Weekly: This Week in History

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August 23, 1839: The United Kingdom captured Hong Kong as a base as it prepared for war with Qing China. The ensuing 3-year conflict was later known as the First Opium War.

August 25, 2001: The Denver Post reports that US District Judge John L. Kane, Jr. said: "The best way for a kid who is caught using or selling drugs to get off is to select a congressman, senator or high-ranking official as one's parent." Indeed, after the son of the now-disgraced US Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), was found flying an airplane loaded with 400 pounds of marijuana, he was freed on bail but then tested positive for cocaine three times. He wound up getting 2 1/2 years in prison -- a long time, but not by the standards of US criminal justice today. Former Education Secretary Richard Riley's son got just six months' house arrest for conspiring to sell cocaine and marijuana, though he had been indicted earlier on charges that can lead to life in prison.

August 27, 2002: Canadian Press, Canada's national newswire, reports that Health Minister Anne McLellan said the federal government is not backing away from its plan to supply patients with medical marijuana. Bristling earlier reports that the project had been shelved, McLellan said, "In fact, far from shelving it, what we're doing is implementing the second stage."

August 22, 2003: David Borden, Executive Director of StoptheDrugWar.org, writes an open letter to the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Rufus G. King III, stating his refusal to serve jury duty. "... I have determined that unjust drug laws, and the corrosion wrought by the drug war on the criminal justice system as a whole, compel me to conscientiously refuse jury service," says Borden. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/openletter to read the full letter.

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