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

Issue #194, 7/13/01

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings
  2. Hard Feelings: Fatal Shootout in Marijuana Raid Reverberates in an Idaho County
  3. Tulia: Two Years On, a Town Would Like to Forget, but Reformers Refuse to Go Away
  4. HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent
  5. British Cannabis Decrim Momentum Continues to Build at Frantic Pace
  6. Prospective DEA Head Tells Skeptical Students He Sees "Great Crusade," Claims Legalization Was Tried and Failed -- Mena Questions Refuse to Die
  7. Sentencing Follies: Iowa Man Gets 27 Years for Smoking Joint With 6-Year-Old Son, Eighth Circuit Says Life for $20 Worth of Cocaine is Too Much
  8. Annual Ditchweed Eradication Boondoggle Underway Again -- Feds Spend $13 Million on Summer Jobs Program for Midwest Students, Bored Cops
  9. New Woody Harrelson Activism Site Focusing This Week on DEA's Attempt to Prohibit Hemp Products -- Live Chat Sunday
  10. Urgent Action Alerts: Colombia, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters
  11. Drug War on Trial Going to Trial Next Week
  12. Media Scan: MotherJones.com Prison Growth Report, Twisted Badge Racial Profiling Series, Chicago Tribune on Prohibition and the Drug War
  13. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 7/13/01

On Sunday, July 22nd, civil rights activists, drug law reformers and others will gather in the small Texas town of Tulia to demand justice for the Tulia 46.

Who are the Tulia 46?

In this small town of 5,000 people, they represented about 12% of the town's African American population. Based solely on the word of a corrupt police officer who is widely known for his own criminal activities -- he's been fired twice, once for sexual harassment and a related attempt at insurance fraud -- the Tulia 46 were indicted for drug dealing offenses following one massive wave of arrests perpetrated by this officer working undercover, 43 of them on a single day. Most of them were black, and some of the others were dating blacks. Twenty-two are now in prison, serving insanely long sentences ranging as high as 435 years!

Tulia has its share of drug use, just like any other town -- residents say there were a few drug dealers, and everyone knew who they were. The idea, however, that a town of 5,000, whose African American residents and many others live in something most of us would consider poverty, could support 46 drug dealers, or 22 drug dealers, much less major dealers meriting 20 or 100 year prison terms, is an economic absurdity: Only an idiot or a prosecutor with an agenda could believe such a set of criminal charges could be valid.

That is why the Tulia prosecutions and incarcerations can in no way be considered legitimate criminal justice activity. Rather, it is fair to say that they differed from lynchings only by the absence of a noose or other means of execution; at least Tulia's stolen are still alive to be released.

The fact that they have not been released is itself a gross violation of human rights. Again, it is simply impossible in economic terms for such a town to have supported that number of drug dealers. Therefore, the convicted must be innocent -- most of them, anyway -- and therefore must be released immediately. Anything other than immediate release is morally equivalent to kidnapping.

That is why the perpetrators of the Tulia lynchings -- police, prosecutors, judges -- should be fired and banned forever from working in the justice system or any job giving them power over the lives of other people. They have betrayed their oaths to protect the public and seek justice, and the moral turpitude of their crime increases each day that Tulia's stolen remain confined in our nation's barbaric prisons. The jurors, perhaps, can plead gullibility, but should at least be ashamed.

Let us be clear, it is not by letter of law that this mass injustice constitutes a crime. Rather, that charge is justified on the basis of higher moral principles, principles that reach beyond legislation, to the realm of conscience. Principles that allowed people of conscience to defy federal law by helping fleeing slaves escape to freedom. Principles by which the oppressed of all nations can stand up and be heard and have wrongs redressed despite the letter of the law enacted to keep them silent.

Principles that will free Tulia's stolen and end the war on drugs.


2. Hard Feelings: Fatal Shootout in Marijuana Raid Reverberates in an Idaho County

On January 3rd, Jerome County Sheriff Jim Weaver got a tip that Eden, Idaho resident George Timothy Williams (known as Tim to his friends) was a major marijuana dealer. Wasting no time, Weaver that evening led a raid on Williams' residence. Within minutes, Williams and two Jerome County sheriff's deputies, James Moulson and Phillip Anderson, were dead, killed in a brief but furious firefight.

After the smoke cleared, police found four grams of marijuana in the home of what they continue to describe as a "suspected drug dealer."

"Tim was no drug dealer," Connie Chugg told DRCNet. "He liked to smoke a joint and he would keep himself supplied, but as for being a major drug dealer, that's absurd." Chugg and her husband Curtis, who describe themselves as Williams' "best friends," are still, six months after the event, deeply disturbed by their friend's death at the hands of local police.

They have reason to be disturbed. Williams was fingered by a new girlfriend, Mary Ann Taylor, according to press reports, but area residents familiar with Taylor, Williams and local law enforcement draw a darker and more detailed picture. "Mary Ann was a vulnerable woman," said one local resident who declined to be named. "She had a history of mental problems and drug problems and had already lost two children to the state. When the sheriff's people talked to her, they threatened to take away a third child if she did not provide information on drug deals," the source told DRCNet. According to press accounts, Taylor finally told sheriff's deputies she had observed a large quantity of marijuana at Williams' residence the previous evening. That was the basis for the fatal raid.

But other factors, also involving Mary Ann Taylor, were at play as well. According to press accounts confirmed by local sources, Taylor's former boyfriend had recently assaulted Williams in an incident recorded by police, and Williams, fearing for his physical safety, had armed himself. Friends of Williams also say he was hearing impaired.

"I'm sure Tim didn't even know who was breaking down his door," said Eden resident and Williams friend Cindy Kopp. "He didn't deserve to die that way, and neither did the two young police officers who lost their lives." Kopp told DRCNet she blamed Sheriff Weaver. "In my eyes, Sheriff Weaver was judge, jury and executioner. Usually they do a controlled buy and go in and arrest that person, instead they just went in with guns blazing."

Kopp and other Jerome County residents were angry enough with the official silence surrounding the failed raid that they organized a recall campaign directed at Sheriff Weaver. "We needed to get 1,890 signatures to force a recall election," said Kopp, "but we were only able to get 1,775." The county has approximately 10,000 registered voters, but, Kopp said, residents feared publicly challenging the sheriff. "People agreed that the raid went down all wrong, but they're scared to death of Sheriff Weaver. In fact, I didn't even file the petitions -- they're in a safe place -- so Weaver will never get to see who wanted him out."

But Sheriff Weaver and Jerome County taxpayers aren't out of the woods yet. The families of all three men killed in the raid have now filed wrongful death claims naming the county, Sheriff Weaver and informant Mary Ann Taylor, who has since vanished. The Williams family has filed a $10 million claim, the family of Deputy Anderson is asking for $5 million, and the family of Deputy Moulson seeks $2.4 million.

Under Idaho law, the county has 90 days to approve or deny claims before a lawsuit can be filed. The 90-day limit on the Williams claim, the earliest filed, ran out on July 8, but Jerome County prosecutors have not publicly announced a decision. Jerome County prosecutor Eric Shaner, however, told DRCNet on July 12 that the county did not act on the claim within 90 days, and under Idaho law, the inaction effectively denied the claim. Now, the first lawsuit can go forward. Shaner declined any comment on the substance of any of the three claims.

If Williams' friends and family are deeply unhappy with Jerome County and Sheriff Weaver, the families of slain deputies Anderson and Moulson aren't exactly sending praise their way either. In their claim against the county and the sheriff, Anderson family attorneys wrote that Weaver acted on information from an informant of "questionable reliability" to get the search warrant, then added:

"At the time the search warrant was obtained, Sheriff Weaver and Jerome County officers/agents knew that Mr. Williams had recently acquired several guns and armed himself because of past acts of violence involving Mr. Douglas Norgard, the ex-boyfriend of Ms. Taylor. Sheriff Weaver and Jerome County officials also knew (or should have known) that Mr. Williams was in fear for his life and was armed and dangerous." The claim also asserts that Weaver sent his "youngest and most inexperienced deputies" into Williams' home and that "by knowing and intentionally ordering Phillip Anderson to enter a dangerous and life-threatening situation, the Sheriff's office is responsible for his death. The Sheriff intentionally and recklessly chose this dangerous and unnecessary course of action without regard for the safety of his men, when he knew that Mr. Williams was armed and feared for his life."

"I hope this goes to trial," Kopp told DRCNet. "We don't want some settlement with a confidentiality agreement so this all gets buried. We need to get to the bottom of this, especially with Sheriff Weaver."

Jerome County may not be able to afford to settle the claims. Although the county has insurance for such matters, any settlement will cause the insurance carrier to increase the county's rates in the future. And the possibility remains that a settlement or loss in court could exceed insurance limits, leaving Jerome County taxpayers to foot the bill for their wayward sheriff.

Cindy Kopp is prepared to start a new recall petition if justice is not served, she told DRCNet. "There is something seriously wrong with the system in Jerome County," she said.

Making Jerome County and Sheriff Weaver pay would be fine with Connie and Curtis Chugg, but it won't bring their friend back. "Nobody needed to die," Curtis Chugg told DRCNet. "It makes you sit back and shake your head that you have a small town sheriff's department with a gung-ho, big city attitude. They screwed up bad, and I will never be able to take a walk in the mountains with Tim again."

Wife Connie agreed. "We're just normal folks, and so was Tim. If this could happen to Tim, it could happen to anyone."

Williams didn't like hard drugs, said the Chuggs. "He thought marijuana was okay because he said it was a harmless drug." They do not find the irony amusing. "Tim thought one should have the right to choose to smoke pot or not," said Curtis Chugg. "They didn't have to kill him for exercising that right."

And Williams' friends resent the portrayal of him as "a suspected drug dealer." "Let me tell you about Tim," said Connie Chugg. "Curtis had this to say for Tim's eulogy at funeral, and he managed to say it without crying: 'To know Tim was to know the things he loved. He loved to climb a mountain. He loved to shake a stranger's hand. He loved to make things himself better than could be bought at the store. He was someone who was alive, passionate, yet a peaceful, gentle soul."

Idaho politicians and law enforcement officials, meanwhile, are circling the wagons. In May, the Idaho Sheriff's Association pronounced: "It is unfortunate but clear that anyone who blames this incident on the deceased deputies, Jerome County or Sheriff Weaver, supports Mr. Williams' criminal conduct."

Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, in his only public comments on the case, called the shooting a tragedy "that reminds us once again how the men and women who serve in law enforcement put their lives on the line on behalf of all of us every day to maintain law and order."

That doesn't sit too well with Cindy Kopp. "I've tried for weeks to set up a meeting with the governor to discuss this matter. They never call me back."


3. Tulia: Two Years On, a Town Would Like to Forget, but Reformers Refuse to Go Away

The Texas Panhandle town of Tulia gained international notoriety in the summer of 1999 when Swisher County sheriff's deputies swooped down on the town's small black community, arresting 43 people as cocaine dealers and sending many of them into the Texas gulag for years or decades. Forty of those arrested were black, the others had close links to the black community. All of the arrests were the result of unverified undercover work by a sheriff's deputy with serious credibility problems, Tom Coleman. (Coleman was recently fired from another narc job in Dallas County after allegedly sexual harassing one of his informants, then revealing her name to drug suspects after she refused to put out.)

Tulia's black community was literally decimated on July 23, 1999. The 40 blacks arrested constituted more than 10% of the local African-American population. The Texas ACLU and the local NAACP filed a federal civil suit claiming racial discrimination, which is pending. But the bust has also energized and focused the Texas drug reform and social justice communities, much to the chagrin of Swisher County residents and Texas drug warriors alike.

Many folks in Tulia supported local law enforcement then and still support it now. They reelected both the sheriff and the district attorney last year in the midst of the national attention focused on the town by allegations of racial bias in the bust, and they have no problem with the harsh sentences handed down to town "drug dealers." And, boy, do they wish all the bad publicity would fade away.

That's not going to happen just yet. Activists from Tulia, the rest of Texas and around the nation will head to the Panhandle on July 22 to commemorate the bust and demand justice.

"The struggle in Tulia is constant," said Will Harrell, executive director of the Texas ACLU. There are still 20 people in jail who are innocent of the crimes they are accused of," Harrell told the University of Texas student newspaper the Daily Texan. "This is madness. Innocent people of color, who are poor, are being abused systematically."

And not just in Tulia, Harrell said. Since the Tulia bust, at least eight more instances of racially targeted drug busts have been reported in the state, he said.

On July 22, Tulia will reluctantly host a Never Again! rally organized by the Friends of Justice (http://www.drugsense.org/foj/), the self-described "reluctant radicals" from Tulia and surrounding areas outraged by the injustice perpetrated in their community, with the assistance of national drug reform and social justice groups including Common Sense for Drug Policy and the William Moses Kunstler Fund, as well as many players in Texas' burgeoning drug reform movement.

The Texans, organized into the Austin-based Texas Network of Reform Groups (TNRG), will head to Tulia in a "Freedom Ride" from Austin to attend the rally and stir up publicity along the way. The TNRG consists of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Austin NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Indy Media Austin, hemp activists and associated independent drug reformers.

Charles Kiker is a retired Baptist minister and Tulia resident who helped found Friends of Justice. He told the Daily Texan why: "When I saw in the paper that 43 people in the little town of Tulia -- population approximately 5,000 -- had been arrested for selling powder cocaine, I thought, boy, we've got a big drug problem in this little town," Kiker said. "My wife is quite a bit smarter than I am, and her remark was, 'If 43 people are selling drugs in Tulia, who are the buyers?'"

The bust began to "smell bad" when Kiker realized 40 of those arrested were black, Kiker said. Friends of Justice was the result. A barrier-breaking coalition of friends and relatives of those arrested, religious workers and local justice advocates, the Friends' are "a faith-based community called together to Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly," as both their mission statement and their T-shirts note.

A number of national drug policy activists will attend the Never Again! rally, including Common Sense for Drug Policy's Kevin Zeese, former drug war prisoner Dorothy Gaines, the Rev. Edwin Sanders of Nashville's Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, and Mikki Norris, coauthor of "Shattered Lives: Portraits From America's Drug War." According to Kevin Zeese, also in attendance will be a delegation of Rockefeller drug law mothers from New York state.

Texas activists who will address the rally include the Texas ACLU's Harrell, Drug Policy Forum of Texas executive director Dr. G. Alan Robison, DPFT president Jerry Epstein, TNRG's Tracey Hayes, the Reverend Sterling Lands of the Greater Calvary Baptist Church in Northeast Austin, and NAACP representatives, including Amarillo chapter head Alphonso Vaughan and Freddy Brookins, Sr., head of Tulia NAACP, formed in the aftermath of the drug bust.

It is summer in the Texas Panhandle, and little moves but the wind across the plains, but the Never Again! rally is certain to raise some dust. "It's pretty quiet now in Tulia, but it won't be on July 22," the Friends' Kiker told the Daily Texan.

Drug reform activists on their way to Tulia will be crossing county lines, state lines and color lines with the intent to incite social justice and democracy. Join them if you can. For information on the Freedom Ride to Tulia, e-mail TNRG's Tracey Hayes at [email protected]. Visit the Friends of Justice web site at http://www.drugsense.org/foj/ and look for the t-shirt link to buy one and raise awareness in your community.

(Learn more about the Tulia situation from "Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War," a 23-minute documentary by the Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Send your check or money order for $20 payable to The William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, to Tulia Video, c/o Sarah Kunstler, 103 16th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215. Proceeds will go to the Tulia 46 Relief Fund. For further information, call (212) 924-6980, visit http://www.kunstler.org or e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]. The video can also be previewed at http://www.soros.org:8080/ramgen/tlc/tulia.rm online.)

Previous DRCNet coverage of Tulia can be viewed online at:

http://www.drcnet.org/wol/154.html#tulia
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/155.html#amarillo
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/158.html#investigatingtulia
Other Tulia coverage includes:
Ariana Huffington's commentary on the Tulia Bust
http://www.ariannaonline.com/columns/files/100900.html

Jim Yardley's New York Times article
http://www.kunstler.org/tuliastory.html#anchor45487

Nate Blakeslee's Austin Chronicle article
http://www.auschron.com/issues/dispatch/2000-07-28/pols_feature3.html


4. HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent

Have you or someone you know or know of lost financial aid for college because of a drug conviction? The Higher Education Act Reform Campaign urgently needs to find more such students or would-be students who are willing to go public and talk to the media. The need is urgent because some of the most major media outlets in the country are asking for them, and they want to do the stories now!

Our call last week found several new candidates who have stepped up to the plate and deserve all our thanks. Our most urgent need now, however, is in the greater New York City area.

Please contact DRCNet at (202) 293-8340 or Students for Sensible Drug Policy at (202) 293-4414 if you can help, or e-mail [email protected]. Visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com for further information on this campaign.


5. British Cannabis Decrim Momentum Continues to Build at Frantic Pace

As DRCNet has reported recently (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/192.html#noarrestplan and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/191.html#londoncannabis and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/193.html#britainreform), Great Britain is now nearly a month into an explosive national discussion of cannabis law reform. And it just keeps getting better. In the last week, Home Secretary [the equivalent of Attorney General] David Blunkett conceded that the cannabis laws should be debated, Conservative Party luminary Peter Lilley called for the legal, licensed sale of cannabis, outgoing chief inspector of prisons Sir David Ramsbotham joined the chorus calling for the legalization of all drugs, and high British police officials announced they would no longer initiate investigations into smuggling operations trafficking only cannabis. Oh, and Brixton, the London neighborhood where police quit arresting cannabis users on July 1, remains standing, which is more than can be said for neighborhoods in a number of British cities hit by rioting and ethnic street-fighting this summer.

But Prime Minister Tony Blair stands firm despite the rising clamor for change. On Monday, less than a day after Blair's Home Secretary, David Blunkett, called for "adult, intelligent debate" on the subject, a Downing Street spokesman told reporters Blair was satisfied with current policy. Under existing British law, cannabis possession may be punished by up to five years in prison. British police arrested 96,000 people last year on cannabis charges.

Blunkett had appeared on Sky TV the previous day to signal a slight loosening of Labor's strict opposition to cannabis decriminalization and to acknowledge the growing clamor to revisit the cannabis laws. "There is room for an adult, intelligent debate but it isn't 'are you for or against?' It's let's think, let's consider, let's not be pushed by articles in newspapers or hysteria." But, lest this be confused for a signal of a policy change, he added: "I have no intention of making a change in government policy out of the blue, and if I have anything further to say on the issue I will do so in a considered fashion in my own time."

He then retreated into prohibitionist boilerplate. "It doesn't matter whether one drug is less dangerous than another," he said. "The clear message that we have to send out to young people is that drugs are bad for you and you shouldn't take them. That applies obviously to class A drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine, but it is equally true of others. Unless we put that message up front we will mislead our young people into believing that there is some easy way forward on the drug issue. There isn't."

"Of course there is always room for different debates in any democracy," clarified a spokesman for Blair. "We are perfectly relaxed about that. But often when people say they are calling for a debate, that's shorthand for saying they want to legalize cannabis. But the government's policy remains. There are no plans to decriminalize cannabis. The drug laws as drawn up are right."

Blair may have no plans to free the weed, but the debate raging in the British press and among the political class is inspiring policy prescriptions more radical than legal reefers. Retiring chief inspector of prisons Sir David Ramsbotham became the second prominent British figure in two weeks to call for outright legalization of all drugs. He joins former British ambassador to Colombia Sir Keith Morris, who blasted drug prohibition as futile and called mere decriminalization "an unsatisfactory halfway house."

Ramsbotham told a BBC Radio audience: "The more I think about it and the more I look at what's happening, the more I can see the logic of legalizing drugs, because the misery that is caused by the people who are making criminal profit is so appalling, and the sums are so great that are being made illegally that I think there is merit in legalizing and prescribing, or whatever, so people don't have to go and find an illegal way of doing it. I've come a very long way through exposure to what the drug culture has done to the people I am seeing in prison, their families and the community from which they come."

While Ramsbotham made the appeal for universal legalization, Peter Lilley, the former deputy leader of the Conservative Party, unveiled a concrete plan for cannabis legalization. In an opinion piece published in the London Daily Telegraph on July 6, Lilley said small amounts of cannabis should be sold with health warnings to anyone over the age of 18 through a system of licensed outlets.

"The present laws have palpably failed," the Tory right-winger told BBC Radio. "Nearly half of young people try cannabis and more than a million people flout the law every month." He told the BBC he had never tried cannabis: "No, I never have. I'm rather boring in that respect. I don't want to encourage people to take it, but I don't want to put them in jail for taking it."

Lilley has raised the stakes for his protégé, Tory leader hopeful Tony Portillo, who, along with other Tory leadership candidates has called for debate on cannabis decrim, but has so far failed to take the next step. Lilley is an influential backer of Portillo's candidacy. Now Portillo will be identified with Lilley's pot-shop proposal.

Two other influential Tories, former Home Secretaries Baker and Waddington, now sitting in the House of Lords, have also jumped on the decrim bandwagon. Baker told the Times of London he opposed legalization of cannabis, but could support decrim: "I think that's quite a good position. To fill our prisons with people who are cannabis users is a bum use of the prisons."

Waddington, a staunch hardliner as Home Secretary from 1989 to 1990, also opposed legalization and offered some antique views on cannabis' effects. "Cannabis has an unfortunate effect on the personality," he told the Times. "I saw it in Bermuda [where he served as governor] where there are many habitual users. It destroys motivation. It can precipitate schizophrenia and do lasting brain damage." Still, when asked if could support decrim, he replied: "There may be a case for that."

And if Tony Blair is resistant to pressure from the Tories, he might want to listen to Lord Jenkins, a Labour Party Home Secretary from 1965 to 1967. Described by the Times as "an important mentor to Tony Blair on key Labour reforms," Jenkins has now changed his tune from the days when he supervised the prosecution of Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on marijuana charges. "It is quite firmly my view that the time for a change in the law has come," said Jenkins. And that change would be? "To decriminalize, certainly."

But if Blair continues the charade of cannabis prohibition in public, official British police policy is helping to create new facts on the ground. In a switch that could have more real world impact than all the words expended in the last few weeks, the Blair government has told law enforcement officials, including Customs, to ignore cannabis and dedicate resources to hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

According to reports in the Observer (London), the Cabinet Office Committee, Concerted Inter-Agency Drugs Action (CIDA), which consists of the heads of MI6 and MI5 (the intelligence services), Customs, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the police National Crime Squad, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the under-secretaries of the Home Office, Foreign Office, and Defense Ministry, has instructed police to undertake large-scale cannabis seizures and investigations only as a byproduct of investigations into hard drug trafficking.

"It's not that we plan to stop seizing cannabis when we come across it," the Observer quoted one high-ranking police official as saying. "However, the need to focus on Class A drugs means cannabis seizures will now take place as a by-product, not as an end in themselves."

They must be smiling in Amsterdam.

"Overall, the government strategy is about reducing harm," another unnamed police official told the Observer. "That has to mean placing a priority on reducing the supply of Class A drugs."

Police officials were moved to act, the paper said, after new studies showed that Britons are consuming twice as much cocaine as previous official estimates for all of Western Europe. The Home Office research project estimated that Brits snorted 35,000-40,000 kilos of coke last year.

British cannabis activists are watching with a mixture of amazement and skepticism. Alun Buffry of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (http://www.lca-uk.org) told DRCNet Tony Blair remained the biggest obstacle to legalization, and that he worried that Britain could end up with a halfway decriminalization.

"The trouble with 'effective decriminalization' is that is meaningless," wrote Buffry, who as an LCA candidate in the past elections takes some small credit for energizing the debate. "Decrim is really a matter of policy rather than law. Various police authorities have for some time been turning a blind eye to cannabis use, or at least not targeting users. The chances of being busted for smoking varies dramatically across the UK -- somewhere like London or Northampton the chances are much slimmer than say the Norfolk Coast. Whilst people in Brixton can smoke in public fearing only confiscation, people in Ipswich were raided by 14 police for 1.5 grams last Friday night and have been taken to court." Decriminalization could also "take a lot of the wind out of the sails of legalization, as it has done in the Netherlands," Buffry noted.

Another British activist who spoke with DRCNet turned a leery eye toward the sudden Conservative interest in cannabis. "They have lost two elections in a row and they're trying out different ideas to see what will make them popular again," he wrote. "Portillo's latest speeches do seem consistent with him thinking legalization is a vote winner. If this is true, then legalization in the UK may happen sooner than we thought, as Tories will do anything for votes." But, he cautioned, "It's worth noting that the Tories haven't elected their new leader yet and are in an unstable state. They could easily return to their old prohibitionist ways."

If British reform activists seem a bit bemused, who can blame them? The situation is fluid, chaotic and confusing. Here are two London newspaper headlines from Tuesday. "Labour Considers Loosening Stance on Marijuana," the Financial Times told its readers. "There is No Plan to Change Law, Says Downing Street," said the Times of London. Are they both right?


6. Prospective DEA Head Tells Skeptical Students He Sees "Great Crusade," Claims Legalization Was Tried and Failed -- Mena Questions Refuse to Die

US Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), tapped by President Bush to run the Drug Enforcement Administration, last week used the University of Arkansas as a forum to call for holy war against drugs before an audience of Arkansas high school students. They weren't necessarily buying it.

The need to stop drug use in the US is "worthy of a great crusade," Hutchinson said, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "The amount of personal destruction caused by addiction is massive," the former US Attorney told high school leaders at the Fulbright School of Public Affairs on July 5th.

Hutchinson also introduced the students to an intellectually suspect reading of the history of US drug policy. "Some have said we ought to legalize" drug use, Hutchinson said, but he told the students he opposed legalization because, he maintained, it has been tried and failed in this country. "Drugs were essentially unregulated in this country until early in this century," he said. "You could buy cocaine. You could buy heroin. We've tried total legalization, and the drug laws we have today are a result of watching what addiction problems happen when any kind of drug is legal."

But Hutchinson refused to engage in any substantive discussion with students, the Democrat-Gazette reported. He told his audience he could not go into much detail on drug policy because his nomination was pending. "Talking about this makes me a little nervous," he said. Asked about the hypocrisy of outlawing marijuana while alcohol and tobacco are freely available, the prospective DEA head feebly retorted that the harms done by those two drugs were not a good argument to legalize others, then segued into a pitch for more law enforcement and more drug treatment.

"People say you cannot win the war against drugs. Well, you can't just through enforcement," Hutchinson said. "Law enforcement agencies and professionals will be the first to tell you that they are just trying to hold their finger in the dike long enough for people to become better educated and make sounder judgments on drugs. We have to reduce the demand."

Despite -- perhaps because of -- such views, Hutchinson's nomination looks to be a shoo-in. While DRCNet was unable to confirm Arkansas reports that all Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had signed a letter in favor of Hutchinson's nomination, Senate Democrats have shown little indication of wishing to challenge the nomination. If they were so inclined, they might want to ask him about his role in the mysteries surrounding the Mena, Arkansas airport.

In an ironic twist for a man who made a name for himself prosecuting former presidential brother Roger Clinton on cocaine charges and doggedly targeting former President Clinton as a House impeachment manager, the one cloud on his confirmation horizon grew out of the efforts of some of the more fanatical Clinton-haters to overturn every conspiratorial rock they could find. Under one of those rocks was smuggler-turned-informer Adler "Barry" Seal and the murky machinations at the Mena, Arkansas airport. (Seal was murdered outside a halfway house in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1996 by Medellin cartel hit-men after then National Security Council staffer Oliver North blew his cover. North had engineered a Seal flight to Managua, Nicaragua, in hopes of catching the Sandinista government in drug trafficking, then released photographs revealing Seals' identity in an effort to persuade Congress to continue to support his pet Contras.)

While Clintonphobes attempted to tie the former Arkansas governor to a twisted tale of cocaine, contras, and the CIA, they never succeeded in gaining credibility except among the conspiracy-minded. According to a recent cover story in Little Rock's alternative weekly, the Arkansas Times, however (http://www.arktimes.com/010525coverstoryb.html), there are a few lingering questions from that time for Hutchinson. The DEA head-in-waiting was US Attorney with jurisdiction over Mena from 1980 to 1985, when Seal was operating out of the rural Arkansas airport, first as a cocaine pilot for the Medellin cartel, then as an informant for the DEA. In an exhaustive survey, Times writer Mara Leveritt details more than a decade of Hutchinson stonewalling on Seal and Mena and suggests a few questions for any senator so inclined to ask the nominee:

  • "What are the limits on secrecy when it comes to fighting this war?
  • What should be the DEA's relationship with the CIA?
  • How heavily should narcotics investigators be allowed to rely on drug-criminals-turned-snitches -- people like Barry Seal -- for activities that are kept from public review and for testimony resulting from deals?
  • What explanation is owed to law enforcement officers, many of whom risk their lives, only to see their efforts wasted -- not purposefully undermined -- as they were in the case of Seal?
  • What about all the inmates who are serving time in prisons for drug law violations that were insignificant compared to Seal's? What does Hutchinson say to them? And to the American people?"

7. Sentencing Follies: Iowa Man Gets 27 Years for Smoking Joint With 6-Year-Old Son, Eighth Circuit Says Life for $20 Worth of Cocaine is Too Much

James Leroy Holden, 36, of Waterloo, Iowa will be residing at Fort Madison, the Iowa state prison, for at least the next few years. On July 5, Holden was sentenced to 27 years in prison for smoking marijuana with his six-year-old son. Black Hawk County prosecutors charged him with two counts of distribution of marijuana to a minor, one count of manufacturing marijuana, one count of child endangerment and one count of being a habitual offender. (Holden pled guilty to a burglary charge in the early 1980s, his lawyer told DRCNet.)

Under Iowa law, if Holden had instead offered his young son a can of Budweiser, the maximum sentence he could have faced would have been two years for child endangerment. Distribution of alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor in Iowa, typically punished with fines. Instead, District Court Judge gave him two 25-year sentences for distribution to a minor, a 15-year sentence for manufacturing marijuana, a 15-year sentence as an habitual offender and the two-year sentence for child endangerment. All but the latter will run concurrently.

"This is just more insanity in the war on drugs," Ben Stone, director of the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told DRCNet. "I'm still waiting for an Iowa judge to find a sentence that is too harsh." But, Stone added, "you have to begin with 'giving joints to a six-year-old is wrong.'"

Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org), was quick to agree. "NORML is not interested in someone's right to use drugs with a six-year-old child, period," he told DRCNet. "It is asinine for someone to get himself in this situation, but the sentence he received was also absurd. You can probably kill two or three people in Iowa and get less time," said Stroup.

"Let's get real here," Stroup continued. "Unless there is some indication the child was seriously injured, this was a case of stupid parenting, not a violent criminal offense. I can imagine the community was offended by the facts of the case, but the criminal justice system has the obligation to maintain proportionality, to ensure that punishments fit the offense. The system has clearly lost sight of proportionality in this matter."

Holden will be eligible for parole in three to four years, "but that doesn't mean he'll get it," said his attorney, John Bishop of Cedar Rapids.

"He pled guilty to all charges in the hope that he would get the court's consideration that he had accepted responsibility for his actions," Bishop told DRCNet. "He was looking at more than 80 years. This statute was designed for people out selling drugs to school kids, but he wasn't selling to kids, he was under the influence himself."

Holden went down because two confidential informants told police they had witnessed him offering a joint to his son, Bishop said. "The cops got a search warrant, and Holden confessed, but he was clearly just a user. There were no scales, no huge supply of drugs, and no money," the defense attorney noted.

"I don't think this crime warrants a 27-year sentence," said Bishop. "He had been out on bond for almost a year, living with his wife and children, and while the Department of Human Services opened a case file after he was arrested, the children are doing well in school and the department had closed the case file."

Overall, said Stone, "Iowa is going the wrong way on drug sentencing." The Iowa ACLU head told DRCNet: "This state is moving toward no-parole sentencing, and it is a really frustrating situation when you have a Democratic governor running scared every time somebody says the words 'drug crime.' We need a cease fire in the war on drugs."

While Iowa judges may be able to stomach sending people to prison for decades for minor crimes, an Arkansas sentence has proven to be too much for the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals. On Monday, the appeals court threw out a life sentence given to a 54-year-old first offender caught in possession of $20 worth of cocaine.

Grover Henderson was sentenced in Lafayette County in 1994 for possession of about a quarter-gram of cocaine. He had no prior criminal record. Although he appealed, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the sentence. The 8th Circuit disagreed: "This is one of those rare [sic] cases in which the sentence imposed is so harsh in comparison to the crime for which it was imposed that is unconstitutional," wrote the court, vacating the sentence and giving the state of Arkansas 90 days in which to re-sentence Henderson or free him.

Although Henderson has already served seven years for his quarter-gram, Lafayette County Prosecutor Brent Haltom told the Associated Press he would recommend another sentencing offer. Haltom said Henderson had previously rejected an 18-year sentence in return for a guilty plea.

Referring to Henderson's choice to appeal his sentence, Haltom generously commented: "We're not going to hold it against him that he went through the legal system."


8. Annual Ditchweed Eradication Boondoggle Underway Again -- Feds Spend $13 Million on Summer Jobs Program for Midwest Students, Bored Cops

"Feral cannabis," more commonly known as ditchweed, has been a part of the rural landscape from Indiana to the Dakotas and down as far as Texas for the last half-century. The hardy, opportunistic weed, descendant of the legally grown hemp of the World War II era, lines roadside ditches, the edges of farm fields and creek beds, and is an innocuous and generally unremarked upon part of Midwest country life.

As countless Midwestern youths have discovered, the wild cannabis lacks sufficient THC content to have any psychoactive effects. "You'd have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to get high off that stuff," is a common refrain among those who have tried it. "You can get a sore throat and a headache, but you can't get high."

The folk wisdom on ditchweed is right, said internationally recognized cannabis expert Chris Conrad. "This stuff is feral cannabis left over from World War II when the US government subsidized hemp farming to help the war effort," Conrad told DRCNet. "It doesn't have any psychoactive effects," he added, "and that's been known since at least the 1970s."

But that has not stopped the Drug Enforcement Administration from waging war on the harmless (and high-less) weed. Since its inception in 1979, the DEA's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/ Suppression Program has expanded rapidly from initial efforts in California and Hawaii to now operate in all 50 states. This year's budget is $13 million. While the DEA publicly touts the number of cultivated plants it destroys -- it claimed to have destroyed 3.5 million cultivated plants in 1999 -- the vast majority of plants spotted and sprayed in the campaign are ditchweed.

The DEA no longer releases figures for ditchweed seizures, but in his book, "Marijuana in the Third World: Appalachia, USA," University of Kentucky sociologist Richard Clayton crunched official numbers from the late 1980s and early 1990s. "It is important to examine carefully how much of the marijuana eradicated in the US is essentially worthless ditchweed," wrote Clayton. "The answer is 95%."

Clayton's research is not the only to pan the DEA's eradication efforts, nor the most damning. A 1998 report by the Vermont State Auditor placed the proportion of ditchweed in DEA's marijuana eradication program even higher, at 99.28% (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/041.html#ditchweed).

When asked by DRCNet this week about current ditchweed to cultivated marijuana ratios, Clayton said, "Nobody knows for sure now because there is no independent audit. My guess is that roughly the same proportion is ditchweed, which is useless from a drug consumption point of view."

And if this year's campaign is any indication, a figure of that order still stands. According to reports in the Munster (Indiana) Times: "It's marijuana season again, and that means law enforcement officials have begun searching trenches, roadways and farm fields in Northwest Indiana for the ditch weed."

Indiana's share of the DEA's $13 million comes to $330,000, which it is using to employ a state trooper, a local farmer, and a crew of college students to patrol the fields of Nothwest Indiana. When the evil weed is spotted, the crew springs into action, spraying the plants with herbicide, then watching them wilt.

"It's very difficult to kill," trooper Don Hartman told the local paper. "Once it goes to seed, it's spread by animals, birds or the wind. You have to actually destroy the seed and sterilize it, but it's not possible. We spray the plant but we have to keep checking the same area to see if it's really gone."

While police are vigilant for ditchweed aficionados and warn area farmers to be on the lookout, they don't seem to find many. "A few years ago, the jails were packed with people who came to pick ditchweed," Hartman said. "We'd get phone calls about strange cars in the area or a hotel manager would call and say that someone from a different state was there, and we'd do a surveillance the next day. That's not true anymore. You don't see people coming from all over the country. We believe we've had some success."

Or perhaps those unfortunate suburban Chicago kids finally got the word about ditchweed.

The enthusiastic Hartman told the paper that in one year a decade ago, police destroyed 23 million ditchweed plants in the state with a value of $10 billion. Sounds impressive, until one considers that ditchweed has no value in the drug market. This would suggest a more modest value for the eradicated plants: zero. (Twenty-three million times zero still equals zero.)

Hartman added that the herbicide spray doesn't kill the plants immediately. If you smoke it after it has been sprayed, it won't kill you, he told the Times, "but you won't get the same high." The Times reported that Hartman "chuckled" at his own witty remark.

At least the program provides summer work for a crew of college students like Dawn Patrick, 20, of Wheatfield, a junior at Southern Indiana University. Part of a two-person crew -- one drives, one sprays -- Patrick is in her second year on the ditchweed death patrol. "I don't know anyone who has come to pick it, but we had heard that people would come look for it," she told the Times.

The Munster Times reporter did not question either about the futility or utility of their work. But when DRCNet asked the University of Kentucky's Clayton about the wisdom of devoting resources to eradicating ditchweed, he asked in return: "How do you transcribe the sound of laughter?" Regaining his composure, Clayton said: "In the larger scheme of things, this is a relatively small amount of money. The program's principal purpose may be as much symbolic as real, which is consistent with the principal approach of the domestic drug war."

It may only be $13 million this year, said Chris Conrad, "but's that's money that could be hungry kids, for education, or any number of other things. At least it's not $13 million being spent to put people in prison."

But for Conrad, who frequently testifies as a court-qualified expert witness in California marijuana cases, the war on ditchweed is worse than merely stupid. "This is more than a waste of money," Conrad told DRCNet. "This is akin to species-cide. The taxpayers' money is going to destroy hemp that was developed at taxpayer expense by the US government to produce the most productive hemp in the world for American fighting men. This feral cannabis is highly superior to what is being used in Europe and Canada now. What we have here is one of the last stands of superior hemp for high quality industrial products," said Conrad. "If I were growing hemp, my preferred source of seeds would be those plants being destroyed by the DEA. They're the best possible hemp seeds: low THC, high fiber and oil production, low fertilizer requirements, high yield."

As for the DEA, said Conrad, they are engaging in what is "basically an arbitrary abuse of power. They have discretion to deal with this, and their discretion is to be arbitrary, cruel and capricious."

("Arbitrary and capricious" is legal language that was used by DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young in 1988 to conclude that DEA was obligated under the Controlled Substances Act to reschedule marijuana as a prescription medicine. DEA Chief Administrator Robert Bonner proceeded to arbitrarily and capriciously disregard Judge Young's well researched and reasoned decision, which the Act allowed him to do.)


9. New Woody Harrelson Activism Site Focusing This Week on DEA's Attempt to Prohibit Hemp Products -- Live Chat Sunday

Long time actor and activist Woody Harrelson has launched a new activism web site focusing on environmental and health issues -- http://www.voiceyourself.com -- and the site is this week promoting petitions by Vote Hemp and the Body Shop that call for an end to the DEA's attempt to put legal hemp product industries out of business.

The site is also holding an online live chat with Woody Harrelson himself on Sunday, July 15, 6:30pm Pacific time. Hemp and the DEA's embargo would be very appropriate topics for discussion. Visit http://www.voiceyourself.com to check it out and participate. Visit http://www.votehemp.com to learn more about this issue.


10. Urgent Action Alerts: Colombia, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters

URGENT: Colombia Appropriations Going to House Floor on Tuesday

The Bush Administration's aid request for Colombia and the Andean region, which this year is part of the annual foreign operations appropriations bill, is expected to hit the House floor on Tuesday, July 17th. During the debate, representatives will have a chance to voice their opinions and vote on the aid package; it is especially important members of Congress know there is public opposition to fumigation and aid for Colombia's military, whose human rights record is among the most dismal in the world.

Please contact your US Representatives before July 15th and ask them to vote YES on amendments to cut Colombian military aid and YES on amendments to stop or place a moratorium on fumigation. If you get an indication of how a member will vote, please e-mail the Latin America Working Group at [email protected] with a report. As always, please write us at [email protected] to let us know you've taken action.

You can reach your Representative by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Please call by Monday at the latest!

URGENT: Lobby for HEA Drug Provision Repeal to Be Included in Regulatory Reform Bill

This particular alert is intended for students, parents of students, educators, financial aid and other college or university administrators, and people who live in the district of Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) -- Los Angeles area including Lancaster, Palmdale, the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley) and people who live in the district of Patsy Mink (D-HI) -- all islands except Honolulu city area. If you are interested in this issue, but don't fall into one of these categories, please visit http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com to find out other ways to help.

THIS ALERT MUST BE ACTED ON BY JULY 20TH OR IT WON'T BE COUNTED.

The campaign to repeal the new law that delays or denies students with drug convictions their eligibility for federal financial aid is seeking opportunities to get the repeal legislation -- which currently exists as H.R. 786 in the House of Representatives -- included in larger education bills that the house will be considering.

Representatives Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Patsy Mink (D-HI), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, have implemented a regulatory reform initiative called FED.UP to overhaul regulations that "prevent colleges and universities from helping students graduate from college." The FED.UP project is soliciting input, particularly from the higher education community, until July 20th.

Please visit the Fed.Up comments web site before July 20th (next Friday) to suggest to Representatives McKeon and Mink that repeal of the HEA drug provision be included as one of their reforms. Visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/107th/education/fedup/ and click on the "comments" button to submit your comments online. The following is a guide to using the FED.UP form:

  1. Fill in your personal information.
  2. In "current law or regulation," write: Higher Education Act
  3. In "statutory or regulatory cite," write: Section 484 (r) of the Higher Education Act.
  4. In "Suggested Amendment," write: Repeal this eligibility restriction.
  5. In "Explanation/Rationale," write: The restriction takes financial aid away from students who need it. It imposes an additional penalty on students and an unfunded mandate on colleges.
REMEMBER, COMMENTS ARE ONLY BEING ACCEPTED UNTIL JULY 20TH, A WEEK FROM TODAY.

As always, please write to us as [email protected] to let us know you've taken action. Much more information on this issue and campaign can be found at http://www.raiseyourvoice.com online.

OTHER CURRENT ACTION ITEMS:

Click on the links below for information on these issues and web forms to help you contact Congress:

Oppose Drug Czar Nominee John Walters
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/walters/

Repeal the Higher Education Act Drug Provision
http://www.raiseyourvoice.com

Repeal Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/justice/

Support Medical Marijuana
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/


11. Drug War on Trial Going to Trial Next Week

In one of the most important first amendment cases hitting the courts in recent years, Al Giordano of the Narco News bulletin (http://www.narconews.com) and Mexican newspaper Por Esto publisher Mario Menendez Rodriguez are presenting oral arguments for motions to dismiss the lawsuit brought against them by Roberto Hernandez Ramirez and the Mexican bank Banamex, recently acquired by Citibank.

Is this case, in which a web site published from Mexico is being sued by a bank headquartered in Mexico, being heard in a Mexican court? No, it's in Manhattan -- that's one of the first amendment issues.

Supporters in the area are encouraged to attend the hearing, which is taking place next Friday, July 20th, at 9:30am at the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Paula Omansky presiding, 71 Thomas Street, Manhattan (three blocks east of Foley Square and main courthouse), room 205.

Narco News has gone into debt preparing its defense, and donations are needed for the legal defense fund so that Giordano can get back to publishing the bulletin! Those interested in donating to the Narco News legal defense fund can send checks made payable to "Drug War On Trial," to: Drug War On Trial, c/o Attorney Thomas Lesser, Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser, 39 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060.


12. Media Scan: MotherJones.com Prison Growth Report, Twisted Badge Racial Profiling Series, Chicago Tribune on Prohibition and the Drug War

A special report on MotherJones.com com details the economic, social and moral costs of prison growth, including data on prison spending compared to spending on higher education, growth in the number of drug offenders, and disparity between white and non-white incarceration rates in every state. Also featured is a package of articles by a group of award-winning journalists as well as Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and New Mexico's governor, Gary Johnson. "Debt to Society: The Real Price of Prisons" can be read at http://www.motherjones.com/prisons/ online.

Twisted Badge, a web site raising awareness of issues related to law enforcement misconduct, is current running a multi-part series on racial profiling. Visit http://www.twistedbadge.com to check it out.

In the wake of the fatal shooting of a police officer, a commentary in the July 9th issue of the Chicago Tribune drew the parallel between Chicago's gangland violence of Alcohol Prohibition and today's drug war:

http://chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/article/0,2669,SAV-0107090122,FF.html


13. The Reformer's Calendar

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

July 14, 8:00-10:00am, Phoenix, AZ, Protest Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City Jail. Sponsored by the November Coalition in support of the Prison Reform Unity Project. At 2939 W Durango St., AZ, contact Marcella at (623) 877-8788 or [email protected] for further information.

July 14, 2:30pm, Santa Fe, NM, Prison Reform Unity Project demonstration. On the East Portal of the State Capitol Building. For further information, call COPA! New Mexico at (505) 299-2523 or (505) 254-2118.

July 16, 5:00-7:00pm, Olympia, WA, Drug War Vigil, Sylvester Park, corner of Capitol Way and Legion.

July 17, noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC, "Women and the Drug War: The Fastest Growing Segment of the Prison Population." Weekly installment of the "Rethinking the Drug War" video & speaker brown bag lunch summer series, featuring "Women of Substance," a film by Rory Kennedy about addiction and alternatives to incarceration, and discussion with Jenni Gainsborough and Pat Allard of The Sentencing Project. At the Institute for Policy Studies, 733 15th St., NW, Suite 1020, sponsored by the IPS Drug Policy Project and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Admission free, dessert and beverages provided, call Dario at (202) 234-9382 ext. 220 for further information.

July 20, 8:00am-4:30pm, San Francisco, CA, "Medical Consequences of Illicit Drug Use: Prevention and Clinical Management." At the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Laurel Heights Conference Center, sponsored by the San Francisco Treatment Research Center (TRC) at the University of California, San Francisco, the San Francisco Practice/Research Collaborative, the California Society of Addiction Medicine and the East Bay Community Recovery Project, admission free. For further information, contact Karen Sharp, (415) 206-3971, visit http://itssrv1.ucsf.edu/sftrc/confinfo.html or e-mail [email protected].

July 20, 9:30am, New York, NY, "Drug War on Trial" hearing on oral arguments for motions to dismiss by The Narco News Bulletin, Al Giordano and Mario Menendez at the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Paula Omansky presiding, 71 Thomas Street, Manhattan (3 blocks east of Foley Square and main courthouse), room 205.

July 20-22, San Salvador, El Salvador, "International Conference for Peace and Solidarity in Colombia and Latin America." At the University of San Salvador, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.geocities.com/eventopaz/ for further information.

July 21, noon-3:00pm, New York NY, Planning Meeting for Action on Repealing the Rockefeller Drug Laws, follow up to the June 30th Protest to Repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At St. Aloysius Church, 219 W. 132nd St. For further information, contact JusticeWorks Community at (718) 499-6704 or [email protected].

July 21, 2:00pm, Fayetteville, AR, Protest against nomination of Rep. Asa Hutchinson as chief of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. At the Federal Building, e-mail [email protected] for information.

July 21-22, Bethesda, MD, "Saving Our Children from Drug Treatment Abuse," a conference presented by the Trebach Institute in Association with the Survivors of Harmful Treatment Programs. At the Marriott Residence Inn, 7335 Wisconsin Ave., admission $100 or free if you don't have it. For further information, visit http://www.trebach.org, e-mail [email protected] or fax (301) 986-7815.

July 22, 6:00pm-midnight, Tulia, TX, "Never Again!" Rally protesting the mass drug prosecutions of innocent members of Tulia's African American population, featuring clergy, social justice advocates, drug reformers, the Friends of Justice Children's Choir and many others from around the country. Coordinated by Friends of Justice, for further information contact Dr. Alan Bean at (806) 995-3353 or visit http://www.drugsense.org/foj/ online.

July 24, noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC, "The Politics of Marijuana: One Arrest Every 46 Seconds." Weekly installment of the "Rethinking the Drug War" video & speaker brown bag lunch summer series, featuring discussion with Keith Stroup of NORML and excerpts from the documentary "Grass," narrated by Woody Harrelson. At the Institute for Policy Studies, 733 15th St., NW, Suite 1020, sponsored by the IPS Drug Policy Project and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Admission free, dessert and beverages provided, call Dario at (202) 234-9382 ext. 220 for further information.

July 25, 5:00-7:00pm, San Francisco, CA, The New Anti-War Movement: Drug Policy Reform, forum with Ethan Nadelmann of The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation. At the San Francisco Medical Society, 1409 Sutter (at Franklin). Free, e-mail July 25, 7:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, November Coalition Community Meeting. At the Peace and Justice Center, 144 Harvard SE, call (505) 342-8090 for further information.

July 27, 4:30-6:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, Drug War Vigil. Sponsored by the November Coalition, in front of the new Bernalillo County courthouse, 400 Lomas Blvd NW. For further information, call (505) 342-8090.

July 27, 7:00pm, Santa Ana, CA, Coalition Against Violent Crime public meeting, featuring Joe Klaas, father of murder victim Polly Klaas, speaking against California's Three-Strikes Law, and showing of "The Legacy" documentary of the Klaas family's campaign for and against the law in 1993-1994. At the Southwest Senior Citizens Center, 2201 West McFadden Ave. at Center St., book signing before talk at 6:00pm. For information, call Sam H. Clauder at (909) 653-3500 or Jim Benson at (714) 635-0540.

July 27-29, Clarkburg, WV, "Neer Freedom Festival." Benefit for West Virginia NORML and upcoming medical marijuana campaign. For further information, contact Tom Thacker at [email protected].

July 31, noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC, "Alternatives to the Drug War: Where Can We Go from Here?" Weekly installment of the "Rethinking the Drug War" video & speaker brown bag lunch summer series, featuring excerpts from "The Crier Report: America's War on Drugs: Searching for Solutions" and "Containing the Fallout," an Australian documentary, and discussion with Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy. At the Institute for Policy Studies, 733 15th St., NW, Suite 1020, sponsored by the IPS Drug Policy Project and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Admission free, dessert and beverages provided, call Dario at (202) 234-9382 ext. 220 for further information.

August 7, noon-2:00pm, Washington, DC, "Exporting Failure: the US Drug War in the Andes," weekly installment of the "Rethinking the Drug War" video & speaker brown bag lunch summer series. Featuring a showing of "Coca Mama," a new documentary examining the drug war from the indigenous and peasant perspective and discussion with Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies' Drug Policy Project. At IPS, 733 15th St., NW, Suite 1020, sponsored by IPS and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Admission free, dessert and beverages provided, call Dario at (202) 234-9382 ext. 220 for further information.

August 10-15, Philadelphia, PA, Coalition Against the American Correctional Association (CA-ACA), protest against the ACA summer conference, including a counter-conference, demonstrations and actions. For information, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] or visit http://www.stoptheaca.org online.

August 18-19, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "10th Annual Seattle Hempfest." Visit http://www.seattlehempfest.comh for further information.

August 22, 7:00pm, November Coalition Community Meeting. At the Peace and Justice Center, 144 Harvard SE, call (505) 342-8090 for further information.

August 24, 4:30-6:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, Drug War Vigil. Sponsored by the November Coalition, in front of the new Bernalillo County courthouse, 400 Lomas Blvd NW. For further information, call (505) 342-8090.

September 15, noon-6:00pm, Boston, MA, "Twelfth Annual Fall Freedom Rally." At the Boston Common, sponsored by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition. For further information call (781) 944-2266, visit http://www.masscann.org or e-mail [email protected].

September 23-26, Philadelphia, PA, International Community Corrections Association 37th Annual Conference, on Reintegration and Re-entry of the Offender into the Family. $350 for conference and pre-conference workshops, reduced rate deadline 8/31. For info, call (608) 785-0200, fax (608) 784-5335 or write to ICCA Annual Conference, P.O. Box 1987, La Crosse, WI 54602.

September 27-28, Washington, DC, "National Mobilization on Colombia, featuring workshops, meetings, lobbying and nonviolent demonstrations. Sponsored by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Colombia Support Network, Global Exchange, United Church of Christ and Witness for Peace. Visit http://www.ColombiaMobilization.org for info.

October 1-3, Ottawa, Canada, "Women's Critical Resistance: From Victimization to Criminalization," at the Government Conference Centre. For information or to submit a presentation proposal, call (613) 238-2422 for information or write to Kim Pate, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, 701-151 Slater St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P5H3.

October 6-7, Phoenix, AZ, "Freedom Summit," annual libertarian seminar. At the Embassy Suites Hotel, visit http://www.freedomsummit.com for further information.

October 7-10, St. Louis, MO, American Methadone Treatment Association Conference 2001. For further information, e-mail [email protected], visit http://www.assnmethworks.org or call (212) 566-5555.

October 26-27, Cortland, NY, "Thinking About Prisons: Theory and Practice." At SUNY Cortland, call (607) 753-2727 for info.

November 13, 6:00-8:00pm, New York, NY, "Women, Prison and Family." At Audrey Cohen College, 75 Varick St., for information call (212) 343-1234.

November 14-16, Barcelona, Spain, First Latin Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm. For further information, e-mail [email protected], visit http://www.igia.org/clat/ or call Enric Granados at 00 34 93 415 25 99.

May 3-4, 2002, Portland, OR, Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, focus on Analgesia and Other Indications. Sponsored by Patients Out of Time and Legacy Emmanuel Hospital, for further information visit http://www.medicalcannabis.com or call (804) 263-4484.

December 1-4, 2002, Seattle, WA, Fourth National Harm Reduction Conference. Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General, at the Sheraton Seattle. For further information, visit http://www.harmreduction.org or call (212) 213-6376.


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