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

Issue #231, 4/5/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: Contrasts
  2. Supreme Court to Review California's Three-Strikes Sentencing Law
  3. US Alternative Development Plan in Colombia a Failure, Say Officials, Will Be Abandoned in Favor of Spraying and Bullets
  4. Uncovered Documents Reveal State Department Cover-Up of Bolivian Police Murder of Coca Growers Union Leader
  5. US Abandoning Afghan Opium Eradication Effort
  6. National Prescription Heroin Trials Urged in Australia, Prime Minister Remains an Obstacle
  7. Something New Under the Sun: Scots Offer "Retox" to Prisoners
  8. Upper Class Marijuana Busts Could Lead to Cracks in South Korean Drug War Consensus
  9. DEA Head Calls Mexican Cartels "Terrorists" in Effort to Link Vastly Different Phenomenon
  10. Media and Resources Online
  11. Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana
  12. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Editorial: Contrasts

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 4/5/02

Few areas of criminal law have as much variation in their application as the drug laws. In some countries, possession of small amounts of drugs is effectively decriminalized. In others, possession can bring you a sentence of life or even death.

At the Congress of Europe's Transnational Radical Party in Geneva, Switzerland this week, Chris Davies, a British member of the European Parliament (MEP) who joined the Radicals in a civil disobedience action last January, described the possible consequences of his actions. Davies had delivered a tiny portion of marijuana -- stuck to the back of a postage stamp -- to the police headquarters in the London suburb of Stockport (

Davies, along with MEP Marco Cappato from the Radical Party's stronghold of Italy, was protesting the jailing of Colin Davies (no relation to Chris Davies), proprietor of "The Dutch Experience," a cannabis cafe in the model of Amsterdam's coffeeshops. Davies pointed out that in theory they could go to prison for two years, though it is not very likely.

Two years is a long time, a severe sentence. Yet many Americans, including legislators, fail to grasp the meaning of those numbers. I pointed out to the gathering that in the United States, nonviolent offenders often receive sentences of five years, twenty years, even lifetimes. And all the other consequences of the drug war -- drug-related AIDS and hepatitis, undertreatment of pain, the violence of the underground drug-trade, just to name a few of them -- spread the harm and injustice far beyond the people who are targeted by anti-drug enforcement most directly.

The Radical Party is highly principled in its opposition to a wide variety of governmental prohibitions limiting individual freedom and in its advocacy on a broad and global human rights agenda. To the Radicals, prohibition itself is a crime, an immoral, inappropriate exercise of state power. I agree, but how much more terrible then is the US drug war?

Another contrast is how much more accepted the prohibition/ legalization debate is in Europe than in America. In truth, many Americans don't even realize that there is a credible, intellectual, and yes, respectable movement for ending criminal prohibition of drugs. But that fact alone, the quality of our arguments and the credentials of some of our allies, is often enough to begin to open minds to our ideas. That is why I can't be pessimistic about the prospects for some form of legalization: Until every American hears our case and has a chance to think about it, there is good, effective work that we can all do on the issue. How does anyone know that our cause -- which the Radicals title "anti-prohibitionism," is hopeless, when that enormous but logical public education campaign is still in such an early stage?

We in the drug reform movement must wage and interlink two related struggles at once -- drug policy reform, ending the drug war in its current excessive form, while working for eventual repeal of the drug laws outright and allowing adults to have legal access to a legal supply of drugs under some sensible but not inappropriately burdensome framework.

Is that too idealistic? Is the cause lost from its outset? Only if we believe it to be and shirk from the task as a result. There is no need to hide from the truth.

2. Supreme Court to Review California's Three-Strikes Sentencing Law

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will decide whether Leandro Andrade's 50-year minimum sentence for stealing $150 worth of videotapes is cruel and unusual punishment proscribed by the Constitution, and whether walking out of a golf-pro shop without paying for three golf clubs merits a sentence of 25-to-life for Gary Ewing. The court will rule jointly on the two cases, Lockyer v. Andrade and Ewing v. California, resulting from California's draconian three-strikes sentencing laws.

Under California's three-strikes law, judges must impose a sentence of 25-to-life for any felony conviction if the defendant has two previous "serious" or violent felonies. Serious felonies include most drug offenses, as well as crimes such as residential burglary. The California law also includes a "wobble" provision, under which crimes normally charged as misdemeanors can be charged as felonies if committed by a repeat offender -- thus results such as Andrade, where the defendant was caught stuffing videotapes down his pants at two Kmart stores in 1995. Prosecutors could have charged him with a misdemeanor with a maximum six-month jail sentence, but instead charged him with three new felony counts. Under three-strikes, a Southern California judge sentenced Andrade to three consecutive 25-to-life sentences. He would be eligible for parole after completing the first two, in 2046.

California voters and legislators approved the three-strikes law in the wake of the sensational murder of Polly Klaas by a multiple offender out on parole. Riding and manipulating a wave of public fear and revulsion, demagogic politicians such as then Gov. Pete Wilson and then Attorney General Dan Lungren, supported by the overflowing coffers of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the prison guards' union, trumpeted the measure as a vital blow against violent crime. (See the DRCNet interview with author Sasha Abramsky at for more details on the genesis of three-strikes). Other states and the federal government followed in step. Now, 40 states have enhanced sentences for repeat offenders and 26 states and the federal government have three-strikes provisions. But only California allows for 25-to-life for any felony conviction, even for nonviolent or minor crimes if following two prior convictions.

While the California three-strikes law was portrayed as being aimed at violent criminals, it has instead swept into its nets thousands of hapless, small-time, nonviolent repeat offenders. Of the 7,072 inmates serving 25-to-life under the three-strikes law, fewer than half committed a violent offense as the third strike. More drug possessors -- 644 of them, according to state officials -- are serving decades-long sentences under three-strikes than rapists and murderers. And the laws have swept up even more drug offenders, such as Andrade and Ewing, who committed petty crimes to support their habits. At least 340 people are serving 25-to-life for petty theft convictions.

Andrade's sentence was overturned by a divided three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which called his sentence "grossly disproportionate" and said judges must consider whether the punishment fits the crime, but limited the ruling's scope to Andrade, writing that its decision "did not invalidate California's three-strikes law generally." California Secretary of State Bill Jones, who helped write the law, appealed to the Supreme Court. Ewing, having lost his appeal, applied to the Supreme Court for redress.

In deciding the pair of three-strikes cases, the Supreme Court is positioning itself to either rule on the constitutionality of the California law or make a more general statement on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Although the Rehnquist court has typically produced a solid conservative majority on criminal law cases and has refused previous attempts to challenge the three-strikes laws, in 1999 three of the justices made a point of questioning the way California authorities applied the law.

Attorneys for the prisoners made a straightforward case. "Serving 25 years to life for stealing golf clubs is cruel and unusual punishment," Ewing's lawyer wrote in his brief.

"I think it is outrageous that someone could be sentenced to 50 years in prison for shoplifting $150 worth of videotapes, said University of Southern California constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who is representing Andrade.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is representing the state, played to fear and to pragmatism in defending the law. "Nothing in the Constitution requires society to wait for another person to be victimized by another serious or violent crime before isolating [a repeat offender] for a substantial period of time," he wrote in his petition for review of the Andrade decision. Besides, he complained, redressing the law would just be too darned much work. "Unless repudiated," Lockyer wrote, the Andrade "decision will open the floodgates of litigation on nearly all three-strikes sentences."

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments during its fall session and is expected to rule on the cases in the spring of 2003. But some California legislators and activists are not waiting for the Supreme Court and a possible negative ruling. Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) last month introduced a bill, AB 1790, that would mandate that strikes be given only for serious or violent crimes.

"Change is going to come," Goldberg told a crowd of supporters led by Families to Amend California's Three-Strikes Law (FACTS) after a march to support the bill wound its way through LA's Westwood neighborhood. "It's going to come either at the hands of the people or the courts, and it should come from the people because they may not like what the courts come up with," she said.

Visit FACTS at online.

Visit the Citizens Against Violent Crime California ballot initiative campaign at online.

3. US Alternative Development Plan in Colombia a Failure, Say Officials, Will Be Abandoned in Favor of Spraying and Bullets

Even as Bush administration officials, their congressional allies, and their chorus of inside-the-beltway chest thumpers move to widen US involvement in Colombia from a limited counter-narcotics campaign to all-out involvement in the Colombian government's war against leftist guerrillas, the US is abandoning alternative development efforts that were supposed to be a key component of Plan Colombia. Instead, US officials told the Los Angeles Times last week, they plan to step up aerial fumigation of peasant coca crops, a program that has drawn criticism worldwide for its destructive impact on legitimate cash crops, small subsistence plots, wildlife, human beings and the environment.

The decision to abandon alternative development programs comes in the wake of two government reports, one from the General Accounting Office (GAO) and one from the US Agency for International Development (AID). The GAO report, released in February, found that voluntary coca eradication programs in southern Putumayo province could not succeed because the Colombian government did not effectively control the area.

"Congress should consider requiring that US AID demonstrates measurable progress in its current efforts to reduce coca cultivation in Colombia before any additional funding is provided for alternative development," it said.

But after the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of a confidential US AID report last week, the Bush administration pulled the plug without waiting for Congress. According to that report, farmers in southern Colombia who signed voluntary eradication agreements have failed to do so and have no intention of doing so.

Part of the reason for that is that of the 37,000 peasant farmers who agreed to uproot crops in exchange for compensation, only 9,000 have been paid. Another part of the reason is that no legitimate crops have the farm-gate value that coca has.

"There's nothing we can offer the farmers as an alternative that comes near to the value of coca," admitted US AID's Colombia head, Ken Ellis, to the Times.

Now, the US government will attempt to win hearts and minds by spraying poison on the estimated 100,000 peasant farmers and their families who make a living growing coca. Officials said also that some of the $50 million in alternative development funds would be redirected to infrastructure projects and social programs for communities that embrace coca eradication. But those plans remain sketchy.

Development experts warned that the change could have disastrous consequences for small farmers. They could face food shortages if spraying kills their food crops, which are often planted near to coca crops. Similarly, experts warned, peasants would simply move to areas not being sprayed and sow new coca crops.

"You can spray all you want, you can spend all the money in Europe and the United States, but the problem of coca will continue," said Jesus Bastidas, head of an alternative development program in Colombia.

The retreat from presenting any sort of alternative to Colombia's peasant farmers also bodes ill for US war aims in the country. With this move, US policy shifts ever closer to all stick, no carrot.

4. Uncovered Documents Reveal State Department Cover-Up of Bolivian Police Murder of Coca Growers Union Leader

Last December, DRCNet reported on the assassination by Bolivian national security forces of coca growers' union leader Casimiro Huanca in the town of Chimoré in the Chapare region of the Amazon (

Narco News, which reported live from the Chapare at that time, as well as the Chapare-based Andean Information Network, provided detailed information documenting that the killing of Huanca was a deliberate murder by uniformed police. Now, Narco News has obtained a cable sent in December from the US Embassy in Bolivia to US officials in Washington, Miami and four Embassies in South America, revealing that US officials knew that the Bolivian government was lying about the incident, but remained silent.

Four months later, his uniformed assassins have neither been arrested nor prosecuted. See for further information including the uncovered documents.

5. US Abandoning Afghan Opium Eradication Effort

Some "narco-states" are apparently more equal than others, if newly-announced US policy in Afghanistan is any indication. While the US worked to isolate the "narco-state" in Bolivia after the 1981 coup, refused to certify the "narco-state" in Colombia under President Samper, invaded and deposed the Panamanian "narco-state" of Manuel Noriega in 1989, and used the "narco-state" appellation to bolster its case for overthrowing the Taliban regime months ago, US officials have announced a "wink, wink, nod, nod" policy toward the explosion of new opium planting under the new Afghan government. If US and UN projections are correct, the interim government of Hamid Karzai, backed by the fighter-traffickers of the Northern Alliance and the military might of the US, will be the world's leading "narco-state."

According to the UN's International Drug Control Program, Afghani poppy fields cover between 111,000 and 161,000 acres this year, putting Afghanistan back in the lead as the world's largest opium producer, ahead of second-place Burma. The Afghan crop is estimated to account for 70% of the global total and is destined primarily for Europe and the increasing addict populations of Southwest Asia. The 2002 bumper crop represents a radical reversal from last year, when, after the Taliban banned the crop, production plummeted by 96% and was limited to zones controlled by longtime Taliban foes and current US darlings, the Northern Alliance.

US, UN and European officials had discussed a number of measures to address the rebirth of opium production, but, as the New York Times reported on Sunday, the US government has "quietly abandoned" efforts to reduce the crop this year. Instead, the US will resort to a transparent Potemkin Village policy of "persuading Afghan leaders to carry out a modest eradication program, if only to show that they were serious in declaring a ban on production in January."

By all accounts, the effort will be a joke. As drug czar John Walters told the Times, "The fact is, there are no institutions in large parts of the country. What we can do will be extremely limited."

Afghan officials on the scene concurred. "This year, we're not able to destroy the crops," said Haji Pir Mohammed, a top deputy to the governor of Helmand Province, a center of Afghan opium production. "If we try to enforce a ban on the farmers, it wouldn't be good for us," he acknowledged to the Washington Times in mid-March. The Times' reporter noted a steady stream of Toyota pickups laden with opium coming and going as he interviewed Mohammed.

While US officials decry the lack of a strong government to suppress the crop and its attendant trade, in reality the Bush administration is making a faustian bargain with the traffickers in order to prop up the new Afghan state. As the New York Times reported: "Now, the profits that flowed to local leaders aligned with the Taliban are expected to enrich tribal leaders and warlords whose support is vital to the American-backed interim government. Because opium poppy farming remains one of the few viable economic activities in Afghanistan, officials added, any intense eradication effort could imperil the stability of the government and hamper the military campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

"The fight against terrorism takes priority," one British official told the Times. "The fight against narcotics comes in second."

But other reports suggest that revenues from the opium trade could help finance continued military actions against the Karzai government and its American benefactors. Last week, as US, UN and European officials wrestled with the opium dilemma, one American official told the Washington Times that opium money "will fuel the guerrilla war that is expected to escalate against US and allied forces in the coming months."

The unnamed US official also suggested that anti-US elements within Pakistan's ISI intelligence service would benefit from the trade. "If this opium is harvested and permitted to go to market, it will re-empower the negative elements in Pakistan's security service and lead to instability in Pakistan," he said. "And it will fund a new round of international terrorism."

But this argument lost out to the realpolitik of supporting a friendly regime.

6. National Prescription Heroin Trials Urged in Australia, Prime Minister Remains an Obstacle

A new effort to begin heroin prescription trials for addicts is underway in Australia. Earlier attempts to begin such trials were stymied by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who this week signaled that his position remains unchanged. Nonetheless, with the opposition Labor Party in control of all state and territory governments, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Jon Stanhope, is urging Howard and all state and territory leaders and health ministers to support his proposal for a jointly funded national heroin trial involving the ACT.

Stanhope told the Australian AP on Tuesday he hoped to gain support from other state and territorial governments, adding that the ACT was looking for both political and financial support for the proposal. "I am hopeful that some of my state and territory colleagues will come on board," he said. "I do expect to receive the support of my state and territory colleagues. To some extent, this is a test of their commitment as well."

So far, the response from chief ministers has been mixed. According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report Wednesday, Northern Territory Chief Minister Claire Martin has come out in support of the plan, but added that trials in the Northern Territory "would not be appropriate" at this time.

The Australian AP reported similar waffling support from the government of Victoria. According to a spokesman for Victoria Health Minister John Thwaites, the state's Labor government favored such trials but lacked political support. New South Wales said it was unlikely to support the plan. "The government has previously rejected the trial of prescribed heroin and that was also not supported by the NSW drug summit in 1999," a spokesman for NSW Special Minister of State John Della Bosca told the Australian AP.

While acknowledging Prime Minister Howard's opposition to heroin trials, Stanhope said he hoped Howard would come around. "I don't think we should give up just because one person in Australia, one leader out of all the leaders in Australia, has an ideological objection to this sort of approach," Stanhope told the ABC. "I am hoping he will show some leadership on this, he won't dismiss it out of hand, that at least he will be able to consider it seriously."

There is no sign of that yet. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Howard once again rejected heroin trials. "The government's focus will remain on ensuring a wide range of treatment and rehabilitation options aimed at helping illicit drug users kick the habit rather than options that involve maintaining heroin use," he said in a statement. "Prescription heroin trials would send exactly the wrong message to the community and undermine education and treatment efforts," he said.

But Howard was also somewhat on the defensive after a popular public affairs TV program, ABC's "Four Corners," criticized the government's "Tough on Drugs" policy as harsh and ineffective. And in an illuminating indication of the relative backwardness of the US discourse on drug policy, Howard took special criticism from the program for having a "radical" as his chief drug advisor. That advisor is Salvation Army Major Brian Watters, who joined the board of the abstinence-based Freedom from Drugs Foundation in June 2000. Both ABC and The Age newspaper qualified the organization as a "radical zero tolerance drug foundation."

Watters' American peer, US drug czar John Walters, routinely consorts with such groups and receives cheers instead of jeers for so doing. But in the more advanced Australian context, Watters was compelled to distance himself from the foundation. He explained Monday that he was no longer involved with the foundation and that while he had never formally informed the Australian National Council of Drugs, the government body that he chairs, that he was involved with the foundation, he had been open with fellow council members about it.

7. Something New Under the Sun: Scots Offer "Retox" to Prisoners

In an eyebrow-raising harm reduction move, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is offering a heroin substitute to prisoners about to be released to help them wean themselves back onto drugs on the streets. Prisoners who have a history of drug addiction and who tell prison doctors they are likely to return to using heroin are being prescribed methadone in an effort to reduce the growing number of overdose deaths among freshly released ex-cons, the Scotsman newspaper reported last week.

While some politicians expressed outrage, the prison service shrugged off the criticisms. A spokeswoman for SPS explained: "There are issues surrounding prisoners overdosing when they are released, so in certain circumstances we are offering them a retox program where they can take methadone if they are likely to re-abuse when their sentence is up," she said. "The program is not specific to any particular prisons. In order for a prisoner to be allowed onto the program, the individual's circumstances must be thoroughly assessed and if deemed appropriate, the retox program can be offered to them before they leave jail."

According to the Scotsman, the program has been quietly underway for the last three months, is available in every Scottish prison, and is tailored to the individual needs of prisoners. Under the plan, prisoners thought likely to return to drug use on the street are assessed by psychologists and drug counselors. If the medical staff believes there is a strong possibility of renewed heroin use, prisoners are offered a place in the program. Participation is voluntary.

"This is still a relatively new program," said the SPS spokeswoman, "and it is still in its infancy, so we can't measure its success for awhile. What we do know is that 85% of people received in Scottish prisons test positive for drugs, and prisoners are continuing to overdose when they are released. We realize that combating drugs is a difficult thing to do and we have to take a radical and realistic approach to this issue," she added.

While SPS appears to have little problem thinking outside the box, the plan has boggled the minds of drug fighters. "This is an astonishing development and it has a huge element of defeatism attached to it," said Scottish National Party justice spokeswoman Roseanna Cunningham. "When it comes to drugs, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be defeated on any level. There is certainly a problem when prisoners with drug problems are released back into society, and overdoses are a serious issue," she conceded. "But instead of issuing prisoners with drugs, surely our resources should be going into follow-up care so that when inmates are released they are not abandoned. This seems to be an admission that the existing rehabilitation programs within our prisons just aren't working," she told the Scotsman.

Conservative Party justice spokesman Lord James Douglas Hamilton also expressed his disbelief. "The message we give is hardline and we firmly believe that drug users, whether prisoners or not, should be weaned off their addiction with all possible speed," he said. "[The Scottish Executive] appears to have hoisted the white flag here instead of giving a strong and unequivocal message to potential drug addicts, which should be simply 'don't take drugs.'"

Just in case his message wasn't clear, Hamilton added: "There has been a prolonged debate on this, but this is the wrong emphasis. The SPS should be taking a much tougher line and adopting our policy of zero tolerance," he told the Scotsman.

But one anti-drug campaigner, Alistair Ramsey of Scots Against Drugs, said the program should be given a chance. "I'm sure the public will react very badly to this, but it's got to be seen as part of the bigger picture. The dilemma the prison service has is that people leaving prison often overdose and die because they have lost their tolerance to their drug of choice," he told the Scotsman. "We are entering a period in Scotland where we will need to be innovative when grappling with the realities that drugs bring to our communities."

8. Upper Class Marijuana Busts Could Lead to Cracks in South Korean Drug War Consensus

Korean law enforcement authorities have in recent years targeted prominent figures in the entertainment industry for special attention by drug fighters, arguing that their status as role models makes any drug abuse especially problematic in a nation where methamphetamine and ecstasy use, while low by Western standards, are rising.

The star victims of such police attention have been contrite and have not challenged the wisdom or efficacy of the drug laws, but the arrests of 10 people, including some prominent figures, for marijuana smoking, may end up backfiring on the authorities. After a months-long investigation, the anti-narcotics squad at the Seoul District Prosecutor's office arrested Kwon Hun-sung, a former Democratic Liberal Party legislator; Kang Byong-sok, a professor at Hongik University, and Park Jong-kyu, the son of a former prime minister, for smoking marijuana in their houses and cars on five occasions. Also arrested were a photographer, a singer, and a middle school principal.

Searches yielded a whopping one kilogram of marijuana and 11 kilos of seeds, police said.

"Most of the people who were busted were found to have come from elite social backgrounds," a prosecutor told the Korea Times. And therein may lie the problem. Lawyers, professors, and politicians' sons have both more resources and less inclination to kowtow to tradition than the average drug defendant. And according to the prosecutor, these particular defendants are showing the opposite of contrition.

In fact, he told the Times, they refused to admit to any wrongdoing and even vowed to file a constitutional appeal that marijuana is not a narcotic substance.

9. DEA Head Calls Mexican Cartels "Terrorists" in Effort to Link Vastly Different Phenomenon

In yet another signal of the semantic slippage that is gripping Washington as it attempts to use its battle against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda as a pretext to advance US interests across the board, DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson Tuesday tried to slap the "terrorist" label on Mexican drug trafficking enterprises. It now appears that for purposes of domestic political consumption, the word "terrorist" and its variants are being unmoored from any real world referent and are instead being used by highly-placed demagogues as polemical labels to attack their chosen enemies.

"Terrorism is traditionally defined as an act of violence with political ends," Hutchinson told a gathering at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. Noting that 13 Mexican police or judicial officials had been killed by presumed drug traffickers in the last three months, the former Republican Arkansas congressman qualified those crimes as terrorism. "Surely, these crimes would be considered as acts of terrorism," said Hutchinson. "Without a doubt, it is an act of violence, but I consider it as an act of terrorism," he explained. "In this case, when one attacks judicial officials, public security officials, that is a political end, in my judgment," he said.

Hutchinson's remarks did not make it into the US mass media, but were reported by several Mexico City newspapers, including La Jornada and La Cronica de Hoy, from which this transcription of his comments was translated.

Hutchinson's comments Tuesday come on the heels of similar remarks last week directed at Colombia. During a visit to Colombia as part of the Bush administration effort to expand its military effort in that country beyond counter-narcotics to include a direct challenge to the leftist rebels of the FARC, Hutchinson said: "It is clear that there is not really a distinction between the drug traffickers and the terrorist organizations." Then he dropped the other shoe: "So I'm optimistic that the Congress of the United States will broaden the support for Colombia." With his remarks in Colombia and Washington, as well as earlier testimony to Congress, Hutchinson has become a point man in the Bush administration's effort to blur the line between terrorism of the bin Laden variety, criminal violence, and political violence surrounding civil wars and rebellions.

"There is no difference between a terrorist who kills a police officer and a trafficker who protects a coca field," said Hutchinson on Tuesday.

But when queried by reporters, Hutchinson said the DEA would not press to have the Mexican organizations added to the US government's official list of foreign terrorist organizations. That would be up to the State Department, he said.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations, operating in an underworld created by a global drug prohibition regime in which only the most ruthless survive, unquestionably are directly responsible for hundreds of murders. Nevertheless, they are criminal organizations, not terrorist organizations. Any political agenda the Mexican drug traffickers have is limited to being left alone to reap their black market profits.

10. Media and Resources Online

Check out the Drug Policy Alliance's animated graphic created for April Fool's Day, about the Bush administration changing its mind about drugs:

The November Coalition has launched a new petition; sign it at online.

The Ecosolidarity Working Group has announced a report, "Andes on Fire: The War for Latin America," examining the destructive environmental impact of the Andean drug war on the region's highly diverse ecosystem. Access it online at: or

Arianna Huffington blasts the Supreme Court's drug-public housing decision -- read her column online at: and have both run revealing articles about the drug war's chilling impact on pain control: and

The Boston Phoenix has run an interesting story on the DEA vs. hemp foods controversy:

Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive and one of the top funders in drug policy reform, was interviewed on the Charlie Rose show this week. Discussion of drug reform begins about 18 minutes into this 25-minute interview:

11. Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana

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

US Drug Policy Driving Bolivia to Civil War

Oppose DEA's Illegal Hemp Ban

SuperBowl Ad Out of Bounds

Oppose New Anti-Ecstasy Bill

Repeal Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences

Support Medical Marijuana

12. The Reformer's Calendar

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

April 4-7, Geneva, Switzerland, Congress of the Transnational Radical Party, visit for information.

April 6, Ann Arbor, MI, "Hash Bash," 11:00am candlelight vigil at Federal Building (Liberty at Division), noon at University of Michigan Diag and 4:20 at Wheeler Park (Depot & N. 4th). Visit or e-mail [email protected] for information.

April 6, noon-3:00pm, Tucson, AZ, "Prisoners Are People Day," presentations by community leaders, live music, food, children's activities, access to community service providers, prisoner art show and more. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, at Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Boulevard, for further information call (520) 623-9141.

April 6, 1:00pm, Asheville, NC, memorial service for AIDS and harm reduction activist Marty Prairie. At the Cathedral of All Souls, Biltmore Village, e-mail [email protected] 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 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, 9:00am-noon, Philadelphia, PA, "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs." Judges forum sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild, at Temple University School of Law, Kiva Auditorium (Ritter Hall Annex), $35.00 with CLE credit, $10.00 without, contact Roseanne Scotti at (215) 746-7370 or [email protected] for information or to register.

April 8, 6:00pm, Philadelphia, PA, "Table Talk: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs," dinner, speech and discussion with Judge James P. Gray of the Superior Court of Orange County, California. At the White Dog Cafe, 3420 Sansom St., $30/person includes three course dinner with tax and gratuity, senior and student discounts available. Call (215) 386-9224 or visit for further information.

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 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

April 9, noon, Houston, TX, "Moving Beyond the War on Drugs." Drug Policy Forum of Texas luncheon with Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum, at the Warwick Hotel, contact [email protected] for information.

April 10, 8:00pm, St. Louis, MO, "Why We Must End the War on Drugs." Presentation by Mike Gray at Washington University, McDonnell 162, contact John Payne of Washington University Students for Sensible Drug Policy at [email protected] for info.

April 12-14, Chicago, IL, "Towards a Sensible Drug Policy: Educating, Empowering and Encouraging Reform," 2nd annual midwest conference by Students for Sensible Drug Policy. HEA protest at 11:30am on 4/12, conference at Loyola University's Lake Shore campus, early bird registration through April 1, contact Matt Atwood at (847)800-6696 or [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 13, 1:00-10:00pm, Tallahassee, FL, "Tallahassee Hemp Culture Fest." Bands and speakers to be announced, contact Florida State University NORML at [email protected] for information.

April 13, 5:30pm, Honolulu, HI, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii Annual Meeting, featuring former ACLU director Ira Glasser. At Che Pasta Restaurant, 1001 Bishop Street in Bishop Square, reception at 5:30, dinner at 6:30, program at 7:30. Admission $25 for members or $35 for non-members (membership available at door), RSVP to Darlene Hein at (808) 384-7794 or [email protected] by April 5 to reserve choice of dinner entree. Visit for further information.

April 16, 7:00pm, Berkeley, CA, "Religious Freedoms, Spirituality, and Shamanistic Practices," forum hosted by UC Berkeley Students for Sensible Drug Policy. At Valley Life Sciences Building, room 2040, UC Berkeley main campus, call (510) 702-5599 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 in the near future.

April 18-May 11, 8:30pm, San Francisco, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At The EXIT Theater Cafe, 156 Eddy Street, between Taylor and Mason, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets $15 with $10 discount tickets for parents accompanied by their teenagers, not recommend for children under 13. Call (415) 666-3939 or visit for further information.

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

April 19-21, Seattle, WA, Amnesty International USA 2002 Annual General Meeting. At the Renaissance Madison Hotel, visit for further information. (Dues-paying Amnesty members will have the opportunity to vote on a groundbreaking anti-drug war resolution.)

April 20, Eau Claire, WI, noon, Hemp Festival with UWEC SSDP. Music, information, speakers, raffle and more, at the Eau Claire Rod and Gun Park, visit for further information.

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

April 20, noon-11:00pm, Kingston, RI, Fourth Annual "Day for HOPE," sponsored by the University of Rhode Island's Hemp Organization for Prohibition Elimination (HOPE). On the URI Quad, featuring music, speakers, vendors and food. Contact Thomas Angell at [email protected] for further information.

April 20, 3:00-8:00pm, Atlanta, GA, "Atlanta 420," regional gathering of marijuana activists and reformers with entertainment, speakers and organizations. Presented by CAMP, in Piedmont Park, in downtown Atlanta, e-mail [email protected], visit or call (404) 522-2267 for information.

April 20, 4:20pm-1:00am, Detroit, MI, "4/20 at the Forum." At G.I. Forum Hall, 6705 West Lafayette, visit for further information.

April 20, 9:00pm, Indianapolis, IN, Indiana NORML & Flamin' Yawn Productions present a musical gathering at Tailgators, Illinois & South Streets. Admission free, 21 and over, call (317) 335-6023, visit or e-mail [email protected] for info.

April 20, 2002. Moscow Hemp Festival in Moscow, Idaho. E-mail [email protected] for more information.

April 20-21, Montreal, Canada, First Congress of the Marijuana Party of Canada. At the Université de Québec à Montréal, 320 Sainte-Catherine east, room DS-R510, for information contact Boris St. Maurice at (514) 528-1768 or mailto:[email protected]">[email protected].

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 or call (253) 272-4857.

April 27, 7:00pm-4:00am, Mays Landing, NJ, 4th Annual Cures Not Wars Benefit Concert. Speakers and music, at Finnerty's Hut, 7134 Black Horse Pike (route 322), age 21 and over, admission $10. Contact Mark Dickson at [email protected] for information.

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 and cosponsored by Efficacy, for interested parties of all ages. Recommended donation $5-$15 sliding scale, contact Booth Haley at (860) 685-4350 or [email protected] or visit for further information.

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], or call (434) 263-4484.

May 4, international, "Million Marijuana March," demonstrations in many cities worldwide. Visit for information and local event listings.

May 6, noon-4:00pm, Seattle, WA, "Hepatitis C: The Epidemic With a Voice, Ours," 2002 Statewide Awareness and Educational Day. At the Langston Hughes Performance Center, 104 17th Avenue South, contact (206) 328-5381 or (866) HEP-GOGO for further information.

May 8, noon, New York, NY, Mothers of the New York Disappeared rally against the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At 40th St. & 8th Ave., across the street from Gov. Pataki's office, call (212) 539-8441 or visit for further information.

May 23, Portland, OR, noon-1:30pm, "Rethinking the War on Drugs," luncheon forum with New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Sponsored by the Cascade Policy Institute, at the Benson Hotel, Mayfair Ballroom, 309 SW Broadway. RSVP to (503) 242-0900 or [email protected], or visit for further information.

June 8-9, St. Petersburg, FL, The Second Annual Conference on Adolescent Drug Treatment Abuse. Sponsored by The Trebach Institute, with survivors of abusive treatment programs and other concerned parties. Early registration $100, visit for further information.

June 22, Philadelphia, PA, "Mid-Atlantic Criminal Justice Colloquium: Fostering Compassion, Dignity and Hope," colloquium organized by the Drug Concerns Working Group of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). For further information or to get involved, contact Melissa Whaley at (856) 303-0280 or [email protected].

July 5-7, Bryn Mawr, PA, "Liberty & Crisis," student seminar with the Institute for Humane Studies. Participation free, application deadline March 29, visit or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

September 26-28, Los Angeles, CA, "Breaking the Chains: People of Color and the War on Drugs." Conference by the Drug Policy Alliance, e-mail [email protected] to be placed on mailing list for when details become available.

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 or call (212) 213-6376.

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