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Media: David Borden in Televised Drug Legalization Debate


  • David Borden, Executive Director, StoptheDrugWar.org, Washington, DC
  • Deirdre Boyd, CEO, Addiction Recovery Foundation, London
  • host: Shahab Mossavat

    part 1 of 3: embed:
    part 2 of 3: embed:
    part 3 of 3: embed:

    Click here to view the full one-hour program on presstv.com. David Borden did not appear in the first half due to technical problems. PressTV is an English-language network based in Teheran, which airs across Europe and the Middle East.

    references for statements made by David Borden:

  • Drug Truth 07/24/08

    The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) Cultural Baggage for 07/23/08 Reports from the Netroots Nation convention: Jeremy Scahill, Cliff Schecter, Jim Hightower, Gloria Littleshield & dozens of voices answering the question: "Can you name the #1 success of the drug war" + Drug War Facts with Doug McVay MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1979/FDBCB_072308.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 07/22/08 Tex Rep Rick Noriega running for US Senate + Roger Goodman running for re-election as Wash state rep + Ada Fisher disses Obama's drug use MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1978/COL_072208.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Posted on Fri) PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Drug War Down Under - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Jay Rorty, ACLU Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Now Australia!!! Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 55 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

    4:20 Drug War NEWS 07/21/08

    Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US and Canada & on the web at www.kpft.org. John Stossel, ABC NEWS: "Alcohol prohibition created Al Capone and the Mafia. Drug prohibition is worse. It's corrupting whole countries and financing terrorism." - John Stossel our guest on Tuesdays Century of Lies. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 07/14/08 to 07/20/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Jim Hightower, Texas/American Icon Sat - Glenn Greenway with Poppygate Report Fri - Brother Robert Muhammed 5/5 Thur - Brother Robert Muhammed 4/5 Wed - Brother Robert Muhammed 3/5 Tue - Brother Robert Muhammed 2/5 Mon - Brother Robert Muhammed of the Nation of Islam discusses the impact of the drug war on the Black community 1/5 Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Reports from Netroots Nation - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Rick Noriega Cand. for US Senate + Roger Goodman running for reelection as state rep in Washington Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

    Legalization Debate Featuring David Borden, Stop the Drug War's Executive Director

     

     

    I thought you might enjoy this video of a 25-minute legalization debate I did recently. It aired on a news network that broadcasts primarily to Arab audiences across Europe and the Middle East.

    While we continue to work for reforms like medical marijuana, changes in drug sentencing, restoring financial aid to students with drug convictions and limiting the use of SWAT teams to emergency situations, it's also important to get the truth out about the failure, the harm and the injustice of drug prohibition itself.

    Please watch the video (it's in three parts), please send it to a friend, and please make a donation today to help us get the truth out, around the globe, about drug prohibition and the need to end it.

     

     

     

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/truthcampaign/donate

     

    David Borden
    Executive Director, StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet)
    News & Activism Promoting Sensible Reform

     

    This message was sent to dguard@drcnet.org. Visit your subscription management page to modify your email communication preferences or update your personal profile. Click here (or reply via email with "remove" in the subject line) to remove yourself from ALL email lists maintained by DRCNet Rapid Response Team.

    Feature: Beyond 2008 -- Global Civil Society Tells the UN It's Time to Fix International Drug Policy

    Last week, some 300 delegates representing organizations from across the drug policy spectrum met in Vienna for the Beyond 2008 NGO Forum, an effort to provide civil society input on global drug policy. Building on a series of regional meetings last year, the forum was part of an ongoing campaign to reshape the United Nations' drug policy agenda as the world organization grapples with its next 10-year plan.

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/vienna-inside.jpg
    UN building housing the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna (interior shot)
    In 1998, the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs issued a declaration outlining its 10-year strategy to "eliminate or significantly reduce" the cultivation of marijuana, coca, and opium poppies. "A drug-free world -- we can do it!" was the motto adopted by UNGASS a decade ago. Now, with the 10-year review bumped back to next March, it is clear that the global anti-drug bureaucracy cannot claim to have achieved its goals, and civil society is taking the opportunity to intervene in search of a new, more pragmatic and humane direction in global drug policy.

    The NGO meeting, which included drug treatment, prevention, education, and policy reform groups, harm reduction groups, and human rights groups from around the world, resulted in a resolution that will be presented to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at its meeting next March. At that meeting, the CND will draft the next UN 10-year global drug strategy.

    Of the nine regions of the world, only North America sent two delegations. The first, which had met in St. Petersburg, Florida, in January, deliberately excluding harm reduction and drug reform groups, was the "official" delegation, representing hard-line prohibitionist organizations aligned with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, such as the Drug-Free America Foundation and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the California Narcotics Officers Association, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

    The second North American grouping, which had held its regional meeting in Vancouver in February, included dozens of organizations in drug reform and harm reduction, as well as treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation groups. Among the organizations from the Vancouver meeting that went to Vienna were the ACLU Drug Law Policy Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Virginians Against Drug Violence, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Harm Reduction Coalition, Break The Chains, and the Institute for Policy Studies.

    In many ways, the three-day meeting in Vienna was a debate among North Americans, with the NGOs of the other eight regions having largely agreed on a reformist and harm reduction approach. And strikingly, for the first time at a UN event, the prohibitionists found themselves in a distinct minority.

    After three days of sometimes heated discussion, the unanimous declaration of the NGOs at Beyond 2008 called for:

    • Recognition of "the human rights abuses against people who use drugs";
    • "Evidence-based" drug policy focused on "mitigation of short-term and long-term harms" and "full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms";
    • The UN to report on the collateral consequences of the current criminal justice-based approach to drugs and to provide an "analysis of the unintended consequences of the drug control system";
    • Comprehensive "reviews of the application of criminal sanctions as a drug control measure";
    • Recognition of harm reduction as a necessary and worthwhile response to drug abuse;
    • A shift in primary emphasis from interdiction to treatment and prevention;
    • Alternatives to incarceration;
    • The provision of development aid to farmers before eradication of coca or opium crops;
    • Acknowledging that young people represent a significant proportion of drug users worldwide, are disproportionately affected by drugs and drug policy, and should be actively involved in the setting of global drug policy.

    "We achieved a set of declarations of what the people of the world think drug policy ought to look like," said Graham Boyd of the ACLU Drug Law Policy Project. "We reached a consensus on a set of policies that is really different from what we've seen so far. It's a shift away from interdiction, arrests, and imprisonment, and toward including concepts like human rights and harm reduction."

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/vienna-inside-2.jpg
    Fayzal Sulliman (Sub-Saharan African Harm Reduction Network, Stijn Goossens (International Network Of People Who Use Drugs), Kris Krane (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
    "We hammered out a pretty amazing set of suggestions as to where the UNODC and CND should go in the next decade," said Jack Cole, executive director of LEAP. "I thought it was wonderful. This is a consensus document," Cole noted. "While that means anything that everybody couldn't agree on didn't get in, it also means that every single person there agreed with what did get in. That's why I'm so pleased with this. At the end, we were able to agree on some really, really good things."

    "I think we accomplished a lot," said Lennice Werth of Virginians Against Drug Violence. "What was really important was where the rest of the world stood, and it was clear from the regional meetings that everyone else mentioned harm reduction and the decriminalization of drug use as goals. By the end of the meetings, the whole world was sitting back and watching as two US factions slugged it out. It became evident that the whole world is seeing the light except for these hard-liners in the States."

    "This was a really good reality check for the US prohibitionists," said Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies. "They've never been forced to sit in a room with so many people who have evolved so far beyond them. A real wake-up call. And we even got some of them to engage us, and found we had a lot in common. That leaves the hardliners way out in the cold."

    "The NGO community is united in insisting that the UN and member states respect the human rights of people who use drugs, and that all drug strategies must be drafted in the spirit of human rights declarations," said Kris Krane, executive director of SSDP. "If adopted by the United Nations, this could have a profound impact in many parts of the world where drug users are routinely treated as subhuman, and subjected to treatment that would be unthinkable even in the context of repressive United States drug policy."

    "We achieved some important gains," said Frederick Polak, speaking as a member of ENCOD, the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies. "But the central issue for ENCOD and its 150 organizations is to get alternative drug control policies on the agenda of CND and of individual countries. It is no longer acceptable that alternative policies are simply not discussed by governments, and not at the UN, at least not at the level of policymakers."

    In that regard, said Polak, Beyond 2008 did not go far enough. "We made very little progress on actually getting legalization and regulation on the agenda, and only in the sense that most people are aware now that the issue 'hangs in the air' in Vienna," he said.

    The haggling between the prohibitionist fringe and the rest of the NGOs not only prevented the adoption of more overtly anti-prohibitionist language, Polak said, it also prevented discussion of additional proposals for alternative drug control policies, including one advanced by ENCOD.

    But it is a ways from passing a civil society resolution to seeing it adopted by the global anti-drug bureacracy. Now that Beyond 2008 has crafted its resolutions, the goal is to see that it has some impact on the deliberations of the UN drug bodies next year. That involves not only showing up in Vienna, but also impressing upon national governments that they need to heed what civil society is telling them.

    "This was the first quarter in a game that has three quarters left," said Boyd. "But we did well in the sense that until this conference, NGOs didn't really have a place at the table when it came to discussing international drug policy. What this means is that when the nations convene and reassess international drug policy in coming months, they will know that NGOs from all of their countries have really called on them to reassess the direction they're going," he continued.

    "This is going to provide traction for reform of the international drug control system, and the fact that it was a consensus document make it even more powerful," said Tree. "The prohibitionists were so marginalized, they had to consent. Some even opened their ears and listened. We have opened the door for drug policy approaches like harm reduction, public health, regulation, and ending the folly of blaming other countries for our demand."

    "Now we need to make sure our voices are heard," said Boyd. "Part of that is just showing up in Vienna, but part of that is speaking to our national government representatives and making sure they're really representing us. In our case, our national government hasn't shown much empathy for the positions we've taken, but we're a democratic society, so I hope they will include our views."

    Reformers must also continue to make the case against drug prohibition, said ENCOD's Polak. "The theory of prohibition is that it will diminish drug production, supply and use. Yet in reality it has achieved the exact opposite, and has additionally created violence, corruption and chaos that is now destroying millions of lives. It's safe to say that prohibition theory has been proven false," he said.

    "In any other field of policy, alternative methods would be explored, but in international drug policy, consideration of alternative policies is taboo," Polak continued. "With this argument, drug policy activists should try to convince public opinion and politicians in their country that there is an urgent need for a thorough and rational study of alternative drug control policies."

    "This could be an exercise in futility," said Werth, acknowledging the slow pace of change at the UN and the uncertainty over whether change will occur at all. "But it doesn't seem like it. The UN moves at a glacial pace, but they know they didn't achieve a drug-free world, and when they move, it will undercut the gang in charge of drug policy in this country."

    Europe: Battle of the Swiss Drug Referenda

    Swiss voters will have a clear choice on their drug policy preferences as they head to the polls on November 30. They can put their seal of approval on reforms approved by parliament in March, or they can vote for an abstinence-promoting referendum submitted by rightist parties that last week announced they had gathered the 50,000 signatures necessary to put their proposal on the ballot.

    In March, the parliament backed a proposal that would decriminalize the use and possession of small amounts of drugs. The proposal would also permit the use of psychoactive drugs, including heroin, for scientific or therapeutic purposes.

    That's too much for the uber-conservative Federal Democratic Union and Swiss People's Party, who filed the referendum challenging the proposal. The proposed law is too liberal, they said. Opposition from the People's Party has helped block drug reforms before in Switzerland. Later this year, we will see if the Swiss still find them persuasive.

    Drug Truth 07/17/08

    The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) Cultural Baggage for 07/16/08 Brother Robert Muhammed of the Nation of Islam & DTN's Dean Becker discuss Houston's criminal, justice system + LEAP Report from Terry Nelson, Poppygate with Glenn Greenway + Drug War Facts with Doug McVay MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1970/FDBCB_071608.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 07/15/08 Special with: Gatewood Galbreath, Norm Stamper, Carl Veley, Sanho Tree, Chuck Thomas, The "Marijuanalogues", Bruce Mirken, Ethan Nadelmann MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1969/COL_071508.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Posted on Fri) PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: US Senate Candidate Rick Noriega + Roger Goodman seeking reelection in Wash State (For sure this week :) Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Now Australia!!! Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 55 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

    Angus Reid Poll: Canadians Want Some Offenders in Alternative Reform Programs, Four-in-five respondents think personal marijuana use should not be punished with a prison term

    [Courtesy of Angus Reid Strategies] [VANCOUVER – Jul. 16, 2008] – Canadians are open to the idea of having some non-violent offenders punished with alternative penalties rather than prison, but reject the scheme being applied to cases of credit card fraud, drunk driving and arson, a new Angus Reid Strategies poll has found. In the online survey of a representative national sample, seven-in-ten respondents (70%) would like to see the justice system using alternative penalties—such as fines, probation, or community service—rather than jail to punish non-violent offences. Four-in-five respondents (80%) think that personal marijuana use should not be punished with a jail sentence, but rather with an alternative penalty. However, most respondents disagree with granting this option to persons convicted for other non-violent offences: 62 per cent of respondents oppose using alternative penalties for credit card fraud; 72 per cent oppose this rationale for drunk driving convictions; and 84 per cent oppose it for arson. Respondents living in Ontario (74%) are more likely to support the idea of sentencing non-violent offenders through alternative reform programs. Ontarians are also the most inclined to support alternative penalties for personal marijuana use (85% compared to 73% in Alberta, the lowest regional level). Albertans are adamantly opposed to granting alternative penalties to credit card fraud offences (72%), drunk driving (85%) and arson (92%). Conversely, two-in-five respondents in Quebec would support punishing credit-card fraud and drunk driving with sentences other than jail. Overall support for alternative penalties for non-violent offences is higher among respondents with at least one university degree (78%), those in the middle-income bracket (73%), and those over the age of 55 (74%). This is the third in a series of four Angus Reid Strategies surveys that look at the way Canadians feel about their justice system. CONTACT Mario Canseco, Director of Global Studies, 604-647-3570, mario.canseco@angus-reid.com. For more information, see: http://angusreidstrategies.com/uploads/pages/pdfs/2008.07.16_JusticeIII.pdf.

    4:20 DWN Update 07/14/08

    Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US and Canada & on the web at www.kpft.org. John Stossel, ABC NEWS: "Alcohol prohibition created Al Capone and the Mafia. Drug prohibition is worse. It's corrupting whole countries and financing terrorism." - John Stossel our guest on Tuesdays Century of Lies. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 07/14/08 to 07/20/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Ryan King 2 Sat - Ryan King of the Sentencing Project 1 of 2 Fri - John Stossel 3 Thu - John Stossel 2 Wed - ABC Newsman John Stossel 1 of 3 Tue - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Mon - Rick Noriega running for US Senate + Roger Goodman running for State rep in Washington Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Brother Robert Muhammed - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Rick Noriega Cand. for US Senate + Roger Goodman running for reelection as state rep in Washington Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

    Marijuana: Georgia Grand Jury Foreman Says Legalize It

    Grand juries are charged with evaluating potential crimes presented to them by prosecutors and deciding whether indictments are merited. The grand jury empanelled in March in Chatham County, Georgia, did just that, delivering numerous indictments for drugs and other criminal offenses.

    But grand juries and their foreman also have the opportunity to speak their minds about what they have observed while serving. The Chatham County grand jury did so in its final report to Superior Court Judge Perry Brannen.

    Its observations and recommendations were not surprising. "A high percentage of our cases were drug-related and a high percentage were repeat offenders," the grand jury noted. Authorities should "institute more effective methods of drug treatment and rehabilitation aimed at minimizing repeat offenders" and "as far as possible, use stricter or more effective methods of punishment," the jurors recommended.

    While the grand jury's recommendations were pretty standard stuff, grand jury foreman Gordon Varnadoe used the opportunity to call for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales in his personal recommendations. Varnadoe also called for the legalization of prostitution.

    "It is my considered and strong opinion that marijuana should be legal, controlled, and taxed," Varnadoe wrote. "There is no evidence that it is a 'gateway drug' that leads to other drugs. It is not found to be present in cases of domestic violence, highway fatalities, or death caused by consumption. This can be completely turned around to change from a tax burden and expense to a source of great revenue."

    The grand jury reports are not binding, and a grand jury or foreman using them as a platform to call for drug law reform is rare. But it has happened before.

    As Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation reminds, drug policy reform has also been on the mind of grand juries in at least one large American city, Baltimore. In 1995, a city of Baltimore grand jury issued a report that studied drug law enforcement during its September 1994 term. While that grand jury said "legalization is not an acceptable solution" to the larger drug problem, it also recommended that "consideration be given to decriminalizing marijuana" and "medicalization may be the best solution for managing addiction and drug proliferation."

    By the summer of 2003, another Baltimore grand jury was ready to go further. In its report, that grand jury called for the "regulated distribution" of now illegal drugs -- not just marijuana. That grand jury report helped lay the groundwork for hearings in the Maryland Senate in 2003 where drug reformers got an opportunity to lay out the rationale for reform.

    While usually considered the domain of prosecutors -- "a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor told it to," goes the old saw -- grand juries have a chance to speak their minds in their reports, and perhaps lead the way to a reconsideration of current policies. There is as yet no sign that the Chatham County grand jury foreman's recommendations will lead to similar reflection, but it is a start. As drug policy reform makes its long march through the institutions of society, the grand jury should not be forgotten.

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