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

Issue #155, 10/13/00

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Interview with Governor Gary Johnson
  2. US Demands Bolivian Government Be "Inflexible" in Coca Negotiations
  3. November Coalition Comes to Washington to Accept Human Rights Award
  4. Follow That Story -- "There Are Other Tulias in Texas" -- WOL Speaks with the Amarillo NAACP
  5. Silence of the Wolves: Drug Policy in the Bush and Gore Campaigns
  6. New Study Shows California Leads Nation in Drug Offender Imprisonment
  7. Department of Transportation Calls for Drug Testing Lab Investigation
  8. Media Scan:, PBS Frontline
  9. The Reformer'sCalendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Interview with Governor Gary Johnson

New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson, 47, entered the national spotlight little more than a year ago when he stepped forward to dissent from the bipartisan consensus favoring the war on drugs. In doing so, he has become the highest elected official in the land to call for the outright legalization of marijuana and dramatic harm reduction measures to address hard drug abuse. What began with an Albuquerque reporter overhearing a restaurant conversation on drug policy and Johnson's non-denial of his views soon escalated to state and then national media attention, including an appearance on CBS News' 60 Minutes.

It also led to harsh attacks, from New Mexico political and law enforcement figures, one of whom called him "an idiot" in print, all the way up the drug czar himself, who called Johnson "ignorant and irresponsible" for his stands.

Undeterred by the attacks or by a drop in his popularity at home, Johnson has continued as an effective advocate for reform. He has attended dozens of meetings throughout New Mexico to explain his views, and has been active nationally as well. He broached the topic at the Western Governors' Association meeting in Hawaii this summer and recently spoke at both Shadow Conventions, to loud applause.

Johnson, who aside from drug policy is well within the Republican mainstream, entered politics from the private sector, where he operated a construction company. He was elected governor in 1994 and reelected in 1998, becoming the first governor in New Mexico history to win two consecutive four-year terms. His term expires in January 2002.

Johnson has said that he had tried marijuana and cocaine in the past, but now uses no drugs at all, including alcohol. He is a tri-athlete and a family man.

WOL: Governor, please tell us if this is an accurate summary of your positions. You support the legalization of marijuana. As you've said, we should control it, tax it, regulate it. At one time -- about a year ago -- you made statements indicating you supported the legalization of drugs such as heroin as well, but now you advocate "harm reduction" measures for drugs such as heroin. Most of all, you want to open the discussion. And, you have made it clear that you are not endorsing drug use, that drugs are a "bad choice." Is that a fair summary?

Gov. Johnson: In general, yes. I said we should be legalizing heroin. Heroin is the only drug where a model for controlled use existed, and I was actually referring to the Swiss model. I said we should be looking at a harm reduction strategy and moving from a criminal to a medical model. Indeed, let's not forget that alcohol was once prohibited, and I'm not endorsing alcohol. Quit drinking now! It's an incredible handicap.

WOL: What has caused you to reconsider your position on legalizing heroin?

Gov. Johnson: I haven't really changed it, just sharpened it. I believe in heroin maintenance and other harm reduction measures. But when you talk about legalizing heroin, it takes the focus away from the issues. People freak out, their brain banks power off. To talk in terms of legalizing heroin is not useful.

WOL: You've been up and down in the popularity polls because of your positions on drug policy, but now your numbers have started to come around again. Does your experience lead you to believe that talking about legalization or even talking about talking about decriminalization is still a lethal "third rail" for an American politician?

Gov. Johnson: I am the example, I don't know anyone else talking about this, and I went into this with my eyes open. As for popularity polls, well, those politicians that have high approval ratings, are they necessarily doing anything or do they have the ratings because they're not taking stands? As for the initial dip in my numbers, I saw that coming. Does that detract from my believing this is an issue that should be talked about? No. It needs to be talked about, pot needs to be legalized, and we need to reduce the harm.

I've made it a point to talk to everyone I can in New Mexico, everywhere I can. Interest has been tremendous, there have been too many requests for me to be able to honor them all, and the reaction has been exciting. After a meeting in Farmington, a judge comes up to me and tells me "that's the best argument I've ever heard." And I know this guy; he wouldn't say it if he didn't mean it. Another time, a lady comes up to me and confesses that she and her friends were aghast and embarrassed at my stand and having to defend me. She told me I had no defense, and she said that when she and her friends came to see me, they almost walked out when I started talking about drugs because they were so uneasy with the subject. But after the talk, she told me I had them all thinking about the issue like they never dreamed they would. Not that they necessarily agree with me, but now they are saying it is something that should be talked about.

I went to a conservative town, Roswell, and got a standing ovation after my speech on drug legalization. I know they didn't necessarily agree with me, but there is respect now, people are willing to hear about the issue. Unlike anyplace in the country, people in New Mexico have talked about it. Over the past year, a lot of people have come to understand the issue. Now they're going starting to say, "Wait a minute..." In another two years, it will become possible to see real progress.

WOL: You have said that drug policy reform is fundamentally a federal issue. But is there no room for states to act, for example, to modify their criminal codes or sentencing structures or shift the emphasis from law enforcement to treatment and prevention, to lessen the harms of the war on drugs? Is there nothing you can do in New Mexico?

Gov. Johnson: I've come to recognize that there are a lot of things that can be done at the state level. Here in New Mexico, I set up a drug advisory council with judges, medical people, law enforcement people, and treatment people. They will make their recommendations in December. I've purposefully stayed away from the panel, but I believe there will be a number of specific recommendations that we can address through the legislative process.

I intend to make a real difference on these issues. I'm talking about sentencing reforms, mandatory minimums, treatment over incarceration, medical marijuana, and the legalization of marijuana -- if we can pass the legislation. But I think the advisory council's recommendations may even go beyond that.

I've also sent the panel up to the Western Governors' Association conference in Nebraska. I told them not to be wallflowers. They weren't. There is interest among the governors.

WOL: You've endorsed Gov. Bush for the presidency this year. Can you comment on his and Al Gore's general lack of interest in changing or discussing drug policy? And, given that you have said you will seek no further elective office, why not take a stand on principle on the drug issue and endorse either Ralph Nader or the Libertarians' Harry Browne, both of whom make drug policy reform major parts of their campaign?

Gov. Johnson: Believing that either Bush or Gore will win, I have to ask myself where do I have the most impact on this issue? I can have more of an impact working with Gov. Bush; after all, outside of drug policy we are pretty much in line. Do I not advance the issue further given that I would get a sympathetic ear at a Bush White House?

As for the campaigns, well, they don't want to talk about it.

WOL: What is the most striking or shocking thing you've learned as a result of your foray into drug policy?

Gov. Johnson: Some of the people I have come up against in this, well, if they were king, I would have been strung up or shot or hanged. This virulent reaction has been the most shocking thing. I now have a sense of what the Salem witch hunts were about. And I'm the witch.

WOL: Once you leave office, what will you be doing and do you plan to continue your efforts to put drug policy reform on the political agenda?

Gov. Johnson: I will continue to work on the issue, although at this point I'm not sure just how. My horizon right now is the end of my term two years down the road.

The first thing I'm going to do, though, is climb Mt. Everest.

WOL: Seriously?

Gov. Johnson: Oh, yes. Before I was governor, I started and owned a construction company. I sold it a year ago, so I'm in the enviable position of not having to work. We have to ask ourselves what are our goals in life, and I say it is to be happy. For happiness, the bottom line is freedom. That's what it is about for me: life, liberty, the pursuit of freedom. I've charted my own course, I'll be a free individual.

2. US Demands Bolivian Government Be "Inflexible" in Coca Negotiations

The people of Bolivia's Chapare region have been waiting anxiously as government and peasant leaders continue a tense standoff. At issue is the cocaleros' demand that each family be allowed to devote a minimum amount of their land to growing coca for legal uses. Coca is the plant from which the drug cocaine is derived, but has licit uses as well, including the popular soft drink Coca-Cola ( and

According to, US Ambassador to Bolivia Manuel Rocha has demanded President Banzer be "inflexible" in demanding complete coca eradication. On Tuesday, October 10th, the government shut down phone service and electricity to the region, including the Radio Sovereignty radio station owned by the coca grower federations, and Banzer has threatened military action to clear the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway being blocked by the coca growers.

The cocaleros refuse to back down from their demand of "one cato per family" and have declared the Chapare a "Free Trade Zone for coca" until the government is willing to negotiate. Congressman Evo Morales warned, "The decision by the rank-and-file is to continue the resistance including by offering our lives."

For daily updates, including English-language translations of Bolivian and foreign press coverage of the Bolivia crisis, visit The Andean Information Network ( provides frequent briefings on the situation from in-country observers based in the Chapare.

3. November Coalition Comes to Washington to Accept Human Rights Award

On Monday, October 16, the Institute for Policy Studies ( will present its domestic Letelier-Moffitt Award to the November Coalition, the Colville, Washington-based prison advocacy group that has for more than three years now waged an increasingly broad-based and effective campaign to make the nation face the damage done in the name of the drug war. The award is presented annually to individuals or organizations that have made significant achievements in human rights, justice, and democracy.

Its foreign award will go to Bolivian unionist Oscar Olivera, leader of a coalition that successfully fought off Bolivian government attempts to impose huge water price increases on the population after the industry was privatized in 1999. The coalition has also been active in the recent protests that have shaken that Andean nation.

In its press release announcing the domestic award, the Institute of Policy Studies said:

"The November Coalition, founded in Colville, Washington in 1997, has exploded into a national organization with a membership of thousands of prisoners, their loved ones and other concerned citizens dedicated to ending the racist and failed policies of the U.S. "War on Drugs."

Director Nora Callahan founded the Coalition along with her brother (currently serving a 27 1/2-year sentence in a federal penitentiary) and a few other prisoners to raise public awareness about the injustices of the Drug War. The Coalition's "Razor Wire" newspaper and web site publicize shocking personal stories of many of the millions of individuals convicted of nonviolent drug offenses who are now serving draconian mandatory sentences with no hope for earned release.

In 1999, the November Coalition initiated the National Vigil Project to bring Drug War victims face to face with the public. Regional volunteers have organized public vigils to denounce the impact of current drug policies in their own communities and to present plans of action for distraught family members angered by loss and government indifference. The November Coalition's ultimate goal is to turn that rage and sorrow into dignified, effective civic resistance.

According to Sanho Tree, Director of the IPS Drug Policy Project, "As with political prisoners the world over, the thought that keeps many other prisoners going is the knowledge that they have not been forgotten by the world they were forced to leave behind. The November Coalition reminds us of our war against our fellow citizens and our common obligation to seek their freedom."

Nora Callahan was characteristically modest, but enthusiastic about the award.

"It's a little bit embarrassing," she told DRCNet, "but I was thrilled. It's exciting to be recognized and to know that your work is being seen by others."

"We are so honored because we know this is an important award," Callahan continued. "With the November Coalition being such a broad array of people -- because that is who is being arrested -- I think we reminded the country of our prisoners here at home. We will use this occasion to ask the human rights community, which has done such good work all over the world, to speak up more clearly about the terrible situation this war on drugs has created right here in America."

Among other November Coalition members who will attend the award ceremony are Chuck Armsbury and Callahan's nephew, Tyree Callahan, from Washington state, and Teresa Aviles, the New York regional director whose son, Isidro, died in prison. Former drug war POWs Mary Sibley, from New Jersey, and Steve Gotzler, who served 8 1/2 years and went on to get a law degree, will also be there.

The November Coalition members will be carrying Jubilee Justice 2000 petitions bearing some 20,000 signatures asking President Clinton to pardon, grant clemency, or otherwise free or reduce the sentences of the more than 450,000 drug offenders behind bars in the United States.

"We thought we'd take advantage of this occasion to turn in the ones we've gathered so far," said Callahan, "but there are more coming in every day, sometimes by the hundreds."

(Visit for complete information on the Jubilee Justice 2000 campaign and to download your own copies of the petition.)

And, says Callahan, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee has agreed to discuss the petition effort with President Clinton. Conyers legislative assistant Joanne Warwick confirmed to DRCNet that Conyers plans to meet with the president on the issue "before Monday."

Conyers has become an increasingly interested ally to the drug reform movement, and will introduce the November Coalition at the awards ceremony. He is also working on Omnibus Drug Reform Bill, although Warwick said it is doubtful it will see action in this year as Congress rushes to finish its session.

4. Follow That Story -- "There Are Other Tulias in Texas" -- WOL Speaks with the Amarillo NAACP

Last week, the Week Online reported on the shocking events in Tulia, Texas, where an undercover drug investigation by Swisher County law enforcement officials led to the indictment of more than 15% of the town's small African-American community and Texas-sized prison sentences for those convicted or pleading guilty (

As we reported last week, the ACLU of Texas has filed the first of a slew of civil suits against Tulia authorities. Now, the nearby Amarillo chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has announced that it is filing its own complaint with the US Department of Justice this week.

The Week Online spoke with Amarillo NAACP president Alphonso Vaughn this week to get an update on the situation.

WOL: What action are you taking regarding the situation in Tulia?

Vaughn: We have just today filed a Title Six complaint with the Justice Department Office of Compliance. Title Six allows any individual or organization to file discrimination complaints against any organizational entity that receives federal funds, as Swisher County does. We are alleging discrimination throughout the undercover investigation and subsequent prosecutions in Tulia, and we are urging Justice to look into this. This complaint formally asks Justice to do so.

WOL: Last week, there were press reports that the Amarillo chapter was seeking permission from the national NAACP to join in the ACLU lawsuit. Have you received permission?

Vaughn: Permission is still pending. We've been assembling information and transcripts that we believe are relevant, but the process is not complete. We do not, however, anticipate any problem getting permission. It just takes some time.

WOL: Other than the legal front, what else has your organization been doing about this case?

Vaughn: We've been working with the Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice (, and I want to give them some credit. Randy Credico from Kunstler has been here for weeks to keep folks together. He's been pushing this and promoting it across the country. And, of course, we are working with the ACLU. We've had two rallies now, one in Amarillo two weeks ago, where two busloads of Tulia residents came up. Last Sunday we had a rally to counter a rally in support of law enforcement in Tulia.

(Ed: Randy and the Kunstler Fund have been key mobilizers of opposition to the Rockefeller Drug Laws in New York state.)

WOL: How did those two rallies compare?

Vaughn: We had over a 100 people at our rally; the pro-police rally had maybe 150-200 people, so this is still support for this in Swisher County. I will say, though, that our rally was more racially diverse than theirs. We also have press conferences scheduled in Austin and Amarillo with the ACLU and the Kunstler Fund. All the media outlets you can think of have been here.

WOL: Are you getting any national media attention?

Vaughn: Yes. ABC's 20-20 news program has been here. All I can tell you is that a program about Tulia will air within the next two weeks.

WOL: Has Gov. Bush responded?

Vaughn: We have been in contact. Bush officials say they will be looking into it. Also, when the Tulia delegation did a vigil at the state capitol, we spoke to Speaker Laney, so the legislature is aware of it and will hopefully be working very diligently on the case. This is a statewide problem because to a large degree there is very little oversight or monitoring of what goes on with these police and sheriff's departments. The level of confidence in law enforcement has been eroding. There are other Tulias in Texas. In many cases in these small towns, you get a sheriff or prosecutor with no experience, no background, no temperament for that sort of job. But they are basically left alone as long as they keep the wrong element out of the front yards of the white community.

WOL: How does race play into this?

Vaughn: You can say that this is racial judicial genocide focusing on African-Americans. If you want to eradicate a community, these days the drug war is the best way. But there are other issues overlaying this. Word from the black community in Tulia is that they've never had any problems with race because it's historically been a very segmented and separate community. But recently when young people began interracial dating, this caused tensions. There are probably three or four dealers in Tulia and everyone knows who they are. This guy took in the entire community.

WOL: What about the young people in prison because of this? Are there efforts to get them back home?

Vaughn: There is some movement on that front, but I can't tell you more right now. We will have an announcement on this very soon. I can say that we have had donations of financial resources and attorneys from all over volunteering their services to help with appeals. There will be movement on this.

5. Silence of the Wolves: Drug Policy in the Bush and Gore Campaigns

With only three weeks to go until the November elections, drug policy in the Bush and Gore campaigns has been notable primarily for its absence. With few exceptions, such as Bush's dyspeptic one-shot broadside at Clinton administration "failures" last week, neither candidate has shown much interest in hailing the drug war nor addressing its flaws.

What actual policy proposals have emerged from either camp amount to merely incremental changes -- a few more High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas here, more testing of prisoners there, another $2.7 billion for prevention over there -- that fail to challenge the entrenched bipartisan consensus on drug policy. In that sense, the Bush and Gore proposals amount to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

But neither campaign has much heart for drug policy. The majority of drug policy mentions have come only in response to direct questions, such as when Al Gore beat a hasty retreat on medical marijuana after being queried by a viewer on MTV. Back in the primary season, Gore told audiences in New Hampshire he favored limited use for medical purposes. By mid-May, and facing George Bush instead of Bill Bradley, Gore had backpedaled until he was in sync with the official Clinton administration line that there was "no scientific evidence" that marijuana had any proven medical uses.

In a recent article exploring this theme, the Washington Post attributed the lack of candidate interest in drug policy to the decline in violence surrounding the crack trade, the lack of constituency for improved treatment services, and the general similarity of Bush and Gore's positions. (In a frustrated search for differences, the Post mentioned that Gore supported increased treatment in prisons, while Bush supported faith-based treatment in prison and out.)

The Post did not mention two other salient factors, the "hypocrisy" factor and the lack of any evidence that either candidate has any new ideas. Al Gore has admitted smoking marijuana well beyond any "experimental" stage, and George Bush's coy silence on his drug activities prior to 1977 is widely and uncontroversially assumed to mean that he in fact used some drug, presumably cocaine. For either man to make a big issue out of sending drug users to prison would expose him the sort of derision that embarrasses even professional politicians.

As for the lack of any new ideas, their respective proposals speak for themselves.

DRCNet spoke with several prominent members of the drug reform movement in an effort to dig a little deeper into the disappearance of drug policy as a major campaign issue and how and in what form in may reemerge.

For Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy, a combination of these factors explains the issue's absence from the campaign. "Both candidates are very status quo," Zeese told DRCNet, "there's no conflict between them. Nader has tried to bring the issue into play, but he hasn't been able to get any traction."

But also, Zeese argues, "There is the hypocrisy issue. Both candidates have a record of past drug use they would probably prefer that the public not focus on."

As important, Zeese said, is the lack of new ideas. "Neither candidate has solutions," he said, "and while neither is stupid enough to think the drug war is working, neither is smart enough to come up with an alternative."

Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation told DRCNet, "Bush and Gore are like two undertakers arguing over how much rouge to put on the corpse."

Zeese believes Bush and Gore, along with other drug war camp followers, may be missing an opportunity. "The last time a major party candidate really tried to attack his opponent as 'soft on drugs' it was Bob Dole, and he couldn't get any traction with it in 1996."

"If these guys were smart enough to come up with alternatives, with positive solutions, they could win votes," Zeese said. "Polling shows that politicians can advocate public health not drug war, they can talk about needle exchange, they can talk about medical marijuana -- these are all popular issues.

"If you look at these successful initiatives, you can see that these positions are popular with the voters," he continued. "The candidates are missing an opportunity in not advocating a public health approach, but they balance that against the potential attacks and think its best to stay away. Why take the risk?"

Indeed. Neither the national media nor powerful interest groups have shown the least interest in drug policy this time around. And unless a drug policy question makes it onto the final presidential debate, Bush and Gore will be able to waltz into November without having to defend or justify their tweedledum-tweedledee reliance on the same old drug war dog and pony show.

(Next week's issue of The Week Online will feature a discussion of the various viewpoints held within the drug policy reform movement on the subject of single-issue voting and whether or not drug reformers should go with third party candidates or pick the preferable candidate from the major parties.)

6. New Study Shows California Leads Nation in Drug Offender Imprisonment

San Francisco, CA: A new Justice Policy Institute study reveals that California leads the nation in drug offender imprisonment. The study also reveals that California counties that most vigorously pursued harsh enforcement strategies did not experience greater declines in drug use or crime. The major findings include:

California leads the nation with a drug offender imprisonment rate of 115 per 100,000. The national average is 44.6. In 1980, only 379 Californians were sent to prison for drug possession offenses compared to 12,749 in 1999, a population-adjusted rate increase of 2,244%, a more than 20-fold increase.

In the past three years, more Californians were imprisoned for drug possession (38,716) than sales and manufacturing (35,276). Counties with the strictest drug law enforcement policies did not experience greater crime or drug use declines. In most instances increased rates of drug arrests and imprisonment coincided with crime increases or slower crime decreases.

Rising rates of drug imprisonment were not associated with changes in crime rates. For example, Riverside County's drug possession imprisonment rate is 500% greater than Contra Costa County's yet the violent crime rate in Contra Costa is 30% lower. Counties that concentrated their enforcement efforts on felony manufacture or sale rather than on simple possession drug offenses were significantly more likely to experience violent crime declines and larger reductions in property crime rates.

The study is the most comprehensive analysis yet completed on California drug policy enforcement and imprisonment. The analysis includes a comparison of California's 12 largest counties, that account for over three-fourths of the state's population (individual county analysis is provided in the study). According to study co-author, Daniel Macallair, "the findings cast serious doubt on prison advocate claims that strict and harsh drug enforcement is effective crime control policy. It is also good news for counties that adopted a more balanced approach to their drug problem."

"Drug Use and Justice: An Examination of California Drug Policy
Enforcement" is online at

7. Department of Transportation Calls for Drug Testing Lab Investigation

(courtesy NORML News,

Washington, DC: The US Department of Health and Human Services is launching an investigation of all 65 federally certified drug testing labs after a case involving an airline pilot raised doubts about a Lenexa, KS lab's validation process.

LabOne's questionable validation of urine samples arose during an administrative hearing before the National Transportation Safety Board for Delta Airlines pilot Doukas Siotkas. Siotkas was fighting to keep his pilot's license after a July 1999 drug test showed a creatinine level of zero. Creatinine levels are measured to verify that a urine sample has not been tampered with and readings of less than 5 milligrams per deciliter is deemed to be substitution of a sample. Creatinine levels are typically low for vegetarians, petite women and people who drink large quantities of water. No further testing was done on the sample and Siotkas was fired.

During the safety board's hearing, the Airline Pilots Association challenged the legitimacy of drug test validation and stated that LabOne only provided whole numbers, rather than to a decimal point, which is against federal guidelines. The Federal Aviation Administration allowed Siotkas to keep his license and he was rehired by Delta.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) urged the Health and Human Services department to check the validating protocols for all 65 labs. A DOT spokesman said the agency "is concerned other labs may have conducted similar tests without completely implementing all test procedures."

8. Media Scan:, PBS Frontline continues its drug war coverage with two articles:

Drug War Politics, discussing whether the leading presidential candidates are de-emphasizing the drug issue because of their own suspect histories.

Reefer Madness, by Gary Kamiya, charging that "America's surreal hypocrisy about recreational drugs has reached the full-blown Dali stage."

Excerpts and other info from this week's PBS Frontline two night special, Drug Wars, are available online at Click on the "Symposium" link for video footage of a symposium in Washington, DC sponsored by Frontline, National Public Radio and the Georgetown University Law Center.

9. The Reformer's Calendar

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

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 14, Philadelphia, PA, "US Drug Laws: The New Jim Crow?", one day symposium sponsored by the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review. Featuring Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke with panelists Eric Sterling, US District Judge Robert Sweet, Marc Mauer and others. For further information, contact Steven Kronenberg at [email protected].

October 16, Washington, DC, 5:30pm, 24th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards, sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies, international award honoring Bolivian grassroots activist Oscar Olivera and domestic award honoring The November Coalition, entertainment provided by singer-songwriter/activist Bruce Cockburn. Reception at the National Geographic Society, Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St., NW, dinner at Madison Hotel, Dolly Madison Room, 15th and M. Event $35, Event and Dinner $150. Call (202) 234-9382 ext. 235 for further information.

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 or e-mail [email protected].

October 21, Honolulu, HI, 8:00am-5:00pm, "Hawaii's Prison Crisis: Throwing Away the Next Generation." All day forum sponsored by the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, ACLU of Hawaii and the Community Alliance on Prisons, at the Central Union Church, featuring Al Bronstein, former director of the ACLU National Prison Project and others. For further information, call (808) 988-4386.

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].

October 22, Los Angeles, CA, noon-8:00pm, Medical Marijuana Conference, fundraiser to benefit legal defense for Steve Kubby and Todd McCormick. At the Hyatt Regency, 711 S. Hope St., $25 suggested donation, food and beverages provided. Call (409) 835-7327 or (409) 838-9951 for information or to reserve a place.

October 24-26, Norfolk, VA, "Celling of a Nation: Prisons in American Culture," conference sponsored by Norfolk State University, Regent University, and Old Dominion University. 10/24 at L. Douglas Wilder Center, Norfolk State, 1:00-6:00pm, sessions on the drug war, death penalty, and prison building; 10/25 at Library Auditorium, Regent University, 7:00-9:30pm, media representations of prisons and prisoners; 10/26, Hampton/Newport News Room, Webb Center, Old Dominion University, alternatives to punishment. For further information, contact John Kitterman at (757) 823-2100 or [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 4, Philadelphia, PA, noon, "Liberty Protest: Unity to End the Drug War," at the Liberty Bell, featuring professor Julian Heicklen and other speakers. For information, contact Diane Fornbacher at (215) 633-9812 or [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.

April 1-5, 2001, New Delhi, India, 12th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm. Sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Coalition, for information visit on the web, e-mail [email protected], call 91-11-6237417-18, fax 91-11-6217493 or write to Showtime Events Pvt. Ltd., S-567, Greater Kailash - II, New Delhi 110 048, India.

Editorials will return next week.

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