George Soros Signs on to Indepent on Sunday's Cannabis Campaign... On the eve of an historic conference on the issue 12/12/97

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On the eve of a conference, sponsored by The Independent on Sunday newspaper to discuss their campaign and the growing call for the legalization of cannabis in the UK, George Soros, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and one of the great philanthropists of this or any other time, has come out in support of the Independent's efforts. In a letter to the Independent, Soros, while indicating that he does not necessarily support the full "legalization" of cannabis, lamented the "wasted resources" inherent in the doubling of arrests, since 1991, for possession of cannabis in the US, and called again for non-punitive policies worldwide. He also said that it was a "shame that the American war on Drugs continues to block efforts to remove sanctions on doctors and patients to treat pain and nausea with whatever medications work."

Mr. Soros, an American citizen who, in his younger days, fled first the Nazis and then the Communists, gives away over $350 million dollars per year through his Open Society Institutes. His giving is based on his philosophical belief in "open societies," including tolerance for minorities and free and unfettered debate as an antidote to authoritarian rule. While the vast majority of his philanthropy has gone to promote public health and education in the former Soviet republics, the size of his commitment to American projects has continued to rise. His support of medical marijuana initiatives, as well as for other drug policy reform efforts, has made Mr. Soros a favorite target of American Drug Warriors.

The UK conference, sponsored by The Independent on Sunday, is being supported by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, as well as by Anita Roddick and Body Shop. Attendees will include 15 British Members of Parliament, as well as a delegation from The Lindesmith Center (a project of Mr. Soros' Open Society Institute), which will include Lynn Zimmer, PhD, and Dr. John P. Morgan, MD, authors of "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts," released by the center this fall. The Week Online will have a complete report on this conference, including reaction from attendees, in next week's issue.

You can follow the Independent's cannabis campaign on the web at http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm. You can find The Lindesmith center on the web at http://www.lindesmith.org. To order a copy of "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts," which has been called "The most important book about marijuana ever published," call Book World at (800) 444-2524, or simply go to your local book store, and, if they don't have it, ask them to order it!

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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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