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The Week Online with DRCNet
(renamed "Drug War Chronicle" effective issue #300, August 2003)

Issue #150, 8/22/00

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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This issue of The Week Online with DRCNet comes out a few days later than usual due to staff attendance at the Shadow Convention and other travel and obligations. Featured items include coverage of the Convention, as well as in-depth interviews with some of the attendees. Thank you for supporting DRCNet as we approach 17,000 readers.


  1. Los Angeles Shadow Convention Energizes Reformers for November and Beyond
  2. Chronic Pain Doctor and Pharmacy Under Assault in California Case
  3. Interview with Chris Conrad
  4. Apprendi Sentencing Ruling Begins to Bite
  5. Heroin Injection Center Wins Approval in Sydney
  6. Appeals Court Denies Government's Request for Emergency Order Halting Oakland CBC from Distributing Marijuana
  7. RESOURCES: Drug War Facts Updated, Drug War Feature This Week, Alternet, Spanish Language Documents, More
  8. Benefit Screening for Jack Herer
  9. Errata
  10. ALERTS: Colombia, Mandatory Minimums, California, New York
  11. HEA Campaign
  12. Event Calendar
  13. Job Listings (NYC): Streetwork Project
  14. EDITORIAL: No Fringe Group
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Los Angeles Shadow Convention Energizes Reformers for November and Beyond

(For comprehensive coverage of the jam-packed schedule, visit on the web.)

Overflow crowds filled a sweaty, sweltering Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles for the Shadow Convention's drug policy day, easily the most well-attended of the convention's four-day run. As attendees fanned themselves inside or sought a shady breeze outside on Figueroa Street, a parade of reformers, patients, entertainers, and politicians denounced the war on drugs as failed, futile, and inhumane.

Neither the blistering Southern California sun nor the massive police presence for the nearby Democratic Convention could dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand, people who saw all or part of the program, which ran well into the night.

And more so than in Philadelphia, the Shadow Convention's drug policy day drew a steady stream of politicians from the party holding its convention down the street. Making repeat appearances were two Republican politicians, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA), who is challenging incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein for a senate seat. Rev. Jesse Jackson also made a second Shadow Convention appearance.

But the Democrats appeared less spooked by the possibility of being identified with drug war critics than their Republican rivals in Philadelphia, as elected officials including Rep. Maxine Waters, who represents nearby South Central LA, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, who is in line to head the House Judiciary Committee if the Democrats seize control of the House, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, and, surprisingly to many, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who gained recent notoriety for canceling that city's DARE program, all addressed the event. And more people wearing tags identifying them as delegates to the major party convention were in evidence than in Philadelphia.

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation's Ethan Nadelmann opened the day with an acknowledgment of the way drug policy reform has bisected traditional partisan distinctions, telling an enthusiastic audience that the gathering "marks a new movement of strange bedfellows." An upbeat Nadelmann told the crowd that the elected officials who are beginning to raise their heads are only the tip of the iceberg in a growing and building movement to end the drug war.

Several speakers, including Lindesmith's Deborah Small, hammered home the theme of racial disparity in the drug war. Small spoke bluntly, calling the drug war "racist in its intent, implementation, and impact," and offered up the numbers to back her claim. As during other points during the day when speakers denounced the drug war as a war on the poor and minorities, an energized and angered audience raucously greeted Small's remarks.

Rep. Maxine Waters returned to that theme later in the day, drawing repeatedly on the Contra-CIA-crack scandal exposed in 1996 by San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb. While some have jumped to conspiratorial conclusions about the CIA's intentions, Waters took care to build the case that, at the least, the agency turned a blind eye to cocaine trafficking by its right-wing Contra allies, while the people of her district have paid the price.

Water's also strongly denounced the US military assistance plan for Colombia, calling it a gift to "right-wing dictator types," and told drug warriors "get out of the way and let us develop good drug policies that will let us stop incarcerating the victims of this so-called drug war."

She drew loud applause when she told the audience she had introduced a bill to correct the federal mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, but the biggest crowd response came when Waters called for the immediate resignation of drug czar Barry McCaffrey, much to the delight of the whooping and hollering audience.

Waters also saluted Bill Zimmerman, head of Campaign for New Drug Policies, which is running the campaign to pass California Proposition 36, which CNDP drafted and which would divert non-violent drug possession offenders from prison into treatment. Saying the proposition would "turn the state around," Waters told the audience that the Congressional Black Caucus had endorsed the initiative.

Zimmerman himself made a strong pitch for drug reformers to support Proposition 36. Addressing the dismay and concern felt in parts of the reform movement over an initiative that some describe as exchanging the prison-industrial complex for a therapeutic-industrial complex, Zimmerman urged the crowd to set aside any reservations and "vote for what is possible," not what is ideal.

He acknowledged that "many wish Prop. 36 would go further," but he argued that reformers can't expect the public to vote for something it is not ready to support. "There is little point in putting on the ballot an initiative that would fail," he said, and characterized Prop. 36 as "the beginning, not the end."

But Zimmerman's strongest argument came when he urged the crowd to "think about what this will accomplish, think about the 37,000" people who would avoid prison each year under the initiative's plan.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson was the surprise of the Shadow Convention. Much in the vein of New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Anderson emphasized a rational, business-like, bottom-line approach to drug policy. Again like Johnson, Anderson displayed little concern about the political cost of such a stand. When asked after his speech about official and popular support for his stance, Anderson told DRCNet that he had not much of either. "The Utah Democratic party is a bunch of cowards," he said, "they run as fast as they can away from this issue, like any other controversial issue."

As for popular support, he told DRCNet that it was minimal. "We've had lots of calls from parents and even kids who say they like DARE and they love the t-shirts and bumper stickers," Anderson said, but he added that their enthusiasm did not outweigh the serious research showing that DARE was a failed program.

Instead of being terrified of being called "soft on drugs," said Anderson, politicians should be terrified of supporting policies that are "ineffective, wasteful, and inhumane."

And, he told DRCNet, "the truth resonates, but people have to hear it from credible sources. People have to speak out clearly and unequivocally," Anderson added. "Eventually the political parties and candidates will come around."

While congressional veterans such as Waters, Conyers, and Rangel and party heavyweights such as Jesse Jackson have come around to criticizing the drug war based on the disproportionate impact it has had on their constituencies, Anderson, along with New Mexico's Johnson and California's Campbell appear to represent a new breed and a new generation. All three are in their forties, and all come to the issue with a well thought-out universal critique of the drug war paradigm. And all three demonstrated the political courage to "lead, not follow" the popular will, as Anderson put it.

But the Shadow Convention was not all serious wonkery. Evening events included a "Shadow Cabaret" and a "rapid response" panel consisting of comics Al Franken and Tommy Smothers, professional iconoclasts Alexander Cockburn and Paul Krassner, and cultural commentator Farai Chideya, dissecting the not always realistic speeches being broadcast from the Staples Center (location of the Democratic Convention).

And, in a mid-day appearance, Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher ripped into Al Gore and George W. Bush for drug war hypocrisy. Saying he could understand how politicians of the older generation, such as Bush senior, were on the wrong side," Maher lit into the two baby boomer candidates. "Bush and Gore understand what drugs are all about -- big-time," he said. "One of them had an inappropriate relationship with Bolivia."

"Pot didn't make Gore any dumber and coke didn't make Bush any smarter," he snickered. "Nobody ever died from pot," Maher added, "although it's caused quite a few births."

Turning serious, Maher concluded that if there is to be zero tolerance, it should be "zero tolerance for injustice."

Although media coverage has not been as extensive as in Philadelphia, in part because the novelty has worn off, the Shadow Convention has played to generally favorable reviews in the national press. And politicians such as Anderson, Johnson and Campbell all drew extensive coverage from their local media outlets, bringing their drug reform themes home to local voters.

With the two Shadow Conventions, drug policy and criminal justice reformers appear more energized, united, and likely to score electoral successes than ever before. If the Shadow Conventions have helped bring the movement together, they are also a reflection of the growing strength of a movement which has long bubbled beneath the surface and now threatens to explode into mainstream politics.

Congratulations to the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation for successfully organizing this event.

2. Chronic Pain Doctor and Pharmacy Under Assault in California Case

On February 18, 1999, heavily armed officers from a raft of California law enforcement agencies with media in tow, simultaneously raided the practice of Dr. Frank Fisher and the Shasta Pharmacy, ransacking the facilities, seizing records and assets, and arresting Dr. Fisher and pharmacy owners Steven and Madeline Miller. All three were arrested and charged with multiple murder counts -- the idea being that inappropriately prescribed narcotics led to overdose deaths -- and a host of health fraud crimes. The California Attorney General's office issued a sensational press release announcing the apprehension of a murderous major drug ring trading in prescription drugs.

One by one, however, the basis for murder charges dropped away. One of the "victims" was a woman killed in a car crash; she had been a passenger in the car. Another was a former Fisher patient who had been kicked out of the practice because the doctor suspected abuse. The third was a woman whose husband and son swear that Dr. Fisher gave her years and a quality of life that she wouldn't have otherwise had, and helped raise money for his legal defense fund.

Dr. Fisher and the Millers remained in jail unable to raise bail -- an outlandish $15,000,000 in Fisher's case -- for five months, until a judge at a preliminary hearing threw out the murder charges as totally lacking support. At last report, prosecutors have been reduced to offering plea bargains to a misdemeanor offense, which Fisher and the Millers confidently refused.

A year and a half later, questions of police and prosecutorial misconduct linger, and hundreds of patients remain un- or under-treated for severe, chronic pain.

The Fisher/Miller case grew out of Fisher's efforts to treat patients suffering from chronic pain with opiates, and the Millers' willingness to work with and advocate for MediCal patients trying to get their treatments covered by Medical in accordance with California law.

The law seems clear. The 1997 Patients' Bill of Rights, enacted by the California legislature, says:

"... A physician who uses opiate therapy to relieve severe chronic intractable pain may prescribe a dosage deemed medically necessary to relieve severe chronic intractable pain as long as the prescribing is in conformance with the [1990] California Intractable Pain Treatment Act, Section 2241.5 of the Business and Professions Code."

But state law enforcement officials didn't see it that way. In what can most charitably called willful ignorance of the state law, and could well be described as malicious prosecution and abuse of authority, these officials deemed Dr. Fisher a "Dr. Feelgood" and the Millers willing accomplices.

The Fisher/Miller case brings to the forefront critical issues surrounding the problem of pain relief for the estimated 30-60 million chronic sufferers. As a direct result of the war on drugs, dating all the way back to the 1914 Harrison Act, the ability of doctors to prescribe sufficient quantities of opiates to bring relief from pain has been severely undermined by law enforcement's ability to define chronic pain relief as a drug abuse and law enforcement issue.

The Week Online discussed this case with Dr. Fisher, the Millers, and D.J. Black, the husband of one of Fisher's patients, during the Shadow Convention:

WOL: What is the genesis of this case?

Fisher: The problem goes back to the 1920s and the era of prohibition, when drug use was viewed as a moral problem. If drugs were made illegal, then addiction would vanish. From the beginning, right after the Harrison Act, federal officials started busting doctors as if they were drug dealers, and that has continued to this day. But recent pain research has indicated that addiction among chronic pain patients is extremely rare, something like one in 3,000, and then we started getting good legislation such as the 1990 Chronic Intractable Pain Act here in California. Within five years, the medical board had issues guidelines for pain treatment and I started following them. That was unusual, though, because the other doctors kept their heads down and their prescriptions low because they didn't want to be noticed. They knew what would happen.

Then at the beginning of 1998 the Patients' Bill of Rights passed, and I saw this as a mandate to stop under-treating my patients. I followed the guidelines to help patients be the most functional they could be. I had already attracted most of the serious pain cases into my practice because no one in Shasta County would treat them. When I titrated [gradually increased the dosages] up, the computers started spitting out numbers that looked like I'd done something unusual.

I had already come to the Attorney General's attention a couple of years earlier, because when pharmacies notice a high rate of such prescriptions they call in the authorities, and that's how the authorities decide to go after a given doctor. They don't actually look at his practice, they send in a couple of agents to do a sting, they write up an enormous list of charges to intimidate, and the doctors end up taking a misdemeanor as a plea bargain. They charged me with 99 fraud felonies, then offered to deal. I turned it down, so a large element of this case is retaliation for that. I bucked their system by prescribing the right amount of medication and by not taking their deal, so they started looking around for bodies. They charged me with three murders and a million dollars worth of medical fraud, and they charged the Millers as well.

WOL: Mr. Miller, it was your pharmacy that was handling Dr. Fisher's prescriptions?

Mr. Miller: We filled more than other area pharmacists, maybe half of them. We took it a step further and began giving the patients prescriptions before Medical agreed to pay for them. We helped the patients file for fair hearings to get Medical to pay for adequate medical care.

Mrs. Miller: We saw how Medical was treating Medical patients, and they were breaking court orders dating to 1990. All of a sudden, Medical started denying all of the patient claims without notifying the patients that they are entitled to appeal. During the time when the cases are on appeal, Medical is supposed to give patients aid pending approval until they go before the trial judge. The judge commended us for our efforts on behalf on patients.

Mr. Miller: Two weeks after the judge's decision in the patient's favor came down in the first of those hearings, we were all arrested.

Mrs. Miller: Medical was being really nasty because no one had ever challenged them before. We had a meeting with Medical and Sen. Leroy Greene [author of the Chronic Intractable Pain Act], and Greene told the bureaucrats that they were breaking the law by not approving the pain treatments. We were trying to educate Medical and the Attorney General's office about the new laws.

We went the extra step for our patients by helping them file and document appeals. We saw patients improving with pain treatment and helped them in various ways. We told the bureaucrats that they had forgotten that each little form they denied represented a living, suffering person. They didn't like that, but they weren't the ones looking at patients across the counter who were ashamed or embarrassed because they couldn't afford their medicine. It got to be a very personal thing for us.

Dr. Fisher: I'd like to add that the Millers went so far as to pay out of their own pockets for prescriptions for these patients, assuming they would win on appeal.

Mrs. Miller: This was a case of retaliation. They were very angry that we challenged them. We just wanted our tax dollars to be going where they should be going to help poor people who needed medical care. What was going on was wrong.

WOL: Were you two also arrested and charged with murder? Why?

Mr. Miller: Yes, even though Madeline is not a pharmacist. She was the office manager.

WOL: How long had the pharmacy been in business?

Mr. Miller: Since 1986, and we never had any problems before we started fighting with Medical.

WOL: Tell us about the day of the arrest.

Mr. Miller: About 15 cops came in dressed in riot gear and carrying automatic weapons. The first thing I thought was we were getting robbed. I asked for identification and they put a gun to my head and said, "this is all the ID you need." They threw me on the floor like it was a raid on a crack house. They questioned us before they arrested us, to evade the Miranda warnings.

Mrs. Miller: I started screaming at them that they were there to retaliate for our advocacy for pain patients. They shoved me back and said, "yeah, we know all about you, you're a pain in the ass."

WOL: Welcome to the war on drugs. So, now that the murder charges have been dropped, are all three of you still defendants on the manslaughter case?

Dr. Fisher: Yes, and a million dollars worth of fraud charges. Madeline doesn't have any manslaughter charges, but we're all charged with conspiracy to commit MediCal fraud.

WOL: How many years are you looking at?

Mr. Miller: We don't even think about it. They have offered us various plea bargains, but our attorneys just laughed. They know they've done wrong, they audited the pharmacy and we came out clean.

WOL: Are you getting support?

Mrs. Miller: From everywhere. We've been part of the community for a long time. While we were in jail, only the prosecution's side got heard. That is changing now.

WOL: Dr. Fisher, you were arrested the same day?

Dr. Fisher: They detained a dozen employees. This is a community health center. They also raided my house and the Millers' house and three other employees' houses.

Mrs. Miller: They had a key to our house, but they still broke the door down, ransacked the house and left it wide open. You feel so helpless in jail. They did everything they could to hurt us. They seized our bank account again.

WOL: Who is responsible for this? Is it the state or is it local authorities?

Mrs. Miller: The state of California. Our Shasta County DA didn't have anything to do with this.

Dr. Fisher: They hit five or six locations all at once and announced it was the biggest drug bust in the history of Northern California.

WOL: Dr. Fisher, were you working outside accepted medical practice?

Dr. Fisher: No, but the medical board investigators don't seem to understand this. They didn't know what the laws are or what the state of medical practice is.

WOL: Are you completely confident that you will be exonerated?

Dr. Fisher: Absolutely.

Mrs. Miller: And we will continue on. You know, people are suffering, why should people have to suffer when they can have adequate pain treatment? But the doctors are scared and the pharmacies are intimidated.

Dr. Fisher: The problem is we've spent the better part of a century telling these cops that these drugs are evil, and now they are having to adjust to new medical realities, and they haven't come through that transition in very good shape.

WOL: Mr. Black, please tell us about your wife and Dr. Fisher's
treatment of her.

Mr. Black: Her name is Tony Briano. She has chronic back pain and other health problems. Before she starting seeing Dr. Fisher she was bedridden. After seeing Dr. Fisher, she got her life back. She was about to return to work.

WOL: So you saw real observable functional changes in her?

Mr. Black: Oh, absolutely. After he got arrested, I saw it turn back the other way, and she went right back to bed when her pain meds ran out. For a time I had to take her to Eugene, Oregon, a six-hour drive, to be treated, and that wore her out. Because of the stigma of being a Dr. Fisher patient, no one was willing to take her. They were all deadly afraid of the police. It was financially draining on us. Now we have a local doctor, who provides some pain control. She just had another back surgery, which she probably wouldn't have needed if Dr. Fisher hadn't been taken down by the [California] Department of Justice.

WOL: Dr. Fisher, you're the doctor here. Is Mr. Black's description correct?

Dr. Fisher: Yes. She was functioning just fine. Her back had her hunched forward. She could have declined further surgery if she had access to adequate pain control.

Mr. Black: The state was a real obstacle to getting her medical records after Dr. Fisher was arrested. We got the run around from the state. Eventually two agents of the Department of Justice came saying they were bringing the medical records, but they didn't bring the records; instead they wanted her to testify against Dr. Fisher. Three times, they told us "if you do not testify against Dr. Fisher, you will get no help from the state." That was agent John Dodson. It took us 18 months to get her records.

Mrs. Miller: The state should have supplied every patient with copies of their medical records, but they did not. This left the patients in a real bind. Patients couldn't get proper treatment, and new doctors would have to redo all these expensive tests, costing the state even more money. The state didn't care.

WOL: When is your trial, and what do you think the state will do?

Dr. Fisher: October 17th. Our local prosecutor was elected after this occurred. My lawyer, Patrick Hallinan, once described this as "a malignancy left over from the Lungren administration, which a little radiation therapy ought to cure." But it's hard to predict what will happen, because this case in so bizarre. But we're ready to go to trial because we're so confident and because the issue of pain control is so important to millions of people. We're not backing down.

WOL: Why hasn't the local prosecutor intervened?

Dr. Fisher: Why he hasn't stopped this along the way, I can't say. They have also spent millions of dollars already.

WOL: Anything else you want to say?

Mrs. Miller: This is all because of the war on drugs. If you were Dr. Fisher's patient, you were seen as an addict. This is like something you'd see on TV. It's absolutely frightening to see the government come in and charge you with these baseless crimes. It's all because of the drug war, which is really a war against people. What they do to people in jail and prisons is a crime.

Dr. Fisher: There have been other cases, but nothing as bizarre as this. And the tragedy is that now patients are dying for lack of treatment. The judge has tossed out the murder charges against us, but now patients are dying.

WOL: How has this affected you financially?

Dr. Fisher: It's been devastating, we've all been wiped out. But it goes further than that, there's the devastation of the patients' lives as well. There are tens of millions of patients who are not getting adequate treatment because of this situation. We are looking for funding; we owe Patrick Hallinan about $125,000 for the defense, and if we don't get it, there's a chance this will all go down the drain; we'll have to take a plea.

Your help in the form of letter writing or financial contributions will help Dr. Fisher, the Millers, and chronic pain patients everywhere. To get involved or make a donation, contact: Dr. Frank B. Fisher Legal Defense Fund, 1705 Julian Court, El Cerrito, CA 94530, (510) 233-3490, [email protected] or visit on the web.

Patients and others interested in pain control for all who need it should check out the American Society for Action on Pain at online.

3. Interview with Chris Conrad

For more than a decade, Chris Conrad has been active in the California cannabis reform movement. He is the author of "Hemp: Lifeline to the Future," and coauthor of "Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War," and also edited the
popular current edition of Jack Herer's "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." He is a founder of the Business Alliance for Cannabis Hemp, which pursues a three-pronged strategy for cannabis law reform based on legalization of industrial hemp, access to medical marijuana for patients, and legalizing the social consumption of marijuana for persons above a legal age of consent.

Conrad has testified as an expert witness in numerous California medical marijuana cases. In addition to his archival research, Conrad has extensive hands-on experience with all aspects of cannabis cultivation. He was curator of the Amsterdam Hemp Cannabis Hash Museum and studied at the central seed bank for Sensi Seeds, one of the world's largest legal marijuana seed suppliers. He has overseen a six-acre outdoor grow in Switzerland and observed hemp production in Germany and Switzerland.

The Week Online spoke with Conrad at the Los Angeles Shadow Convention:

WOL: You've got this three-part strategy for hemp that includes support for medical marijuana and even social use. Some hemp activists say they want no part of marijuana law reform and that the association between the two is the bane of their project.

Conrad: When I first got involved, I thought the hemp issue would be an easy winner. All we would have to do is explain to the government that it doesn't get you high, it's been used for 10,000 years, Congress didn't mean to prohibit hemp, that it was a mistake. What I found was quite to the contrary. Not only do I believe the federal government will block hemp until we get marijuana legalized, but in fact the whole alternative being proposed by those who want to separate the issues could lead to some negative consequences.

First, let me say that I don't fault that point of view. Hemp and marijuana are not the same. I think the federal government is using marijuana as a subterfuge to suppress hemp, and that if we followed their standards it's possible that we could have hemp surrounded by 10-foot high electrified fences with razor wire, flood lights, and armed guards, and we could grow all the hemp we wanted that way, but we would still be growing hemp in a fascist state. I don't want to grow hemp in a fascist state, I want to live in a society envisioned by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two of our most famous hemp farmers, where liberty and human dignity are the cornerstones of our democracy. And if you try to pursue this by negotiating with the DEA you're going to end up growing it in a prison-like atmosphere.

WOL: Regarding California Proposition 36, which would divert nonviolent drug possession offenders from prison into treatment, some activists are complaining that while it is an improvement to keep people out of prison, we are still subjecting people to state control. Also, they say what about marijuana smokers, are they going to get sent to treatment for smoking a joint? I see that you're wearing a Prop. 36 button, so I assume you are supporting it.

Conrad: When I first heard about Prop. 36, I was initially concerned that as a person who knows a lot of people who smoke marijuana and who has smoked it myself, I don't want to be rehabbed and I don't think any of my friends need it either. Then I found out that marijuana isn't mentioned at all. I do think it was a good strategy because first, some hard drug addicts, especially those who have problems with the law, do need some help. I believe in treatment on demand anyway, so sending people to treatment instead of prison seems like a good thing. But Prop. 36 will have no effect on marijuana smokers. The state of California has passed a medical marijuana initiative, and I think California would pass an "age of consent" for marijuana if it were to be presented and articulated properly.

That implies some political courage; this initiative was not written from a point of view of political courage. This initiative was written from the point of view of focus groups and what they thought they could get the voters to go for. I think that's a bad way to write laws. If Prop. 215 had been written by focus groups instead of patients and doctors, then we would not have as good as a law. Many people in California would have accepted a legal age of consent measure. But the people who are running this campaign weren't sure of that, so instead we have triangulation. Part of the strategy here is to say, "if we're going to treat the hard drug users more humanely, then why are we still sending pot smokers to jail?" I think it's going to cause a state of affairs where the marijuana issue is going to be dealt with more humanely.

WOL: Are you suggesting that we could see a successful vote in the California legislature or on an initiative in the next few years?

Conrad: There is a good chance that we could end up with some legislation coming through, but I think Gov. Davis, with his spineless, pro-prison stance, would veto it. If, on the other hand, the alternative is to have focus groups writing marijuana law, I don't think I'm going to like that too much either. What I'm hoping for is that something similar to Alaska's Proposition 5 can be brought down and get some money behind it. Prop. 5 is a full regulation of cannabis measure, addressing industrial hemp, medical use, and sets an age of consent at age 18. It doesn't allow for sales, but neither does it provide criminal penalties for sales. The state legislature would then have a choice: It could write reasonable regulations or it could do nothing, but it could not recriminalize it.

WOL: Are we reaching the point where the only people who can pull off these initiatives are precisely these folks who are using the focus groups, doing the triangulation strategy, and coming up with these politically palatable measure that may not be in the best interests of marijuana consumers?

Conrad: Yes, I'm afraid that this movement is caught up in the same political system as everything else. Trying to get a good presidential candidate is not easy, and neither is trying to get a good initiative on the ballot. There's a group of people who are very good at what they do, and they're very well paid for doing that and they're not interested in seeing that money go to grass roots activists, who could probably put together better language than we get from these focus groups. They understand that their ability to pass these initiatives is directly related to the educational work done by these grass roots activists, but that doesn't mean they want to involve these activists or use their experience and knowledge in drafting these measures. They're interested in how the average ignorant person who knows nothing about it might respond.

WOL: Some activists have also criticized medical marijuana measures written by Americans for Medical Rights that set tight limits on the amount of marijuana patients can possess. They say these measures are coming back to bite them here in California because prosecutors point to these low limits and claim that patient X or patient Y has too much for medical purposes.

Conrad: The California law does not put a limit on what conditions are covered, how much marijuana a patient can have or grow. Why is that? We didn't want to limit it to a list of conditions because we don't know what all those conditions are. The reason that no amount of marijuana is specified in Prop. 215 is that some patients will need a large amount of marijuana. The federal government provides its eight patients with six to eight pounds per year. But patients growing using the most efficient technique, the "sea of green," will have a large number of small plants, well beyond the limits set in other states. In Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Nevada, those AMR-written initiatives limit the amount patients can have and require them to go before a board. That's an unfair restriction to the integrity of both the patient and the doctor.

When they say patients can only have two ounces, I think that's unfair as well. Or, if you can only have three plants growing, well, you can't get enough marijuana out of that to get the six to eight pounds. Most people are growing sea of green and you're saying they can't grow the most practical way, they can't have the amount they need, they can't use it in the safest possible way, they can't use it for all the conditions they need it for, and if they have enough to get by on they're going to get arrested. Why? Because the focus groups said that sounded reasonable to them. But it doesn't sound reasonable to the patients or the doctors or the caregivers or anyone who's done the research. This I why I think there is a serious and fundamental problem. They're doing it to send a message, but Prop. 215 was not to send a message, Prop. 215 was to keep patients out of prison.

WOL: You said that in some ways, we are worse off in the wake of Prop. 215. What do you mean?

Conrad: We're not in a worse position in terms of legality and the protection of patients. In fact, we just had a hung jury in the case of a patient growing 370 plants, we've had acquittals of patients growing 240, 89, 131 plants. Where we are worse off is as a movement. Before Prop. 215 we were unified. We had an educational program based on the three points of BACH and we were all moving along together, we all saw that every advance helped all of us. But 215 created this big division between people who were for medical, people who were for industrial hemp, and people who were for the whole ball of wax. So the divisions and bitterness that came up as a result of that has still not healed in this state. One thing we did wrong was that we didn't go into the campaign with a real understanding of what happens after we win. We thought it was just kicking this wave off across the country; we didn't realize the entrenchment, the political and legal battles we would have to fight. We didn't realize how successful the drug warriors would be in splitting the patients away from the rest of the movement because their whole argument about the "legalizers hiding behind patients" was not effective in convincing voters, but it was effective in convincing some medical marijuana advocates to distance themselves from the broader issues.

The same thing has happened with the hemp issue, for example, with the North American Industrial Hemp Council, which has a very strong prohibitionist stand on marijuana. At the same time, the Hemp Industries Association has quite the opposite position. I really urge any group that's going into this kind of campaign to remember two things. First, you're going to end up with divisiveness and infighting. You have to be ready to forgive. There'll be plenty to forgive later on, so you better get used to it. You have to realize that campaigns create pressures that change the way people act. And second, you have to prepare for what comes after election day. As you run through the campaign, you're totally fixated on election day, but ultimately it's the other side of the election that will determine what will happen. If we had had the resources to put together a legal defense team for those first few patients that had the problems, then we wouldn't be fighting as many cases as we are today.

WOL: Is the California medical marijuana battle going to have to be settled county by county?

Conrad: Well, I'm not expecting any huge battles in Alameda County or San Francisco County, but otherwise yes. It's trench warfare now. My position now is that I get to come into court with the facts, with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and make sure that this patient comes out with the right verdict. I can't guarantee that juries will do the right thing, but I can provide expert testimony to help them do so.

WOL: Are we on the verge of a sea change in drug policy?

Conrad: Well, look at this Shadow Convention. The presence of people with the stature of Tom Campbell, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel, John Conyers -- you're talking about some of the top leadership of the Democratic Party, and the GOP, too, if Campbell gets elected. I think we're watching a quantum shift right now. It's hard for people like ourselves because we're impatient. But I have to say that when I got involved in this in 1989, no one even knew what hemp was. Today I don't even have to explain the term. Same with medical marijuana. Now, by educating ourselves and then others, we're at a point where 20% of the population lives in states with medical marijuana laws, not because of the politicians, but because of the voters. I think that the age of consent argument is something that will resonate, if our side has the courage to adopt that. Our side has this built in reluctance to confront certain issues, to talk around them.

More than anything else, I think the whole argument has changed in the last ten years. The fact that we have these Democratic officials coming up the street from their convention because they know it needs to be talked about, this is a good sign. The fact that Tom Campbell is running against Dianne Feinstein, the fact that Republicans are coming out. What we're learning is that this is not a partisan issue. Within 10 minutes of talking to anyone, you can get them to agree with you, with a couple of important exceptions.

WOL: And those would be?

Conrad: Those who have a vested financial interest in maintaining the status quo. The other group that we can't convince are those who are wallowing in their own hysteria, and that would include people like Carroll O'Connor and Martin Sheen. They've had problems with their children, and I totally sympathize and understand why they are concerned. But that doesn't mean other people's children should have to go to prison. There's a group that's so emotionally scarred by their own experience that they're unable to step back and see what is for the greater good of society.

WOL: What about the people I would call puritans, the ones you referred to earlier as wanting to punish people for doing something pleasurable?

Conrad: It depends. If their puritanism is based in Christianity, then there is a profoundly strong argument that they should back away from the drug war. Remember, Jesus' first miracle was to create wine out of water, and not for a religious sacrament but for a wedding celebration. In other words, he brought the drugs to the party. Jesus said it was not what went into your mouth that affects your soul, but that which comes out of it, so those people who say "I should send other people to prison because I don't like what they're doing," those are the people Jesus said faced greater damnation because they are spewing out this hateful stuff. Jesus talked about forgiveness, he didn't talk about incarceration. Jesus broke the law in order to heal sick and dying people. If these people are coming from Christianity, then they have no place to turn in the Bible and they have to admit that what they're doing is wrong.

If they are simply sadistic individuals who believe that pleasure is bad and people who need help should be suffering, I think those people need some kind of psychological treatment. Again, this leads to thinking about the post-reform era. We need to prepare to create a national movement of reconciliation in which the people who have been victimized by the drug war and those who perpetrated the drug war have the opportunity to confront one another, not from malice and hatred, but in terms of trying to rehumanize one another and to forgive one another.

4. Apprendi Sentencing Ruling Begins to Bite

As DRCNet reported late last month, the US Supreme Court's ruling in Apprendi v. New Jersey implicitly jeopardized federal graduated sentencing guidelines based on the amount of drugs in question ( In that ruling, the justices decided that any element of a crime that enhances the possible sentence beyond a statutory maximum must be proven by a jury, not left to a judge as part of sentencing.

Now, in what could portend a major overhaul of the federal guidelines, we are seeing the first signs that the Apprendi ruling is beginning to bite.

Less than two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled on Apprendi, it sent the case of a Denver man sentenced to 30 years for cocaine distribution back to the 10th Circuit US Court of Appeals for reconsideration. Carless Jones was indicted and convicted by a jury of two counts of distributing cocaine, a crime carrying a statutory penalty of 20 years. But the sentencing judge added on an additional 10 years on each count based on the amount of the drug alleged in a presentence report.

This action violated the Supreme Court's argument in Apprendi that the jury, not the judge, must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the amount of cocaine which triggers stiffer sentences was in fact proven.

And earlier this month, two Philadelphia marijuana dealers have seen their prospective sentences cut in half in the first post-Apprendi criminal case in that area.

Lenwood Malachi was sentenced to five years in prison, and codefendant David J. Fitzgerald, a dry-cleaner, was jailed for 10 years for conspiring to traffic in marijuana.

US District Judge Harvey Bartle III said in court that their sentences would have been twice as long if they had been sentenced prior to June, when Apprendi was decided. Both men were convicted of distributing thousands of pounds of marijuana, but because the quantities had not been proven at trial, Bartle said he had no choice but to sentence them for the minimal offense of trafficking less 50 kilograms of marijuana, or 110 pounds.

With some 61,000 federal prisoners sentenced under the old guidelines, these cases may well mark the beginning of an avalanche of appeals. The existing federal sentencing guidelines will, in all probability, have to be rewritten as well.

5. Heroin Injection Center Wins Approval in Sydney

Eighteen months after the New South Wales Drug Summit recommended a package of reforms to drug laws, including trial of a medically supervised heroin injecting room, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the Uniting Church has received a license to operate Australia's first legal heroin injection room in Sydney's Kings Cross section.

Sydney Police Commissioner Peter Ryan, and the director-general of health, Mick Reid, issued the license for a former pinball parlor this week.

The Uniting Church's Rev. Harry Herbert told the Morning Herald: "We are very pleased to get the license, at last. This means we can start the eight to ten week building renovation works and start recruiting staff and so open the doors before the end of the year if all goes well."

The injection room will operate with two previously undisclosed restrictions. One bans pregnant women from using the facility, and the other bars providing needles to anyone other than those planning to use the center.

Dr. Alex Wodak, head of St Vincent's Hospital drug and alcohol services, is unhappy with the latter provision.

"The ban on needle exchange is unfortunate because there may be people who come into the place and decide they are not going to use the facility as an injecting room but are going to use some other aspects of it such as counseling and that should be encouraged," he told the Morning Herald.

Wodak also noted that the last-minute restrictions highlighted the political pressures brought by opponents and that they "distort the trial and risks diminishing the benefits of the facility."

6. Appeals Court Denies Government's Request for Emergency Order Halting Oakland CBC from Distributing Marijuana

(courtesy NORML Foundation,

Oakland, CA: The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals on Monday denied the federal government's request for an emergency order to stop the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative from distributing marijuana to patients who qualify as having a "medical necessity." The federal government filed the emergency order staying a July 17th ruling by District Court Judge Charles Breyer.

The federal government countered Monday's 9th Circuit ruling by filing an application to stay the decision with the US Supreme Court.

The government previously filed a petition of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review a September 19, 1999 decision of the 9th Circuit which allowed for the distribution of marijuana to patients who met the medical necessity defense.

"It is a travesty that the Clinton-Gore administration is trying to invoke the majesty and power of that august body, the highest court in the land, in an attempt to try to separate critically ill patients from a medicine they need," said Robert Raich, Esq., attorney for the OCBC.

Raich said the OCBC is "complying fully and faithfully" with the amended injunction.

7. RESOURCES: Drug War Facts Updated, Drug War Feature This Week, Alternet, Spanish Language Documents, More

Common Sense for Drug Policy's "Drug War Facts" has been updated to August 2000, with new chapters on Ecstasy and Drug Courts. Visit to examine this comprehensive collection of key facts and statistics on a wide range of drug policy issues. Drug War Facts is the ideal way to prepare for a debate, flesh out a letter to the editor or just improve your basic knowledge of drug policy. has a growing set of drug war articles, including several on the Los Angeles and Philadelphia Shadow Convention. Visit and search on "Shadow Convention" or "drug war" to find them. Be sure to check out's most recent "op-ad" in the New York Times, skewering the drug war, currently available on their web site as well.

Alternet coverage of the Shadow Convention:

Spanish language resources from the Cato Institute:

Friendly Fire: Rethinking the War on Drugs From a Quaker Perspective," from the Spring 2000 edition of the Haverford Alumni Magazine, by Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Visit to check it out.

New York Times Magazine article on New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and drug policy reform:

8. Benefit Screening for Jack Herer

Jack Herer, author of the underground bestseller "The Emperor Has No Clothes" and long-time crusader for marijuana and hemp, will be honored at September 22nd at Universal Studios in Los Angeles with multiple screenings of his biography, "Emperor of Hemp."

Proceeds from the $50-a-ticket event will help defray medical expenses for Herer, who suffered a stroke and heart attack July 15th while speaking at the World Hemp Fest in Eugene, Oregon. An Army veteran, Herer, 61, spent several days at the Portland Veterans Administration Hospital before being transferred to a rehab clinic. He is beginning to recover his speech and use of his right side, and is expected to attend the screening.

A longtime Valley resident, Herer became a counterculture icon for writing the 1985 underground bestseller "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." Last year, High Times magazine named him its Man of the Century.

"Emperor of Hemp," produced by Double J Films of Ventura and funded by Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, will be shown in Screening Room #1 on the Universal lot. Show times are 7:00pm, 8:30pm and 10:00pm. The capacity of the theater is only 100, so reservations are required. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Tickets can be charged by calling toll-free (888) 870-1002. Checks or money orders can be sent to Emperor, P.O. Box 2178, Ventura, CA 93002.

9. Errata

Last week's "Ecstasy Panic" article cited the testimony of Prof. Philip Jenkins. The link to his testimony was incorrect; the correct URL is

In last week's critique of a New York Times article, we accidentally referred to the reporter both as Fox Butterfield and Fox Butterworth. The correct version is Butterfield.

10. ALERTS: Colombia, Mandatory Minimums, California, New York

COLOMBIA: In the wake of the late reported El Salado massacre (see story above), Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) is circulating a letter to be sent to President Clinton asking that Colombia be decertified for US military assistance -- i.e. the recently passed "Plan Colombia" -- based on continued human rights abuses. Please call your Senators -- use the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be transferred to their offices -- or visit to tell your Senators that Plan Colombia was a terrible mistake and it's time to call it off before it's too late.

MANDATORY MINIMUMS: See (articles 1 and 2) for information on the Jubilee Justice 2000 campaign to free drug war prisoners and how you can help. Visit to tell Congress you think the mandatory minimums should go!

CALIFORNIA: Oppose "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" bill -- visit to write your state legislators.

NEW YORK: Repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws! Visit to send a message to your legislators in Albany.

11. HEA Campaign

We reprint our action call on the Higher Education Act campaign below. It's not too late to get involved, and we need your help! See for the latest major campaign update and point your browser to for the campaign's latest major press coverage.


  1. We urgently need to hear from students who have been affected by this law, especially students who are willing to go public.
  2. Educators are needed to endorse our sign-on letter to Congress. If you teach or are otherwise involved in education, or are in a position to talk to educators, please write to us at [email protected] to request a copy of our educators letter and accompanying activist packet -- available by snail mail or by e-mail.
  3. We need students at more campuses to take the reform resolution to their student governments. Campuses recently endorsing it include University of Michigan, Yale University, University of Maryland, University of Kansas, the Association of Big Ten Schools, Douglass College at Rutgers University and many more. Visit for information on the student campaign and how to get involved.
  4. All US voters are asked to visit to send a letter to Congress supporting H.R. 1053, a bill to repeal the HEA drug provision. Tell your friends and other like-minded people to visit this web site. Follow up your e-mail and faxes with phone calls; our system will provide you with the phone numbers to reach your US Representative and your two US Senators.
  5. Please contact us if you are involved with organizations that have mainstream credibility that might endorse a similar organizational sign-on letter -- organizations endorsing already include the NAACP, American Public Health Association, ACLU, United States Student Association, NOW, and a range of social, religious and other groups.

12. Event Calendar

(Please submit listings of events related to drug policy and related areas to [email protected].)

August 26, Washington, DC, noon. "Redeem the Dream" march against racial profiling and police brutality, marking the 37th anniversary of the March on Washington, at the Lincoln Memorial. Convened by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Action Network, call (202) 58DREAM for information.

August 27, Santa Barbara, CA, noon-8:00pm. Santa Barbara Hemp Festival, De La Guerre Plaza, next to City Hall. Sponsored by the Santa Barbara Hemp Company, featuring hemp vendors, medical marijuana info, environmental organizations, healthy food and live music by the Cannons and others. Admission free.

September 8, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Boundary Issues for Service Providers, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

September 9-13, St. Louis, MO, "2000 National Conference on Correctional Health Care," sponsored by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, at the Cervantes Convention Center. For information,contact NCCHC, (773) 880-1460 or visit

September 11, New York, NY, 9:30am-1:00pm. Workshop: Drugs -- Modes of Administration, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

September 13, New York, NY, "Race-ing Justice: Race and Inequality in America Today," with Manning Marable of Columbia University's Institute for Research in African American Studies. at 122 West 27th Street, 10th floor, sponsored by New York Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, $5 requested but not required, call (212) 229-2388 for information.

September 13-15, Durham, NC, "North American Conference on Fathers Behind Bars and on the Streets," sponsored by the Family & Corrections Network and the National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families, at the Regal University Hotel. For information, visit or call (202) 737-6680.

September 14, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction and Case Management, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

September 16, Denver, CO, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.

September 19, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction in Counseling, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

September 22, Los Angeles, CA, 7:00pm. Screening of documentary Emperor of Hemp, to assist with Jack Herer's medical expenses. At Universal Studios, Screening Room #1, admission $50. Contact (888) 870-1002 for further information.

September 27, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Clinical Supervision for Supervisors, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

September 28, Salt Lake City, UT, 1:30pm. Second Annual Community Forum on Drug Sentencing, featuring a keynote address by former New York state chief judge Sol Wachtler, author of After the Madness, sponsored by the Utah Chapter of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. At the Utah State Bar Auditorium, 645 S. 200 East. For further information, call (801) 272-4333 or e-mail [email protected].

October 2, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Harm Reduction Management, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

October 4, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: The Life Process Program: Harm Reduction in Traditional Practice, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

October 6, New York, NY, 9:30am-1:00pm. Workshop: MICA and Harm Reduction, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $40. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

October 11-14, Hamburg, Germany, "Encouraging Health Promotion for Drug Users Within the Criminal Justice System," at the University of Hamburg. For further information and brochure, contact: The Conference Secretariat, c/o Hit Conference, +44 (0) 151 227 4423, fax +44 (0) 151 236 4829, [email protected].

October 18, Minneapolis, MN, 7:00pm-3:00am, Benefit for NORML Minnesota. At 7th St. Entry, First Ave. & 7th St., $5 or free for members. For information, call (612) 871-8780, e-mail [email protected] or visit

October 21-25, Miami, FL, "Third National Harm Reduction Conference," sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, at the Wyndham Hotel Miami Biscayne Bay. For information, call (212) 213-6376 ext. 31 or e-mail [email protected].

November 1, New York, NY, 9:30am-5:00pm. Workshop: Using Creativity in Direct Service, Harm Reduction Training Institute, 22 West 27th St., 5th Floor, course fee $60. Contact (212) 683-2334, ext. 32.

November 3-4, Chicago, IL. Conference on US Policy & Human Rights in Colombia: Where do we go from here? At DePaul University, sponsored by various organizations concerned with Latin America, human rights and peace. For information contact Colombia Bulletin at (773) 489-1255 or e-mail [email protected].

November 11, Charlotte, NC, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.

November 16-19, San Francisco, "Committing to Conscience: Building a Unified Strategy to End the Death Penalty," largest annual gathering of Death Penalty opponents. Call Death Penalty Focus at (888) 2-ABOLISH or visit for further information.

January 13, 2001, St. Petersburg, FL, Families Against Mandatory Minimums Regional Workshop, location to be determined. Call (202) 822-6700 for information or to register.

13. Job Listings (NYC): Streetwork Project

Streetwork Project is an innovative outreach-counseling program for homeless youth in mid-Manhattan, which utilizes a harm reduction approach. Services include street outreach, counseling/case management and concrete services. Streetwork is currently hiring for three positions: Wellness Coordinator, Program Director and AIDS Coordinator.

The Wellness Coordinator will develop, oversee and provide practical services to clients. The goal of the wellness component is to introduce techniques that enhance ones ability to remain as healthy as possible, within the context of their own lives, both mentally and physically.

Specific duties include but are not limited to: Developing and facilitating wellness based groups; Providing individual wellness counseling; Coordinating acupuncture program; Coordinating, maintain and distribute wellness supplies; Designing and creating wellness educational materials for population; Networking and establishing contacts within the wellness community; Orienting and training staff on wellness resources and techniques; Participating in staff meetings, training sessions and workshops; Data entry, maintaining case files, statistics and monthly reports; Conducting wellness sessions for specific population groups and in the drop-in center; Enhancing current wellness program.

A bachelors degree and two years work experience or equivalent significant experience working with adolescents and/or homeless populations, and extensive knowledge and practical experience with a variety of mind/body health practices and techniques are required. Salary high 20's - low 30's plus benefits, full-time; some evenings required. Please send cover letter and resume to: David Nish, Director, Streetwork Project, Safe Horizon, 545 8th Ave., 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10018 or fax to (212) 695-2317.

The Program Director opening is for a new site being established on the Lower East Side of Manhattan specifically targeting young injecting drug users and their peers. Responsibilities will include: Coordinating services, referrals and linkages for active drug users; Providing HIV Prevention Case Management; Providing counseling, both crisis and long term, maintaining a caseload and making appropriate referrals, follow-up and escorts; Developing and facilitating support and recreational groups; Daily operation of drop-in center, provision of food, clothing and showers; Data entry, maintaining case files, statistics and monthly reports; Attendance at staff meetings, training sessions, and workshops; Networking and representation with outside agencies; Other assigned duties.

A bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience, experience working with homeless and/or adolescent populations, and knowledge and understanding of Harm Reduction philosophy and practice required. Salary is $31,000, plus full benefits, full time, includes evenings. Send resume and cover letter to Stacey Rubin, Streetwork Project, 545 8th Ave., 22nd floor, New York, NY 10018.

The AIDS Coordinator will have the following responsibilities: AIDS counseling-related program development; Staff training on HIV/AIDS-related issues; Individual and group counseling; Monitoring of in-house and street outreach AIDS education and prevention efforts; Development of AIDS-related referrals and resources; Networking and public presentations; Monthly reports and statistics; Attendance at staff trainings, workshops, and conferences; Other assigned duties.

A bachelor's degree and two years work experience or equivalent significant experience working with adolescents and/or homeless populations, and extensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS, are required. Salary high 20's - low 30's plus benefits. Full-time, some evenings required. Please send cover letter and resume to: David Nish, Director, Streetwork Project, Safe Horizon, 545 8th Ave., 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10018 or fax to (212) 695-2317.

14. EDITORIAL: No Fringe Group

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

When the United Nations convened its global anti-drug summit two years ago, a host of prominent individuals worldwide signed an open letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan, published in the New York Times and proclaiming that "the global war on drugs now causes more harm than drug abuse itself."

US drug czar Barry McCaffrey, testifying before Congress, derided the signatories as "sort of a fringe group." ABC's Nightline highlighted McCaffrey's ludicrousness by airing the comment, showing pictures of such clearly non-fringe signers as former US Secretary of State George Shultz and former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, then flipping back to McCaffrey, repeating his by then obviously flippant comment, "a fringe group."

Last week in Los Angeles, a similarly august set of leaders joined forces at the Shadow Convention to denounce the war on drugs: New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA).

Two of them, Waters and Conyers, called for McCaffrey's resignation.

More and more respected leaders are speaking up and challenging drug war policies, calling them a "war on people." It was no fringe group that gathered in Los Angeles last week. Not that the hysterical opposition won't call them that and other names, desperate to preserve the rapidly eroding edifice of drug war ideology.

But the depth of harm wrought by our drug war is so great, the need for change so urgent, that names or even campaigns can no longer stop the current, or undercurrent, that is floating our way: the war on drugs must end, and those with sufficient vision are helping to make that come to pass.

Expect to see more such people, soon.

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Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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