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

Issue #199, 8/17/01

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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Washingtonians, DC suburbanites and visitors, come out to the Week Online 200th issue party! August 24, Velvet Lounge, 915 U Street, speeches, music, literature and camaraderie in the cause! Musical performers include Mike Daly of Whiskeytown, Wish You Were Gone and Monsoon; speakers will include representatives from DRCNet and other drug reformers. Admission $7, must be 21 or over, say you are there for the DRCNet benefit.


  1. Editorial: Let Justice Be Done
  2. US Global Lead in Imprisonment Still Safe: State Prison Populations Begin to Decline but Feds Make Up Difference
  3. Prison Industry Confab Gets Heated Reception in Philadelphia
  4. Mandatory Minimums Under Threat, Supreme Court Showdown Looming After 9th Circuit Rules Against Certain Drug Sentencing Laws
  5. Oregon Bar Ethics Brouhaha Continues: Feds Still Refusing to Authorize Undercover Operations, State Narcs Could Be Out There
  6. Department of Education Cites Pressure to Modify Restrictions on Financial Aid
  7. Australia: Top Cops Propose "Heroin Bank," Political Firestorm Ensues as Prime Minister Nixes Idea
  8. Chess Players Become Drug Tested Pawns in Game's Bid for Olympic Status, Players Not Amused
  9. Vermont Governor Leads Way in Restricting Oxycontin for the Poor
  10. Weitzel Prosecution Condemned by Leading Pain Specialist
  11. Marijuana Extracts for Pain Study to Begin in Canada
  12. DRCNet Book Review: Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System
  13. T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month
  14. Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters
  15. HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent
  16. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Editorial: Let Justice Be Done

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 8/17/01

A few years ago, the November Coalition, a national organization of drug war prisoners and advocates (, released a CD containing verbal commentary by some of their members. The disc wasn't easy listening; it contained tale after tale of woe and injustice, spoken from behind prison walls for the outside world to hear.

Many of the voices have stuck in my mind since that time, but it was the facts of one of their stories that struck me most of all. It was the story told by a woman POW, serving more than 20 years in federal prison, describing the sentencing hearing at which a judge very, very carelessly decided her fate.

What happened was that she had been convicted of having been involved in a drug operation -- pretty minor involvement, by most people's standards -- but the way the law works, the conviction for her supposed offense and the assigning of a quantity of drugs involved in the offense are two different things. A jury had been persuaded that she was guilty at some level, but had no role in determining just how guilty.

That question was decided by the judge, in consultation with the prosecutor and her defense attorney. What happened was that the defense attorney put out one quantity, and the prosecutor put out another. The judge, not having detailed information with which to decide between the two, simply took a guess, picked a number somewhere between the two, and sentenced her based on that.

This is the issue at stake in the recent Apprendi decision and related cases flowing out of it. While it took a jury of her peers, deciding she was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, to get her there, it took only one judge, acting under the far less exacting legal standard of a preponderance of evidence that applies during sentencing, to decide how many years or decades of her life would be stolen by the legal system. The extraordinarily casual and careless way in which it happened in this case shows exactly why this framework, ensconced into law with the enactment of federal sentencing guidelines in the mid-1980s, is unwise and unjust.

And unconstitutional as well. At least that is what the majority on the Supreme Court felt when deciding Apprendi, in which the defendant had been convicted by a jury for a gun crime, but had his sentence enhanced when a judge alone, not the jury, decided it was also a hate crime. While Justices Thomas and Scalia have not historically been great friends to the cause of defendants' rights, in this case they insisted in their majority opinion that the constitutional principle of trial by jury should protect defendants from seeing their sentences enhanced by facts that a jury never got to decide, at least if such enhancements extend a sentence beyond the maximum length that the statute could otherwise impose without those facts.

But the problem actually goes far beyond that. The notorious Judge Posner pointed out in an editorial in the magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers a few years ago that under federal law, defendants can actually be sentenced on the basis of charges for which they have been acquitted! If a defendant is convicted on any count in a drug case, then all the drug activity of which he or she was accused is considered fair game at sentencing, even if the jury felt those counts weren't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There was a case in which a low-level drug defendant had made careless and false boasts of having collaborated with Manuel Noriega. Though in truth he had no connection whatsoever with the deposed Panamanian dictator and convicted drug trafficker, prosecutors brought up his idle talk during trial. It then became fair game at sentencing, and he wound up having his sentence dramatically enhanced because of it.

Dissenting in the Apprendi case, Justices Breyer and O'Connor warned that the implications of the decision were far-reaching and could call into question thousands of cases and the legitimacy of not only the federal guidelines but similar schemes at the state level as well. Yet that is reverse logic. Constitutional rights, and fundamental principles of justice, stand above all such concerns; the fact that a just and proper application of constitutional law might have such ramifications, has no relevance to whether that application is correct. Rather, the possibility that our drug sentencing regime might be unconstitutional -- and to many of us, the certainty that it is unjust -- is all the more reason to move ahead and begin to address the historic wrong that has been perpetrated on thousands of people in the name of the drug war.

To do so is to implicitly admit that such a wrong has occurred, and that the people who allowed it, much less created it, were also wrong. Perhaps that is why the usually liberal Breyer joined with the conservative O'Connor to write such a dissent: Breyer was a member of the original commission that wrote these guidelines, with all the flaws that they contain. Yet others have admitted to as much -- for example, Rep. Charles Rangel, who supported the harsh crack cocaine mandatory minimums in 1986 when they were passed, but who has since taken to the floor of Congress itself to admit his mistake and call for change.

The courts should not shirk their duty of enforcing the Constitution, even when the ramifications in the real world of doing so cause trepidation in the hearts of the enforcers. It's time to right the wrongs: Let justice be done.

2. US Global Lead in Imprisonment Still Safe: State Prison Populations Begin to Decline but Feds Make Up Difference

According to a report released this week by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of state prison inmates declined in the last six months of 2000, marking an end to three decades of unbroken increases: The last such decline was in 1972. But because of the continuing rapid growth of the federal prison system, the number of people behind bars actually increased, although only by a sluggish 1.3%, the lowest rate of increase since 1990.

Whether the relative stagnation in the US jail and prison population is a fluke or represents the beginning of the end of America's decades-long prison binge remains to be seen. The report's main author, Alan J. Beck, told the New York Times he did not foresee a substantial real decline in prisoners in coming years. Beck attributed some of the decline to short-term factors, such as looser rules for parole revocation, in individual states.

"In New Jersey and Ohio they are less likely to revoke parole than in prior years. New York has also become more lenient," he said. All three states saw declines in the last half of 2000.

But University of California-Berkeley criminologist Franklin Zimring was more upbeat. "There are young adults who have never drawn a breath in the United States during a period when the prison population wasn't growing," he told the Associated Press. "Until now, the full-time business of prisons has been the growth of the prison population. Finally, this looks like real stabilization. If it continues, it is a new era in law enforcement."

The actual decline in state prisoners in the last half of last year comes amid slowing rates of increase for the last few years. For the 1990s as a whole, the annual growth rate was 6%, but by the end of the first half of 2000, state prison population growth was virtually nil (

Criminal justice policy groups and academics concurred on several factors driving the decline. Some, primarily the dramatic decrease in crime since 1991, are notable primarily for their belated impact. Others, such as changes in the likelihood of parole -- up from 1-in-6 of those eligible to 1-in-4 during the mid-1990's -- and the emerging trend toward less resort to parole violation for picayune offenses, reflect growing concern over the cost of housing prisoners, as evidenced in legislative debates across the country this year over sentencing policy and prison costs.

Drug policy, which has largely fueled the imprisonment boom, may now be starting to exercise just the slightest counter-pressure, according to the Sentencing Project (, a nonprofit group dedicated to finding alternatives to imprisonment. In a release analyzing the BJS report, the group noted the emergence of drug courts and other treatment-based approaches to drug offenders. Pointing to the experience of Arizona, which has diverted more than 2,500 drug offenders from prison into treatment, the Sentencing Project wrote: "While it is too early to evaluate the impact of these sentencing options nationally, some state programs appear to be diverting offenders from incarceration."

With California's Proposition 36 now in effect -- it alone is predicted to divert 25,000 people from California prisons each year -- and organizers vowing similar efforts in Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, the impact of the turn to "treatment not jail" on prison populations should increase.

Despite the headlines about declining state prison populations, the BJS report still paints a grim picture. Among its findings:

  • The US has the world's highest incarceration rate -- 699 per 100,000 -- and holds one quarter of the world's prisoners.
  • The federal prison system, driven by mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws and "truth in sentencing" no-parole schemes, continues its rapid growth. As the Justice Policy Institute noted in its response to the report, "The federal prison system, which is now the third biggest prison system in the United States, grew at 10 times the rate of the state prison systems in 2000. Over the last twenty years, the number of people under the jurisdiction of the federal prison system has soared from 24,363 to 145,416 today. Recently, the executive director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that 30 new federal prisons would open in the next seven years, adding about 50,000 prison beds to this system."
  • Three great gulags -- California (163,001 inmates), Texas (157,997) and the federal system (145,416) together held one-third of all prisoners in the country.
  • African-Americans make up one-quarter of state and federal prisoners. Of the 1.3 million prisoners, 428,000 were black. Nearly 10% of all black men between 20 and 29 are behind bars, compared to 2.9% of Hispanic men, and 1.1% of white men.
  • Since 1990 the number of state prisoners has grown by 72%. During this period 10 states more than doubled their sentenced inmate populations, led by Idaho (up 182%), Texas (up 164%), and West Virginia (up 142%).
The Sentencing Project points to several public policy areas where battles that can affect imprisonment rates will be fought. Federal sentencing policy, which has driven the explosive growth in the federal prison system, must be rethought, said the group, or "we can anticipate continued growth." The growth of the federal system is also providing most of the oxygen for the private prison industry, the group noted.

State legislatures will continue to be a battleground as well, as lawmakers face federal incentives for "truth in sentencing" laws that require prisoners to serve 85% of their sentences on one hand, and the dramatic costs of imprisonment on the other.

And drug policy. The Sentencing Project notes the beginning of the era of Prop. 36 and suggests that treatment and prevention approaches "hold the potential of diverting substantial numbers of drug offenders into court-ordered treatment." The devil there remains in the details, however, and only time will tell whether such measures will ultimately reduce overall incarceration, or merely create a new class of persons living under criminal justice control.

The BJS report can be found online at:

The Sentencing Project release is available online at:

The Justice Policy Institute release can be read at:

3. Prison Industry Confab Gets Heated Reception in Philadelphia

"The people who profit from prisons have names and addresses. This August, that address will be Philadelphia." So reads the web site of the Coalition Against the American Corrections Association ( The American Corrections Association (ACA), the trade group for the prison-industrial complex, held its annual convention in Philadelphia this week, and the CA-ACA was there to put it on notice.

A broad coalition of community-based prison reform groups, CA-ACA brought hundreds of people to Philadelphia this week for a series of workshops and demonstrations designed to coincide with and act as a counter to the ACA's week-long industry trade show. At a weekend "counter convention," members of ACT-UP, Mothers Against Police Terror, Youth United for Change, and Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty, among others, dissected the prison industry's profit motive, its racially disparate workings, the impact of the drug war on imprisonment, and the everyday brutality of existence behind bars in the contemporary US.

On Monday, hundreds marched from the Center Philadelphia police station after a news conference laying out protestors' grievances and detailing a new study by the Justice Policy Institute on racial disparity in Pennsylvania. According to "The Color of Keystone: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Use of Incarceration in Pennsylvania"(, Pennsylvania had the greatest disparity between white and non-white incarceration rates of any state prison system. Non-whites were imprisoned at a rate 13 times higher than whites and made up 70% of all new Pennsylvania prisoners in the last 20 years. And while the number of prisoners in Pennsylvania quadrupled over the last 20 years, the number of drug offenders grew 16-fold. Blacks entered prison on drug charges at a rate 33 times that of whites, the study reported.

While only one counter convention workshop directly addressed the war on drugs, the Justice Policy Institute report made explicit the intimate connections between repressive drug policy and the prison boom.

For ACA members, the Philly confab was billed as a real moneymaker. "The corrections market is growing due to skyrocketing offender populations," read a blurb on the ACA web site. "The inmate population in the United States is almost two million, with dramatic increases forecasted for the next few years. In the United States alone, more than $5 billion is spent on the construction of new jails and prisons annually. Over $50 billion is budgeted annually for the day-to-day operations of correctional facilities. Product and service demand is increasing in every area from toiletries to furniture to communications equipment. Don't let your company miss out on this prime, revenue-generating opportunity!"

"These people (the American Correctional Association) can't present viable reforms -- they've got vested interests in the destruction of our communities," Philadelphia resident April Rosenblum told the Philadelphia Independent Media Center ( "They look at our families torn apart by addiction, our youth denied real resources and education -- and what they see is money to be made off imprisoning us."

For protestors and conventioneers alike, the week culminated with a series of arrests at the show's final plenary session. In a Philadelphia City Paper ad the week before the trade show, the ACA invited its critics to voice their concerns and stated that they were "open to dialogue." The CA-ACA decided to take them up on their offer. But when a small group of activists attempted to address the meeting with a list of demands, conventioneers first attempted to drown them out by singing "America" and "The Star Spangled Banner," then asked police to remove the disruptors.

Philadelphia police arrested 12 people. They remain in jail at press time.

4. Mandatory Minimums Under Threat, Supreme Court Showdown Looming After 9th Circuit Rules Against Certain Drug Sentencing Laws

A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that it is unconstitutional for judges to add more years to drug traffickers' sentences based on post-conviction hearings not heard by a jury. In a 2-1 ruling on August 9, the panel struck down sentencing provisions in the 1984 Controlled Substances Act. Under the act, prosecutors could present evidence of the quantity of drugs in question during post-conviction hearings subject to a lower standard of proof than required for convictions. Judges -- not juries -- would add time to sentences based on the amount of drugs prosecutors claimed were involved.

Mandatory minimum sentences are included in those provisions of the law struck down by the federal appeals panel.

The ruling came in the case of US v. Buckland. Calvin Buckland of Tacoma, Washington, was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Under federal law, the maximum sentence for most trafficking cases is 20 years, but the trial judge in Buckland's case sentenced him to 27 years after finding in a post-conviction hearing that he possessed 17 pounds of the drug.

"The Constitution says we have a right to trial by jury, to have decisions that affect penalties determined beyond a reasonable doubt," Buckland's attorney, Zenon Olbertz told the Associated Press.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel agreed, relying on a case decided by the Supreme Court last year, Apprendi v. New Jersey, which struck down a sentence enhanced by a post-conviction finding. In Apprendi, the court ruled that sentencing enhancements exceeding statutory maximum sentences must be proven by a jury ( and and

"The District Court erred by sentencing Buckland on the basis of a drug quantity finding that was not submitted to a jury and established beyond a reasonable doubt," said the appeals court opinion.

"This affects thousands of cases... which otherwise would be charged with higher penalties," San Francisco federal public defender Barry Portman told the AP.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling holds for the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. But it also puts the 9th Circuit in conflict with rulings from four other circuits, which have upheld the 1984 sentencing provisions despite Apprendi. Such conflicts are typically resolved by the Supreme Court.

But before that happens, the 9th Circuit ruling must survive a challenge from the federal government. Moving quickly, US Solicitor General Theodore Olson late last week authorized federal prosecutors to seek a rehearing of the panel's ruling.

Ironically, the 9th Circuit panel made use of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent in Apprendi to extend Apprendi's logic beyond where the Supreme Court has so far been willing to go. In her dissent, O'Connor wrote that, in Apprendi, the majority opinion's "reasoning strongly suggests" that mandatory minimum sentence schemes are unconstitutional and that "in light of the adoption of determinate sentencing [mandatory minimum] schemes by many States and the Federal Government, the consequences of the majority's rule in terms of sentencing schemes invalidated by today's ruling will likely be severe."

Citing O'Connor, as well as a similarly anguished dissent by Justice Breyer (who sat on the panel that drafted the original sentencing guidelines in the mid-1980's), the 9th Circuit panel noted: "[W]e agree with Justice Breyer and O'Connor that the majority rule in Apprendi renders the sentencing scheme in 841 (b) [the controlled substances act] unconstitutional."

Mandatory minimums, as well as as post-conviction sentencing enhancements, are now on increasingly shaky constitutional ground.

5. Oregon Bar Ethics Brouhaha Continues: Feds Still Refusing to Authorize Undercover Operations, State Narcs Could Be Out There

Two weeks ago, DRCNet reported on the bizarre case of the Oregon state bar ethics rule that had state and federal prosecutors in a well-publicized snit because it barred them from using undercover investigators ( A state Supreme Court action a year ago today had found that any attorney who practiced deceit or misrepresentation or supervised such deceit or misrepresentation was in violation of the bar's ethics code and subject to disciplinary action including disbarment. The Supreme Court crafted no exemption for state or federal prosecutors attempting to deploy undercover officers or informants, a tactic that relies on deceit and misrepresentation.

Earlier this year, the Oregon legislature acted to address the situation, passing a law that explicitly allowed state and federal prosecutors to employ undercover informants in "covert activities by public bodies... or the federal government for the purpose of enforcing laws, even though the participation may require deceit or misrepresentation."

With the passage of that law, DRCNet announced the end of a narc-free Oregon, but we were only half right.

In fact, state and federal prosecutors in Oregon remain unwilling to supervise undercover informants because of fears they may still be subject to discipline under the state bar ethics code.

"Yes, undercover operations are halted," the Oregon Bar Association's Kateri Walsh told DRCNet. "There is a difference of opinion about whether they need to be or not, but the important thing is that prosecutors have interpreted the ethics ruling this way, and operations are halted at this point," she said.

US Attorney for Oregon Mike Mosman confirmed that his office is not using undercover agents because of the ethics rule. "The US Attorney's office is not approving any kind of undercover work that requires any kind of deception or trickery, which is nearly everything," he told DRCNet. "We believe firmly that as currently interpreted by the Oregon Supreme Court it is unethical for us to supervise undercover work. Whether any federal agency has decided they can go ahead, I wouldn't know, but I strongly doubt it. I believe from what I know that it is effectively shut down," Mosman added. "This is a terrible problem for us, it really puts us out of the business of doing what we are sworn to do."

But if federal undercover operations have come to a screeching halt in Oregon, the situation is a bit more complicated for state and local officials. "The ethics code doesn't say that investigators cannot work undercover," said Oregon Attorney General Hardy Meyers' spokesman Kevin Neely. "What it says is that attorneys cannot work with investigators in situations where investigators are misrepresenting themselves. Police departments may have separate investigations without oversight from attorneys, but prosecutors work with investigators to determine what is needed to prosecute," he told DRCNet. "Every single police officer and law enforcement agency in the state agrees that they perform best when assisted by a prosecutor. But what is going on now is that investigators are working independently of prosecutors; once they closed the investigation, they can meet with the district attorneys," Neely added.

"If undercover work is required, what used to be a team sport is now a singular pursuit," he concluded.

The rules governing US Attorneys and undercover informants bind US Attorneys more closely to their informants than do state rules, and therein lies the problem for the feds, said Mosman. "State law enforcement has a greater ability to move forward with undercover investigations than federal law enforcement has," he told DRCNet. "State prosecutors can sit in their offices and wait for the end product of an investigation, while federal prosecutors, by law, regulation, policy, and wisdom, have to approve investigative steps. We can't do that now with this rule hanging over us."

That may be the case for the feds, but according to Oregon Chief Deputy Public Defender Jesse Barton, the ethics rule has not eliminated undercover operatives. "There are still narcs running around here," he told DRCNet. "They're just not being supervised by district attorneys. If a cop is unclear about what he is doing, he just has to talk about hypotheticals, and if it is after the fact, district attorneys should have no ethics problem."

While prosecutors and law enforcement have been yelling loud and long about the disastrous impact of the ethics rule on law enforcement, "I haven't noticed any big increase in crime," said Barton.

Even US Attorney Mosman was unable or unwilling to point to any specific examples of how the moratorium on federal undercover operations had led to increased lawlessness. "What I can say," Mosman told DRCNet, "is that anytime we discuss this, there is a tension between trying to explain to the public the disastrous situation we're in and trying not to advertise that it is open season in Oregon. There is still work for us in Oregon, we can still pursue non-undercover work, but those people the public looks to us to pursue, the craftiest organizations, the interstate and international organizations, cannot be effectively pursued without the undercover element," he continued. "I would not be surprised if some of these organizations are well aware that our hands are tied."

If civil libertarians, defense attorneys, and drug reform activists are pleased with the current situation in Oregon, the law enforcement establishment is not, and it is moving on two fronts to get matters back to normal. The Oregon State Bar's Walsh told DRCNet that the bar had already attempted one ethics rule fix, but that was rejected by the Supreme Court as going too far. "It would have carved out an exception for undercover operations, but the court thought it was too broad and gutted that provision," she said.

"The bar's board of governors has approved another amendment to the rules," Walsh continued, "which will go to the bar's house of delegates for approval, and then on the Supreme Court. The first effort was too broad, so this time we tried to maintain the integrity and purpose of the rule. I'm optimistic that the bar will find a solution," she added.

US Attorney Mosman is also watching the ethics rule revision process. "This week, the state bar forwarded a new rule to the house of delegates with amendments to the disciplinary rules that could be helpful. We are waiting with guarded optimism."

But according to public defender Barton, that is not a done deal. "The house of delegates is a political body," he told DRCNet, "and can be lobbied. The press will be there, folks will be speaking for and against, and the delegates can just say no to the new amendment. If the arguments are persuasive and the delegates decide we're fine without narcs, then the state's ability to have its employees go out and be involved in crime for the purpose of eliminating crime will itself be eliminated."

That is why US Attorney Mosman and the Department of Justice have opened a second front. Mosman told DRCNet that DOJ has sued the Oregon bar in federal court seeking declaratory relief from the ethics rule burden. "We are seeking a federal court ruling that the ethics rule is trumped by the federal supremacy clause in this case," he said. "Our position is that the ethics rule is really an attempt by the state bar to govern the conduct of undercover work, and that's not an ethics question, it's more a question of substantive federal law enforcement procedure. Oregon disciplinary rules cannot govern how federal law enforcement is carried out," said Mosman.

Action on both tracks is expected by mid-September. The Oregon Bar Association house of delegates vote will come then, and the initial hearing in federal court is expected then, Mosman said. Oregon's unique experiment in narc-less democracy is thus probably weeks or perhaps months away from its demise. But while the federal court is probably impervious to public opinion, the bar's house of delegates is not. Oregonians who would like to preserve the current state of affairs have that window of time in which to act.

6. Department of Education Cites Pressure to Modify Restrictions on Financial Aid

According to an article in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), the author of the Higher Education Act's anti-drug provision, has met with officials at the Department of Education, seeking to have the scope of the law's applicability narrowed to not punish those whose convictions occurred prior to their enrolling in college and receiving federal aid. The law as it is currently interpreted takes away college aid privileges from would-be students with drug convictions for periods of time ranging form one year to indefinitely.

According to the latest Department of Education data, 35,326 would-be college students have been fully or partially denied financial aid by the DOE this year -- with 25% of applications remaining to be processed -- because they reported drug convictions on their aid applications.

It is unclear whether the law can be narrowed in this way without an act of Congress. Though Rep. Souder professes that it was not his intention to take away opportunities from those who have put their legal troubles behind them, the law as written specifies no such exemption. Even if passed, however, such a compromise would do little to slow the growing momentum of the campaign to overturn the law in its entirety.

Terry Hartle, vice president of government relations for the American Council on Education ( told the Chronicle, "It would obviously make a bad idea more palatable, but it will still be a bad idea."

Shawn Heller, National Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (, said in a press release issued Wednesday by SSDP and DRCNet on behalf of the Coalition for Higher Education Reform, "We are gearing up for campaigns against this law on over 150 campuses this fall. The Department's proposed changes won't stop our organizing. We're going to get this law repealed."

DRCNet Executive Director David Borden added, "We're happy that some would-be students with past convictions will now be allowed to move on with their lives. But this so-called 'reform' addresses none of the crucial issues that our coalition has been raising, and the law in its proposed new form will still discourage tens of thousands of students every year from completing their college careers. Anyone who thinks that will reduce drug abuse needs a new 'anti-drug.'"

A wide variety of organizations, including the NAACP, the American Public Health Association and the United States Student Association have charged that the HEA drug provision is an extra-judicial second punishment inflicted only on the poor and middle class, and that it imposes racial disparities on the education system because of unsolved criminal justice problems including racial profiling.

New Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Asa Hutchinson spoke out on this issue two weeks ago, telling the Los Angeles Times that he would support allowing drug offenders to remain eligible for college financial aid. Hutchinson said that many drug offenders who wish to further their education find themselves barred from receiving student aid "even though they've turned their lives around." Allowing such people to receive financial aid would help them "get back to leading useful, productive lives" (

Hutchinson's opposition to the student aid ban is a response to guidance he received from education experts. In May, 13 leading education associations representing admissions officers, community and state colleges, financial aid administrators and students groups, sent a letter to the newly nominated Hutchinson, calling the HEA drug provision a "fundamentally flawed piece of legislation" (

Visit for extensive information on the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, including activist packets and an online petition to Congress.

7. Australia: Top Cops Propose "Heroin Bank," Political Firestorm Ensues as Prime Minister Nixes Idea

Australia's top national crime-fighting body, the National Crime Authority (NCA), last week issued a report saying it could not win the war on drugs and calling for a trial program in which heroin users could obtain their drug from a government-owned "heroin bank." Prime Minister John Howard, who has blocked previous heroin maintenance efforts, immediately denounced the idea, but has since been besieged by an army of the plan's proponents.

In its "Commentary on Organized Crime 2000," the NCA said the government must consider options "previously deemed unpalatable," such as treating heroin addiction through a medicalized supply, "subject to the supervision of a treating doctor and supplied from a repository that is government controlled."

The NCA vowed to wage unrelenting war on drug traffickers, but admitted that drug trafficking, money laundering, and related organized crime were beyond its capacity to prevent using current measures. NCA chairman Gary Crooke conceded that the heroin bank approach was "pretty radical", but argued that trafficking had "grown exponentially" and the profits had "almost grown beyond comprehension."

"Everything should be considered, nothing should be rejected, we've got a terrible problem here on our hands and the essence of that approach is to attack the profit motive," Crooke told reporters. "If something can be done to combat this enormous opportunity to make profit and to control a price perhaps that is one of the many matters worthy of consideration."

Prime Minister Howard needed little time to consider. The same day the NCA released its report, Howard told parliament that "while ever this government is in office and while ever I am prime minister of this country, there will be no heroin trial." He also accused Cooke of sending "a surrender signal" in the fight against drugs.

Howard deputy Peter Costello also took a swipe at the NCA, basically telling it to butt out. "My view is that the National Crime Authority should be fighting crime and it ought to be leaving policy matters to the elected representatives," Costello told the Herald Sun. But the national government's strong negative response has stirred up a potent reaction. Leading Australian drug experts, the Australian Medical Association, newspaper editorial boards, and political figures and prosecutors across the land have rushed to support the NCA's recommendation.

Melbourne's The Age newspaper lambasted the prime minister's "opportunism and straight-out denial" in an August 10th editorial. "Hard drugs are bad," the editorial read. "The law says so. Society agrees. But lives are being lost and even greater numbers of lives are being damaged or ruined under the current legal regime. This is not the best we can do. This newspaper does not argue for liberalization as a blanket policy," the editorialists made clear. "It should be applied only as a way of lessening the effects of drugs on individuals and the wider community. That is why the NCA's proposals deserve to be heard, debated, and considered in a genuine fashion."

The Australian Medical Association also backed the proposal. "If the crime authority is saying this is something we should try, if the medical profession and the experts involved in drug dependence are saying this is something we should try, then I believe it is the responsibility of the government to give it a go," association president Kerryn Phelps told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Australia's grand old man of drug policy, David Penington, who formerly headed the Drug Advisory Council in Victoria, accused Prime Minister Howard of being held captive by yes-men for refusing to consider a heroin trial. Howard is getting his information "from people who want to please his own ears, people who have no experience in the material they're advising on," Penington told The Australian. "He only looks at the facts which support that view and he's not in a position to evaluate the details of trials."

Dr. Gabrielle Bammer, who designed a heroin trial in the Australia Capital Territories four years ago, only to see it blocked by Howard, was cheered by the NCA's proposal. "Since the mid-1990s, a number of reputable groups across the medical, criminal and social spectrum have looked at this issue seriously," she told The Age. "People aren't necessarily convinced that it will work, but I think they are convinced there is sufficient evidence it should be tried."

The opening of the heroin injection room in Sydney's Kings Cross may have undermined people's fears, she suggested. "We won't know what the impact of that will be until the trial is finished," she said, "but we do know that the sky didn't fall in when it opened, and some of the more dramatic consequences people feared didn't pan out."

Even prosecutors were getting behind the proposal. Prosecutors from both New South Wales and South Australia told the Herald Sun they thought heroin trials might work. "I'm rather dismayed at the petulant and dismissive response from the PM," said NSW prosecutor Nicholas Cowdery. "This shows he is not prepared to apply his mind in a rational way."

The main opposition, the Labor Party, said only that it would consider heroin trials, but party leader Kim Beazley told The Age that Howard should listen to the NCA.

The Australian Greens and the Democratic party are calling for the trials to take place, with Democratic leader Natasha Stott Despoja telling the Australian Associated Press that heroin abuse is a health issue, not a criminal one.

"My plea to the prime minister is wake up, get real. Just say no to zero tolerance," Stott Despoja snapped. "The Australian Democrats recognize that the issue of drug use and abuse in our community is not a criminal issue. It's a health issue for those people who are addicted and those people who are dying, particularly our young people. We believe we should investigate a range of options, especially those where we have good overseas examples to show they work. The notion of zero tolerance is a joke," she concluded.

Prime Minister Howard has zero tolerance even for experiments in the states. Australian Capital Territories Chief Minister Gary Humphries last week introduced a bill calling for a referendum on the heroin trial and injecting rooms in the state legislature. Not if Howard can help it. He told the Herald Sun that he would vigorously oppose any state effort to institute heroin trials. "We would not give any aid or comfort to any state that considered conducting free heroin trials," he said. "The idea that we should give in is not one I can accept."

(Visit and click on publications and NCA Commentary 2001 to read the report.)

8. Chess Players Become Drug Tested Pawns in Game's Bid for Olympic Status, Players Not Amused

In a Barry McCaffrey fever dream come true, America's world-class chess players will soon be getting drug tests before every tournament. Three years ago in an article in Chess Life magazine, the then drug czar proposed drug testing for tournament chess players. McCaffrey met with ridicule at the time, but over the weekend, the US Chess Federation, meeting at its annual conference in Framingham, Massachusetts, voted to make drug testing of chess players a reality.

The move came as the US chess group faced increasing pressure from the International Chess Federation (FIDE -- Federation Internationale des Eschecs) to institute drug testing as part of its bid for recognition of chess as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC requires such testing for any sport seeking its recognition.

The FIDE contends that some substances -- caffeine, amphetamines, Ritalin, and steroids -- could provide players with a competitive advantage and has already begun testing players in other countries. Players at tournaments in Argentina and Spain have been tested for all of the IOC's banned substances, including amphetamines, steroids and beta blockers. Those tests came back negative. The FIDE also regulates caffeine consumption; testing at higher than allowable levels can result in disqualification.

The US Chess Federation vote to approve drug testing overcame a rebellion in the ranks led by US champion Joel Benjamin. Benjamin cosponsored two of three failed motions seeking to prohibit drug testing of American players. He told the Metrowest Daily News (Framingham, Massachusetts) that the other top American players he has spoken with are also opposed to drug testing, and he doubted whether any of the substances had real performance enhancing effects for tournament chess players.

"Drugs like amphetamines are more effective in things like a race," he said. "Taking those drugs and concentrating for hours at a time, it's more likely that's going to hurt you. But the thing I'm really concerned about is that this whole thing will go overboard."

The web site also provided arguments against drug testing: "While the humiliation some players might suffer from taking the drug test is an issue, probably even more significant is the Pandora's box opened when chess players can be disqualified for drinking too much coffee, using asthma inhalers, taking certain vitamin supplements, or eating bagels with poppy seeds," the site noted. "There is no evidence that such substances, or even illegal drugs, give a player an unfair advantage at chess."

Even a US Chess Federation delegate to the FIDE was no fan of testing. "It absolutely registers as ridiculous," said James Leade. "What, human growth hormones so we can bang the clock harder?" But Dr. Stephen Press, vice chairman of the FIDE Medical Commission, defended testing as a political necessity during his keynote address, "The Future of Chess as an Olympic Event." If the federation refused to allow testing, Press told Metrowest Daily News, "FIDE would have to determine whether to expel the US because... the Olympic movement requires that all nations conform. There's no exceptions."

He admitted that the idea of drug testing chess players sounded silly, but those are the rules, he told the newspaper. FIDE will not test for alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs, he said. As for caffeine: "We're not saying that you can't drink coffee. It's not a banned substance; it's a regulated substance. There's no reason that you can't drink. The only problem (a player) will run into with coffee, cocoa, colas, or Mountain Dew, or Jolt is if they have a problem of abusing it."

While organized chess organizations are willing to sacrifice the privacy of American tournament chess players in favor of Olympian dreams, that sacrifice may well be in vain. While the FIDE hopes to turn chess into an Olympic sport -- it has applied for recognition from the IOC as a first step -- an IOC spokeswoman last week told the Associated Press there was no chance of adding chess in 2004. The IOC's Emmanuelle Moreau also noted that the Olympics will not add new sports unless others drop out, and at least a dozen other sports want to become Olympic events. That group includes fin swimming, surfing, and billiards, all of which involve some form of physical activity.

Some IOC officials question whether chess is even a sport. "We always thought that sport should involve some element of physical skill," IOC Canadian member Dick Pound told the AP. He said chess was unlikely to gain a place at the Olympics.

9. Vermont Governor Leads Way in Restricting Oxycontin for the Poor

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a physician and long-time drug fighter, is turning drug war into class war in his crusade against Oxycontin, the powerful opiate pain-killer that has become one of this year's drug menaces of choice. In July, Dean banned the use of state welfare funds to pay for Oxycontin prescriptions. But that wasn't enough. Earlier this month, Dean moved to restrict the supply of the drug to all Vermont residents enrolled in state-funded health care programs.

The move on welfare spending would affect only about 70 people, according to local press reports, but the governor's latest strike will affect 128,000 Vermonters. Doctors for patients in state-funded programs will now have to seek permission from the Office of Vermont Health Access before they can fill prescriptions for the popular painkiller, the Burlington Free Press reported.

The governor's actions have set off controversy in Montpelier, the state capital, according to the Free Press. Legislators are demanding a hearing next month on the decisions.

"It seems to me there was an assumption that all users of this drug were abusers," said Sen. James Leddy (D-Chittenden). "My question is what was the process used to reach this decision."

"I'm as angry about this as anything I have run into," said Sen. Nancy Chard (D-Windham). Chard, who heads the legislature's Health Access Oversight Committee, wanted to know whether any doctors -- other than the governor himself -- had been consulted.

Committee members also asked why Oxycontin was singled out when other prescription drugs are also subject to abuse. The committee voted to find out by calling state officials to testify at its next scheduled hearing in September. "I think we have a right to get some information," Chard said.

The Free Press' editorial page writers, however, apparently haven't been reading their own newspaper. They came out strongly in support of the governor's actions in an editorial calling for even more. They applauded Dean's move, "but the steps he took are only the beginning of what's needed," opined the Free Press. "Dean's was a drastic step, but one fully justified by the drug's dangers." Before urging state lawmakers to pass a prescription monitoring law, the newspaper added that, "OxyContin abuse occurs in Vermont, but hasn't reached epidemic levels. All the more reason to take preventive steps such as prior approval of prescriptions. That review won't suffice, though. Government, doctors and pharmacists should be discussing further actions, including physician and patient education."

But the newspaper and the governor go way too far even for Dr. Sally Satel, most reknowned for her advocacy of coerced treatment of drug users. In her syndicated column, Satel wrote: "The worst response we could make to the OxyContin phenomenon would be to restrict the supply, a classic toss of the baby out with the bathwater. Something must be done to keep OxyContin out of the wrong hands, but the true public health tragedy will be depriving patients who need it to survive in relative comfort day to day."

Satel should not be surprised by Dean's draconian approach to drug policy. The good doctor appears to consistently favor the intervention of police, bureaucrats and judges in medical affairs where abusable drugs are involved. In a case involving a heroin addict who was prescribed methadone, then later jailed on a parole violation, the state corrections department has gone to court to prevent him from receiving methadone while behind bars. The man in question, Shawn Gibson, had to undergo methadone withdrawal in prison after the state refused to treat him while in custody. Earlier, when a state judge ordered the corrections department to provide methadone to another prisoner, it refused and instead released the prisoner early.

Accord to the Rutland Herald, Dean, whom it describes as a moralist who "may be of the view that cold turkey withdrawal is more virtuous than methadone," is behind the state's rigid line. But Dean's moralism is not enough for the Herald, which accuses him of using state law "to interfere in an arbitrary and potentially harmful way in medical decisions."

10. Weitzel Prosecution Condemned by Leading Pain Specialist

DRCNet reported two weeks ago on the case of Dr. Weitzel (, a Utah physician who spent six months in state prison before a judge threw out his conviction as improper. At issue are pain treatment practices that prosecutors portrayed as murder but supporters consider proper and compassionate care.

The same day, one of the nation's leading pain treatment specialists weighed in on the issue, defending Dr. Weitzel and strongly condemning county prosecutors in an editorial titled "Prosecutors Disregarded Compassionate Care," published in the Ogden Standard Examiner, a newspaper based in Weitzel's Davis County, on Friday, August 3rd.

Dr. Stratton Hill, founder of the Pain Service at the University of Texas and 1995 recipient of the American Cancer Society Humanitarian Award, wrote the following:

"I testified for Dr. Robert Weitzel during his murder trial last summer in Davis County. In my opinion, this was one of the most egregious abuses of government power I have ever witnessed. The Davis County prosecutors were, and continue to be, misinformed and misguided. They demonstrated utter disregard for the quality of life of the citizens in their county who suffer painful and distressing symptoms often associated with the end of life. They performed, and continue to perform, a disservice to the people of the entire state of Utah.

"Their misinformed and misguided efforts are setting back compassionate, distressing-symptom-relief care for patients who suffer chronic, painful medical conditions to the Neanderthal Age.

"Physicians cannot afford to risk regulatory sanctions and criminal conviction for providing appropriate care for their patients.

"Nothing in the records of the patients under Dr. Weitzel's care that I reviewed remotely suggested any criminal behavior. He provided compassionate, proper medical care to patients with highly complicated medical problems that fell well within the standard of practice for treating such patients.

"It is time for Utahns to remove such despotic and irresponsible prosecutors who are doing nothing to "protect" them and, indeed, are doing them a disservice. Physicians must determine what is proper medical care for patients and not policemen and/or prosecutors.

"Dr. Weitzel continues to be victimized by individuals who are out of control. Charges against him should be dropped, and the State Bar of Utah should take disciplinary action against the Davis County prosecutors."

11. Marijuana Extracts for Pain Study to Begin in Canada

(courtesy NORML Foundation,

Ottawa, Ontario: An English pharmaceutical company specializing in medicinal cannabis extracts has received permission to study the effects of a marijuana spray on chronic pain patients in Canada. The upcoming randomized, double-blind study will be the first trial of its kind in Canada.

"The start of clinical trials in Canada is the first phase of our international trials program," said Dr. Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals in London. "The Canadian health authorities have recognized the potential contribution of cannabis-based medicines in the treatment of many different conditions."

Patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injury and other forms of chronic pain will participate in the study, which will be performed at The Rehabilitation Centre in Ottawa.

Results of a previous UK trial of 75 patients found that marijuana extracts administered under the tongue greatly reduced pain, muscle spasms and bladder dysfunction in patients with MS.

Since June, Health Canada has appropriated more than a million dollars to fund medicinal cannabis research, including an $840,000 grant to study the efficacy of smoked marijuana in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome.

12. DRCNet Book Review: Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System

In 1997, the city of San Francisco embarked on an ambitious and groundbreaking effort to provide drug treatment on demand in an effort to rid the city of its human blight. The targets of the program were the hardest of the hard-core, those drug and alcohol abusers, familiar to all urban residents, who wreak havoc on everyone's quality of life through a multitude of minor (and not so minor) sins from passing out in public to using public spaces as urinals to breaking car windows in order to steal radios.

San Francisco emergency room physician, author and photographer Lonny Shavelson followed five of these people through the course of their encounter with the city treatment bureaucracy for the next two years. "Hooked" is the result, and it presents a deeply disturbing and depressing portrait of the myths and realities of drug treatment in contemporary America. "Hooked" should be required reading for drug reformers no matter what side of the "coerced treatment" debate they come down on. For those who cheer experiments such as California's Proposition 36, Shavelson delivers a bucket of cold water. For those who decry "coerced treatment" as morally akin to brainwashing, Shavelson makes arguments for its success that must be confronted.

Shavelson works squarely within the tradition of those people of good will who insist that we must help our stupefied brethren to regain sobriety, and thus will disappoint reformers who question both the premises of prohibition and the very concept of addiction itself. Shavelson does neither. In fact, he never mentions the role of prohibition in exacerbating the problems faced (and created) by his subjects, and while paying lip service to the nebulousness of the addiction concept, never really challenges it.

But even those who accept the premises undergirding the turn to drug treatment will find themselves shaken by what Shavelson reports. The five problem drug users Shavelson followed -- a gay alcoholic, a white junkie, a black female speed freak, a Native American female alcoholic, and a black female crack user and seller -- enter into a Kafkaesque world where programs ostensibly designed to help them more often serve to thwart them. In instance after appalling instance, San Francisco's treatment apparatus proved cruelly contrary and counterproductive. Gloria, a 37-year-old Lakota alcoholic living in a Mission district SRO, is grabbed off the street by the city's Death Prevention squad and placed in a Native American-oriented, 90-day program where she makes great progress. But then, with funding limited to 90 days, Gloria is sent to a zero tolerance residence from which she is evicted two days later for drinking.

"Let me see if I've got this straight," says one health care worker reviewing her case. "This is what we bust our asses for? To take housed alcoholics and make them into homeless alcoholics? Goddamn!"

Mike, the white junkie, checks into Walden House, a "therapeutic community" treatment program in the Synanon mode, endures a year of psychologically abusive "tough love" treatment, moves into independent living at a Walden House residence, relapses, and is promptly thrown on the street. He quickly returns to 16th and Mission to resume his bad habits. When last seen, Mike is in court facing 25-to-life as a "three strikes" offender after breaking in to his sister-in-law's apartment to steal a signed football and an uncashed check.

Shavelson's account is down in the trenches; he follows his subjects from program to program, he talks with their counselors, he harries administrators, he provides real flavor for those whose experience with the gritty side of the drug and drug treatment world is limited to television specials and quick glances through rolled-up car windows. Along the way, he becomes a fan of coerced drug treatment, and Drug Courts in particular. He does not skirt the moral and ethical issues surrounding such coercion -- he simply ignores them.

Shavelson does come up with solid, precise recommendations based on his observations. For those who share his faith in drug treatment (such as it is), they make sense. Drug treatment can work, Shavelson argues, but it must be good drug treatment. Good treatment includes increasing treatment when clients relapse, not withdrawing it, he concludes, and to that end, each rehab program must be required to have a formal association with a detox center for those relapsed clients. And "attack therapy" in the Synanon mold must end, he writes. "Kicking addicts out of programs because of relapses, or heaping abuse on them while they are in the programs, keeps them from coming back," Shavelson notes.

What is so depressing about Shavelson's recommendations -- be trained to deal with people with "dual diagnoses" as drug abusers and mentally ill, have a comprehensive case management system to help clients work through a maze of services, demand that government-funded programs meet certain standards, shift funding from interdiction to rehab -- is the fact that, after decades of drug treatment, they need to be made at all.

"Does rehab work for those who are most disastrously addicted?" asks Shavelson. "I still don't know. In the two years of this investigation I rarely saw rehab done well enough to learn if it might." But it could work, he maintains, "in a cohesive, coordinated system that links drug programs to mental health services, and joins both together to provide addicts with lifelong care and case managers who stick with them through thick and thin."

Whatever you think of Shavelson's conclusions, "Hooked" will challenge your preconceptions. It should also send a clarion call of danger ahead for the drug reform movement as it increasingly embraces "coerced treatment." Reading Shavelson makes one extremely pessimistic about the ability of San Francisco, let alone Michigan or Ohio or Florida, to implement "treatment not jail" programs that will actually reduce problematic drug use. And once "treatment not jails" has failed, then what do we say to the drug warriors?

Hooked was published by New Press and lists at $24.95.

13. T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month

In conjunction with our friends at Students for Sensible Drug Policy, DRCNet is this month offering SSDP t-shirts -- featuring the colorful "What Is Wrong With This Picture" graphic depicting the impact of the drug war on our schools -- free to new and renewing DRCNet members contributing $35 or more. Or, donate $60 or more and also receive SSDP's "Talk To Your Parents About Drugs" t-shirt.

In addition to your DRCNet membership and t-shirt, your contribution will (with your permission) get you a complimentary one-year membership in SSDP, and will support our combined effort to overturn the drug offender/college financial aid ban, an effort that is going into fast mode this month as we try to repeal this bad law once and for all! Please visit to donate by credit card or print out a form to mail in with your donation -- or just send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 and include a note to let us know it is for this offer.

Please make sure to enter the size shirt you want in the comment box at the bottom of our donation form: baby-tee, small, medium, large or extra-large. Also, you may substitute the "Talk To Your Parents About Drugs" shirt for "What Is Wrong With This Picture?" by leaving a note in the same comment box with that request. (Please also leave a note if you want both; we haven't upgraded our web form yet to automate all these options.)

Again, visit to donate or just send your donation to the address listed above. Visit to see what the two t-shirts look like. Thank you for your support; with your help the war against the drug war will be won and justice will prevail!

14. Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters

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

Oppose New Anti-Ecstasy Bill

Oppose Drug Czar Nominee John Walters

Repeal the Higher Education Act Drug Provision

Repeal Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences

Support Medical Marijuana

15. 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 students in the greater New York City area who fit this description. 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!

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 for further information on this campaign.

16. The Reformer's Calendar

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

August 18-19, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "10th Annual Seattle Hempfest." Visit 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.

August 24, 7:00pm, Washington, DC, DRCNet Week Online 200th Issue Party. At the Velvet Lounge 915 U St., featuring speeches and music. $7 at the door, 21 and over, say you are there for the DRCNet benefit.

August 24, 9:00pm, Brooklyn, NY, Screening of "Tulia, Texas, Scenes from the Drug War." At Peter's Car Corp., 265 McKibbin Street, near the L train, Montrose Ave. station, walk three blocks downhill on Bushwick Ave. to McKibbin. For rain updates call (718) 404-3903 ext. 4818, suggested donation $6.

August 28, 9:00pm, New York, NY, Comedy and Music Benefit for the Tulia 46 Relief Fund and the Pacifica Campaign, at Caroline's Comedy Club, 1626 Broadway at 49th St. For further information, contact the William Moses Kunstler Fund at (212) 924-6980 or the Pacifica Campaign at (646) 230-9588.

September 5, 6:30-8:30pm, Oakland, CA, "The Drug War on Trial: Two Judges Speak Out." Forum featuring Judges Vaughn Walker and James P. Gray. At the Independent Institute Conference Center, 100 Swan Way, sponsored by the Independent Institute with the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation. Admission $30 per person, including one free copy of "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It," or $12 without book, $8 for Independent Institute Associate Members. Call (510) 632-1366 for reservations or info, or e-mail [email protected].

September 8, noon-evening, Melbourne, FL, Grand Opening Birthday Bash at the Florida Cannabis Action Network's Legal Support Office. At 703 E. New Haven Ave. (SR 192 Uptown), featuring music, speakers and more. For further information, to donate to the office or access the legal support staff, contact Kevin Aplin at (321) 726-6656 or Jodi James or Kay Lee at (321) 253-3673 or (321) 255-9790.

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 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 26, 7:00-8:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, November Coalition Wednesday Community Meeting. At the Peace and Justice Center, 144 Harvard SE.

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 for info.

September 28, 4:30-6:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, "Open the Can" Drug War Vigil. At the New Bernalillo Courthouse, 400 Lomas NW.

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 for further information.

October 7-10, St. Louis, MO, American Methadone Treatment Association Conference 2001. For further information, e-mail [email protected] 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.

October 24, 7:00-8:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, November Coalition Wednesday Community Meeting. At the Peace and Justice Center, 144 Harvard SE.

October 26, 4:30-6:00pm, Albuquerque, NM, "There's Something Fishy About The War on Drugs." At the New Bernalillo Courthouse, 400 Lomas NW.

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 or call Enric Granados at 00 34 93 415 25 99.

March 3-7, 2002, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 13th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm and 2nd International Harm Reduction Congress on Women and Drugs. Sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Association, visit or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

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 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 or call (212) 213-6376.

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