

It looks like tough stuff, but as of Friday morning Hassela's web site reported no signatories. Sadly for US citizens, while Hassela represents the extremist fringe of European prohibitionist sentiment, they could find numerous allies among officeholders from both mainstream political parties here.

Visit to view the declaration online.

16. Web Scan: Forbes on Hope Taft, Newsday on Tony Papa, New Scientist on Cannabis, Raich v. Ashcroft Lawsuit Docs

Medical Marijuana Activist Claims Ohio First Lady Manhandled Her at Debate -- report by Dan Forbes for

Ellis Hennican of Newsday writes about former New York Rockefeller prisoner and drug reform activist Tony Papa:,0,2921565.column

New Scientist magazine reports on cannabis drugs testing "milestone":

Pleadings for the Raich v. Ashcroft medical marijuana suit are now online on FindLaw:

Complaint (Raich v. Ashcroft)

Plaintiff's Memo of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Declaration of Angel McClary Raich

Declaration of Dr. Frank Henry Lucido

Declaration of Diane Monson

Declaration of Dr. John Rose

17. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum

Visit to tell Congress to repeal the Higher Education Act's drug provision in full and let tens of thousands of young people with drug convictions go back to college.

Support States' Rights to Medical Marijuana: Visit to write to Congress today!

Demand Freedom for the Tulia Victims

Stop H.R. 5607 that would prohibit Salvia Divinorum

Help stop S. 2633, the "Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002" -- call your Senators at (202) 224-3121, visit for information.

22. The Reformer's Calendar

(Please submit listings of events concerning drug policy and related topics to [email protected].)

November 1, 5:30pm, Oakland, CA, "International Day of Action for Drug Users' Rights," protest of Gov. Davis' veto of a bill legalizing pharmacy syringe sales. At the State Building, 1515 Clay St., contact Micah Frazier at the Harm Reduction Coalition, (510) 444-6969 x13 or [email protected] for information.

November 2, 9:00am-5:00pm, Kansas City, MO, NORML/SSDP Drug Law Conference. At UMKC, education building, featuring Keith Stroup, Debbie Moore, Alex Holsinger and others. Visit http:/ or e-mail [email protected] for information.

November 2, noon-2:00pm, Laguna Beach, CA, Pre-Election Vigil against the War on Drugs, sponsored by the November Coalition. At Main Beach and Coast Highway, call (509) 684-1550 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

November 2, Davis, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At the Varsity Theater, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit for further information.

November 6-8, 2002, St. Louis, MO, "2nd North American Conference on Fathers Behind Bars and on the Street." Call (434) 589-3036, e-mail [email protected] or visit for information.

November 7, 7:00pm, Santa Cruz, CA, Screening of "Fierce Grace," documentary about Ram Dass, to benefit the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. At the Rio Theater, 1205 Soquel Ave. at Seabright Ave., admission $20. Tickets available from The Book Loft, next door to the Rio, (831) 429-1812, or at the Rio from 5:00pm on the day of the event. Visit for further information.

November 8-10, Anaheim, CA, combined national conference of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Marijuana Policy Project. Early bird registration $150, $45 for students with financial need, visit for further information.

November 9-10, 10:00am-6:00pm, London, England, European Conference of The Libertarian International and Libertarian Alliance. At the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, admission £75.00 ($111 or 115 EURO), for information contact Dr. Chris Tame at +020 7821 5502 or e-mail [email protected].

November 12, noon-evening, Vandalia, MI, demonstration and gathering in memory of Tom Crosslin, Rollie Rohm and Rainbow Farm. March at noon to the gates of Rainbow Farm, demonstration/vigil from 2:00-6:00pm in front of the old Cassopolis courthouse at the corner of routes 60 and 62, followed by a potluck dinner and gathering at the Super 8 Motel in Three Rivers. Sponsored by Michigan Cannabis Action Network, call (231) 885-2993 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

November 15, 12:30-2:00pm, Washington, DC, "Democratic Transition and Anti-Drug Policy in Peru," seminar by George Washington University and the Washington Office on Latin America. At the Elliott School Commons of Stuart Hall, Room 103, 2013 G St., NW, contact [email protected], [email protected] or call (202) 797-2171 for further information.

November 20-24, Walnut Creek, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit for further information.

November 22-24, Amsterdam, Netherlands, "Psychoactivity III," speakers including Arno Adelaars, Hans Bogers, Jace Callaway PhD, Hilario Chiriap, Piers Gibbon, Luis Eduardo Luna PhD, Dr. phil. Claudia Mueller-Ebeling. Visit for further information.

November 22-24, Toronto, ON, Canada, Canadian Harm Reduction Conference, conference for current and former drug users, peer educators and front line workers to respond to critical and emerging issues through skills building and education, policy development and networking. Sponsored by the Canadian Harm Reduction Network, visit for further information.

November 24, 8:15pm, Los Angeles, CA, "High Hopes," medical marijuana benefit comedy show. At Comedy Store's Main Room, 8433 Sunset Blvd., to benefit WAMM, NORML and the Inglewood Wellness Center. Contact Howard Dover Productions at (323) 253-3472 for further information.

December 1-4, Seattle, WA, "Taking Drug Users Seriously," Fourth National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General. For information, e-mail [email protected], visit or call (212) 213-6376.

December 3, 6:30pm, Tampa, FL, American Cannabis Society event with music, nonprofit presentations and a hemp fashion show. Visit for information or contact (800) 256-7424, [email protected] or [email protected].

December 5, Seattle, WA, "Race, Class and the War on Drugs: Justice for All?" All day forum by King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project's Task Force on Racial and Class Disparity, cosponsored by the King County Bar Association and the Loren Miller Bar Association. For further information, contact Roger Goodman at [email protected].

December 8-10, Nashville, TN, Conference of Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy. Registration $50, visit or call (615) 327-9775 or for further information.

January 19, 2003, Winston-Salem, NC, conference on the effects of drug prohibition. At the Winston-Salem Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, Robinhood Rd., contact [email protected] for info.

February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century," sponsored by the DRCNet Foundation in partnership with organizations around the world. Visit or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

April 6-10, 2003, Chiangmai, Thailand, "Strengthening Partnerships for a Safer Future," 14th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm, sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Coalition in partnership with the Asian Harm Reduction Network. For further information, visit or contact [email protected] or (6653) 223624, 894112 x102.

April 17-19, 2003, San Francisco, CA, 2003 NORML Conference. Details to follow, visit for information.

June 7-11, 2003, Denver, CO, 23rd National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry. Visit or contact Sr. Carleen Reck at [email protected] for information.

November 5-8, 2003, East Rutherford, NJ, biennial conference of Drug Policy Alliance. At the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center, 2 Meadowlands Plaza, visit for further information.

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