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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #305, 10/3/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Rush Limbaugh and Oxycontin
  2. Hurwitz Arrest Galvanizes Opposition to Justice Jihad Against Pain Doctors
  3. Swiss Marijuana Legalization, Prescription Heroin Blocked by Parliament
  4. "Rough Riders" Go Free For Now: Suburban Jury Fails to Convict Oakland Police Rogues
  5. Drug Czar Office Safe for Now: House Votes for Five More Years of Same Old Drug War, Senate Vote Pending
  6. Newsbrief: Hemp Food Industry Sees Looming Victory in DEA Battle
  7. Newsbrief: New Hampshire Supreme Court Says Garbage is Protected Property
  8. Newsbrief: Canadians Smuggling Marijuana in Garbage Exports to United States
  9. Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Back on Track
  10. Newsbrief: Eleven Years for Selling Baking Soda
  11. Newsbrief: Barbarism in Office -- Australian Mayor Calls for Lethal Injections for Drug Users
  12. Newsbrief: New South Wales Medical Marijuana Approval
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  14. DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime
  15. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions
  16. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Editorial: Rush Limbaugh and Oxycontin

David Borden, Executive Director, borden@drcnet.org, 10/3/03

This week I find myself in the unexpected position of defending -- or pointing out a possible defense for -- conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. I have never been a fan of Limbaugh; I would not be even slightly upset or sentimental if his show were to go away and drift forgotten into the past. I'm not an ESPN viewer, but if I were, I wouldn't have been sad to see him leave that post either. I did have fun several years ago helping a producer at ABC's Peter Jennings find a Rush sound-bite about the "potheads" calling up the show to talk about medical marijuana.

This week the news networks noted the controversial Limbaugh had gotten bad news not once but twice. The first was the comment about NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb which led to his ESPN resignation. But the second one is the more interesting, and the more potentially destructive to his career and personal freedom. Limbaugh has apparently been implicated as a regular customer of a drug ring selling illegally diverted supplies of the narcotic oxycontin.

I'm a legalizer, and I firmly believe that if Rush Limbaugh wants to pop oxy, it's not the business of the criminal justice system, so long as he doesn't violate the safety or property of other people. Limbaugh himself chimed in on the issue, apparently on the legalization side, in March 1998, as part of a response to a caller who was wondering why they didn't go after alcohol as aggressively as states' attorneys general were going after tobacco with the lawsuits (http://www.ndsn.org/marapr98/legal1.html). Among other things, Limbaugh replied, "It seems to me that what is missing in the drug fight is legalization. If we want to go after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go after cigarettes, let's legalize drugs."

Naturally this week's incident has revived discussion of the Limbaugh legalization quotes on discussion groups inhabited by long-time drug reformers. But it has also prompted speculation amongst people concerned with the problem of under-treatment of chronic pain and the growing wave of inappropriate prosecutions of physicians specializing in pain management (a topic that coincidentally is the subject of this issue's lead news story, as well as last week's editorial and lead story and other recent editorials and reports).

Dr. Frank Fisher, a leading authority on pain control who is in the late stages of soundly defeating one of those prosecutions, commented, "This seems like a whole lot more pills than Rush would need if all he wanted to do was get high, but it is within the range that might be used to treat chronic pain." Fisher also noted, "The large numbers the story talks about getting diverted from a pharmacy lends credence to the idea that much of the overall diversion of pharmaceuticals does not come from bad doctors running pill mills. Think about it. If you were a desperate patient willing to be treated at a pill mill, do you think you could find one?"

One of the spouting heads on CNN last night was a DEA agent named Joe Kilmer, claiming Oxycontin is "four to five times as strong as heroin." I thought that sounded like bull, and Dr. Fisher confirmed for me that my instincts were on target. "Milligram for milligram," Fisher wrote back, "oxycodone and heroin are of similar potency. Heroin is essentially morphine, and the conversion factor when switching from one to the other regards oxycodone as at most twice as potent, depending on whom you ask." For good measure he sent me a conversion chart showing the equivalency rate as 1:1. It's not surprising that Kilmer would spout such a falsehood, though, given that it was the DEA which fabricated the so-called "epidemic" of Oxycontin abuse to generate the currently prevailing hysteria over the useful pain reliever.

CNN should have been a little more thoughtful in their choice of commentator on that. Why give the five seconds available to a cop? Put someone on like a doctor with legitimate credentials in the subject. Knight Ridder Newspapers were similarly uncritical in an article released yesterday on the allegations. The Ridder article reprinted a quote -- originally published in the National Enquirer -- from Limbaugh's former housekeeper, claiming she had supplied Limbaugh with "enough [pills] to kill an elephant, never mind a man." But what does a housekeeper or a police officer know about the physiology of taking Oxycontin, for pain or otherwise, or what number of pills are safe for a given individual or needed to produce the intended effect? The article also noted that she was working with authorities as part of an investigation, presumably to avoid or soften a prosecution against her -- a red flag to make one wonder what kind of pressure she may getting from authorities to say such things.

I don't know whether Limbaugh is innocent or guilty of illegally buying oxy, or if so if he was taking it for pain, for addiction, or for fun. But in any of these cases, the correct solution to the problem lies in the set of possible policy approaches that fall into the legalization category. Limbaugh's possible dealers may well be highly unsavory people, but to a pain patient desperate for treatment because his doctor is too scared of the government to prescribe it, their services are as valuable as those of the people running the nonprofit cooperatives supplying medical marijuana. For an addict who is otherwise going to buy street heroin, at risk of poisoning or unexpectedly high purity causing overdose, diverted but legally produced oxycontin or other opioids may be the thing that saves his life. And for the casual user -- a scenario which admittedly seems unlikely in this case as well as risky with this particular drug -- there was never a reason to worry much about them in the first place, other than to make sure they know what the necessary precautions are that they need to take to avoid overdosing or getting addicted -- and legalization with provision of harm reduction information is the way to go in those cases too. Better to get the drugs off the street, into a pharmacy or other appropriate legitimate establishment, let the addicts know what they're getting and get it at a reasonable price and in a safe environment, and allow pain patients and their doctors to deal with these difficult and complex medical problems without having to worry about heavy-handed government interference in their business.

So criticize Limbaugh for the things he says, I'm sure I'll agree with those criticisms a pretty large percentage of the time. But when it comes to Oxycontin pills, I say, let the man have them, if that's the situation, and let him alone about it.


2. Hurwitz Arrest Galvanizes Opposition to Justice Jihad Against Pain Doctors

The arrest of Northern Virginia pain management specialist Dr. William Hurwitz late last week on drug dealing charges has galvanized the scattered but growing opposition to the US Justice Department's aggressive pursuit and prosecution of doctors who, in line with accepted medical practice, prescribe large quantities or high doses of opioid pain relievers to patients with severe, intractable pain. Hurwitz is only the latest in the growing list of doctors being hauled off in handcuffs as DEA agents ransack their medical records.

[Editor's Note: Not anymore. On Tuesday, police in Broward County, Florida, arrested two doctors for trafficking in Oxycontin after undercover agents were prescribed drugs. The investigation included various Florida law enforcement agencies and the FBI.]

Dr. Hurwitz was arrested on a 49-count federal indictment charging him with conspiracy to traffic drugs, drug trafficking resulting in death or serious injury, engaging in a criminal enterprise, and health-care fraud. He faces life in prison. The arrest came as part of "Operation Cotton Candy," a two-year federal investigation targeting prescription drug diversion. Federal investigators all but named Dr. Hurwitz as a suspect months ago, and Hurwitz had closed down his practice last December, telling DRCNet he wanted his patients to have a chance to find new doctors before the government came after him (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/252/drhurwitz.shtml).

In court appearances last week and Monday, federal prosecutors likened Dr. Hurwitz to a "street-level crack dealer" and called him a doctor who "dispensed misery and death," but supporters of the much-investigated pain specialist had a much different view.

On Monday, some of them held a press conference at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, DC, just across the Potomac River from where Hurwitz used to practice and blocks from Justice Department headquarters. Called by the Pain Relief Network (http://www.painreliefnetwork.org) and also featuring representatives of physicians' and patients' groups including the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (http://www.aapsonline.org), the American Pain Institute (http://www.americanpaininstitute.org), the Juneteenth Medical Commission, and National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain (http://www.paincare.org), the assembled allies and reporters heard speaker after speaker endorse Dr. Hurwitz, denounce the heavy-handed approach of the Justice Department, and decry the fact that, in part because of federal prosecutions of pain doctors, millions of Americans are living with untreated pain.

"We are here to say we support Dr. Hurwitz and others targeted like him," said Kathryn Serkes, spokeswoman for AAPS. "These prosecutions should not be occurring, and we will help Dr. Hurwitz become a doctor again when this is over... These doctors who treat chronic pain patients are heroes, not criminals."

"The Department of Justice brings sham expert testimony that directly contradicts established medical standards into these courtrooms. By making good medicine answer to bad, before a lay jury, after the DOJ has destroyed the physician in the press, is an absolute outrage and must be stopped at once," said the Reverend Dr. Ronald Myers, founder and president of the American Pain Institute. "The devastation wrought in the lives of the patients is unfathomable."

"This is science versus superstition," said the Pain Relief Network's Siobhan Reynolds, a key mover in mobilizing a response to the wave of doctor arrests. Her ex-husband had been a patient of Dr. Hurwitz. "The Justice Department is misidentifying pain doctors all over the country as drug dealers. What they are enforcing is a national public health catastrophe in pain."

The American Pain Foundation also identifies the under-treatment of chronic pain as a major health problem facing Americans. "More than 50 million Americans -- men, women, and children -- live with serious chronic pain that interferes with their personal, social, and work lives," the foundation noted last year. "Although we now have the medical knowledge to manage most pain, most goes untreated, is under-treated, or is improperly treated."

The patient and physician advocacy groups are the most vocal, but concern about federal excesses has now spread to the most prestigious physicians' organization in the county, the American Medical Association. In July, the AMA passed a "resolution of concern" about the prosecutions of pain doctors and said it planned to tell the Bush administration it opposes the use of federal criminal prosecutions to go after doctors prescribing opioid pain killers. And while the organization has been quiet on the issue since then, spokesman Ross Fraser told DRCNet the AMA continues to monitor the situation. "There are thousands of people living in pain out there and that pain is not being relieved, and at the same time you have these doctors going to jail," he said. "The balance is wrong."

The concern extends to leading medical ethicists as well. David Brushwood, a professor of Pharmacy Health Care Administration at the University of Florida and Mayday scholar for the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, who told DRCNet the aggressive law enforcement approach is recent. "I am confused about why this is going on," Brushwood said. "There used to be a collaboration between regulators and health care providers where potential problems would be addressed. That has now turned into confrontation. Instead of discussing potential problems, law enforcement is conducting surveillance, allowing the problems to become more severe, than unmercifully charging these doctors with offenses that are disproportionate to the action that occurred," he explained.

"This is a radical approach that permits a bad situation to get worse and worse and worse," said Brushwood. "And then they charge hundreds of counts of serious violations, first-degree murder, manslaughter. This is a new development and an extreme response. It has evolved within the last two or three years."

Brushwood wouldn't name names, but the DEA identifies prescription drug abuse, particularly around the time-release opioid Oxycontin, as a major concern and fingers doctors and pharmacists for being responsible for the diversion of prescription drugs into the black market. And US Attorneys in the Justice Department have made prosecuting what they refer to as "pill mill" doctors a priority.

"It is open warfare, it is the Ashcroft Justice Department," said Siobhan Reynolds, not shying away from identifying the foe. "Ashcroft is not only trying to destroy an independent judiciary, or its vestiges, he is also after the autonomy of medicine."

Doctors who have been on the receiving end of law enforcement's tender mercies share that view and are developing a jaundiced view of the criminal justice system. [Editor's Note: Welcome to the war on drugs.] Dr. Joseph Talley is a North Carolina physician whose practice was shut down by the state medical board for "reckless overprescription" -- one of more than 800 doctors who have been disciplined by medical boards over opioid pain management prescriptions, according to AAPS. Talley is disillusioned. "I'm a veteran," he told DRCNet. "I served my country proudly. Now I feel like I don't have a country." Talley remains under investigation by the DEA, he said. "I could be next."

Talley could face murder or manslaughter charges because some of his patients died, as well as the now standard drug trafficking charges. "Doctors have patients who die," Talley groaned. "They may have to face a medical board, but they shouldn't being treated like criminals."

For medical ethicist Brushwood, moving toward collaboration between health care providers and law enforcement is a necessity if pain patients are to get proper care. "This radical confrontational approach scares doctors into overly conservative practices," he said. "They don't want to be the next victims. You never know when you're under surveillance because law enforcement has decided not to collaborate in identifying problems," Brushwood added.

"We have been moving backward," Brushwood continued. "We need to regain ground. We need to begin by reestablishing early consultation between law enforcement and health care providers when something is amiss. If drug control sees people who are going to a doctor but are lying to obtain medications they shouldn't receive, don't keep it a secret from the doctor! Tell him. If that early consultation doesn't work, a second step would be to send in an informant with bogus symptoms and see if he gets the prescription. If not, if the doctor wouldn't prescribe, then it's over. If he does prescribe when he shouldn't, it should be referred to a panel of doctors who can provide law enforcement with some idea of the level of appropriateness of the practice," he suggested. "Only if the expert panel recommends a criminal prosecution should it take place."

AAPS has suggested something similar with its "Project Communicate and Cooperate," a three-point program to enhance cooperation between physicians and law enforcement. Doctors and cops could work together to report potential "drug seeking" patients, set up a review board to look at potential cases before charges are filed, and engage in mutual training, so law enforcement is kept up-to-date on pain treatment techniques.

Not all of Monday's speakers favored cooperating with the DEA, however. Dr. Myers, a clergyman as well as a physician, told the audience, "I'm a minister of the gospel, and I'm not interested in cooperating with the devil."

Given the inclinations of the Ashcroft Justice Department, even the smallest of concessions are not likely to be easily won. So the Pain Relief Network, AAPS, and the rest of their allies are gearing up for a political struggle -- and the Hurwitz case could well turn into a major battleground. "Both sides are lining up for this one," said Reynolds. "We're right next door to Washington and this case is so outrageous that I think we will be able to make this a time when everyone becomes aware of the federal schemers. We will be able to put this issue on the national agenda."

And the interested parties are beginning to come together, Reynolds said. "We are making a lot of progress now, and the further we go, the more the other pain groups and physicians' groups will feel the need to show some leadership and responsibility. So far, the major groups have been silent on the issue of criminal prosecutions of pain doctors. That is unfortunate, and it gives the Justice Department the false impression there is no opposition to this," she said. "There is. We're getting our arsenal together right now."

NOTE: DRCNet is seeking funding for a major project to help with the pain issue. Please contact David Borden at borden@drcnet.org or (202) 362-0030 if you have leads on potential major funding sources.


3. Swiss Marijuana Legalization, Prescription Heroin Blocked by Parliament

In what would have been considered a surprise move up until recent weeks, the Swiss House of Representatives refused to pass a government-sponsored drug bill that would have legalized marijuana consumption and sales and set up a permanent framework for legally prescribed heroin. On September 25, the Swiss parliament's lower house voted 96-89 to take no action on the bill after an emotional debate.

The bill will now go back to parliament's upper chamber, the Council of State, which approved it in December 2001 (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/177/swissdecrim.shtml). The Council of State can revise the bill or simply send it back to the House for reconsideration in a future session -- after the pending elections, which some blame for making it more difficult to pass the bill.

Under parliamentary systems of government, the governing party or coalition by definition controls a parliamentary majority, so the bill introduced at the behest of the government was expected to pass. But in recent weeks, opponents of the legislation, aided by sensational stories in the Swiss media about marijuana's dangers, raised a storm of criticism. Lawmakers from the conservative opposition Swiss People's Party teamed up with representatives from French-speaking sections of the country -- traditionally more hard-line on drug policy and other social issues -- to craft a majority against the bill.

Luzi Stamm, a Swiss People's Party parliamentarian, told Swiss Radio International that even if the bill were to pass, he would demand a national plebiscite on it. "This is an exception to most issues that come before parliament," he said. "It's a situation in which the population can judge better than most politicians." Stamm also raised two concerns commonly cited by opponents. "The question of how to prevent children getting their hands on cannabis remains unanswered for me," he said. "And obviously there are international implications: people will come to Switzerland simply to buy cannabis here and then export it," he claimed.

In voting against the bill, Swiss lawmakers ignored Swiss social realities and common practices. According to the Swiss health ministry, about 500,000 out of the country's population of seven million are occasional soft drug users. Similarly, marijuana is sold openly in many Swiss cantons, although not officially. Instead, stores sell "hemp potpourri," or bags filled with buds, in the open fiction that people will smell the buds not smoke them.

Supporters of cannabis legalization argued in vain for a policy based on public health, not moral concerns. "Bans on cannabis and alcohol have always proved a failure," Health Minister Pascal Couchepin said in an impassioned speech to parliament. Legalization would end black market profits, he added.

In an interview with Swiss Radio International, Michael Graf, deputy director of the Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Addiction, expressed disappointment and frustration with the vote. "I am disappointed by this lack of political courage. It shows that politicians are not comfortable with the issue of public health," Graf said. "They're mixing up moral values with the interests of public health, both of which they have to defend. This means that cannabis users will basically still be considered as criminals, whereas we see them as people who are at risk -- especially if they are young."

Graf also cited scare stories in the media. "Anything that anyone's said during the past months on cannabis has been heavily banded about by the media," he complained. "For instance, it was said that a joint was up to five times as toxic as a cigarette -- a claim which was never backed up by the scientific community. There then were some psychiatrists who said cannabis caused mental disorders among teenagers. But they forgot to say that this applied only to a minority of them," Graf continued. "The majority of occasional smokers never have a problem, and this is true for a lot of teenagers and young adults. But people mix up occasional and regular use, which of course is dangerous -- irrespective of age."

But while most attention has focused on marijuana legalization, the blocked bill would also have provided a legal basis for Switzerland's successful prescription heroin program. In place since 1994, the program currently allows about 1,300 heroin users to shoot up at approved locations with government-provided heroin. That program was re-approved by parliament in March (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/277/swissheroin.shtml), and will continue until at least 2009 no matter what parliament does. But parliament's failure to act on the bill means the program lacks a permanent legal basis.

The health ministry and the Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will continue to lobby for the bill's passage, Graf told Swiss Radio International. "Of course!" he exclaimed in response to the query. "We were the first to do so and we'll carry on informing people in the most objective manner possible. Opponents of cannabis reform play on fears and prefer to bury their heads in the sand," he said. "But they have to realize that just because the debate is dragging doesn't mean that the situation will disappear. Everyone is very misinformed on this issue -- it's a dangerous situation. Opponents wanted to postpone the debate to make it clearer, but actually the debate is becoming more clouded. And our job is to remind people that, irrespective of the legal status of cannabis, we're not in favor of it being consumed, especially not on a regular basis."

But consumed it is, and illegal it shall remain, at least for now.


4. "Rough Riders" Go Free For Now: Suburban Jury Fails to Convict Oakland Police Rogues

A year-long trial for four Oakland, California, police officers accused of beating black inner city drug suspects, planting drugs, framing suspects and other related offenses ended Wednesday when an Alameda County jury that included no blacks cleared the officers on eight counts and declared itself hopelessly divided on 27 others. The case, which has polarized the city, is now in limbo while Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff ponders whether to retry the defendants. He will announce a decision by October 15.

The Rough Riders were Oakland police officers Clarence "Chuck" Mabanag, Jude Siapno Matthew Hornung, and Frank Vazquez, who was tried in absentia after presumably fleeing to Mexico. They were fired from the force in July 2000 after two rookie policeman, Kevin Batt and Steve Hewison, informed their superiors about their alleged misdeeds. Their allegations led to a police internal affairs review, which in turn led to the four losing their jobs.

The four had night-shift patrols in the West Oakland flatlands, a predominantly black area of the city plagued by street-level drug dealing and related crime. In dramatic testimony during the year-long trial, witness after witness described beatings, false arrests, and trumped-up charges perpetrated by the Rough Riders. Oakland officials were so convinced of the Rough Riders' misbehavior that not only were the four fired, the city has paid out almost $11 million dollars to people claiming to have been attacked by the Rough Riders and it has dropped more than 90 drug cases tainted by the touch of the Rough Riders.

But none of this was sufficient for the jury in this case. Selected from a jury pool of 136 -- a pool that included only 12 blacks -- the jury ended up including seven white men, two white women, two women of Latina descent, and one Asian woman. The foreman was a white man who is a law student and works for a state agency. All of those who testified about being abused by the Rough Riders were black.

The Oakland Tribune reported this week that jurors described their seven week of deliberations as "polarized" from the outset, with the unnamed foreman declaring on day one that there was too much reasonable doubt to convict on any of the 35 charges. Jurors quickly broke into two blocks, one that supported the police and one that was skeptical, the Tribune reported. Some panel members told the Tribune other jurors dismissed the testimony of the admitted drug sellers and users who testified to being abused by the Rough Riders, while a black alternate juror told the paper it was unfair that no black jurors were on the panel.

"The thing that was scary was, at the end, it felt like the personalities overtook the whole thing," one juror told the Tribune. "The sad thing was, the case was there but it was about people proving themselves right and getting over on the other person. It was ugly, so ugly."

That wasn't the only ugliness in the jury room. According to the Tribune, which has gained access to some juror notes, jurors were grappling with the notion of "Noble Cause Corruption," which the paper described as "the inference it is morally acceptable to do nasty things to despicable people."

Oakland NAACP president Shannon Reeves criticized the jury make-up. "When you bring in jurors who have no context of experience relative to the relationship between the police and the African-American community and what actually happens on the street, that means it was hard for them to believe cops plant evidence," Reeves told the Tribune. "They can't fathom it -- they don't live in that environment."

Oakland Vice Mayor Nancy Nadel, the council member who represents the West Oakland district where the Riders were assigned, joined in that criticism. "This jury may not have been familiar with how police treat citizens in West Oakland, so perhaps they were not able to objectively analyze what occurs in the community," Nadel said. "I think the jury viewed them all as having a criminal history, even though that is not true. And no matter whether individuals were at other times involved in criminal activities, they have rights as well. The verdict does not help build trust between the West Oakland community and the police," she told the Tribune.

Attorney John Burris, who orchestrated the settlements with Rough Riders victims, was flabbergasted at the apparent racial divide, he told the Tribune. "This case is another clear illustration of the different attitudes of the black and white communities," he said, suggesting that members of the white community thought police were just doing their jobs. "But the black community feels there is no question that these officers were engaged in a pattern of misconduct," Burris said. "They see the white community as giving these officers a wink and a nod."

PUEBLO Oakland (http://www.peopleunited.org), a 14-year-old social justice community organization in the Oakland flatlands also criticized the jury. "We think that justice was not served," PUEBLO executive director Dawn Phillips told DRCNet. "It appears that the jury foreman prevented jurors from examining the evidence in a clear and impartial manner," she said. "It is clear that the victims in this case have been twice brutalized, once by the police and once by the jury."

PUEBLO Oakland is calling for a retrial on the remaining 27 counts. It is also calling for a federal investigation with an eye toward filing charges under the Civil Rights Act. It is not alone. While a Department of Justice investigation seems a long-shot at this point, Oakland District Attorney Orloff has vowed to seriously examine a retrial. "The last chapter in this case has not been written yet," Orloff said. "It is a very important case to us... It questions the very integrity of the system."

The Oakland Police Department and Mayor Jerry Brown would like to put all this behind them, with Brown suggesting but not saying he was opposed to a retrial. "My view is the police are doing a hell of a job, I back them 100 percent," he said at a Tuesday press conference. "I think these things can put it to rest... given the fact that the jury spoke and we have invested millions of dollars in putting greater controls to avoid the kind of abuses that did in fact happen in this case, and that justified the firing of these police officers. We fired these cops because we thought they did not observe the kinds of standards we require and the law requires," Brown said. "I stand behind that judgment; I don't believe they are going to get their jobs back. They've lost their pensions, they had to sit through a grueling trial, they've been punished quite a lot."

Later in the day, Brown emphasized to the Tribune his sympathies with the police. "We've got some tough streets out there, with some individuals who will not hesitate to kill, to maim, to lie, to steal or to cheat, and we ask officers to go out there... and put their lives on the line every night, and I have a lot of sympathy for what they do," said Brown before -- and this is verbatim from the Tribune -- "he headed off to the Warehouse, a bar in the produce district that caters to police officers."

Meanwhile, "it's still business as usual" on the mean streets of West Oakland, said PUEBLO's Phillips, and the area's residents have a slightly different view than Brown's. The Oakland Tribune managed to gather the following quotes in a couple of hours on the day the verdicts were announced:

"Somebody got a lot of money somewhere," said Ben, a 10-year resident of 13th Street who did not want his last name used. "If I had been on that jury they'd be guilty. I see what they do on the streets. The funniest part of those Riders, there'd be a group of guys selling dope on the corner but they didn't mess with them. They were always messing with the wrong people," he said.

"They just don't treat this area the same at all," said Matt Baker, a member of the community group West Oaklanders on Peralta Street. "The law-abiding citizens in this part of town, the police don't have the same attitude toward us as they do the law-abiding citizens in other parts of town. I'm sure those guys thought that was the thing to do, even though it wasn't the thing to do," Baker said. "Nobody wants dirty cops. Even though there is a lot of drug activity in Oakland, you can't just pin it on whoever you want."

At 33rd Street and Martin Luther, James Johnson, 38, told the Tribune: "The police have always been rough on this community. They planted drugs on me once."


5. Drug Czar Office Safe for Now: House Votes for Five More Years of Same Old Drug War, Senate Vote Pending

On a voice vote and with limited debate, the US House of Representatives voted Tuesday to authorize the Office of National Drug Control Policy (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov) for five more years. The reauthorization vote granted approval of existing programs directed by ONDCP, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which funnels federal dollars into locales designated as special problems, and the drug czar's controversial media campaign, which has attempted, among other things, to persuade young people not to smoke pot because they would be aiding terrorists. ONDCP is the lead federal agency in setting drug policy and fighting off opposition to the drug war.

Drug war opponents were able to win only changes at the margins -- notably overturning the ban on using HIDTA funds for drug use prevention -- but also managed to win some small skirmishes during earlier votes in the House Judiciary and Government Operations committees. Among the victories were reform of the Higher Education Act's (HEA) anti-drug provision and blocking proposals that would have allowed the drug czar to use the ONDCP media campaign for attack ads against political opponents. Congressional reformers also blocked him from moving HIDTA funds from law enforcement in states with medical marijuana laws to the DEA.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where reformers have vowed to continue to fight for a better bill. "We're working to improve the bill even further," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. "We want to remove the ban on using HIDTA funding for drug treatment, just as we got rid of the ban on using HIDTA funds for prevention. That would be first step in diverting millions of dollars from law enforcement to treatment," he told DRCNet. "We will also directly attack the drug czar's ability to lobby. In the House, we were able to get something written into the bill that expressly prohibits the media campaign from being used in elections, and we want that expanded to include the entire ONDCP, so that it is not used to campaign and lobby against reform and reformers. We also will seek to reduce the authorization of the media campaign, either by cutting its reauthorization from five years to one or by cutting spending on the program. And we will seek to expand on the HEA reform provisions we won in the House. They need to be stronger," he said.

The House bill sponsored by arch-drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) authorizes spending of about $2.5 billion over the next five years for ONDCP programs. While the bill largely stays the course on Bush administration drug policy, it does include some changes, particularly in the HIDTA program.

One provision, championed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who represents an inner city Baltimore district, diverts at least $1 million per year in HIDTA funding in the Washington-Baltimore area from law enforcement to protecting communities that suffer from high levels of drug-related crime. The Cummings measure came in response to the deaths of Baltimore residents Carnell and Angela Dawson and their five children, who were killed in a firebomb attack on their townhouse after Mrs. Dawson repeatedly complained to police about drug dealing in her neighborhood.

The House bill also takes a tiny first step at reigning in the HIDTAs, which have expanded from five designated HIDTA areas in 1990 to now take in all or part of 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. With its rote rhetorical justifications -- in the eyes of law enforcement, any highway, railroad, port or airport in the county can be labeled a "major drug transit corridor" -- and its pork-barrel aspects -- is South Dakota really a major drug trafficking center or is it designated one because Sen. Tom Daschle is Senate minority leader? -- the HIDTA program has raised eyebrows even among drug war stalwarts. Under the House bill, the criteria for designating HIDTAs will be tightened. The House bill requires drug czar John Walters to review current HIDTAs and dismantle those that do not meet the new criteria.

While the bill is not as bad as it could have been, DPA's Piper was disappointed in House Democrats. "Maxine Waters (D-CA) was the only one to speak against the bill, she was the only one to say the emperor has no clothes," he said. The rest of the Democrats bartered away their right to a real debate and to force a roll-call vote on the bill in return for "scraps like some prevention funding," said Piper. "We understand the political dynamics of the drug war, but we are disappointed Democrats didn't stand up on this."

But, as noted earlier, the bill isn't law yet. "We are hoping we can get the Democrats to stand and fight in the Senate," said Piper. "We hope the Republicans will cave in on some of the things we want. And there is also the conference committee."

To read the the ONDCP reauthorization bill online, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and search for H.R. 2086.


6. Newsbrief: Hemp Food Industry Sees Looming Victory in DEA Battle

Based on final arguments before the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on September 17, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is predicting it will prevail in its battle to prevent the DEA from banning hemp foods. HIA filed suit on behalf of some 200 North American hemp companies to block the DEA from implementing regulatory "final rules" that would do just that.

"Retailers and manufacturers of hemp foods should be confident that we will win this case," said David Bronner, a board member of both the HIA and Vote Hemp, and Chair of the HIA Food and Oil Committee. "The three judge panel seemed in agreement over our main argument that the DEA's 'Final Rule' ignores Congress' specific exemption in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under the definition of marihuana that excludes hemp seed and stalk from control. Based on the questions posed to the DEA, it appears the court reasonably views trace insignificant amounts of THC in hemp seed in the same way as it sees trace amounts of opiates in poppy seeds," said Bronner.

In what could be described as an idiosyncratic reading of the Controlled Substances Act, the DEA rejects the plain language exempting hemp seed and its products from the act. But the court wasn't buying it, even Judge Alex Kozinski, whom the hempsters had regarded with some trepidation. According to the transcript, Judge Kozinski read back the relevant section to DEA attorney Daniel Dormont three times. By the third occasion, a frustrated Kozinski growled "...I tried to say it once before. What this tells me is Congress knew full well that stalks and seeds and fiber could be carriers of some level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They were aware of that. Nevertheless, it said unless you do the extracting part they are not marihuana under the definition. That is what it says to me."

The HIA expects a ruling within six months. In the meantime, hemp foods remain perfectly legal, thanks to the HIA's aggressive legal strategy. In earlier rounds, the HIA managed to fend off a DEA "interim rule" with a court-ordered permanent injunction. That "interim rule" is identical to the "final rule" now under scrutiny by the court.

Visit http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/Oral_Arguments_HIAvDEA.pdf to read the complete transcript of the oral arguments.


7. Newsbrief: New Hampshire Supreme Court Says Garbage Protected Property

This week's Drug War Chronicle includes not one but two articles about garbage. This is the first. The second appears below or at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/305/garbage2.shtml.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court rule ruled Monday that police may not search someone's curbside garbage without a warrant. The ruling is in contradiction to a 1998 US Supreme Court ruling and similar rulings in other states, but the court held that the New Hampshire constitution creates a much stronger expectation of privacy than the US Constitution. In doing so, it explicitly embraced a "right to privacy" inherent in the New Hampshire constitution.

The ruling came in the case of John Goss, who was convicted of marijuana possession after police obtained a search warrant based on what they found when they peeked in the tied black plastic garbage bags he left at the roadside to be picked up by trash haulers. In their affidavit supporting the search warrant, police cited wire scrapers with marijuana residue as providing probable cause for the warrant.

In the subsequent raid on his home, police seized a small amount of marijuana and three pipes. Goss was found guilty and appealed, arguing that the warrantless garbage search was illegal.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed. "Personal letters, bills, receipts, prescription bottles and similar items that are regularly disposed of in household trash disclose information about the resident that few people would want to be made public," wrote Justice Joseph Nadeau for the majority. "Nor do we believe that people voluntarily expose such information to the public when they leave trash, in sealed bags, out for regular collection."

In its 1998 case, California vs. Greenwood, the US Supreme Court disagreed. "Society would not accept as reasonable [a] claim to an expectation of privacy in trash left for collection in an area accessible to the public," the justices wrote in upholding a similar warrantless garbage search case.

But in one indication of actual social attitudes toward going through people's garbage, after Portland, Oregon, police admitted doing trash searches last year, the local alternative paper the Willamette Weekly turned the tables. The Weekly's intrepid reporters searched the garbage of Portland Mayor Vera Katz and then-Police Chief Mark Kroeker and published personal information about the two gleaned from the garbage. The high officials, who had supported such searches against suspects, screamed to high heaven when it happened to them.

As for the US Supreme Court's finding, the New Hampshire jurists recognized it but found it wanting. "We acknowledge that the United States Supreme Court has held to the contrary... We are free, however, to construe our State Constitution to provide greater protection than the Federal Constitution... We do so here."

Visit http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2003/goss120.htm to read the opinion online.


8. Newsbrief: Canadians Smuggling Marijuana in Garbage Exports to United States

More garbage news. Another smuggling scheme went down the tubes last week when US Customs inspectors in Port Huron, Michigan, found a ton of Canadian weed hidden in a shipment of Toronto garbage destined for a Michigan landfill. The contraband was concealed behind trash, but revealed after a gamma-ray scanner showed anomalies in the cargo, according to Customs spokesperson. The driver, a 37-year-old Indian national, was arrested.

The garbage truck bust has been latched upon by foes of Canadian garbage imports, the Toronto Globe & Mail reported, citing one garbage import opponent, Michigan State Representative Kathleen Law, who pronounced herself shocked that such an amount of pot was found "in just one truck." Law saw a lesson in the discovery. "This just underscores that trash from Canada leaves us open to this kind of illegal activity. We must pass legislation and we must regulate the bridge. It's just out of control. This is scary."

[Ed: A more thoughtful conclusion from the amount found in "just one truck" would be the futility of interdiction -- other drugs are even more compact.]

Last week's was actually the second garbage truck bust on the Michigan-Ontario border. In April, three people were arrested when Customs inspectors found 50 pounds of marijuana in a Canadian truck headed for the Wayne County dump.

Read this issue's first garbage-related story above this one or at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/305/garbage2.shtml.


9. Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Back on Track

An Alaska Superior Court judge has overturned a finding by state election officials that invalidated thousands of signatures for an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession. Last fall Free Hemp in Alaska (http://www.freehempinak.org), the initiative organizers, gathered nearly 50,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot, but Lt. Governor Loren Leman, an avowed foe of marijuana reform whose duties include overseeing elections, threw out nearly 29,000 signatures, leaving the measure short of the 28,000 needed to qualify.

Free Hemp in Alaska appealed, charging that the disqualifications were politically motivated and based on technical violations that should not invalidate the signatures. In Alaska, signature gatherers are given books to do their work. Leman throw out 194 of 484 books turned in, including 188 because gatherers failed to identify who got the signatures, three because gatherers were not registered to vote, two because they failed to name the organization that paid the gatherer, and one because the gatherer failed to check a box stating whether or not he was paid.

Superior Court Judge Suddock agreed with Free Hemp in a September 22 ruling notable for its harshness toward Leman and the state Division of Elections. "Our Supreme Court has reiterated on several occasions that the right to initiative is not to be defeated by technical rule violations," he wrote. And he wondered in print whether the Division of Elections was trying to sabotage the initiative by failing to notify organizers of problems. "The Court is hesitant to find on this record that the Division of Elections lay as a snake in the grass, knowing that the initiative committee was at risk by virtue of its reporting errors... However, the Division was, at least, asleep at the switch," Suddock added.

Leman denied to several media outlets that his opinion of the initiative influenced his rulings on the signatures, but initiative supporters weren't buying it. "We anticipated some type of adversity from Loren Leman," one of the initiative's organizers, Scott Dunnachie told the Juneau Empire, adding that it was one of the reasons they collected so many extra signatures. "I do feel that there was something personal there. It is rare that an initiative is thrown out over a regulation."

Judge Suddock ordered the elections office to recount the 194 disqualified booklets, which should push the number of signatures well above the 28,000 needed. The Alaska Department of Law has not indicated whether it will appeal the ruling. It has until October 23 to do so.

According to attorney Kenneth Jacobus, who represented Free Hemp, the ruling should mean Alaska voters will have a chance to vote for decriminalization on the 2004 ballot. It "pretty much will be on the ballot," he told the Empire. But it may be a moot point, given last month's appeals court ruling that there is no law against marijuana possession in the home in Alaska. Stay tuned.


10. Newsbrief: Eleven Years for Selling Baking Soda

A judge in Ohio's Stark County sentenced a Massillon man to 11 years in prison Tuesday for selling fake cocaine to an undercover police officer. Kenyan Chandler, 22, was convicted of cocaine trafficking after selling a small bag of bogus crack -- actually baking soda -- in July. The bag was supposed to be a sample for a larger, 4.5 ounce deal valued at $8,000.

Although no cocaine was involved, a jury last week convicted Chandler of cocaine trafficking. Under Ohio law, trafficking is defined as selling or offering to sell the drug. Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Joe Vance told the Associated Press that the fact Chandler sold baking soda, not cocaine, made no difference. And because the supposed deal was for more than 100 grams, that qualified Chandler as a "major drug trafficker" subject to a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.

"It's absurd," Chandler's attorney, Rick Pitinii, told the AP. Chandler was convicted of the wrong crime, Pitinii said. Under Ohio law, selling fake drugs or "counterfeit controlled substances," is a crime. That is what Chandler should have been charged with, he added. Chandler will appeal, Pitinii said.


11. Newsbrief: Barbarism in Office -- Australian Mayor Calls for Lethal Injections for Drug Users

The mayor of Port Lincoln, South Australia, has been quoted as saying injection drug users should be given deliberate overdoses as a way of cutting down on drug abuse. Reacting to reports of higher drug use rates on the state's Eyre Peninsula, on whose coast Port Lincoln sits, Mayor Peter Davis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Tuesday that a local needle exchange program was partially to blame, then added that its users should be killed.

"I don't have a problem with the free needle exchange but the drug addict who wants to exchange a needle should be given a lethal injection," he said. "You want the trip of your life, in fact the last trip of your life? Not a problem, come on in and we'll deal with you."

This week's mayoral outburst marked a return to an old theme for the crotchety official. A little more than three years ago, despite his protestations this week that he doesn't have a problem with the needle exchange, the impending opening of the Port Lincoln Hospital exchange provoked Davis to spout off in similar terms.

"I object to offering handouts to drug addicts," he told the Advertiser. Addicts should be given "three times the lethal dose," he suggested. "I don't see why the tax-paying community should be effectively held to ransom by the drug industry. We don't need the riff-raff; game's over."

Davis pointed to a 30% increase in usage of the exchange as evidence that it is causing the increase in drug abuse, but the Drug and Alcohol Council of South Australia Wednesday rejected that claim. Jason White, the council's director of treatment and rehabilitation services, told the Advertiser there is no evidence to support Davis' claim. Such talk only worsens the situation, he said.

"Comments like these will only antagonize drug users and likely drive them away from health services," White said. "That's a negative for the users, but also the whole community because we need people to cooperate to reduce the problems associated with drug use."


12. Newsbrief: New South Wales Medical Marijuana Approval

There is better news to report from Australia's New South Wales, where the federal government has granted in-principle approval for a medical marijuana program proposed by the Australian Labor Party government of Premier Bob Carr. Under the NSW plan, people suffering from a set of diseases would be able to register to use medical marijuana. The plan would also allow for clinical trials of medical marijuana's efficacy and establish an Office of Medical Marijuana within the NSW Department of Health.

"The NSW proposal would involve two parallel initiatives, namely clinical research trials and a compassionate access scheme," said Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health Trish Worth in announcing the federal approval. Worth said that the federal government would support the plan as long as it met medical guidelines and did not violate international treaties. "Any clinical research trial would need to meet the Therapeutic Goods Administration's requirements for conducting clinical trials in Australia," she said.

Legislation to implement the medical marijuana plan is being drafted and is expected to be introduced within weeks. It may specify that marijuana be in the form of a pill or nasal spray, according to a report in the Australian newspaper the Advertiser. But while companies such as Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals are conducting tests on such products, they are not yet ready for market.

Patients suffering from a range of diseases would be able to register to use medical marijuana upon supplying a doctor's certificate saying that conventional therapies for their conditions have been ineffective, an unnamed NSW spokesman told the Advertiser. "It would be limited to a range of very sick people, people with AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis," he said.


13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

There is never a shortage of stories for this feature. This week's winners are a pair of former high officials of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, who allegedly gouged MBN and Mississippi taxpayers out of thousands of dollars in questionable overtime pay and questionable expenditures of anti-drug funds. The Associated Press reported September 27 that an internal MBN investigation named former MBN deputy director Ronald Pitts and former MBN chief of operations Bill Taylor as the malefactors and that the results of the investigation have been turned over to the state attorney general's office for further action.

According to the MBN report, Pitts was paid more than $4,500 in disputed overtime payments when he retired last year. Even though his account differed from the state's by 152 hours, he ordered that he be paid the full amount. The report also found that Taylor claimed more than $3,200 in overtime pay for marijuana eradication, much of which he claimed to have done during seasons when marijuana does not grow. Both men left the anti-drug agency last year.

The MBN report also found unusual anti-drug spending by the pair, including the purchase of 1,728 golf balls, 144 golf starter kits, 600 knit shirts, and three leather jackets.

Taylor and Pitts are only the latest to fall in the MBN's internal investigation. Marijuana eradication program head Jimmy Saxton was fired earlier this year over accusations that he cheated on his overtime pay, and agent Gary White has resigned after being caught giving Saxton helicopter lessons although White is not a certified instructor.


14. DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime

Due to funding shortfalls, DRCNet has been forced to suspend our web-based write-to Congress program. We will bring it back to life as soon as you and other DRCNet supporters make it possible through your financial contributions. Please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ and make the most generous donation that you can!

Most importantly, don't let this temporary setback at DRCNet prevent you from lobbying Congress. We intend to continue to issue legislative action alerts in the meantime, and you can act on them by calling your US Representative and your two Senators on the phone; go through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or visit http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov to look up their names and phone and fax numbers or to contact them via e-mail or web form. The information contained on the alert pages of our legislative web sites will provide you with sufficient information to take such action. There are current action alerts posted at:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/
http://stopthedrugwar.org/justice/
http://stopthedrugwar.org/stopthehelicopters/
http://www.raiseyourvoice.com
It's important that we get the web-based service online as soon as possible, for a few reasons:
  1. E-mails to Congress are more important and effective now than they were in the past, since the 2001 anthrax attacks and the resulting slowness and unreliability of snail-mail to Capitol Hill;
  2. The ease of going to a web site, reviewing and editing a prewritten letter, typing in your address and sending it at the click of a mouse, is highly effective for increasing our participation rates and resulting impact on Congress;
  3. The action alert web sites are a highly effective means for recruiting new people onto our e-mail lists, growing the movement and doing so in the process of carrying out needed grassroots activism -- and ultimately increasing our potential donor base and ability to maintain and enhance these services;
  4. The system lets us look up subsets of our list based on geography (e.g. state, congressional district, city, state legislative district, county), and target action alerts to people who live in the key areas whose legislators or officials need to be lobbied especially vigorously due to their membership on committees responsible for active legislation or other reasons; and
  5. The personalization features the online system provides us allow us to send each of you individualized e-mails containing the name and phone number of your legislators, making it easier for you to take it to the next level of lobbying by phone, thereby increasing the number of phone calls to Congress that we can generate, a crucial show of passion for the issue that members of Congress need to see. For example, if you've used our write-to-Congress web forms in the last 2 3/4 years, you've probably received a few e-mails from us recently with text like the following:

  6. "If you haven't moved since we last communicated (zip code ___ in ___, __, than your US Representative is Rep. ___. Please call Rep. ___ at ____ and ask him to vote YES on ___ when it comes to a vote on the House floor..."

So while we can continue to send you legislative alerts without the online lobbying system, we can't make use of any of those extremely powerful features described in the paragraphs above. In order to resume our use of the service, we need to pay off our balance with the company that provides it as well as raise additional funds to ensure we can continue to afford it after that. All in all, we need to raise at least $10,000 in non-deductible donations to our 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, to reactivate the service and be fiscally responsible in continuing to subscribe to it. While this sounds like a lot of money, it's only slightly more than members like you gave us during our most successful previous fundraising appeal.

So please take a few moments to send DRCNet a few dollars today and make it happen! Please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ to make a contribution by credit card or PayPal or to print out a form to send in with your check -- or just send your donation by mail to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network to support our lobbying work (like the action alert program) are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible contributions to support our educational work can be made to the DRCNet Foundation, same address. We can also accept donations of stock: Our broker is Ameritrade, phone: (800) 669-3900, account number: 772973012, DTC number: 0188, make sure to contact us directly to let us know that the stocks are there and whether they are meant for the Drug Reform Coordination Network or the DRCNet Foundation.


15. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions

The John W. Perry Fund, a project of the DRCNet Foundation in association with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, provides college scholarships to students losing federal financial aid because of drug convictions. The Fund has monies remaining for fall 2003 as well as future semesters, and eligible students are urged to apply as soon as possible.

Please visit http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com/perryfund/ to fill out a pre-application, print out an application form or brochure, or for further information. Students, financial aid officers, friends and family members and supporters of students, as well as media, activists, potential donors and other interested parties, are all welcome to contact us!

Supportive parties are urged to take copies around to financial aid offices, social services agencies whose clientele are likely to include drug ex-offenders, high school guidance offices, and to forward information about the Perry Fund to appropriate e-mail lists. Community and state colleges are of particular interest to the Perry Fund, because the low tuition rates enable us to fully finance a student's education in many cases, and because their student bodies include a high proportion of low income with especially great financial need.

Any applicant losing federal financial aid due to a drug conviction, however, attempting to attend any school, is welcome and encouraged to apply. We continue to raise money for the Perry Fund, and the more applications we have received, the more money we will likely be able to raise for them. Please urge potential applicants to visit http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com/perryfund/ for information and to apply, or to contact DRCNet at (202) 362-0030. Thank you for spreading the word.


16. The Reformer's Calendar

(Please submit listings of events concerning drug policy and related topics to calendar@drcnet.org.)

October 3-4, Detroit, MI, "And Justice for All? Communities of Color and the War on Drugs," conference of Drug Policy Forum of Michigan with Wayne State University SSDP and other organizations. Visit http://www.dpfmi.org/conf.htm or contact Debra Wright at (734) 368-8328 or dswmsw@msn.com or Michael Segesta at (586) 873-5086 or msegesta@comcast.net for further information.

October 14, 7:30pm, Alpine, TX, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Sul Ross State University, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit http://www.adopedealer.com for further info.

October 15, 12:30pm, Alpine, TX, "Dynamics of American Drug Culture," lecture by Confessions of a Dope Dealer's Sheldon Norberg. At Sul Ross State University, call (415) 666-3939 or visit http://www.adopedealer.com for further information.

October 15, 7:30pm, Odessa, TX, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Univ. of Texas Permian Basin, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit http://www.adopedealer.com for further info.

October 5-17, Deming, Silver City, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, NM, "Continuing Drug Policy Reform in New Mexico," speaking tour by Jack Cole and Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or speakers@leap.cc for details of individual engagements.

October 22, 7:00pm, Syracuse, NY, "Against All Odds: Cops Fighting the War on Drugs," forum with Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Sponsored by Reconsider: Forum on Drug Policy and Syracuse University Students for Sensible Drug Policy. At Syracuse University, for further information contact Gerrit Cain at caingerrit@hotmail.com or Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or speakers@reconsider.org.

October 23-26, Lisbon, Portugal, Lisbon International Symposium on Drug Policy. Sponsored by the Senlis Council, visit http://www.senliscouncil.net/modules/events/lisbon for info or contact info@senliscouncil.net.

October 25, 9:00pm-2:00am, Knoxville, TN, benefit show to help NORML-UTK do public education on medical marijuana, featuring "Drum-N-Bass" and "Groove Bubble." At Friends bar, Univ. of Tennessee, 17th St. & White Ave., general admission $5 or $3 for NORML members, 18 and over. For further information, contact Greg Webber at injunsun@aol.com.

November 5-8, East Rutherford, NJ, biennial conference of Drug Policy Alliance. At the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center, 2 Meadowlands Plaza, visit http://www.drugpolicy.org 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 info@festival-du-chanvre.com or visit http://www.festival-du-chanvre.com for further information.

November 9, 9:30pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Sixty Spins Around the Sun," documentary about comedian/drug reform activist Randy Credico. Screening at the American Film Institute Festival, visit http://www.afifest.com for further information.

November 16, 3:30pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Sixty Spins Around the Sun," documentary about comedian/drug reform activist Randy Credico. Screening at the American Film Institute Festival, visit http://www.afifest.com for further information.

November 22, 11:00am-10:00pm, Portland, OR, "Second Annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards 2003." At the Double Tree Inn Lloyd Center, e-mail OrNORML.Secretary@comcast.net or visit http://www.ornorml.org for further information!

January 28-February 7, 2004, Hannibal, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, "Special Delivery for John Ashcroft," speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Roger Hudlin. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or speakers@leap.cc for details of individual engagements.

April 20-24, Melbourne, Australia, "15th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm." Visit http://www.ihra.net or e-mail ihra@adf.org.au for information.


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

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