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

Issue #259, 10/18/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Election 2002: The Initiatives
  2. Election 2002: Arizona
  3. Election 2002: District of Columbia
  4. Election 2002: Nevada
  5. Election 2002: Ohio
  6. Election 2002: South Dakota
  7. Election 2002: Local Ballot Issues in San Francisco and Massachusetts
  8. November Coalition Journey for Justice Roars through Michigan
  9. Drug War Corruption in Colombia and Mexico
  10. Newsbrief: New Compilation of California Medical Marijuana Guideline Info on
  11. Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Activist Arrested on Federal Charges
  12. Newsbrief: Damned Sad -- MADD Sues DAMMADD
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Cop Corruption Story
  14. Newsbrief: DARE Attrition Continues in Kansas City, Kansas
  15. Newsbrief: Canada Study Looks at Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Woes
  16. Newsbrief: In First, British Marijuana User Wins with Medical Necessity Defense
  17. Newsbrief: Virginia Man Lucks Out with Only Two Years in Prison for Sharing Joint with Teenager
  18. Newsbrief: BC City Governments Ask for Tougher Grow Penalties
  19. Newsbrief: Florida School District Wants Positive Drug Test Kids to Pay for Own Counseling
  20. Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision
  21. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision
  22. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Election 2002: The Initiatives

With the November elections less than three weeks away, initiatives on the ballot in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Ohio and South Dakota are putting different elements of drug reform or related issues to the popular vote. Medical marijuana is on the ballot in Arizona and Nevada, as is the decriminalization or regulation of personal marijuana use; different varieties of sentencing reform are on the Arizona, DC, and Ohio initiatives; and industrial hemp and a cousin to jury nullification are on the South Dakota ballot.

2. Election 2002: Arizona

Voters in Arizona will consider two competing initiatives with very different emphases. Proposition 203, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act of 2002, sponsored by The People Have Spoken, is a multifaceted reform effort that builds on successful initiatives by the same group in 1996 and 1998. The initiative would decriminalize marijuana possession, require the state Department of Public Safety to distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, require a sentence of probation -- not jail -- for a drug possession offense, allow judges to order drug offenders to treatment but not to jail them if they fail, and require parole for everyone convicted of personal possession of any drug.

While opponents, including drug czar John Walters, who was in the state to campaign against the initiative last week, have criticized every aspect of the initiative, it is the provision barring judges from jailing drug offenders for violating treatment orders that sparked an opposition initiative. Proposition 302, spearheaded by Maricopa County Prosecutor Rick Romley, who aspires to be national drug czar some day, would allow judges to impose jail time or revoke probation for persons who failed or refused drug treatment.

The Arizona law enforcement establishment is solidly opposed to Prop. 203, as are both major party gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republican Matt Salmon, who stood flanking Walters at a news conference last week. But that doesn't seem to make much difference to Arizona voters, who appear poised to pass the reform. The $1.3 million put into the campaign by University of Phoenix founder John Sperling may have something to do with that. While opponents make generous use of their public offices to attack the initiative, in terms of real campaign contributions they have raised only $75,000.

The most recent statewide poll, conducted between September 26 and 29 by the Social Research Laboratory at Northern Arizona University, showed Prop. 203 leading with 53% support. Even Romley, point man for the Arizona drug war, appears to have conceded defeat. "I strongly suspect that it will pass," he told the Arizona Daily Sun on October 1.

No polling data exists for Prop 302.

Prop 203 as it appears on the ballot:

Decriminalizes marijuana possession for personal use; $250 civil fine; Requires state to distribute marijuana free of charge upon physician's written documentation; Increases maximum penalty for violent crimes committed under influence of drugs; Eliminates mandatory minimum sentences; Requires parole if convicted of personal possession of controlled substance unless danger to public.

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of decriminalizing marijuana possession for personal use, providing for a $250 civil fine, requiring distribution of marijuana free of charge by the Department of Public Safety if a person's physician provides written documentation, increases the maximum sentence for violent crimes while committed under the influence of drugs, eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, requires parole for persons convicted of personal possession of a controlled substance unless they are a danger to the public.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current criminal penalties for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.

Proposition 302 as it appears on the ballot:
Allows court to impose term of incarceration if person convicted of personal possession or use of controlled substance or drug paraphernalia violates probation by committing another drug-related offense or refusing to participate in drug treatment, or if the person refuses drug treatment or rejects probation at the time of sentencing.

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of allowing a court to impose a term of incarceration if a person convicted of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia violates probation by committing a drug-related offense or violates a court order relating to drug treatment, or if the person refuses drug treatment or rejects probation at sentencing.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of not allowing a court to impose a term of incarceration for persons convicted of possession of a controlled substance for personal use.

For complete initiative language, visit:

3. Election 2002: District of Columbia

Measure 62, the "Treatment Instead of Jail for Certain Non-Violent Drug Offenders Initiative of 2002," would allow persons charged with drug possession to request drug treatment in lieu of facing criminal charges. Judges could order a treatment program of up to 12 months (with a maximum extension to 18 months in some circumstances), upon completion of which the drug possession charges would be dropped.

But the measure does not apply to Schedule 1 drugs, meaning people arrested for possession of marijuana, heroin, LSD, or ecstasy would not be able to ask for treatment. Washington has a significant heroin-using population. It also has a significant cocaine-using population. Because cocaine is a Schedule II drug, cocaine users would be covered.

According to Opio Sokoni, campaign coordinator for Measure 62, the decision to exclude Schedule I drugs was an effort to avoid conflicts with the city's congressional overseers. Under the so-called "Barr amendment," the District is barred from spending any funds to implement any laws that would reduce penalties for Schedule I drug offenses. Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), spearheaded the blocking measure to thwart a 1998 medical marijuana initiative. Last month, a federal court in the district upheld the Barr amendment, knocking a medical marijuana initiative organized by the Marijuana Policy Project off the ballot.

Measure 62 has garnered almost no press attention and no organized opposition. Sokoni smells victory in November. "Sixty percent would be a mandate for change," he told DRCNet, "but we're looking for 70%." The DC Board of Elections and Ethics has not posted the measure on its web site. Under DC law, newspapers cannot print sample ballots until October 29. Visit to view the full text of Measure 62.

4. Election 2002: Nevada

On November 5, Nevada voters will vote on legalizing the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana. Question 9, as the initiative is known, also calls for the state government to create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana cultivation, sales and distribution. Because the measure seeks to amend the state constitution, under Nevada law it must be approved by voters twice. If Question 9 passes next month, it would then appear on the 2004 ballot for second approval.

The Nevada initiative, sponsored by Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement ( and its parent group, the Marijuana Policy Project (, has already succeeding in placing the issue squarely on the national political agenda. It has generated press coverage from around the country and drawn the ire of national drug warriors. Drug czar John Walters has twice traveled to the state to deliver his prohibitionist message that regulating marijuana is "a lie, "a con" and "ludicrous."

The repeated intervention of national drug war bureaucrats may be backfiring. The state's largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, hardly a hotbed of pro-pot sentiment, scorched Walters in a Monday editorial that ran under the headline, "Federal Drug Czar Meddles in an Issue Nevadans Must Decide." Noting that Walters consistently hammered at campaign organizers as "out of state" carpetbaggers spending millions of dollars on "inaccurate campaigns," the editorial tartly asked: "As opposed to Mr. Walters jetting to Nevada from the Beltway to slam the measure?" The newspaper accused Walters of "duplicity" for saying one hand that his office would not spend money or resources to defeat the initiative, then twice visiting the state to campaign against it. The editorial also accused Walters of lying about marijuana addiction before concluding that: "Nevadans are capable of acting like grown-ups and deciding whether we wish to maintain the current, Draconian set of penalties against the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. We need no help from our 'betters' in Washington, DC."

But Walters isn't the only clown in this circus. The campaign against Question 9, which has been marked by outrageous rhetoric, probably reached its nadir last week, when Clark County Assistant District Attorney Gary Booker, leader of the prohibitionist campaign, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Joe Neal, claimed that "drug cartels" were funding the initiative. When challenged, they cited Lyndon LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review, a crankish publication that also claims the Queen of England is behind the international drug trade. Many howls of derision were heard, and Booker has since been replaced as lead spokesman for the anti crowd.

As the final weeks approach, both sides are engaged in paid advertising campaigns seeking to sway voters. This race is too close to call. Polls in recent months have alternated between showing a Question 9 victory and a defeat. According to a poll conducted last week for the Marijuana Policy Project, the race is in a dead heat, with 46% in favor, 46% opposed and 8% undecided.

Question 9 on the ballot:

Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to allow the use and possession of three ounces or less of marijuana by persons aged 21 years or older, to require the Legislature to provide or maintain penalties for using, distributing, selling or possessing marijuana under certain circumstances, and to provide a system of regulation for the cultivation, taxation, sale and distribution of marijuana?
Visit for complete initiative language and related items.

5. Election 2002: Ohio

Issue 1, a "treatment not jail" initiative sponsored by the Campaign for New Drug Policies (, has become a largely partisan campaign issue, with the state's Republican political establishment, headed by Gov. Robert Taft and his drug warrior wife, Hope, working with drug war bureaucrats from the Bush administration to defeat the measure. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Hagan has endorsed the initiative, and press reports this week indicated that the high rollers behind the effort may be shifting their last minute advertising buys from supporting the initiative to supporting Hagan.

That is a clear sign that the initiative is in serious trouble. Reform backers are reading the same polls as everyone else, and the news isn't good. A mid-September poll for the Cleveland Plain Dealer found the measure losing, 55% to 30%, while an October 6 poll for the Columbus Dispatch had similar results, with the measure failing by 51% to 31%.

Supporters of Issue 1 have accused Gov. Taft and other state officials of illegally interfering with the initiative (visit for an investigative report by Dan Forbes) and also cried foul over the language that will appear on the ballot. The ballot language says the measure will cost $247 million for drug treatment over seven years, but doesn't explain that the measure would generate huge savings in corrections costs.

"If we can't pass drug reform in Ohio through the initiative process because the governor's stacked the deck against us, it makes more sense for us to try to change who the governor is," CNDP strategist Bill Zimmerman told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "It would be to shift resources to an independent expenditure committee that supports Hagan and opposes Taft."

DRCNet did not know as of press time whether a final decision had been made.

Issue 1 on the ballot:

To adopt Section 24 of Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio. In order to provide for persons charged with or convicted of illegal possession or use of a drug, in certain circumstances, to choose treatment instead of incarceration, to require the state to spend two hundred forty-seven million dollars ($247,000,000) over seven (7) fiscal years to pay for the drug treatment programs, to allow the applicable records of offenders who complete treatment instead of incarceration for illegal drug use and possession to be sealed and kept confidential for most purposes, and to limit the maximum sentence to ninety (90) days incarceration that eligible first-time, second-time, and certain repeat illegal drug possession or use offenders could serve, this amendment would:
  1. Require a court to order treatment instead of incarceration for first-time or second-time offenders charged with or convicted of illegal possession or use of a drug who request treatment, have not been convicted of or imprisoned for a violent felony within five years of committing the current offense, have not been sentenced to a term of incarceration that would interfere with participation in treatment, and in the same proceeding have not been convicted of or charged with other drug-related offenses or misdemeanors involving theft, violence or the threat of violence.
  2. Allow a court to order treatment instead of incarceration for eligible repeat offenders charged with or convicted of illegal possession or use of a drug who request treatment, and for offenders charged with or convicted of illegal possession or use of a drug who are also charged with or convicted of other nonviolent offenses resulting from drug abuse or addiction and who request treatment.
  3. Create a Substance Abuse Treatment Fund and require the state to spend a total of two hundred and forty-seven million dollars ($247,000,000) to pay for the treatment, breaking down to nineteen million dollars ($19,000,000) for the remainder of the 2003 fiscal year and thirty-eight million dollars ($38,000,000) annually through fiscal year 2009, in addition to requiring the state to maintain its current spending to fund existing substance abuse treatment programs through fiscal year 2009, and to require the state to continue to provide adequate resources for these purposes after fiscal year 2009.
  4. Limit the period of treatment a court may impose to not more than twelve (12) months, allow an extension of the treatment period for not more than six (6) more months, and allow court supervision of an offender for up to ninety (90) days after treatment.
  5. Limit the sentencing of first-time, second-time, and certain repeat offenders who are eligible for treatment but who either do not request treatment or do not meet the terms of the treatment to a maximum of ninety (90) days incarceration for illegal possession or use of a drug.
  6. Limit the authority of judges who place eligible offenders into treatment to remove those offenders from the programs.
  7. Require a court to dismiss legal proceedings against an offender without a finding of guilt if the offender completes the treatment.
  8. Allow an offender who successfully completes the treatment to have applicable records sealed and to have the conviction that prompted the request for treatment expunged, and require that the sealed or expunged records be kept confidential except for specified law enforcement and court related purposes.
Visit for further information on the Question.

6. Election 2002: South Dakota

Two measures of interest to drug reformers are on the South Dakota ballot. Initiative 1 would legalize industrial hemp production, but it is the other measure, Constitutional Amendment A, that has gotten notice from around the country. Amendment A would allow defendants in criminal cases to effectively seek jury nullification by arguing that the law under which they are charged in invalid, unfair, inapplicable or just plain dumb.

Matthew Ducheneaux, a Lakota Indian who was arrested for smoking marijuana for medical reasons, has been the poster-child for the effort. Ducheneaux was convicted after South Dakota courts refused to allow him to use a medical necessity defense. But Amendment A supporters are currently engaged in a search for the most outrageous examples of courtroom abuse and are offering $2,002 for the worst case. The winner, if that's the right word, will be announced October 31.

Amendment A is opposed by the South Dakota legal establishment. Both major party candidates for attorney general are united in opposition, as is the South Dakota Bar Association and the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association. While its supporters, led by Bob Newland of Hermosa, are low on funds, they are high on energy and have argued the question in public forums and newspaper commentaries across the state.

There have been no published polls on Amendment A, and Newland told DRCNet he couldn't tell what will happen on Election Day. But Newland added that the opposition had only recently been agreeing to debates. "It's just now that the lawyers are coming out to face us," he said. "They wouldn't be doing that if they didn't think they were losing, so we're feeling pretty good about that."

Although Amendment A has stirred more interest than the industrial hemp initiative, both have been largely ignored as the state focuses on the highly contested battle for the US Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tim Johnson, who is being challenged by Republican John Thune in a race that has seen out-of-state money pour in in what is widely viewed as a surrogate battle between Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and President Bush.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state's largest newspaper, reported that its poll showed the hemp initiative losing with only 21% of the vote, leaving Newland mystified. "Our poll last year showed 85% approval, but that was a push poll, so that figure is probably too high. But the results were so encouraging we thought we had it in the bag," he said. "I find the Argus Leader numbers very hard to swallow, but all I can say, I guess, is that we're somewhere between 21% and 85% approval."

Amendment A on the ballot:

Title: An amendment to Article VI, Section 7 of the Constitution, relating to the rights of a criminal defendant.

Attorney General Explanation: The Constitution currently guarantees certain rights to a person accused of a crime. Amendment A would amend the Constitution to state that a criminal defendant may argue the merits, validity, and applicability of the law, including sentencing laws.

A vote "Yes" will change the Constitution.

A vote "No" will leave the Constitution as it is.

Full Text of Constitutional Amendment A:

That Article VI, section 7 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 7. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him; to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have compulsory process served for obtaining witnesses in his behalf; and to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed; and to argue the merits, validity, and applicability of the law, including the sentencing laws.

The hemp initiative on the ballot:
Title: An initiated measure adopting a law relating to industrial hemp (cannabis).

Attorney General Explanation:

Initiated Measure 1 proposes a law that would make it legal under state law, but not under federal law, for a person to plant, cultivate, harvest, possess, process, transport, sell or buy industrial hemp (cannabis) or any of its by-products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of one percent or less.

A vote "Yes" would adopt the state law.

A vote "No" would leave state law as it is.

Full Text of Initiated Measure 1:

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) content of one percent or less.

Visit for further initiative information.

7. Election 2002: Local Ballot Issues in San Francisco and Massachusetts

In addition to a handful of statewide initiatives this year, drug policy issues are showing up in local elections in California and Massachusetts. In the Golden State, San Francisco is poised to give a collective poke in the eye to the federal government's anti-medical marijuana crusade, while in the Bay State, voters in selected districts will decide on a series of related pot and medical marijuana issues.


Reacting to an escalating pattern of DEA raids against medical marijuana providers in the state, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in July to ask voters whether the city government should explore growing and distributing its own medical marijuana supply. Supervisor Mark Leno, a long-time medical marijuana supporter, was the motivating force behind the measure. "Yes, this does challenge federal law and the DEA," he told a news conference at the time. "It has to be done. No one should have to go on the street to find this medicine."

A yes vote on the measure would allow city officials to begin examining how to put such a system together, but would not commit the city to getting into the medical marijuana business. If San Francisco actually moved to implement such a system, court challenges from the federal government would be a near certainty.

While DRCNet is aware of no polling on the issue, called Proposition S on the ballot, San Francisco has long been a bastion of support for medical marijuana. The city health department has issued more than 3,700 ID cards for certified medical marijuana patients, accounting for more than 10% of all medical marijuana patients in the state. Last year, the city declared itself a sanctuary for medical marijuana patients.

On the ballot:

(Proposition S) Medical Marijuana

The Way it is Now:

The City does not grow or distribute marijuana.

The Proposal:

Proposition S is a Declaration of Policy which states that the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, District Attorney, City Attorney and Department of Public Health shall explore the possibility of creating a program to grow and distribute marijuana for medical use.

A Yes" Vote Means:

If you vote "Yes," you want it to be City policy to consider growing and distributing marijuana for medical use.

A "No" Vote Means:

If you vote "No," you do not want it to be City policy to consider growing and distributing marijuana for medical use.


Medical marijuana, marijuana decriminalization and industrial hemp initiatives are on the ballot in 47 towns and cities, including 20 of the state's 170 House districts. Yes votes on the initiatives instruct lawmakers to vote in favor of medical marijuana, decriminalization, or hemp, depending on the district. Another drug policy-related initiative would instruct lawmakers to vote for a resolution against US policy in Colombia.

The marijuana initiatives campaign, organized by the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, builds on a similar effort in the 2000 elections, when 18 cities and towns passed like-minded measures by a two-to-one margin.

On the ballot (in 16 districts in Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worchester): "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a maximum fine of $100 and not subject to any criminal penalties?"

On the ballot (in three districts in Essex): "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to introduce and vote for legislation making possession of marijuana a civil violation, like a traffic ticket instead of a criminal offense, and requiring the police to hold a person under 18 who is cited for possession until the person is released to a parent or legal guardian or brought before a judge?"

On the ballot (in Worchester's 14th District): "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation that would allow patients with certain diseases, who have a written doctor's recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of Cannabis marijuana for their personal use until such time that the federal government puts into effect a distribution system for these patients?"

On the ballot (in Franklin's 2nd District): "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow licensed farmers in Massachusetts to grow Cannabis hemp a crop with a 1 percent or less, THC, the active ingredient in marijuana for legitimate agricultural and industrial purposes?"

On the ballot (in Norfolk's 15th District): "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for a resolution calling upon Congress and the President of the United States to immediately withdraw all troops from Colombia, to stop all gifts of money and weapons to the Colombian army, and to use all $1 billion requested for the Colombian army within the US for urgent health care needs?"

Visit for further information on the initiatives and districts involved.

8. November Coalition Journey for Justice Roars through Michigan

The November Coalition's Journey for Justice ( got off to a rousing start in Michigan last weekend, according to press and personal accounts. The journey, designed to expand and energize the grassroots base of the November Coalition, a national group working to free federal drug war prisoners, kept group leaders Nora Callahan and Chuck Armsbury and Kevin Zeese of the Washington, DC-based Common Sense for Drug Policy (http:/ busy all weekend, but it also pushed the movement forward in a variety of ways.

The journey's Michigan weekend encompassed seven events, ranging from a march against the drug war with student activists in Ann Arbor to lectures before Unitarians and law students to a forum on the drug war attended by Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (who also happens to be the mother of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick). Oh, and then there was the vigil at the federal prison in nearby Milan, MI. And let's not forget the Friday meeting that resulted in the formation of a new, predominantly African-American November Coalition chapter in Detroit.

"If the victims of the drug war stand united, they will form a political constituency that could end the drug war," Conyers told an audience of more than one hundred people at the University of Detroit on Saturday.

The November Coalition found victims aplenty in Michigan, and some of them are becoming active for the first time, but the Journey for Justice is also providing an opportunity for drug reformers of various stripes to rub shoulders. In Ann Arbor, for instance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy ( and the Drug Policy Forum of Michigan ( organized the University of Michigan events. In Detroit, Unitarian drug reform activists ( agreed to provide a meeting place for the new Detroit chapter. And the journey also took time out for an informal strategy session with Tim Beck, leader of the thwarted effort to put medical marijuana on the Detroit city ballot. Drug reformers also had the opportunity to hear from retired Detroit policeman Dan Solano, who formed Police Officers for Drug Law Reform in 2001.

But for Armsbury and Callahan, organizing to fight drug war injustice is a highly personal affair, where the frustrations of the slow work of reaching out to people one at a time are exceeded by the satisfaction of bringing some hope and meaning to others. From Callahan's journey journal, posted at online:

"At the vigil near Milan, an African American man slowed down and in response to our banner message, "There is no justice in the war on drugs," he shouted out to us, 'I hope you didn't just figure that out!' Chuck drummed up contacts for informal 'camp meetings' by asking the kids in the hotel pool if they were visiting their daddies at the prison. 'We are here to talk with people about ending drug war injustice.'

"One boy jumped out of the pool and said, 'What do we gotta do? We're here with our auntie.' We met with her late in the evening; elderly with a bad cold, she brought children of the family from Chicago to visit her son, 'Doing 20 years for 2 grams of crack. Had we known you were going to be here, we'd have been outside at that vigil with you,' she promised. "At breakfast next morning, the cashier asked where we were from. We told her, and added why we'd come to Milan, Michigan. Chuck went to the men's room and the cashier whispered, 'I was a junkie and they sent me to prison. I got this job, and a few of us gals that work here have done time on drugs. I'm a criminal, I know, but...'

"'You have a treatable medical condition -- the law made you a criminal,' I told her.

"She grabbed my hand for a moment, and said, 'Thanks for telling me that -- I'll tell the others. Do you have any information you could give us?' We do! We left it with her to share with others; and I took with me the look in her eyes when I explained to her that sometimes laws are more culprit than those who break it. There was a look of relief in her eyes that will stay with me."

DRCNet spoke briefly with Callahan on Thursday as she and Armsbury drove through the federal prison gulag in upstate New York. "They have prisons everywhere up here," she said. "You don't see them unless you're looking for them, but they're there. We're driving past FCI Ray Brook. It was built to house athletes for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Now it's a federal prison. How weird."

For information about Journey events in your area, visit the November Coalition Journey for Justice web site at online. And don't forget to sign the petition to redress drug war injustice while you're there.

9. Drug War Corruption in Colombia and Mexico

The corrosive effect of easy money from the drug trade continues to corrupt anti-drug institutions in Colombia and Mexico, according to government officials in both countries. In Columbia, the Anti-Narcotics Police have been living high off US anti-drug money, and in Mexico, an army battalion in Sinaloa has apparently been in cahoots with local drug growers. In both cases, law enforcement groups relatively new to the drug war are seeing their reputations tarnished. It's a familiar refrain; here are the latest verses:

The Colombian attorney general's office reported this week that the Anti-Narcotics Police have diverted at least $2 million in US anti-drug assistance to "superfluous purchases," as the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo gently put it. Those purchases -- or more precisely, purchase orders -- paid for car repairs that were never done, construction materials for buildings that were never built, personal cell phone bills and vacation flights.

Seventy-one members of the Anti-Narcotics Police and 11 civilians are under investigation for "fattening" their back accounts with the aid money, according to the Ministry of Justice. Included are former Anti-Narcotics Police director retired Gen. Gustavo Socha Salamanca and the former private secretary to the police high command, retired Col. Edgar Guillermo Bejarano. Socha Salamanca is accused of not exercising sufficient controls over his subordinates, while Bejarano is accused of using the aid accounts as his personal bankroll.

The attorney general's office said Bejarano used agency helicopters, vehicles and properties for his own purposes, while other police officers used the aid money to buy compact discs and to pay off large personal cell phone bills -- up to $700 in one month by one officer. Other US aid monies disappeared as payments for car repairs for vehicles that didn't exist or that did not belong to the Anti-Narcotics Police. According to the attorney general's report, some police members were running a racket in which they contracted with friends or family members who owned auto repair shops to bill the police for fictitious repairs. Investigators also found purchases of construction materials supposedly to be used at police bases in the interior of the country. But the commanders of those bases told investigators there was no construction and they were not aware of plans for construction. The attorney general's office named Bejarano as the person responsible for the bogus buildings.

Anti-Narcotics Police apparently also enjoyed flying around Colombia on the US funds, the report found -- or not. According to the report, numerous payments were made for airline flights that were either not taken or were not justified by official business.

The Colombian police have been a favorite beneficiary of the largesse of Republican congressional drug warriors, who have long contended they are efficient drug fighters. They might want to think again. "The largest percentage of the resources spent were oriented toward administrative costs, restricting the use of funds for operational purposes, which are the ultimate goal of the [US aid] agreement," the report concluded with considerable understatement.

In Colombia, drug warriors turned to the police because they didn't trust the armed forces. In Mexico, drug warriors turned to the armed forces because they didn't trust the police. In both cases, the result is the corruption of the shiny new drug fighting organization. For almost two weeks, the 650 soldiers who make up the Mexican Army's 65th Infantry Battalion, located in Guamuchil, Sinaloa, have been held on-base as higher-ups investigate links with local opium and marijuana growers. On Monday, relatives of the detained soldiers accused the army of subjecting them to physical abuse and torture.

The army denied it, but Gen. Clemente Ricardo Vega Garcia, the Mexican defense secretary, announced Monday that the unit would be disbanded because it had been infiltrated by drug traffickers. "There was no imprisonment on base, there are no tortures, and the unit will be disbanded and will probably disappear," Vega Garcia told Televisa. Vega added that 48 soldiers had tested positive in drug tests and that three officers, including a lieutenant who is now a fugitive, had links to the drug trade. Soldiers were free to leave the base, he said.

But the state Human Rights Commission and an attorney hired by some of the soldiers disputed Vega Garcia's contentions. More than 100 soldiers remain detained on base under suspicion of taking payments from drug growers, the attorney, who requested anonymity for his personal safety, told El Universal on Tuesday. Ten soldiers had already been charged and transported to military brigs, the attorney said.

The state Human Rights Commission visited the military base Monday to take testimonies and lodge complaints from soldiers' families that the troops had been forced to kneel with their hands behind their heads for hours at a time and had been beaten in an effort to force them to confess. The lock-down came after repeated denunciations from the area, said Vega Garcia. Upon investigation, "it was unfortunately shown that some elements of the unit did not comply with the commitment to fight the drug trade," he said. That could not be tolerated by the Fox government, which had "always marked a line to keep the Army's activities clean and to prevent all types of corruption," said Vega Garcia.

When asked by Televisa whether he wanted the army to continue its drug-fighting efforts despite the risks of corruption, Vega Garcia replied: "Of course, because the army does 73% of the marijuana and poppy eradication -- tell me who could take over, what entity or institution could relieve us? We have to continue. The president considers it a matter of national security."

10. Newsbrief: New Compilation of California Medical Marijuana Guideline Info on

While most attention paid to medical marijuana in California recently has focused on the series of DEA raids and federal prosecutions of growers and providers, six years after the passage of Prop. 215 the state still has no uniform set of guidelines setting out just what constitutes a legal medical marijuana grow under state law. As a result, while all eyes focus on the feds, medical marijuana people are still being arrested by local law enforcement officers.

Ask Martin and LaVonne Victor of Temecula, who had written authorization from a doctor to use marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis. At the end of September, the Riverside County couple was bound over for trial on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and marijuana cultivation. A March raid by Riverside County sheriff's deputies seized several pounds of dried pot and eight plants. Riverside County has no guidelines for what constitutes a legitimate medical marijuana grow.

Or ask Greg Brown of Santa Cruz. He was also arrested in March after police raided his home and seized 15 plants and 10 dried ounces. Brown, a qualified medical marijuana patient under California law, was able to convince a judge last month to drop the charges and return his medicine, but not before going through six months of legal hell. Santa Cruz has no guidelines for what constitutes a legal quantity.

According to a new compilation by (, a web site devoted to providing comprehensive information on marijuana from authoritative sources, Riverside County and the city of Santa Cruz are not alone. Forty-two California counties have no formal guidelines defining compliance with Prop. 215. In the 17 counties that do have formal guidelines, limits vary from 99 plants and three pounds of processed marijuana in Sonoma County to three plants and a half-pound in Tuolumne County.

While activists keep an eternal vigil waiting for Attorney General Bill Lockyer to take the lead, the list shows that there are opportunities for political action to protect patients and growers in dozens of counties and cities across the state. The list also illustrates just how widely ranging official interpretations of state medical marijuana law still are, six years after passage of Prop. 215.

11. Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Activist Arrested on Federal Charges

First they delivered a threat, then they came for the garden, and on October 11, the feds came for Steven McWilliams. McWilliams, a well-known Southern California medical marijuana activist and dispensary operator, was charged with manufacturing marijuana and faces a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence in the latest escalation of federal government attempts to shut him up. McWilliams, who has worked for years with state and local officials to set up a workable medical marijuana dispensary, came into the feds' cross-hairs last month when he organized a medical marijuana giveaway in San Diego to protest a raid days earlier at the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz.

Shortly after McWilliams led the San Diego protest, DEA agents stopped him on the street and handed him a letter from interim US Attorney Carol Lam warning that he could be arrested if he continued to grow marijuana. Days later, DEA agents raided his home and garden and seized his crop. McWilliams and the Shelter from the Storm collective he ran with partner Barbara McKenzie are among the more than 35 California medical marijuana operations raided by the DEA since September 11, 2001.

McWilliams has survived numerous scrapes with local and state officials over medical marijuana, but had not been bothered since a 1999 raid that netted 448 plants, for which he was never prosecuted. In an example of the vindictiveness with which the Justice Department is pursuing California medical marijuana activists, federal prosecutors are now charging him for that raid, thus making possible the mandatory minimum sentence.

The DEA blamed McWilliams for daring to protest. "The DEA is not singling these people out," maintained San Diego agency spokesman Donald Thornhill. "We're just enforcing the law. This guy is violating the law and he's flaunting it. He brought this whole thing on himself."

12. Newsbrief: Damned Sad -- MADD Sues DAMMADD

The well known organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has sued a less well known group, Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMADD), for trademark infringement. MADD, the politically powerful anti-drunk driving lobby that supports tough law enforcement measures such as sobriety checkpoints and the training of Drug Recognition Experts on police forces to catch alcohol and drug-impaired drivers, contended that DAMMADD's acronym was confusingly similar to its own.

DAMMADD, a group created by a New York state man whose son died of a drug overdose, denied the charge. DAMMADD runs a web site that collect anonymous tips on drug dealing and claims 16 convictions from 786 tips. It has affiliations with 61 police departments in 20 states.

MADD filed suit in federal court in Texas last month, but DAMMADD filed a motion this week arguing that since it has no Texas presence, the Texas federal court has no jurisdiction. MADD has three weeks to respond.

13. Newsbrief: This Week's Cop Corruption Story

The Week Online begins a new feature this week. Lest we forget, starting this week, each week's issue will have one news brief about police corruption in the drug war. It won't be difficult to find material. But it may be difficult to beat this week's nominee, the Detroit Police Department, for the sheer size of the corruption. On October 10, a federal grand jury indicted nine people, including a Detroit police officer, a Detroit police civilian employee and a Michigan State Police officer on charges of stealing a whopping 222 pounds of cocaine from the police evidence room and then selling it in the city.

Evidence room employee John Earl Cole is accused of stealing the cocaine over a period of six years and selling it for $1.3 million. The indictment alleged that Cole used the proceeds to buy and renovate 18 rental properties and a barber shop, and to purchase a 1992 Corvette in exchange for three kilograms of cocaine.

Michigan State Police Lt. Ernest Myatt and Detroit Police Officer Donald Hynes were Coles' partners, the indictment alleged, while several Cole relatives and an acquaintance who is a bank teller helped launder money and hid profits through the web of rental properties.

The FBI, which is conducting an investigation of the department, said there is more to come. "There are a number of public corruption cases that we expect to bring forward," acting FBI agent in charge Paula Wendell told the Detroit Free Press.

They might next want to look at guns. According to Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver, the police department evidence room lists more than 200,000 seized guns, but Oliver told the Free Press there is no way of knowing how many are actually there. "I don't know how many guns we have," he said. "We have far too many guns."

Oliver, who took over the top cop job in Detroit earlier this year after leaving a similar position in Richmond, VA, has publicly and repeatedly called for an end to the drug war. Now he has one more reason to do so.

14. Newsbrief: DARE Attrition Continues in Kansas City, Kansas

Police in Kansas City, KS, are phasing out the much-criticized Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in the city schools. The program will be terminated at the end of the school year, police officials told the Kansas City Star. They cited budget constraints. The decision will end an 11-year collaboration between the police and city schools.

Kansas City is only the latest in an ever-growing number of cities and school districts to cancel DARE, which famously relies on uniformed police officers in the classroom to teach drug prevention. The program has been losing favor for several years, but remains in place in thousands of school districts across the country.

15. Newsbrief: Canada Study Looks at Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Woes

The first Canadian government-sponsored trials of marijuana's efficacy in treating conditions related to HIV/AIDS got underway October 9 in Toronto. Faced with the looming reality of medical marijuana in Canada, Health Canada authorized the study to gather clinical evidence that could help set national medical marijuana policy. There is some evidence that marijuana stimulates the appetite, curbs the nausea caused by chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS drugs and relieves pain.

The pilot study, with 32 HIV/AIDS patients at St. Michael's Hospital, is slated to last a year. Participants will be given three supplies of pot of varying strengths and one placebo. They will spend one week using each supply and keep diaries detailing how much they smoked, how they felt, and how much and what they ate. The results of the pilot study results will form the basis of broader, multi-center clinical trials, chief investigator Dr. Kevin Gough told the Canadian Press.

Ironically, while Canadian growers produce some of the world's finest marijuana and while the Canadian government already has a supply of medical marijuana grown under contract in Flin Flon, Manitoba, the weed used for the study will come from the US National Institute of Drug Abuse's Mississippi marijuana farm.

16. Newsbrief: In First, British Marijuana User Wins with Medical Necessity Defense

A 45-year-old Carmarthen man who smoked marijuana to relieve a painful spinal condition was acquitted of possession charges in magistrate's court on October 9 after successfully arguing that he had used the drug out of medical necessity. While a handful of juries have previously found medical marijuana users not guilty, this case marks the first time British judges have accepted the medical necessity defense.

Brad Stephens was arrested after police found under two ounces of marijuana during a raid of his home. He admitted in court that he regularly smoked to relieve pain associated with cervical spondylosis, but pleaded not guilty to the possession charge. Stephens' lawyer told the magistrates Stephens used heavy doses of morphine to control pain, but that marijuana allowed him to reduce his morphine intake. "By taking cannabis, he reduces his dependency on morphine and the potentially fatal risk," solicitor Mike Reed told the court. "In effect, cannabis is saving his life."

The magistrates agreed and found him not guilty, but they still ordered the seized marijuana destroyed.

17. Newsbrief: Virginia Man Lucks Out with Only Two Years in Prison for Sharing Joint with Teenager

Staunton resident Lynn Dell Phillips, 42, was sentenced to two years in prison October 9 for taking a toke with a group of people that included juveniles. In March, a jury convicted Phillips of distributing marijuana to a juvenile more than three years younger than himself after hearing a Virginia state trooper testify that he witnessed Phillips hand a brass pipe to a 17-year-old boy outside his son's high school graduation ceremony in June 2001. Although Virginia law mandates a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for that offense, the jury refused to impose it.

Last week, Augusta County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Rupen Shah asked Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wood to suspend all but two years of the 10-year sentence. Woods agreed, sentencing Phillips to the lowest term possible under Virginia law. Phillips has been in jail since July.

According to testimony, Phillips was attending his son's graduation and stepped outside to cool off. He encountered a mixed group of adults and juveniles, including friends of his son. The state trooper testified that Phillips handed a brass pipe -- found to have marijuana residue -- to a youth, then grabbed it back and threw it in the bushes as the trooper arrived. Phillips testified that he was unaware pot was being smoked, asked for a cigarette, was given a menthol cigarette, and returned it to the youth because he didn't like menthols.

18. Newsbrief: BC City Governments Ask for Tougher Grow Penalties

The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), a policy and lobbying organization representing the town and city governments of British Columbia, is asking provincial officials to crack down on the area's rapidly multiplying marijuana grow operations. Meeting at its annual conference, the UBCM voted to endorse a resolution calling on the provincial attorney general to seek legislation to stiffen penalties for growing and selling marijuana, now one of BC's major growth industries. The group also called for a "policing initiative" aimed at grow ops and urged that property owners be held accountable for grow ops run by their tenants.

The resolution, passed October 1, reads: "Therefore be it resolved that the Union of BC Municipalities petition the Attorney General of the Province of British Columbia to pursue legislative changes to seek harsher penalties for persons involved in the growing and distribution of illegal drugs, and further that a specific policing initiative be undertaken to actively eliminate the production of illicit drugs; and be it further resolved that the Union of BC Municipalities pursue changes to the Residential Tenancy Act to permit an owner to evict a tenant engaged in the production of illicit drugs."

City officials from across the province complained of high local police costs involved in cleaning up grow ops. In Vancouver alone, police raid grow ops at the rate of more than one a day and estimate there may be 10,000 in the city. Commercial grows in residential areas have also been linked to robberies and to murders -- of the grow operators -- and are blamed for causing fires due to overloaded electrical circuits and other damages to rental properties.

19. Newsbrief: Florida School District Wants Positive Drug Test Kids to Pay for Own Counseling

Florida's Columbia County (Lakeland) School Board has voted to enact a drug testing policy that would force students who test positive on random drug tests to take six weeks of drug counseling at their own expense before being allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. The policy passed 4-1 and is scheduled to take effect July 1, but now local officials are having second thoughts, according to the Lake City Reporter.

Under the policy adopted by the board, all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities would be subject to random drug tests. A positive drug test would require the student to enroll in a licensed Florida drug abuse treatment program within five days and attend counseling for six weeks, with at least one session per week.

That could cost students and their families $100 per week, said board members, some of whom raised concerns about the fairness of a policy that required "cost prohibitive" actions for poorer families. School board chairman Glenn Hunter told the Reporter that the board will meet again to discuss alternatives, including the possibility of hiring an on-site drug counselor.

Columbia County is one of a small but growing number of school districts, primarily rural, that is experimenting with drug testing programs in the wake of June's Supreme Court decision okaying the random testing of any students involved in extracurricular activities, which can be defined as broadly as seeking a school parking permit. Testing of high school athletes had been approved by the Supreme Court in 1995.

20. Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision

With the new school year already upon us, and Congressional elections just over a month away, we at the Drug Reform Coordination Network are writing to ask you to help turn up the heat on the student-led campaign to repeal the Higher Education Act's drug provision.

During the 2001-2002 school year, more than 47,700 students were denied access to federal college aid because of drug convictions, loans, grants, even work-study programs. This number doesn't account for people who didn't bother applying because they assumed they would be ineligible. The current academic year, the third in which the drug provision is in force and the second in which it is being fully enforced, is expected to see just as many young people forced out of school or they or their families plunged into financial hardship because of the HEA drug provision.

In 2002-2003, there is more hope than ever. A bill in the US House of Representatives to repeal the drug provision, H.R. 786, has 67 cosponsors, and ten members of Congress spoke at our press conference last May to call for the provision's full repeal, a stunning success. And Students for Sensible Drug Policy now stretches across more than 200 campuses, with hundreds more in the works. Your voice is again needed, to continue to move this issue forward and repeal the provision in 2003 or 2004 when the Higher Education Act is reauthorized by Congress.

We have just finished updating our HEA activist packet, so please visit to learn about the issue, download the packet, and to sign our petition telling you want them to remove the drug war from education and repeal the anti-drug financial aid ban. When you're done, please call your US Representative on the phone to make an even stronger impact -- you can call them via the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or visit to look up their direct numbers.

Students, visit to find out how to get involved with the campaign on your campus -- more than 90 student governments so far have endorsed our resolution calling for repeal of the drug provision. If you're already at work on this, please write us at [email protected] and let us know what's happening. Also, visit for an online copy of the activist packet. Leave your e-mail address if you want to receive occasional updates on the HEA campaign.

Please forward this alert to your friends or use the tell-a-friend form on, and please consider making a donation -- large or small -- to keep this and other DRCNet efforts moving forward at full speed. Visit to help, or mail your check or money order to DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. (Contact us for instruction if you wish to make a donation of stock.)

Again, visit to write to Congress and get involved in the campaign! In the meantime, here are some more reasons why the HEA drug provision is wrong:

  • The vast majority of Americans convicted of drug offenses are convicted of nonviolent, low-level possession.
  • The HEA drug provision represents a penalty levied only on the poor and the working class; wealthier students will not have the doors of college closed to them for want to financial aid.
  • The HEA drug provision has a disparate impact on different races. African Americans, for example, comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, but account for more than 55% of those convicted of drug possession charges.
  • Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.

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

Visit 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 to write to Congress today!

Demand Freedom for the Tulia Victims

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

22. The Reformer's Calendar

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

October 12, 6:30pm, San Francisco, CA, NORML Benefit Party. At the SomArts Gallery, 934 Brannan St., minimum requested contribution $100, featuring the Extra Action Marching Band and a silent art auction. Advance registration recommended, visit or call (202) 483-5500 for further information.

October 16, 1:00pm, New York, NY, "Drop The Rock" demonstration outside Gov. Pataki's office on the theme "Invest in Our Youth: Build Schools not Prisons." E-mail [email protected] for info.

October 19, noon-9:00pm, Dayton, OH, Ohio Cannabis Society rally and march, protesting the killing of Clayton Helriggle. Rally at noon at Dave Hall Plaza, Main St. & E. Fifth St., march to Montgomery Courthouse at 4:00pm, benefit party at 6:00pm. For info call (216) 521-9333, visit or e-mail [email protected].

October 19, Portland, OR, "PottyMouth Comedy Competition: Flushing Away the DEA," $5,000 first prize. Visit or call (503) 605-5182 for info.

October 23, 1:00pm, New York, NY, "Drop The Rock" demonstration outside Gov. Pataki's office on the theme "Stop Racial Profiling: Are You a Target?" E-mail [email protected] for further info.

October 25-29, Albuquerque, NM, "International Conference on Altered States of Consciousness." At the Crowne Plaza Pyramid, visit 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.

October 29, 5:00-7:30pm, Philadelphia, PA, Journey for Justice forum at Temple University Beasley School of Law, featuring speakers from The November Coalition, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Tri-State Drug Policy Forum and Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey Drug Policy Project. Sponsored by Temple University National Lawyers Guild and Tri-State Drug Policy Forum, at 1719 N. Broad St., call (215) 204-7861 for directions or parking info and contact (215) 633-9812 or [email protected] for event information.

October 30, noon, Philadelphia, PA, Journey for Justice vigil and march. Meet at the federal courthouse at 6th & Market, march to the Federal Detention Center 700 Arch St. Contact Diane Fornbacher at (215) 633-9812 or [email protected] for information.

October 30, 1:00pm, New York, NY, "Drop The Rock" demonstration outside Gov. Pataki's office on the theme "Reunite Families: Families of the Incarcerated Speak Out." E-mail [email protected] for further information.

October 30, 1:00pm, New York, NY, "Drop The Rock" demonstration outside Gov. Pataki's office on the theme "Reunite Families: Families of the Incarcerated Speak Out." E-mail [email protected] for further information.

October 30, Princeton, NJ, Journey for Justice forum at Princeton University. Contact Roseanne Scotti at (609) 396-8613 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

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:/ 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 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 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 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 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 20-24, Walnut Creek, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," solo theatrical performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Dean Lesher Center for the Arts, not recommended for children under 13, call (415) 666-3939 or visit for further information.

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 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 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 or call (212) 213-6376.

December 5, Seattle, WA, "Race, Class and the War on Drugs: Justice for All?" All day forum by King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project's Task Force on Racial and Class Disparity, cosponsored by the King County Bar Association and the Loren Miller Bar Association. For further information, contact Roger Goodman at [email protected].

December 8-10, Nashville, TN, Conference of Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy. Registration $50, visit or call (615) 327-9775 or for further information.

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 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 or contact [email protected] or (6653) 223624, 894112 x102.

November 5-8, 2003, East Rutherford, NJ, biennial conference of Drug Policy Alliance. At the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center, 2 Meadowlands Plaza, visit for further information.

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