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

Issue #255, 9/20/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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PROTEST DEA ATTACKS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS: DEMONSTRATE IN SACRAMENTO THIS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Striking at the Heart of Democracy
  2. Do You Read The Week Online?
  3. California Medical Marijuana: Another Bust, Giveaways in Santa Cruz and San Diego, Mass Demo Set for Sacramento Monday
  4. Ordeal of the Pain Doctors: Weitzel Facing Prison for Minor Records Violation, Still Anticipates Vindication in Manslaughter Case
  5. Drug Czar on Anti-Marijuana Crusade -- Threatens Canada, Unleashes New Propaganda Offensive
  6. Rep. Mink Introduces Bill to Reinstate Federal Parole -- Could Free Tens of Thousands If Passed
  7. Swedish Drug War Hardliners Attempt to Block Anti-Prohibition Conference at European Parliament
  8. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision
  9. Newsbrief: DC Medical Marijuana Initiative Yanked from Ballot
  10. Newsbrief: Leahy Drops Support for RAVE Act
  11. Newsbrief: Mexican Senate Panel to Look at Approving Medical Marijuana
  12. MarijuanaInfo.org Votes/Polls Section Updated
  13. Newsbrief: Sentencing Project Finds Most Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent, Minorities
  14. Newsbrief: Illinois Governor Candidate Says He Smoked Pot -- Sort Of
  15. Newsbrief: Waco Police Department Goes Easier on Applicants with Past Marijuana Use History
  16. Web Scan: Arianna Huffington, Action America, Cultural Baggage, Bob Herbert, Mark Fiore
  17. Errata: New York Marijuana Reform Party
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. Editorial: Striking at the Heart of Democracy

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 9/20/02

This morning I heard the sad news that DC's new medical marijuana initiative would not make the ballot after all. The effort to merely have our votes on this issue in DC recognized as votes has been a long and tortured one, a "Homer's Odyssey" as organizers at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), sponsors of this year's initiative campaign, have described it.

The news is sad for multiple reasons. First and foremost, patients need the help; they and their providers aren't criminals, and they don't deserve to be subject to the whims of law enforcement and politicians who can attack them at any time under a thin and unconvincing guise of law.

Second, I personally helped gather signatures for Initiative 63, not as head of a drug reform organization, but as a resident and citizen of the District. I wanted to do my part personally to help with this.

Third is the manner in which this setback to medical marijuana took place. MPP had successfully petitioned a federal court to overturn the "Barr Amendment," an outrageously unconstitutional appropriations clause that forbids the DC government from even having an initiative on the ballot to reduce marijuana penalties. The amendment allows initiatives to increase penalties. The court found that allowing votes promoting only one point of view on an issue but not others is a violation of the 1st amendment.

Today news arrived that a higher federal court had overturned this ruling -- "coincidentally" just in time to keep it off the ballot this year, regardless of what the Supreme Court ultimately decides. The judges' reasons for allowing the Barr amendment have not yet been published. But it is patently absurd on its face.

So it is that larger issue that is on my mind today -- a heartless drug war ideology that subjugates and abuses even the seriously ill, has corrupted the very ideals of democracy itself. We can no longer truly claim to be a nation of laws, when our Constitution and its guarantee of freedom of speech can be so callously disregarded by the judiciary that is supposed to safeguard that cornerstone of our way of life.

The problem goes far beyond one pathetic ruling by a visionless panel of tainted judges. Simply, the drug war ideology has undermined the integrity of our political system as a whole. From police perjury as an expected, accepted part of law enforcement, to forfeiture of the property of innocents without evidence, to drug testing of chess club members and privacy eroded beyond what the founders would recognize as appropriate or rational, the "drug exception" to the former American way of life is a poison skewing our nation's ideals and weakening its commitment to freedom. Today's ruling is sad for patients but is also sad in its ominous implications for democracy itself.

In February of next year, DRCNet will convene the first major event in our international conference series, "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century," in the city of Mérida, capital of the Yucatán state of Mexico (http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/shadows/). Other events await, pending funding, in Europe, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, and a major global summit here in the US. One of several objectives of the conference series is to illustrate the extent to which the US has isolated itself on drug issues from its allies in the free world, having much more in common today with the dictatorships and pseudo-democracies oppressing their subjects in the un-free.

Seen in that light, DC's medical marijuana initiative, and the patients it would help, are victims of the anti-democratic impulse inherent in the drug war. This idea is not stated here in order to link the limited, though important issue of medical marijuana, with the larger, less politically advanced idea of legalization. Medical marijuana is its own issue.

But medical marijuana is also a casualty, one of many, of the war on drugs. Another such casualty is respect for, and adherence to, our Constitution and our democracy itself. Law is invoked by drug warriors to justify their rampages against the seriously ill, but in reality is ignored or devalued when obeying the law would restrain their excesses and cruelties or expose their moral bankruptcy.

We who oppose the drug war are patriots, but patriots with understanding. Today we cannot prevent a suspect court from stabbing DC's election in the back. But we have a vision that is right and just and faithful to the ideals and impulses that mankind espouses at its best. Time will consign the drug war to the dustbin of history. Our great cause is making that day come sooner rather than later, and so it will.


2. Do You Read The Week Online?

Do you read the Week Online? If so, we'd like to hear from you. DRCNet needs two things:

1) The Week Online needs to raise another $19,000 between now and year's end (down from $20,000 earlier this week) to secure its future as we await word from major donors. Please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/wol.html to make a tax-deductible donation by credit card or read below for info on how to donate by check or in stock.

2) Please send quotes and reports on how you put our flow of information to work, for use in upcoming grant proposals and letters to funders or potential funders. Do you use DRCNet as a source for public speaking? For letters to the editor? Helping you talk to friends or associates about the issue? Research? For your own edification? Have you changed your mind about any aspects of drug policy since subscribing? Do you reprint or repost portions of our bulletins on other lists or in other newsletters?

Please send your response -- one or two sentences would be fine, more is great, too -- to [email protected]. Please let us know if we may reprint your comments, and if so, if we may include your name or if you wish to remain anonymous.

At 23,000 subscribers, The Week Online is the world's most widely read drug policy newsletter. With the pulse of reform quickening around the globe, an election season filled with drug policy initiatives, and a rapidly growing confrontation between the federal government and the medical marijuana movement, the Week Online and the news it reports are more critical than ever.

So please help us keep it alive! Again, please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/wol.html to support the Week Online at this important time -- or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation to make a tax-deductible donation for The Week Online -- or make a non-deductible donation for our lobbying work, check payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network, http://www.drcnet.org/donate/nondeductible.html by credit card. We can also accept contributions of stock -- our brokerage is Ameritrade, account #772973012, company name Drug Reform Coordination Network, Inc, contact [email protected] for info.


3. California Medical Marijuana: Another Bust, Giveaways in Santa Cruz and San Diego, Mass Demo Set for Sacramento Monday

"It's Armageddon time for medical marijuana in California," said Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML Thursday evening. "This may take years to play out, but the battle lines are drawn."

Given the rapidly escalating confrontation between the federal government and the people of California over medical marijuana in the last few weeks, Gieringer can be forgiven for resorting to biblical end-time allusions. Recently, the DEA and the its master, Attorney General John Ashcroft, have been raiding about one medical marijuana dispensary or garden a week, despite a state law that allows for the use of medical marijuana in the state. The latest assault came Thursday, when a federal agent accosted Steve McWilliams, operator of the Shelter From the Storm Collective in San Diego, and handed him a letter notifying him that he faced federal prosecution if he did not shut down his garden, CANORML reported Thursday evening. Two days earlier, McWilliams had led a medical marijuana giveaway in San Diego to protest the escalating series of attacks on the state's medical marijuana providers.

"No way is this a proper federal case," said Gieringer. "They are punishing him for exercising his First Amendment freedom of speech and for telling the truth about what's going on. Once again, the federal government is targeting a conspicuous leader who tried to be honest and deal with this openly."

Shelter From the Storm is a small, six-patient collective well regarded by local authorities and in compliance with state laws. Its patients include a 73-year-old woman with leukemia and a 70-year-old man with prostate cancer, Gieringer said. "This is a large scale federal assault on the right of the people to have access to the medicine they need. The federal government is literally trying to take medicine from seriously ill patients. What does this have to do with the proper exercise of federal power?" he asked. "Nothing. This is an all-out prohibitionist war against Americans' medical rights."

It is a war that is being increasingly contested. In the wake of the federal raid on the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (http://www.wamm.org) in Santa Cruz two weeks ago and the raid on Genesis 1:29 in Petaluma last week, the state's emerging medical marijuana resistance has been energized, with demonstrations at federal buildings in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Santa Ana, Sacramento, and other cities on Monday and a widely publicized medical marijuana giveaway at Santa Cruz's City Hall on Tuesday. Led by Americans for Safe Access (http://www.safeaccessnow.org), medical marijuana advocates, their supporters, and even some elected officials are mobilizing for a demonstration Monday in Sacramento that could mark a new era in the conflict.

The demonstration could be the largest non-smoke-in drug reform protest ever, said Shawn Heller, national director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org), which has mounted a major effort to bus large numbers of students to the protest from throughout the region. Other participating organizations include the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, Common Sense for Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, the American Medical Marijuana Association, and drug reform groups from across California, according to the ASA web page.

"This may be the most important event in California medical marijuana history," said Heller, who has been in the state for the past week. "This is highly coordinated and organized. We will have buses decked in banners coming from all over the state, we will have the young people of California saying 'we voted for this, this is our law, and we want our elected officials to stand up and protect our rights, we want them to stand up to the DEA,'" he said.

"The students are energized and pumped, and we have the resources to make this happen," Heller added. "SSDP laid the foundation, created the network of students, and now we are calling that network into action. And look for lots of independent affinity groups, too," he said.

The protest is building on the energy created by earlier resistance, including this week's nationally covered medical marijuana giveaway in Santa Cruz. On Tuesday, Mayor Christopher Krohn, numerous city council members, and more than a thousand supporters attended the marijuana giveaway -- limited to certified WAMM patients -- held at City Hall in defiance of the feds. "Santa Cruz is a special place, and today we're letting the world know how compassionate we can be," said Krohn. "Today we're taking a stand."

The DEA's San Francisco spokesman was not amused. "We're dismayed that the city council and the mayor of Santa Cruz would condone the distribution of marijuana," said Richard Meyer. "I don't know what they're thinking, but they're flaunting federal law. And we here at the DEA take violations of the law seriously."

But given some of Meyer's other comments on the medical marijuana issue, it is hard to take him seriously. Last Friday, as demonstrators gathered in front of his San Francisco office, Meyer claimed the agency was only going after "major dealers." When asked about the patients at the rally, Meyer said, "we see them as victims of their traffickers."

California elected officials are starting to take the whole thing seriously, too. Last week, Attorney General Bill Lockyer wrote to Ashcroft and DEA head Asa Hutchinson asking for a meeting. There has been no substantive response. On Wednesday, Gov. Gray Davis finally weighed in, telling a radio interviewer: "I'm going to work with our Attorney General, Bill Lockyer to see if we can't get on the same page with the federal government. They're entitled to have a different scheme at the federal level, but clearly we ought to find some way to have an accommodation. I mean, both the state and the federal governments work for the same people, the American people."

Davis, who did not support the passage of Proposition 215, the state's medical marijuana law, has now changed his tune. "I did not support that initiative when it was on the ballot; but as governor, it's my job to enforce the laws that the people pass, and the people passed this law."

"Ah, Gray Davis, a day late and a dollar short," scoffed Gieringer, conceding that at least Davis now supports that law.

But if medical marijuana advocates are united in their antipathy toward the federal incursions on California sovereignty, there is some confusion about where to go from here. While the Monday demonstration in Sacramento is aimed at state officials, for Gieringer the most likely avenue of success in the medium term lies in the federal courts.

"This is going to federal court," he predicted. "There are some really serious issues we can win on appeal. With some luck, we can make real progress on the legal front. There will be at least three or four lawsuits filed. An attack on a patient growing for personal use is ripe for a constitutional challenge," he said.

Another avenue for action could be the Congress. "It depends on the elections," Gieringer said. "If the Democrats win the House, we're apt to have hearings next year. But it would probably take several years to get anything. There is also some talk of an appropriations amendment to stop the feds from doing medical marijuana raids," he said.

For national NORML's Allen St. Pierre, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are targets. "No one in the Senate has talked about medical marijuana," he said, "we can't find a word. If Boxer would get up as senators can and dump something into the record about why we need a better system and the federal government needs to be more respectful, that would be an important step," St. Pierre argued. "Another tack is to get Rep. Nancy Pelosi to step up. She is the second or third most powerful Democrat in the House and a cosponsor of the Barney Frank bill. Maybe she could introduce a bill under her name that incorporates the Frank bill."

Despite the uncertainty, said Gieringer, "people are energized." And they are angry. "The federal government has gone way over the line. Every American can see they have no business doing this. We will show them up for the nasty ignorant prohibitionists they are. This is Ashcroft and the Bush administration at their absolute worst, and these petty, twisted prohibitionists are going to pay a price."

Visit http://www.safeaccess.org for information on Monday's demonstration.


4. Ordeal of the Pain Doctors: Weitzel Facing Prison for Minor Records Violation, Still Anticipates Vindication in Manslaughter Case

DRCNet has tried to follow the travails of physicians who run afoul of the DEA over their medical practices. Three weeks ago, we broke the news of Virginia pain specialist Robert Hurwitz's decision to shut down his practice before the DEA did it for him. Last year, we reported on the ordeal of Utah psychiatrist Dr. Robert Weitzel, who was charged, convicted, and serving time in prison for killing five elderly patients with opioids when his conviction was overturned after an appeals court found that the prosecution had hidden expert testimony that vindicated him (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/197.html#drweitzel).

Weitzel may be out of prison -- and he is no longer working as a waiter, as viewers of a March 60 Minutes report may remember -- but he is hardly out of the woods. Even as he worked to help his lawyers prepare his defense in a second trial on the original manslaughter charges, Weitzel was jailed for two days last week after being sentenced for violating Medicare rule-keeping requirements.

"I was charged with multiple counts of not properly recording wastage of opiates," Weitzel told DRCNet. "These were charges that would never have been brought if the DEA wasn't hounding me," he said. Although the DEA accused of Weitzel of putting the wastage in his arm (and Utah prosecutors once accused him of smuggling it to the hospital to kill elderly patients), Weitzel has passed more than 120 drug tests, including those administered during the period in question. It amounted to 30 or 40 doses in a period of months in a busy practice, he said.

"I was broke, couldn't afford a lawyer for this, and was still facing a retrial on the original charges, so I got a federal public defender who told me to take plea," Weitzel said. "He said there was a 75% chance of probation; the sentence guidelines were zero to six months, and nobody went straight to prison on those short federal sentences."

He was in for a rude surprise. US District Court Judge Dee Benson, a prominent Utah political figure with close ties to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), was assigned the case after the original federal judge became ill. At the sentencing hearing last week, federal prosecutors were allowed to argue for an upward departure in the sentencing guidelines, while defense attorneys were denied a chance to bring in witnesses. Benson ruled in favor of an upward departure, sentenced Weitzel to a year in federal prison, and ordered him jailed immediately.

"We got blindsided," said Weitzel. "The upshot was I was going to jail right then, right there. I was freaking out." Weitzel got out two days later, but only at the price of promising not to appeal his sentence. "They would let me out to assist in my defense if I waived my right to appeal. I can stay out until five days after the end of my criminal trial," he said.

Despite widespread criticism of the original prosecution of the case, including a feature segment on CBS TV's "60 Minutes," and a growing chorus of support for Weitzel from the medical profession, Davis County prosecutors decided to retry Weitzel and have set a trial date for October 30. But their case is much weaker this time around, especially because Dr. Perry Fine, the recognized authority on pain treatment and end of life care in the region, will take the stand for the defense. It was Fine's testimony that Weitzel's treatment of patients was well within medical standards that prosecutors hid from the defense team in the first trial.

Weitzel has always maintained his innocence and that he was a victim of vindictive prosecution and has created a web site (http://www.weitzelcharts.com) where anyone interested can review the voluminous evidence supporting him, including the actual medical charts of the dead patients -- all of whom were elderly, mentally ill and terminally ill.

"I am helping my lawyers prepare my case," said Weitzel. "We are digitalizing all the data for the trial. Those phony experts and prosecutors will pay this time. I'll be able to show that they're full of it," he said. "We have 42 experts, including Dr. Fine, ready to testify on my behalf."

Still Davis County Prosecutor Melvin Wilson continues on his course. "They can't let this go because they screwed up so bad," said Weitzel, adding that a growing contingent of Utah doctors are urging the Utah Medical Association to denounce his prosecution as the criminalization of normal medical care. "You give a dying patient in pain morphine, they die, you get charged with murder -- what's that do to end of life care?" he asked.

Weitzel blames the war on drugs for his predicament. "The drug war is heating up, the drug warriors are scared as hell that people will get fed up with prohibition, they know they are losing the war, but they continue to strike out and cause problems," he said. "They are going after legitimate physicians; they went after Purdue Pharma (manufacturers of Oxycontin). I hope the medical and pharmaceutical professions are starting to see things differently, starting to understand that the DEA doesn't know or care the first thing about medicine."

Weitzel has a legal defense fund that can only accept donations until October 1. To make a contribution, visit his web site.


5. Drug Czar on Anti-Marijuana Crusade -- Threatens Canada, Unleashes New Propaganda Offensive

Drug czar John Walters is a busy man these days. Between engineering yet another installment in the Office of National Drug Control Strategy's (ONDCP) bizarre series of ads linking marijuana users to terrorism and violence, trotting out a new offensive aimed at curbing teen pot use, trying to put out brush fires in places like California and Nevada, and threatening to disrupt cross-border trade with Canada if marijuana were legalized there, Walters appears to have a full-blown case of marijuana mania.

THE NEW AD CAMPAIGN:

Beginning this week, TV viewers around the country are being treated to the latest version of the notorious Superbowl "drugs aid terror" commercials, this time targeting marijuana. The text of one ad is as follows: "This is Dan. This is the joint that Dan bought. This is the dealer that sold the joint that Dan bought. This is the smuggler that smuggled the pot to the dealer who sold the joint that Dan bought. This is the cartel that uses the smuggler that smuggled the pot to the dealer who sold the joint that Dan bought. And this is the family that was lined up by Dan's cartel and shot for getting in the way."

A second ad features teen pot-smoker "Stacey," then shows an image of her dealer, then moves up the chain to the person who supplies the dealer. But the final image is of a bed-ridden woman: "This is Carla, who was hit by a stray bullet from Stacey's supplier and paralyzed for life," the voiceover intones ominously.

Walters, who recently had to announce that earlier ONDCP propaganda campaigns had flopped, said this one was different. "These ads are different," he told Good Morning America as part of his media blitz. "We toughened up the behavior not only to look at the harms drugs can do to young people, but using their idealism, their drug buying to things they care about."

But Good Morning America also talked to young people about the ads, and some of their responses cannot be encouraging for Walters. Elisa Roupenian, a college student interviewed on the program, said her friends objected to linking drug use here to violence in other countries. "It made people mad because they pointed the finger at teenagers," she said. "Some people think that if the government didn't create the war against drugs that made such a huge black market, the terrorists and the drug cartels wouldn't be able to make such a tremendous profit," she said.

Nevertheless, expect more such ads to follow. The drug czar has a $1 billion propaganda budget for the next five years.

THE NEW ANTI-MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN DIRECTED AT PARENTS:

Walters and Surgeon General Richard Carmona on Tuesday kicked off this new effort with a Washington, DC, press conference and an "open letter" advertisement that began appearing in newspapers around the country this week.

"Did You Know? Marijuana puts kids at risk," the copy reads. "It is the most widely used illicit drug among youth today and is more potent than ever. Marijuana use can lead to a host of significant health, social, learning and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's development. Getting high also impairs judgment, which can wreak havoc on teens in high-pressure social situations, leading to risky decision-making on issues like sex, criminal activity or riding with someone who is driving high. And don't be fooled by popular beliefs. Kids can get hooked on pot. Research shows that marijuana use can lead to addiction. More teens enter treatment for marijuana abuse each year than for all other illicit drugs combined."

"There's a myth that marijuana isn't as dangerous as smoking," asserted Carmona at the press conference. "That's not true. It's dangerous and addictive."

Carmona and Walters were able to get 17 national medical, educational, and anti-drug groups to sign onto their letter, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National PTA.

The DC dog and pony show was interrupted, however, when DC Statehood Party candidate Adam Eidinger jumped onstage as Walters spoke. Holding a sign saying "Free Bryan Epis," the California medical marijuana provider scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison next month, Eidinger denounced the prosecution of Epis and the persecution of medical marijuana users, throwing out flyers until he was ejected by Secret Service agents (http://www.drugwar.com/pczarinterrupted.shtm).

FIGHTING MARIJUANA INITIATIVES:

Walters also announced this week that he plans at least three trips to Nevada to lobby against that state's initiative to remove civil and criminal penalties for the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana.

THREATENING CANADA:

Aside from accusing the Canadian Senate's panel that recommended legalizing marijuana of being fools, Walters has also blustered about the impact Canadian legalization could have on cross-border trade. Walters called the Canadians "naïve" to believe that marijuana has any medical uses. "The claim that marijuana is an efficacious medicine is a lie," he told a Detroit news conference. "It is used by people who want to legalize marijuana, cynically."

In his Detroit appearance Walters warned that the US would take unspecified additional actions at the border if Canada legalized pot. "We will do what is necessary to protect this country," he said.

Throughout the past two weeks Walters has repeatedly made such claims as "marijuana is a dangerous drug," "American drug users contribute to terrorism," that US pot prohibition is based on scientific evidence, and "today more young people are being admitted and presented for treatment of marijuana than for alcohol."

While some academics, activists and drug reformers are attempting a point-by-point rebuttal of Walters' lies, half-truths, and distortions, others are arguing that it is an exercise in futility.

"Walters is a rabid dog and chronic pathological liar," said NORML's Allen St. Pierre. "But the drug reform movement does not have the media access to rebut him line by line, except on the Internet," he told DRCNet. "He is a bullshit factory; to reply in kind would take too long and wouldn't be heard."

That doesn't mean the movement should just lie back and let itself be slandered, St. Pierre said. "We can respond in two ways. First, everyone who thinks this campaign is stupid and a waste of money can get on the phone and tell Congress to cut funding," he suggested. "We can also contact the media that are running these ads and threaten to boycott them. We can write letters saying, 'I saw you run this ad and I will not tolerate it and I will boycott your stations and tell your other advertisers that I'm not seeing their ads because I'm not watching your stations,'" St. Pierre suggested.

For Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy, the anti-pot offensive is a sign that the prohibitionists are running scared. "They know they're losing the education war on marijuana. With a higher percentage of the population having had personal experience with marijuana as the population ages, the public is catching onto the truth," he told DRCNet. "So Walters has to resort to false statements. What they don't want to face up to is the fact that no matter how safe or unsafe a drug is, the sensible policy option in to bring it within the law, regulate it and control it."

The debate about marijuana's safety is irrelevant, Zeese argued. "All of these claims have been refuted before," he said. "We have to focus on the reality that the most sensible policy is legal control."


6. Rep. Mink Introduces Bill to Reinstate Federal Parole -- Could Free Tens of Thousands If Passed

Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI) has introduced a bill in Congress that would reinstate parole for federal prisoners. Since federal parole was ended by congressional crime-fighters in 1986, federal prisoners have had to serve 85% of their sentences and the federal prison population has skyrocketed, with drug offenders largely driving the increase. The Mink bill (H.R. 5296 this year) would make federal prisoners "eligible for release on parole after serving one-third of [their sentences] or after serving ten years of a life sentence (other than a life sentence imposed by the court without possibility of parole) or of a sentence of over thirty years, except to the extent otherwise provided by law."

While the bill, which was introduced on July 27, currently lacks cosponsors and is unlikely to move this year, it marks the first significant effort by Congress to undo the damage done by the last fifteen years of harsh mandatory minimum sentences and no parole.

In remarks introducing the bill, Mink told Congress that, "In the rush to close the revolving door for repeat offenders, Congress slammed the door on all nonviolent offenders. Today, individuals in prison have little hope. Many serve 5, 10, 20 and even 30-year sentences without the possibility of parole. They have no encouragement to take classes or any other steps to improve themselves. Congress needs to find a way to help individuals who have paid their debt to society and were given excessive sentences due to mandatory sentencing laws," she said.

In her remarks, Mink cited the case the case of Terri 'Chrissy' Taylor, a Hawaii resident sentenced to a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for her role as bit-player in a methamphetamine case. "Chrissy never dealt, trafficked or manufactured drugs," said Mink. "She was convicted of purchasing legal chemicals with the 'intention' of using them to manufacture methamphetamine. "We need to make sure no one is forced to spend years in prison without any hope."

"Finally, a beginning," said Nora Callahan of the November Coalition (http://www.november.org), a group composed of prisoners, their friends, relatives, and supporters that is working to end drug war injustice. "This is the first legislation introduced that would broadly address the injustice of the drug war, said Callahan. "This bill would give immediate relief to thousands of drug war prisoners," she said.

"Patsy Mink talked about hope," Callahan continued. "The day a prisoner steps foot into prison, he should be able to begin working on the day he comes home. But when it's a 19-year-old staring at 30 years or a middle-aged mother expected to essentially serve the rest of her life in prison, there is no hope."

Currently, nearly 100,000 people are serving lengthy mandatory minimum drug war sentences in the federal prison system. "They have to build a new federal prison every month just to stay at 33% over capacity," said Callahan. "They would need a new prison every two weeks just to end overcrowding."

The bill is already having an impact among prisoners, according to reports from the gulag. Gary Callahan, warehoused for 27 years for a cocaine conspiracy at FCI Seagoville in Texas, reported that, "the Mink bill is the most copied document in Seagoville history." Another prisoner, Mike Montalvo, serving a life sentence for drug conspiracy at USP Pollack in Louisiana, called the bill "the best thing we've seen in the last 15 years."

In some prisons, where they have active Toastmasters Clubs, prisoners are preparing presentations discussing the bill and teaching other prisoners how they can help their family members lobby for support of this bill, the November Coalition reported. Many of its prisoner members are beginning letter writing campaigns to newspapers nationwide. "In a California federal women's prison," said the November Coalition's Chuck Armsbury, "prisoners are passing out the petition, talking about the issues, and doing it through some of their drug treatment or counseling classes."

With the introduction of the Mink bill and an ongoing November Coalition petition drive seeking an end to drug war injustice circulating inside the prisons, the prison rumor mill is going into overtime, according to reports from prisoners. "Rumors about early release are always floating around," said Armsbury. "For years, we've taken calls from prisoners asking about this or that early release rumor. But we decided we should turn rumor into reality. Our petition is an organizing tool designed to show Congress there is public support for redressing this injustice."

The November Coalition has taken criticism from some quarters for giving prisoners false hope, said Nora Callahan. "There is no such thing as false hope," she said. "Hope makes us human, hope give us the energy to do the long, hard work of activism. We are only at the beginning, but without a beginning there can be no end," Callahan added.

Callahan declined to say when the Mink bill might pass. "No one is so naïve to think that this bill will be easy to pass or pass quickly, nor can I predict when it might pass. When it passes depends on us, on how many people will work to build public support," she said. "We think we can get broad support. In our months of gathering signatures, we found that most people are horrified when they find out that there is no parole for federal prisoners."

While the Mink bill is not a comprehensive assault on the injustices of the drug war -- it does not address sentencing, arbitrary prosecutions or the use of informants -- reformers see it as bringing a measure of relief to drug war prisoners. But Armsbury and Callahan also pointed out that something needs to be done to aid the transition of hundreds of thousands of drug war prisoners back to their communities in the next few years. "The first set of 20-year mandatory minimum offenders are nearing their release dates," said Callahan, "and thousands more will follow."

There is currently a bill in Congress, the Public Safety Ex-Offender Self-Sufficiency Act of 2002 (H.R. 3701), which could ease those transitions. Introduced by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and cosponsored by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), among others, the bill would allow for a temporary tax credit for providers of low-income housing for ex-convicts fresh out of prison.

Visit http://thomas.loc.gov for information on H.R. 5296, H.R. 3701 or any other federal bill. Visit http://november.org/projects/relief/relief.html to join the November Coalition's petition drive "to end drug war injustice." Visit http://www.november.org/thewall/cases/taylor-c/taylor-c.html to read more about Chrissy Taylor.


7. Swedish Drug War Hardliners Attempt to Block Anti-Prohibition Conference at European Parliament

There is a specter haunting Europe's prohibitionists, and as the global movement to end drug prohibition emerges from the shadows and reaches into the institutions of the European Union, the continent's drug war extremists are raising the alarm. With at least three European conferences on ending prohibition being planned for the coming months, the hardliners at the Hassela Nordic Network (HNN), a Swedish group that supports "repressive drug policies" and is linked to prohibitionists around the globe, have gone downright hysterical.

The immediate object of HNN's ire is the recently announced "First World Convention of Antiprohibitionist Legislators," scheduled for October 15-16 at the European Parliament in Brussels. Sponsored by Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action, the newly revived International Antiprohibitionist League, and the Transnational Radical Party, the event will bring together anti-prohibitionist legislators and a select group of activists to discuss and prepare "concrete actions to demonstrate the failures of prohibition and to promote the anti-prohibition alternative in different fora," according an announcement made by conference organizers. The PAA conference is affiliated with the DRCNet-initiated campaign and conference series, "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century."

"The main focus of the meeting will be the anti-prohibitionist reform of the United Nations Conventions on Narcotic Substances," TRP UN representative Marco Perduca told DRCNet. "We believe that the time has come to promote drug regulation through a reform of the UN conventions."

The UN conventions form the legal backbone of the global prohibition regime. Conference organizers are acting now to prepare for a UN review conference on drug policies set for March 2003 in Vienna. For the first time, the global drug war bureaucracy will confront organized opposition to its orthodoxy.

That prospect was too much for Hassela, which last week attempted unsuccessfully to bar the conference from using EU facilities. In its press release denouncing the conference -- issued before the conference invitation letter was officially made public -- Hassela resorted to rhetoric familiar to those who have endured similar mouthings on this side of the water. TRP head Marco Pannella is a "notorious drug legalizer," said HNN. Dutch Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Hedy d'Ancona is "ignorant," and anti-prohibitionists are "pro-drug advocates" who hope to use the prestige of the EU "to make their dirty agenda look decent."

Hassela also damned American drug law reformer Arnold Trebach, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, who is assuming the IAL's chairmanship, for having been active in NORML and DPF, but above all for daring to suggest in his book "The Great Drug War," that "a young depressed person using a depressant like alcohol may be helped by a switch to marijuana."

Not content to merely name call, HNN aimed unloosed a blast of repressive conservatism at anyone who would listen and called on sympathetic MEPs to block the conference: "It is outrageous that an assembly representing millions of European taxpayers will be used and manipulated by a group of well-known pro-drug advocates to participate in activities aimed at promoting drug use," it fulminated. "The scourge of drugs is too serious to be handled by irresponsible individuals acting on their own behalf... HNN urges MEPs with some decency and political responsibility to make sure the European Parliament is not used to promote illegal activities. Everybody is entitled to his/her opinion on drugs, but an elected assembly, the European Parliament, should definitely NOT be used for the purposes of getting rid of UN Conventions aimed at decreasing demand and supply of drugs," HNN thundered.

But despite its bluster, when it comes to blocking the "Out from the Shadows" conference, HNN is impotent. "HNN asked the European Parliament vice-chair, Swedish conservative Charlotte Cedershioeld, to block the conference," said Perduca, "but the vice-chair cannot do anything about this matter because MEPs are free to organize whatever they want inside Parliament."

Still, said Perduca, Hassela is a determined (if somewhat dotty) and familiar foe. "I am not sure whether they knew if they could shut us down or not, but I am sure that they wanted to portray the meeting as a pro-drugs initiative, something that of course is far from being accurate," Perduca said. "They are a serious threat. In 1998, when the TRP issued a report criticizing the UN and its preparatory work for the special session on drugs of the General Assembly, this same group was able to publish a few articles in the Swedish press on our anti-prohibitionist activities portraying the European Parliament as a place where illegal groups were propagating dangerous ideas to promote drug use."

But while the Euro-drug warriors have been aroused, "Out from the Shadows" will take place as scheduled. The more than 50 legislators who are members of Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action (hailing from a dozen countries and belonging to different political backgrounds) and their friends in civil society will craft strategy for moving the global legalization movement forward in the short- and long-term.


8. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision

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.

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

Demand Freedom for the Tulia Victims
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/254.html#demandfreedom

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.


9. Newsbrief: DC Medical Marijuana Initiative Yanked from Ballot

It's been an up and down week for Initiative 63, the District of Columbia medical marijuana initiative, but the week and this year's effort ended on a decidedly down note. A day after the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), the prime mover behind the initiative, announced the DC Board of Elections and Ethics had finally reversed itself and decided that initiative petition gatherers had come up with the required number of valid signatures, a federal appeals court drove a stake through the measure's heart.

"The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned the victory we had won in a lower court making the Barr Amendment unconstitutional," said MPP director of government relations Steve Fox. The Barr Amendment, named after recently defeated Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, was adopted by Congress in an effort to prevent a medical marijuana victory by preventing the District government from expending any funds for such a move.

"We were surprised by the ruling, because the lower court ruling was so strongly in our favor," Fox told DRCNet. "And the way it came up was a surprise, too. The appeals court was told it needed to rule by September 20 if it wanted to keep the initiative off the ballot because ballots had to be printed. They ruled today, simply vacating the lower court's decision without issuing a full opinion. The fact is, they decided how they wanted to rule, and now they have to write the opinion."

"The DC medical marijuana initiative is dead for this year," said Fox. "Once we see the full decision, our legal team will decide whether an appeal to a higher court is worthwhile."

It had been a long, hard road for Initiative 63. Beginning in July 2001, MPP attempted to begin circulating petitions for the initiative, but the elections board blocked that request because the Barr Amendment blocked the city from spending money to process the initiative. MPP sued in federal court, arguing that the District and federal government actions abridged First Amendment political speech rights. MPP won a favorable ruling in March 2002, but then had to fend off a lawsuit from disgruntled local activists before gathering 38,000 signatures in 25 days. Although only 17,000 valid signatures were needed, the election board attempted to block a vote, claiming that MPP came up short in one too many of the city's wards. MPP challenged the board's count and demonstrated that the board had failed to count hundreds of valid signatures. The Tuesday ruling validated MPP's position and would have allowed the measure to go to the voters. Now it won't, at least not this year.


10. Newsbrief: Leahy Drops Support for RAVE Act

The national mobilization by Drug Policy Alliance, the Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund, Ravers Organized Against the Rave Act (ROAR) and others to stop the fast-moving RAVE Act in its tracks bore fruit this week as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dropped his support for the measure. While billed as a means of reducing the use of club drugs at the popular dance events, the RAVE Act would subject property owners and event promoters to stiff criminal sentences if drugs were found to have been used at their events, and is written so loosely that it could include political events or almost any commercial activity.

In recent weeks, opponents of the bill have engaged in mass phone-ins to senators, discussions with key members in Congress, and loud demonstrations in major cities across the country (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/255.html#technocapitol). Sen. Leahy, one of the bill's original cosponsors, apparently heard the clamor. He announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn his support for the bill and is no longer a cosponsor.

"As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, loss of his support is an encouraging sign that our legislators are beginning to understand that the RAVE Act is too broad," said the Drug Policy Alliance in announcing Leahy's decision. "By no longer supporting the bill, Senator Leahy has taken a stand in support of public health, safety and free speech, and he should be commended for doing so."

But support for the bill is still strong, DPA warned, and asked voters in states where key senators support the bill to let their representatives know the bill is fatally flawed. Those members include Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) at (202) 224-4041, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) at (202) 224-3744, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)at (202) 224-2152, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) at (202) 224-5972 and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) at (202) 224-5251.


11. Newsbrief: Mexican Senate Panel to Look at Approving Medical Marijuana

The Mexican Senate's Health Commission will meet next week to discuss modifying the country's General Health Law to allow "the controlled use of marijuana for therapeutic reasons," the Mexico City newspaper Cronica de Hoy reported Tuesday. Commission head Senator Elials Miguel Morena Brizuela told Cronica that he had drafted and will present a proposal to modify the law.

In an interview with the newspaper, Morena Brizuela, of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) minced few words: "It is important and necessary that Mexico authorizes the use of cannabis for therapeutic reasons, above all for illnesses such as rheumatism, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, menstrual pain, Alzheimers, paraplegia, cancer and ills associated with AIDS," he said. He also suggested that marijuana could also be used for asthma, where it could relieve symptoms of asphyxia.

In addition to marijuana's medical uses, Morena Brizuela argued that allowing for medical use would remove medical users from the black market, where "the illegality of this substance eases the entrance of its habitual users into the circuit of illicit commerce, where it is easier to run into traffickers of real drugs."

Morena Brizuela told the newspaper his measure would benefit patients in severe pain by allowing them to acquire quality-controlled marijuana with a prescription. Prescriptions would be written only after "confirming that the drug is appropriate to treat a terminal illness, alleviate pain or suffering of the gravely ill, or in some cases to combat the diseases caused by multiple pathologies." His reform foresees moving marijuana to the government drug schedule that includes psychoactive drugs that have therapeutic value, he said.

Brizuela conceded that the move would spark controversy, but argued that marijuana is safe to use without serious health consequences and that it has legitimate medical uses. "Marijuana's toxicity is very low, it doesn't create addiction in normal doses, and it doesn't create serious health consequences after its use," he said. But marijuana is a drug that has created "great controversy within all modern societies," he said, adding that many in Mexico think of it as a gateway drug.


12. MarijuanaInfo.org Votes/Polls Section Updated

Two weeks ago, DRCNet linked to a new Votes/Polls section of the impressive MarijuanaInfo.org web site by the A-Mark Foundation. We didn't realize at the time that work was still progressing on the section. Votes/Polls now has 72 medical marijuana polls listed, as well as hyperlinked windows providing background on the polling groups, including their missions, credibility rankings and whether they have positions on the medical marijuana issue.

The polling summary is particularly relevant to this week's lead story of escalating raids and arrests against medical marijuana patients and providers in California. While the federal government seeks to squash the medical marijuana movement without regard to state or local sanction for it, it couldn't be more clear when looking at the poll results and votes over time that public opinion is against them.

Visit http://www.MarijuanaInfo.org and click on the "over 65 votes/polls" link to read more. Also visit http://www.drcnet.org/wol/237.html#marijuanainfo and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/252.html#throughtheages for our past coverage of MarijuanaInfo.org.


13. Newsbrief: Sentencing Project Finds Most Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent, Minorities

In a new report released this week, "Distorted Priorities: Drug Offenders in State Prisons," The Sentencing Project has found that most drug offenders in state prisons are black males with no history of violence or major drug dealing. More than half of the 251,000 people held in state prisons for drug offenses in 1997, when the last federal five-year survey of state inmates was made, had no history of violence, the report found.

Some 124,885 state inmates were serving prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes without any high-level drug dealing involvement, and more than half of them were black. Blacks represented 56% of all drug offenders, even though they make up only 13% of monthly drug users, the Sentencing Project reported. Hispanics made up 23% of state drug offenders, while making up only 9% of all monthly drug users. Thus, minorities made up nearly four-fifths of all imprisoned drug offenders while being responsible for only slightly more than one-fifth of all monthly drug use.

The states paid about $5 billion to house the quarter-million drug offenders in state prisons in 1997, the study found.

"They represent a pool of appropriate candidates for diversion to treatment programs or some other type of community-based sanctions," the authors wrote of the nonviolent drug offenders. "The 'war on drugs' has been overly punitive and costly and has diverted attention and resources from potentially more constructive approaches."

See http://www.sentencingproject.org/news/distorted_priorities.pdf to read the report.


14. Newsbrief: Illinois Governor Candidate Says He Smoked Pot -- Sort Of

Who would have thought that any politician could top Bill Clinton's comic "I didn't inhale" response to the now inevitable press question about past marijuana use? Stepping up to the challenge this week was Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich, who told a Monday press conference that he had twice smoked marijuana, but that he wasn't sure if he inhaled. "I did it twice, and I'm a nonsmoker," Blagojevich explained. "I don't like it; I run. So I don't know if I inhaled or not."

Blagojevich said he had not tried any other drugs and does not support the legalization of marijuana, but noted the herb's pervasiveness. "I never liked the smell of it, but it was a smell that we all of our generation are very familiar with, and I'm sure I'm not the only one in this room who can recognize that smell," he said.

A spokesman for Republican nominee Jim Ryan said Ryan has never used any illegal drug.


15. Newsbrief: Waco Police Department Goes Easier on Applicants with Past Marijuana Use History

A Waco, Texas, police department policy that disqualified potential officers if they had used marijuana more than 50 times was costing the department good men and women who went on to have successful law enforcement careers with other agencies, Police Chief Alberto Melis said, so they threw it out. According to an Associated Press dispatch this week, the department will now only reject candidates who admit to having smoked in the past two years.

Melis called the policy change a sign of the times, noting that the Waco policy was still more restrictive than those of many big city police departments, but some of the rank and file were grumbling. "I guess what they are telling us is that it is OK to be a drug addict," said one officer who refused to give his name. "There are just a whole lot of us who have been here a long time who don't think the department should lower its standards on any level, especially on drugs."


16. Web Scan: Arianna Huffington, Action America, Cultural Baggage, Bob Herbert, Mark Fiore

Arianna Huffington blasts the double standard that gets multiple chances and expensive drug treatment for Jeb Bush scion Noelle but sends ordinary drug offenders to jail under his and his brother's policies. Read "A Crack House Divided" on Working for Change:
http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=13811

Action America, a libertarian/conservative online publication, comments on the drug war and the "drugs fund terrorism" connection in two articles:

The War on Drugs -- Solution or Problem
http://www.ActionAmerica.org/drugs/wod-pt1.html

Federal Failure by Design -- Lawmakers Give Terrorists a Pass
http://www.ActionAmerica.org/drugs/fundterr.html

The "Cultural Baggage" program on the Houston Pacifica affiliate KPFT interviewed Canada Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin, Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and Santa Cruz medical marijuana leader Valerie Corral for a one hour discussion:
http://www.cultural-baggage.com/cb0913B.rm

Medmj Flash Cartoon by Political Cartoonist Mark Fiore:
http://www.markfiore.com/animation/protect.html

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert discusses the importance of defending liberties despite our "sorrow and fear" over terrorism, highlighting the work of the ACLU over the past year, in a Thursday piece titled "Sorrows and Liberties":
http://forms.aclu.org/L/www.nytimes/2002/09/19/opinion/19HERB.cfm?MX=508&H=0


17. Errata: New York Marijuana Reform Party

In our story last week, DRCNet misstated a key plank of the party's platform. The party calls for legalization of marijuana, not decriminalization.


18. The Reformer's Calendar

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

September 25, 6:30-8:30pm, New York, NY, Speak Out on the Rockefeller Drug Laws, sponsored by JusticeWorks Community and the Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership. At Bethel Assembly Gospel Church, 2-26 East 120th St. and Madison Ave., contact Ranja Basu and Jessica Dias at (212) 348-8142 or [email protected] for further information.

September 26, Eugene, OR, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At the Wow Hall, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit http://www.adopedealer.com for further information.

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

September 27, nationwide, "National Day of Action" against Plan Colombia, sponsored by the National Mobilization on Colombia. Visit http://www.colombiamobilization.org for further information.

September 28, Palo Alto, CA, "Putting the Government on Trial," a Continuing Legal Education Seminar hosted by the Fully Informed Jury Association. Nine speakers will address various legal defense issues related to jury nullification, including jury empowerment, opening and closing statements and strategies for defense attorneys. Visit http://www.fija.org or contact Iloilo Marguerite Jones at (406) 442-1388 or [email protected].

September 29, sunset, nationwide vigil for medical marijuana. Contact [email protected] or (510) 486-8083 or visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org for further information.

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 1, 7:00pm, Washington, DC "Treatment Instead of Jail," movie and panel discussion by the DC Campaign for Treatment (Measure 62) in conjunction with the Independent Media Center, and additional five-minute film on drug reform measures and activities. At Visions Cinema, 1927 Florida Ave., visit http://www.dcmeasure62.com for further information.

October 1-6, Negril, Jamaica, "Mind States Jamaica," seminar featuring speakers such as Richard Glen Boire, Earth Erowid, Fire Erowid, Alex Grey, Jon Hanna, Stephen Kent, Jonathan Ott, Mark Pesce, Ann Shulgin and Sasha Shulgin. Registration $1,300 through September 15, includes admission, double occupancy accommodations, meals and drinks. Contact [email protected] or visit http://www.erowid.org/mindstates/ 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.

October 10, 5:00pm, Higganum, CT, Community Forum on the "War on Drugs." Featuring Cliff Thornton and Adam Hurter of Efficacy, at the gazebo in town center, contact Kevin at (860) 345-3387 or [email protected] for further information.

October 25-29, Albuquerque, NM, "International Conference on Altered States of Consciousness." At the Crowne Plaza Pyramid, visit http://www.bizspirit.com/alteredstates/aspeakers.html for further information.

October 27, 10:00am-4:00pm, London, England, "A Modern Inquisition -- the General Medical Council," conference on the targeting of addiction practitioners by British regulatory authorities, featuring Dr. John Marks, Prof. Arnold Trebach, an unidentified senior British politician and others. Sponsored by the Health and Law Foundation, at the University of London Union, Malet Street, call (0)20 7274 5008 or e-mail [email protected] for information or to register.

November 2, 9:00am-5:00pm, Kansas City, MO, NORML/SSDP Drug Law Conference. At UMKC, education building, featuring Keith Stroup, Debbie Moore, Alex Holsinger and others. Visit http:/www.mohemp.org or e-mail [email protected] for information. November 2, Davis, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At the Varsity Theater, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit http://www.adopedealer.com for further information.

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.

November 9-10, 10:00am-6:00pm, London, England, European Conference of The Libertarian International and Libertarian Alliance. At the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, admission £75.00 ($111 or 115 EURO), for information contact Dr. Chris Tame at +020 7821 5502 or e-mail [email protected].

November 22-24, Amsterdam, Netherlands, "Psychoactivity III," speakers including Arno Adelaars, Hans Bogers, Jace Callaway PhD, Hilario Chiriap, Piers Gibbon, Luis Eduardo Luna PhD, Dr. phil. Claudia Mueller-Ebeling. Visit http://www.psychoactivity.org for further information.

November 22-24, Toronto, ON, Canada, Canadian Harm Reduction Conference, conference for current and former drug users, peer educators and front line workers to respond to critical and emerging issues through skills building and education, policy development and networking. Sponsored by the Canadian Harm Reduction Network, visit http://www.canadianharmreduction.com 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.

February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century," sponsored by the DRCNet Foundation in partnership with organizations around the world. Visit http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/shadows/ or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

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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