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4:20 Drug War News Update 06/23/08

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. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/23/08 to 06/29/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project regarding Hinchey-Rohrbacher bill in US Congress Sat - Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance & Doug McVay with Drug War Facts Fri - "The Real News" reports on Afghanistan's opium war Thu - Paul Armentano of NORML reports on "potent" pot Wed - Glenn Greenways' Poppygate Report & 2 "PSA's" Tue - Terry Nelson Reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Mon - Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project discusses "potent" pot Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): PLEASE, Check Out the Transcript with Dr. Donald Tasking of National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=node/1842#comments - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Former Texas Warden Richard Watkins 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

Feature: Amsterdam, Connecticut? Drug Reformer With Bold Vision Seeks State Office, Radical Change

Like the rest of inner city America, Bridgeport, Connecticut's 130th District has for decades been ground zero in the war on drugs. Mostly black and Latino, like other majority minority neighborhoods across the land, it has suffered the twin ravages of drug abuse and drug prohibition. Now, a former drug-fighting Navy officer turned drug reformer is seeking to change all that with a bold vision and an upstart bid for the state House of Representatives.

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Sylvester Salcedo (2nd from right)
In late May, Bridgeport attorney Sylvester Salcedo announced he was seeking the Democratic Party nomination for November's House race in the 130th. Salcedo is best known in drug reform circles for being the first and only former military officer to protest the drug war by sending back his Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal to then President Bill Clinton.

"Narcotics use and abuse is our problem here at home," he wrote at the time in a letter sent to Clinton. "The solutions should be applied here and not in Colombia or elsewhere. To spend this additional amount of money overseas is wasteful and counterproductive."

Fast forward eight years and little has changed. The war on drugs continues apace, drug arrests and drug war prisoners reach new highs every year. The violence associated with drug prohibition continues to plague cities like Bridgeport. And Salcedo has had enough.

"The war on drugs is one of our nation's longest wars, at home and abroad," he said as he announced his candidacy May 29. "It is senseless, wasteful and counterproductive. It is highly discriminatory on a racial and economic basis. I said so on the steps of the US Congress in Washington, DC flanked and supported by Minnesota Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad and California Republican Congressman Tom Campbell in the summer of 2000," he said.

"Eight years later, the conditions are the same, if not worse, especially for the isolated and abandoned residents of ethnic minority enclaves and neighborhoods like the 130th District," Salcedo continued. "I want to win this State Representative seat to be a leader of change. I want to lead the way to peace, understanding and cooperation, not through the politics of fear, and racial and ethnic discord and conflict. This senseless war on the poor and the voiceless must end."

Salcedo is not one for half-measures. He is proposing turning the 130th District into a sort of mini-Amsterdam, a zone of drug tolerance replete with safe injection sites, opiate maintenance facilities, and taxed and regulated marijuana sales. "I'm floating around this idea of the Covenant of the 130th District, which is to declare the district as a zone of tolerance," he said.

"I want to borrow from models like Amsterdam or Frankfort," he elaborated. "I'm not pushing legalization legislation, but acknowledging the fact that the 130th is a high drug trafficking and consumption area, from marijuana to heroin to cocaine. I want to try those approaches here. If you live in the district and are a heroin addict, we would work with you, whether it's a treatment and rehabilitation regime or a maintenance regime. If you select maintenance, you get the level of pharmaceutical grade heroin you need. In either case, you get medical, psychological, and social services, an intake exam, a social worker and a drug counselor to work with you. But this won't be a coercive or punitive program; instead it will be designed to develop the relationship with the addict."

Citing Bridgeport's chronically under-funded schools, libraries, and other services, Salcedo also called for regulated marijuana sales as a revenue raiser. "I want to open up a number of marijuana coffee shops in this district," he said. "They could be city sponsored, or they could be a joint private-public project. If people want to come here and imbibe, we will welcome them, let them pay the market price, and tax their purchases. The profits can go to the city general fund, or, if it's a joint venture, a share to the entrepreneurs," he said. "We will follow the experience of Amsterdam, with the police working collaboratively, so they're not arresting people coming from the coffee shops."

Salcedo's will undoubtedly be an uphill battle against the entrenched Bridgeport Democratic Party political establishment and to convince skeptical voters that more of the drug war same old same old is not the solution. But he has already passed the first hurdle by getting 290 district residents to sign his nominating petitions. Now he has to raise $5,000 by August to show he is a viable candidate and qualify for another $20,000 in primary funding from the state of Connecticut. At least 150 Bridgeport residents must donate to his campaign for him to qualify. (That doesn't mean people from outside Bridgeport or Connecticut cannot donate -- they can.)

He can do it, Salcedo said. "The primaries are eight weeks away, and nobody expected me to even get the required signatures, but I did. And I met every person who signed my nomination papers. I think I can meet this challenge, too."

He's going to need some help, from the drug reform community at large and from Connecticut activists in particular if he is to have a chance. One prominent Connecticut drug reformer, Efficacy founder and 2006 Green Party gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton is among the first to step up.

"I'll definitely be going down there and doing a few things for Sylvester," said Thornton. "I have to help the reformer."

One thing he will advise Salcedo to do is put his drug reform message in the background. "We'll try to sharpen his message," Thornton said. "He doesn't have to lead with drug policy. He's already known as the drug reformer, and he won't have to talk about it because people are going to ask him about it.

Another thing Salcedo can do is try to tie drug reform into other issues facing the community, Thornton said. "We're spending somewhere between $600 million and $800 million on prisons in Connecticut every year," he said. "If we took that and put it toward health care, we could take care of everyone in the state. That's the kind of connection we need to be drawing."

It would be a good thing if national drug reform organizations provided more than token support, Thornton said, looking back at his 2006 campaign. "When it came to actually supporting that run, everybody disappeared," he said. "The flagship organizations sent a few bucks here and there, but not enough to make a difference. And that's a shame. We are starting to elect good drug reform politicians, like Roger Goodman in Washington state and Chris Murphy here in Connecticut. Their opponents attack them as soft on drug policy, and they go up in the polls. We can elect people, if we support them," Thornton said.

Salcedo could use the help, he said. "Right now this is basically a one-man campaign, and I have a full-time job."

Still, he said, he may be able to pull off a surprise victory. "This is going to be a low turnout election, no other issues on the ballot here, and the only reason people are likely to go to the ballot box is to vote for me for change or because they're tied to one of the establishment candidates," he said. "In this district in this election, maybe 200 or 300 votes can win it. I'll be beating the bushes and talking face to face with people. I'll do everything I can, and then it's up to the voters.

(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Drug Truth Update 06/18/08

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.) - Both shows this week contain "welcomes" to our latest affiliate 102.3 FM in Nimbin, Australia - :) Cultural Baggage for 06/18/08 Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance, Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project, Paul Armentano of NORML, Randy Credico of William Kuntsler Fund, Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts & Glenn Greenway with the Poppygate Report. MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1934/FDBCB_061808.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 06/17/08 Sylvester Salcedo, a former naval intelligence officer is running for State Rep as a Democrat in Connecticutt. He's also a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1932/COL_061708.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) Chief Clarence Bradford: "We can't possibly hire enough officers to effectively deal with the drug problem in Houston, Harris County...". - Cultural Baggage 050708 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

U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Hearing -- U.S. Drug Policy: At What Cost?

Senator Jim Webb will be presiding over this hearing dedicated to an examination of the economics of U.S. drug policy. Witnesses include: - Dr. Peter Reuter, Professor, School of Public Policy and Department of Criminology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland - Ms. Anne Swern, First Assistant District Attorney, Kings County, Brooklyn, New York - Ms. Norma Fernandes, Community Coordinator, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Brooklyn, New York - Mr. John Walsh, Senior Associate for Drug Policy, Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC Additional Witnesses may be announced. For more information, see http://jec.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home.
Date: 
Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:00am
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Drug Truth in Australia! 06/16/08

Reaching beyond N. America, DTN radio show Cultural Baggage begins broadcasting in Australia this week! - Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia, 102.3 FM, "Nim FM" 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. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/16/08 to 06/22/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Mon - Drug War Facts with Doug McVay + "Heroin in adult diaper" Tue - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Wed - Olbermann on Opium + Drugs & Terror, World Wars Forever Thu - Ray Hill, the Patriarch of KPFT Houston discusses war on gays, war on drugs Fri - Ray Hill 2 Sat - Ray Hill 3 Sun - Ray Hill 4 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: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Sylvester Salcedo running for rep in Connecticutt 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

Drug Truth 06/12/08

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 06/11/08 Ray Hill one of the founders of Pacifica's KPFT compares the war on gays to the war on drugs + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition & Drug War Facts with Doug McVay MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1924/FDBCB_061108.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 06/10/08 Patients from around North America discuss their use of medical marijuana for numerous maladies and how it cuts down on their use of more dangerous and deadly pharmaceutical medicines. MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1923/COL_061008.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) Chief Clarence Bradford: "We can't possibly hire enough officers to effectively deal with the drug problem in Houston, Harris County...". - Cultural Baggage 050708 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 and Canada. 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

Europe: Scottish Parliament Think-Tank Calls for Prescription Heroin, Safe Injection Sites, Legalized Marijuana

A think-tank established by the Scottish parliament and tasked with looking at new approaches to drug policy has issued a report calling for radical changes in the way Scotland deals with the damage of drug and alcohol use. Parliament asked the think-tank, the Scottish Futures Forum, to determine how the country could cut the damage in half by 2025.

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Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, Scotland (photo from Sam Fentress via Wikimedia)
The forum's report, Approaches to Drugs and Alcohol in Scotland: A Question of Architecture, landed like a stink-bomb in the middle of the ongoing Scottish debate over drug policy, which in recent months has been dominated by calls for a renewed "tough" approach to drug use and trafficking. It recommended that all substance use, including legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, should be subsumed under a single policy dominated by a public health approach and was harshly critical of over-reliance on the criminal justice system to reduce the harms caused by substance use.

"Historically, we have seen, in particular, drug use mainly as a justice issue," the report noted. "This is mistaken and alcohol and drugs should be seen predominantly as a health, lifestyle and social issue to be considered along with smoking, obesity and other lifestyle challenges. The current level of enforcement activity tackling low level use of illegal drugs may not be the most effective deployment of enforcement resources and is likely to fail in reducing drug and alcohol related damage by half by 2025. It should be recognized that sending people to prison for low-level alcohol and drug-related crime is unproductive and probably unsustainable."

Instead of current policies, Scotland should shift to evidence-based policies emphasizing a public health approach, the forum said. Such policies would include consideration of safe injection sites to reduce the spread of infectious disease, prescribing of heroin to addicts, and the taxation and regulation of marijuana. More resources should go to prevention and treatment of substance abuse, as opposed to law enforcement, the forum said.

The Scottish government was not pleased, and a spokesman ruled out any quick establishment of safe injection sites. "There are complex legal and ethical issues around consumption rooms that cannot be easily resolved," the spokesman said. As for prescribing heroin, Scotland will "wait and see" how pilot programs in England are working out, he said.

Scottish Conservatives were appalled, with Tory leader Annabel Goldie calling safe injection sites "shooting galleries" and saying they and marijuana legalization were ideas out of the past.

But Liberal Democrats were more open. Their spokeswoman, Margaret Smith, said: "Drugs misuse is a global problem and if other countries have developed new and radical solutions, then it is sensible to consider them for use in Scotland."

Latin America: More Argentine Courts Throw Out Drug Possession Charges

In April, judges in Argentine federal courts in the province of Buenos Aires threw out drug possession charges against two young men arrested at a 2007 electronic music festival, saying they were unconstitutional. Last week, more Argentine courts weighed in, with a group of judges echoing that ruling as they considered the case of a young man arrested for marijuana possession.

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2006 ''Million Marijuana March'' demonstration, Rosario, Argentina
The judges dismissed the charges, saying that criminalizing drug possession without showing harm to others violated the Argentine constitution. "Criminalization will only apply in cases where the possession of narcotics for personal consumption represents a danger for the public health of others," the judges announced, according to a report from the Associated Press.

For the past several years, the Argentine government has been working on a rewrite of the country's drug laws, but judges there are not waiting for the legislature to do its work. Their rulings are winning the support of constitutional scholars and are in line with the attitudes of the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Aníbal Fernández, the minister of justice, security, and health, has publicly denounced the country's drug laws as a "catastrophe."

"This criterion fits in well with the laws of more civilized nations," Daniel Sabsay, an Argentine constitutional scholar, told Buenos Aires's Clarin newspaper. "I believe that with this, the sense of a broadening of freedom is respected."

4:20 Drug War News 06/09/08

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. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/09/08 to 06/15/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Dallas Morning NEWS audio regarding Mexican drug war Sat - female Texan describes her use of medical marijuana Fri - Texas patient describes his use of medical marijuana Thu - Ottawa medical patient describes marijuana effects Wed - Oregon patient describes use of medical marijuana Tue - Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway Mon - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition 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: Ray Hill: war on drugs/war on queers, the difference? - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: North America's medical marijuana patients speak up 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

Drug Truth 06/05/08

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 06/04/08 Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, chairman of senate panel's massive report on illegal drugs, discusses Canada's pell-mell rush towards all out drug war (or legalization.) MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1915/FDBCB_060408.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 06/03/08 Gary Blankenship, president of Houston Police Officers Union + Drug War Facts with Doug McVay MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1914/COL_060308.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) Chief Clarence Bradford: "We can't possibly hire enough officers to effectively deal with the drug problem in Houston, Harris County...". - Cultural Baggage 050708 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: Ray Hill to discuss the war on queers + war on drugs - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Medical Marijuana patients describe MJ's "high" 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 and Canada. 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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