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

Issue #232, 4/12/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Yale University Joins End Run Around HEA Anti-Drug Provision, Will Replace Federal Aid Lost by Students From Drug Convictions
  2. Latest Prisoner Numbers: States Continue to Level Off, But Federal Incarceration Grows at Record Pace
  3. Meek Sentencing Commission Recommends Minor Reforms in Crack-Powder Cocaine Sentences
  4. Afghan Eradication Program Sparks Armed Resistance, Protests -- Farmers Blame America
  5. More Trouble Down South: Peru Rejects US "Zero Coca" Goal
  6. Major Demonstrations Against US Colombia Policy Set for April 20-22
  7. Denver Bookstore Cannot Be Forced to Name Buyer of Drug Manufacturing Books, Court Says
  8. NORML NYC Marijuana Ad Campaign Taps Mayor's Comments, Gets Attention
  9. Errata: Three Strikes
  10. Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana
  11. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Yale University Joins End Run Around HEA Anti-Drug Provision, Will Replace Federal Aid Lost by Students From Drug Convictions

Yale University last week became the fourth and the most prominent university to put its money where its mouth is in opposition to the Higher Education Act's (HEA) anti-drug provision. Yale announced on April 5 that it will begin reimbursing students who have lost financial aid because they were convicted of drug possession. In so doing, it joins a growing movement among colleges that have acted to secure educational funding for students affected by the provision's financial aid ban. So far, officials at Hampshire College and Swarthmore have created reimbursement programs, while at Western Washington State University, the Student Government Association has funded its own program.

Under the HEA anti-drug provision, authored by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), students who report drug convictions on their financial aid application forms become ineligible for financial aid for specified periods of time. In the three years that the aid ban has been applied, 65,000 have been affected, 46,000 of them losing financial aid during the current school year. Although Yale University officials said no Yale students had been affected, they moved to enact the policy change after hearing from concerned students.

"It comes from a desire that Yale students not have their education interrupted because they could no longer afford school," Yale spokesman Tom Conroy told the Hartford Courant.

Not that Yale needed a lot of persuasion that the law was misguided. According to Yale student Andrew Allison, who coordinated the student lobbying effort, university administrators were critical of the federal law from the first time he met with them and were already working on changing the school's policy in response. "They were receptive," Allison told the Courant. "It was really encouraging to find both students and administrators on common ground."

The new Yale policy will apply only to students with drug possession -- not distribution -- charges. Under the policy, eligible students must participate in a drug rehabilitation program at University Health Services or with another qualified treatment provider.

"I think it's a well-reasoned approach," Yale financial aid director Myra Smith told the Yale Daily News. "It obviously emphasizes that rehabilitation is a part of what we're doing, but also emphasizes that we don't want to interrupt someone's education financially," she said.

The Yale move also drew praise from Yale students and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (, the rapidly growing organization forming to redress the inequities generated by the HEA's anti-drug provision and the drug war as a whole. Largely fueled by student outrage over the anti-drug provision (and by discontent with US drug policy in general), SSDP has grown from one chapter, at Rochester Institute of Technology, in 1998 to more than 200 chapters nationwide today.

"We commend Yale University for stepping up to the plate when the federal government has not and making sure students accepted at Yale are not hindered by financial obstacles," said SSDP executive director Shawn Heller, who also signaled that the trend could spread to other colleges. "Student bodies and college administrators understand that the financial needs of students must be met," Heller told DRCNet. "This is something we hope to see repeated on campuses across the country."

For Yale students, the move was the sweet culmination of a three-year effort. "It's very rare in activism that you actually get something back, so this is incredible," said Kat Banakis, a member of the Student Legal Action Movement (SLAM), one of the campus and community groups that backed the effort. "It's also wonderful that the Yale administration is being receptive to student resolutions and protests and willing to work with the finances that they have to do something the students have been asking for," she told the Daily News.

Andrew Allison, who drafted a February Yale College Council resolution asking the administration to take the steps announced last week, professed he was "thrilled" with the move. "I'm thrilled with the announcement, and I think it's a great victory for student activism," he told the Daily News. "I think the administration deserves praise for taking such bold and reasoned action."

A bill sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) to repeal the HEA drug provision in full, H.R. 786, has picked up 60 cosponsors.

Visit for information on the HEA scholarship fund that DRCNet is establishing and to read about the fund's inaugural event last March 26.

The Long Island newspaper Newsday has published a cutting editorial on this issue and citing the Perry Fund, available at online.

2. Latest Prisoner Numbers: States Continue to Level Off, But Federal Incarceration Grows at Record Pace

The number of people behind bars in the United States continues to hover just below the two million mark, with the number of people in jails and state prisons holding roughly steady, according to the latest report from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), "Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2001" ( But the federal prison population grew at a record pace of 7.2%. The number of people in US jails, state prisons and the federal prison system totaled 1,965,495 as of June 30, 2001, BJS reported, up a modest 1.1% from the previous year.

Drug offenders constituted 61% of all federal prisoners and 22% of all prisoners, according to BJS's latest breakdown on prisoner offenses. Because that report, the BJS Bulleting "Prisoners in 2000 (, was based on an earlier prison census at the end of 1999), the precise percentage of drug prisoners may have varied slightly, but there is as yet no indication that drug offenders are significantly declining as a percentage of the prison population. At the end of 1999, state prisons held more than 251,000 drug offenders, while the federal system held more than 68,000, the 2000 report said. In addition, an unknown number of property, violent, and public order offenders are serving time on charges related directly or indirectly to drug prohibition and the black market.

The federal prison system grew by 7,372 inmates in the first six months of 2000, "the largest ever growth in the federal system," BJS reported. Some 152,788 people were imprisoned in the federal system at midyear 2001. If drug offenders continue to constitute about 60% of all federal prisoners -- the figure was 61% at the end of 1999 -- these latest numbers suggest that the number of drug offenders doing federal time is now closer to 90,000.

Local jails held 631,240 inmates, up 10,000 from a year earlier, while state prisons held 1,252,743. The number of state prisoners increased by 7,000 in the first six months of 2001 -- only 0.4%, the lowest rate of increase since 1973. For jail populations, the rate of increase is the lowest since 1982, BJS reported.

The relative stagnation in state prison populations is the result of small decreases in many of the larger prison states, along with mixed trends in the remaining states. Of the four largest state prison systems, three (California, Texas, and New York) saw declines, while only Florida posted an increase, adding 774 inmates. Eleven smaller states saw increases of at least 5%, led by Mississippi (12.5%), West Virginia (8.7%), and Vermont and Nebraska (7.7% each).

Twelve states saw declining prison populations, led by New Jersey (down 9.6%), Massachusetts (down 3.7%), and New York (down 3.5%).

Even with the slowdown in incarceration rates, America's jails and prisons are gobbling up 587 people each week, BJS reported. More than 625,000 people entered prison in 2000 -- but more than 600,000 finished their sentences and walked out the prison doors. For each of the last three years, more than half a million prisoners have been released.

Also, BJS noted, young black men continue to be imprisoned at a rate disproportionate to their weight in the population as a whole. Twelve percent of black males aged 18-34 were behind bars, compared to 4% of Hispanic males and 1.8% of white males. And although blacks constitute only 13% of the US population, the number of black prisoners exceeds that of whites. More than 872,000 blacks are behind bars, compared to 754,000 whites and 303,000 Hispanics.

(The Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice has issued a report on the new incarceration data, "Cutting Correctly: New Prison Policies for Times of Fiscal Crisis," available at online.)

3. Meek Sentencing Commission Recommends Minor Reforms in Crack-Powder Cocaine Sentences

The prospects for meaningful and progressive reform of the federal crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparities -- five grams of crack nets the same mandatory minimum five-year federal prison sentence as 500 grams of powder -- have been dimmed by the US Sentencing Commission's decision last week to recommend only minor changes in federal statutes next month. The commission also backed away from using its power to amend the sentencing guidelines, which would have made its proposals law in six months unless Congress acted to block them. Between the Sentencing Commission and the "Drug Sentence Reform Act of 2001," cosponsored by Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (UT) and Jeff Sessions (AL), sentencing reform advocates are feeling like they're going nowhere.

In an April 5 statement, the commission announced that it "intends to ask Congress to modify federal drug laws to address the disparity in treatment between crack and powder cocaine." But the statement went on to say that "the Sentencing Commission unanimously concluded that... greater punishment for crack cocaine than for powder cocaine is clearly warranted." Without naming a precise figure, however, the commission added that "the current 100 to 1 drug quantity ratio between the two forms of cocaine is not appropriate."

"The recommendation is that 25 grams of crack be the trigger for the mandatory five-year sentence, said Julie Stewart, head of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (, a Washington, DC-based sentencing reform group whose mainstay is families and friends of people serving lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. "This is a disappointment. This is not real progress," she told DRCNet.

"What kind of reform is this?" asked Nora Callahan of the November Coalition (, another sentencing reform group. "The Sentencing Commission has admitted that only 67 crack defendants in the last three years would have benefited from their proposal," she told DRCNet. "We don't think this is even a half-step toward real reform of the crack-powder disparity. It's cruel," she said.

Stewart told DRCNet the Sentencing Commission had been cowed by a tough Justice Department stand against any changes in the law last month. Then, Deputy Attorney Larry Thompson told the body that current penalties are "proper," that no changes in the law are needed, and that if any changes are made, they should only include raising the sentences for powder cocaine offenses (

"Lowering crack penalties now would simply send the wrong message, that we care less about the people and the communities victimized by crack," Thompson told the commission. "It is something we really cannot support."

The Sentencing Commission obliquely acknowledged feeling the fire from Justice. "Some have said the commission could bring either heat or light, or both, to this issue," said commission Chair Diana Murphy, a federal judge from Minneapolis, explaining its decision not to amend the sentencing guidelines. "We have decided we can do best to bring light as opposed to heat at this point."

"Justice really chilled the commission," said Stewart. "The Sentencing Commission has been looking at crack and powder for nine years, and Justice comes up with a two-month study and concludes that that current sentences are proper," she said. "It was a slap in the face to the commission, and they turned the other cheek."

Neither FAMM nor the November Coalition feel much better about the Hatch-Sessions bill, "The Drug Sentencing Reform Act of 2001," S. 1874. That bill would increase the quantity threshold for the five-year mandatory minimum from 5 grams to 20 grams, but would also reduce the threshold for powder cocaine from 500 grams to 400 grams.

Sen. Sessions told USA Today on Monday crack penalties were too high. "The punishment for crack is too heavy, he said. "Five grams is the weight of one nickel. In state court, five grams would get probation."

But under his bill, mere possession of five grams would get a mandatory minimum one-year sentence, down from five-years. The bill also provides sentence enhancements for people in a "leadership role" in a drug offense.

"Sessions has publicly said he was angry with Justice over its performance at the commission, but his crack fix is worse than anything the Sentencing Commission is going to send over," said Stewart. "It's all very depressing. This is an election year, and Congress will play politics with this. Justice already has, and the Sentencing Commission bent with the political winds."

"To call the Hatch-Sessions bill 'reform' is a bad joke," said the November Coalition's Callahan. "This bill is inadequate. It has new penalties. It will not redress the racial disparities," she argued. "Don't they realize that 85% of the federal powder cocaine defendants are black or brown? Maybe they do."

Sentencing reform is only part of the problem, said Callahan. "This is a package deal. They have to stop targeting minority communities, they have to stop over-policing. Racial disparities in the drug war will never be addressed by piecemeal reforms," she said.

Still, sentencing reform is a point of attack, and the battle is not lost. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote the letter last fall asking the Sentencing Commission for "guidance" on the crack-powder issue. Although Leahy has not drafted a more progressive bill to counter Hatch-Sessions, Callahan, at least, pronounced herself hopeful he would act. And the Sentencing Commission does not make its formal recommendation to Congress until May 15.

"People should be writing to Congress and the Sentencing Commission telling them we need to make crack penalties rational," said Stewart. "They need thousands of letters telling them not to be cowed. We don't believe in quantity-based sentencing, but if we have to accept that, we need to convince Congress that the trigger should be similar to heroin, 100 grams."

4. Afghan Eradication Program Sparks Armed Resistance, Protests -- Farmers Blame America

With the Afghan opium crop planted amidst the fog of war last fall being harvested as you read these words, the interim government of Hamid Karzai has embarked on a belated and half-hearted forced eradication program. But even his government's tentative first steps toward the valuable cash crop have been marked by armed resistance and protests from opium farmers. According to press reports from the region, at least eight opium growers, one government official, and two employees of international non-governmental organizations involved in the eradication program have been killed in fighting as of mid-week.

Although US officials quietly conceded recently that a serious eradication program this year was both impossible -- because of lack of effective central government control -- and undesirable -- because it could threaten the warlord bases of the Karzai government -- the Afghan regime has received $50 million from US, UN and British coffers for a token effort to keep up international appearances. Early indications are it won't be easy. Many farmers are deeply in debt to local warlords, and the government's offer of $500 per eradicated acre is far below current market price for the highly-valued poppies.

Trouble broke out on the first day of the recently announced program, when tribal poppy farmers in Nangahar province in eastern Pakistan spotted provincial officials surveying their fields. The farmers opened fire, killing the official in charge of security on the main highway and two NGO workers, according to the Associated Press. Four others were wounded. Later that day, hundreds of Shenwari tribesman blocked the highway over the Kyhber Pass between Jalalabad and Peshawar, Pakistan, pelting vehicles with rocks, skirmishing with government forces, and blocking the return of an estimated 20,000 refugees, who remain stranded on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Despite skirmishes with the small-plot poppy farmers, police were unable to open the highway as of Wednesday.

In southern Helmand province, Afghanistan's opium basket, thousands of poppy farmers marching on local government offices to protest the eradication program were fired on by government troops. Troops blocked the protestors, who turned their anger on the soldiers, pelting their vehicles with rocks. The soldiers fired first into the air, then into the crowd, according to Afghan officials interviewed by AP, killing eight and wounding dozens.

Poppy farmer Abdul Hakim was one of the wounded. As he lay in a hospital in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, with a bullet wound in his chest, he told AP the farmers were angry with both the Karzai government and its US backers. "People have spent so much money on their crops. They're tired, they work hard. And now the government is trying to eradicate their crops," the 34-year-old Hakim said. "Death to America," Hakim said the protestors chanted. They blamed the US for foisting the eradication program on the country, he said.

The Afghan government is so far standing tall, at least rhetorically. Ashar Ghani, a senior advisor to Karzai, told the New York Times the government would resist the demands of the poppy farmers, whom he described as victims of ruthless local businessmen. "There are people who have been making fortunes out of the misery of others," Ghani said, "and you would expect them to raise the specter of violence, of instability, of threats. We are determined to move ahead."

But the Karzai government has plenty of other threats to worry about.

5. More Trouble Down South: Peru Rejects US "Zero Coca" Goal

When President Bush traveled to Peru late last month, his message to recently elected Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo was simple and direct. Bush called on Toledo and his government to join the US in "a war without ambiguities against terrorism and drug trafficking." But Peru, faced with a resurgence of the Shining Path guerrillas, whose growth into a mighty killing machine was fueled by previous coca eradication efforts in the 1980s and early 1990s, sees ambiguities aplenty, and it has signaled that it is unwilling to try to totally wipe-out illicit crops for fear of further strengthening the Maoist insurgency.

Even as he shared a Lima stage with President Bush on March 23, Toledo adroitly side-stepped a question about his government's commitment to coca, and increasingly, opium poppy eradication. "We have a long path ahead of us, and we must walk it together," he replied, adding that both countries shared responsibility for the problem.

While Toledo danced around the issue last month, his interior minister was more forthcoming in a recent interview with the Miami Herald. It isn't going to happen, he said. "Saying we would eradicate all crops would be as difficult as the United States saying it would eradicate drug consumption in four years," said Fernando Rospigliosi.

The US was having none of that. "The US has advocated a 'zero illegal drug' policy for decades worldwide," retorted US Ambassador to Peru Benjamin Ziff. "Given that Peru has eliminated 70% of its coca cultivation over the past seven years, the goal of a complete elimination of illegal coca in Peru by the end President Toledo's term in office is ambitious but achievable," he told the Herald.

But the ambassador's rose-tinted lenses will not help him decipher, let alone alter, Peruvian reality. While the US government claims that coca production has declined from a mid-1990s high of around 370,000 acres to only 84,000 acres today, both the United Nations and Peruvian officials beg to differ. According to UN figures, 114,000 are planted with coca, primarily in the Apurimac and Upper Huallaga valleys, while the Peruvian government conceded that coca could be growing on 173,000 acres -- more than twice the US estimate.

The new coca and opium boom is being driven by two factors, neither of which will be resolved by increased eradication efforts. The first factor is economic. While the US and Peru attempted to implement alternative development programs, their crops of choice -- coffee and cocoa -- are now worth so little on global markets that farmers have turned once again to their most reliable cash crop, coca.

"They talk about alternative development. What's that?" scoffed peasant farmer Teodor Corichchua Vitallilos. "What benefit has that brought us? None!" he told the Herald.

"When coffee and cocoa pay more than coca, we'll forget about coca," added Adrian Along Vindizus, the mayor of the town of Marintari in the Apurimac Valley.

Thus, the results of the $140 million US Agency for International Development program in the last four years.

The second factor driving the new coca and poppy boom is the balloon effect from US drug policy in Colombia. Just as in the mid-1990s, when pressure on Peruvian producers led to a rapid expansion of coca planting in Colombia and subsequent lower prices in Peru, now increased pressure on Colombian producers has led to a migration of coca planting back to Peru, along with opium crops, which were rarely seen in Peru in the past.

The coca-go-round continues.

6. Major Demonstrations Against US Colombia Policy Set for April 20-22

Foes of increasing US involvement in Colombia are urging and expecting thousands of people to turn out in protests scheduled for San Francisco and Washington, DC, next weekend. With the Bush administration ready to ask Congress to drop conditions limiting US military involvement to anti-drug efforts, making the US government a partner with the Colombian state and its paramilitary allies in their decades-long civil war against leftist guerrillas as part of its ill-defined "war on terror," a broad coalition of faith-based, human rights, social justice, anti-war, leftist, and drug reform organizations has come together to call for a National Mobilization on Colombia (

"We are building an effective anti-war coalition," said Sanho Tree, head of the Institute for Policy Studies' Drug Policy program, one of the groups endorsing the protests. "We are expecting thousands of people from various constituencies, and they are all coming together over Colombia," Tree told DRCNet.

Organizers plan a series of teach-ins, workshops, and a large demonstration on the Mall in Washington on April 21. The DC protest will culminate in a march with creative civil disobedience on April 22.

The need for a popular mobilization against US policy in Colombia is more urgent than ever, organizers said. "This shift from counternarcotics to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism is mission creep turned into mission gallop," said Tree. "Members from both parties and both the Clinton and Bush administrations had previously promised the public that this was strictly counternarcotics and reassured the American people that they were not getting involved in the Colombian civil war. Now, here comes the administration, in the midst of the Enron scandal, seeking $98 million to protect oil pipelines," Tree said.

"This is turning into a very serious military quagmire," Tree continued. "There is no definition of victory in the war on drugs, the war on terror, or the war against the guerrillas. What happens when the first helicopter with US citizens aboard gets shot down? What happens when the guerrillas attack the oil pipeline again? Do we then turn tail and run? No, the usual American response is to retaliate and escalate. This is going to be another Vietnam," Tree warned.

The US government has pumped almost $2 billion into Colombia since the Clinton administration unveiled Plan Colombia three years ago. As reported in DRCNet and elsewhere, those efforts have not managed to dislocate drug trafficking organizations, reduce the amount of coca and opium grown in Colombia, or reduce drug consumption in the US. They have, however, contributed to an ever-bloodier conflict that has left 2 million Colombians refugees in their own country, wreaked havoc on the environment through widespread pesticide spraying, and helped deepen the political polarization of the country and the region.

Some observers worry that the Colombia protests will be less effective because of other demonstrations scheduled for the same weekend in Washington. Opponents of the "war on terrorism" have organized events for the same weekend. And demonstrators on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are expected to take to the streets by the thousands as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon comes to town on Monday. But the Colombia mobilization will continue nonetheless.

The coalition has organized around the following demands:

  • End US military aid to Colombia and the Andean region.
  • End US funding of counter-narcotic aerial eradication in Colombia and the Andean region.
  • Dramatic expansion of drug treatment and prevention in the United States.
  • US support for comprehensive sustainable economic development alternatives throughout the Andean region, as well as efforts for peace that include the full participation of civil society.
  • US help for alleviating the conditions of refugees and those people internally displaced because of the conflict.
The mobilization also espouses nonviolence in its own actions as well as supporting exclusively nonviolent, negotiated political solutions to the conflict in Colombia. The mobilization does not support or endorse any armed actor in the Colombian conflict.

Among the broad spectrum of groups endorsing the protests are Amazon Watch, American Friends Service Committee, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Church of the Brethren, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Colombia Support Network, Committee on US/Latin American Relations, Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA), Global Exchange, Global Ministries of the Disciples of Christs, International Labor Rights Fund, International Rivers Network, InterReligious Task Force on Central America, League of United Latin American Citizens, the Mennonite Central Committee, Pesticide Action Network North America, Rainforest Action Network, School of the Americas Watch, United Electrical, Radio, and Machines Workers of America (UE), War Resisters League, Witness for Peace, and dozens of state and local peace and justice groups.

Drug policy organizations endorsing the protests include Common Sense for Drug Policy, the Institute for Policy Studies' Drug Policy Project, the November Coalition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Veterans for More Effective Drug Strategies.

7. Denver Bookstore Cannot Be Forced to Name Buyer of Drug Manufacturing Books, Court Says

One of the country's most prominent independent bookstores, the Tattered Cover in Denver, has scored a victory in a case pitting First Amendment freedoms against drug war law enforcement imperatives. In a Monday ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court held that police erred when they attempted to force the Tattered Cover to reveal the name of the person who ordered two books on drug manufacture found at the scene of a raided drug laboratory.

In the unanimous ruling, Colorado's highest court held that both the First Amendment and the Colorado constitution "protect an individual's right to purchase books anonymously, free from government interference." The ruling overturned a state appeals court decision that ordered the bookstore to comply with a police search warrant seeking the name of the book purchaser.

The case originated with a raid on a suburban Denver trailer home by the North Metro Drug Task Force in March 2000. Agents found a meth lab. Outside the trailer, agents also found a mailing envelope and invoice for the two books in question, "Advanced Techniques of Clandestine Psychedelic and Amphetamine Manufacture" by Uncle Fester and "The Construction and Operation of Clandestine Drug Labs" by Jack B. Nimble, both published by Loompanics Unlimited, a Port Townsend, WA, publisher. But the invoice contained only the trailer's address, not the name of the book buyer. Police obtained a search warrant to force the Tattered Cover to reveal the name of the book buyer, but when bookstore owner Joyce Meskins refused to comply, authorities agreed not to serve the warrant until the courts had a chance to decide the issue.

Now, the state's ultimate court has decided, and booksellers' groups and civil libertarians are claiming a victory for privacy. "We think this is a very, very important decision because it is the strongest opinion on the issue of protecting customer privacy in bookstores that has come down so far," said Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, which provided financial support and wrote an amicus brief in the case.

"I think the decision will be upheld as the decision to go to when other courts confront this issue," Tattered Cover attorney Dan Recht told the Denver Post.

The case is the first of its kind to be decided by a state supreme court. Because the decision is based at least in part on provisions of the Colorado constitution, it cannot be threatened by federal court rulings.

Meskins told the New York Times the case had been demanding, but was worth the effort. "Two years is a long time to be working on this," said Meskins. "There is an implied understanding when an individual goes into a library or a bookstore with respect to the privacy of their reading material," she said.

The court agreed. "We hold that the city has failed to demonstrate that its need for this evidence is sufficiently compelling to outweigh the harmful effects of the search warrant," the court held. The ruling also referred repeatedly to the "chilling effect" of search warrants issued without prior hearings.

"Bookstores are places where a citizen can explore ideas, receive information, and discover the myriad perspectives on every topic imaginable," wrote the court. "When a person buys a book at a bookstore, he engages in activity protected by the First Amendment because he is exercising his right to read and receive ideas and information."

"Hooray," said Michael Hoy, owner of Loompanics. "I couldn't be happier with the court's ruling. If you allow that sort of thing to go on, then nobody will feel secure," he told DRCNet. "This is just another example of trying to use the war on drugs to erode our rights. If a cop can't make a case without subpoenaing a bookstore, then he doesn't have a case."

Uncle Fester and Jack B. Nimble were not available for comment.

8. NORML NYC Marijuana Ad Campaign Taps Mayor's Comments, Gets Attention

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation ( on Monday unleashed a New York City ad campaign using Mayor Michael Bloomberg's year-old admission that he had smoked and enjoyed marijuana. And the insatiable New York press gobbled it right up (as did newspapers in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Kenosha, and Edinburg, among others).

Taking full advantage of an off-the-cuff Bloomberg remark to a New York magazine interviewer as he campaigned as a longshot mayoral candidate last year, the NORML ads use the mayor's own words to indict the city's harsh, zero tolerance policies on pot-smoking. While marijuana arrests in the city hovered in the hundreds in the early 1990s, under the administration of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, arrests skyrocketed, reaching 52,000 last year -- nearly 10% of the national total.

"At last, an honest politician," read the NORML ad that appeared in the New York Times on Tuesday, which will be plastered on buses and phone booths in the city in coming weeks. Above a large head shot of Bloomberg is a speech balloon reading: "Yes, I did. And I enjoyed it."

The text of the ad went on to explain: "It was refreshing during the recent mayoral campaign to hear Mayor Bloomberg's answer to the inevitable question about smoking pot. We applaud his candor." But after noting that marijuana smoking is "pretty normal," the ad points out that New York City is arresting nearly a thousand people a week for it. "There is an alternative," the ad says. "Private adult use of marijuana should be just that -- a private matter. Those who light up in public can be issued a citation, as is currently done for public drinking, instead of being arrested and jailed. Isn't that a common sense policy?" the ad asks. "You bet it is."

"It's NORML to smoke pot," appears in large-type across the bottom of the ad.

The mayor was not pleased. "Oh great, I'm thrilled," he told the daily City Hall news conference on Monday. "I'm not thrilled they're using my name. I suppose the First Amendment gets in the way of me stopping it," he said. And he embraced hypocrisy as public policy. "I think we should enforce the laws as they are," he said, "and the Police Department will do so vigorously."

By the next day, Bloomberg was publicly regretting making the comment and moving even further backward. Saying he was "a believer that we should enforce the laws, and I do not think that decriminalizing marijuana is a good idea," he also declined to say whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes.

NORML considers the advertising blitz, which will cost $500,000 and also include radio ads, an early success. "We can measure the quantitative impact in a number of ways," said NORML's Allen St. Pierre, "and any way you measure it, it's been very good. We can track where the story is showing up, and it's now in hundreds of media outlets," he told DRCNet. "We launched a new web page just before the campaign began, and we've had 7,500 people send us their addresses so far," he said Wednesday. "And our web page stats are showing a huge bump. We went from 16-17,000 per day to 180,000 by midweek," said St. Pierre. "We had to daisy chain servers to not blow the system up. These are the kinds of numbers you can take back to your funders and say, ‘yes, it's working.'"

This will be an extended campaign, said St. Pierre. "In addition to the Times ad and the coverage it generated, we will run ads on six major New York City radio stations in about a week," he said. "Then the bus ads will begin in about two weeks; we'll have ads on 75 buses. Those will stay up for a month. And we're waiting for Verizon to approve our phone kiosk ads, which will appear at hundreds of locations in the city, also for a month."

NORML paid attention to timing, said St. Pierre. "This campaign was originally scheduled for last fall, but for obvious reasons we kept our powder dry. We knew what Bloomberg had said, and we knew what enforcement under Giuliani had been like, so we felt like we had both substance and sizzle," he explained. "And then we timed it for the 100th day of his administration, when there is often a review of the new office-holder."

And New York was crying out or such a campaign, said St. Pierre. "New York has had such a dramatic increase in marijuana arrests in recent years, they've totally departed from the effective decrim model before Giuliani. The mayor says he wants to cut the city budget, and we say extricate marijuana from quality of life law enforcement," he said.

Neither did St. Pierre claim to be surprised by Bloomberg's reaction, although he said he was "disappointed" to hear him say he did not favor decrim. "We hoped for a more enlightened discussion from the mayor," said St. Pierre. "We will be providing him with more and more information, and we just might turn around and hit him again."

If Bloomberg is feeling a bit beleaguered, at least he isn't alone. Among contemporary political figures who have confessed to taking a toke or two are New York Gov. George Pataki, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice-President Al Gore, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, derailed Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsburg, and sitting Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL). And those are just the ones who admit it.

Visit for further information on the NORML ad campaign. Visit for previous DRCNet discussion of drug reform advertising.

9. Errata: Three Strikes

In last week's article on California's "three strikes" (), DRCNet wrote that "[u]nder 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."

We have since been informed that the California Supreme Court has ruled that judges may sentence a three-strikes defendant to less than 25 years to life, if that decision is based on certain mitigating factors, as determined by an analysis as specified in the cases of People v. Superior Court (Romero) and People v. Williams (1998).

The Week Online regrets the error. We will in the near future publish a report on the implementation of California's three-strikes law.

10. 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

11. The Reformer's Calendar

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

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 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, 1:00pm, New York, NY, Loretta Evans of the Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership (SNAP) will speak on the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At the All Saints Church, 47 E. 129th & Madison, East Harlem, take the #2,3,4,5, or 6 trains to 125th St. For further info, visit or contact Jessica Dias at (212) 348-8142 or [email protected].

April 13, 1:00-10:00pm, Tallahassee, FL, "Tallahassee Hemp Culture Festival." At Florida State University's Intramural Fields, featuring local bands, educational speakers and vendors of hemp clothes and foods. Admission $2 for students with IDs or $6 for others. Contact FSU NORML at [email protected] or [email protected] for further 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 17, 10:00am, New York, NY, forum with the Child Welfare Organizing Support Center, introducing the Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership's East Harlem campaign to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At the All Saints Church, 47 E. 129th & Madison, East Harlem, take the #2,3,4,5, or 6 trains to 125th St. For further info, visit or contact Jessica Dias at (212) 348-8142 or [email protected].

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, 10:00pm, New York, NY, Drug War Race and Party. "Alley cat" cycling competition sponsored by the New York Bike Messengers Association, with cyclists role-playing as mock drug runners, picking up money, delivering mock contraband and bailing friends out of jail, racing to checkpoints around the city, followed by a party benefiting the Drug War Awareness Project. At the Lunatariam, 10 Jay St., Brooklyn, on the waterfront, featuring music, installation art about the drug war and info from a variety of drug reform organizations. For race information, contact Mike Dee at [email protected]. For general info, to distribute information at the event, to volunteer or to contribute, contact Valerie Vande Panne at [email protected].

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 23, 7:00pm, New York, NY, "America’s Oldest War: The Efficacy of United States Drug Policy," debate between DEA chief Asa Hutchinson and Graham Boyd of the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project. Sponsored by the Fordham Law Drug Policy Reform Project, at the Moot Court Room, 3rd Floor, 140 W. 62nd St, refreshments to be served following the debate. For further information, contact (646) 507-0309 or e-mail [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 25, 6:00-9:00pm, New York, NY, JusticeWorks Tenth Anniversary Celebration, featuring Ossie Davis, S. Epatha Merkerson, with music by jazz vocalist Patsy Grant and her trio. Admission $75 for students or ex-prisoners, $100-125 others. At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street, contact Nili Rabin at (718) 499-6704 for further information.

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 1, 3:00-7:00pm, San Diego, CA, "End the Drug War Rally," monthly in front of the Federal and State Courthouses at the intersection of Front and Broadway, downtown. Organized by the San Diego Libertarian Party, signs will be provided but participants are also encouraged to bring them. Contact Gardner Osborne at [email protected] or (858) 459-7382 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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