Media Racial Profiling stopthedrugwar.org
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search

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

Issue #224, 2/15/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

subscribe for FREE now! ---- make a donation ---- search

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Feds Raid San Francisco Medical Marijuana Operations, City Officials Join Angry Protests as DEA Head Speaks Same Day
  2. Genesis of the 6th Street Raid: Business as Usual for the DEA, Plus Help from Within
  3. Philippines Proposes Death Sentence for Ecstasy, LSD Possession
  4. Jamaica: Ganja Decrim Goes to Parliament
  5. Half of Governor Johnson's Drug Reform Package Passes as Brief New Mexico Legislative Session Ends
  6. Bolivian Government Signs Agreement With Coca Growers
  7. Flood of Caribbean Drug Mules Overwhelming European Authorities
  8. Marco Pannella Acquitted on Hashish Civil Disobedience Charge
  9. Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, Virginia
  10. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. Feds Raid San Francisco Medical Marijuana Operations, City Officials Join Angry Protests as DEA Head Speaks Same Day

While the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies went on high anti-terrorist alert Tuesday, the DEA in San Francisco had better things to do. In predawn raids across the Bay Area, DEA agents hit the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center, the home and offices of long-time High Times and Cannabis Culture cultivation columnist Ed Rosenthal, and properties where suspected medical marijuana grow ops were allegedly taking place. By the time DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson arrived at the downtown Commonwealth Club for a speech that evening, he was greeted by several hundred angry demonstrators, including several members of the city's Board of Supervisors as well as San Francisco's District Attorney, demanding that the raids cease and chanting "DEA Go Away!" Hutchinson fared no better inside, where his speech about the war on drugs was greeted with heckling, boos and cat-calls.

"We are just outraged," said Gina Palencar of Americans for Medical Rights, the organization that helped bring Proposition 215, the California medical marijuana initiative, into the law books. "We've been saying since the crackdown on the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center that it is an obnoxious misuse of federal law enforcement resources to target our seriously ill and wounded when we have other high national priorities," she told DRCNet. "We continue to be shocked by Asa Hutchinson's boldness and the cruelty with which his men come to California and rub their anti-medical marijuana agenda in the faces of Californians who have already decided on this issue. Today's events show how out of touch and out of control the DEA is."

Palencar was hardly alone in her outrage. San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who attended the Tuesday protest, told the Oakland Tribune the raids made him "furious," while Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano, yelling through a bullhorn to the angry crowd on the street, called the DEA "an obnoxious, grandstanding, macho agency."

Arrested in the raids were 6th Street current and former operators Richard Watts and Kenneth Hayes, Rosenthal, and another alleged medical marijuana grower, James Halloran of Oakland. All are charged with cultivation of marijuana and face mandatory minimum federal prison sentences of at least five years. Halloran, who was charged with growing more than 1,000 plants, faces a possible life sentence. Hayes, who was arrested in Vancouver, was released on his own recognizance by Canadian authorities and may seek asylum there. Rosenthal was released after posting a $500,000 bond, and Watts and Halloran remained jailed at press time.

Despite early reports that widespread raids were occurring in the Bay Area, marking a dramatic escalation of the federal government's war against medical marijuana in the states, the 6th Street club raids appear to have resulted from an ongoing DEA marijuana smuggling investigation. In documents filed in federal court, the DEA contended it was targeting a marijuana pipeline running from British Columbia to California.

"This is your standard drug bust scenario," said Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML (http://www.canorml.org). "They had busted a smuggling operation, got someone to become an informant, and that led them to the medical marijuana club," he told DRCNet. "This was not like the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center case, where they went after people trying to grow and provide marijuana legally, this grew out of an ongoing criminal investigation."

(The raiders were also in possession of a letter from another area medical marijuana provider accusing 6th Street of nefarious doings. See the accompanying article below.)

That was not the scenario he originally feared, said Gieringer. "What I most feared was a sweeping raid all across the Bay Area. We know they have agents with medical marijuana patient cards. All they have to do is buy some pot in a controlled buy and that's enough to file charges against every club. That doesn't seem to be the case here. This is not an escalation, but a continuation of their war on medical marijuana," he said.

Chris Conrad, a certified expert witness on cannabis issues in California, told DRCNet he hoped the cases would go to trial. "If they have the trial here, they will lose," said Conrad. "It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the feds to prevent the jury from realizing these are medical marijuana cases, as they have done in the past. In this case, it was one medical marijuana person turning in others, there were informants or agents who got phony recommendations, and don't forget the jury will be walking past protesters in the street. I don't see how the government can keep the medical marijuana issue out of any trial arising from this bust," he said.

Conrad added that it was "too bad" that federal prosecutors had not brought the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center and its director, Scott Imler, to trial. "If things had moved quickly and we won an acquittal, the DEA would be less likely to do more raids. But as long as they're busting clubs and shutting them down, patients will be suffering."

Conrad, who attended Hutchinson's speech, said he was "shocked, offended, but a little bit hopeful. I was shocked that Hutchinson says he can't reschedule marijuana, when he is the one who can do so, and I was shocked by his lack of familiarity with the studies on medicinal marijuana. I was offended by his talking about dialogue but refusing to listen to anyone, and I was offended by his talking about dialogue when his troops are out there the same day arresting health providers," said Conrad. "But I am hopeful because Hutchinson had no choice but to confront the overwhelming unpopularity of his policies."

Americans for Medical Rights' Palencar is looking for that unpopularity to be translated into stronger action by state and local officials to uphold the California medical marijuana law. "We've seen the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and District Attorney coming out and telling the federal government to get out of town and leave the cannabis clubs alone," she said. "We'd like to see more of that from state officials. It is time to end the hypocrisy. We have electoral majorities in all the states with medical marijuana. It is time for the states to step up and defend the rights of patients and providers."

(Visit http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02.n238.a08.html for an extensive, continually updated archive of relevant reports and links. Visit http://sf.indymedia.org for on-the-scene reporting and photographs. The Democracy Now radio show ran stories on the raids as well as Tulia and the New York Rockefeller Drug laws. Summaries, links and the complete audio can be accessed at http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20020213.html online.)


2. Genesis of the 6th Street Raid: Business as Usual for the DEA, Plus Help from Within

Rather than being a sign of a new escalation in the federal government's war on medical marijuana in California, this week's bust of the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center and four people was the result of two factors, according to movement sources. On one hand, a DEA investigation into medical marijuana smuggling between British Columbia and the Bay Area eventually led to the center. On the other hand, a letter written to the DEA in December by a prominent member of the Bay Area medical marijuana community and provided to defense attorneys accused the center of making money from selling marijuana and asked the DEA to investigate.

"Judas was Jesus' disciple before he became his betrayer," said a California cannabis expert who spoke on condition of confidentiality. "One of the directors of a buyers' club wrote a letter snitching them out, saying their intentions were not pure," he told DRCNet. "He denounced the club, saying they were making money. The letter arrived in December, and the dates of the charges specified in the arrest warrants were from December through February. The buyers' club had been around for years, but all the charges coincide with the arrival of the letter."

The source refused to name names, but told DRCNet the letter writer "is an important person in the movement, a prominent local figure." And, according to the source, the highly-placed snitch not only wrote to the DEA, but reiterated his accusations in a sit-down interview with the agency.

Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML, confirmed to DRCNet that the letter had been written, but he also declined to name names early Thursday. "The name will come out soon enough," said Gieringer. "This is really scandalous."

DRCNet has learned independently that the letter writer was Father Nazarene of the San Martin de Porres cannabis dispensary in San Francisco. A person who answered the phone at the dispensary but declined to give his name had only two terse "no comments" when queried by DRCNet about reaction to the raids and whether Father Nazarene had indeed complained to the DEA about the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center.

Gieringer had changed his mind by Thursday evening, confirming to DRCNet that Father Nazarene had indeed ratted on the club. Gieringer read from a copy of a government synopsis of its contacts with Nazarene, made available to defense attorney. "Father Nazarene said there are medical marijuana dispensaries that are owned and operated by greedy drug dealers who hide behind the shield of Proposition 215," read Gieringer. "Watts, who owns one-third of the 6th Street clinic, had recently been arrested on drug charges, including marijuana, and he had sublet the basement to Ed Rosenthal to cultivate marijuana for sale," Nazarene told the narcs.

"This is a real shocker," said Gieringer. "Father Nazarene was a trusted figure among all the medical marijuana dispensers. They held confidential private meetings at San Martin, and here is Father Nazarene spouting off to the feds. Ed Rosenthal had known and trusted Father Nazarene for 10 years. He thought he was perfectly trustworthy, and now this."

According to Gieringer, while the letter of complaint played a role in the busts, it was not the precipitating factor. "While it may have been a calculated insult that this happened the same day Asa Hutchinson came to town, it was business as usual for the DEA," he said. "This was a narrowly focused raid on a particular club that got caught up in a DEA investigation. The DEA, following standard investigative procedures, started with leads developed in a major British Columbia to San Francisco medical marijuana smuggling operation and ended up with the 6th Street center," Gieringer explained.

"The letter came during the investigation; the letter did not cause the investigation," Gieringer said. "But," Gieringer added, "it is still scandalous, and it is important to note that the people arrested were not involved in the smuggling, but were local cultivators providing medicine to patients."


3. Philippines Proposes Death Sentence for Ecstasy, LSD Possession

Under a bill championed by Philippine Senate President Franklin Drilon and sponsored by the chairman of the senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, Sen. Robert Barbers, possession of as little as ten grams of ecstasy (MDMA) would bring either life in prison or a death sentence. Other so-called club drugs, such as PMA and GHB, are included, and so is "lysergic acid diethlyamine (LSD)," which the measure includes in its list of club drugs.

The proposed Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 would also halve the amount of methamphetamine it would take to trigger a life or death sentence, from 200 grams under current law to 100 grams, or less than four ounces. Prescribed limits for other illicit drugs, such as opium, heroin, cocaine and marijuana were similarly reduced, Drilon told the Visayan Daily Star (Dumaguete City) on Monday.

Marijuana is widely cultivated in the archipelago, according to the US State Department's most recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, but methamphetamine, known locally as shabu, has emerged as Philippine authorities' primary concern. Last year, the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center estimated the number of shabu users at 2.2 million out of a total population of nearly 80 million, and the country has seen an increasingly hysterical response to the drug's popularity. The pending legislation is the latest manifestation of that response.

The bill would also create a Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency modeled on the US DEA, said Drilon. Drilon last week accepted as a friendly amendment a proposal by Sen. Noli de Castro, which would allow local authorities to padlock for a year any business or residence in which at least two drug transactions had taken place. And Drilon said another provision of the bill would ensure that the destruction of confiscated drugs would take place within 24 hours. "There have been cases where seized drugs get lost or are stolen by some scalawags in the police force," he explained. "We want to ensure that seized drugs are not recycled in the market."

The effort to get a hard-line drug bill passed is not a new one. Sen. Barber introduced essentially the same bill two years ago, vowing to make drug use "a thing of the past." At that time, the legislation stalled, but even then officials were playing the terrorism card, accusing Abu Sayyef rebels (linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network) of participation in the drug trade.

"The illegal drugs menace is now considered public enemy No. 1 all over the world and poses a grave threat to our country's national security. It has alarmingly penetrated almost all sectors and levels of society including the government, business, and even law enforcement agencies, and it may only take a little more time before the Philippines becomes another Colombia," Barbers told the Manila Spectator at the time.

Now it will be even easier to play the terror card to win converts to a repressive drug bill.


4. Jamaica: Ganja Decrim Goes to Parliament

Complaining about a hypocritical world where marijuana is banned, legendary reggae performer Peter Tosh once sang "Jah herb make you a criminal," but maybe not for long in Tosh's Jamaican birthplace. Legal ganja-smoking in the land of reggae and rastas this week moved one step closer to reality. The government of Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson announced Monday that it had approved and was forwarding to parliament a recommendation that the personal and religious use of marijuana be decriminalized.

The recommendation for decrim came from the National Commission on Ganja, led by professor Barry Chevannes (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/200.html#ganjacommission). The commission presented its report to the government last August after hearing hundreds of witnesses in months of hearings across the Caribbean island. Having considered the recommendation for months and having overcome internal opposition within the Patterson government, the cabinet has acted. Now the recommendation will go to a yet-to-be-appointed select parliamentary committee, which will examine its findings and make a report to parliament. There is as yet no timetable for the parliamentary committee to finish its work.

While calling for the decriminalization of marijuana use for adults, the commission said that cultivation and export of the herb should remain illegal. It also said decriminalization should not apply to minors and that public use should be barred.

"We expect that all the recommendations in this report will be examined by the joint select committee and they will report in Parliament and then we will vote on the issues," Information Minister Colin Campbell told the Jamaica Gleaner.

The ganja commission stated bluntly: "The overwhelming majority share the view that ganja should be decriminalized for personal, private use. The prosecution of simple possession for personal use itself diverts the justice system from what ought to be a primary goal, namely the suppression of the criminal trafficking in substances, such as crack cocaine, that are ravaging urban and rural communities with addiction and corrupting otherwise productive people."

The commission also found that between 20% and 40% of Jamaicans smoke the weed, including members of the Rastafarian faith, who use it as a sacrament, and ganja's "reputation among the people as a panacea and a spiritually enhancing substance is so strong it must be regarded as culturally entrenched."

Entrenched as ganja-smoking may be in Jamaica, it is still unacceptable to that looming presence from the north, the US. The US embassy in Kingston reacted last August to the commission's recommendations by threatening to decertify Jamaica. While it has been quiet on the topic since then, the US can be counted on to weigh in against decrim if it appears to be progressing. Decriminalization is one step closer, but there are battles still to be won.


5. Half of Governor Johnson's Drug Reform Package Passes as Brief New Mexico Legislative Session Ends

Republican Gov. Gary Johnson's effort to enact a comprehensive drug reform package has ended in partial victory. Of the six planks in the outgoing governor's package, three will become law, but medical marijuana and marijuana decrim are not among them. And Johnson's effort to win a "treatment not jail" measure via the legislative process also went down to defeat.

In the special budget session that ended at noon Thursday, the New Mexico legislature approved:

  • Civil asset forfeiture reform. The bill enacted by the legislature will require that a defendant be convicted of a crime before that person's assets are frozen. Proceeds from any assets lawfully forfeited will go to a crime victim fund, with any left over going for drug treatment, prevention and enforcement. Under current law, local law enforcement agencies kept all asset forfeiture proceeds.
  • Reform of sentencing laws to remove some mandatory minimums. The bill passed this week will allow judges to exercise discretion in enhancing sentences for habitual offenders if either the current or at least one of the prior offenses was a drug offense. Under the old law, judges must enhance sentences.
  • Waiver of the ban on federal benefits to drug offenders who have completed their sentences. This bill allows New Mexico to join the 29 other states that have waivers allowing them to grant full federally-funded benefits to people who have completed their sentences for drug offenses.
But a bill that would have decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana failed to make it out of a House committee, and a medical marijuana bill that would have made the state responsible for its distribution, was throttled in a Senate committee. Members who last year had supported a similar bill cited the Supreme Court decision in the Oakland Cannabis Co-op case in casting negative votes this year. Sen. Ramsay Gorham (R-North Valley) presented a letter she solicited from DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson, who claimed that the bill would conflict with federal law, and the state Attorney General's Office also suggested the bill would be illegal.

Similarly, the "treatment not jail" bill also died in committee. It would have made first- or second-time drug possession offenses misdemeanors and would have required judges to sentence such offenders to probation. Judges would have had the option to require drug treatment.

The legislature did, however, pass the Corrections Population Control Act, which will set up a commission to study the incarceration of drug offenders currently in prison and determine whether they should continue to be imprisoned.

Thus ends the Johnson drug reform push, but not the effort to change the New Mexico drug laws. Johnson's days as governor are numbered, but the state has adopted five of his original eight reform planks from 2001 (legal syringe sales and immunity for persons prescribing anti-overdose drugs passed last year) and the drug policy reform movement continues to have an active infrastructure in the state.

"The progress made this year will help us to continue making even more progress next year," noted the New Mexico Drug Policy Project (http://www.improvenewmexico.org), a project of Drug Policy Alliance, in a Thursday roundup of the legislative session.

DRCNet will examine whether the New Mexico drug reform glass is half full or half empty in a forthcoming analysis of what went right and what did not in Sante Fe.


6. Bolivian Government Signs Agreement With Coca Growers

(bulletin from the Andean Information Network, Cochabamba, Bolivia)

In the early morning of Saturday, February 9, coca grower leaders and the government arrived at an agreement after having negotiated through the night. Although government ministers had initially rejected the presence of union leader Evo Morales in the talks, the later agreed to his participation. The Human Rights Ombudsman's Office, the Catholic Church and the Permanent Human Rights Assembly successfully mediated the talks.

Political analysts and human rights monitors attribute the surprising shift in the Bolivian government's hard-line approach to widespread public concern and that continued blockades and violence would provoke substantial economic and human losses during the four day Carnival weekend. Government representatives also feared that sustained violence would further deteriorate the ruling parties' political already substantially eroded credibility in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections.

Sadly, the spiraling violence beginning in mid-January could have been avoided if government officials had negotiated the same points earlier. The substantial concessions made in the agreement will most likely provide a superficial and temporary "band-aid" for deep-rooted festering social problems. Violence will most likely erupt again within the next several months.

CONTENT OF THE AGREEMENT

1) Reworking of Supreme Decrees: Coca growers lifted blockades as a result of a few key concessions. According to the new agreement, Supreme Decrees 26415 and 26491 will be repealed and replaced by a law agreed upon by the different negotiating parties. These decrees prohibited drying, transporting and selling coca leaves, and violated Law 1008 and Bolivian Constitutional norms. The coca market in Sacaba has been reopened as a result, at least until new legislation is put into effect.

2) Evaluation of Morales's Removal from Congress: The status of ousted congressman and coca leader Evo Morales was a contentious issue, but coca growers ultimately agreed to accept a guarantee of his constitutional rights and his right to continue participating in political and union activities. The decision about his congressional seat has been left in the hands of the Constitutional Tribunal. His reinstatement, if it did indeed occur, would be largely symbolic since he would have to resign soon in order to run again. Unless he is convicted on specific charges, he will be allowed to seek office in the future.

3) Economic Compensation for Dead and Injured: The government also agreed to pay indemnization to the families of coca growers who died in confrontations with security forces, and to pay the medical expenses of those who were injured. Though the government has honored these agreements in the past, they tend to provide resources in the larger hospitals more adequately than in smaller rural facilities where many coca growers have been treated, such as the Villa Tunari Hospital.

Also, this agreement comes nearly a month after the injuries inflicted in the Sacaba conflict. Some of the seriously wounded have been waiting to receive necessary surgical procedures that they cannot afford. The lack of prompt medical attention is a problem that would be better addressed by a standing agreement that anticipates future clashes.

Also, although economic compensation is an important obligation mandated by international agreements, there is concern that the Bolivian government uses financial compensation to substitute impartial investigations in the civilian court system to hold perpetrators of human rights violations responsible for their actions.

4) Radio Soberania: The government also agreed to give Radio Soberania legal approval and return their equipment so that they could operate, though under a different name, by the end of this month. (The equipment was seized and the radio station shut down on January 22 in a thinly veiled attack against their opposition voice.)

5) Release of Detained Union Leaders: The agreement established that detainees held for participation in the Sacaba conflict but without concrete evidence of direct participation in crimes would be released. In cases that were less clear, the agreement stated that representatives from the Permanent Human Rights Assembly, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the government would review the charges against of each detainee on a case-by-case basis.

On February 13, Judge Vivian Enriquez reviewed the cases of eleven leaders held under a number of charges including conspiracy to commit murder and sedition. The prosecutor argued that eight of the eleven detainees should remain incarcerated due to the evidence that links them to violent acts committed in Sacaba. However, the judge ruled that eight of the eleven could be released. Four leaders, Delfin Olivera, Fidel Tarqui, Feliciano Mamani and Eusebio Rubio, can be released in several days if they present bail set at 10,000 bolivianos (about $1450). The judge freed another four leaders, Leonilda Zurita, Oswaldo Toco, Elena Almendras and Wilde Moscoso. The defense attorney said he would appeal the decision to keep leaders Silvia Lazarte and Nicolás Panoso detained. He also stated that the bail is beyond the economic means of all of the detainees and that the judge failed to take their economic situation into consideration as she is required to do by the new criminal procedures code.

Evo Morales stated that coca growers would renew road blockades if all detainees were not liberated by February 18th.

THE LA PAZ YUNGAS AGREEMENT

In accordance with the agreement reached by Chapare coca growers and government officials, the agreement between the government and La Paz Yungas unions arrived at on February 12 also promises the protection of the commercialization of Yungas coca in local, national and international markets and the repeal of Supreme Decrees 26415 and 26491 for that region. Other points of the agreement highlight the economic and social needs of coca growing and other campesino communities. Their demands include new and improved roads and tunnels, health care equipment for rural clinics as well as more physicians and nurses, and the formation of a committee made up of government and campesino representatives to improve technical assistance programs, product quality and access to different markets.

(Visit http://www.scbbs-bo.com/ain/ and http://www.narconews.com for substantial information on Bolivia's coca conflict.)


7. Flood of Caribbean Drug Mules Overwhelming European Authorities

A rapidly rising tide of small-scale drug smugglers or "mules" is threatening to swamp European efforts to cut the flow of cocaine to the continent. While the European appetite for the stimulant continues to grow, law enforcement observers believe the massive number of drug couriers heading for Europe in recent months also reflects a conscious decision by drug trafficking organizations to avoid enhanced border security measures in the United States following the attacks of September 11.

The tide of mules has begun to create political problems in at least two countries, the Netherlands and Great Britain. In the Netherlands, scandal broke out last week after customs officials at Amsterdam's Schipol airport wrote to the Amsterdam daily newspaper Het Parool to complain that they had been ordered to stop arresting small-time cocaine smugglers arriving from the Dutch Antilles and Surinam. The customs officials wrote that they had been told to stop the arrests because the courts and prisons could not cope with the influx of mules. "At a time when our society is being flooded with drugs, we are being forced on the express orders of our superiors to stick our heads in the sand," they complained.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph (London), the non-arrest policy is believed to have been implemented with the full knowledge of Dutch Justice Minister Benk Korthals, who is now facing parliamentary calls for his resignation. Since the scandal broke, Korthals has moved aggressively on damage control, ordering a Dutch frigate to the Caribbean to hunt down cocaine smugglers and announcing the construction of 90 new jail cells at Schipol to hold the mules.

According to Dutch experts cited by the Daily Telegraph, some 20-25,000 drug mules fly into Schipol each year. Last year, some 1,200 mules arrested at Schipol were convicted of cocaine smuggling. That figure is up 60% from 2000.

In their letter, Dutch customs officers wrote that as many as 40 "bag swallowers" had been discovered on a single flight from the Caribbean. That would not be news for the British. Phil Sinkinson, Britain's deputy high commissioner in Kingston, Jamaica, reported last month that 10% of all passengers flying from Jamaica to Britain were carrying cocaine, and that could be a low figure, he told the Daily Telegraph. "There's certainly a fair number and each one can be carrying half a kilo," he said. "If you had 60 people on board a flight, that's 30 kilograms of cocaine."

Recent arrests tend to back Sinkinson's contention. On December 3, for instance, 23 passengers on a Jamaica to Heathrow flight were arrested after swallowing an estimated million dollars worth of cocaine. Sixteen more were arrested on a December 12 flight, having swallowed an estimated $250,000 worth of the drug.

According to Jamaican Police Superintendent Gladstone Wright, US anti-terrorism measures are diverting a cocaine flow that would have gone to Miami or New York. "In terms of what is happening in Britain," he told the Observer (London), "the trade has escalated sharply since September 11. The couriers who would normally be traveling to America are unable to get their drugs through because security at the borders has become so tight. Cocaine is stockpiling in Jamaica and that is no good for the dealers -- there is no viable market for the drug here," he said. "So it is all being diverted to Britain."

Gladstone also touched on the economic imperatives that drive people to take the risks involved in international drug smuggling. "Becoming a drug mule is the most readily available form of employment in the country at this moment," he explained. "It is a job that you do not have to be interviewed for or have any kind of qualifications, but you can earn more money than most Jamaicans see in a lifetime. The economy here is very bad at the moment and unemployment among women is running at 22%. These people are easy prey for the dealers," he said.

While the role of mules in overall cocaine imports to Britain is muddy -- estimates of mule deliveries from Jamaica range from 10% to 30% of the nation's estimated 25 to 40 tons of annual cocaine imports -- London police told the Guardian (London) they believed Jamaican couriers provided half the crack cocaine in the country, and that violence related to the trade was responsible for more than half of the murders in London last year.

British law enforcement concerns about the Jamaican connection now threaten to erupt into a divisive debate about racial and national profiling, as the Home Office announced this week as part of an effort to crack down on cocaine trafficking that it is considering a plan that would require all Jamaican visitors to Britain to obtain visas before entering the country. The move, which would affect 400,000 people who travel from Jamaica to Britain each year, "will spark an outcry among the black community that they are being unfairly targeted," the Guardian noted.


8. Marco Pannella Acquitted on Hashish Civil Disobedience Charge

Two weeks ago, DRCNet reported on civil disobedience activity by members of the European Parliament on behalf of Colin Davies, jailed proprietor of the Stockport, England cannabis cafe, "Dutch Experience" (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/222.html#radicalparty). On February 12, one of the same MEPs, Transnational Radical Party founder Marco Pannella, was acquitted by Rome's Court of Appeals for a five year old civil disobedience action.

On December 28, 1995, Pannella, dressed as a yellow Father Christmas, publicly distributed small quantities of hashish in the presence of police officers. A first degree Court had sentenced Pannella to two years and two months in prison, later commuted to a 3.500 Euro fine. Rome's Court of Appeals has now acquitted the Radical leader entirely, stating that his act of civil disobedience cannot be considered a crime.

In his address to the court, Pannella argued for repeal of the drug laws, declaring in conclusion, "Down with the Judiciary, long life to the judges!"

Visit http://www.radicalparty.org for further information.


9. Alerts: HEA Drug Provision, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, Virginia

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

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

US Drug Policy Driving Bolivia to Civil War
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/boliviawar/

Oppose DEA's Illegal Hemp Ban
http://www.votehemp.org

SuperBowl Ad Out of Bounds
http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?ItemId=12761

Oppose New Anti-Ecstasy Bill
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ecstasywar/

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

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

Stop Bad Drug War Bills in Virginia
http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/virginia/


10. The Reformer's Calendar

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

February 16, 9:00am-4:00pm, Menands, NY, Drop The Rock Upstate-Downstate Coalition Organizers Conference, at the Schuyler Inn, 575 Broadway. Admission $20, includes continental breakfast and lunch, call Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630 or e-mail [email protected], or visit http://www.droptherock.org for information. For reduced rate lodging, call (518) 463-1121.

February 18, 7:00pm, Canadaigua, NY, "The Effects of Prohibition on Terrorism," presentation to the Finger Lakes Forum by Peter Christ, retired police captain speaking for ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy. At the Canadaigua Country Club, non-members may attend, $16 admission includes dinner. RSVP by February 14 to [email protected] or Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630.

February 20, 6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Loyola University Students for Sensible Drug Policy hosts Clifford Thornton of Efficacy. For further information, contact Matt at [email protected].

February 21, London, England, "Crack and Heroin -- Challenging the Status Quo: A One-Day International Conference on the Latest Developments in Addiction." At the Voluntary Sector Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, admission £90, sponsored by The Stapleford Trust & The Stapleford Centre with COCA (The Cocaine and Heroin Conference). Visit http://www.staplefordcentre.co.uk or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

February 21-23, Washington, DC, National Families Against Mandatory Minimums Workshop. At the Washington Plaza Hotel, call (202) 822-6700 or visit http://www.famm.org for information.

February 22, 11:30am-12:30pm, Philadelphia, PA, "The Drug War is Cold." Demonstration against the drug war, with Drug Policy Forum Tri-State, Pennsylvania NORML and the November Coalition. At the Federal Court House, 601 Market St., march to the Federal Prison, 700 Arch St. For further information, contact Diane Fornbacher at (215) 633-9812 or [email protected].

February 23, noon-7:00pm, Tampa, FL, "Washington's Birthday Hemp Festival." Sponsored by FORML, featuring music, vendors, speakers and more. At Lowry Park, free admission, contact Mike at (813) 779-2551 for info or e-mail [email protected].

February 26, 6:30-8:30pm, Washington, DC, Film Screening and Panel on Juvenile Justice Reform. At the True Reformer Building, 1200 U St., NW, near the Green Line U St./Cardozo metro stop, call the Youth Law Center at (202) 637-0377 ext. 110 for information.

February 27, 9:00pm-1:00AM, Fairfax, CA, Medical Marijuana Voter Registration Party, supporting the new "Marin Medical Marijuana Peace Treaty Initiative." At 19 Broadway Niteclub, featuring music by "Brainchild" and "4 Pot Peace," admission free. Call (866) 206-9068 ext. 9986 for further information.

February 28, 7:30pm, Melbourne, FL, "Marijuana: Medical Effects and Legal Consequences." At the Melbourne Community Center, 703 East New Haven Avenue, contact Jodi at (321) 253-3673 for info.

February 28, Billings, MT, State Representative Joan Hurdle speaks at MSU-Billings NORML/SSDP. For further information, contact Adam Jones at (406) 256-6389 or [email protected].

February 28-March 1, New York, NY, "Problem Solving Courts: From Adversarial Litigation to Innovative Jurisprudence." Panelists include former Attorney General Janet Reno, Rev. Al Sharpton and Mary Barr, Executive Director of Conextions. At Fordham University Law School, take the A, B, C, D, 1, and 9 subway trains to 59th Street/Columbus Circle and walk one block west. For further information, call (656) 345-5352 or e-mail [email protected].

March 3, 1:00-5:00pm, Face the Music Festival #1, benefit for the survivors of Tony Martinez and Deputy Sheriff Ruiz, victims of drug raids gone bad. Sponsored by the Anti-Prohibition Coalition, at Clay Pit Restaurant, 1601 Guadalupe St., contact Karen Heikkala at (512) 326-4396 for further information.

March 3-7, 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 http://www.ihrc2002.net or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

March 14, 7:30pm, Court Watch Project Training Meeting. At the Melbourne Community Center, 703 East New Haven Avenue, with the Florida Cannabis Action Network, call Kevin at (321) 726-6656 for further information.

March 19, San Francisco, CA, "Meeting Challenges in the 21st Century: New Perspective and Practical Tools," 1st West Coast African Americans in Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition with the American Foundation for AIDS Research, admission free. At Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, contact Amu Ptah at Amu Ptah at 212-213-6376 ext. 32 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

March 24-27, Rimini, Italy, "Club Health 2002: The Second International Conference on Night-Life, Substance Use and Related Health Issues." Visit http://www.clubhealth.org.uk for info.

March 26, Albany, NY, "Drop The Rock Day," march and demonstration against the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Visit http://www.droptherock.org for information.

April 7-16, upstate New York, New York Interfaith Prison Pilgrimage, mile per day or more walk to major prisons "to vigil, pray, and seek a new, more humane response" to incarceration and the prison system. For further information, visit http://users.bestweb.net/~cureny/walk.htm or contact the Western New York Peace Center at (716) 894-2013, the Judicial Process Commission at (716) 325, 7727, or e-mail [email protected] or [email protected].

April 8-13, Gainesville, FL, "Drug Education Week," series of presentations on different topics in the drug war, including daily keynote, followed by Saturday free concert. Hosted by University of Florida Students for Sensible Drug Policy, visit http://grove.ufl.edu/~ssdp/ or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

April 18-20, San Francisco, CA, 2002 NORML Conference. At the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Square, registration $150, call (202) 483-5500 for further information. Online registration will be available at http://www.norml.org in the near future.

April 19-20, Sweetwater, TN, "Freedom Fest," sponsored by NORML UTK. Visit http://www.webnow.com/goldenboy/ to order tickets, or contact Rachel at [email protected] for further information.

April 20, noon, Kingston, RI, Fourth Annual "Day for HOPE," sponsored by the University of Rhode Island's Hemp Organization for Prohibition Elimination. On the URI Quad, e-mail Thomas Angell at [email protected] for further information.

April 20, noon, Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Hemp Festival. Contact Scott at (904) 732-4785 for further information.

April 20, 2002. Moscow Hemp Festival in Moscow, Idaho. E-mail >a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected] for more information.

April 24-27, Albuquerque, NM, "Public Health for All is Justice Served," Twelfth North American Syringe Exchange Convention. For information, e-mail [email protected], visit http://www.nasen.org or call (253) 272-4857.

April 27-28, Middletown, CT, "Northeast Summit for New Drug Policies." Regional gathering of anti-prohibition thinkers and activists, hosted by Wesleyan University Students for Sensible Drug Policy but intended for interested parties of all ages. Contact Booth Haley at (860) 658-4350 or e-mail [email protected] for info.

May 3-4, Portland, OR, Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, focus on Analgesia and Other Indications. Sponsored by Patients Out of Time, the Oregon Nurses Association and Oregon Health Division, for further information visit e-mail [email protected], http://www.medicalcannabis.com or call (434) 263-4484.

December 1-4, Seattle, WA, "Taking Drug Users Seriously," Fourth National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General. For information, e-mail [email protected], visit http://www.harmreduction.org or call (212) 213-6376.


If you like what you see here and want to get these bulletins by e-mail, please fill out our quick signup form at https://stopthedrugwar.org/WOLSignup.shtml.

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

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

Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]