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Law Enforcement: LEAP Barred From Asian-American Cops Meeting in Virginia

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the 10,000-strong organization of police, judges, prosecutors, DEA and FBI agents, and others calling for an end to drug prohibition, was declared persona non grata at the conference of the National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) in Crystal City, Virginia, on Tuesday. LEAP member Howard Wooldridge--best known as the guy in the cowboy hat with the "Cops Say Legalize Drugs" t-shirt--was forced to remove himself and his booth from the conference after federal agents there complained about his presence, LEAP said in a Wednesday press release.

According to the press release: "Acting under pressure from unnamed federal officials, Reagan Fong, president of the NAPOA, insisted on the immediate removal of LEAP from the conference vendor roster. It appears that some of the event's other exhibitors took exception to the LEAP message and put pressure on the event organizer to expel LEAP from the event."

Wooldridge reported that federal agency representatives, including DEA, Federal Air Marshals, and the Coast Guard had vendor booths at the conference. On Monday, Wooldridge visited the DEA booth and described the DEA agent there as "decidedly unhappy" with having to hear an opposing viewpoint.

Although NAPOA head Fong has not yet responded to LEAP requests for clarification and rectification, LEAP believes he took the action at the request of the DEA agent. LEAP is asking for an apology and demanding that Fong reveal the identity of the agent who leaned on him.

"We ask that Mr. Fong identify the individual, agency or group that lobbied for our eviction from the event," LEAP said. "If this was an independent effort then he or she was acting outside the scope of authority and should receive administrative punishment for unprofessional actions. If this action was sanctioned by upper level management then the managers need to explain their behavior in an open forum. If this was sanctioned official action by the US government it is a serious matter which requires serious and immediate attention."

420 Drug War 08/25/08

Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US, Canada and Australis & on the web at www.kpft.org. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Australia. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 08/25/08 to 08/31/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Richard Lake of MAPINC NEWS reports on medical marijuana progress in Michigan Sat - Denver Post reporter Tom McGee regarding Denvers mayors decision to not arrest pot smokers during the convention Fri - Chris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access regarding legislature to protect employees who smoke medical marijuana Thu - Mason Tvert regarding Denver's decision to not arrest pot smokers during the convention Wed - Winston Francis provides the Official Government Truth Tue - Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition reports for the Drug Truth Network Mon - Kevin Zeese, Pres of Common Sense for Drug Policy analyzes Obamas pick of Biden 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: Wendy Chapkis, co-author Dying to Get High - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD 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

Latin America: Mexico's PRD May Call for Legalization

According to Mexican press reports this week, Mexico's Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD -- Democratic Revolution Party) is preparing to consider legalization of the drug trade as a response to the wave of narco-violence that has swept the country in the last year and a half. Around 5,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence since President Felipe Calderón escalated Mexico's long-running drug war by enlisting the military in the fight in December 2006.

PRD presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador came within a handful of votes of winning the presidency in 2006, and the party remains the second strongest political force in the country, behind the ruling Partido Acción Nacional (PAN -- National Action Party). But because of party infighting since that election, the PRD may drop into third place after this year's midterm elections, behind both the PAN and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI -- Revolutionary Institutional Party).

According to the Mexico City newspaper El Universal, the PRD's national council is calling on the party's legislators to begin discussing legalization as part of a "grand national accord" to deal with violence and insecurity in the country. The proposal came from the PRD's New Left faction, led by Jesús Zambrano, and was approved unanimously by the national council.

In an interview with Mexico's Televisa TV network, the PRD coordinator in the lower house, Javier González Garza, upped the ante, saying legalization should be considered not only in Mexico, but also in the US. "We can't continue thinking that we are going to combat the problem of drug trafficking without more radical measures, and one of them has to be the legalization of drugs in the United States," he said. "After the United States will we continue with Mexico? Of course, or both at the same time... This war, the way it is outlined, is going to be lost, we're all going to lose, it makes no sense and there need to be some changes."

Some 25,000 Mexican army troops are fighting drug traffickers along the border and in a number of major cities and drug-growing areas. Many observers blame the spike in violence -- more people have been killed already this year than in all of last year -- on the aggressive stance of the Calderón government. But the US government is pleased; it recently passed a $1.4 billion, three-year anti-drug assistance package for Mexico, most of which will go to beefing up military and police capabilities.

Marijuana: Massachusetts Decriminalization Initiative Polling Well

A Massachusetts initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession looks set to win in November, if polling numbers from this month are any indication. According to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll, the initiative now has the approval of 72% of voters. Only 22% of respondents said they opposed the decrim measure, while 6% had no opinion.

The initiative, sponsored by the Committee for Responsible Marijuana Policy, would replace current criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a civil penalty of forfeiture of the marijuana and a $100 fine.

It looks like the Massachusetts public is on board with decrim, said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters," he said.

The decrim initiative, known as Question #2 on the November ballot, is the only one of three initiatives garnering majority support, according to the poll. An initiative that would reduce and ultimately eliminate the state income tax was trailing 50% to 36%, while an initiative that would bar dog racing that entailed wagering was hovering at the half-way mark, with 50% approval and 37% and opposed.

Massachusetts voters may be uncertain about dog racing and opposed to messing with the state tax system, but they seem clear about the need to decriminalize marijuana possession. If they pass the initiative, Massachusetts will become the 13th decrim state and the first since Nevada in 2001.

Europe: Move Afoot in Poland to Legalize Marijuana

According to Polish Radio, a campaign to loosen the marijuana laws is underway in Poland. A petition to the Ministry of Justice requesting the legalization of marijuana for personal use has already been signed by hundreds of people, including drug rehab specialists and members of Monar, a nonprofit group that works with addicts, the HIV/AIDS positive, and the homeless.

Now, would-be legalizers are trying a new tack: direct contact with members of parliament (MPs). "Cannabis canvassers" recruited via the Internet have been paying visits to politicians in an effort to win them over, and it seems to be working. The canvassers have already collected the signatures of five MPs, including former health minister Marek Balicki.

Legalization of personal possession (or decriminalization) would be a step forward for Poland. Under current law, possession of even small amounts of marijuana is a serious criminal offense.

Feature: Seattle's Hempfest Again Draws Multitudes in Celebration of Cannabis Culture

Last Saturday and Sunday, Seattle's Myrtle Edwards Park, a mile-long strip of land fronting Puget Sound just north of downtown, once again played host to the Seattle Hempfest. And once again, the Hempfest lived up to its reputation as the world's largest marijuana "protestival."

With a core staff of around a hundred, led by the indefatigable Vivian McPeak, and about a thousand volunteers who worked to set up the event, keep it running smoothly, and tear it all down at the end of the weekend, Hempfest is not only a celebration of cannabis culture but also the living embodiment of the grassroots cooperative activism that has flourished for years in Seattle.

From its beginnings as a small pro-hemp event 17 years ago, Hempfest has become the coming out party for America's cannabis nation, which in Seattle includes not only youthful stoners, wizened hippies, and Mr. Bong Head (a guy wearing a working bong contraption on his head), but punks, Goths, ravers, uncostumed twenty- and thirty-somethings, families with children in strollers, and -- the biggest cannabis celebrity in town -- travel writer Rick Steves. Steves once again called for the US to follow the lead of Europe in relaxing marijuana laws.

Over the event's two-day span, an estimated 150,000+ people showed up to see and be seen, listen to four stages worth of live music, peruse the hundreds of vendors' stands for the newest technologies and best buys on glass pipes, t-shirts, hemp items, and other pot-related accoutrements and accessories.

And to get high in public with their comrades. Seattle police have for years now had an accommodation with Hempfest, even more so since the city's voters told law enforcement very clearly in 2003 that marijuana should be the city's lowest law enforcement priority. Police were on the scene, patrolling the park's sidewalks in pairs, but appeared oblivious to the open pot-smoking going on all over the place.

In effect, Hempfest is not only the largest marijuana protestival in the world, it is also a massive act of civil disobedience. Even though Seattle has its lowest priority policy and Washington state has decriminalized pot possession, marijuana use and possession is still against the law. As one speaker addressed the crowd, pointing out this fact and telling listeners that despite all the progress they had made, they were still criminals, the crowd responded with an enormous cheer.

The only real tension at Hempfest occurred when a small group of sign-holding fundamentalist preachers berated the passing crowds, telling them they were going to hell for their sins. That sparked occasional heated discussions. At one point Saturday, Hempfest organizers were heard threatening to send a squad of transgender people to scare off the fanatics.

Some Hempfest attendees took a break from browsing, shopping, and listening to music to actually listen to between-band speeches by activists calling for further marijuana law reform. While decriminalization and legalization were predictably common themes, this year's Hempfest emphasized two other issues: The promotion of hemp and the battle over Washington state's medical marijuana law, especially the ongoing fight over what are appropriate quantities of marijuana allowable for patients. The state is currently tangling with patients and advocates over what constitutes a minimum 60-day supply of their medicine. An earlier proposal called for 35 ounces of marijuana, but Gov. Christine Gregoire sought a review of that, and the state is now recommending a 24-ounce limit.

Besides between-band speeches, political activism also took place throughout Hempfest at the Hemposium tent, although in an indication of the role politics played in the larger festival, crowds in the tent numbered in the dozens, as opposed to the tens of thousands listening to music.

"Every single patient I know will not be in compliance with the 60-day rule. It's not going to work. It's driven by law enforcement, not science," said Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical-marijuana users, as he spoke at one of the Hemposium sessions. Hiatt was among the activists calling on patients and supporters to come out for an August 25 action in support of higher limits.

But for most Hempfest attendees, the event was a party, a celebration, not a political seminar. While that may be a disappointment to activists, it is also a demonstration of the breadth and scope of Pacific Northwest cannabis culture. It has gone mainstream, with all the apolitical apathy abundant in the broader culture.

And if Hempfest was a little too mellow for your taste, you could always check out Methfest, not a celebration of amphetamine culture but a scary rock music show put on in nearby Belltown.

Drug Truth 08/21/08

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 08/20/08 Peter Moskos, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, author of Cop in the Hood & recent US NEWS & World Report article: "Drugs are too dangerous not to regulate - We should legalize them" + Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway, Terry Nelson with LEAP Report MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/2015/FDBCB_082008.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 08/19/08 Richard P. Burton, Director of Project Reach & former chair of NAACP Prisoner Rights committee + Doug McVay of Drug War Fact & Misha Glenny discusses drug war on Charlie Rose/PBS MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/2014/COL_081908.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: Wendy Chapkis, co-author "Dying to Get High" - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD 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 08/18/08

Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US, Canada and Australis & on the web at www.kpft.org. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Australia. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 08/18/08 to 08/24/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Josheph Califano dissembles for a living 2/2 Sat - Joseph Califano, Chairman and CEO, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (distorts reality) 1/2 Fri - Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway Thu - Misha Glenny, author of McMafia, courtesy of PBS Wed - Drug War Facts with Doug McVay Tue - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Mon - Virginia McDavid, democrat for Texas house, decries drug war 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: Peter Moskos of LEAP - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Richard Burton of R.E.A.C.H. 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

LEAP on the Hill: Stories from Week of August 15, 2008

I would like 3-5 minutes of your time: The past 5 months I have been making my second round of meetings with House staffers. Usually we met for the first time 1-2 years ago. Since they do not need a whole presentation, I just ask for a few minutes to give them some updates and renew our relationship. Many dozens of times they have engaged me in conversation and the ‘3-5 minute’ meetings turn into 20-25 minutes. As much as the ‘universe’ conspired to help Misty and me cross North America, now it seems the universe is conspiring to help me succeed in Washington. Even as ‘everyone’ tells me I have lifetime employment on this issue, I am thoroughly encouraged by the significant, positive attitude of staffers. If, IF this damn prohibition lasts another ten years, these staffers often go home to become a state rep or state senator. The LEAP message has become and will remain a part of their overall understanding of drug control strategy. Here is a note from just such a staffer: Mornin Officer Wooldridge, It was great meeting you as well. After we met I went to dinner with a guy who is a City of Chicago police officer, and I raised some of the issues that we talked about. Anyways I was surprised to find out that he shared your feelings. Unfortunately, I’m not the one with the vote, but we can take baby steps and steer our nation’s drug policy in the right direction. Indeed ‘small steps’ are taken everyday, often unseen/unknown by me. Help Send Howard back to Texas: As you know, I am working hard to eliminate the need for LEAP. To that end I would like your help. Via Jerry Epstein in Texas idea, I want to begin dropping off to Member of Congress offices articles that appear in local papers that touch the issue. Please send me either electronically or cut out the article and send to me (I will play mailman). Articles should include anything that shows the financial or emotional burdens, police misconduct (drug raid on wrong house, corruption, etc) or really anything which shows that modern prohibition is the most dysfunctional, immoral policy since slavery. When in doubt, send it please. The concept is simple. Make sure the politicians know what their constituents are reading. It is also a great excuse to drop by the office. Staffers (even those I never met) remember the hat, my business card is attached to the article and so on and so on. PS. For you bean counters I have made about 700 presentations since the fall of 2005.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Drug Truth 08/14/08

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 08/13/08 Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society discusses drug war tactics of US, Canada and the UN + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/2006/FDBCB_081308.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 08/12/08 American Bar Association panel on drugs featuring Judge Arthur Burnett of NAADPC, Jay Rorty of ACLU and Judge Lynn Sharard MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/2005/COL_081208.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: TBD 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

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