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

Issue #261, 11/1/02

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: The Space Between the Lines
  2. Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Says Feds Can't Punish Doctors for Recommending Medical Marijuana
  3. Learning the Hard Way in Ohio: The Trials and Tribulations of Issue One
  4. DRCNet Book Review: "Addict in the Family," by Dr. Andrew Byrne
  5. DRCNet Interview: Dr. Harry G. Levine
  6. More Than 700,000 Marijuana Arrests Last Year -- Meanwhile, Violent Crime on Increase
  7. November Coalition Roadshow Hits East Coast
  8. DRCNet Survey/Book Giveaway Contest
  9. Newsbrief: Rockefeller Kin Arrested in Rockefeller Law Protest
  10. Newsbrief: Euro Parliamentarians Found Guilty, Scolded by Judge in Manchester Marijuana Civil Disobedience
  11. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story
  12. Newsbrief: UN Says Afghan Opium Crop Up Almost Twenty-Fold Over 2001, Trade Employs a Half-Million People
  13. Newsbrief: Liberia Prepares to Join the Drug War
  14. Newsbrief: Chattanooga Jail Full, Faith-Based Alternative Sentencing Offered to Drug Offenders
  15. Newsbrief: Mississippi Supreme Court Bars Telephonic Warrants, but Says It Was Okay Just This Once
  16. Newsbrief: Seattle Initiative to De-prioritize Marijuana Enforcement Makes 2003 Ballot
  17. Media Scan: William F. Buckley in National Review, 2002 Voter Guides and Election Resources
  18. Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision
  19. Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision
  20. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Editorial: The Space Between the Lines

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 11/1/02

This week's ruling by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, protecting the right of physicians to discuss medical marijuana with their patients, or recommend it to them, was a breath of sanity in a drug war gone mad.

The sensible panel of judges found, simply, that frank and honest conversations between doctors and their patients are important and should not be interfered with by the government. The First amendment does, and must, protect them. And if that seems to pose a conflict with the "war on drugs," as the Clinton and Bush administrations have argued in court, so be it. The Constitution is the law, even when the immediate issue at hand is drugs.

Freedom of speech, of course, does not in general insulate the speaker from culpability if such speech occurs in the process of intentionally committing or furthering a criminal offense. One who shared information, for example, to assist in fraud, would be an accessory. A doctor who knowingly gave patients bad advice would be guilty of professional misconduct, much worse if such advice caused or were likely to cause significant harm. The crime in these cases, however, would not lie in the speech, but in deliberately harming others, the speech merely being the vehicle for carrying that out.

But somehow medical marijuana recommendations don't fit into that model. The drug czar's protestations notwithstanding, marijuana has sufficient recognition and acceptance as a medicine, that a significant number of physicians, in their sincere and informed opinion, see fit to recommend its use to some of their patients for medical purposes. Recommending it for at least certain medical purposes is not regarded by the profession as a whole as malpractice -- and the fact that the patients have to violate federal law in order to obtain and use their medical marijuana has no relevance to that. Doctors are there to practice medicine, not wage the drug war.

So implicit in the ruling, perhaps, is a recognition of the supremacy of natural rights over government legislation. People have the right to seek treatment for their maladies, and in whatever manner they most see fit. Laws against it notwithstanding, medical marijuana is intrinsically not a criminal matter, and at this boundary, at least, a court had to validate that, if indirectly.

At least that is how I read the space between the lines in the Conant v. Walters case. Though oppression waxes strong, still the truth of natural human rights shines through and cancels the corrupt laws of the drug war.

2. Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Says Feds Can't Punish Doctors for Recommending Medical Marijuana

A three-member panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the federal government may not revoke the licenses of doctors who recommend marijuana to their patients. The ruling in Conant v. Walters (originally Conant v. McCaffrey) slaps down a five-year effort by the Justice Department to strangle California's medical marijuana law by intimidating physicians into not providing required recommendations. It is also a morale-booster for a medical marijuana movement in California that has been battered by adverse Supreme Court decisions and numerous DEA raids on cultivators and providers.

"This is really quite a victory," said Valerie Corral, founder of the recently raided Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana ( in Santa Cruz and one of the plaintiffs in the suit. "It's wonderful, especially in this time of an aggressive, mean-spirited administration," she told DRCNet.

Justice Department attorneys had argued that allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana in states where it is legal would harm the war on drugs, but the appeals court judges weren't buying. Instead, they held that the policy effectively barred discussions between doctors and patients about the utility of marijuana as a medical treatment, in violation of the First Amendment. "The government policy does... strike at core First Amendment interests of doctors and patients," wrote Chief Judge Mary Schroeder in a unanimous opinion. "An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between a doctor and a patient. Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients."

Just to be perfectly clear, the court also cited a Supreme Court opinion in another case testing the limits of free speech in the medical profession. "If the First Amendment means anything, it means that regulating speech must be a last -- not a first -- resort," the Supreme Court held in Thomas v. Western States Medical Association. "Yet here it seems to be the first strategy the government sought to try."

That was precisely what then drug czar Barry McCaffrey and the Clinton administration did in the waning days of 1996, after California voters blindsided them by approving Proposition 215, the state's medical marijuana act. In a series of fevered meetings after the election, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services sought to block implementation of the act by threatening to revoke physicians' licenses to prescribe controlled substances if they recommended marijuana to patients. That policy, laid out in "The Administration's Response to the Passage of California's Proposition 215 and Arizona's Proposition 200," was announced on December 30, 1996 -- barely seven weeks after the voters spoke.

In upholding the permanent injunction barring the government from implementing the McCaffrey policy (later enthusiastically embraced by the Bush administration), the 9th Circuit also hinted at a certain sympathy for states' rights. The decision is "consistent with principles of federalism that have left the states as primary regulators of professional conduct," wrote Judge Schroeder. Then, quoting Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, she added that the federal courts should take care not to interfere in "situations in which the citizens of a state have chosen to serve as a laboratory in the trial of novel social and economic experiments."

As if the First Amendment and federalism arguments weren't enough, Judge Alex Kozinski, in a concurring opinion, presented what amounts to a brief for the acceptance of marijuana's utility in alleviating some medical conditions. Kozinski cited the federal government-commissioned 1999 Institute of Medicine Report, last month's Canadian Senate panel report, and a study done by the British House of Lords -- "a body not known for its wild and crazy views," he noted. As a result of his review of those studies, Kozinski found that "a surprising number of health care professionals and organizations have concluded that the use of marijuana may be appropriate" for some patients.

Dan Abrahamson of Drug Policy Alliance ( was one of the attorneys working on the case with lead counsel Graham Boyd of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Litigation Project. "This is an excellent decision," he told DRCNet. "Doctors anywhere in the US are now free to recommend marijuana to their patients, and their patients have the right to ask them to do so. This will mean real benefits for patients in states that have passed medical marijuana laws, and it gives a green light to states that may be considering passing such laws," he said. "Now they are free to pass such laws without this sort of federal interference."

Abrahamson saw the ruling as a victory for both the First Amendment and federalism. "The First Amendment issue at the heart of this case was very straightforward, and the court got it right -- in a unanimous opinion," he said. "But this case also really empowers other states to assert their rights to enact new laws that advance not only medical marijuana but any other drug reform measure with which the federal government happens to disagree. This is a huge win for states' rights," he said.

For Corral, the impact is more immediate. "Physicians have been nervous about recommending marijuana because of the federal threat, and after the Supreme Court decision in the Oakland Co-op case, which much of the media misreported, many doctors were terrified," she explained. "Now physicians will have some sense of comfort about writing recommendations for patients with serious illnesses. This is extremely important."

Even California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, whose entreaties to DEA head Asa Hutchinson and drug czar John Walters to reach some sort of accommodation on medical marijuana have been ignored, took heart in the ruling. "This ruling represents an important first step in reconciling state and federal marijuana law," said Lockyer spokesperson Hallye Jordan in a mid-week press release. "It goes a long way in upholding the intent of California voters, who enacted a compassionate use law to allow physicians to recommend the treatment they feel is best for their sick and dying patients."

The Justice Department has not yet indicated whether it will appeal the ruling, but Abrahamson declared himself unworried at the prospect. "Based on the behavior of the Ashcroft Justice Department, my guess is that they will fight to the bitter end. But I think it unlikely that either the full 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court will overturn this case."

Click here to read the full ruling of the 9th Circuit panel online.

3. Learning the Hard Way in Ohio: The Trials and Tribulations of Issue One

Ohio's Issue One, a constitutional amendment that gives drug offenders treatment rather than incarceration, has run into some problems that California's treatment initiative, which was approved by a large margin, did not encounter. Unlike California's Proposition 36, the Ohio measure faces an actively hostile governor in Republican Bob Taft, and also unlike California, where Prop. 36 altered state law, the Ohio initiative authorizes a change in the state constitution, a move that has angered many of the state's judges.

But more than anything else, the people working to pass the initiative, Ohio's Campaign for New Drug Policies, are worried about ballot language that says the initiative will cost $247 million over seven years. The language misleads voters, proponents charge, because the initiative will actually save the state money -- campaigners say that because treatment is so much less expensive than incarceration, the initiative will save the cash-strapped state a net $21 million a year.

While in numerous articles the Ohio press has reported that the campaign approved the ballot language and therefore has no grounds to criticize it, campaign spokesman Rob Stewart told DRCNet there was nothing they could do about the ballot language once it was approved. "It was a done deal," said Stewart. "There was no recourse." Stewart added that the campaign made many requests to change the ballot wording and those requests were denied. One request that was met by the board was to add the words "over seven years" after $247 million.

Numerous though not all polls done using this ballot language have shown the initiative losing, while before it was winning. The campaign is trying to correct the problem informing voters before they leave for the polls that giving drug offenders treatment rather than incarceration will save, not cost the state money.

Polls that ask voters whether they support drug treatment at a cost of $247 million over 7 years show more than 50% are opposed to the initiative, while polls that ask voters to let nonviolent drug offenders choose treatment instead of jail time show 60% would vote for Initiative One. Campaigners believe they need to frame the issue for voters before they enter the ballot box. As one pollster told the Columbus Dispatch, "Most voters are going to have an idea in advance of how they are going to vote. The issue of how much this would cost or save (taxpayers) is vague."

While the initiative will save the save the state $20 million a year and similar initiatives have saved the states of California and Arizona money, the campaign has had trouble enlisting the support of fiscal conservatives around the state because, as Stewart puts it, they're mostly Republican and therefore lined up behind Taft. The governor, who is also involved in a competitive reelection campaign, has been actively involved in trying to defeat the measure, working closely with the campaign against the initiative, Ohioans Against Unsafe Drug Laws. Much of the campaign rhetoric against Question One focuses on coercion in drug treatment. An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal sums up the anti-viewpoint: "Treatment belongs at the center of any strategy to fight drug use. For treatment to work, there must be the prospect of something worse."

But Stewart argued that for treatment to work it needs to be properly funded. He also said the initiative is not all carrot, no stick: After the third drug offense, drug users will face incarceration. Stewart said that robust treatment services are cheaper and more effective than just throwing someone in jail over the weekend, which the state often does with first time drug offenders. Ohioans may not be convinced of the efficacy of treatment because what is currently available in Ohio is insufficient, Stewart added. Also, said Stewart, Issue One would allow users to enter treatment prior to conviction, possibly saving them from a criminal record.

Others opponents argue that the big problem with Issue One is that it is a constitutional amendment. Numerous state judges, who see the initiative as usurping their authority and who are pleased with the state's drug court system, have come out to help Taft defeat the measure. As Richard Wolfe, a campaign funder and cousin of John Wolfe, the publisher of the Columbus Dispatch (which opposes the initiative), put it, the initiative's chances of passing are "worsened due to the fact that Issue One is a constitutional change, not just a statute addition as in California. Why put drug laws in the Ohio Constitution is the question they all ask." Wolfe and Wolfe's divergent efforts on Question One were featured in a cover article titled "The Lone Wolfe" in another Columbus newspaper, "The Other Paper."

But supporters say that the drug laws need to be put in the constitution to prevent hostile lawmakers from rewriting the legislation if it passes. In Arizona a similar initiative was defanged by lawmakers and supporters had to pass a constitutional amendment to keep legislators from toying with it.

As Issue One enters its final week, campaigners are using a last minute advertising blitz to help voters decide in favor of the initiative before they enter the polling booth and see the dreaded $247 million. With poll results flip-flopping around the $247 million on the ballot language, this final push will be critical. In a poll released Tuesday, the Toledo Blade found that likely voters supported the idea of treatment over jail for drug offenders by a margin of 46% to 26%, but when it came to Issue One as written and presented on the ballot, the numbers were favorable for Issue One victory, but much, much tighter: 48% in favor, 44% opposed, with a margin of error of 4.1%. In other words, it should be a nail-biter in Ohio on Tuesday.

4. DRCNet Book Review: "Addict in the Family," by Dr. Andrew Byrne

As an anti-prohibitionist organization, DRCNet tends to focus on the harms, social and personal, caused by drug prohibition. But it behooves drug reformers, no matter how caught up in the polemics of the drug war, to recognize the very real harms that sometimes occur as the result of drug use. And while the very notion of "addiction" is itself controversial in some drug reform circles, there is no denying that some people sometimes use some drugs in an obsessive, repetitive manner that is harmful to their physical and mental well being. They can't stop -- or won't stop. How do you deal with it?

In "Addict in the Family: How to Cope With the Long Haul," Australian physician and author Dr. Andrew Byrne speaks directly to the families and friends of heroin addicts, but his calm, reasoned and humane approach to the problem will be of great use to anyone confronted with a friend or relative carrying any serious drug habit. For Byrne, addiction is a treatable condition like other potentially serious health problems, not a moral failing -- although he recognizes that addicts frequently resort to immoral or unethical behavior -- i.e. lying and stealing.

The addict should be approached non-judgmentally and calmly, says Byrne. Friends and relatives should offer sympathy and support, consult with experts and people who are "in recovery," and assist the addict with his or her chosen form of treatment. They should not panic, cut off dialogue, or "give cash to the addict," although Byrne encourages friends and family to assist with financial problems in a way that ensures the money is not diverted to drugs.

But Byrne also makes clear that drug prohibition exacerbates the harms associated with drug addiction, and even allows that some heroin addicts may use the drug in non-problematic ways while remaining productive members of society. Such talk is blasphemy for much of the treatment community, but once again reflects Byrne's non-ideological, common sense approach to the problem.

In a chapter that will be very helpful for people confronting addiction, Byrne also lays out the different approaches to addiction treatment, ranging from the abstinence-based approaches of Narcotics Anonymous to methadone maintenance and even prescribed heroin. He is careful to remind readers that no one method will work for everyone and that they should support the treatment choice of their loved one.

Byrne provides a quick and easy overview of research findings on addiction, drug use and related matters, making this slim volume even more useful for those suddenly faced with an addict in the family. Byrne's book will also be a balm for those overwrought parents who discover a pot pipe in their youngster's room and fear the end is nigh. Although rigid ideologues such as drug czar John Walters might disagree, most people will probably appreciate such level-headed passages as: "Just because a teenager uses cannabis occasionally or takes an ecstasy tablet does not mean they are destined to turn into heroin addicts."

Reading "Addict in the Family" is probably one of the smartest things anyone faced with this situation can do. It is calm and compassionate, yet well-informed and authoritative. It can soothe uninformed or misinformed fears, yet pulls no punches in describing the dangers of addiction. Byrne offers a caring and humane approach that may be anathema to drug war zealots, but that can be profitably embraced by people for whom the issue of drug addiction has suddenly come home.

Byrne's "Addict in the Family (1996, Tosca Press, $11) can be read online at in full. Copies of the book can also be ordered through Common Sense for Drug Policy at the Addict in the Family web site -- click on the "order form" link at the bottom of the page.

5. DRCNet Interview: Dr. Harry G. Levine

Queen's College/CUNY sociologist Harry G. Levine is perhaps best known to drug reformers as coauthor (with Craig Reinarman) of "Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice," a shattering expose of fabrication and demonization amidst a drug crisis. But Levine has long toiled in the field of drug policy research, and this month his paper, "The Secret of Worldwide Drug Prohibition: The Varieties and Uses of Drug Prohibition," was published in the current issue of the Independent Review, the publication of the Independent Institute, a libertarian leaning think tank.

In the paper, Levine argues that global prohibition exists not only because nations want to protect the public health and safety, but also because the perpetual war on drugs has so many other uses for governments, politicians and various organizations. Levine's article tackles an issue that drug reformers have wondered about for years: If drug prohibition does not serve its stated purpose -- making the world safe from drugs -- and it clearly does not, why does it continue to exist? Does it serve some latent function? Is it inertia? Is it a conspiracy?

You can read a version of Levine's answers at online. The Week Online spoke Thursday with Levine about the paper and much more.

Week Online: Can you briefly summarize for our readers the argument you are making about the ubiquity of drug prohibition?

Harry Levine: Not easily, but I'll try. The article makes three main points. First, every country in the world has drug prohibition, but few people know this. Drug prohibition is a global system held together by a series of UN treaties, the most important being the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Second, it is helpful to see drug prohibition as a continuum. Heavily criminalized and punitive policies like the US crack cocaine laws are at one end. The Netherlands' cannabis policy is currently at the other end. Drug policy reform seeks to move laws and policies away from criminalization and punishment and toward decriminalization, tolerance and public health.

Third, the article offers a series of reasons why in the 20th century drug prohibition was adopted by every country in the world and supported by politicians from one end of the political spectrum to the other. Let me just list the reasons I give for why drug prohibition has spread so successfully around the world.

One, because of the influence and power of the US.

Two, governments of all stripes have found that the military and police resources marshaled for drug prohibition can be used for all sorts of purposes.

Three, politicians and the media find that drug demonization and anti-drug crusades can be politically, rhetorically and even economically useful for them.

Four, drug prohibition has benefited from the greater acceptance of the use of coercive state power in the 20th Century.

Fifth, drug prohibition has gained legitimacy because it is a project of the UN.

WOL: You have some interesting things to say about harm reduction. You write that harm reduction tolerates drug prohibition just as it tolerates drug use, and that it seeks to reduce the harm of both. What are the political implications of the harm reduction approach for ending prohibition?

Levine: Harm reduction is a very good thing. Harm reduction is probably the most important public health movement to emerge in the last twenty years or more years, and it is the first international movement to challenge the more criminalized forms of drug prohibition. Its effect, if not always its intent, is to move drug policies toward the decriminalized, regulated end of the spectrum. Some harm reductionists don't consider themselves drug reformers, but in the course of pursuing improvements in public health, harm reduction often requires changes in policy that reduce the punitiveness of drug prohibition.

Interestingly, harm reduction's approach to drug prohibition is the same as its approach to drug use. It seeks to reduce the harmful effects of drug use without requiring that users be drug-free; harm reduction also seeks to reduce the harmful effects of drug prohibition without requiring that countries be prohibition-free. Harm reduction offers a radically tolerant and pragmatic approach to both drug use and drug prohibition: It assumes neither are going away any time soon and suggests therefore that reasonable and responsible people try to persuade both those who use drugs, and those who use drug prohibition, to minimize the harms that their activities produce.

WOL: Do you consider such phenomenon as drug courts or the "treatment not jail" initiatives to fall within the realm of harm reduction?

Levine: Coerced treatment, mandatory treatment, drug courts, whatever you want to call this, is not harm reduction, at least as I understand it. Drug courts and the like are a change within criminalized drug prohibition; they are not a shift toward decriminalized prohibition. I believe that most leaders of the drug court movement, however well intentioned, are supporters of criminalized drug prohibition -- they want drug users arrested and threatened with criminal sanctions. This is important to understand.

I personally think that offering voluntary drug treatment as part of a range of services for people who want it is a very good thing. But drug courts and coerced treatment still send to jail the many people who fail in treatment, and especially in drug-free treatment, to jail. As Lynn Zimmer has taught me, the only effective way of reducing the number of people in jail and prison on drug charges is by arresting fewer people for possessing and using drugs. This is what they have been doing in Europe, and it works.

Look at the case of Robert Downey, Jr. The man called the best actor of his generation spent a year in jail because he flunked drug tests. It started with a DWI, an unloaded gun and a small quantity of heroin. If it were only drunk driving with a gun, he would not have gone to jail. But Downey went to a drug court and "treatment," flunked drug tests and was sent to prison. He didn't give or sell drugs; he was a threat to nobody. He had friends, family, doctors and more work than he could do, and yet he was forced into jail and treatment simply for possessing small quantities of drugs and for flunking drug tests. His case is important because the same thing has happened to hundreds of thousands of other young people -- mainly black and Latino -- who nobody knows about.

WOL: One critic accused you of conjuring up a "secret cabal" that creates and enforces drug prohibition. How do you respond to suggestions that you are positing a sort of conspiracy theory?

Levine: I'm a sociologist and historian. I don't believe in conspiracy theories, it's a silly point. If anyone knows of a secret cabal, please have them contact me. I think that many things that develop for one reason have all kinds of other unintended effects. That's not a conspiracy theory.

WOL: You write about the "romantic view of the coercive state," which sounds like a libertarian argument for less state power. Are you a libertarian, and if so what kind?

I am absolutely a civil libertarian. I am a member of the ACLU and a graduate of Brandeis University, named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who was the Supreme Court's first great modern champion of civil liberties. He would be appalled by urine drug tests and much else done in the name of the war on drugs. Brandeis was also a defender of ordinary people against corporate power as well as government power. He was called "the people's lawyer," and he campaigned for consumer protection, women's rights and against monopolistic business practices. He was also the first lawyer and judge to passionately argue that the Constitution gave the right to privacy.

Nowadays many people learn of the civil liberties movement from The Libertarian Party and related organizations which, I believe, mainly articulate what is called a "free-market" or "right-wing" libertarian perspective. This movement has grown remarkably since the 1970s, and they have done excellent work on many civil liberties issues, including repeatedly pointing out the awfulness and repressiveness of the war on drugs. William F. Buckley Jr., the economist Milton Friedman, the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and the Cato Institute are well known free-market or right-wing libertarians. My article on "World-Wide Drug Prohibition" has just come out in the Independent Review, which is certainly sympathetic to free-market libertarian perspectives.

However, I myself come from a more left-wing libertarian tradition that includes Justice Brandeis, the founders of the ACLU and much of the early civil rights movement. Ira Glasser has called such people "social justice libertarians," and I think it's a good name. Both of my parents -- one Irish from the mid-west, the other Jewish from New York -- were staunch civil libertarians, and they just as strongly supported social and economic justice for ordinary men, women and their families. On both sides of my family, I am actually a third generation social justice libertarian.

Social justice libertarians see the battle for civil liberties and civil rights as linked with the struggles of working people, and of the poor, exploited and discriminated against. The modern civil liberties movement was created after World War I by social justice or left-wing libertarians, and most of the 20th century court cases over freedom of speech, press, civil rights, and more were won by them.

I think nearly everyone who strongly supports drug policy reform, decriminalization, and harm reduction policies is probably a libertarian of some sort. They just may not know it yet. I suspect that among the most active drug policy reformers, more people are likely social-justice libertarians than free-market libertarians. My sense is that right-wing libertarians have been courageous, fierce, articulate critics of drug prohibition laws and policies, but they have not thus far been strong supporters of harm reduction programs or even of much drug decriminalization. I think that harm reduction has been created and developed by people who are essentially left libertarians. I also suspect that the people working on the medical marijuana campaigns have been disproportionately what I call social justice libertarians.

Unfortunately, there is no formal organization or movement of social justice libertarians. Many of the people who do work for the ACLU may themselves be social justice libertarians, but the ACLU itself is not a think tank devoted to developing political thought like Cato or the Independent Institute. Rather, the ACLU is primarily the most important activist organization dedicated to fighting against suppression of anybody's civil liberties, including Nazis and Klu Klux Klanners.

I hope one consequence of the growing opposition to criminalized drug prohibition will be a strengthened movement for civil liberties in America and other countries. I also hope that we left-wing libertarians will soon get our act together and openly stand with right-wing libertarians -- as libertarians -- against punitive drug prohibition, against the US drug war, and for the civil liberties and civil rights of people who use the currently illegal drugs.

WOL: You write that global drug prohibition is in crisis. Do you foresee an end to the global prohibition regime anytime soon?

Levine: In the long run, the more punitive forms of drug prohibition are doomed. And in the very long run, it seems to me that the whole system of global prohibition is likewise doomed. It is important to understand that the end of global drug prohibition will formally happen when the Single Convention and its related treaties are modified or repealed. These UN anti-drug treaties are to the global prohibition system what the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were to US alcohol Prohibition. Once the 18th Amendment was repealed, states and some localities were free to pursue their own alcohol control policies. Once the Single Convention is modified or repealed, countries throughout the world will be free to adopt their own drug policies -- including prohibition if they so desire.

Until recently European drug reformers had concluded that it was politically too difficult to modify or repeal the Single Convention. So policy makers and reformers have pursued their own drug reforms, largely ignoring the treaties. But now there is some discussion about changing the conventions, and that is a very important development. The Drugs and Democracy Project at the Transnational Institute in the Netherlands has put up some very good materials about this on their web site (

WOL: What is currently happening with cannabis prohibition?

Global cannabis prohibition is coming apart as we speak. The DEA chief, Asa Hutchinson, says that decriminalization of cannabis in Canada will make it harder to fight the drug war in the US, and he is absolutely right. This has happened in the last 20 years in Europe with the Netherlands. It also happened in the 1920s when the US tried to maintain alcohol prohibition after Canada had established legal production and sale. In both cases, many visitors and even ordinary tourists saw a real world alternative to ineffective prohibition policies. Many visitors also returned home with the currently forbidden substance. The US drug czar and DEA head appear to understand this, and so they are openly warning Canada and openly worrying about what will happen. Nonetheless, Canada is likely to make more steps toward decriminalization.

WOL: What else have you studied or written about besides drugs?

Levine: A number of things, especially alcohol prohibition, the anti-alcohol or temperance movement, and the history of ideas about alcohol. I also study the history and anthropology of food, and I wrote a piece about why New York Jews love Chinese food and eat so much of it. Recently I learned that students at Hong Kong University read it.

I now think that drink, drugs and food are really all part of one large topic. In the beginning there was only food. Then human beings separated some plants as medicines. Finally, about 200 years ago, they created the category of intoxicants or drugs. Drug demonization first happened in a large way in the early 1800s with the creation of the anti-alcohol or temperance movement in the US. Drug prohibition and the war on drugs are, in fact, the direct continuation of the 19th century's war on alcohol. I think that eventually more and more people will understand that. Someday people will look back on drug prohibition and the crusade for a drug-free America the way we today view alcohol prohibition and the campaign for an alcohol-free society. Both were repressive government systems in the service of an impossible and historically bizarre goal.

I have a personal web site -- -- where I have put up some of my writings, along with jokes and various other things. When this interview comes out, I'll put it up there too.

6. More Than 700,000 Marijuana Arrests Last Year -- Meanwhile, Violent Crime on Increase

While police were busy arresting pot smokers by the hundreds of thousands last year, violent crime reports increased for the first time in a decade. According to the FBI's annual report, Crime in the United States, released Monday, police arrested 723,627 people on marijuana charges last year, an insignificant decrease from 2000's all-time high of 734,498 marijuana arrests.

Meanwhile, violent crime and property crimes as measured by the FBI's Crime Index Offenses (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) rose by 2.1%, the first increase since 1991. Overall, crimes of violence were up 0.8%, with robbery up 3.7%, murder up 2.5% (not counting the September 11, 2001 attacks), and forcible rape was up 0.3%. Property crimes were up 2.3%, led by motor vehicle theft at 5.7% and burglary at 2.9%. While all this was going on, pot busts accounted for more than one out of every 20 arrests made nationwide last year, and almost 90% of those -- some 641,108 -- were for simple possession. Police last year arrested more marijuana users than violent criminals (627,132).

"While the rest of the world is moving away from marijuana prohibition, the US continues to march backwards," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project ( "We now estimate that there are approximately 77,000 marijuana prisoners in US prisons and jails," Kampia added. "To what purpose? Federal officials keep saying that marijuana must be kept illegal to prevent young people from using it. But from 1991 to 2000 the number of marijuana possession arrests tripled, while during that same period, according to the government's own figures, the number of 12-to 17-year-olds trying marijuana for the first time doubled. Just how much failure does it take before our government is willing to reconsider its policies?" he asked. "Americans are coming to realize that marijuana prohibition is a cruel, destructive failure -- a message we expect voters to deliver loud and clear on Election Day." MPP is the sponsor of Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement, the campaign to enact Nevada's marijuana reform question.

"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws ( "In fact, the war on drugs is largely a war on pot smokers. This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that should be dedicated toward combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism," Stroup added. "It's time we stopped arresting adults who smoke marijuana responsibly."

More than 14 million people have been arrested on marijuana charges since 1965, according to the Uniform Crime Reports, nearly half of them in the last ten years. In the last decade, annual marijuana arrest figures have skyrocketed, rising from 342,314 in 1992 to more than 700,000 each year since 1999.

Marijuana smokers were not alone among drug users in feeling the long reach of the law. According to the FBI, nearly 1.6 million people were arrested on drug charges (including marijuana) in 2001 -- as many as were arrested for all property crimes in the same year. More than 80% of drug arrests were solely for possession.

The annual report, "Crime in the US 2001," is available at online.

7. November Coalition Roadshow Hits East Coast

The Journey for Justice (, the November Coalition's cross-country journey to organize around ending drug war injustice, has roared out of the Midwest, hit the prisons of upstate New York and the mean streets of New Haven, barreled into New York City and Philadelphia, and by the time the Week Online hits your inbox this morning or shortly thereafter, will be in front of the White House, sending the message direct to the man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Cosponsored by Common Sense for Drug Policy ( and aided and abetted by a panoply of local and national groups along the way, the Journey has been an organizer's eye-opener, said November Coalition leader Nora Callahan. "This has been a real learning experience," she told DRCNet, "and what we've been learning is that the best way to organize these communities is to shut up and listen and let the people stand and lead."

That's what happened at a forum in New Haven, where more than 100 people turned out for a Journey forum and dozens of young people spontaneously joined a march between three of the city's prisons. "I'm seeing tremendous changes with the people," said Clifford Thornton of the Connecticut drug reform group Efficacy (, who played a key role in organizing New Haven events for the Journey. "They're sick and tired of this mess."

One of the people involved was Sally Joughin of the Connecticut group People Against Injustice. "We've been working on a number of different criminal justice reform projects," said Joughin. "We knew the November Coalition was coming, and it just made sense to work together," she told DRCNet. "We don't want any more prisons in Connecticut, and we know that the drug war is causing prison overcrowding. Drug possessors and low level sellers don't need to be there," she said. People Against Injustice is attempting to work with other, public health-oriented groups on the drug war issue, said Joughin. "We'll see how we can connect," she said. "And the Journey provided us with new connections and renewed old ones. We haven't done a project specific to the drug war for awhile, and now we're talking about it again."

Thornton agreed the Journey events had been a catalyst. "The next day I got three calls from different people wanting to do more forums," he said. "We're trying to set up one with a group of middle and high school students and let them run it. We'll advise, that's all." That's the idea, said Armsbury. "We've noticed in our travels how quick people are to bemoan their circumstances and say 'look what they're doing to us,'" he noted. "It is difficult to empower people, but we have to tell them it is time to stop begging and start demanding that these injustices stop."

And the Journey is allowing Callahan and Armsbury, along with frequent guest Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy, to learn from successful groups and pass on that knowledge as the Journey continues. "We went from New Haven to Brooklyn," said Callahan, "and with each stop we acquire more things that we can pass on. The things people have done to get New Haven active can be applied in Brooklyn, or Wilmington, or anywhere," she said.

It hasn't been all roses, though, Callahan said. She and Armsbury spent some lonely hours all by themselves at prison vigils in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. "The black people from the city are afraid of these small, all-white towns," she said. "They come to visit and then they leave. They don't stay here overnight. They've heard stories." And prison officials haven't been particularly accommodating, she added. "At some of these prisons, there is no place to stand and vigil, and if we move onto private property, the Bureau of Prisons calls the owner and has him run us off." They might have to negotiate with the BOP in the future, she said.

But she stays fresh, Callahan said. "I meet with these people and it revives me," she said. "I was listening to a group of women in Brooklyn led by November Coalition member Teresa Avila, and it struck me how the people most left behind are the women. As a movement, we haven't really grasped the impact of taking away these women's husbands, brothers, fathers, sons," she said. "But we had a banquet of delicious homemade food, a time of sharing, and we'll probably see more workshops come out of it. This keeps me going."

She probably needed some of that warm glow of solidarity in Philadelphia Wednesday evening as she and Armsbury and a handful of others stood in the freezing rain outside the Philadelphia House of Detention. Maybe the prisoners inside pounding on the windows in gratitude helped. But that was only one of the Philadelphia events, which were largely organized by the Tri-State Drug Policy Forum's ( Diane Fornbacher along with assistance from the Temple University National Lawyers Guild. Fornbacher, Zeese, Callahan and Armsbury also appeared at a forum at Temple's Beasley Law School.

And today (Friday) it's Washington, DC, where the Journey will join forces with District drug policy reformers in a White House demonstration decrying the differential treatment accorded to the drug-using children of the politically powerful and calling for an end to drug war injustice in any form. After that, the Journey turns West, rolling into the prison country of Appalachia, Michigan and the Dakotas before Callahan and Armsbury return to their home north of Spokane to plot the next phase of the Journey for Justice. "We're heading south next time," said Callahan. "If you live in Georgia, Florida, or the Carolinas, give us a call. It's time to put your town on the map."

8. DRCNet Survey/Book Giveaway Contest

There's still time to enter DRCNet's new book giveaway contest -- just fill out our survey -- -- between now and Thursday November 7, and you'll be entered for free! Ten winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive a free copy of "Drug War Addiction: Notes from the Front Line of America's #1 Policy Disaster," complete with a personal note to them from author Sheriff Bill Masters himself. Winners' names will be announced in the Week Online in mid-November (anonymity available on request).

Sheriff Masters is one of Colorado's leading law enforcement officials, and his is one of most important voices speaking out against the drug war and for liberty. Read the interview with Sheriff Masters that DRCNet published last January, in issue #220 of the Week Online.

Again, visit by November 7 to qualify for the free drawing. You can also visit to make a contribution -- $30 or more gets you a free copy of Drug War Addiction! Thank you for your support and participation.

(Contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible and support our lobbying work. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to our educational nonprofit, the DRCNet Foundation. Both kinds can also be made by check or money order, sent to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.)

9. Newsbrief: Rockefeller Kin Arrested in Rockefeller Law Protest

A granddaughter of Rockefeller drug law creator former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was one of 11 people arrested Wednesday in a protest outside the Manhattan office of Gov. George Pataki. Mayla Rockefeller was among those led away in handcuffs. Also arrested were state Sens. David A. Paterson and Tom Duane. The group was charged with disorderly conduct for holding hands in a line in front of the entrance to the midtown Manhattan office, the Associated Press reported.

The protest was part of an ongoing series of actions organized by the Drop the Rock coalition ( outside Pataki's office each Wednesday this month as part of its effort to put pressure on candidates during the election season. Drop the Rock is leading a campaign for repeal of the Rockefeller laws, which have resulted in thousands of New Yorkers being sent to state prison on harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

Drop the Rock brushed aside a plea from Pataki this summer to embrace his half-hearted Rockefeller reform proposals. Both Pataki and Democratic challenger Carl McCall favor varying reform measures, while wealthy Independence Party candidate Tom Golisano and the state Marijuana Reform Party and Libertarian Party have joined Drop the Rock in calling for their outright repeal.

10. Newsbrief: Euro Parliamentarians Found Guilty, Scolded by Judge in Manchester Marijuana Civil Disobedience

A Manchester judge found two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Chris Davies (UK Liberal-Democrats) and Marco Cappato (Italian Radical, co-president of Transnational Radical Party) guilty of cannabis possession, sentenced them to a 100 pound fine or seven days in jail, and chided them for wasting the justice system's resources with their "irresponsible" actions.

Crown Court Judge Stewart Fish directed the tirade at the two MEPs for their December 2001 protest in support of jailed Manchester coffee house owner Colin Davies. Cappato, Chris Davies and their supporters gathered in front of a Manchester police station before the two MEPs symbolically presented themselves for arrest.

The Radicals were cowed by the magistrate's outburst. In a statement released after the hearing, Cappato said: "Judge Fish has talked in the Court room of a highly irresponsible action and of a waste of energies for the justice system. With our nonviolent action we have taken upon ourselves the full responsibility for the violation of a criminal law that generates more crime, that obstructs every year the judicial system with dozens of thousands cases of people arrested for drug possession for personal consumption. The UK Government had withdrawn its promises for drugs decriminalization, while other European countries such as Italy and France, have announced the toughening of their prohibitionist regime. Our task at the Transnational Radical Party is to continue to disobey neo-fascist prohibitionism and to organize, also at the international level, the alternative of legalization against the international mafias, terrorism and corruption."

So there.

11. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story

The nominations keep pouring in. The on-going Dallas and Schenectady scandals remain on hold, and thanks, but only honorable mentions to Seattle (heroin-dealing cop) and Middle Township, NJ (drug detective retired for using civilian informants to do illegal surveillance). This week's winner is Nevada's Lander County Sheriff Michael Kranovich. He was found guilty of embezzling asset forfeiture funds given to the county by the federal government in federal court in Reno on October 25. He is not seeking re-election to a second term, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Sheriff Kranovich was convicted of taking $12,000 and $5,000 from the asset forfeiture fund after failing to adequately explain where the money had gone. At one point, he told KOLO-TV in Reno that some of the cash might have been thrown away when he cleaned his desk.

Kranovich faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count, plus restitution, but remains free on his own recognizance until his February 10 sentencing. No word on whether he's still the sheriff.

12. Newsbrief: UN Says Afghan Opium Crop Up Almost Twenty-Fold Over 2001, Trade Employs a Half-Million People

In a report released October 24, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime made official what has been obvious for months: Afghan opium production is rapidly approaching its record-high levels of the 1990s. According to the annual Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2002, opium output this year will exceed 3,400 tons. In 2000, Afghanistan produced 4,600 tons of opium. Last year, after the Taliban banned poppy growing, the country produced only 185 tons, according to the UN estimates.

The UN office estimated that "about half a million people have been involved in the international trade of illicit Afghan opiates (opium, morphine, heroin) in recent years," and that "total income for Afghan opium farmers could reach several hundred million dollars this year." That would make opium Afghanistan's largest industry. The CIA acknowledges the poppy's role in the local economy, ranking Afghan exports in the following order: opium, fruits and nuts, hand-woven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems (

Although the interim government of Hamid Karzai banned poppy planting and the opium trade on January 17, it has proven unable to effectively enforce the ban. The UN urged more cops and more alternative economic assistance. "What is needed in the period ahead is much stronger international support in establishing and developing law enforcement institutions, and providing Afghan farmers with alternative, licit means of livelihood", said Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Visit for the UN press release and links to the study.

13. Newsbrief: Liberia Prepares to Join the Drug War

In an act of drug war theater on October 25, Liberian National Police Director Paul Mulbah led the symbolic burning of the dope at police headquarters on Capitol Hill, The News (Monrovia) reported. The stunt came as the legislature prepares to consider a bill that would enact tough laws against illegal drug use and sales and helped drum up publicity for the newly formed National Drug Task Force, set up two months ago by the government of President Charles Taylor.

If the legislature fails to pass the legislation, warned Mulbah, "drugs will continue to haunt us, destroy our society and take us down the drain." But it sounds like drugs still have a ways to go. The country has a grand total of five "major drug dealers" in custody and has deported two Nigerians, and is holding 72 "potential drug users," Mulbah said. Still, if only the international community could send some aid, the battle could be won, Mulbah said. "We need logistics to empower us to fight against these dangerous drugs that are killing our society."

Mulbah was clearly playing to his audience. In attendance, according to The News, were various Liberian government ministers, "as well as representatives of the American embassy and the UNDCCP [UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention.]"

14. Newsbrief: Chattanooga Jail Full, Faith-Based Alternative Sentencing Offered to Drug Offenders

Nonviolent misdemeanor drug offenders in Chattanooga, TN, who face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, will be offered thrice-weekly meetings with church counselors and job training instead, city officials announced October 24. The move came as the Hamilton County Jail faced state decertification because of overcrowding. The jail has a capacity of 498 prisoners, but held 660 on October 21, when a state inspector took a count, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

"Project Transformation" will be voluntary, stressed Chattanooga officials, although at least one addressed the paradox of free choice behind bars: "The program cannot take on the mask of being voluntary when the net effect is either enter this program or go to jail," said General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

No news reports mentioned anything about drug treatment.

The program is set to start next month, the News-Sentinel reported, and was designed by Hamilton County officials. But two private foundations and a locally based trucking company are picking up the $240,000 tab. The Caldwell Foundation is a Chattanooga-based educational foundation, while the McLellan Foundation promotes "strategic international and national organizations committed to furthering the Kingdom of Christ and select local organizations, which foster the spiritual welfare of the community," according to its web site. Coventry Transport president David Parker was the third funder, said the News-Sentinel. Coventry's web site has lots of information about trucking, but nothing to indicate any religious affiliation.

15. Newsbrief: Mississippi Supreme Court Bars Telephonic Warrants, but Says It Was Okay Just This Once

Mississippi law has never provided for police to obtain search warrants by merely phoning a judge. But in an opinion handed down in a marijuana case on October 24, the state Supreme Court allowed a conviction based on a telephonic search warrant to stand, even while it reiterated that such warrants are illegal. Go figure.

James White of Clinton, MS, was sentenced to nine years in prison for marijuana trafficking after police seized less than two ounces of pot from his home in 1998. The seizure came when police raided his home based on a telephonic search warrant okayed by a local magistrate. Hinds County sheriff's deputies targeted White after deputies trailed a local man to White's place, then pulled him over, finding marijuana. The local man told police he got it from White, according to the court opinion. Police feared White would become suspicious and destroy the evidence, they testified.

"This Court finds that the search was a warrantless search, as Mississippi has yet to recognize the viability of telephonic warrants," wrote Presiding Justice Smith for the majority. "We decline to accept telephonic search warrants as valid."

But then the court turned around and did just that in ruling that the police acted in "good faith" when executing the warrant that wasn't. The US Supreme Court held that officers executing a search warrant that turned out to be defective should not be punished by excluding evidence because they acted in "good faith." The Mississippi court cited trial testimony by one deputy that he had applied for and executed telephonic search warrants "one or two times" before (!) and that a district attorney had told him it was okay under certain circumstances (!). Displaying a curious lack of curiosity about such acts it deems illegal, the court instead merely held that the deputy's belief in telephonic warrants constituted "good faith."

Chief Justice Pittman, in a dissent, accused his colleagues of holding "two incompatible positions" in arguing that the search was warrantless because there is no such thing as a telephonic search warrant in Mississippi, yet also arguing that the "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule -- which requires a warrant -- could be invoked. "At the same time that it rejects searches authorized by telephone, it upholds this search based upon permission obtained by telephone," he wrote. And James White sits in prison because of a search based on a warrant that never existed.

Visit to read the opinion online.

16. Newsbrief: Seattle Initiative to De-prioritize Marijuana Enforcement Makes 2003 Ballot

A local initiative that would make the prosecution of marijuana cases involving possession of less than 40 grams the city's "lowest law enforcement priority," will go before Seattle voters next September. The City Council voted Monday to let voters decide whether to approve the measure, known as I-75, after the Sensible Seattle Coalition ( gathered enough signatures to bring the measure before the Council.

The Council could have simply voted to make the measure law, but declined to do so. According to the Seattle Times, some members doubted the measure was necessary given that the city prosecuted only 173 misdemeanor marijuana cases last year.

But Sensible Seattle, including many of the people who organize the city's annual Hempfest, and its political allies, view the move as part of a broader anti-prohibition movement. "I see this as one small step in the national debate about the need for drug reform," Councilman Nick Licata told the Times.

Drug czar John Walters apparently agrees. During an October 11 visit to a convention of recovering addicts and alcoholics in nearby Bellingham, Walters took time out to attack I-75 and statewide initiatives in Arizona and Nevada as undermining the Bush administration's effort to fight drug abuse. "We can't face the drug problem without dealing with marijuana," Walters told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Americans must begin to confront drug use -- and therefore drug users -- honestly and directly."

17. Media Scan: William F. Buckley in National Review, 2002 Voter Guides and Election Resources

The Pot War Boiling: Is marijuana-law reform far away? William F. Buckley in National Review magazine:

Drug reform/election-related link compilation, by DRCNet reader Josh Tinnin:

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].)

November 1, 5:30pm, Oakland, CA, "International Day of Action for Drug Users' Rights," protest of Gov. Davis' veto of a bill legalizing pharmacy syringe sales. At the State Building, 1515 Clay St., contact Micah Frazier at the Harm Reduction Coalition, (510) 444-6969 x13 or [email protected] for 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, noon-2:00pm, Laguna Beach, CA, Pre-Election Vigil against the War on Drugs, sponsored by the November Coalition. At Main Beach and Coast Highway, call (509) 684-1550 or e-mail [email protected] for further 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 7, 7:00pm, Santa Cruz, CA, Screening of "Fierce Grace," documentary about Ram Dass, to benefit the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. At the Rio Theater, 1205 Soquel Ave. at Seabright Ave., admission $20. Tickets available from The Book Loft, next door to the Rio, (831) 429-1812, or at the Rio from 5:00pm on the day of the event. Visit for further 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 9-10, 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 12, noon-evening, Vandalia, MI, demonstration and gathering in memory of Tom Crosslin, Rollie Rohm and Rainbow Farm. March at noon to the gates of Rainbow Farm, demonstration/vigil from 2:00-6:00pm in front of the old Cassopolis courthouse at the corner of routes 60 and 62, followed by a potluck dinner and gathering at the Super 8 Motel in Three Rivers. Sponsored by Michigan Cannabis Action Network, call (231) 885-2993 or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

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 3, 6:30pm, Tampa, FL, American Cannabis Society event with music, nonprofit presentations and a hemp fashion show. Visit for information or contact (800) 256-7424, [email protected] or [email protected].

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.

January 19, 2003, Winston-Salem, NC, conference on the effects of drug prohibition. At the Winston-Salem Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, Robinhood Rd., contact [email protected] for info.

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.

April 17-19, 2003, San Francisco, CA, 2003 NORML Conference. Details to follow, visit for information.

June 7-11, 2003, Denver, CO, 23rd National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry. Visit or contact Sr. Carleen Reck at [email protected] for information.

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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