This week, around the world, the beating of the drums got decisively louder. It is the sound of impending change. A call, not to arms, but to lay down arms, and to join hands, and to move away from a policy of war, and toward sanity. It is a sound which terrifies the drug warriors, moralists and profiteers, who cannot bear to think that progress might be made without violence. Without subjugation. But no matter how deeply into the sand the warriors may bury their heads, no matter how blissfully soundproof the halls of power, the drums beat nonetheless. And they will not fade away.

In Canada, a judge finds that the prohibition of marijuana to patients who need it violates the "principles of fundamental justice." This ruling, in the case of a severely epileptic man, whose own doctor testified as to the benefits of the herb to his patient, may well induce the Canadian government to act in accordance with human decency, and the will of the vast majority of their constituents. And the drums beat louder from the north.

In Key West, Florida, a judge, recognizing the absurdity of imprisoning one on a mission of mercy, refuses to convict a man who admittedly distributed marijuana to some of the island's many AIDS patients. And the drum beats louder, with a calypso beat.

In England, a campaign to decriminalize cannabis stirs a furious national debate. Members of Parliament, prominent citizens, doctors, academics and government officials attend a conference to support and discuss the possibility. And the drums grow louder from across the pond.

In France, high-ranking members of the new government publicly call for a re-evaluation of a long-standing punitive policy on cannabis. Medical marijuana reform, as a first step, seems just around the corner. And so the bugle calls of war, once the seemingly unshakable clarion call of the French, give way to a hopeful beat.

In Australia, the Lord Mayors, first-witnesses to the War's toll on the cities down under, pick up the drums themselves and beat them loudly enough for the National Government to hear. And they are right in time.

And in the American White House itself, the President's own Advisory Council on AIDS picks up the cadence and publicly calls for needle exchange, for the triumph of health over politics, reason over ideology, and the recognition that people at risk are people, first and foremost. Despite the wartime propaganda which seeks to brand them something less. And the drumbeat grows closer.

Yes. The drums are beating. Louder by the day. And it has come to the point that the very act of denying their volume and their power reeks of desperation and weakness. The drums are beating. Louder and louder. They are coming right up behind our leaders. And they'd better turn around soon. Or they'll surely be run over by the parade.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director

-- END --
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Issue #22, 12/12/97 Point and Click for Drug Policy Reform: Innovative web site lets you raise money for DRCNet | The Week Online Welcomes Tim Devlin: Veteran Canadian journalist and broadcaster adds his voice to the international beat | Canadian Court Declares Medical Marijuana Prohibition Unconstitutional | President's Advisory Council on AIDS Issues Tough Report: Sets Deadline for Lifting Ban on Needle Exchange Funding | American Medical Association: "Let Doctors, Patients Discuss Medical Marijuana" | Denver City Council Approves Needle Exchange... but state must act first to change law | George Soros Signs on to Indepent on Sunday's Cannabis Campaign... On the eve of an historic conference on the issue | Key West Medical Marijuana Club Founder Freed | Poll: Americans consider drug abuse "greatest threat facing kids | 022/france French Minister of Health Calls Medical Marijuana Legalization Obvious""" | Australian Mayors: Enforcement "Will Not Work:" A call to the national government to change strategy | Columbian President Press Secretary and a Reporter Kidnapped by Cartels: American Prohibition continues to undermine order | Link of the Week: Cast your vote and state your case in National Review's on-line medical marijuana survey | Editorial: The drums of reform are getting louder
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