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January 06, 2005

Legalizers Score Big This Week

Those of you who read our newsletter, Drug War Chronicle, might know about the work of Prohibition and the Media coauthor Nicolas Eyle and his organization, ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy, based in Syracuse, New York. A few weeks ago our article, Syracuse Reconsiders Drug Policy, reported on hearings by the Syracuse City Council at which speakers discussed legalization and options available to the city for reform. The hearings followed up on a report by former City Auditor Minch Lewis, which Lewis prepared at Nicky's suggestion.

This week Eyle and company scored big, with an editorial by syndicated columnist Neal Peirce of the Washington Post Writers Group titled "Legalizing Street Drugs an Experiment Worth Considering." Peirce's column quoted extensively from Eyle and from a number of the reformers he brought to Syracuse, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director and Prohibition and the Media coauthor Jack Cole.

Those of us who are active in drug reform frequently discuss and debate the approaches we take to the issue. The Peirce column lends some weight to the corner of the movement in which people like Eyle, Cole and myself reside, the corner that openly and directly talks about prohibition itself and the legalization alternative. That's what they did in Syracuse. They were taken seriously -- admittedly because of the years of work that ReconsiDer has already done there, perhaps -- and the case for legalization has as a result been presented on editorial pages in papers around the country. And this did not come at the expense of the partial reforms that are politically viable in the shorter term, such as harm reduction, decriminalization or deprioritization -- those were also discussed. Score one for our side.

Peirce's columns are syndicated by The Washington Post to papers around the country. I don't know what papers chose to run it, but it's possible that quite a few did -- please let us know by posting here if you've seen it. The link I provided above is from the Seattle Times -- click here and go to the bottom right of the page to get letter to the editor information. And click here to send your kudos to Nicky.

- Dave Borden, DRCNet

Posted by dborden725 at January 6, 2005 09:57 PM

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Hi Dave.

The Peirce column on the Syracuse meetings has also run in St Paul Pioneer Press (MN) and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL).

It's great news. Cole of LEAP has also made some decent inroads with the city council in Boston, MA.

With each city that either voluntarily - via city government actions - or thru passed citizen initiatives deemphasizes status-quo Prohibition and zero-tolerance public responses to the illicit drug market, we will see a continuing acceleration of public discussion.

Getting letters to the editor are urgent!

Being actually printed is a bonus. The primary reason to write a fast supportive LTE is that it informs the editorial board of a specific demand from their reading public. We've found this to be true over the past eight years at MAP even when that reader is located in a different part of the country.

Each day, more editors and publishers make the mental paradigm shift and acknowledge that the web circulates their product around the country and also the English-reading globe. The smarter ones are taking this observation and slowly retailoring their product to better respond to the 21st century readers, both in and out of their immediate geographic locale.

Three cents from Clearwater

Steve Heath
Media Activism Facilitator for MAP

Posted by: SteveinClearwater at January 7, 2005 12:06 AM

The Peirce article was printed in the Detroit Free Press early last week. Not surprising, from a newspaper that has already actively encouraged voters to approve medical marijuana. Two thumbs up, Freep.

Posted by: Maggie at January 8, 2005 12:15 PM

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