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

Issue #250, 8/16/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. A Message to Our Readers: 250 Issues of The Week Online
  2. US Seeks Civil Injunction Against Lakota Hemp Grower, Supporters Celebrate Successful Harvest
  3. DRCNet Interview: Jack Cole, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
  4. Initiatives Heat Up I: Tumultuous Week in Nevada, Cops Flip-Flop on Endorsement, Resort to Bald-Faced Lies
  5. Initiatives Heat Up II: Storm Clouds over Ohio
  6. Initiatives Heat Up III: Michigan Governor Flails and Fails in Anti-Initiative Move
  7. Initiatives Heat Up IV: DC "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Makes November Ballot, Excludes Marijuana, Heroin, Psychedelics
  8. Initiatives Heat Up V: Arizona to Vote on Marijuana Decrim, Much More
  9. Initiatives Heat Up VI: DC Board of Elections Rejected Thousands of Valid Signatures, MPP Challenging
  10. Newsbrief: Afghan Heroin Labs Reappear
  11. Newsbrief: Grateful Dead Reunion Just Like Old Days -- Many Arrested
  12. Newsbrief: NJ Bans Devices That Defeat Drug Tests
  13. Newsbrief: East Europe Teens Catching Up to West in Drug Use
  14. Newsbrief: DARE Axed in Cincy -- Dayton Next?
  15. Newsbrief: Canada Judge Rips DEA Law Violations
  16. Newsbrief: NORML Not Allowed at Indiana State Fair
  17. Newsbrief: Infected Needles, Alcoholism Lead to Increased Liver Damage, Deaths in England, Study Finds
  18. Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision
  19. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. A Message to Our Readers: 250 Issues of The Week Online

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 8/16/02

This week, DRCNet's The Week Online newsletter reaches its 250th issue. The Week Online began publishing just over five years ago (July 1997). Much has changed during that time, much has stayed the same.

In 1997, there were zero governors of US states who would speak seriously about drug legalization in public. But in 1999, two of them cropped up -- New Mexico's Gary Johnson and Minnesota's Jesse Ventura. Opposition to the drug war in its current form has grown in conservative and progressive circles alike -- from Washington think tanks to the Congressional Black Caucus, awareness of the adverse impact of current anti-drug policies is taking greater and greater prominence in insider discussions and to some extent in policy deliberations. Before 1997, two major drug reform ballot initiatives had been approved by voters -- medical marijuana in California and shifting away from a criminal justice approach in Arizona. By 2002, there have been well over ten.

In 1997, there was no drug provision of the Higher Education Act; federal financial aid for college was based on need, not the presence or absence of past drug offenses. In 1998, that law passed, and by fall 2002 we have seen the law partially implemented for one school year and fully implemented for another -- over 47,000 students lost aid last school year alone. But the intervening years have also seen Students for Sensible Drug Policy spring up in response and grow to over 200 chapters, and have seen support for the Frank repeal bill grow to reach 67 cosponsors -- not enough yet to take it off the books but getting there.

In 1997, Dorothy Gaines and Kemba Smith were in prison, serving 20+ year terms for nothing and next to nothing. By the end of 2000, they and a handful of Americans serving similarly unjust drug sentences were released by the outgoing president. But 2000 also saw Todd McCormick imprisoned and Peter McWilliams dead. Pardons and commutations are better than nothing, but they are not a solution. We have to stop the drug war as a whole.

And stopping it couldn't be more urgent. Between each successive issue of the Week Online, US police forces arrest 28,000 people for nonviolent drug offenses. Each day that goes by is another day that half a million drug offenders languish in our nation's prisons and jails. And all the harms that prohibition worsens or creates -- street crime, hepatitis and HIV, civil war in Colombia, denial of medicine, erosion of civil liberties and human rights, many, many more -- all of these continue to wreak their terrible toll, devastating communities, tearing apart families, ending or ruining lives.

At 23,000 subscribers, DRCNet and this newsletter are making more of an impact than ever. We are advancing drug reform legislation on Capitol Hill, we are forging global coalitions against prohibition, we are empowering the writing and speaking of activists and raising awareness in the media through education, we are steering people to events and activities in their communities where they can be of help. This is all possible because you had the interest and motivation to subscribe, to read and to get involved.

But more is needed. If each of our readers recruited one other person to the list, that 23,000 would turn into 46,000 -- a formidable grassroots assembly indeed. Could it happen? Why not send out a few e-mails to your friends and families and find out.

In the meantime, I hope you will read issue #250 and then go out and talk about drug policy with the unconverted or unrecruited. And if you wish to delve further into the trials and tribulations of the past five years, I hope you'll check out the Week Online archive page at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/archives.html online. I think you'll agree with me when I say that the record shows both pain and hope -- and I hope you'll agree that if the political currents seem to be against us, the undercurrents are definitely moving in our direction. The next five years will be important ones in the struggle against prohibition and the war on drugs -- and that struggle is stronger for your participation in it. Thank you for your support; now on to bigger and better victories!


2. US Seeks Civil Injunction Against Lakota Hemp Grower, Supporters Celebrate Successful Harvest

Like the Man of La Mancha, only tilting at hemp stalks instead of windmills, the US Justice Department has struck once again at Alex White Plume, a Lakota hemp grower on the Oglala Sioux Nation's Pine Ridge Reservation in stark western South Dakota. For the last three years, White Plume and others have planted hemp crops in defiance of federal law, but in compliance with the laws of the Oglala Sioux Nation, which has asserted the right as a sovereign nation to decide what crops could be grown on its land. In 2000 and 2001, White Plume's crop was destroyed by armed state and federal agents, but this year White Plume beat them to the punch, harvesting ahead of schedule in late July (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/249.html#lakotahemp).

On August 9, the feds struck back. Western South Dakota Assistant US Attorney Mark Vargo filed a petition in federal civil court in Rapid City asking for a temporary restraining order and ultimately a permanent injunction barring White Plume, his son Percy, and "their agents, servants, assigns, attorneys, and all others acting in concert with the named Defendant" from growing industrial hemp -- an enterprise it described as the "ongoing manufacture, possession and distribution of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, and possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture and distribute the substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec.841(a)(1); and defendants Alexander 'Alex' White Plume, Percy White Plume and all those acting in concert with those named Defendants' ongoing conspiracy to violate the Act, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 846."

The temporary restraining order was granted Tuesday, and the White Plumes will appear to argue their case in federal court on October 1st. The move already spoiled the White Plume's Thursday harvest celebration and delivery of contracted hemp to the Madison Hemp and Flex Company of Lexington, KY, on the Pine Ridge. But the fight will go on, said South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council (http://www.sodakhemp.org) director Bob Newland. "We have three days to present evidence, and we will be bringing in experts to argue that industrial hemp is a legal crop," he told DRCNet.

While some observers initially viewed the move as a possible retreat by the feds, the US Attorney's choice of civil proceedings over criminal charges may be a means of attempting to effectively shut down the White Plumes' hemp operation without suffering the political fallout attendant to trying to throw a Native American traditionalist in federal prison for ten years for growing a crop grown around the world.

It is also an issue on the ballot in South Dakota this year in the form of Initiative Measure One, the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Act, a model of brevity which asks voters to vote on the following proposition, reproduced here in its entirety: "Any person may plant, cultivate, harvest, possess, process, transport, sell, or buy industrial hemp (cannabis) or any of its by-products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of one percent or less."

"The government is seeking injunctive relief because it's quick and efficient," wrote Paul Grant, an attorney for the Colorado Hemp Industry Project (http://www.levellers.org/cohip/). "The judge decides whether to issue the injunctions and is not likely to 'nullify.' Assume the injunctions will issue," Grant explained. Once the injunctions are issued, he argued, any further hemp growing activities would violate the injunctions and become contempt of court. A judge could then punish the White Plumes with up to six months in prison without further review, Grant argued. "Pretty neat, huh! No grand jury indictments, no jury trial, just proceedings before a judge."

"It's obvious that the government is taking this new tack because they don't want any citizen review boards sitting in judgment on their actions," said Newland. "It's what they did in California with the medical marijuana and you can see it in their motion, with all the references to the Oakland Cannabis Co-op case," he told DRCNet. Another South Dakota initiative would affirm the right of jury members to nullify laws to which they are morally opposed.

Still, the harvest celebration went off as scheduled, minus the hemp delivery, which was barred by the temporary restraining order issued Tuesday. "There were about 50 people, mainly from the rez, but also from Madison Hemp, and some Europeans who were filming it all," said Newland. "There was a nice little ceremony, and then about ten of us went off and harvested hemp in violation of the order for the cameras. Alex used a wooden hemp break to break the stalks to free the fiber, then used a hemp comb to pull out some fiber," he continued. "It fell on the ground, but the kids picked it up and quickly braided it into a bracelet."

The US Attorney's petition for the temporary restraining order and permanent injunction make interesting reading and are available at http://www.sodakhemp.org/summons.htm online.


3. DRCNet Interview: Jack Cole, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

The police are supposed to be the front-line warriors in the drug war, so when law enforcement figures defect from prohibitionist orthodoxy, as has prominently been the case with former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara and former New Haven Police Chief Nicolas Pastore, their arguments are especially forceful. The emergence of a new group of law enforcement drug war dissidents, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc), thus marks an important crack in the solid wall of police support for the drug war. Formed in March, LEAP brings together a small core of former and current law officers on a mission to end the drug war by bringing their hard-earned street credibility to the reform cause. DRCNet spoke with LEAP executive director Jack Cole this week.

Week Online: How did you go from drug warrior to drug war critic?

Jack Cole: I guess you could say I had always been driven by an impulse toward harm reduction, though that wasn't a term I'd even heard of back then. I joined the New Jersey State Police because I couldn't stand those images of police beating civil rights demonstrators, and I wanted to do policing to serve the community. As a cop, I saw the damage that drug abuse was doing to the community, so I joined the state narcotics bureau to fight that terrible scourge.

I did not have a sophisticated analysis of prohibition back then, although I very quickly began to understand that our "war on drugs" was a cruel, corrupting charade. We would arrest drug users on the street, but claim they were dealers. We would make people become informers for us to avoid their own drug charges. As an undercover cop, I had a career that consisted of becoming people's friend, their closest confidante, then betraying them, over and over again. And I came to see the "war on drugs" as racist. And futile.

When Richard Nixon declared the "war on drugs" in 1970, law enforcement had no idea how to stop drug abuse, but it certainly knew how to go after the money. We had seven narcotics officers for the entire state of New Jersey, but after Nixon's anti-drug grants, it shot up to 76. So we arrested people, going from town to town and making buys from everyone we could, then swooping in for mass arrests. But when we arrested a drug dealer, all we did was create a job opening for the next guy. In the meantime, lives are being ruined, families destroyed when drug users are sent to jail, we were virtually creating the next generation of addicts.

By 1973, I had concluded that the small amount of harm I prevented by arresting drug users was far outweighed by the harm I was causing to countless people. "Zero tolerance" prohibition was senseless and doomed to failure, I decided. I'm sorry to say that I continued to work narcotics for years after that realization, for reasons that have little to do with courage.

WOL: Surely rank and file police officers share this sense of futility you describe. What is it that keeps law enforcement from becoming a force for reform?

Cole: Many officers have told me, in classrooms or in private, that they see the uselessness and destructiveness of our drug war. But there are also a number of reasons why many police continue to support it. One reason I stayed at it was the sheer excitement of it. I was always working bigger and bigger cases, always looking for the stimulation and excitement. It was almost addicting and there was very much an element of the thrill of the chase. It's intoxicating to go up against very smart people and beat them at their own game. There is that element. And you have to understand that most police in this country are doing what's called community oriented policing, and most communities want the drug dealing and associated street crime cleaned up. The police are doing what they think the community wants.

There is also self-interest. The "war on drugs" is a seemingly endless source of funds for law enforcement. There are jobs at stake. And there is fear. Taking a public stand for ending the drug war could cost you your job in any number of departments in this county and subject you to disapproval from your peers in many more.

WOL: That must make it tough to get new recruits?

Cole: We recognize that problem and we address it. Members of law enforcement can join our organization anonymously, and we are very careful to ensure that their information is secure. We are also working on an anonymous electronic chat program that would allow police to enter discussions without revealing their identities. We hope to have that up and running soon.

WOL: What does LEAP hope to accomplish, and how will you go about doing it?

Cole: We want to end prohibition --

WOL: The group takes an explicit stand for ending prohibition?

Cole: Look at the name. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. In our mission statement, we write that "the United States' drug policies have failed and that to save lives, lower the rate of addiction and conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition." It's pretty clear. Right now, we are attempting to move in that direction primarily through our speakers' bureau. We have former New York police captain and ReconsiDer member Peter Christ, former Michigan police officer Howard Wooldridge, former Detroit police officer Dan Solano, and Colorado Sheriff Bill Masters (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/220.html#billmasters) and myself. It is a process of educating people, and between us we've given hundreds of speeches. We will continue to educate and continue to try to attract new members from the ranks of law enforcement. We know they're out there.

But we also want to restore respect for law enforcement. Our involvement in enforcing drug prohibition has only diminished respect for police. And, ultimately, we want to reduce the harm imposed by prohibition.

WOL: What about what happened in Nevada last week? Andy Anderson, the head of the state's largest police union organization, lost his job after he engineered a board vote in favor of marijuana legalization.

Cole: That was a real mess. Clearly, we have a ways to go. But the fact that they were ready to endorse that measure shows that law enforcement is not monolithic on this.


4. Initiatives Heat Up I: Tumultuous Week in Nevada, Cops Flip-Flop on Endorsement, Resort to Bald-Faced Lies

The Nevada initiative that would remove all criminal penalties for the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana hit the national spotlight last weekend as Nevada police organizations flip-flopped on endorsing the measure. Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement (http://www.nrle.org) had scored a major coup last Tuesday when it secured the endorsement of the Nevada Council of Police and Sheriffs (NCOPS), the largest police union organization in the state (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/249.html#nevada). The endorsement led to a spate of national television and radio programs featuring the Nevada initiative. But it also led in short order to a rebellion in the NCOPS ranks, followed by the forced resignation of NCOPS head Andy Anderson and a withdrawal of the endorsement.

While the loss of the NCOPS endorsement is a blow to the initiative campaign, the groups who seem to have really lost credibility are Nevada police organizations, which have revealed themselves to be badly split on the issue. And some police spokesmen are so bent out of shape over the initiative that they have resorted to repeated verifiable lies in the national media.

"In one week, Nevada police have gone from Robocop to Keystone cops," said NRLE spokesman Billy Rogers. "NCOPS has totally destroyed the credibility of its organization. "People who voted for the endorsement now claim they were confused, but they knew what they were voting for. Some of them have told me that they knew what the initiative does and that they privately still support it. There is no doubt the NCOPS board supported this, but sadly, they succumbed to political pressure."

That pressure came largely from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and the Clark County (Las Vegas) District Attorney's office, both of which screamed to high heaven that the NCOPS vote did not represent the wishes of its members.

"We still come out ahead," said Rogers. "A month ago, most people and most pundits would have thought that law enforcement was unanimously opposed to our initiative. The fact that law enforcement is split on this is a victory for us. We believe that even in law enforcement, there is a silent majority that doesn't want to keep on arresting people for marijuana possession."

While Bruce Mirken, director of communications for NRLE's parent group, the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), was not quite as sanguine as Rogers, he also saw the endorsement brouhaha as more damaging to police than to the initiative effort. "The endorsement flip-flop was not what we would have hoped for," Mirken conceded, "and it is still an open question as to whether it seriously damages the campaign. But Andy Anderson made a very credible case in the local and national media as to why this makes sense from a law enforcement perspective. We have established that this is open to discussion in law enforcement circles, and that's progress."

The increased attention spawned by the NCOPS battle has also meant that opponents are beginning to both organize themselves and zero-in on perceived flaws in the initiative. One angle of attack has been to denounce the initiative's language barring "driving dangerously" under the influence of marijuana as allowing people to drive while high. A second is the specter of the federal bogeyman stepping in because the initiative would require the state of Nevada to create a system of regulated marijuana distribution, thereby setting up a potential conflict with federal drug prohibition.

Rogers addressed both issues with DRCNet. "The initiative requires the legislature to provide and maintain penalties for driving dangerously under the influence," he said. "It does not bar the legislature from making a law against driving under the influence. When you don't have the facts on your side, you lie, and that's what opponents are doing on this issue."

As for a possible federal intervention in the event that the initiative passes (and passes again in 2004, as required by Nevada law), Rogers scoffed. "The drug czar came here and said Nevadans could make their own laws, that the feds would not make arrests for small amounts of marijuana. That makes sense. It is a matter of priorities, even for the feds," he argued. "And I think the legislature can come up with a program to allow distribution and the feds won't interfere. This will not be a piece of legislation, like California's medical marijuana law, but part of the Nevada constitution. We think the Nevada constitution trumps federal law, but the real question is: Is the federal government going to waste its resources to try to stop people from obtaining small amounts of marijuana through a regulated system?"

Perhaps Rogers is optimistic, especially given recent federal actions against medical marijuana distribution in California and the standard "we will enforce the law" mouthings from DEA spokespersons, but the impact of the federal intervention argument on voters remains to be seen. The most recent polls had the initiative in a dead heat, but that was before both the police endorsement and its withdrawal.

And while the opposition is gearing up, NRLE and MPP are keeping a sharp eye out for possible illegal campaigning and other shoddy tricks. They don't have to look too far. When Clark County DA Gary Booker and Las Vegas narcotics detective Lt. Todd Raybuck appeared on national TV waving bags of confiscated marijuana, campaign organizers were quick to take them to task for it.

"There are a few rogue elements in the police and this is a holy war for them," said Rogers. "They will say anything, do anything, they will break the law in opposing the initiative. Federal and state law doesn't allow police officers to carry around six ounces of pot in a political campaign. Those guys were using state resources and tax dollars to orchestrate an opposition campaign. We have publicly called them on it."

Las Vegas police narc Raybuck has been the most egregious offender so far, not only using seized evidence as a campaign prop and working on state time to defeat the initiative, but turning to bald-faced lies in the national media as a last resort. In a radio interview with Boston National Public Radio affiliate WBUR on Wednesday, Raybuck told and repeated a huge whopper despite the outraged protests of MPP executive director Rob Kampia, who had joined him on the program.

Using his end of program last comment, Rayburn told the radio audience: "Well this initiative states that it's illegal for persons to sell to minors, and what this initiative does not say, and in fact permits, is the giving away or the passing of drugs to minors because it does not specifically address that it is illegal for minors to possess for people, it just says that it is illegal to possess or sell to minors."

"You're wrong, that's totally incorrect, please do not put that on the air, that's total..." objected Kampia.

But Raybuck was undeterred. Admitting that the initiative banned the distribution of marijuana to minors, he then added, "but it does not preclude anybody from giving it to a minor." (Visit http://www.here-now.org to listen to the transcript of the program.)

Raybuck is one of those people who occasionally stumble across the truth, but promptly pick themselves up, dust themselves off and continue along their merrily mendacious way. Here is the relevant language from the initiative: "The legislature shall provide or maintain penalties for... [t]he distribution or sale of marijuana to, and the possession or use of marijuana by, persons who have not attained the age of 21 years."

"It's a shame when public servants use their offices to spread disinformation, and unfortunately that's what Raybuck and DA Gary Booker are doing," said Rogers. "It's a shame when public officials abuse their trust by lying and using government resources to do so."

"These are flat-out lies," said Mirken. "We will continue to call the opposition on its lies, but we'll also continue to make the common sense arguments for rational regulation as opposed to failed prohibition. We'll certainly keep trying to get endorsements and we will make the case on the merits. That's why we'll win."

Brave talk and not unexpected, but the initiative is in a real fight -- and MPP and NRLE know it. The campaign is planning an advertising broadside, as well as enlisting people to do the retail politics of door-to-door campaigning. But money is an issue. "If we can raise enough money, we'll win," said Rogers. "It's simple: If the voters know what the initiative does, we will win. All we have to do is tell the truth and get our message out." The campaign has raised about $150,000 for the fall so far, said Mirken, but more is needed.

Visit http://www.nrle.org to help or to sign up for e-mail bulletins on the initiative's progress.


5. Initiatives Heat Up II: Storm Clouds over Ohio

When the Campaign for New Drug Policies (http://www.drugreform.org) managed to win a series of drug reform initiatives in the Western US, that was one thing. But now, with CNDP bringing "treatment not jail" initiatives into the Midwestern heartland of rock-ribbed Republicanism, the opposition is mounting a strong counterattack. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and first lady Hope Taft led early -- and possibly illegal -- efforts to derail the Ohio initiative (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/239.html#ohioelection), and since the Ohio Campaign for New Drug Policies (http://www.ohiodrugreform.org) announced last week that it would file roughly twice the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot, virtually ensuring that Ohio voters will vote on the initiative this fall, Ohio state officials have been lining up to denounce the measure.

The Ohio initiative would amend the state constitution so that nonviolent drug users or possessors would be offered drug treatment instead of a jail sentence. If defendants opted for treatment, criminal proceedings would be stayed pending completion of treatment, which could last up to 18 months. If defendants completed the program, criminal charges would be dismissed. The initiative also mandates that sentences for drug use or possession be no more than 90 days if a person chooses not to enter treatment or fails to complete a treatment program.

That's too much for the Ohio criminal justice establishment. On August 6, Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery led off the week's denunciations, calling the initiative "a systematic and dangerous attempt to dismantle the checks and balances that are embedded in our criminal justice system," at a Columbus news conference. "The war on drugs is not being won right now," Montgomery admitted, but then added, "I can tell you this will certainly not win the war."

Joining Montgomery at the podium was Democratic prosecutor Lynn Grimshaw of Scioto County, who said the bill carried a hidden agenda. "It's basically a decriminalization bill," he fulminated.

Unsurprisingly, Ohio prison director Reginald Williams also joined the chorus of naysayers last week, arguing that a large number of Ohio prisoners have drug problems. But his credibility is undermined by self-interest; 25% of Ohio state employees work for the prison system. Ohio foes of the initiative, led by Gov. Taft and his wife, Attorney General Montgomery, and a statewide coalition of drug court judges, prosecutors, drug treatment professionals and police organizations have formed Ohio Against Unsafe Drug Laws (http://www.unsafedruglaws.org) where they urge defeat of the initiative on the grounds that it would undercut drug courts, would not require drug testing, includes other nonviolent crimes committed by drug users and limits drug possession sentences to 90 days.

Initiative foes promise a tough and expensive battle, but CNDP and the Ohio Campaign are unfazed. "We see Ohio Against Unsafe Drug Laws as an us versus them coalition built by the government," said CNDP's Dave Fratello. "We hope we knew what we were doing when we chose to go into two Midwest states with Republican governors [the other is Michigan; see below]. Winning in either or both of these states will be a great victory. We've invited serious opposition and they've been active and will stay active, but that just enhances our credibility if we win," he told DRCNet.

"We went into this with 65% support in the polls -- stronger than where we were with Prop 36 in California at this point," said Fratello, "and while we expect foes to engage in serious fundraising to defeat the initiative, we are ready. The million dollar question is whether we can raise the money to get our message out on TV. The other side is soliciting donations for TV ads, but if we can get our ads on TV, I think we will hold our own." CNDP and the Ohio Campaign have a $3 million budget, but that includes expenses incurred during signature gathering as well.

Fratello worries that the measure's ballot summary could be off-putting to voters. The summary says the measure will cost $247 million over seven years, said Fratello, "and that could be a strike against us. But the best thing we have going is that people just naturally understand that treatment is cheaper than jail."

The Ohio battlelines are drawn, and the next three months promise to see the charges and countercharges flying.


6. Initiatives Heat Up III: Michigan Governor Flails and Fails in Anti-Initiative Move

While Ohio officials have taken a strong preemptive stand in an effort to defeat that state's "treatment not jail" initiative, a similar effort in Michigan is only now beginning to draw serious attention from unhappy elected officials. Another effort headed by the Campaign for New Drug Policies, the California-based drug reform initiative-winning machine, the Michigan measure would require treatment instead of jail for drug possessors, an end to current mandatory minimum and other drug sentences and their replacement with new sentencing guidelines, permit persons currently serving drug sentences to seek resentencing, and require the state of Michigan to appropriate at least $120 million in treatment funds over the next six years (http://www.drugreform.org/michigan/).

It was that last item that led to Republican Gov. John Engler's first blast against the initiative. On July 25, Engler announced that he had vetoed $845 million in revenue sharing payments to Michigan cities and localities because of fears that three ballot initiatives, including the drug reform initiative, would break the bank. (The drug reform initiative would actually have a much smaller impact than the other two, one that would direct the state to use its share of tobacco settlement funds for health care, and one that would guarantee collective bargaining and arbitration for state employees.)

"If [the initiatives] pass, the costs are lower in the first year or so and then mount," Engler told a Lansing press conference on August 4. "I said in good conscience, 'I ought to leave them [future state appropriators] some money,'" he said.

But Engler's move backfired, leading first to howls of protest from cities and counties who said they would be forced to cut programs and lay off workers and then to a legislative override of his veto on Wednesday -- the first successful override of a gubernatorial veto in Michigan in 25 years.

"John Engler has been a very effective governor and I think he's done some marvelous things for this state," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, "but I can't believe that he so egregiously miscalculated the impact of these cuts. There was near civil insurrection," Patterson told the Detroit Free Press.

"Engler is a lame duck trying to play 800-pound gorilla," said CNDP's Dave Fratello. "On the other hand, while, unlike Ohio, no one has gone out and organized officials in opposition, Engler's move got out the news in one fell swoop," he told DRCNet. And Michigan officials are organizing quietly, he added. Still, Engler's veto move was "ham-handed," Fratello said, and could hurt opposition organizing. "Gov. Engler is one chairman of the opposition campaign," Fratello explained, and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was a co-chair last time anyone checked. "But Kwame and Engler squared off over the veto, and there could be real consequences for the governor and the anti-initiative campaign as a result," he said.

"Engler tried to paint our initiative and all the others as bankrupting the state," said Maia Justine Storm, a Michigan campaign coordinator. "We already have people's hearts -- people are basically in favor of reform -- but we'll have to fight for their minds, we'll have to educate them about how the initiative will save money, not spend it," she told DRCNet.

The initiative campaign remains confident at this point -- it is polling better than in Ohio, said Fratello -- but worries that the opposition is going to ratchet up its efforts in coming weeks. "Our opponents have a plan to use federal funds from CADCA to organize grassroots opposition," said Fratello. "They think they can use 20% of their budget for lobbying, but we're not so sure that's true for nonprofits who obtain the bulk of their money from the federal government. I suspect this is happening already, and if we ever find out we will come after them."

In the meantime, said Storm, the campaign expects things to heat up in September, when the State Board of Canvassers meets to officially certify the initiative's ballot status. And the campaign is preparing advertising plans if necessary, she said. "We'll do some advertising at the end, if the opposition starts throwing around a lot of money or if the numbers start to slip," Storm said, "but now we are going around talking to groups, one after the other. The more people we can talk to, the better our chances," she said. "Once people understand it, it's like 'yeah, it's just common sense.'"


7. Initiatives Heat Up IV: DC "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Makes November Ballot, Excludes Marijuana, Heroin, Psychedelics

An initiative that would allow some first- and second-time drug offenders to opt for drug treatment in lieu of a jail or prison sentence will go before District of Columbia voters this November. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics has ratified the petitions gathered and then turned in on July 8, finding among the more than 40,000 signatures gathered there thousands more valid signatures than the 17,000 required. The "Treatment Instead of Jail for Certain Non-Violent Drug Offenders Initiative of 2002," known as Question 62 on the ballot, will give DC voters the chance to begin to reverse decades of policies that have decimated the capital's neighborhoods.

The initiative campaign is a joint effort of the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org) and the Campaign for New Drug Policies (http://drugreform.org), which have formed a locally-based group, the DC Campaign for New Drug Policies, to orchestrate the effort. CNDP and DPA have built an impressive record, winning 12 of 13 campaigns across the country with carefully crafted and narrowly focused initiatives on medical marijuana, asset forfeiture and "treatment not jail."

Measure 62 reflects the cautious approach of its parent organizations, limiting the treatment option to nonviolent, first- or second-time drug users or possessors, but notably excluding those who possess Schedule I drugs, which include marijuana, heroin, LSD, and ecstasy -- a fact that the Campaign attributes to pragmatism in the face of congressional drug war demagoguery, but one that leaves some drug reformers less than thrilled.

"We didn't want to go to the people with a bill that Congress opposed on the face of it," said Opio Sokoni, outreach coordinator for Measure 62. "We've drafted our law specifically to conform to Congress' concerns. We didn't want to craft a bill that could get passed but not implemented. It's hard to get people to the table if it looks like we are just making a statement here," Sokoni told DRCNet.

Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org) questioned the efficacy of a treatment initiative that excludes Schedule I drugs. "I understand they're trying to make some accommodations for Capitol Hill," he told the Washington City Paper last month. "On the other hand, it does seem a little selective to say, 'We're gonna switch from a criminal response to nonviolent drug use to a treatment mode, but for marijuana, we're going to continue to arrest you.'"

"Marijuana smokers don't go to jail in the District," argued Sokoni, quickly adding that the DC Campaign supported medical marijuana and believed that marijuana was incorrectly scheduled as a drug with no medical uses.

Stroup agreed that marijuana users don't do much if any time in the District, but argued that arrests can still disrupt their lives. While most marijuana smokers aren't sick and don't need treatment, said Stroup, some might choose to go through the rehabilitation process rather than fight in court -- and they should have that choice. "Clearly, it's a step forward if we stop jailing some people and start getting them treatment," Stroup said. "But most illicit drug users don't use cocaine and amphetamines -- they smoke marijuana. So in some ways, it seems to me, Measure 62 is ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room."

While DC marijuana smokers are not likely to do serious time, the District's sizeable population of heroin users are also excluded. But, Sokoni said, there are provisions for them in the bill. Under the bill's language, anyone arrested for heroin possession who can show a history of opiate dependence "shall be assessed by a qualified treatment professional trained in the use of narcotics replacement therapy, including methadone maintenance treatment, and where medically appropriate, and upon the consent of the offender, shall be provided with narcotic replacement therapy, including methadone maintenance treatment, in addition to the sentence imposed."

"With Measure 62, we're going to be doing something real about crime, we're going to be enhancing the public safety," argued Sokoni. "This is about addicts getting access to treatment," he said. "We have 60,000 people in this city who need drug treatment, and only 10,000 are getting it. And imprisoning drug users is a bad gift that keeps on giving. Here in DC, when you go to prison, they send you to Ohio or someplace like that, your children go into foster care, your family is hundreds of miles away," said Sokoni. "You come out and maybe you're not so nonviolent anymore. People are not better people because of all that incarceration offers," he said.

Measure 62 would address the broader context of drug addiction, said Sokoni. "These people will get drug treatment for a year, and six months of aftercare, after which they can petition to get their records expunged," he explained. "But we define treatment very broadly, to include family counseling, GED programs, anger management, job training. We need to educate people to succeed in society."

While there are no poll numbers to cite, Sokoni told DRCNet he was "cautiously optimistic" the measure would pass. "People support Measure 62 because the status quo is not working," he said. There is no organized opposition, Sokoni said, but the campaign is taking no chances. "We've been talking to city officials, we've been talking to the churches, there is nobody in DC who wants to say that we don't need treatment," he said, "and we are building an advisory committee to address issues of implementation and funding."

For DC voters, passing the initiative will be only the first step. Then they have to turn to Congress and the likes of Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), bête noire of marijuana reformers in the District, to fund the District's programs. "A major part of successful implementation will mean going in and shaking the money loose," said Sokoni. "Funding is the key," he added, "but we have a bunch of very smart people working on this."


8. Initiatives Heat Up V: Arizona to Vote on Marijuana Decrim, Much More

The Arizona Secretary of State's office announced Monday that an initiative that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana had submitted sufficient signatures to make the November ballot. Supporters of Proposition 203, also known as the "Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act of 2002," submitted 164,264 signatures, or more than 160% of the minimum needed, the Secretary of State's office announced.

The listed sponsor of the initiative is The People Have Spoken, a Phoenix group headed by former Goldwater Institute head John Norton. The same group spearheaded 1996's Proposition 200, a drug treatment and medical marijuana initiative, as well as another round of initiatives in 1998 designed to overturn the Arizona legislature's attempts to undo Prop 200. The People Have Spoken attempted an initiative similar to this one in 2000, but abandoned it after concerns arose about its language possibly allowing marijuana trafficking.

The group is funded in part by John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix and, along with financier George Soros and insurance magnate Peter Lewis, one of the so-called "troika" of heavy-spending drug reform philanthropists whose spending largely directs where well-funded drug reform efforts take place.

Proposition 203 ran a stealthy signature-gathering campaign, shying away from media coverage as paid petitioners did their work, although rambunctious Maricopa County (Phoenix) District Attorney Rick Romley, an inveterate drug warrior sensing fresh election fodder, jumped on Sperling and campaign spokesman Sam Vagenas in July. Indicative of the quality of Romley's attack was the following dire warning: "We are going to have every guy in the world coming to Arizona because he can get pot free," Romley said, challenging Sperling to face off against him in a public debate.

Nice stunt, but Sperling hasn't bitten yet. Instead, his people got Proposition 203 on the ballot. According to a summary by legislative analysts, the measure would among other things:

  • Decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, two marijuana plants, and marijuana-related paraphernalia. Those caught with small amounts of marijuana would face a civil citation and possible fine of $250 for a first or second offense, or $750 for a third offense or more within two years. The fine could be waived upon completion of an approved drug education program.
  • Require the Department of Public Safety to provide up to two ounces of marijuana free of charge to any qualified medical marijuana patient within a 30-day period. The DPS stash would come from Arizona marijuana seizures and would be held at secure locations, which DPS would be required to divulge to the public.
  • Require the Arizona Department of Health Services to create a medical marijuana registry card system for people "who provide written documentation from the person's attending physician" that medical marijuana may mitigate symptoms of a debilitating physical condition. Cardholders and designated primary caregivers would be able to possess two ounces or grow two plants without any penalty.
  • Require that anyone convicted for a first or second time on drug paraphernalia charges receive probation.
  • Require that anyone serving time for personal possession or use of a controlled substance be paroled or released to community supervision, unless he is serving another sentence or is judged a danger to the public by the Board of Executive Clemency.
Unlike the initiative in neighboring Nevada, Proposition 203 does not remove simple possession of small amounts of marijuana from the grip of intrusive drug laws. But like the Nevada initiative, it implies a challenge to the federal Controlled Substances Act (or at least the way it is currently interpreted and enforced) over the creation of a state-run or state-authorized marijuana distribution system. While the states begin to attempt to find ways out of the drug war mire, the Bush administration shows no signs of bending. A confrontation looms unless and until the federal government changes its ways. And the states aren't waiting.

Visit http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/billanalysis.htm and click on Proposition 203 for the state legislative analysts' summary. Visit http://www.sos.state.az.us/election/2002/Info/PubPamphlet/propI-11-2002.htm to read the text of the initiative.


9. Initiatives Heat Up VI: DC Board of Elections Rejected Thousands of Valid Signatures, MPP Challenging

(press release from the Marijuana Policy Project)

On Friday, August 16, the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) will file formal papers asking the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) to reconsider its decision not to certify Initiative 63, the Medical Marijuana Initiative of 2002, for the November ballot. At an 11:00am press conference in front of the BOEE's offices, MPP Executive Director Robert Kampia and other speakers will present evidence of massive errors by the BOEE's staff, which resulted in the rejection of thousands of valid petition signatures.

Initiative petitions must contain valid signatures from 5% of the District's registered voters, and that total must include 5% of voters from at least five of the city's eight wards. There is no dispute that the more than 18,000 signatures accepted by the Board met the citywide requirement, but the BOEE claimed that MPP had presented enough valid signatures from only four of eight wards. Since then, MPP has identified thousands of valid signatures that were wrongly rejected as not belonging to registered voters -- enough to surpass the 5% requirement in at least six wards.

One of those voters, Sanho Tree (who was interviewed on the July 30 ABC News special "War on Drugs, A War on Ourselves"), will speak at the press conference. "I've been a registered voter in the District for 14 years," Tree said. "For the Board to throw out my signature because I'm 'not registered' is appalling, and it's clear I'm just one of many the Board has disenfranchised."


10. Newsbrief: Afghan Heroin Labs Reappear

In yet one more indication that the Afghan opium trade is in the midst of a full-scale revival, the British newspaper The Observer reported this week that newly set-up labs in eastern Afghanistan are producing hundreds of kilograms of heroin per week. The newspaper reported that three labs operate openly in the hills southeast of Jalalabad, two more in the Acheen district and another in Nangahar province.

All three areas are under the control of Afghan warlords at least nominally allied with the US-backed government of Hamid Karzai, created to replace the outsed Taliban regime. The Taliban banned opium production in 2001, and production slumped last year out of fear of the Taliban's harsh style. Karzai reimposed the opium ban, but has been much less successful, managing to destroy perhaps 20% of the harvest.

But as shopkeeper Haji Daulut Mohammad explained to the Observer, economic imperatives increasingly leavened with anti-Americanism are ensuring that heroin production will increase in the near future. "Even if there is no cultivation of the poppy next year, the existing stock is sufficient for 12 months at least," said Mohammad. "It may be forbidden by Islam, but there is drought, unemployment, and no other way to make a living. The West says that making heroin is wrong and damages human beings, but they drop bombs on innocent civilians. We have no other way except to destroy the USA through narcotics. They shall drop bombs on us and we shall send them this gift."


11. Newsbrief: Grateful Dead Reunion Just Like Old Days -- Many Arrested

Deadheads thronged to Wisconsin's Alpine Valley outdoor concert venue on August 3 as the venerable touring band reunited -- minus late guitarist Jerry Garcia -- for the first time since Garcia's passing a decade ago. And while the music was reportedly great, police actions during the concert brought back some less fondly remembered vibes as well.

According to figures released by the Walworth County Sheriff's Department, ten concertgoers were arrested for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, 80 for state marijuana law violations, and 269 more were given county citations for marijuana violations. Police reportedly seized 51 pounds of pot, more than 7,000 doses of LSD, 8.8 grams of liquid LSD, 10 pounds of mushrooms, 82 grams of hash, nine grams of heroin, six grams of cocaine and a tank of nitrous oxide.

With a standard $407 fine for each county marijuana citation, Walworth County stands to add about $110,000 to its coffers from the marijuana citations alone. Who said those Deadheads would never contribute anything to society?


12. Newsbrief: NJ Bans Devices That Defeat Drug Tests

"What are you in for, kid?" asks the hardened con. "Possession of a Whizzinator, sir," comes the reply. Murder and mayhem it isn't, but under a New Jersey law that took effect this month, possession of any device designed to fool a drug test has become a crime. Even possessing the Whizzinator or any of its devious competitors can get you 18 months and a $10,000 fine. And if you're on probation or parole or -- an apparently equally suspect class -- a state employee, the penalty jumps to three to five years and $15,000.

Selling or manufacturing such products also merits up to five years under the new law, which echoes laws in effect in a handful of other states. Under a 1997 Pennsylvania law, it is a third-degree misdemeanor to sell or use "drug-free urine for the purpose or with the intent or knowledge that the urine will be used for evading or causing deceitful results in a test for the presence of drugs." South Carolina prosecuted Kenneth Curtis for manufacturing such a device last winter (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/218.html#kennethcurtis), and now that Curtis has moved to North Carolina, that state is pondering similar legislation.

Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) director of workplace programs Robert L. Stephenson displayed the inexorable totalitarian logic at work in the war against drug users. If drug users attempt to avoid or alter tests, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, they cannot be trusted. "It's not that they're a drug user," he said, "but they're trying to beat the system. How are you going to believe anything else they say?"


13. Newsbrief: East Europe Teens Catching Up to West in Drug Use

Drug use by teenagers in the former East Bloc doubled in the years between 1995 and 1999, bringing Eastern European teen usage rates nearly in line with those of Western Europe, according to the United Nations' annual survey of global drug trends (http://www.undcp.org/global_illicit_drug_trends.html). In five countries (Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), the number of teens trying an illegal drug at least once doubled, and in Lithuania the number increased five-fold.

Thirty-four percent of Czech 16-year-olds had tried marijuana, the survey found, a figure comparable to rates in high consuming western countries such as England and the Netherlands. And the Czech figures highlight a point salient throughout the region: although drug use has doubled, most of it is marijuana use. "It is true that the figure has almost doubled," UN researcher Sandeep Chawla told Radio Free Europe, "but as regards the use of highly dangerous drugs, that figure has not gone up nearly as much."

Neither do the figures indicate a looming crisis, said Chawla. "More young people are certainly taking drugs," he conceded, "but it does not mean that you can conclude from this that it is problematic drug use."

The UN researcher implicitly blamed the lack of a strong totalitarian police state for the trend. He cited the opening of borders since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and "the openness of the economies and the systems. Obviously, if there's more free trade in goods, then there are more possibilities for drugs to get through across the borders."


14. Newsbrief: DARE Axed in Cincy -- Dayton Next?

DARE's star is starting to fade fast. The popular but ineffective school anti-drug program is losing cities by the week -- it has recently been dropped by Austin and Houston, Spokane and Seattle, Omaha, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and Toledo. Last week, Cincinnati joined the list, and Dayton looks set to be next to axe the program.

Citing the program's ineffectiveness and the need to increase the city's police presence, the Cincinnati City Council voted on August 8 to quit funding the DARE program, saving the city $351,000 and putting seven DARE officers back on the streets. "DARE has not been proven to be effective, and we desperately need more uniformed officers on the street as a preventive force," said Councilman James Tarbell.

The city had moved to revoke DARE's funding once before, in 2000, but bowed to pressure from schools and educators to restore the program. Not this time.

The next day, Dayton Police Chief William McManus announced that his town could be next, saying he wanted to reassign Dayton's five DARE officers to street patrols. But no decision had been made yet, he said. "Recent studies have raised questions about whether we could be putting our resources to better use, but we haven't decided to cut the program yet," McManus told the Dayton City Council.


15. Newsbrief: Canada Judge Rips DEA Law Violations

The DEA may be accustomed to trampling both the letter and the spirit of the law in this country, but a Canadian court has just slapped it down for trying to pull the same sort of stunt north of the border. "The [DEA's] illegal conduct is extremely offensive because of the violation of Canadian sovereignty without explanation or apology," wrote British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon, in rejecting a DEA request to extradite a Canadian citizen to California for trial.

The case arose from an attempted 1999 reverse-sting operation run jointly by the DEA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the "Mounties") in which paid DEA informants in Los Angeles posing as Colombian cartel members attempted to induce Canadians to buy large quantities of cocaine for export to Canada. The DEA informants traveled to Canada bearing drugs under strict rules set out in a US-Canada agreement covering such cross-border shenanigans, but when the purported multi-ton deal fell through, the Mounties pulled the plug on the operation, saying they were not interested in extravagant bi-national investigations of what turned out to be single kilogram deals.

But the DEA couldn't let little obstacles like Canadian law or the sensibilities of its neighbor and ally stop it. Ignoring the RCMP, the DEA sent its informant back to BC, where he enticed BC resident Dave Licht into a coke deal in California. Based on charges developed as a result of the informant's unauthorized and illegal second trip to Canada, the US Justice Department asked for Licht's extradition.

No way, said the BC Supreme Court, raking the DEA over the coals: "The conduct of a United States civilian police agent entering Canada without the knowledge or consent of Canadian authorities, in defiance of known Canadian requirements for legal conduct, with the express purpose to entice Canadians to the United States to commit criminal acts in that jurisdiction, and acting illegally to offer to sell cocaine in Canada, is shocking to the Canadian conscience," wrote Justice Dillon.

"A United States police agent entered Canada without proper immigration status to carry out an illegal activity without the knowledge or consent of the RCMP and knowing that the RCMP had withdrawn consent to further involvement in the reverse-sting operation. This conduct is clearly contrary to Canada's national interests," she added.

Interestingly, RCMP documents delivered to the court indicated that the Mounties gave their initial permission to proceed because they feared the DEA would go ahead illegally if they refused. Welcome to our drug war, Canada.


16. Newsbrief: NORML Not Allowed at Indiana State Fair

Indiana NORML (http://www.innorml.org), a Hoosier affiliate of national NORML was refused a booth at the Exposition Center during this year's Indiana State Fair. According to the Indianapolis Star, fair employees told NORML no booths were available, but a NORML employee discovered that the State Fair continued to solicit for booth rentals via e-mail.

State Fair explanations were less than convincing. Andy Klotz, spokesman for the State Fair, claimed that the e-mail was a mistake due to a "computer deal, something about a folder being full," but then admitted that the Fair Director, Bill Stinson, believed there should not be a booth at the fair that encouraged an illegal activity. The fair rents out booths to vendors and a wide variety of political candidates and causes.

Indiana NORML told the Star it had planned to limit discussion to growing industrial hemp, a topic suited to a largely agricultural show that draws many thousands of visitors from around Indiana to see livestock shows, dog pageants, watermelon seed-spitting contests and the world's largest pig, among many other events. The fair prides itself on having all of its mass transportation vehicles -- tractors trailing wooden benches -- run on corn-based ethanol, and although NORML was advocating another crop that could also produce such environment-friendly fuels and revitalize Indiana's agriculture sector, there is no room at the fair.

Indiana NORML is considering filing a lawsuit, the Star reported.


17. Newsbrief: Infected Needles, Alcoholism Lead to Increased Liver Damage, Deaths in England, Study Finds

Heavy drinking and the spread of hepatitis C through intravenous drug use is behind a doubling in the number of deaths from liver disease in England's West Midlands area between 1993 and 2000, and upsurged nationwide, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. Alcohol-related fatal liver failures have increased almost three-fold, researchers found.

The increase was particularly high among Asian men, who may be genetically more susceptible to alcohol, the researchers speculated. The study also suggested that the rise in damage from IDU-related hepatitis C is a consequence of individual actions taken two decades or more ago.


18. Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision

URGENT: Help stop S. 2633, the "Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002" -- call your Senators at (202) 224-3121, visit http://www.emdef.org for information.

Support States' Rights to Medical Marijuana: Visit http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/ to write to Congress today!

Visit http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com to tell Congress to repeal the Higher Education Act's drug provision in full and let tens of thousands of young people with drug convictions go back to college.


19. 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, noon, Denver, CO, Denver Marijuana Festival. At Civic Center Park, bands, information booths and hemp products.

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 20, 5:00-6:30pm, Madison, WI, "State of the City of Madison Drug Policy," presentation by the Progressive Dane Drug Policy Task Force. At the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Blvd., room 260, contact Stephanie Rearick at (608) 259-1030 or [email protected] 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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