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

Issue #289, 5/30/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: For Decency's Sake, No More "No-Knock" Drug Raids
  2. Canadian Government Introduces Cannabis Decriminalization Bill
  3. Ed Rosenthal to be Sentenced Wednesday -- Could Escape Mandatory Minimum as Pleas for Leniency Roll In, Supporters Prepare to Rally
  4. DRCNet Book Review: "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use," by Jacob Sullum (Tarcher & Putnam, 24.95 HB)
  5. Democratic Presidential Contender Endorses Medical Marijuana -- Ohio's Kucinich First Out of the Gate
  6. Saying Yes: New Book Offer from DRCNet
  7. Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, HEA Drug Provision, Global Legalization and Drug Treaty Reform Petition
  8. Newsbrief: NYPD Under Fire in Death of Woman in Botched Drug Raid
  9. Newsbrief: Federal Hepatitis C Control and Prevention Bill Filed
  10. Newsbrief: Mississippi Drug Czar Not One to Let the Law Get in His Way
  11. Newsbrief: The Hash Fields of Morocco
  12. Newsbrief: Dutch Coffee Shops Take Hit in Anti-Tobacco Campaign
  13. Newsbrief: New Zealand to War on "Evil" Meth
  14. Newsbrief: Garcia Marquez Takes Back His Legalization Comments, Sort Of
  15. Newsbrief: Gambian Narcs Mar Marley Remembrance with Raids
  16. Newsbrief: Japanese Author, Legalization Advocate Gets Suspended Sentence for Marijuana Possession
  17. Reflections Seeking Submissions for Special Issue on Prison
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

David Borden
1. Editorial: For Decency's Sake, No More "No-Knock" Drug Raids

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 5/30/03

Two weeks after the death of Alberta Spruill during a "no-knock" raid on her apartment prompted by incorrect information from a confidential informant, New Yorkers continue to express rage and shame and dismay. Police leaders have been fired, city officials have apologized for the failure of current practices that led to the tragedy.

The fundamental travesty is the use of such paramilitary-style police tactics in the first place. It has become commonplace in the US drug war for teams of black-clad anti-drug officers to knock down doors without warning, often in the middle of the night, setting off stun grenades, tackling confused residents to the ground and handcuffing them or waving guns in their faces or holding guns to their heads -- sometimes even children.

What police portray as a necessary strategy in the war on drugs is in reality a horrifying display of Stalinist-style police state tactics run amok. There is no good reason to rely on paid, confidential informants -- who often are deeply involved in criminal activity themselves -- and to take the extreme measures employed by Alberta Spruill's killers based on the "information" they provide. And there is no excuse or valid rationale for no-knock drug raids to begin with. Tragedies like Alberta Spruill's are nothing new; they are the inevitable result when SWAT teams are let loose in ordinary, everyday situations, as has become the norm. To allow no-knock drug raids to continue is to guarantee that more innocent people will die from them.

And die for nought. Even if Alberta Spruill had had illegal drugs in her dwelling, for use or distribution -- even if she'd had pounds, or tons -- invading her home to find that supply would do nothing to reduce drug use or abuse, nor anything in the long term to shrink the drug supply. The drug trade is illegal, but it is no less a market because of that. Just as food suppliers expect some of their product to go bad in transit or rot on grocery store shelves before being purchased, drug traffickers know that some of their heroin and marijuana will be seized and not reach the users whose dollars provide their profits. So they simply produce and distribute a quantity of cocaine and methamphetamine equal to the total of the consumer demand for the drugs, plus the losses they expect from drug seizures, added together. Indeed, the trafficking organizations have more accurate data on those numbers than any agency or think tank ever could, because they're the ones doing the selling, and they don't share their records.

Some will still say we have to do something about the drugs; we can't just leave them to leave the homes in which they're hidden to be sold on our cities' streets to our nation's adults and youth. Efforts should be made to prevent mistakes and unnecessary tragedies, they'll say, but we have to get the drugs off the streets, and the element of surprise is necessary to preserve the evidence, protect the lives of police officers, etc.

But doing the wrong thing can be worse than doing nothing. What could be more wrong than continuing the police-state raids, and killing more Alberta Spruills, even if only occasionally, all the while knowing that even raids done correctly and without casualties do nothing to reduce the drug problem?

There is only one right answer to the Alberta Spruill tragedy, only one way to solve the problem and give her death real meaning: Ban no-knock warrants, stop the drug raids, stop the war on drugs. For decency's sake.

2. Canadian Government Introduces Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Canada's Liberal government introduced its long-awaited cannabis decriminalization bill Tuesday, paving the way for the elimination of criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession in the United States' northern neighbor. Under the legislation presented to parliament by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, possession of less than 15 grams (slightly more than a half-ounce) of marijuana would no longer result in a criminal record and would be punishable only by a fine. Fines would range from $65 to $160 dollars for teenagers and $90 to $250 for adults.

But, as Cauchon took great pains to point out in presenting the bill, it will neither end marijuana prohibition nor bring the country's multi-billion dollar marijuana business out from the black market. "I want to be clear from the beginning," said the justice minister. "We are not legalizing marijuana and have no plans to do so. What we are changing is the way we prosecute certain offences."

While the Liberal proposal decreases formal sanctions for simple possession, in those considerable portions of Canada where possession busts are now not worth the bother for police, it potentially could actually increase enforcement. And while the proposal lessens penalties for possession, it increases existing penalties for all but the smallest growers.

Under the provisions of the government legislation:

  • Possession of 15 grams or less is no longer a crime but a "contravention" (similar in seriousness to a traffic violation) punishable only by a fine. Fines increase from the set minimum according to whether "aggravating" factors, such as possession while driving or near a school, are involved.
  • Possession of 15 to 30 grams may be charged as either a contravention or a criminal offense at the discretion of the officer involved. The same aggravating factors may be applied in making the charging decision.
  • Penalties are lowered for the cultivation of three or fewer plants to a maximum of 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. Under current law, all cultivation is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
  • Penalties are lowered for the cultivation of four to 25 plants to a maximum of 18 months and a $25,000 fine, but prosecutors have the option of charging cultivation in this range as an "indictable offense" (akin to a felony) punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • Penalties are increased for the cultivation of more than 25 plants. For 26-50 plants, the penalty is a maximum of 10 years in prison, plus fines, and for more than 50 plants, 14 years in prison, plus fines.
  • Penalties for trafficking remain unchanged, with the maximum sentence remaining life in prison, although not even the largest hard drug trafficker has received more than a 20-year sentence in recent years. Canadian drug trafficking laws do not differentiate between marijuana and other controlled substances.
  • There are no provisions regarding medical marijuana.
The Liberal decrim bill, strange hybrid critter that it is, is being framed by the government as part of a larger National Antidrug Strategy, which will spend US $175 million over the next five years on drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, including a campaign to discourage marijuana use.

"We do not want Canadians to use marijuana," said Health Minister Anne McLellan, who lobbied hard against any liberalization of the laws within the government. "We especially don't want young people to use marijuana. That is why an important part of our drug strategy will focus on strong public education messages to inform Canadians of the negative health affects of marijuana."

While the Liberal legislation sparked opposition from the usual suspects -- the Canadian Police Association called it "a hastily put together package that is held together with Band-Aids and duct tape" -- and congratulations from groups like the Canadian Bar Association, the reaction from drug reformers and marijuana activists and consumers was tepid at best.

"This is one step forward, one step back," said Dana Larsen, president of the British Columbia Marijuana Party (, headquartered in the country's biggest marijuana-growing province. "Decriminalization is a small step forward, but this law will not make things easier for Canada's marijuana people," he told DRCNet. "Here in Vancouver, now the police pretty much leave you alone or they just hassle you and take your stash. With the fines and ticketing, you end up with more punishment."

That plaint was echoed by members of the small crowd openly smoking pot at a city park adjoining Nelson, British Columbia's, Holy Smoke Culture Center and Psyche-Deli. Under a de facto arrangement with Nelson police, the lawbreakers go unbothered, but some worried that could change. "Now they leave us alone," one exhaled, "but if they can make some money from it, who knows?" Another had a more fundamental objection. "It is a sacred herb," he said. "The government should stay away."

"Should I weep at the criminal stupidity of the government or give it credit for half-measures?" wondered Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy ( "We have long maintained that the possession, use or transfer of drugs for personal purposes should not be a crime, so we support decrim and a ticketing scheme," he told DRCNet. "But increasing the penalties for cultivation will tend to drive out the mom-and-pop operations and deliver the trade to larger criminal organizations that are less worried about law enforcement."

A Toronto-based group working for marijuana legalization echoed and amplified Oscapella's concerns. "Cannabis, which currently is legal in Ontario due to court rulings, will continue to be used by Canadians regardless of the amount of money spent on American-style anti-drug propaganda, in this case $245 million [Canadian] dollars worth," pronounced Ontario Consumers for Safe Access to Recreational Cannabis ( "The government of Canada should forget about sending a message to Canadians. Cannabis consumers are well informed, productive citizens, and can make up their own minds and choose to put what they want into their own bodies," said OCSARC communications director Tim Meehan in a press release. "The Minister of Health, instead of repeating the same reefer madness bunk, should instead focus on promoting less harmful ways of using cannabis -- which will be used regardless of what the law is -- such as vaporization as opposed to smoking -- and follow the Senate committee's recommendation to legalize this natural herb. This law and drug strategy is a harmful half-measure that will not accomplish anything -- except the appearance of doing something about the problem."

Objections from drug warriors and reformers notwithstanding, the legislation is likely to become law by year's end. Under parliamentary systems like Canada's, governments by definition control a legislative majority, and while there is some grumbling from the Liberal back benches, Prime Minister Chretien should be able to push the bill through before he leaves office in February.

Still, said Oscapella, it is not yet a done deal, and a political battle remains. "There will be pressure from the US, there will be pressure from police groups, there will be completely dishonest interpretations of the legislation, and it is important that American reformers who have so gracefully supported us continue to do so," he said. "So many Americans have written to politicians and newspapers to say 'don't do what the US is doing,' and they have been a significant force in educating the public and the politicians. Please keep it up."

The BCMP's Larsen also thought the bill would pass, but remained cautious. "I think we'll see it by the fall or winter, but there could be problems. I'll believe it when it happens."

And if it does happen, the BCMP is determined not to let decriminalization take the wind out of ending marijuana prohibition. "As activists, we can work with this," said Larsen. "We will challenge this law if it actually becomes law. People will have nothing to lose by going to court instead of paying the fine. We want people to plead not guilty, to use their appearances to make speeches, to jam up the courts with marijuana offenders, to make them spend a lot more money than they'll make on fines. This is not enough."

The bill is available online at:

A background paper on the bill is available online at:

3. Ed Rosenthal to be Sentenced Wednesday -- Could Escape Mandatory Minimum as Pleas for Leniency Roll In, Supporters Prepare to Rally

In the denouement of the most highly-publicized federal medical marijuana prosecution yet, long-time marijuana cultivation expert and medical marijuana provider Ed Rosenthal will be sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of operating a marijuana grow operation in Oakland. And despite oft-repeated claims that he faced a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, it now appears that he will qualify under federal "safety valve" provisions for a lesser sentence -- possibly even probation, although that remains unlikely.

Rosenthal was convicted in federal court of marijuana trafficking after US District Judge Charles Breyer refused to let jurors hear his defense that his operation was legal under California's medical marijuana Compassionate Use Act and that he was deputized to perform his medical marijuana cultivation duties by the city of Oakland, which he believed would protect him from federal prosecution. Nine of the jurors in the case later denounced their verdicts after hearing the rest of the story, and eight of them are among those calling on Breyer to exercise leniency during sentencing.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that federal law makes no distinction for medical marijuana, that marijuana has no medical value, and that federal law need not recognize the will of California voters. Those same federal prosecutors, perhaps hearing the roaring sound all around them, have asked for a five-year prison sentence, followed by four years of probation. The maximum possible sentence is 60 years. But even the five-year request was undercut by an earlier recommendation from the federal Probation Department that Rosenthal receive a 21-month prison sentence.

Rosenthal's attorneys are asking for probation and community service, arguing in documents filed with the court that Rosenthal was not a drug trafficker but a humanitarian. Rosenthal acted to aid suffering patients, his attorneys argued, he did not seek to profit from his activity, and he believed his activities were legal based on state law and advice from public officials.

Among their filings, Rosenthal attorneys included two letters they hope will have some influence on Breyer. The first letter, from eight of the jurors who convicted Rosenthal, asks Breyer to grant probation. "We feel strongly that Mr. Rosenthal deserves uninterrupted freedom because we convicted him without having all the evidence," the jurors told the judge, their indictment of the legal system that produced that verdict left unspoken but still hanging over their plea.

The second letter should also make Breyer sit up and take notice -- it is from California's highest law enforcement official. In it, Attorney General Bill Lockyer reminded Breyer of the Compassionate Use Act's existence and asked him to take it into account in sentencing Rosenthal. The law "authorizes the possession or cultivation of marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician," Lockyer wrote. "Given the conflict between California and federal law governing the legality of possessing marijuana for medicinal purposes, I urge you to impose the minimum sentence allowed under the federal sentencing guidelines."

Still, it's all up to Judge Breyer at this point. "It's hard to predict the sentence," said California NORML ( head Dale Gieringer, "but probably some prison time. The prosecutors are asking for five years because they say Ed hasn't shown remorse," he told DRCNet, "but I think all the remorse the jury has shown should be sufficient."

And just in case Breyer is watching on his way to work Wednesday -- the media certainly will be -- medical marijuana supporters organized by the aggressive grassroots defense campaign Americans for Safe Access ( will be rallying and doing street theatre outside the courthouse in San Francisco before Rosenthal's 8:30am sentencing. "It was originally set for 2:00 in the afternoon, " said ASA spokeswoman Hilary McQuie, "but we think Judge Breyer figured out that the middle of the day might not be a good time. We expect a big crowd," she told DRCNet, adding that the San Francisco events are part of a national day of action to kick-off ASA's "Meet the 80%" [who support medical marijuana] summer campaign.

"In addition to the San Francisco action, we'll be doing jury rights education in selected cities. We'll have banners with messages like 'Jurors: Acquit in all Pot Cases: It Could Be Medical,' and we'll be handing out juror information cards," McQuie said. "And we're working with the Marijuana Policy Project ( to do a national day of leafleting outside of the offices of members who haven't signed onto the Truth in Trials Act."

Whatever sentence Rosenthal receives Wednesday, the Justice Department of George Bush and John Ashcroft will have succeeded once again in imposing punishment on a medical marijuana provider. But it will have also succeeded in drawing the country's attention once more to the cruelties of a policy that is increasingly unsupported -- and insupportable.

4. DRCNet Book Review: "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use," by Jacob Sullum (Tarcher & Putnam, 24.95 HB)

Phil Smith, Week Online Editor, [email protected], 5/30/03

Jacob Sullum speaking at an author
reception outside Washington, DC,
organized by the Reason Foundation,
It is a sort of obligatory obeisance before the malign power of controlled substances, those pills, powders, potions and puffables that, as one-time Republican presidential contender Steve Forbes, neatly summed up, "destroy the body, enslave the soul, and take away people's freedom to think and choose for themselves." No matter how ardent the reformer, all too often, when he stands up to call for an end to the drug war, his oration begins with some variation of "I don't condone drug use, but..."

Well, Jacob Sullum has had enough of that, thank you. With "Saying Yes," Sullum, a senior editor at Reason magazine, syndicated columnist, and author of "For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health," has penned a reasonable, easily readable, and well-researched response to decades of knee-jerk anti-drug sentiment -- which, in a memorable phrase, he refers to as "voodoo pharmacology." Instead, Sullum suggests, the public and the legalization movement would both be better served with a nuanced, realistic, and -- d.a.r.e. we say it? -- temperate response to drug use.

Voodoo pharmacology is that strange blend of hysteria, myth, and agenda-driven public pronouncements by self-interested parties that, unfortunately, passes for a reasoned discussion of the effects of different controlled substances these days. Voodoo pharmacology knows that alcohol is not a drug, that taking Prozac to feel better is a medical decision but taking Ecstasy to feel better is a crime, and that the first toke or the first pill is the first step on an inevitable path to chemically-induced hell. You know voodoo pharmacology. Your tax dollars support great gobs of it spewing forth from your television in those ridiculous, demented ads emanating from the Bush White House, where the drug czar plots his campaign against rape-inducing, ambition-draining, gun accident-causing marijuana.

But, as Sullum shows in several entertaining chapters, voodoo pharmacology -- the basis of our current prohibitionist drug policies -- has little to do with the reality of drug use patterns and more to do with enduring cultural fears encapsulated above by the paranoid Mr. Forbes. In passage after passage that will be uplifting to those drug users who never lost their jobs, their families, their health or their minds because they smoke pot today or snorted coke in the '80s or tripped on acid in the '60s or rolled on Ecstasy in the '90s, Sullum explores not only the unharmful but sometimes downright positive effects of drug use for many drug users.

And he finds that just as the wino drunk in the gutter does not represent most alcohol drinkers, neither does the thieving junky represent all heroin users, the twitching tweaker all amphetamine users, nor Cheech and Chong all pot smokers. Quite the opposite. "The silent majority of users," he writes, are "decent, respectable people who, despite their politically incorrect choice of intoxicants, earn a living and meet their responsibilities."

Sullum shouldn't have to tell us that. But in the face of decades of relentless demonization of drugs and drug users, it bears repeating. And repeating. And repeating. This is why campaigns to improve the image of drug users, like Mikki Norris's Pot Pride ( are necessary. It is pathetic that such a thing is necessary, but it is, and Sullum helps explain why.

Demonstrating an adroit touch with historical sources, Sullum shows how the evils ascribed to a particular drug at a particular time float without concrete reference to attach themselves to another drug at another time. "The cells of the brain may become poisoned. The will power may be weakened, and it may be an effort to do the routine duties of life... The memory may also be impaired... The mind of the habitual user is apt to lose its capacity for study or successful effort." John Walters describing the effects of marijuana in 2003? No, Albert Blaisdell, an earlier incarnation of the prohibitionist beast, describing the effects of tobacco cigarettes in 1904.

He also desconstructs the myths of addiction and the black propaganda about maniacal drug users that have filled the works of prohibitionists since Old Testament time. Sullum's passages on the dreaded speed freak are especially entertaining. Amphetamine use, once the province of truckers, students cramming for exams and overweight housewives, was transformed in the late 1960s into the domain of the tweaker. And in the 1990s, Sullum notes, "the speed freak returned to the public stage, angrier, meaner, crazier and better armed," as well as carrying culturally laden stereotypes about toothless hicks and trailer trash. Sullum looks at the oft-cited case of Eric Starr Smith, who in 1994 cut off his 14-year-old son's head and tossed it on an Arizona highway. Smith was allegedly on a speed bender, but he was also loaded on alcohol and had a history of bar fights, domestic violence, molestation allegation and protection orders. "Whatever else it is," Sullum writes, "the Smith case is not the story of a peaceful, law-abiding man turned into a monster by methamphetamine."

There has to be a better way than voodoo pharmacology, and Sullum has one. It will appear radical only in a society conditioned to yield its moral agency to the state, because what Sullum counsels is plain old personal responsibility and a government that respects its citizens enough to allow them to make their own choices. Moderation, or temperance, before the term was hijacked by the prohibitionists, is what Sullum advises, for both drug users and those with a hankering to restrain them. Most people use drugs responsibly, Sullum notes, and they should be left alone.

Jacob Sullum with DRCNet's
David Borden and David Guard,
at the Reason reception
Doubtless many who read or hear about Sullum's book will assume he is uninformed or insensitive to the harm caused by people with real drug problems to themselves or others, because he chose to focus on responsible users. But that's not the case, and it's not Sullum's fault if they feel that way; it's an inevitable reaction from a society conditioned by a century of anti-drug demagoguery by governments and zealots reluctant to admit responsible drug use even exists, much less constitutes the norm, a conditioning Sullum hopes his book will help defuse. Sullum is a libertarian, and hence believes that people who engage in potentially risky behaviors bear responsibility for any harms they suffer as a result, and that those drug users who commit crimes against persons or property should be punished for those crimes, not for their drug use, and certainly not excused from responsibility because of it. It all seems so reasonable.

And it is. Sullum fittingly cites the great philosopher Frank Zappa, who once noted that, "A drug is neither moral nor immoral -- it's a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats its consumption as a license to act like an asshole." Now, if only drug users can somehow convince the government to not treat our consumption of some drug as a license to act like an asshole toward us.

Visit to check out Jacob Sullum's book talk at the Cato Institute in RealVideo.

5. Democratic Presidential Contender Endorses Medical Marijuana -- Ohio's Kucinich First Out of the Gate

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made history this week by becoming the first serious Democratic presidential candidate to endorse medical marijuana. In remarks to the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, Kucinich said that if elected president he would sign an executive order allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

Medical marijuana should be available "to any patient who needs it to alleviate pain and suffering," regardless of the current federal drug laws, Kucinich told the Chronicle. "We must have health-care systems which are compassionate... so I support it without reservation."

Kucinich's stand is in stark contrast with the position of the Bush administration, which has repeatedly sent the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to raid, arrest and imprison medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have legalized the practice and which derides medical marijuana as a charade. It also sets him apart from the other seven declared Democratic presidential contenders, most of whom have had absolutely nothing to say about medical marijuana and one of whom -- former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean -- effectively blocked a medical marijuana bill in his state.

Dennis Kucinich
"I'd sign an executive order that would permit its use," Kucinich said. "I think that we're at a point where we understand that the maintenance of human health and the alleviation of human suffering involves a dialogue between the physician and the patient. This is a matter that many people find quite vexing. I have known people who have had cancer and who have been in horrible pain. Anything that can alleviate their suffering should be available."

The Ohio Democrat's forthright position on medical marijuana contrasted vividly with the fence-straddling of another Democratic presidential contender visiting San Francisco this week, North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Pressed by reporters after a speech in which he failed to mention the topic, he called for further study. "I wouldn't change the (marijuana) law now, but I would set up a committee to see if pain relief is different with marijuana," Edwards said. In the meantime, he told reporters, medical marijuana users and providers should expect arrests. "It's the job of the Justice Department to enforce the law as it presently exists," said Edwards.

By stepping out front on the medical marijuana issue, Kucinich, who has positioned himself as a strongly anti-war and pro-social justice candidate, is embracing a position endorsed by most voters. In recent years, a number of polls have shown increasing support for medical marijuana, including a CNN/Time poll last October showing that 80% of Americans believe medical marijuana should be legally available. And voters or legislators in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have already approved medical marijuana measures.

The comments from the former Cleveland mayor drew praise from marijuana reform organizations -- which should come as little surprise because one of them helped push Kucinich to speak out and even helped draft his position statement on the issue. "We approached Kucinich at a fundraiser in LA after Ed Asner introduced Steph to the crowd," said Americans for Safe Access ( spokeswoman Hilary McQuie, referring to fellow ASA agitator Stephanie Sherer. "He told us he was in favor of medical marijuana, so we pushed him to make a statement," she told DRCNet. "We ended up helping draft his position on the issue."

"Dennis Kucinich has come a long way since 1998, when he voted for a congressional resolution condemning state medical marijuana laws, and we expect many other Democratic contenders to follow suit," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement greeting the remarks. "This is a natural issue for the Democrats: The Bush administration is completely out of step with the public, which doesn't want to see sick people hauled off to jail for taking their medicine," Kampia said.

"Hats off to Kucinich," said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML ( "I hope the other candidates will follow his lead. The Democratic candidates have a lot to gain by favoring medical marijuana in California. Whichever candidate articulates the best policy is going to get our support, which could be as high as six percent of the Democratic primary electorate, and that could well make the difference in a tight race," he told DRCNet.

Kucinich's stand on medical marijuana may already have had an impact on Dean, who has begun altering his tune and his tone as he campaigns on the West Coast. In a Thursday interview with San Francisco radio station KQED, Dean said he would ask the Food and Drug Administration to look into the issue and make a decision based on its findings. "I wouldn't crusade against it like Ashcroft," he said, "but I wouldn't legalize it."

That's not enough for medical marijuana advocates. "Dean's dog won't hunt," said Gieringer. "He may be liberal on most issues, he may do well with the gay community, but when it comes to marijuana as medicine, he's part of the old school, he wants to let the narcocracy decide."

"Dean isn't showing any signs of real progress here," scoffed ASA's McQuie. "If he thinks the FDA has any power on this issue, he's hopelessly uninformed and naïve."

But for people concerned with ending the war on drugs, medical marijuana is just one issue, and quite likely the easiest for progressive politicians to embrace. Meanwhile, with a million and a half drug arrests each year and almost a half-million drug offenders rotting in prisons, with drug war totalitarianism reaching ever more deeply into the private lives of American citizens and being exported around the world, with the US police state growing ever stronger as the war on drugs merges with the war on terrorism, drug policy questions are more crucial than ever. In coming weeks, DRCNet will look at the Democratic presidential candidates' respective stands on drug policy issues, as well as examining the role of the drug reform movement in the forthcoming Democratic presidential sweepstakes.

Visit ro read more about Dennis Kucinich's drug policy positions.

6. Saying Yes: New Book Offer from DRCNet

DRCNet is pleased to announce a new book offer: "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use," a new, scholarly work by author Jacob Sullum of the Reason Foundation. "Saying Yes," published by Tarcher/ Putnam, strives to accurately portray the controlled responsible use of drugs that is the norm, not for all, but for most drug users. This is a controversial notion in our society and to some extent even in the drug reform movement itself. Whether you are inclined to agree or disagree with Sullum's central point, we hope you'll read "Saying Yes" and to hear and consider Sullum's evidence and arguments in full. Just visit and donate $35 or more, and DRCNet will send you a copy for free.

Your donation will help in a second, very important way. The drug reform movement is in a financial crisis of greater proportions than we have ever seen in DRCNet's nearly ten years of work. While some help is on the way from the movement's major grant program, the Tides Fund for Drug Policy Reform, they have unfortunately chosen a timetable that won't see funds disbursed until September. That means your help is very much needed in the meantime -- DRCNet literally will be unable to pay its bills or payroll or keep its online petitions to Congress running through even next month, without your support.

So please visit to make a generous donation by credit card or to print out a form to send in with your donation by mail -- or just send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 -- and contact us for instructions if you'd like to make a contribution of stock.

This is some of the advance praise that "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use" has received:

"Jacob Sullum has produced a thoughtful, sane, and logical analysis of our drug laws. Is that even LEGAL?"
- Dave Barry, syndicated columnist

"Saying Yes is a powerful refutation of the pharmacological prejudices underlying the war on drugs. Jacob Sullum highlights the injustice of punishing people for their politically incorrect choice of intoxicants."
- Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union; professor of law, New York Law School

"Sullum pits the truth against the lies of the drug prohibitionists."
- Thomas Szasz, professor emeritus of psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University

"I've never used a recreational drug (or even had a sip of alcohol) in my life, but Jacob Sullum makes a great case to stop the drug wars. He exposes the tricks of the drug warriors, who scam the crowd with huckster patter about magical substances that force people to do evil."
- Penn Jillette, the larger, louder half of Penn & Teller

"Jacob Sullum shows that drug use is far from an all-or-nothing phenomenon and that all use is not abuse. He puts the erroneous claims of prohibitionists into historical perspective."
- Mark Stepnoski, former NFL player (Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee/Houston Oilers); president, Texas NORML

We have read Jacob Sullum's book and have learned from and enjoyed it, and we believe you will too. So visit and donate $35 or more to make your contribution and get your free copy! (You can also request other books we offer, as well as t-shirts, mugs and mousepads.)

Please note that donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to support our educational work, make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation, same address. Again, visit to join, donate and order your free copy of "Saying Yes." And make sure to check out Phil Smith's book review, above in this issue of The Week Online.

7. Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, HEA Drug Provision, Global Legalization and Drug Treaty Reform Petition

Please take action on the following important alerts:

Truth in Trials Act: Would let jurors hear the whole truth in federal medical marijuana cases and would protect patients and providers from being convicted:

HEA Drug Provision: Bill to repeal a law that delays or denies federal college aid to students because of drug convictions:

Global Anti-Prohibition and Drug Treaty Reform Petition:

Coming new week: The States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act -- check our home page and watch for our e-mail alert!

8. Newsbrief: NYPD Under Fire in Death of Woman in Botched Drug Raid

Despite the New York City Police Department's best efforts, public anger continues to mount over the May 16 death of a 57-year-old Harlem women after police mistakenly targeted her apartment in a botched drug raid. Alberta Spruill, a church volunteer and long-time city employee, was preparing to go to work when, at 6:10am, police raiders kicked her door in, tossed a concussion grenade into her apartment, handcuffed her and left her terrorized. Police eventually called an ambulance after she complained of feeling ill, but she died of heart failure before reaching the hospital.

Since the, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have apologized for Spruill's death, and police supervisors with command responsibilities for the raids have lost their jobs. Bloomberg spoke at Spruill's funeral, taking personal responsibility and acknowledging that "at least in this case, existing practices failed."

But it is precisely those "existing practices" that have contributed to criticism of the department in Spruill's death. According to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a city agency, complaints about abusive police raids have been on the increase since the late 1990s, with 768 cases in 2002 compared to 466 in 1998, an increase of 65%.

An unknown number of raids, relying on unreliable informants, bad intelligence, excess testosterone, or a combination of all the above, have hit the wrong targets, and some of their victims are already suing the city. As Spruill was being buried Tuesday, Christine Chapman was in federal court in Manhattan filing a lawsuit over a mistaken raid in which police broke into her apartment at 6:00am on April 2, tossed flashbang grenades, entered with guns drawn, ransacked her home, and broke her TV and fish tank. She and her two teenage sons were held for hours before police admitted raiding the wrong place and released them.

The same thing happened to Marie and Robert Rogers, ages 62 and 64, and Michael Thompson on successive October days last year. "When I heard about what happened to this woman, I broke down and cried," Rogers told the New York Times. "You would have thought that I knew her. Then I was angry." Ironically, Rogers and her husband were watching "Cops" on television when a real life riot squad broke through their front door without warning.

"I thought I was going to die," he said. "I thought the people coming into my house were trying to kill me." Oops, wrong address. The New York Times says the Rogerses are suing.

So is Thompson, a 41-year-old nurse, who was eating breakfast when his mahogany door suddenly splintered and his inside French doors shattered before the weight of invading drug squad marauders. After being cuffed and held at gunpoint, Thompson was released as police admitted they had the wrong address. "They had the whole house surrounded," he said. "If I ran or resisted, who knows what the result would have been. It was just a matter of time before there was a tragedy."

The mayor and the police have promised investigations, but a variety of organizations and advocates, including the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Rev. Al Sharpton, are calling for an independent inquiry. More than 150 people showed up for a rally to commemorate Spruill and demand justice for her death on Tuesday. And along with the police killing of unarmed African immigrant Ousmane Zongo a week later, Spruill's death will no doubt focus the minds of the estimated 100,000-plus people expected to rally June 4 against New York's draconian drug laws. Drug raids, trigger-happy policing, drug war gulags... the people of New York can make the connections for themselves.

9. Newsbrief: Federal Hepatitis C Control and Prevention Bill Filed

Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) filed the first congressional response to the nation's Hepatitis C epidemic on May 23. The Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act (SB 1143) would set up a comprehensive program for Hep C public awareness campaigns, screening and counseling, early detection, professional education, and research. The program would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and would support state and local Hep C agencies in implementing programs.

With some four million Americans infected by the Hep C virus, the disease is the most common blood-borne viral infection in the United States. Nearly 15,000 die from Hep C annually, a figure that is expected to triple by 2010, according to the National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council (NHCAC), an organization of 22 Hep C groups from across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all cases are related to injection drug use.

"This is a major step in achieving a key goal of NHCAC: increasing financial and infrastructure support for the delivery of hepatitis C prevention, education, and patient care services at a level commensurate with the impact of this disease," said NHCAC president Lorren Sandt in a press release lauding the move. "Chronic hepatitis C is completely preventable with sound public health policy in place."

The bill already has bipartisan support, with cosponsors including Sens. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Joe Biden (D-DE), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John Breaux (D-LA), Hilary Clinton (D-NY), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) on the Democratic side, Ben Campbell (R-CO) and Jon Cornyn (R-TX) for the GOP, and independent James Jefford (I-VT). A companion bill will be introduced in the House in coming weeks.

Read the bill online at:

10. Newsbrief: Mississippi Drug Czar Not One to Let the Law Get in His Way

Frank Melton, a television executive with no law enforcement experience whose anti-drug crusades got him appointed head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in December, is not a man inclined to let a little things like the US Constitution or state law get between him and his goals. One of his first acts as state drug czar was to join his agents in a Bureau of Narcotics roadblock near the state capitol in Jackson "to check drivers' licenses." Never mind that state law forbids the narcs from doing the roadblocks, never mind that Melton himself was not a certified law enforcement officer, and never mind that the Supreme Court has ruled that highway checkpoints can only be used for public safety -- not drug enforcement -- purposes.

Melton was scolded for his little adventure, the roadblocks ceased, but you can't keep someone like Melton down for long. Now he's back in the news, complaining about state laws that hinder his crusade and explaining how he gets around them. In a Monday interview with the Associated Press, Melton said he would find "unconventional" means of waging the drug war in the mean time.

Lawbreaker: Mississippi
drug czar Frank Melton,
with Gov. Ronnie Musgrove
He found the need for search warrants onerous, he told AP, using a recent meth lab bust as an example. "The way the law states is that we can go in and dismantle the laboratory to keep it from being a danger to the people, but then we have to go in and get a search warrant," he complained. "Well, the time that it takes us to go and get that warrant, we have people's lives in danger."

Melton did not explain precisely whose lives were in danger between the time a lab was raided and dismantled and the time a warrant to seize the evidence was issued. Police normally maintain control of crime scenes until their work is completed.

As obsessed with methamphetamine as any trailer-park speed cooker, Melton told AP he illegally bars meth suspects from returning to their homes after they've been arrested. "What I'm doing, which is also not legal, when I find those large laboratories like that, they're no longer eligible to live in the neighborhood," he said.

And Melton continues to brood about the roadblocks. He told AP he would ask legislators to change state law to allow the Bureau of Narcotics to engage in "public safety" roadblocks, a transparent ploy to get out and find drug violators. "Most of your drugs right now are being transported on the ground," he explained. "They're moving on the ground now because you can't get it through the airports because of the pre-security check-ins. But we can't check for drivers' licenses, we can't stop trucks. It almost ties our hands behind our backs."

Who will guard us from the guardians?

11. Newsbrief: The Hash Fields of Morocco

Cannabis is king in Morocco, the North African country sitting across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain and holder of the title of world's largest hash exporter. Alternative development programs have closed up shop, government authorities have thrown up their hands, and European hash heads have broken out in smiles as the Moroccan cannabis crop (which is known locally as kif) has exploded in recent years, according to a report this week in The Guardian (UK).

Since 1994, cannabis production has more than quadrupled from 50,000 hectares to almost 250,000 hectares this year. "You now find kif fields clearly visible from the roads, with no attempt made to hide them," said Spanish agronomist Pasqual Moreno, an authority on kif production. From their traditional bases in the Rif Mountains, "the plantations have spread north to the Mediterranean, south toward the Fez and west toward Larache. I have been coming to Morocco for 25 years and I have never seen it like this."

Moreno, who directs the European Union's "alternative cultivation" program in the Rif, told the Guardian the program had essentially folded after failing to convince farmers there to quit growing cannabis. According to the agronomist, almost one million people in the Moroccan north -- one-fifth of the area's population -- make a living from the cannabis crop. They earn 10 to 40 times what they would make growing tomatoes or other legitimate crops, he said.

Government efforts to repress the crop have proven ineffective -- smugglers measure distances by the number of bribes they have to pay -- and Moroccan officials pointed the finger at European consumers and governments. "It is big business and big money. It is a question of supply and demand. And, anyway, how do you fight it, when you see so many European countries legalizing the drug?" one senior official in the capital, Rabat, asked the Guardian.

But while some countries have decriminalized cannabis, Europe has not legalized it, and Moroccans might consider themselves fortunate that that is the case. According to the European Union, Moroccan hash exports are a $2 billion a year business, one that could be ruined if European states actually allowed their citizens to grow their own. "That would be a disaster for the Moroccan north," a European Union official admitted to the Guardian.

And that could lead to new problems for Europe, Moreno suggested. The Rif area is so dependent on the drug economy, he said, that if the bottom fell out of the cannabis market, it could turn to another illicit crop. "This is papaver somniferum and you can buy it in the souk, though it is only used for traditional purposes," he said, holding up a bag of dried poppy heads. That's what you make heroin from.

12. Newsbrief: Dutch Coffee Shops Take Hit in Anti-Tobacco Campaign

It's a strange world. Under new Dutch national health guidelines set to go into effect in January, smoking will be banned in all public places -- including the country's famous cannabis coffee houses, whose customers seek out to light up in a convivial atmosphere. Although the new rule is aimed at tobacco, the coffee houses will be not be excluded.

The smoking ban has already generated tremendous opposition from bar and restaurant owners in the Netherlands, where one-third of the adult population smokes tobacco. The industry has won a one-year exemption from implementing the new rules, in part by arguing that the ban would cost 50,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in revenues annually. But no such extension has been granted for the country's 800 coffee houses, which attract tourists by the millions each year.

Health Ministry spokesman Bas Kuik told the Associated Press the law was not aimed at the coffee shops, adding that they could create designated smoking areas, while Willem van den Oetelaar, head of Clean Air Now, the anti-smoking lobby that spearheaded the drive for the ban, said that while banning pot smoking in the coffee houses was not the intended purpose of the campaign, he still supported it. "It's not our priority, but it is a good thing," he said.

Clean Air runs a telephone hot line for complaints about smoking in public places, Van de Oetelaar said. It had received about 2,000 complaints since October, not one about a coffee shop.

No word yet from coffee shop owners about a response.

13. Newsbrief: New Zealand to War on "Evil" Meth

Facing growing methamphetamine use and a press frenzy over meth-related crime, the government of New Zealand released its Methamphetamine Action Plan on May 21, making those convicted of importing or manufacturing speed subject to life imprisonment beginning today (May 30). The 19-point plan also includes demand reduction, harm reduction and treatment, but in both emphasis and spending is weighted towards law enforcement.

As of today, methamphetamine is a Class A drug in New Zealand, with possession now punishable by up to six months in jail and conspiracy to manufacture or distribute punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Law enforcement will also get additional powers to conduct searches and seizures under the plan.

"There is a zero tolerance approach by the government to this," said Allen Anderton, chairman of the Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs. "We just consider it an outrageously dangerous drug, and those who engage in it are engaging in a substance of evil." But Anderton, who told the New Zealand Herald his visit last week with American rap star Coolio -- whose credentials as a substance abuse expert are unclear -- reinforced his sense of urgency, added that he didn't want to punish those involved with evil. "We are not really after punishment for those who are victims, but we want to help them, their families and communities."

Under the plan, the government will spend $2.55 (New Zealand) million a year on prevention and $620,000 for a pilot treatment program, as well as $150,000 a year for a drug information analyst. But Customs will get $1.9 million a year to hire 16 drug investigators and intelligence analysts, and another $15 to $25 million for special x-ray technology, while police will get $1.65 million additional a year for special meth lab clean-up teams.

The measure was supported by New Zealand's leading advocate of marijuana legalization, Green Party Member of Parliament Nandor Tanczos.

14. Newsbrief: Garcia Marquez Takes Back His Legalization Comments, Sort Of

Last week, DRCNet reported on Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez' reiteration of his long-standing position in favor of legalizing drugs during a speech delivered by video remote to an audience at the University of Antioquia in Medellin ( Turns out that's only part of the story. As reported by Narco News' Luis Gomez (, the grand old man of Colombian literature tried to retract his words almost as soon as they hit the wires.

"It is impossible to imagine an end to the violence in Colombia without the elimination of the drug trade, and it is unimaginable to end the drug trade without the legalization of drugs, which become more dear the more they are prohibited," said the author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" when he addressed the audience in Medellin. (The translation is DRCNet's; it varies slightly from the Narco News translation, but not in any substantive way, and both are in line with the original Spanish-language press accounts and with a written text of Garcia Marquez's statement published under his signature in the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada.)

But, Gomez wrote, according to press agencies, Garcia Marquez soon denied what he had said. "Very much to the contrary of what the journalists attribute to me, I am against the legalization of drugs and the consumption of drugs," the venerable author was quoted as saying. "What I said was that the Colombian drama consists, precisely, in that it is not imaginable that the end of drug trafficking could come without the legalization of consumption."

It may seem like hair-splitting to some, but Garcia Marquez is now apparently contending that he does not want to legalize the drug trade, only drug consumption, and that will cause the trade to wither away -- a position that long-time legalization advocates (like Marquez) usually consider illogical, because trafficking is done by traffickers, not users. For some interesting speculation on Garcia Marquez' turnabout, read Gomez' article.

15. Newsbrief: Gambian Narcs Mar Marley Remembrance with Raids

Jamaican reggae superstar and cannabis user Bob Marley died May 11, 1981, an occasion whose anniversary is marked with remembrances in some quarters, including by some in the West African nation of Gambia. But Gambian Police Drug Squad Units used the gatherings to round up pot-smokers and dealers in Banjul, the capital, and several surrounding towns, according to the Gambia Independent.

More than a dozen men were arrested in various locations in neighborhoods in the capital, with more arrests being reported nationwide. Police raiding Lamin village conducted an "impromptu house-to-house search" there, leading to several arrests, the Independent reported.

Those arrested were still being held as of May 23, with more arrests having taken place since Marley Day. "We want to get rid of the drug menace once and for all," one officer told the Independent.

16. Newsbrief: Japanese Author, Legalization Advocate Gets Suspended Sentence for Marijuana Possession

Prizewinning author Ramo Nakajima was given three years probation and a suspended 10-month prison sentence Monday after being found guilty of possessing a quarter-ounce of marijuana at his home in Takarzuka. The up-and-coming novelist and essayist has written frequently and graphically about alcohol and drug use, and he won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers with his novel "Konya Subete no Bar de" ("Tonight, in Every Bar"). He was arrested during a raid on his home on February 4.

Nakajima has called for the legalization of marijuana since before his arrest. At his first court session in April he called Japan's marijuana laws "nonsense."

Judge Masaki Nishida chided the writer at sentencing. "Although the impact of his deeds on his readers cannot be dismissed, he has promised to win back their confidence with his work," Nishida said. "You should not forget that you have your own readers." "I see," replied Nakajima.

17. Reflections Seeking Submissions for Special Issue on Prison

The journal "Reflections" invites submissions to a Winter 2004 Special Issue on Prison Literacies, Narratives, and Community Connections. Reflections is a journal of writing, service-learning and community literacy, providing a forum for teachers, researchers, students and community partners to share research and discuss the theoretical, political and ethical implications of community-based writing and writing pedagogy.

The special issue, which is guest edited by Tobi Jacobi and Patricia E. O'Connor, will consider articles addressing the topics of collaborative learning and writing projects with students in university and prison classrooms; reflections on teaching prison or university-prison courses and programs; projects supporting residents' re-entry into society; prison as institution and industry; studies of the discourses of violence and rehabilitation; and life-stories/creative non-fiction about and by students, inmates, and prison workers.

Reflections is especially interested in representing the often silenced voices of incarcerated women and men, correctional officers and administrators, and their friends and families. Writing can take the form of a short essay, a letter, a poem, or a story; collaborative papers and experimentations with form are encouraged. Writings may be as short as a poem but should be no longer than 20 double-spaced pages.

Reflections is also seeking short reviews of recent books and films about prison life and the justice system. A book review might include a brief summary of the contents and a longer section that links the text to your experience or knowledge of prison life. Contact the editor, Barbara Roswell, if you are interested in receiving a book to review, and she will arrange for it to be sent to you. Be sure to indicate the title of the book.

Manuscripts should run no more than 5,000 words and should follow MLA guidelines. Send inquiries to Barbara Roswell at [email protected], Patricia O'Connor at [email protected], or Tobi Jacobi at [email protected] by July 15. Send electronic submissions to Barbara Roswell at [email protected] by August 1. Detailed submission and other information about Reflections is available at online.

18. The Reformer's Calendar

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

May 31, noon-6:00pm, Seattle, WA, "Free Movement," rally/party opposing the RAVE Act. At Westlake Park, sponsored by the Northwest Late Night Coalition, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

May 31, 12:30-5:30pm, New York, NY, "Russell Simmons' Day of Learning," mini-conference for youth on the Rockefeller Drug Laws, produced by the Harlem-based activist theatre company "To Be Continued...," in association with the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Featuring ARISTA artist Cherub, Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Anthony Papa, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., visit for info.

May 31, 1:00-8:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Show Our Strength: Freedom to Dance 2," rally/party against the RAVE Act. At the Westwood Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd.

May 31, 3:00-7:00pm, New York, NY, "Freedom of Assembly," rally and party against the RAVE Act. At Foley Square (across from Federal Courthouse, lower Manhattan), contact (212) 714-4987 or visit for further information.

June 1-13, Witness For Peace Drug Policy Delegation to Colombia. Contact Alex Volberding at [email protected] or visit for info.

June 4, 2:00pm, New York, NY, protest against the Rockefeller Drug Laws, with Russell Simmons and the Hip Hop Action Network, and Mothers of the New York Disappeared. At City Hall, Foley Square, visit or for information.

June 4, nationwide, National Day of Action protesting the sentencing of Ed Rosenthal. Sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, contact Hilary McQuie at (510) 486-8083 or [email protected] or visit for further information.

June 5, 7:30pm, online, "Cannabis is More Than Just THC," online forum and discussion with Dr. John Morgan. Sponsored by the Ohio Patients Network, e-mail for info.

June 6-7, Milwaukee, WI, "Breaking the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs," Midwest Regional Conference. Sponsored by Drug Policy Alliance and WISDOM, a Wisconsin-based coalition of community and religious leaders for public policy reform. Admission $25 adult or $10 youth, visit for further information.

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

June 12, Liverpool, London and other locations, "Stop the Murder or Thai Drug Users," international Day of Action protesting extrajudicial killings in Thailand's drug war. Visit or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

June 16-20, Cartagena, Colombia, World Social Thematic Forum, including drug policy track organized by Mama Coca. For further information, visit or contact María Mercedes Moreno at [email protected], or contact the World Social Thematic Forum at +1 571 3480781 or [email protected].

June 22, Binghamton to Ithaca, NY, "Skate for Justice," 50-mile trek against the drug war, sponsored by Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Full skate beginning in Binghamton, secondary starting point in Richford for skaters who only want to do the last 17 miles, speakers and entertainment at Ithaca Commons in the evening. E-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

July 23, "Drug Policy Reform 2003: The State of the Movement," forum with Ethan Nadelmann. At the San Francisco Medical Society, 1409 Sutter St., call (415) 921-4987.

July 24, "Can We Really Afford a (Failed) War on Drugs?", forum with Ethan Nadelmann. At the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, 595 Market St., visit for info.

August 16-17, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "12th Annual Seattle Hempfest." At Myrtle Edwards Park, call (206) 781-5734 or visit for further information.

September 18, Tallahassee, FL, "Innovations in European Drug Policy," the Richard L. Rachin Conference. Sponsored by the Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in conjunction with the Journal of Drug Issues, at the Center for Professional Development, contact (850) 644-7569 or [email protected] to register or (850) 644-7368 or [email protected] for further information.

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

November 7-9, Paris, "Fourth Hemp and Eco-Technologies Exhibition." At the Cité de Sciences et de L'Industrie, call +33(0) 1 48 58 31 37, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

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PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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