The Reformer's Calendar 1/24/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Come to "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century," Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, February 12-15, 2003 -- visit (English) or (Español) for info or to register.

Join the HEA campaign to repeal the drug provision of the Higher Education Act -- visit for info and an activist packet.


  1. The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign
  2. DRCNet Interview: Gustavo de Greiff, Former Attorney General of Colombia
  3. DRCNet Interview: Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News
  4. DRCNet Interview: Ricardo Sala, (Live With Drugs), Mexico
  5. Mérida Addendum: Missing Paragraphs from Last Week's Giordano Interview
  6. Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Medical Marijuana Supporters Stage Demos, Start Billboard Campaign
  7. Bolivia: As Strife Continues, Armed Rebels Emerge -- Or Do They?
  8. Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
  9. Cumbre Internacional sobre Legalización, 12-15 Febrero, Mérida, México
  10. Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, 12-15 de Fevereiro, Mérida, México
  11. Newsbrief: Maryland Governor to Support Medical Marijuana
  12. Newsbrief: Southeast Asians to End Drugs
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  14. Newsbrief: Canadian Heroin Bust Study Finds Drug War Futile
  15. Newsbrief: Peruvian Coca Growers Begin to Organize
  16. Newsbrief: Mexico Disbands Anti-Drug Agency, Cites Corruption
  17. DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign

This week DRCNet continues our series of interviews with prominent participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Latin America summit and campaign. We interview Dr. Gustavo de Greiff, former attorney general of the nation of Colombia and a member of the conference steering committee; Luis Gómez, Andean correspondent for Narco News; and Ricardo Sala of the Mexico City-based

Keep checking the Week Online and the Out from the Shadows conference web pages -- (English) and (Español) for more interviews between now and the conference and thereafter -- and if you haven't read our Shadows interviews in the last two issues, you can check them out in the archives at:

Also, visit for an exciting article about the growing Mexican legalization movement, including photographs of several of the people you'll meet in Mérida.

2. DRCNet Interview: Gustavo de Greiff, Former Attorney General of Colombia

Gustavo de Greiff became attorney general of Colombia at the height of the Medellin drug cartel's wave of violence and mass assassinations in the early 1990s. He presided over the operation that broke the cartel and ended the life of its chief, notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, in late 1993.

Not content to let history repeat itself unchallenged, de Greiff broke ranks with the US-dominated drug war establishment to call for an end to drug prohibition, and began a sustained effort to push the global legalization debate forward. After drawing criticism for his stance from the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (then head of the Senate International Relations Committee), de Greiff left office, but has continued to be a respected voice in the international drug reform movement. After serving as Colombia's ambassador to Mexico, de Greiff joined the faculty of the Colegio de Mexico.

De Greiff is chairman of the steering committee for the Out from the Shadows conference. DRCNet conducted this interview with him via e-mail in Mexico City.

Week Online: It's been almost a decade since you became the most prominent voice in officialdom to call for the legalization of the drug trade. Since then, despite a growing number of voices like yours, the "war on drugs" has only intensified. You and others have demonstrated clearly and repeatedly that prohibitionist policies do not work. Yet they continue. What is the logic that drives the drug war?

Gustavo de Greiff: It is incredible that in view of the failures in the war on drugs, its advocates continue to think that it is the best solution to the problems that drug consumption creates. In my opinion, this is due to the many political and economic interests involved in the continuation of a failed policy. Ironically, the narcotraffickers are the least interested in the end of prohibition. As it happened with the traffickers in alcoholic beverages during Prohibition, when Prohibition ended, their business also ended. The corrupt officers who profit from the war on drugs, of course, do not want to see the end of their dirty profits; the politicians who exploit the problems of drug consumption picturing themselves as moral leaders of their communities do not wish to end the problem (they would have to lower their battle flags); the governmental agencies with big budgets and large bureaucracies clearly would not want to see their source of income disappear; and so on. And how about with those persons that indirectly profit from the war, through their apparent clean deals with the people that have financial resources acquired from their participation in the war on drugs? Along with all those people there are some honest persons that really think that the only way to end the problem is through prohibition. So there are too many interests involved in the problem. But I think this should not discourage us in claiming a better way of dealing with the problems that psychotropic and narcotic drugs create, i.e., legalization.

WOL: How does the "war on drugs" tie in to broader US foreign policy in Latin America?

de Greiff: The US government has used the war on drugs for political purposes in Latin America. The war on drugs has served as a pretext for that government to intervene politically and commercially in various countries. One clear example of this was the pressure put on Colombia in 1985 to cease exporting bananas to Europe by threatening to decertify Colombia in the war on drugs. A current example is Plan Colombia, with its branching out to Ecuador, where the US government has established a military base. There are many other examples of what I am talking about.

WOL: Can you talk about your home country, Colombia? During the time you prosecuted the drug war there, we saw the fall of the Medellin cartel and the killing of Pablo Escobar. A decade later, it seems only the contours of the traffic have changed. Simon Bolivar once said that trying to unify Latin America was like trying to plow the sea. Might the same metaphor apply for suppressing the drug traffic in Colombia?

de Greiff: Colombia, I think, is the country that has suffered most from the war on drugs. Many people have died in the fight, and the Colombian economy has not benefited from the drug traffic, contrary to what some US officials think. The Colombian government has been forced to divert a substantial part of its yearly budget to prosecuting the drug war with no benefits at all, money that would had been better invested in educational campaigns against consumption, among other things. This has been recognized by the acting Minister of the Interior of Colombia, who said that with legalization the problem of drugs for Colombia would be terminated. Of course, the minister also recognized that Colombia could not take that road by itself.

WOL: Here in Mexico, the government over the weekend announced it was shutting down FEADS, a specialized drug enforcement unit because of concerns about corruption. What does that tell you about the state of Mexico's "war on drugs"?

de Greiff: Mexico, like Colombia, is doing the best it can to carry on the war. I would say that the US does the same. The problem is that unfortunately all three have adopted a failed strategy. We can see that merely by studying the history of this war that is being fought for more than 20 years now with very negligible results.

WOL: Things have changed somewhat since you were driven from office in 1994. Government officials, including heads of state, from various countries have begun to talk about legalization. Is it your sense, given the institutional forces we are up against, that we are making real progress in changing the prohibitionist regime?

de Greiff: I think that notwithstanding the numerous interests that are involved in the continuation of the failed strategy, we should continue to advocate for its change, by both showing to the people those failures and trying to educate them on how a regulation of production and sales of those drugs should take place. We also need to support educational campaigns to dissuade people from consuming those drugs. I think it is very important to put it very clearly that legalization or, better, regulation, is not an invitation to consume those drugs. Recently the head of the White House's ONDCP, John Walters, said during a visit to Mexico something of the sort that "legalizers" were oblivious to the damages that drugs caused to the young and of the violence involved in the commerce. Of course, this is the political stance typical of the warriors: to attribute to their opponents something that is only apparently true. I would challenge them to show any declaration or stance from legalizers who advocate consumption. And concerning violence, is it not evident that it has been fueled precisely by prohibition? I would ask him to show me if such violence as you see in the drug traffic exists in the commerce of alcoholic beverages.

WOL: How does this conference fit into the process of change?

de Greiff: The Mérida conference is a very good opportunity to present our case to the people and to continue showing all the maladies brought about by the war on drugs and how legalization can work to avoid those problems.

WOL: You have said you were not in favor of decriminalization as opposed to legalization. Can you explain what you meant and why?

de Greiff: Decriminalization is commonly understood as a policy of not penalizing consumption. By legalization, I mean a policy of legal regulation of the production and sale of the drugs that are now prohibited, along with educational campaigns to dissuade their consumption, combined with the provision of science-based treatment to addicts. I do not favor decriminalization because while it creates a less risky environment for consumers, it still leaves a black market for the narcotraffickers, allowing them their obscene profits and allows those corrupted by the profits to continue to benefit. The only sensible part of decriminalization is to treat consumers not as criminals but as persons who need honest and scientific information in order to make an informed decision about whether to use a certain substance or not. Some of those who do choose to use a drug will need to be helped if they have fallen into addiction.

3. DRCNet Interview: Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News

Luis Gómez, 36, was born and educated in Mexico, but has traveled extensively in Latin America. A freelance writer, Gómez was living in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and covering social unrest in that country, when he accepted an offer from Narco News publisher Al Giordano to become Andean Bureau Chief for the insurgent online newspaper ( For the last year, Gómez has been following the coca growers' resistance to the Bolivian government's US-backed and financed "zero option" coca eradication program. DRCNet interviewed Gómez via e-mail in La Paz, Bolivia, this week.

Week Online: You are currently reporting on the upheaval in Bolivia. DRCNet has run various reports, including some by you, about the mobilization of the coca growers. But the mobilization is taking place within a broader social context of popular unrest. There is news this week that the chamber of commerce has called for a state of emergency to put down the unrest. Can you explain to our readers how the coca growers' mobilization fits into the broader picture?

Luis Gómez: The cocaleros are the political vanguard of the social movement here. They've spent almost two decades fighting against military forces and governments and they are certainly not only well organized, but have a wide general knowledge of the main problems of the Bolivian people, the country, and indeed, the planet. The cocaleros founded the Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento a Socialismo, or MAS) and, a few weeks ago, they decided to broaden its goals, to try to reach out to more social sectors, such as farmers, indigenous people all over the country, workers, the middle class, school teachers, students and others. Members of all those groups had voted for cocalero leaders like Evo Morales in the elections last June 30.

The cocalero organizations are a "militant collective," a democracy where influence flows horizontally, not vertically. This is something more than just a union. For the cocaleros of the Chapare, the organizing principles are honesty, solidarity and responsibility. And this has been an inspiration for many other organizations in Bolivia. The generosity of the cocaleros has spread a voice of insurrection to farmers in Potosí, workers in Cochabamba, Indians in Santa Cruz, artists and so many people. We have a divided country -- two Bolivias, the cocaleros say. On one hand, you have an aristocracy of 200 families, white and rich, and on the other, the poor and marginalized. Families of four surviving on less than $50 a month on one hand, and guys used to vacationing in Miami every six months on the other. Racism, infant mortality and disease are the common language of this country, and it is here, in fact, where the current social confrontation has its heart, its origins.

WOL: You have described a deeply conflicted and divided Bolivia. Would you care to speculate on how the current crisis will be resolved? Given that the Sanchez de Lozado government is backed by a belligerent US, is a progressive outcome probable or even possible?

Gómez: With so many variables, it is difficult to speculate. The Bolivian government has taken such a rigid position that no negotiations are possible. It is not correct to say that the US backs the government here. The Bush administration does not back the government, but orders it, pressures it, blackmails it. But that US pressure is usually not visible. If a negotiated solution is to occur, it will probably happen through intermediary organizations such as the Catholic Church or the human rights organizations. They have proposed a big meeting without any preconditions among the parties, but until the fair and long-standing demands of the mobilization are accepted, there will not be any solution, any peace, or any chance to create real democracy for the Bolivian people. Until that happens, we are likely to see such insurgent mobilizations many times in the future.

WOL: You are the Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News. How did you become a Narco News correspondent?

Gómez: I began writing for publication in 1988, after coming out of a militant period at the university in Mexico City. My first piece was about Puerto Rican jazz musician Roy Brown. Since then I have traveled a long way through many countries and a long way through the world of words. I wrote critically about crime fiction and the arts, and sometimes about politics. I covered the elections in Nicaragua and spent some months in Cuba trying to understand the people. And somehow I ended up here in Bolivia, surrounded by mountains in La Paz, doing almost anything: radio work, angry pieces, reviews of novels. It's been a long, strange trip for a guy who studied drama in college.

I met Al Giordano in December 2001 in Cochabamba and helped him to do his job covering events here. One morning, over cups of coffee, he offered me the Andean Bureau Chief position. I thought this was the chance to do something useful here, have an active position in a war that most of our people in América seem to be losing every very day. I said "yes" and the rest is history.

WOL: We are starting to see a resurgence of coca and poppy growing in Peru in the last couple of years. Is it likely that a movement similar to that of the cocaleros in Bolivia will arise in Peru? Why or why not?

Gómez: Perú is emerging from a hard dictatorship and from a long continued guerrilla past. For a cocalero movement to arise there seems unlikely, at least for a few years. We're talking about a more developed country, with more mafias involved in the traffic and more corrupted politicians. Neither is the indigenous component as strong as in Bolivia. Here in Bolivia, there are about three million indigenous people with their untouched traditions and deep relation to the coca leaf. In Perú, this link is not so strong.

WOL: In your view, how does the "war on drugs" fit into broader US foreign policy in Latin America, especially now that the Bush administration is attempting to link the "war on drugs" to the "war on terrorism"?

Gómez: As Ecuadorian sociologist Fernando Buendía told me, it's all about who controls what. The US is trying to spread its dominion over everything that could be a market, a resource. In Latin America, they want our forests, our oil and gas, our water and the best profits in drugs dealing. I do not have to tell you how many times US officials have mixed drugs and oil, oil and water, all to "protect US strategic interests." So, while this link between drugs and terrorism is new, what is not new is Washington's foreign policy: We do what we want, we dominate you, because we need resources. US foreign policy is lies built on lies coming from a sick society about to devour itself in its own contradictions.

WOL: Latin American governments have traditionally viewed "the drug problem" as a problem of North American consumption. Is it your sense that drug consumption is starting to rise in Latin America, and if so, is that fact changing the way Latin American governments confront the illicit drug business?

Gómez: Latin American governments typically come out of a 19th century liberal tradition, the classical sort of liberalism now called conservatism in the US. Their approach to many problems is more conservative than in the US. In the case of drugs, it is notorious that consumption is rising in this part of the world, so governments are now changing their policies on the drug trade, becoming more concerned about use. In most cases, they are moving to the right, but there are, of course, some signs of hope. In Brazil, Lula's government is considering harm reduction policies and in Ecuador there will be a wide discussion of legalization under the new government of Lucio Gutierrez. But this is just beginning, and please remember that in Latin America, when we talk about drug consumption, we are not only talking about natural drugs, but also about chemical solutions, solvents, turpentine, glue, all of which are cheap and easy to find. We thus confront a very complex problem of consumption, and governments are not yet prepared to confront this -- except with more arrests and more marginalization.

WOL: One significant base of support for drug reform in North America is drug consumers, especially marijuana smokers. How does that contrast with the bases for drug reform in Latin American countries, and are these different orientations likely to lead to conflict as North American and Latin American drug reformers attempt to forge a common front?

Gómez: The main difference is that here in Latin America we have producers -- cocaleros, poppy farmers, marijuana growers -- among those who want drug law reform. That's because of our problems with growing and selling coca, pot, or poppies. But the ideas about reform are roughly similar in Bolivia, in Columbia, in other drug producing countries. Those ideas -- about legalizing the trade -- can be compared with those current among US reformers, and we can see there are many similarities. But it is possible that some will accuse Latin American drug producers who want reform of being criminally cynical. "Hey, you grow the drugs, you sell them, and now you just want it to be legal," some might say. But despite possible differences of orientation, I'm pretty sure a continental front can be built. It is just a matter of working together and listening to each other's problems and needs.

WOL: Are you coming to Mérida? Will you participate in the School of Authentic Journalism?

Gómez: Yep. I'm a member of The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism faculty, and I'm very sure I'll finally learn something good on journalism with the amazing 26 students I'll meet. I'll be at "Out from the Shadows" too, talking and helping, translating, working and, of course, reporting. I'll see you there, pals.

4. DRCNet Interview: Ricardo Sala, (Live With Drugs), Mexico

Mexico City resident Ricardo Sala is the man behind the Mexican drug reform web site Live With Drugs ( Devoted to elevating the level of official and mass media discourse on drug issues, Sala is also doing similar work on environmental issues -- a critical problem in his hometown.

Week Online: What is the significance of your web page's name?

Ricardo Sala: The name is a play on the national anti-drug campaign conducted by TV Azteca in Mexico City called "Live Without Drugs" ("Vive Sin Drogas"). That campaign had a certain level of success, but it also illustrated the simple-minded way the drug issue is handled by the mainstream media and mainstream politicians. It is a very superficial sort of discourse, very similar to the "Just Say No" campaign of Nancy Reagan in the United States. There are serious problems with this sort of simplistic rhetoric. First, the war on drugs has severe consequences for Mexico, including violence, corruption and social disintegration. Second, drug addiction under prohibition is also associated with violence. Also, we recognize that there are problems with drug use, that drugs can be dangerous, and that they must be handled in a more humane manner. Campaigns like "Just Say No" or "Live Without Drugs" do not address these realities. That's why I chose this name for this web site. I think getting this domain name may have been my biggest success so far.

The web site's goal is to raise the level of official and media discourse on drug policy. It is clear that the drug prohibition regime creates violence and antisocial situations. We need something more than "Live Without Drugs" if we are going to find humane solutions to these problems.

WOL: Is your primary focus on marijuana or are you concerned with all drugs?

Sala: We are concerned about all drugs, drugs in general, including alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana is a very important issue, because it is the most likely to be legalized. I don't particularly want to make advocacy of drug legalization our main emphasis, but that is the issue that excites the mass media. And if the media is going to talk about drug policy and drug reform, we have to change the discourse from what we have now. You should also understand that we have a unique situation in Mexico. Here we have indigenous people using entheogens -- peyote, mushrooms, salvia divinorum -- for sacred religious reasons, and we have people and organizations who defend the sacred or ritual use of these plants. In general, Mexicans accept that many indigenous people use these plants, but it is still important to defend these practices. I would like to see this sort of drug use studied and reported in the media, not as a means of promoting drug use, but as a means of explaining what drugs are and how they are used.

WOL: Does marijuana smoking have a bad reputation in Mexico?

Sala: Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in Mexico, although cocaine use is growing. As you know, when the Colombians started moving cocaine through Mexico, at first they paid the Mexican groups in cash, but later they started paying in cocaine. The result is that cocaine is now widely and cheaply available here. But as for marijuana smokers, the traditional view -- and it is one that is still widely held -- is that "marijuanos" are bums. "He doesn't have a job, he doesn't care about anything, he's a marijuano." It has also traditionally been associated with lower class people, with soldiers, people from the barrios, or farmers who would grow and smoke it in the countryside. But things are changing now. Many people have had first- or second-hand experience with marijuana, and these are middle-class people. Most of the people I know who smoke are not marijuanos or hippies; they work in advertising, film, as writers or journalists, and many other creative professions. And musicians -- not just rock or reggae musicians, but classical musicians as well. As in the US, it's a universal thing.

WOL: Mexico City has seen Million Marijuana Marches in the last two years. Were you involved with those, and what were they like? How did the police respond?

Sala: The Mexican Association for Cannabis Studies (Associacion Mexicana de Estudios sobre Cannabis, or AMECA) asked me to help organize those marches along with Ignacio Pineiro, who is the organizer of a forum for alternative rock groups. In 2001, we were not too successful; we only had 10 people. But last year, at least 400 showed up, and we expect many more this year. As for the police, the Federal Preventive Police (Policia Federal Preventativa), were there at the beginning filming us. Some people broke out joints, which made me nervous. I told people to watch out, but nothing happened. Ignacio told me that he saw buses full of police parked nearby, but they stayed at the buses. There were no problems with the police. As for the march itself, it was more like a stroll in the park. We walked around the Alameda Central, near the Bellas Artes palace in downtown Mexico City. Very nice.

For me, this is not about promoting drug use, but about promoting more sensible policies. Marijuana might be nice, but it can do harm, too. We do not need to promote drug use. Instead, we need to promote a culture where we have good sense about drugs, whether we choose to use them or not. We in the drug reform movement need to be careful about these issues, we need to differentiate among these drugs and their respective harms. That's how we will succeed, not by saying that everyone should smoke pot.

WOL: What do you think are the actual prospects for changing the drug laws in Mexico?

Sala: It is difficult for me to say because my specialty is the media, not the law and how it is changed. But I will say that the faster we bring this issue into the mainstream media and the public discourse, the faster the issue will come to the congress. The media is developing a higher level of discussion about drugs and the public discussion is growing louder, too. Now we have a small political party, Mexico Possible (Mexico Posible), a feminist party headed by Patricia Mercado, which just last week made marijuana legalization part of their platform. The party, of course, has many other planks, but marijuana legalization is a grabber for the media.

Things are beginning to open up a little. Even some conservative people are beginning to be open to talk of legalization. That was different five years ago, but since then the cocaine problem has become much more severe. People say the only solution is to legalize. I talk to many taxi drivers -- I consider them a barometer of social attitudes -- and now many of them are saying we should legalize, at least marijuana. Also, with the Internet explosion, there is more and more discussion of drug policy outside of the mainstream media. A lot of people are getting together to talk about it around the country, as we are doing here in Mexico City.

WOL: Why are you going to the Out from the Shadows conference in Mérida? What do you hope to see the conference accomplish?

Sala: I am one of the winners of the scholarships for the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism. I am a little anxious and nervous, but I think I will meet a lot of interesting people. Many activists from Mexico are going. It will be very important to strengthen the perception of the movement in Mexico and worldwide in the media. I look forward to both the conference itself and the school.

5. Mérida Addendum: Missing Paragraphs from Last Week's Giordano Interview

Due to a human's cut-and-paste error or a computer programs' software glitch, several of the most important paragraphs from last week's "Road to Mérida" interview with Narco News ( founder Al Giordano, in which Giordano sends an important message to conference attendees and Narco News and J-School enthusiasts, got left off the end of it. Please check out the missing text below, or better yet visit to read or reread the corrected interview in full.

Giordano writes:

A couple of favors I'd like to ask from the attendees:

May my readers forgive me in these weeks for not being as responsive as you're accustomed to via e-mail with all your queries and questions. My e-mail box is overflowing to capacity a lot and sometimes mail is bouncing. That's probably going to get worse for the next four weeks as we finalize the plans for these events. It's involving a lot more work than meets the eye. Prior to the conference, the amount of news on Narco News may temporarily decrease. But once the summit gets going it will exponentially increase.

May my journalist colleagues seeking interviews with Narco News in Mérida talk to Luis Gómez. He is our spokesman at the Mérida Summit. He's a Mexican journalist who lives in the Andes and you already know him by his stellar reports from Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador this year. Now you're going to meet him in person. Luis, in addition to being a top shelf journalist, is a very articulate, fun and knowledgeable guy. He has better people skills than I do. He will be the voice of Narco News. He knows many of the leaders attending this event from South America that you're going to want to interview. He's going to be the voice and face of Narco News at this event. I won't be giving the interviews.

And finally, may the conference attendees, particularly so many of my old friends, excuse the reality that makes it necessary for the School of Authentic Journalism to be a closed shop. We have no more room for students. And we have an enormous reporting job to pull off over those four days. Only students, professors and staff will have the laminates to enter our closed campus facilities, near the conference. It's an autonomous operation. There's not physical room for additional people to "monitor" the courses. If you haven't been asked by me to be a student or a faculty member prior to coming to Mérida, we're not taking new ones there. I'm sorry about that: we are going to do part of our program publicly with a journalists' panel at the Mérida Summit, and there will be a party at some point hosted by Narco News, the J-School, and our friends at Salón Chingón, to which our readers and friends will be invited and where we can kick back and celebrate together. Of course, some of our faculty members will be giving presentations at the conference, too. I'll be introducing Mario Menendez at a plenary session. But mainly we have a lot of reporting to do for all the readers back home who can't be physically present.

You folks who are attending and participating in the conference are going to be the stars of this show. We're just the reporters. Help us, and especially our 26 students, do our jobs. Whatever message you bring to Mérida, say it well, and we'll make sure you're heard all over the world. And see you at the Narco News party. I'll be introducing another member of our news team, briefly, there: that old Dobro guitar that the narco-bankers failed to win in the "Drug War on Trial" case. Because it looks like the drug war may be over before many people think, and that there will soon be a new generation of Authentic Journalists doing my job better than I do, and so I have to start practicing for my next career.

6. Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Medical Marijuana Supporters Stage Demos, Start Billboard Campaign

After preliminary skirmishing last week (, federal prosecutors got down to the business of trying to put America's leading marijuana cultivation author behind bars for at least the next 10 years on Tuesday. The trial of Ed Rosenthal for growing medical marijuana in cooperation with Oakland authorities opened to daily demonstrations and national media coverage in San Francisco, and prosecutors, fearing that media attention could infect the jury with the facts behind the case, made an attempt to impose a gag order one of their first orders of business.

US Attorney George Bevan asked Judge Charles Breyer on Tuesday to issue a gag order forbidding Rosenthal, his family and his attorneys from speaking to the press. Bevan told the court that news coverage of the trial was "contaminating the jury." While Breyer said he had never issued a gag order, he did ask Rosenthal's attorneys to secure a voluntary agreement from Rosenthal not to comment, and pointedly noted that in the event of a conviction he would consider it appropriate to consider Rosenthal's conduct during the trial.

But if prosecutors hoped to quiet the media through the gag order request, it didn't exactly work out that way. The San Francisco Chronicle sent its First Amendment attorney to court the next day, and the defense brought in high-powered First Amendment Project senior counsel Jim Wheaton as an advisor. "A gag order is unnecessary, unworkable and unconstitutional," said Wheaton.

On Thursday, Judge Breyer agreed, telling prosecutors they hadn't made their case. "This is a victory for the public's right to know," Rosenthal spokesperson Theresa Schilling told DRCNet. Breyer told prosecutors the bottom line was that the case was happening in the larger context of a broad public debate, Schilling reported, and it was not in the public interest to muzzle anyone.

Rosenthal scored another small victory Thursday when a subpoenaed witness, responding to a query from Judge Breyer about the difference between clones and plants, managed to explain to the courtroom that clones are cuttings that have no roots, flowers or buds, and are used so patients can grow their own medicine. Last week, Breyer barred any mention of medical marijuana, California's Proposition 215, or Oakland municipal ordinances designed to protect Rosenthal while he grew for patients.

The issue of clones took up much of the testimony this week. Because Rosenthal's charges are based on the number of plants seized, the defense has doggedly gone after prosecution witnesses -- DEA agents -- who participated in the bust and the counting of the plants. Under federal law, rootless clones cannot be counted as plants. "There is a discrepancy over the count, and that's a big deal," said Schilling. DEA witnesses reluctantly testified that the government had destroyed much of the seized evidence and that they could not identify the number of plants and clones in still photographs taken during the raid. The close questioning of the DEA agents about clones wasn't exactly exciting for observers, according to Schilling. "It was a tedious day."

The trial continues next week, but activism in support of Rosenthal and, more broadly, in support of California medical marijuana providers, continues. "We have had activists in front of the court house with duct tape over their mouths and medical marijuana symbols on their chests every day court has been in session," said Steph Sherer of Americans for Safe Access (, an umbrella group devoted to a proactive defense of medical marijuana patients and providers. But unlike the trial of Bryan Epis, the Chico, CA, provider sent to federal prison in October, activists in the street are staying out of the courtroom, Sherer told DRCNet. "We've learned some lessons from Epis," she said. "We don't want to raise any questions in the judge's mind."

And in what Sherer called a "fortuitous coincidence," a newly formed coalition of patients, caregivers, doctors and public officials this week commenced its California billboard campaign calling for "compassion, not federal prison" for medical marijuana providers. Featuring the eight-year-old daughter of Bryan Epis holding a sign saying "My dad is not a criminal," the posters cover 35 billboards across the state, as well as on bus stop shelters.

The campaign ( is sponsored by the Common Sense for Drug Policy ( and its sponsor, Robert Field. "ASA did the groundwork, Robert put up the money, and Clear Channel Communications donated $20,000 worth of billboard space," Sherer said.

Californians need to "take action to bring Bryan back to his daughter and stop federal policies that divide families, punish the seriously ill and make good Samaritans into criminals," said CSDP's Kevin Zeese.

Meanwhile, the Rosenthal trial gets back to business next week. Visit for daily updates on the trial.

7. Bolivia: As Strife Continues, Armed Rebels Emerge -- Or Do They?

With a campaign of strikes and road blockades led by cocalero leader and national political figure Evo Morales now in their second week and with no sign of a breakthrough in talks with the government of Sanchez de Lozada, an armed rebel group has now announced its presence in the Chapare coca-producing region -- maybe. According to Bolivian press reports, a group calling itself the Army of National Dignity (Ejercito de Dignidad Nacional, or EDN) has emerged near Colomi.

The Bolivian government admitted the existence of a "small armed group," adding that according to its intelligence, the group consisted of 12 sharpshooters armed with World War II-era weapons and was "directly connected" to the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), the largest political party in the insurgent coalition headed by Morales.

Morales was having none of that. "This is one more wild accusation from the government," he told La Razon (La Paz) Thursday. "They are desperate, they are frightened. About this group, I can say that perhaps the bases are getting ahead of us as they confront repression and murders by the armed forces."

The number of dead in ten days of blockades and protests had risen to 15 by Thursday, according to La Razon (other sources say 17), and with indigenous leader congressman Felipe Quispe ("El Mallku") announcing Wednesday that his people would join the protests, Bolivia appears headed for a social explosion if the government cannot find a way to meet rising popular demands. The movement begun by coca growers angered by the government's US-backed eradication policies has now spread across vast sectors of Bolivian society.

The emergence of armed guerillas in the Chapare has been whispered for months, but this week a reporter for Reuters broke the story open by interviewing a man who identified himself as the leader of the armed group. Surrounded by armed, masked men, the masked leader told Reuters they had taken up arms "because they are shooting at us. We are former soldiers of the Bolivian army," said the masked man. "We have arms that our indigenous grandfathers had left us to defend our country. We are taking up arms to make the government enter into a dialogue and because we don't want the massacre of our peasant brothers to continue," he explained. "We are a social, indigenous organization. We don't have any political or party ties, nor are we cocaleros," he added.

And maybe they're not even real guerrillas, according to Bolivian journalist Jaime Iturri, who has studied Bolivian guerrilla movements. The supposed guerrilla force could be a trick by the government to justify more repression and more foreign assistance, Iturri told La Razon, noting that a foreign reporter got the scoop. "Irregular armed groups usually try to show themselves in the national context before the international," he said, "but here it is interesting that they say there are guerrillas in Bolivia in order that Army intelligence and the police get more international financing. It could be a trick," he said.

Bolivia's narcs have their own theory. According to Luis Caballero, head of the Task Force Against Drug Trafficking, the guerrillas are in the pay of drug traffickers. "We have been examining the thesis that there exist armed groups," he told La Razon, "but they are linked to the drug trade."

And while the nation worries about a dozen men with Mausers in the wilds, much more concrete social movements are stepping up the pressure on the government. In a communiqué issued Wednesday, the "Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Bolivian People" -- representing a broad coalition of labor and other social groups -- denounced that the Sanchez de Lozada government had "met the demands of the people with bullets, tanks, tear gas and helicopters, leaving 17 Bolivians dead on the national territory."

The communiqué called for all citizens to mobilize in defense of the country against the government, to intensify the campaign of blockades throughout the country, to hold marches and mobilizations, and to demand the resignation of Sanchez de Lozada for incompetence, unleashing repression on the population, and "high treason to the fatherland."

While the US government is busy obsessing on Iraq, things are beginning to go south for it in a big way in the heart of South America.

Note: Both Evo Morales and Felipe Quispe are confirmed speakers for next month's conference, "Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century -- visit to register today!

8. Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico

Out from the Shadows: Ending Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century

an international conference series uniting reform forces in a call for global sanity

Please join activists, academics, politicians, journalists and others in Mérida for the first Latin America-wide summit opposing drug prohibition. Be a part of this historic gathering! Meet, listen, talk, collaborate and show your solidarity with our allies in the growing Latin American drug reform movement.

February 12-15, 2003, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Mexico (Español)

Register by credit card online (, or print out a registration form to submit by mail ( Registration is free to Latin Americans (, and sliding scale is available to others who need it. Scholarships to assist with travel costs may be available. Please make a donation if you can afford to, so we can offer more scholarships to bring more Latin American attendees to the conference! Your registration fee will support scholarships too, so please register today!

Steering Committee:

Gustavo de Greiff, former attorney general, Colombia, Chairman Jaime Malamud, former attorney general, Argentina
Mario Menéndez, publisher, Por Esto!, Mexico
Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament, Lista Bonino, Italy
John Gilmore, United States
Conference Staff Director: David Borden, DRCNet, United States
Volunteer Media Advisor: Al Giordano,

Details on program to be posted shortly. Visit for hotel and discount travel options. Other dates and locations to be announced for Europe, Canada and the United States. E-mail [email protected] to sign up for an official event notication by mail or e-mail. Visit or to read or subscribe to our weekly online newsletter.

Contact the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) at: P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, voice: (00 1 202) 362-0030, fax: (00 1 202) 362-0032, [email protected]

9. Cumbre Internacional sobre Legalización, 12-15 Febrero, Mérida, México

Saliendo de las sombras: Terminando con la prohibición de las drogas en el siglo XXI

Una serie de conferencias internacionales que unirá a las fuerzas de reforma en un llamado a la sensatez mundial

Participa en "Saliendo de las sombras", la Primera Cumbre Internacional sobre Legalización, reuniendo Norte, Centro y Sudamérica, y a aliados de todo el mundo.

Del 12 al 15 de febrero de 2003, en la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, México (English)

Por favor, ven a reunirte con activistas, académicos, políticos, periodistas y otros en Mérida, en la primera cumbre latinoamericana contra la prohibición a las drogas. Forma parte de este encuentro histórico. Encuentra, oye, habla, colabora y demuestra tu solidaridad con nuestros aliados en el creciente movimiento para la reforma en América Latina.

Inscríbete en línea usando tu tarjeta de crédito (, o imprime un formulario de inscripción y envíalo por correo ( La inscripción es para latinoamericanos gratuita, y hay precios reducidos para quienes en verdad lo necesiten ( También podríamos tener becas disponibles para costear algunos viajes. Por favor, inscríbete ahora y dinos cuánto costaría tu traslado, trataremos de hallar financiamiento para ti. Por favor, haz una donación si es posible, para que podamos ofrecer más becas y traer a más latinoamericanos a esta conferencia ( Tu pago de inscripción va a financiar igualmente esas becas -- por favor, inscríbete hoy mismo.

Comité organizador:
Gustavo de Greiff, ex fiscal general de la nación, Colombia, Presidente Jaime Malamud, ex fiscal general de la nación, Argentina
Mario Menéndez, director del diario Por Esto!, México
Marco Cappato, miembro del Parlamento Europeo, Lista Bonino, Italia
John Gilmore, Estados Unidos
Director del equipo de la conferencia: David Borden, DRCNet, Estados Unidos
Asesor voluntario en medios: Al Giordano,

En breve anunciaremos aquí detalles sobre el programa, los conferenciantes y las opciones para viajar. Hay información sobre hoteles un poco más abajo. Otras fechas y sedes serán anunciadas para Europa, Canadá y los Estados Unidos. Envía un correo electrónico a [email protected]. Para recibir más noticias sobre las conferencias. Visita nuestra página web y lee/suscríbete a nuestro correo semanal de noticias o

Contacta the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) en: P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, voz: (00 1 202) 362-0030, fax: (00 1 202) 362-0032, [email protected]

10. Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, 12-15 de Fevereiro, Mérida, México

Saindo das Sombras: Terminando com a Proibição das Drogas no Século XXI

Uma série de conferências internacionais que unirás as forças da reforma em um chamado à sensatez mundial

Participe do "Saindo das sombras," a Primeira Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, reunindo a América do Norte, do Sul e Central, e aliados de todo o mundo.

Do dia 12 ao dia 15 de Fevereiro de 2003, na Universidade Autônoma de Yucatán, Mérida, México (Español) (Inglês)

Por favor, venha reunir-se com ativistas, acadêmicos, políticos, jornalistas e a outros em Mérida, na primeira cúpula latinoamericana contra a proibição das drogas. Forme parte deste encontro histórico. Encontre, ouça, fale, colabore e demonstre a sua solidariedade com os nossos aliados no crescente movimento para a reforma na América Latina.

Inscreva-se online usando o seu cartão de crédito (, ou imprima um formulário de inscrição e envie-o por correio ( A inscrição é gratuita para latinoamericanos, e existem preços reduzidos para os que realmente os necessitem ( Também poderíamos Ter bolsas disponíveis para custear algumas viagens. Por favor, inscreva-se agora e diga-nos quanto custaria o seu traslado, trataremos de achar financiamento para você. Por favor, faça uma doação se possível, para que possamos oferecer mais bolsas e trazer a mais latinoamericanos até esta conferência ( O seu pagamento de inscrição irá igualmente financiar essas bolsas – por favor, inscreva-se hoje mesmo.

Comitê organizador:

Gustavo de Greiff, ex-fiscal geral da nação, Colômbia, Presidente
Jaime Malamud, ex-fiscal geral da nação, Argentina
Mario Menendez, diretor do diário Por Esto!, México
Marco Cappato, membro do Parlamento Europeu, Lista Bonino, Itália
John Gilmore, Estados Unidos
Diretor do time da conferência: David Borden, DRCNet, Estados Unidos
Assessor voluntário de imprensa: Al Giordano,

Em breve, anunciaremos aqui os detalhes sobre o programa, os conferencistas e as opções para viajar. Há informação sobre hotéis um pouco mais para baixo. Outras datas e sedes serão anunciadas para a Europa, Canadá e os Estados Unidos. Envie um correio eletrônico para [email protected] para receber mais notícias sobre as conferências. Visite a nossa página e leia/inscreva-se na nossa lista de notícias semanal em: ou

Entre em contato com o The Drug Reform Coordination Network em: P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, USA, Telefone: (00 1 202) 362-0030, Fax: (00 1 202) 362-0032, [email protected]

11. Newsbrief: Maryland Governor to Support Medical Marijuana

Incoming Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) announced January 16 that he would likely support medical marijuana legislation at the statehouse this year. The announcement is expected to provide momentum for legislative efforts that have in recent years stalled in the legislature. Erlich told the Baltimore Sun he has long supported medical marijuana, including cosponsoring a bill last year in Congress that would have allowed states to enact medical marijuana laws.

"I am predisposed to support it [medical marijuana]," Ehrlich said. "It's personal. My wife and I saw a very strong person taken down inch by inch" by cancer, Ehrlich said, referring to a relative he declined to identify.

Last year, the House of Delegates approved a watered-down bill that would have set a maximum $100 fine and no jail time for terminal patients caught with marijuana, but it lost by one vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee.

At least two legislators, Sen. David R. Brinkley (R-Frederick County) and Del. Daniel K. Morheim (D-Baltimore County), have announced plans to introduce medical marijuana bills this session. Brinkley, who campaigned on his support for medical marijuana, told the Sun he planned to introduce a bill similar to the one defeated last year. Morheim's proposed bill would start a state "medical marijuana pilot program." Under Morheim's proposal, patients with recommendations from two doctors could use marijuana after registering with the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Former Del. Donald Murphy (R-Baltimore County) sponsored medical marijuana bills in the last three sessions. He told the Sun this could be the year. "I think we have reached critical mass in Maryland, and as long as the new legislators understand the science and politics of medical marijuana, one of these bills will pass," said Murphy.

12. Newsbrief: Southeast Asians to End Drugs

The governments of the Philippines and Thailand appear to be competing for the Newt Gingrich Memorial Drug Eradication Timetable Award. Gingrich once memorably vowed to make the United States "drug free" by 2002; now governments in Southeast Asia are taking up the cudgel. From Thailand comes news that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had given his underlings until April 30 to make Thailand "drug free."

"I want to see every square inch getting x-rayed and authorities making a clean sweep of drugs in every area within three months from now," he told a briefing of more than a thousand governors, police and military personnel on January 15, the Bangkok Post reported. Thaksin added that he would no longer tolerate drugs and vowed a vicious fight. "Drug traders are unkind to our children, so we will be unkind to them," he said.

Functionaries who fail to eradicate drugs could lose their jobs, Thaksin warned. "Don't make the interior minister act as police inspector. You are finished if you don't do your job."

The campaign to wipe out drugs begins promptly at 9:00am on February 1, the Post reported.

Meanwhile, not to be one-upped, Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Joey Lina on January 18 directed the Philippine DEA and National Police to provide him with the names of all drug lords, financiers, manufacturers, dealers and users in the country. Running under the headline "New Order of Battle Readied vs. Drug Fiends," the Manila Times reported the order is part of a plan to reduce the municipal listings of people involved in drugs by 10% each quarter.

"All the barangays [municipalities] all over the country must update the list of drug pushers and users, protectors and financiers in their jurisdiction before the end of January," Lina ordered. "The listings from our barangays will be the basis for the PDEA and the PNP to prepare the monthly update of how many were arrested and charged."

Those should be some lists. The Philippine government estimates that 3.4 million Filipinos are drug users. DRCNet vows to report from Thailand and the Philippines as soon as they are certified drug-free.

13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

It never ends. This week's winners are Jefferson County (Greater Louisville), KY, Metro Narcotics officers Mark A. Watson and Christie Richards. The daring duo is on trial this week in Louisville on charges of using photocopied judges' signatures to create bogus search warrants, lying on affidavits to obtain search warrants, and pocketing money they were supposed to be paying to informers. Watson faces 472 counts, while Richardson faces 467.

The pair are accused of 133 separate incidents of wrongdoing, according to court documents. Watson and Richards were suspended in February 2000 after questions were raised about improprieties in pay Watson was receiving for court appearances. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported in March that 21 of Watson's 41 cases in 2001 were dropped because he failed to appear in court, but he nonetheless collected court pay for 10 of the missed cases.

As their misdeeds came to light, more cases they made have crumbled. Judges have overturned eight convictions and prosecutors have dropped charges against 32 defendants in 19 cases in circuit court and dismissed an additional 15 cases in district court. Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit naming the pair, the city of Louisville, and two former Jefferson County police chiefs remains on hold pending the outcome of the criminal trial. The plaintiffs, who are people investigated by Watson and Richards, accuse them of violating their constitutional rights and accuse other officials of condoning such activities.

Watson and Richards' misconduct also sparked a $60,000 review of Metro Narcotics by the Police Executive Review Board. That review found that Metro Narcotics supervisors missed or ignored warning signs. Jefferson County Police Chief William Carcara, who retired last month when the city and county police forces merged, implemented some changes in the unit, including encouraging detectives to pursue cases involving higher level dealers, requiring commanding officers to witness informant payments, and evaluating the quality of arrests and whether they result in convictions. Oh, yeah, and now officers have to prove they were in court to testify before they can get that overtime pay.

14. Newsbrief: Canadian Heroin Bust Study Finds Drug War Futile

Back in 1999, police in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside made one of the largest heroin busts in Canadian history, seizing more than 100 kilograms from Southeast Asian traffickers. Police at the time said the bust would have a major impact on the local and even the North American heroin scene. "When you start dealing with heroin at the multi-multi-kilogram level, you are dealing with the top echelon of heroin movement throughout the world," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Patrick Convey told Reuters when the bust was announced.

But according to a group of researchers whose findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the 1999 heroin bust -- nearly the same amount as seized all along the US-Mexico border the following year -- "appeared to have no measurable public health benefit." Local heroin prices actually declined, the researchers found, while unchanged heroin overdose rates and levels of purity showed that "the seizure had no impact." Consequently, the study politely suggested that "closer scrutiny of enforcement efforts is warranted to ensure that resources are delivered to the most efficient and cost-effective public health programs."

Senior author Martin Schecter, head of the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, was less diplomatic when talking about his results to the National Post on Tuesday. "If you look at all the harms associated with drug use, you need to ask, 'Is the harm caused by the drugs or by the war on drugs?' As a drug, heroin gives you a euphoric reaction and is highly addictive," he said. "You can say that, but if you look at the other problems -- HIV, Hepatitis C, bacterial infections of the heart -- all of those things are caused by dirty needles because the activity is confined to alleys. The violence is caused by money. Corruption and crime aren't a function of the drug, they're a function of the war on drugs," Schecter concluded.

The authors, who also run the Vancouver Injection Drug User Study, used members of that study to gauge the impact of law enforcement in general and the 1999 heroin bust in particular on regular drug users. They criticized Canadian drug enforcement spending priorities, noting that 95% of the $500 million Canada spends annually on its drug strategy goes to law enforcement. "It's unfortunate that the government wants to spend money that way, said coauthor Evan Wood, a researcher at the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. "Our study shows there is no evidence these methods are effective. Any economist will tell you that you can't control a market from the supply side. You have to control it from the demand side."

Visit to read the Canadian Medical Association Journal article online.

15. Newsbrief: Peruvian Coca Growers Begin to Organize

The first rumblings of a fledgling Peruvian cocalero movement came two days ago, when more than 1,000 delegates gathered to form the National Federation of Coca Farm Agricultural Producers. The group is headed by Secretary General Nelson Palomino, described in various press reports as seeking "to emulate" Bolivian cocalero leader Evo Morales. DRCNet will report further on this story as information becomes available.

16. Newsbrief: Mexico Disbands Anti-Drug Agency, Cites Corruption

Last week, DRCNet reported that the Mexican military had raided the Tijuana office of FEADS, the latest Mexican equivalent of the DEA ( But even as the Week Online was going to press last week, Mexican soldiers were once again on the move, raiding and shutting down all FEADS offices in the country on orders from Attorney General Rafael Macedo. The drug agency's 200 agents will all be investigated for evidence that they are in the pockets of the cartels, Macedo told reporters at a January 17 Mexico City press conference announcing the raids.

"We have to admit that there are people who do not understand that this [tolerance of corruption] is over, and we are going to finish with them," said Macedo. "We have to clean up our house. We will not rest until we have totally cleaned up these federal police forces, and we will insist that every police force at the state and local level is also in the same shape."

Tough words from the Fox administration, but their impact is vitiated by the fact that every Mexican administration since 1980 has at one point or another said basically the same thing, usually after the anti-drug unit of the day has been exposed as hopelessly compromised. FEADS, in fact, had its genesis in the scandal surrounding Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo. Rebollo was for a brief time Mexico's "drug czar" -- until he was arrested after being caught taking bribes from the Juarez cartel. Then-President Ernesto Zedillo created FEADS as a confidence building measure with the gringos after Rebollo went to prison.

But suspicious practices and scandals continue. Notorious trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman somehow managed to escape from prison two years, and the drumbeat of mundane corruption scandals has been incessant. And while the Fox administration has claimed some successes in the drug war, especially with the decapitation of the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix organization, even those successes hardly qualify as victories. With the Arellano Felix brothers off the scene, for example, their organization has not gone away, but mutated, and bodies are piling up on the border as would-be successors struggle for control of "la plaza," the franchise. For Mexican drug enforcement in the last 20 years, much has happened, but little has changed.

17. DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator

DRCNet is accepting resumes from applicants for the position of Campus Coordinator, a full-time job working on the campaign to repeal the HEA drug provision ( The ideal candidate will be a recently graduated college drug reform activist, but others will be considered. This position will involve non-stop high energy work contacting student organizations and student government leaders around the country, as well as basic maintenance of the campaign web site and database, speaking with campus media, tracking drug provision impact data and other tasks.

Please send resumes via e-mail to [email protected] or fax to (202) 293-8344, attn: David Guard.

18. The Reformer's Calendar

-- END --
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PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #273, 1/24/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | DRCNet Interview: Gustavo de Greiff, Former Attorney General of Colombia | DRCNet Interview: Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News | DRCNet Interview: Ricardo Sala, (Live With Drugs), Mexico | Mérida Addendum: Missing Paragraphs from Last Week's Giordano Interview | Rosenthal Medical Marijuana Trial Underway -- Medical Marijuana Supporters Stage Demos, Start Billboard Campaign | Bolivia: As Strife Continues, Armed Rebels Emerge -- Or Do They? | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, February 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Cúpula Internacional sobre Legalização, 15-Dec de Fevereiro, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: Maryland Governor to Support Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Southeast Asians to End Drugs | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Canadian Heroin Bust Study Finds Drug War Futile | Newsbrief: Peruvian Coca Growers Begin to Organize | Newsbrief: Mexico Disbands Anti-Drug Agency, Cites Corruption | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

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