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

Issue #246, 7/19/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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URGENT ALERT: Help stop S. 2633, the "Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002" -- call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 -- we will launch a write-to-Congress web site on Monday -- in the meantime visit http://www.emdef.org for info.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Times Change
  2. Dutch Government Plans to Restrict Coffeeshops, End Ecstasy Harm Reduction
  3. Nevada Marijuana Amendment Draws Flack, Praise
  4. Canadian Justice Minister Floats Decrim Trial Balloon, Takes Flack from All Sides
  5. Barcelona Conference Hears Link Between AIDS and Injection Drug Use -- Clinton Regrets Not Lifting Ban, Bush to Keep It
  6. New York Marijuana Reform Party in Petition Drive to Win Ballot Status
  7. "We're Your Good Neighbors. We Smoke Pot" -- Jeff and Tracy One Year Later
  8. Alert: DEA Moves to Schedule 2C-T-7
  9. Newsbrief: Cow Dung Sniffers Have Malaysian Authorities Confounded
  10. Newsbrief: Baltimore Homicides Continue, More Juveniles Dying Than Before
  11. Newsbrief: Noelle Bush Imprisoned
  12. Media Scan: Time Magazine on The Philippines
  13. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. Editorial: Times Change

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 7/19/02

Times change. Back in the early 80's, even Ronald Reagan thought drug testing was too invasive, and that was only federal employees. By the end of his two terms, he had no such compunction. Now, the government extensively and enthusiastically promotes this grotesque practice. Incredibly, a few schools have even targeted math team and glee club participants for monitoring of their bodily fluids.

I've tried to imagine how we would have reacted in my high school (also in the early 80's) if they'd told us we had to urinate in a cup, with a teacher watching, to prove our chemical fidelity. I'm certain we'd have thought they were crazy. And I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have stood for it. We would have heaped ridicule on the notion, we would have condemned the invasion of privacy, we would have shook our heads in disbelief at the bizarre turn of events.

Such reactions are deserved today. The forces promoting school-based drug testing are motivated not by care for the well-being of our nation's youth, but by greed. They want the taxpayers' money -- your money -- to line their own pockets. If you have any doubt of that, you should have attended the industry's conference, convened mere weeks after the Supreme Court's infamous Tecumseh ruling. There's so much money at stake, they even charged admission -- over $300 -- to the groups and businesses they're trying to sell to!

Fortunately, not so many schools have yet to go to this extreme. Most educators are sensible people. They understand that a trusting, respectful and friendly relationship between youth and adults does more to help young people grow up healthily than surveillance and punishment and dilutions of constitutional rights. They understand that after-school programs, offering positive ways of spending one's time, are a better use of scarce education dollars than urinalysis. They would rather see kids participating in activities then not, especially the ones who have crossed the line into potentially hazardous activities. They would rather hire a music teacher than a chemist. And they probably don't relish the thought of having to stand there in the bathroom watching kids urinate and taking care of the samples.

Schools will certainly come under political pressures to conform to the government- and industry-promoted drug testing orthodoxy. In some cases, the drug warriors will get their way, ambitious politicians looking for political hay will force it down the schools' throats, maybe government grants will even coax schools down the smelly path of chemical spying. It will always seem hard to oppose them, as in all recent times.

But times change. I think this time they've stepped a little too far, and are going to get pushed back. Youth will stand up for their privacy, and many teachers and principals and parents will join them. Perhaps it will even catalyze a rebirth of civics education, a renewal of awareness in the schools of the constitution and the bill of rights, a new dialogue on privacy and freedom and what they truly mean.

As always we must seek the seeds of hope embedded within the clouds of repression. Perhaps those seeds are waiting to be found in the aftermath of a poor Supreme Court ruling.


2. Dutch Government Plans to Restrict Coffeeshops, End Ecstasy Harm Reduction

Fallout from June's elections in Holland, where the center-right Christian Democrats, the free market VVD, and the wildcard Pim Fortuyn List swept to power nine days after Fortuyn fell victim to an assassin's bullet, is beginning to spread toward Holland's famous coffeeshops and its thriving club scene. The coffeeshops, where cannabis products are sold and consumed under license as authorities turn a largely blind eye, have been a staple of the Dutch approach to soft drugs under consecutive governments since 1976. The incoming government, however, has announced moves to impose new restrictions on the establishments long popular with Dutch and foreign travelers alike. It is also moving to end testing of ecstasy tablets, a well-established harm reduction practice, at Dutch night clubs.

According to the center-right coalition's "policy summary," released last week, the new government plans to tighten restrictions and enforce regulations on coffee shops more stringently than the outgoing center-left government of Wim Kok. "The criteria governing coffeeshops will be enforced more strictly, and coffeeshops will no longer be tolerated in the vicinity of schools and national borders," said the policy summary.

The move is in part a sop to the governments of neighboring countries, particularly France, which have protested the ease with which their nationals could avail themselves of cannabis in Holland. But it also reflects a more thoroughgoing aversion to liberal drug policies in the new government.

The incoming government will also end the ecstasy "testing station" program introduced by Dutch authorities last year, the policy summary said. The "testing stations" were designed to prevent people from getting drugs laced with toxic substances and were part of a broader harm reduction approach to ecstasy by Dutch authorities, which also included regulations designed to force clubs to provide free water and "cooling rooms" for ecstasy users.

The tightening of Holland's liberal drug policies has been a prominent theme for Christian Democrat leader Jan Peter Balkenende, who will most probably be the new prime minister, but it is only one of a bundle of rightist planks laid out by the new government. Balkenende is also an opponent of euthanasia, which became legal earlier this year, but the Dutch right rode to power largely on the back of sympathy for the slain Fortuyn, who articulated apparently widespread Dutch fears of being swamped by a tide of immigrants (but who ironically favored liberalization of drug laws -- a fact the surviving members of Pim's list prefer to ignore).

It was immigration that largely drove the election results, and much of the policy summary is devoted to anti-immigrant moves. Some of the language is breathtaking in the frankness of its racism and dispiriting in what it says about the current state of Dutch and, more broadly, European politics. Among other anti-immigrant moves, the policy summary blandly notes, the Dutch government plans to "make it more difficult for members of ethnic minorities to bring a partner from their home country to the Netherlands."


3. Nevada Marijuana Amendment Draws Flack, Praise

If the Nevada effort to eliminate penalties for possession of up to three ounces of marijuana was ever a stealth campaign, those days are over. In the ten days since state election officials certified the measure for the November ballot, the foes of drug reform, both locally and nationally, have begun to stir. Since the measure was certified, DEA head Asa Hutchinson, Nevada prosecutors and a Carson City newspaper have publicly denounced the measure, which would move the state from having the nation's toughest marijuana laws last year to the nation's most lenient in 2004. (Under Nevada law, constitutional amendments must pass voter muster twice -- in this case, this November and again in November 2004.)

Hutchinson, visiting the state as part of his seemingly unending "Meth Tour 2002," the months-long, 30-state road-show designed to hype the amphetamine threat, couldn't resist the opportunity to insert himself into Nevada politics. Attempting to play to concerns about tourism, the state's largest industry, he told a cheering audience at the Elks Convention in Reno on July 11 that passage of the initiative would bring the wrong element to the state. "That would leave Nevada with one of the most liberal policies on drugs," said Hutchinson. "What kind of tourism will Nevada attract?" he asked. (An interesting question, given that Nevada is known for gambling on a grand scale and legal prostitution. One wouldn't want any marijuana smokers putting a buzzkill on all that good clean tourist fun.)

Hutchinson also hinted rather coyly at potential federal involvement in efforts to defeat the amendment. He told reporters that while the DEA would not campaign against the amendment, the agency would help by "providing information" to anti-amendment forces if asked. Some people mistakenly believe marijuana is harmless, Hutchinson said.

The next day, the Nevada District Attorney's Association joined the naysayers. At a meeting in Carson City, the prosecutors voted to oppose the constitutional amendment. Churchill County DA Arthur Mallory, president of the association, told the Las Vegas Sun prosecutors believe marijuana is a "gateway drug" that would lead youthful experimenters on to the hard stuff.

The prosecutors also resorted to an argument increasingly used against marijuana law reform measures: Such measures would conflict with federal law. "We would be tilting at windmills," said Mallory.

The local newspaper must have been listening. In an editorial the same day, the Nevada Appeal, based in Carson City, came out against the measure. Complaining that they were dizzied by "the speed with which pro-marijuana forces are trying to liberalize Nevada's drug laws," the editors called the initiative "a bad idea." Noting that they had opposed medical marijuana "because we feared it was the first step toward legalization" and they had opposed reducing simple possession from a felony to a misdemeanor because some users "can be a threat to the people around them," the editors now oppose this latest reform. "In addition to our basic belief that marijuana should remain a controlled substance, the proposal would allow for the possession of up to three ounces -- a substantial amount. Add to that the fact that marijuana possession remains a federal offense, and there are plenty of reasons for voters to turn down legalization of marijuana."

Not all the noise has been on the con-side, however. On July 7, the state's largest paper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, endorsed the initiative. And on Saturday, July 13, a Nevada state legislator, Chris Giunchigliani, who sponsored a successful bill last year to make simple possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony, argued in favor of the initiative in a debate on Fox News. The Review-Journal said the "measure offers Nevadans an opportunity to bring sanity to the state's overly burdensome drug enforcement policy. Appropriate penalties would remain for marijuana possession by minors, public use of the substance, and drivers who operate motor vehicles while impaired. But the measure would end the needless harassment of individuals who peacefully and privately use marijuana -- including seriously ill patients who should have some legal protection, not to mention peace of mind, because they're covered by the medical marijuana program."

While the opposition may have been caught napping during the initiative's signature-gathering campaign, now that the measure is on the ballot the forces of reaction are mobilizing. Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, the lead group behind the amendment, and their backers at the Marijuana Policy Project will have their work cut out for them in the next few months.

Read the Las Vegas Review-Journal endorsement editorial at: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jul-07-Sun-2002/opinion/19106421.html

Visit Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement at: http://www.nrle.org


4. Canadian Justice Minister Floats Decrim Trial Balloon, Takes Flack from All Sides

Canadian Justice Minister Maurice Cauchon, who only months ago claimed society wasn't ready for marijuana decriminalization, had a change of heart beginning late last week. Now Canada's equivalent of the Attorney General is planning to replace possible jail sentences and criminal records with fines for simple marijuana possession, according to leaks from Cauchon's inner circle reported last Saturday and confirmed by Cauchon himself early this week.

On July 12, "highly placed sources in the Justice Department" told Canada Press that Cauchon was considering decriminalization, but not legalization, and that trafficking would remain a criminal offense. Under the plan, small-time users would get fines similar to parking tickets and would avoid the court system. Cauchon may broach the subject at a meeting of the Canadian Bar in London, Ontario, next month, the sources said.

On Monday, Cauchon confirmed the Canada Press report. "There is discussion to find ways to be more efficient, more effective," he told the Ottawa Citizen. "We're not talking about making it legal, we're talking about the possibility of moving ahead with what we call decriminalization." The government is proposing removing marijuana possession from the Criminal Act and placing it under the less serious Contravention Act, he said.

Cauchon added that he was responding in part to reform moves in Great Britain, which announced a forthcoming effective decriminalization of marijuana, but he also cited inequities in the way current law treats marijuana offenders. Punishment varies from locale to locale, he said. "If you look at the system that we have in place, keeping it criminal, it's not very efficient. Depending where you are across Canada, they apply or they apply the legislation that we have."

Cauchon also remarked that he would make no move until consulting widely and hearing the recommendations of the Senate committee studying drug policy changes, which is widely expected to call for decriminalization. In a preliminary report issued in May, the committee found that between 30% and 50% of young Canadians (15-24 years old) had used marijuana and 30,000 were arrested and charged with simple possession annually (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/236.html#canadiansenate).

Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin, a key player in the policy debate as head of the committee, was one of the first to start slinging arrows at Cauchon's balloon. On July 12, he scoffed at the idea of fining marijuana users. "Most of those who are caught are young people and poor people," he told Canada Press. "But they don't pay their fines. And what happens when we don't pay our fines? We go to prison."

But while reform minded politicians such as Nolin are taking aim at Cauchon's proposal as a half-measure and a growing chorus, including the Canadian Medical Association, has called for decrim, Cauchon is facing potentially more significant opposition on the right -- and even within the federal cabinet. Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay raised a caution flag on Monday as he called for consultations with law enforcement before any reforms take place. "Drugs are a very serious problem in this country, and what we have to do is do what's right and make sure we have the proper rules and laws in place," said MacAulay. "Law enforcement is quite concerned about the drug problem in this country, and they'll certainly be involved too before any changes are made."

The Canadian Police Association chimed in as well, saying it would fight any attempt to decriminalize what they call the "gateway drug." Grant Obst, head of the group, told the Citizen police needed the threat of criminal charges against users in their battle against marijuana traffickers. "It sort of gives you the hammer," said Obst, a Saskatoon police officer. "I really hope we get to consult with the minister before any dramatic moves are made in this regard."

The behemoth to the south will also play a role. US drug warriors are already threatening dire consequences were Canada to have the gall to diverge from Washington's drug policy dogma. According to a Saturday report in the Toronto Globe and Mail, members of the Senate committee exploring drug policy were told by US Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) that Canada would proceed with decrim at its peril. Members said Souder's message was clear: "Proceed and we'll crack down even more on your borders." Members also told the Globe and Mail that Souder told them BC Bud, the premium marijuana that made British Columbia famous, is as dangerous as cocaine. Drug czar John Walters, during a June visit to Quebec City, diplomatically maintained that Canada is a "sovereign nation," but also chided his hosts, saying Canada should be targeting marijuana, not decriminalizing it.

But if the wishes of the US weigh on Canadians, so does resentment at its heavy-handed tactics. Member of Parliament Libby Davies (Vancouver-New Democrat), who sits on the drug policy committee and attended the meeting with Souder told the Globe and Mail, "I thought, 'My God, what is this man talking about?' We can't be subservient to the ridiculous rhetoric coming out of the United States."

The debate in Canada will only intensify in coming months. Sen. Nolin's committee is expected to issue its final report calling for decriminalization on September 4. All hell should break loose after that.


5. Barcelona Conference Hears Link Between AIDS and Injection Drug Use -- Clinton Regrets Not Lifting Ban, Bush to Keep It

Needle exchange programs (NEP) got a prominent hearing at last week's global conference on AIDS in Barcelona -- and with good reason. With researchers telling the conference that needle-sharing by hard drug users is fueling a fast-spreading outbreak of the disease in Eastern Europe and Asia, delegates paid close attention to accounts of NEPS that had worked to reduce infection rates in other countries. The NEP cause also got a boost -- belated but still welcome -- from former President Bill Clinton, who told the conference he was wrong to bar the use of federal funds for NEPs -- but the Bush administration appeared determined to keep the ban in place.

In a July 9 presentation, AIDS researcher Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, who directs the Open Society Institute's AIDS program, riveted delegates with a blunt speech warning of the spread of AIDS. "Central Asia is a bomb waiting to explode," she said, adding that nearly 850,000 Russians and 250,000 Ukrainians have the AIDS virus. Russia has the highest increase in the rate of infection, she said, while the Ukraine boasts Europe's highest infection rate. According to Malinowska-Sempruch, the great majority of these AIDS cases are occurring among injection drug users or their partners and children.

Other researchers reported drug-related AIDS outbreaks spreading along the heroin routes of Asia from Afghanistan to Burma. Four million people are now infected in India, said the researchers, while AIDS rates are approaching 70% among Chinese heroin users.

"The world celebrated with us when the Berlin Wall fell and then left us alone to deal with the consequences," Malinowska-Sempruch told the delegates. "AIDS and drug use are the issues that will define whether or not we reverse the tide of economic and social disruption in this generation. If the world is unable or unwilling to turn its attention to this region and offer help, the consequences will be horrific."

Activists also heard from countries where NEPs have had success, with host country Spain providing some relevant examples. Dr. Joan Colom, regional director of Spain's Public Health Drug Addicts and AIDS department, told delegates that his country's integrated approach to NEPs, which includes a variety of social services as well as free needles, helped combat the spread of the disease in Spain. "We have changed Spain's situation enormously," said Dr. Colom. "Our goal is to connect with the drug addict and avoid the most negatives consequences if it's not possible to treat them."

More than 130,000 Spaniards suffer from AIDS, with most of them having been infected by dirty needles, said Dr. Colom. But although the country still registers 2,500 to 3,000 new cases each year, the number of new cases has dropped dramatically since the inception of the NEPs, and drug-related cases now account for less than half of new cases.

If Spanish and other researchers provided an example of effective medical intervention, former US President Bill Clinton provided an example of political cowardice too late overcome by remorse. Addressing delegates on July 11, Clinton said he should have fought to lift the federal funding ban for NEPs. "I think I was wrong about that," he said. "We were worried about drug use going up again in America." Besides, Clinton added, Barry McCaffrey told him fighting drug use was more important than saving junkies from AIDS.

And if Clinton provided an example of expediency, his successors in the Bush administration provided an example of drug war dogma overriding sensible, scientifically proven harm reduction measures. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson took his turn addressing the conference to reiterate the Bush administration's decision to keep the federal NEP funding ban in place.

Someone should have told one of Thompson's underlings to get on the same page. At the same time Thompson was standing firm against NEPs, Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, deputy HIV chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was singing a different tune. Although not explicitly mentioning NEPs, Valdiserri called for increased prevention efforts. "That makes the case for prevention stronger than ever," said Valdiserri, referring to the continued spread of the disease. "We have to be careful not to let prevention be overshadowed by the significant treatment issues. Let's reinvigorate our efforts and approach this epidemic the way we did in the 1980s and 1990s, where we did see a tremendous change in behavior and decreases in transmission," he said.

For more information on the Barcelona conference, visit the Harm Reduction Coalition's "non-comprehensive, un-chronological, randomized sampling of news and medical reports" at http://www.harmreduction.org/issues/health/aids_conf_2002.html online.

Visit http://www.dogwoodcenter.org for extensive information on needle exchange.


6. New York Marijuana Reform Party in Petition Drive to Win Ballot Status

New York's Marijuana Reform Party (http://www.marijuanareform.org) is two weeks into a six-week effort to gather enough signatures from registered voters for the party to gain status as a recognized political party that will appear on all New York election ballots for at least the next four years. The group has until August 20 to gather 50,000 signatures, and the shoestring effort could use some help, said MRP leader and gubernatorial candidate Tom Leighton.

"We have teams statewide, maybe 50 or 60 people altogether, out gathering signatures," Leighton told DRCNet, "but we need help. Contact us to help gather signatures or to send money. Time goes by quickly and we only have a month left," said Leighton.

While the rule of thumb for gathering voter signatures is to aim to exceed the required number by 50% in order to account for invalid signatures, the MRP is seeking to double the number of signatures it collects. "We face a certain challenge from the New York Green Party," said Leighton, citing previous efforts by Greens to challenge the MRP's signatures and ballot status. "If we can double the number, maybe they won't bother to challenge because they will see it won't matter."

Leighton told DRCNet that financial support for the MRP within the drug reform movement was nil. "We haven't received one ounce or penny of support from the national drug reform movement," Leighton lamented, "nor much interest. And that is a shame, because a small injection of money here could be a big step for the movement. What we're doing doesn't cost near as much as what an initiative does -- you could bring New York in for a pittance -- and you could get a drug reform party on the ballot, gaining more and more votes, moving forward and actually effecting change," said Leighton.

Leighton argues that a small, single-issue party makes sense in the context of New York's electoral laws, which allows candidates to be listed by more than one party and the votes from different parties tallied together to craft a winning margin. Under this unique electoral scheme, third or minor parties have provided a margin of victory for candidates in several recent elections. As a result, small parties can assume the role of courted partner and sometimes even kingmaker in state elections.

"There is a role for minor parties in New York," said Leighton. "I came to this as an electoral activist, and the MRP is serious political party. We're not here to waste our time on a futile exercise." One tack the MRP is taking this year is broadening its base by making repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws one of its two primary projects. The other is medical marijuana in New York City. "By campaigning on the Rockefeller laws and medical marijuana, we are hoping to make this a sort of popular referendum. A vote for us is a vote for medical marijuana and/or a vote for Rocky repeal," said Leighton.

"Although we have a marijuana leaf as our symbol, we're not only interested in ending marijuana prohibition. We oppose the criminal justice approach to drugs; public health is the way to go. With the MRP we can create a political party that is a base for all sorts of drug reform," said Leighton.

The MRP has only a month left in its signature gathering campaign. By August 21, we will know whether Leighton's low-budget, all-volunteer effort will have been enough.


7. "We're Your Good Neighbors. We Smoke Pot" -- Jeff and Tracy One Year Later

special to DRCNet, by Steve Beitler

"We never set out to be full-time activists," says Tracy Johnson, but she and her husband Jeff Jarvis have lately looked the part. They recently passed the first anniversary of their very public self-outing as marijuana smokers, an act that catapulted them to prominence on a thinly populated frontier of the reform effort. A year ago, Johnson and Jarvis stepped forward and said out loud what many people have known for a long time: millions of adults are using marijuana responsibly right here in Fortress America and around the world (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/192.html#neighbors).

During the 12 months since then, the self-employed Portland, OR, couple has worked to upgrade the image of cannabis users, and now they've decided that laughter can help end prohibition. They're part of a small group of reformers that is getting more vocal in taking on the "pothead loser" myth.

Jeff and Tracy's odyssey began when newspapers in Willamette (Oregon), Seattle and San Francisco ran their ads that featured an arresting tag line: "We're Jeff and Tracy. We're your good neighbors. We smoke pot." They wanted to inform (or remind) people that millions of highly productive citizens enjoy the weed. "We were hoping to inspire others like us to do something similar to what we did," Johnson said.

The ads ran only after seven radio stations, Portland's mass transit agency and the Oregonian newspaper said "no thanks" to their 30-second radio spots and print ads. The ads, and the story of their torturous course into print, kicked up a media storm in Oregon and pushed them to the front of a small group of marijuana users who have come out of a jam-packed closet.

Johnson and Jarvis went on talk radio, spoke with journalists and heard from a lot of still-closeted folks. Energized by this response, they announced plans for POTAid, "the un-hippy, no pot leaf, non tie-dyed, come out of the closet so you can be free concert." The goal was to bring 100,000 people to Oregon for a music-and-comedy bash that could raise a million dollars that they would distribute to drug policy reform groups.

The newly minted activists set September 2002 as the concert date, but plans foundered. "The talent hangs on the funding and the funding hangs on the talent," Johnson said, and they had trouble getting past that closed loop. Other ideas included a public-service announcement for television with the theme, "Who do you know who smokes pot?" They worked to recruit professional people to be in the ad.

Today, Johnson and Jarvis have moved back to Portland from Bend, Oregon, in part "because of our desire to become more actively involved in our 'Jeff and Tracy' activities," reports Johnson. POTaid is on a back burner, but the couple is "still very excited about the concept and [we] anticipate moving towards bringing that to fruition in the future."

These days they are working to stage PottyMouth, a comedy competition scheduled for October 19 at Portland's Roseland Theater. "PottyMouth will be well advertised," says Jarvis. "Laughter bridges generational, cultural and political differences. If we can recoup our expenses through ticket sales, we will have generated a lot of publicity at no cost. PottyMouth is our way of challenging a public policy that offensively defines one in three adults as criminal." Some might question the event's subtitle -- Laughing Away the DEA -- as a tough sell for people more directly victimized by the drug war, but it's in keeping with their goal of reaching people whose image of marijuana users is inaccurate.

Not surprisingly, Tracy and Jeff have networked with other reformers. "Their work is part of a powerful consumer movement that is gradually gaining momentum," commented Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org). "They provide us an example of wonderfully creative grassroots activism that should be emulated by other activists all across this country."

Johnson and Jarvis have also been in touch with Mikki Norris, who launched the Cannabis Consumers Campaign (http://www.cannabisconsumers.org) earlier this year. "I appreciate what they did," said Norris. "It was a great media ploy, and courageous too. It's time for people to take zero tolerance personally." Norris said she had spotted the most sincere form of flattery in an ad that read, "We're Mike and Jenny. We're your good neighbors. We eat beef."

So what's next for the good neighbors? Their first goal is to sell out the Roseland's 900 seats and 200 standing-room slots for PottyMouth. Beyond that, Johnson and Jarvis want to take another run at POTAid as well as at the small screen. "Television is queen," notes Johnson, "so we definitely have our long-term vision set in that direction. We want to pursue other creative endeavors in an effort to increase awareness in the mainstream." At press time they had been contacted by a producer for "The Rob Nelson Show," a FOX daytime talk show slated to debut in the fall. "We don't have the details yet, but they said they'd like to have us on the show," Johnson said.

As Jarvis told Heads magazine, "What makes us controversial isn't that we advocate smoking pot. It's that we don't fit the government-sponsored image of the drug user." In helping people understand that, they're working on behalf of what a writer for the San Diego Union Tribune described as "a vast underground of otherwise upstanding citizens secretly subverting the nation's drug laws."

Visit the good neighbors at http://www.jeffandtracy.com online.


8. Alert: DEA Moves to Schedule 2C-T-7

The US Drug Enforcement Administration published notice on July 18 that it intends to move the drugs 2C-T-7, BZP and TFMPP into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, banned for any use. 2C-T-7 is being scheduled pursuant to the DEA's emergency scheduling powers, meaning that the scheduling could take effect in as early as August 17.

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies are examining the factual basis of the DEA's action, and is seeking corrections to the DEA's notice, supported by scientific citations. Information can be sent to [email protected] or via fax to (530) 750-7912.

Visit http://www.alchemind.org/DLL/2ct7_alert.htm for further information, including the full text of the DEA notice on 2C-T-7.


9. Newsbrief: Cow Dung Sniffers Have Malaysian Authorities Confounded

Malaysia, home to some of the world's stiffest anti-drug laws, is finding that its efforts to suppress drug use are creating new, unforeseen problems. According to a report in the Australian News, Malaysian drug addicts unable to find their medicine are sniffing fresh cow dung to get high.

A Malaysian narcotics official told the News that dung-sniffing is a growing problem among drug users who cannot find or afford to buy drugs -- typically opiates or methamphetamines. While the resort to sniffing cow shit raises eyebrows, addicts looking for a high are also turning to solvents, glues even polystyrene smoke.

"The cow dung emits gases like sulfur, and addicts sniff on these gases to get high," the narcotics official told the News. "The problem is not very serious yet, but we are worried as this method means addicts can get high for free."

Doubtless the government and press attention to the practice will serve to inform other "at risk" groups of this novel use for dung -- creating even more cause for worry, hence more attention, leading to more popularization, etc.

Aside from its ubiquity and lack of expense, sniffing cow dung also has the advantage of not being illegal. Under Malaysian laws, drug traffickers face death by hanging, and users face coerced treatment, prison sentences up to 13 years and whippings.

Perhaps authorities can discourage dung sniffing by promoting vegetarianism.


10. Newsbrief: Baltimore Homicides Continue, More Juveniles Dying Than Before

Sixteen juveniles have been murdered in Baltimore within the first six months of this year, the Baltimore Sun reported on Thursday. Last year the number at the half year mark was nine and the year before it was eight, only half the number for this year. Nonfatal shootings of juveniles, however, have dropped from 60 to 39. Eighty percent of homicides in Baltimore are linked to the illicit, unregulated drug trade, according to the Baltimore Police Department.

A study by the city health commissioner, Dr. Peter Beilenson, revealed detailed demographics about 34 recent juvenile homicide victims. All were African-American, and the average victim was a 16-year old, arrested for the first time at the age of 12 ½ years, with a total of five arrests.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley plans to put pressure on juvenile probation officers and mentoring services to increase activity and is discontent with the city's schools' inability to track truancy, the Sun reported. The BPD said that more killings are being done at point-blank range, indicating targeted killings linked to the open-air drug trade that is so widespread in Baltimore.

The total number of homicides in Baltimore for this year came to 139 people as of Thursday, a dismaying figure considering O'Malley's goal of drastically reducing murders to 175 this year. This puts the city on track to easily top 250 murders by the end of the year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration claims that Baltimore leads the nation in heroin use and having one of the most severe crack cocaine problems in the United States. DEA also estimates (perhaps dubiously) that 10% of Baltimore's 600,000 residents are addicted to drugs. Baltimore's problems have recently been publicized nationally through the books and mini-series "The Corner" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets," along with the current HBO series "Wired."

Baltimore has also invested in drug treatment programs, and Beilenson considers it one of the best investments the city has made. A study of 1,000 patients found treatment to have reduced criminal activity in participants by 64%, cocaine use by 48% and heroin use by 69%, one year after treatment, and also found a $200 increase in monthly income and reduced injection drug use. The city is pushing for funds that would allow it to offer treatment to 8,400 people, a 15% increase from current capacity.


11. Newsbrief: Noelle Bush Imprisoned

Noelle Bush, daughter of Florida governor Jeb Bush, was jailed for three days for contempt of court this week, according to local and national press reports. A drug court judge ruled that she failed to comply with the drug treatment program to which she was committed in January for attempting to obtain Xanax from a pharmacy with a forged prescription pad. This could likely affect the dismissal of her charges in lieu of treatment.

Gov. Bush, a long-time drug war advocate, responded with a "tough love" approach toward his wayward daughter and reiterated his support for a criminal justice approach to drug problems. In a press release distributed by e-mail on Wednesday, Gov. Bush wrote:

"My family is saddened to share that our daughter Noelle has not abided by the conditions of her drug court treatment plan. Unfortunately, this happens to many individuals even as they continue their journey to full recovery. There are consequences for every action we take in our lives, and as her parents, Columba and I wish we could have prevented our daughter from making the wrong choices. We love Noelle, but she is an adult, and I respect the role of the courts in carrying out our state's drug treatment policies."

But while Gov. Bush is willing to hold to his drug warrior views even when it is his own daughter who suffers, that doesn't make it good or smart policy.


12. Media Scan: Time Magazine on The Philippines

Time magazine reports on the over-the-top form of violent zero tolerance adopted by one Philippines city:
http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501020701-265480,00.html


13. The Reformer's Calendar

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

August 12-16, 8:30am-noon, Oakland, CA, Summer Seminar in Political Economy, student session open to non-students, sponsored by The Independent Institute. Registration $175, includes books and refreshements, one unit of college credit available at extra cost, contact (510) 632-1366 or [email protected] or visit http://www.independent.org/tii/students/SummerSeminar.html for further information.

August 17-18, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, Seattle Hempfest. At Myrtle Edwards Park, Pier 70, call (206) 781-5734, e-mail [email protected] or contact http://www.seattlehempfest.com for further information.

August 21st, Portland, OR, "Media Awareness Forum," featuring KOIN TV-6 anchor Reed Coleman and conservative radio talk show host Lars Larson discussing how drug reform advocates about increasing the quality and quantity of local news coverage. Visit http://www.jeffandtracy.com or call (503) 605-5182 for info.

August 24-29, Lagos, Nigeria, "Tenth International Conference on Penal Abolition." Contact Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) at 234-(0)1-4971356-8 or [email protected], Rittenhouse: A New Vision of Transformative Justice at (416) 972-9992 or [email protected], or visit http://www.interlog.com/~ritten/ for further information.

September 4-6, Missoula, MT, First Annual Montana Drug Policy Summit. At the University of Montana, speakers to include Dr. Ethan Russo of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Cliff Thornton of Efficacy, Scott Crichton of the Montana ACLU, Ron Mann director of the movie "Grass," Missoula attorney John Smith and others. For further info, contact [email protected].

September 8-11, Chicago, IL, "Racial Justice Leadership Institute," seminar sponsored by the Applied Research Center. Limited to 30 participants, application deadline August 5, visit http://www.arc.org/action_ed/ for further information, or contact Terry Keleher at (773) 278-4800 x162 or [email protected].

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.

September 30-October 1, Washington, DC, "National Symposium on Felony Disenfranchisement," conference sponsored by The Sentencing Project. Admission free, advance registration required, visit http://www.sentencingproject.org or call (202) 628-0871 for further information.

October 7-9, San Diego, CA, "Inside-Out: Fostering Healthy Outcomes for the Incarcerated and Their Families." Contact Stacey Shank of Centerforce at (559) 241-6162 for information. October 19, Portland, OR, "PottyMouth Comedy Competition: Flushing Away the DEA," $5,000 first prize. Visit http://www.jeffandtracy.com or call (503) 605-5182 for info.

November 6-8, 2002, St. Louis, MO, "2nd North American Conference on Fathers Behind Bars and on the Street." Call (434) 589-3036, e-mail [email protected] or visit http:/www.fcnetwork.org for information.

November 8-10, Anaheim, CA, combined national conference of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Marijuana Policy Project. Early bird registration $150, $45 for students with financial need, visit http://www.mpp.org/conference/ for further information.

November 9, Anaheim, CA, Bill Maher benefit show for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Marijuana Policy Project. Admission $50, or $1,000 VIP package including front-row seat and private reception with Bill Maher. Visit http://www.mpp.org/conference/ for further information.

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

April 6-10, 2003, Chiangmai, Thailand, "Strengthening Partnerships for a Safer Future," 14th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm, sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Coalition in partnership with the Asian Harm Reduction Network. For further information, visit http://www.ihrc2003.net or contact [email protected] or (6653) 223624, 894112 x102.


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