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

Issue #281, 4/4/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Week Online Fundraising Update
  2. Editorial: Reasonable Doubt Routinely
  3. Victory in Tulia!
  4. Rosenthal Asks for New Trial, Cites Juror Violations
  5. Drug Czar Gives Up on Drugs and Terror Ad Campaign, Also Cancels Studies to Track Ads' Effectiveness
  6. Drug Czar Sends Flunkies to Try to Stop Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Initiative
  7. DRCNet Interview: Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament
  8. Newsbrief: Reform Rumblings Begin in Brazil, While "Commands" Create Chaos
  9. Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic
  10. Newsbrief: Jamaican Official Promises Ganja Decrim Bill "Soon"
  11. Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle
  12. Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Indiana
  13. Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Iowa and Illinois
  14. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story
  15. Web Scan: New HR95, JAPHA on Syringe Sales, Reason, Mama Coca, OAS
  16. Clinical Cannabis Conference CDs Available
  17. Job Listings: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Week Online Fundraising Update

Thanks to the generous contributions of more 70 DRCNet members, the Week Online has at least four more weeks of life -- nearly $7,000 raised in eight short days!

Please help us complete the Week Online's budget through the middle of the year, when additional grant funding for it may arrive. The Week Online currently costs $1,400 per week, going up soon to $1,600 when we launch our Spanish and Portuguese translations as part of our post-Mérida Latin American outreach campaign. Your donations, large or small, will help us raise the $11-14,000 needed to achieve this goal.

So please visit and make a donation to support the Week Online -- or send your check or money order to DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 -- or visit to sign up for a monthly credit card donation.

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  • $34,000, together with other funds received or likely, will complete The Week Online's budget for all of 2003. $38,000 will let us translate it into Spanish too, or $40,000 will get us Spanish and Portuguese, to reach into all of Latin America, including Brazil.
  • $100, $50, $25, even $10, if that is what you can afford, times 1,000 contributors -- only one out of every 25 people on this e-mail list -- will add up to make a huge difference. $30 or more entitles you to a choice of free DRCNet gifts!
The Week Online is used by too many drug reform supporters, to empower their own work, to be allowed to go under. Nothing could boost the spirits of our prohibitionist opponents more than seeing the world's leading and most widely-reaching drug reform newsletter cease to publish. But that's what's going to happen without your help. So make a donation to make sure this doesn't happen -- visit to donate today! You can also make a non-deductible donation to support our lobbying work -- visit to make a contribution of either kind.

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Thank you in advance for your support.

2. Editorial: Reasonable Doubt Routinely

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 4/4/03

Several years ago, a friend and DRCNet supporter commented to me that the information we provided him in his e-mail was always bad news, important but depressing. A couple of years later, he told me the news in DRCNet wasn't all bad anymore; some of the news was actually good.

This past week brought some very good news, though still incomplete, the repudiation by Texas officials of the infamous Tulia incarcerations -- which I described as the "Tulia Lynchings" in a previous editorial -- and the likelihood that all of the Tulia convictions will be vacated and the remaining defendants released and not re-tried.

Jeff Blackburn, an attorney who labored effortlessly for years on behalf of the Tulia victims, discussed the larger problems in the criminal justice system of which Tulia was just one famous illustration, and some legal reforms that he and other advocates are pressing for in Texas, including a bill actually passed last year that requires that testimony given by informants be corroborated. Blackburn doesn't feel this goes far enough, however; he thinks the testimony of police officers should have to be corroborated too.

On the face of it, some might consider this extreme and reflective of an "anti-police" viewpoint. But it is neither. One need not believe that all cops lie, nor even that most lie, to recognize that perjury and other misconduct by police officers is a significant problem -- this weekly newsletter runs a "corrupt cop" story every issue, and we never have trouble finding one -- and this concern is not limited to "radicals" or defense attorneys.

Dr. Joseph McNamara, for example, former police chief in Kansas City and San Jose, early in his career a beat cop in New York City under Commissioner Patrick Murphy and now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University and no enemy of police, has described the problem eloquently. At the 1995 conference of the Drug Policy Foundation in Santa Monica, he ridiculed the obvious fabrications presented in courts routinely by police officers in drug cases, saying, "it boggles the mind, how many defendants do give consent and get searched when they have drugs on them, and say 'Sure, officer, open my trunk.'" McNamara and others have described the term "testi-lying," a well known phrase in modern drug war policing.

Even if police perjury were not half as prevalent as McNamara has described, the phenomenon would still present a fundamental hindrance to the reliability of police testimony in trials for the purpose of obtaining criminal convictions. Our system of justice requires defendants be deemed guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, if they are to be convicted. Reasonable doubt doesn't mean one individual's word against another's, nor even a probability of guilt in the opinion of the juror. Reasonable doubt means the evidence is so strong that there is extremely little probability of innocence. Logically, the uncorroborated testimony of an individual cannot be considered to be beyond reasonable doubt, if the class to which that individual belongs has a record of unreliability in testimony -- even if most members of that class are reliable.

This is not an extreme statement or an anti-police statement; it is an objective statistical conclusion as to what it takes in today's society and criminal justice system to be reasonably certain the person sent to prison or jail is actually guilty. This is not a comfortable conclusion; it is a conclusion that would fundamentally shake the foundations of drug war policing if implemented to its logical conclusion. But it is an accurate line of reasoning, for which I've never heard a solid argument in opposition.

Simply, if we respect the principle of requiring guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction, and if we are lawful and obey the rules which mandate that standard, then Blackburn's proposed policy should be fully implemented, new law or not. The fact that this has not already been done shows that judges and jurors en masse have not respected that principle. It is tragic that the standards in US criminal justice have deteriorated to such a degree that this is necessary. But that is a reason to reform the policies driving the problem, not to dilute an all-important tenet for protecting the innocent that has stood for centuries.

Hence, Blackburn's proposal may be the only way to restore integrity to the system and to prevent more Tulias -- and the more routine individual injustices -- from recurring again and again.

3. Victory in Tulia!

In a stunning reversal, Texas a Texas judge, with the agreement of prosecutors, recommended throwing out the convictions of 38 people from the small Panhandle town of Tulia -- most of them black -- after publicly conceding that the sole witness against them, former Swisher County deputy Tom Coleman, could not be believed. The move came during an appeals hearing for four men still serving prison sentences based on Coleman's testimony, but the sweeping decision will apply to everyone who was convicted or pled guilty in court proceedings that grew out of Coleman's undercover work.

In July 1999, local law enforcement authorities in Tulia rounded up 46 people, 39 of them black, in a drug sweep based solely on the uncorroborated testimony of Coleman, who was hired to work undercover by Swisher County Sheriff Larry Stewart. Despite inconsistencies and irregularities with Coleman's work apparent from the beginning -- there were no audio or video recordings of any alleged drug buys, the drug produced by Coleman was powder cocaine when crack was the drug used in Tulia, it was unlikely that a town of 5,000 could produce enough drug profits for 46 dealers, and no drugs, guns, or large amounts of cash were found on the defendants -- and loud cries of racially selective prosecutions, local juries convicted and sent to prison for decades the first defendants to go to trial. After watching the results of early trials, 27 other defendants pleaded guilty. Thirteen remain in prison. Cases against 10 others were dismissed as questions about Coleman's credibility started unraveling the state's effort to prosecute them and national media attention focused on the small Texas town.

The itinerant small-town cop who was named "Texas Lawman of the Year" in 1999 was soon exposed as having a history of law enforcement firings and sudden resignations, as well as having been arrested on fraud charges by Swisher County Sheriff Larry Stewart a year before he concocted the Tulia bust. Worse still, when Coleman testified last week at the hearing, he was uncertain of some events and could not remember others -- a critical problem, since by his own admission, he had failed to provide any corroborating evidence for the drug buys he claimed to have made. And worse yet, Coleman admitted to the everyday use of the word "nigger," a salient consideration when 39 of the 46 he had arrested were African-American.

After a hearing that began last month and made Coleman's credibility its central focus, retired Judge Ron Chapman of Dallas announced Tuesday that he is recommending that the state appeals court grant new trials to all defendants. "It is stipulated by all parties and approved by this court that Tom Coleman is simply not a credible witness under oath," said Chapman.

The state's special prosecutor, Rod Hobson, then announced that the state would seek to vacate all 38 convictions. "You can't rely on anything Coleman says, even at the risk of letting a guilty person go," he said. "His testimony caused us confidence problems that undermined the integrity of the verdicts, and if you want to call that a travesty of justice, you can."

But the reversal of the Tulia verdicts is not quite a done deal. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which has a reputation as a strongly pro-prosecution court, must approve Judge Chapman's recommendation. The appeals court is not bound to accept the recommendation, even though all parties agreed to it. In earlier proceedings, the court indicated that its ruling would revolve around whether there was other evidence of defendants' guilt and whether prosecutors had presented defense attorneys with evidence attacking Coleman's credibility in a timely fashion.

Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn, who spent hundreds of hours defending Tulia's victims, was nonetheless optimistic. "The Court of Criminal Appeals will bend over backwards to uphold a conviction, but this is a case with a pervasive pattern of shocking misconduct. Even that court will have a hard time justifying the continued imprisonment of people on the word of someone like Tom Coleman," he told DRCNet.

Special prosecutor Hobson said in court that even if the appeals court calls for new trials, the state would not seek to again prosecute any of the defendants.

Since the raids two-and-a-half years ago, the stench of racially motivated policing in the Tulia busts has driven both national media attention and a broad-based movement to seek redress. Groups ranging from local concerned citizens, such as the Tulia-based Friends of Justice (, to national social justice organizations, such as the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice (, and national minority rights groups, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the League of United Latin American Citizens, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and private attorneys, most notably Blackburn, have worked non-stop to undo the injustice.

Spokesmen for some of those groups were jubilant at the decision, but took pains to underscore that they believed much more work remained to be done. "The victory is not complete," said Alan Bean of Friends of Justice, a group that has worked tirelessly to undo the Tulia verdicts despite local ostracism. "We still have to wait for the Court of Criminal Appeals, but also, there will be a tendency for people to look at this and say the system worked," he told DRCNet. "The system didn't work. If you want justice in Texas, all it takes is 25 or 30 local people to endure years of abuse, and some sort of New York media guru to publicize your story, then enlisting groups like the NAACP and the ACLU to file suit on your behalf, then finding local attorneys who will put in thousands of hours without pay. This was extraordinary. How can anyone claim the system works? This is a badly broken criminal justice system."

The Kunstler Fund's Randy Credico, who has spent months in Tulia and elsewhere in Texas over the past two years, added that the court victory in Tulia should not obscure larger problems in the criminal justice system, and neither should it suggest that what happened in the West Texas town is unusual. "There is still probably 20 years worth of work to do in Texas," said Credico. "I'm gratified that this is nearly over, but we should not lose focus on the bigger picture," he told DRCNet. "Tom Coleman is the Lt. Calley [scapegoat for the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam] of this operation. He was acting at the behest of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force, which is basically a pirate ship raiding and plundering across the Panhandle. They instigated him, they covered up for him, they perjured themselves for him."

The task forces are a problem throughout the state, said Credico. "These kinds of abuses happen all across Texas and it is the task forces that are responsible for all these ugly games being played around the state." Credico will remain in Texas, he said, adding that he was part of a group that will meet with elected officials about reining in the drug task forces. "Swisher County Sheriff Larry Stewart was a pawn. The Panhandle task force was the beneficiary of Coleman's lies; they got grant money based on his 'success,' and other task forces do the same thing. They generate small busts in large numbers to prove their worth and get more money."

And after having spent considerable time in Tulia, Credico is willing to put in a kind word for the embattled town. "People here have gotten a bum rap," he said. "Tulia is not the most racist town in the country. This isn't Klan country. There are a thousand towns in the South that are the same, and for that matter, the New York Police Commissioner behaves in largely the same way as Sheriff Stewart. This injustice is a nationwide problem, not limited to small-town Texas."

Attorney Blackburn was equally critical of the criminal justice system. "There has been a suggestion from prosecutors that this shows the system works and this somehow vindicates the legal system. That's garbage. The state of justice in Texas sucks. You can print that," he said. "The people in Tulia are only going free because I spent $72,000 of my own time working on this, because other lawyers rallied to do the same, because a whole coalition came together because of these injustices. The system is badly broken. How many other Tulias are out there?"

Blackburn also pointed the finger at the Lone Star State's rampaging drug task forces. "Coleman is a pawn, Sheriff Stewart is a pawn, it's the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force who are ultimately the primary wrongdoers. They hired Coleman, they supervised him -- if you want to call it that -- they testified that he did a good job," Blackburn said. "And he did -- for them. He got the busts and convictions for the numbers they needed to get more grants. It's all about the money. It makes me sick to my stomach."

But Blackburn isn't just getting indigestion, he is getting even. "We are looking at taking legal action against the task force," he said. "There are a lot of wrongdoers who have yet to face the bar of justice." And while he applauded a $250,000 settlement from Swisher County to the 38 victims, it could be just the beginning. "We consider that Swisher County's down payment."

The fight will go the legislature as well. "Because of Tulia, we managed to get a bill passed last year that requires corroboration of testimony by informants, but that wouldn't even have applied to Coleman," Blackburn said. "We want the corroboration requirement to apply to every police officer in the state of Texas. And we will try to abolish or severely restrict these task forces."

But while Credico and others were looking at the big picture, for Tulia defendants and their families the reaction was more personal, a mix of bitterness and relief. Joseph Moore, a retired hog farmer named as a "kingpin" by Coleman who remains in prison, told the New York Times Wednesday that he hoped to leave the area. "The last 45 months in prison have been hell for me," Moore said. "My diabetes started to act up, and I almost died in jail. I don't know if anyone can understand what it means to almost die alone, incarcerated by mistake."

"Kids have lost parents and families have lost money because of this," said Tynisha Winkfield, a bartender at the town's nearly all-white Country Club, who had several relatives caught up in the busts.

And the Associated Press spoke with Pattie Brookins, mother of imprisoned Freddie Brookins, Jr., one of the four imprisoned men whose challenge to their convictions led to Tuesdays ruling. Brookins could not stop weeping as she stood on the courthouse steps after hearing the news, the AP reported. "It's been a long time coming," Brookins said. "I guess this is what satisfaction feels like."

But now the future looms, said Credico. "A lot of people who come back from prison will not recognize this town. People have left. There are no jobs, there are no opportunities, the economy is bad. The Kunstler Fund raised $35,000 to help these people, but that's not nearly enough."

Those convicted based on Coleman's testimony will share in the $250,000 settlement agreed to by Swisher County authorities, Bean and Credico said. "That's not a lot of money when you divide it among 38 people," said Credico, "but it will help."

4. Rosenthal Asks for New Trial, Cites Juror Violations

California medical marijuana provider and growing guru Ed Rosenthal, facing a minimum of 10 years in prison after being convicted of violating federal marijuana laws, was in court this week asking for a new trial. Attorneys for Rosenthal asked federal Judge Charles Breyer to grant a retrial after two jurors came forward to say they had sought outside legal advice during the trial.

A majority of the jurors who convicted Rosenthal have since repudiated their verdicts, stating publicly that they would not have convicted him had they known his operation was legal under California's medical marijuana law and sanctioned by the city of Oakland. Among them were the two jurors who testified Monday that they had sought an opinion from an outside attorney on whether they could vote their conscience on the case.

Juror Pamela Klarkowski testified that she and fellow juror Marney Craig discussed whether jurors could vote to override the law. "We were traveling north and Marney said, 'Do jurors always have to follow the law? Don't they ever have the opportunity to make a decision based on conscience?'"

The two then agreed to hear the opinion of an unnamed attorney who was a friend of Craig's, Klarkowski testified. He told them to "do as we had been instructed, do as we had been told," said Klarkowski. "Given instructions from the judge and all the evidence from prosecution, which was pretty tidy, I felt that was it, I didn't have much choice."

Craig's testimony was cut short when she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination out of concerns Judge Breyer would hold her in contempt for violating his order not to discuss the case with outsiders. That resulted in what Rosenthal's wife, Jane Klein, described as a "legal scholars' delight," as Breyer, Rosenthal attorney Dennis Riordan, and federal prosecutor George Bevan wrangled over the question of immunity for Craig.

"Marney Craig was intimidated," Klein told DRCNet. "She was worried she could be prosecuted and her attorney is asking for immunity in exchange for her testimony. She doesn't want to reveal the name of her attorney friend, and she doesn't want to be cited for contempt of court. Usually the government grants immunity, but here it has no interest in doing so. Judge Breyer wondered aloud whether, since Marney was a juror of the court, whether he had any right or obligation to grant her immunity," she said. "We continue to break new legal ground."

Calling the two jurors' actions "a classic example" of jury misconduct, Riordan said the outside legal advice tainted the juror's deliberations. "Even if she [Klarkowski] had never talked to the other juror, that could be sufficient grounds for mistrial."

Golden Gate Law School Dean Peter Keane told the San Francisco Examiner Riordan's theory could be right. "If you have something that comes into the jury room from outside, such as an outside legal interpretation or a jury member going to a crime scene to see evidence that was not presented, that is jury misconduct," Keane said.

We'll see if Judge Breyer agrees. He is not expected to rule on the motion until next week. Meanwhile, said Klein, "Ed is doing really well, considering. He feels very positive, he knows he has done nothing wrong, and he believes that his case has widened the cast of players on this issue."

That is true. Not only have the reverberations from the Rosenthal case shaken some California politicians, notably Attorney General Bill Lockyer, from their noncommittal stances toward the state's medical marijuana law, but it has also generated coverage of the medical marijuana issue in the national mass media. Still, until this or some other appeal works, Ed Rosenthal will appear for sentencing in June and report to federal prison soon after.

Visit for more information on the Rosenthal defense fund or to contribute.

5. Drug Czar Gives Up on Drugs and Terror Ad Campaign, Also Cancels Studies to Track Ads' Effectiveness

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP ( is giving up on its controversial and widely ridiculed ad campaign seeking to link drug use with terrorism. The ads, which blamed drug users -- not the black market profits generated by prohibition -- for funding terrorists, began running in the wake of the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The last ads in the series will run next month, according to a Tuesday report in the industry journal Ad Age.

The magazine also reported that ONDCP will stop producing a "polarizing" annual study of the anti-drug ad campaign's effectiveness. Those studies have found that the drug czar's ads were not working and may even be counterproductive. The most recent study, produced by the research firm Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication, noted that "there is little evidence of direct favorable campaign effects on youth," but there is evidence "for an unfavorable delayed effect... on subsequent intentions to use marijuana, and these are found for the entire youth sample." In other words, kids who watch the drug-terror ads may be more likely to later use marijuana than those who don't.

"I guess that's one way to get rid of bad evaluations," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has made ONDCP political campaigns a target for legal challenges ( "Talk about shooting the messenger," he told DRCNet. "I think this also demonstrates that the ad campaign was never about educating kids, but about reaching grown-ups for political reasons."

"This means those drugs-and-terror ads didn't achieve their stated purpose -- to stop kids from using drugs," said Kevin Zeese, executive director of Common Sense for Drug Policy ( "They did, however, very effectively tie the drug war to the war on terrorism in the public mind, and in that sense they have accomplished their mission," he told DRCNet. "This was never about an effective prevention message."

The drugs-and-terror ads had been controversial even within the prohibitionist community, with anti-drug ad stalwarts the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (, who have produced almost all of the ONDCP's anti-drug ads, refusing to work on the drug-terror connection ads. PDFA called the ads "off strategy," and PDFA vice-chairman Allen Rosenshine strongly criticized the campaign in an appearance before Congress. Instead, the ads were produced by ONDCP's own ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, which was awarded a renewable $762 million contract to produce more ads last July despite drug czar John Walters' admission that earlier Ogilvy ads had been ineffective and despite Ogilvy having to repay the federal government $1.8 million for over-billing it in the earlier phases of the ad campaign.

Congress has responded by whittling away at funds for the anti-drug media campaign. While budgeted for $185 million last year, funding for the program was lowered to $150 million this fiscal year. That's a move in the right direction, but does not go far enough, said critics. "This is a boondoggle that does more harm than good," said Mirken. "Young people see through these lies, and then when they see warnings about harder drugs, they will ignore those, too. The end result will be dead kids. While it is encouraging to see the program cut this year, it should be funded at an appropriate level, which would be zero."

CSDP's Zeese agreed. "The whole thing is a waste of money and shouldn't be funded at all. Congress should cut this to the bone," he said. "But what is really significant is that now the program will not be effectively evaluated. They are going to spend $150 million this year without any way of evaluating how effective it is? That's crazy."

Don't tell that to congressional drug fighters. They don't want to hear it. Instead, program proponents like Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), chairman of the House Government Reform panel, and Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) are planning to introduce legislation to continue the anti-drug propaganda campaign. According to Ad Age, that legislation could attempt to tighten congressional controls over the program by limiting the drug czar's ability to go outside the PFDA for its ads and by requiring that Ogilvy's contract be rebid. But the congressional drug fighters are determined that the ads continue, despite their unproven effectiveness.

6. Drug Czar Sends Flunkies to Try to Stop Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Initiative

The Office of National Drug Control Policy ( sent deputy czar Scott Burns and speechwriter Kevin Sabet to Colombia, MO, Thursday in an attempt to put the brakes on a popular initiative that would send minor marijuana offenders into municipal court instead of state court. The move marks the return of ONDCP's efforts to defeat marijuana initiatives wherever they pop up, an effort that saw drug czar John Walters travel widely during last fall's election season in order to urge voters to reject such initiatives.

Walters and the ONDCP are already under fire for their intervention in state and local politics, most notably by the Marijuana Policy Project, which has filed campaign financing and ethics complaints against Walters for his attacks on a failed MPP-sponsored marijuana legalization initiative in Nevada last fall. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) opened up another front in the battle against ONCDCP interference in elections on Wednesday when he formally requested that the General Accounting Office investigate Burns for sending a November 2002 letter to prosecutors nationwide urging them to rally against marijuana reform efforts. (Visit for information on both topics.)

The initiative in question in Columbia, known as Proposition 1, would mandate that all marijuana possession arrests for less than 35 grams be handled in municipal court, thus allowing students in this University of Missouri college town to avoid losing federal financial aid under the anti-drug provision of the Higher Education Act. Columbia police currently have the option of sending minor offenders to either municipal or state court. The initiative, if passed, would remove that discretion. The initiative also includes protections for medical marijuana users and mandates a maximum $25 fine for a first small-time marijuana possession offense.

"We always assumed that if they ever found out about the initiative that they would probably increase the anti-marijuana ads in this town, but I don't think we ever thought they would come down and campaign against it," said Amy Fritz, development director for the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education (CAPE). "They may not be saying 'vote no,' but it's not a mere coincidence that they're coming here."

Burns was certainly tiptoeing around any voting recommendations in Columbia Thursday, according to Fritz, who attended a luncheon where he rallied the troops against the measure. "Burns was very careful to not say to vote against Prop. 1," she told DRCNet, "although everyone else at the luncheon was pretty specific that they wanted the initiative defeated." Other attendees at the event included local political figures, worried parents, and members of anti-drug groups such as Act Missouri (, which sponsored the event.

Although Burns and Sabet were careful not to overtly influence the election, their intent was clear. "We're not here to tell people how to vote," Sabet demurred in a pre-arrival statement. "The president has a strategy to reduce drug abuse, and any attempt to decriminalize or legalize drugs runs counter to our mission. Burns would not be telling people how to vote, said Sabet; instead, he would be "clearing up misinformation." Sabet then proceeded to provide a sterling example of misinformation himself, claiming that marijuana puts more teenagers in drug treatment every year than alcohol and other drugs combined, but failing to note that the majority of those teens in treatment for pot are there under court order by judges who view any marijuana use as evidence of abuse or addiction.

The content of Thursday luncheon cum pep rally was strikingly similar, said Fritz. "They trotted out the same tired propaganda," she said. "It's ironic indeed that they claim they came to town to clear up misinformation when they are the ones bringing the misinformation," she said. One striking example cited by Fritz was Burns' assertion that even a municipal court conviction for marijuana could cause students to lose federal financial aid under the HEA anti-drug provision. "These are blatant mistruths," said Fritz. "We have looked at the federal student loan application forms, and they clearly specify that it is only for a state or federal offense."

Despite the attack of the drug warriors, Fritz and CAPE are cautiously optimistic about the chances for victory in next week's vote. "We are confident; we have polls showing us five points ahead, and we are continuing to work hard at getting our supporters out to vote. We think it will be extremely close."

Armed with $10,000 from MPP, $15,000 from the Drug Policy Alliance (, and about $5,000 raised from individual donors, CAPE is pulling out the stops as the hour draws near. "We're using that money for phone banking, to purchase a voter file to identify supporters, and to help mobilize our corps of volunteers to help get the vote out on Tuesday," said Fritz.

Regardless of the election outcome, reformers have already won a victory of sorts in Columbia. In an effort to dry up votes for the initiative, Police Chief Randy Boehm, an avowed opponent of the measure, announced late last month that the department would now make it official policy to divert anyone caught with less than 35 grams to municipal court. Previously, police had wavered, sending some to municipal court and some to state court.

But that's not good enough, said Fritz. "We are encouraged by the chief's move," she said, "even though we're certain he did it to try to dissuade voters from seeing the need to pass the initiative. It will allow the voters to see that the chief has acknowledged inconsistencies in enforcement of the law, but a policy change is not the law, a policy change can be undone. We need to pass Prop 1."

7. DRCNet Interview: Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament

From his seat on the European Parliament, 31-year-old Marco Cappato has become a leading figure in the movement to end global drug prohibition. Cappato, a member of the Italian Radical Party, which he represents at the European Union, and the Transnational Radical Party (, has been instrumental in mobilizing the forces of reform in advance of the United Nations' conference on the international treaties that form the legal backbone of global drug prohibition. From Brussels to Buenos Aires, Rio to Rome, Cappato has been meeting with activists, legislators and government officials, and has organized Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action, a network of legislators from various countries dedicated to advancing the drug reform agenda at both the national and the local level.

But Cappato has also spent time in less glamorous places, including a brief stay last week in Britain's notorious Strangeways prison, a stay he earned when he put his beliefs in nonviolent civil disobedience action into practice by openly possessing cannabis and getting arrested by English police. DRCNet spoke Wednesday with Cappato from the Transnational Radical Party's New York City office.

Week Online: You have just been released from jail in England. Can you tell us why you went to jail?

Marco Cappato: It was for an act of civil disobedience in Stockport, part of greater Manchester. My action was part of a series of arrests in the Manchester area, beginning with that of Colin Davies, who was imprisoned for opening a Dutch-style coffee shop in England. He worked with medical cannabis patients in particular, so we held demonstrations in his support. English MEP Chris Davies then was arrested in an act of civil disobedience, and I expressed my support by also being arrested. I went to the police station in Stockport with a small quantity of cannabis and turned myself in. I have paid over $2,000 in court costs because I did not want to burden British taxpayers, but I refused as a matter of principle to pay the fine. It was a nonviolent response to an unjust law. When I went to court, appearing before three judges, my attorney read a statement in which I explained the issue of over-incarceration related to the drug laws and also raised the issue of the United Nations criticizing the United Kingdom for its drug policies. I also argued the need for the UK to keep the promise its government made almost two years ago to reclassify cannabis. I told them that for all those reasons, and because I am a nonviolent activist whose duty it is to disobey unjust laws, I would not pay the fine. The judges then adjourned to their chambers, and after a few minutes a pair of policemen came out and handcuffed me and took me to the Manchester Jail. It used to be known as the Strangeways Prison. They had a famous rebellion there not too many years ago.

I was in custody for three days in a small cell with another person. The conditions were not very pleasant, but it was clean and everything was correct. The cell was closed most of the time. I was in a wing for newcomers, so there were no activities. Not a problem if you're just there three days, but it could be tough if you spend a few months. I had the chance to talk to fellow prisoners, as well as the police. Some police were supportive, some were just critics. The local newspaper had a full-page story about the action, so the prisoners could read about it, and the news spread throughout the prison. I was able to talk to people, I had copies of my speech, so I did some political activity inside.

WOL: You are a Member of the European Parliament representing the Italian Radical Party, and are an official of the Transnational Radical Party. Can you explain to our US readers what the European Parliament does and what the TRP stands for?

Cappato: The European Union (EU) is not yet a federation, but is a kind of supranational institution with jurisdiction in lots of different matters, including police cooperation and some drug projects, particularly rehabilitation and prevention. The European Parliament, with 626 elected members, including 87 from Italy and seven Italian Radicals, is the directly elected legislative assembly of the EU and shares legislative powers within the Union with the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the member states, and the European Commission, which is the EU bureaucracy.

On many issues, such as drugs, legislation is at the national level, but the EU has a kind of moral authority; it can issue recommendations and resolutions, and the positions it takes are those of the only directly elected, multi-country European legislative body. So, the EU can exert influence that way. But it also has budgetary powers, and with those powers you can influence some political issues. For instance, we were able to delay for a year the disbursement of funds from the EU budget for crop eradication-related programs in Colombia because of the bad results of Plan Colombia.

The other power of the EU relates to judicial and police cooperation. Here, the parliament does not have direct power, but the EU Council is obliged to consult the parliament and take its position into consideration. These issues of police cooperation are important. For instance, there is a struggle to define drug trafficking, and that definition can end up being narrow or broad. If they adopt a broad definition, growing your own cannabis could end up being considered drug trafficking, and national governments would be obligated to criminalize it with a proposed minimum sentence of two years. The Dutch are trying to block this, while the Swedes are going for the broad definition.

The Transnational Radical Party is a nongovernmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations. The TRP is thus not an electoral party, but is instead an association of citizens, parliamentarians, and members of governments of many countries. Members of the TRP are united by the fact that we want to use nonviolent Gandhian methods to achieve a number of concrete goals aimed at creating a body of international instruments for respecting individual rights, democracy, and freedom around the world. We are involved in a number of issues, such as the death penalty and human rights violations around the world, but anti-prohibitionism is one of one key issues. We will participate in the meetings on the UN drug conventions in Vienna, for example.

WOL: You are also coordinator of Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action and a member of the International Antiprohibitionist League ( Please tell us about these two groups.

Cappato: There is no formal link between the PAA and the IAL. PAA is an informal network of parliamentarians, and is more of an initiative than an organization. It is people who agree to have their names listed as being antiprohibitionist and who want to reform the drug laws. It is an initiative that I undertook and that I coordinate. We work not only at the level of the citizen, but also at the parliamentary level, and PAA promotes this. The IAL is a constituent member of the TRP.

WOL: The UN special session on drugs is coming up in Vienna next week and the week after. What have the TRP, the IAL, and the PAA done to prepare for Vienna, and what to you expect to accomplish at this session?

Cappato: We've been working hard for the past 10 months, but it is part of a continuing effort. The TRP was there in 1998, where we spoke on behalf of many NGOs. We had a conference in Brussels to prepare, and of course we went to Mérida in February. In the last month, we have reinforced our activities. We have prepared many studies and publications, some about internal UN process and some about science, and we are doing a lot of lobbying. The IAL will provide a report that gives a critical alternative reading to official UN data. We are also sponsoring a resolution signed by 205 legislators calling for the adoption of a system of legal controls over prohibited substances and the revision of the UN conventions. Anyone can sign it, and by doing so can demonstrate that we can build not just political lobbying but also a citizens' action on drug legalization and anti-prohibitionism. This could increase our chances to have both a national and an international impact on reforming the drug laws. We've tried to combine political pressure through a nonviolent popular movement with institutional work and scientific work. Because the TRP has consultative status with the UN, it is invited to the sessions. Marco Perduca, head of the IAL, will speak at the NGO forum, and MEP and TRP member Emma Bonino, a former European commissioner, will also speak.

We will have to wait and see what happens, but we think Vienna this year will not open the door to reform of the international drug conventions. Still, we will make the case for the total failure of the 1998 10-year plan for a drug-free world, and will be positive in making the case for reform. It is a big chance to exert public pressure and make clear to public opinion that the current strategies do not work. The world does not end with Vienna, and we are laying the groundwork for change. Even after Vienna, any signatory to the conventions could present proposals for reform. We don't have a country willing to do that yet, but we hope to have one soon, either before Vienna or after.

What we do not want to do is impose an ideological alternative global model to the prohibitionist model. We don't have a magic formula that can be applied all over the world, as is now the case with drug prohibition. We do believe in the legal control of substances that are currently prohibited, but we think that might be a different legal framework for cannabis or coca leaves than for heroin or cocaine. We want to see national and even local governments find their own pragmatic policies to deal with drug problems. This is what we will propose in Vienna.

WOL: You have also been traveling around the world to consult with activists and political figures. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Cappato: We have met with parliamentary leaders and government officials in many countries. We usually address hearings in parliaments, but we've also met with drug policy or foreign affairs ministries in various countries to present our proposals. In our recent trip through Latin America, we held press conferences and interviews with the main South American media. We went to Mexico for Mérida, then to Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In some places, like Colombia under Uribe, we see a time of strong repression and reaction. In others, like Peru, we see fluctuations. It seemed better there after Fujimori left, but now Toledo is tightening up again. Even in Brazil, the new government has not yet taken the opportunity to move on drug reform. We had good meetings with ministers there, everyone was supportive and understands that Brazil needs to decide a new policy, but the policies of Cardoso remain. I think it is in Brazil that there is a real possibility for real reform; it has political leadership ambitions and could be an alternative to US-style policies.

WOL: What is your thinking regarding whether to concentrate on drug reform at the national vs. the international level?

Cappato: We need both, of course. We have to face this ideological imposition of global drug prohibition, but at the same time we have to work for reforms at the margins at the national level. It is not just an institutional problem, but a problem of relating to people. The campesinos in South America -- their problem is my problem. The heroin addict who can't find treatment or who dies of an overdose or of AIDS because we don't have harm reduction policies -- his problem is my problem. Global drug prohibition is a shared problem, but each society must find a pragmatic way to address it.

WOL: How did you get involved in drug reform efforts?

Cappato: I was a Radical at a young age on many issues -- human rights, the death penalty -- but the drug issue was the first one I felt really impacted me or people I knew. I was interested in those other issues, but the drug issue was the thing that touched my life. I started to participate in demonstrations with CORA (Radical Anti-Prohibitionist Coordination) and then with the Radical Party. I saw what was happening to my friends. And now I represent the Italian Radical Party as an MEP of the European Union.

Visit for links to video footage including Marco Cappato's speech in Mérida.

8. Newsbrief: Reform Rumblings Begin in Brazil, While "Commands" Create Chaos

Brazil's new president, Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, is under pressure from his own advisors to reform that county's drug policies. While Lula's only overt moves on drug policy since taking office in January have been to mobilize a tough response to the sporadic insurrectionary activity of Rio de Janeiro's notorious drug "commands," there are growing signs that his leftist-populist government could embrace drug reform.

Part of the growing sense of urgency for reform stems from the commands, who reached out from their zones of control in the city's teeming shantytowns this week to once again flex their muscles. Monday night, presumed command members threw homemade bombs at the swank Le Meridien Hotel in Copacabana and a heavily-frequented metro station, as well as engaging in a firefight with police on Avenida Brasil, where they also burned buses. For Lula, who has vowed to break the power of the drug gangs, Monday's incidents marked an unwelcome return to the command violence that plagued Rio in the days before Carnival in February.

Two of Lula's top drug policy advisors, Minister of Justice Marcio Thomas Bastos, and former head of SENAD, the national anti-drug office, Judge Walter Maierovitch, publicly pressured Lula to move forward in televised interviews two weeks ago. Appearing on Sao Paulo TV Cultura's Roda Viva on March 16, Bastos said that Lula does not agree with the drug policies of his predecessor, Hernando Cardoso, and is committed to changing it. Bastos also criticized the drug court system implemented by the Cardoso government, known as "therapeutic justice" in Brazil, calling it cruel and inhumane.

Bastos added that he favored ending the criminalization of drug possession, suggesting that it be replaced with the Portuguese model of administrative sanctions.

Maierovitch, for his part, criticized the US drug war in Colombia, ridiculed the appointment of a military officer as press spokesman for SENAD, and signaled his general agreement with Bastos' ideas. Maeirovich also lambasted the "Proer Program," a DARE-like anti-drug effort in which uniformed military officers go into the schools to preach a propagandistic version of drug education. On hearing Maierovich's remarks, Bastos told the TV audience he was reviewing the program and would make changes.

But while Lula is hearing calls for change from his top advisors, he is also hearing them from below. Grassroots harm reductionists representing about 200 harm reduction projects in 18 Brazilian states gathered in Rio earlier this month to adhere to a Movement to Revise the National Anti-Drug Policy, and members of that movement met in a shadow session in Sao Paulo March 26 to challenge both SENAD's presentation of a defense of current drug strategy and the organism's very existence. Lula ran on a platform of social justice; now he is being pressured to bring social justice to drug policy.

Visit and and articles they link to for reports on Brazil's burgeoning drug reform movement.

9. Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic

The intersection of politics and organized crime has resulted in a reported heroin shortage in the Serbian capital of Belgrade as government security forces conduct massive sweeps of gangsters blamed for the March 12 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindic. Serbian authorities blame the Zemun gang, a major Balkans drug trafficking group named for a posh Belgrade suburb, for the murder, and have arrested nearly 3,000 of its members as "suspects in the assassination."

As a result, Belgrade addiction specialists told Reuters last week, drug prices are soaring in Belgrade and hard drug users are now seeking medical help at a record rate. According to experts cited by Reuters, some 30,000 Belgrade addicts depend on the Zemun gang to provide their drugs. About 900 of them have come in for treatment each week since the assassination, an increase of 80% over pre-crackdown numbers. Police authorities warned that desperate addicts could cause a violent crime wave to find cash to feed their ever more expensive habits.

Balkan trafficking organizations play a key role as conduits for heroin coming from Central Asia to Europe, and have increasingly branched out into cocaine, as well as other organized crime activities. The leaders of the Zemun gang remain at large.

10. Newsbrief: Jamaican Official Promises Ganja Decrim Bill "Soon"

Jamaican Attorney General AJ Nicholson told the Jamaica Observer Sunday that the island's long awaited move to legalize the personal use of marijuana is now in the process of being drafted into bill form. Coming nearly 18 months after a heavyweight national commission headed by Dr. Barry Chevannes recommended legalizing personal use of the popular herb ( and more than a year since the government of Prime Minister PJ Patterson said a legalization measure was headed to parliament (, Nicholson's comments Sunday are the first indication in months that some movement will occur.

But Nicholson was sparse with details. He did not tell the Observer when the bill would reach parliament nor precisely what the bill would contain. He did, however, say that it would be limited to decriminalizing the use of marijuana. "Yes, it will, for private use only," he told the Observer.

Part of the reason for slow progress on the legislation is fear within parts of Jamaican society and the Jamaican government that reforming the marijuana laws will incur the wrath of the United States and the international anti-drug bureaucracies ( US embassy officials were quick to threaten problems for Jamaica after the commission issued its report in the fall of 2001, and the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently criticized any ganja reform moves on the island. "The Board... notes with concern the attempts to decriminalize the personal use of cannabis in Jamaica and a number of other Caribbean countries," the INCB noted in its annual report (, issued in February.

Still, ganja decrim has significant support within Jamaica, with its large Rastafarian population, and the government now appears committed to moving forward. Reggae artist Peter Tosh once wrote that "Jah herb make you a criminal." That may be about to change in the land of his birth.

11. Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle

After more than two years of indecision, the Belgian parliament took final action last week to approve legalizing the personal use of marijuana by persons over 18. As DRCNet reported in February (, the lower house had approved the measure. Last week, the Belgian senate weighed in, too, lending its support by a vote of 30-19.

Under the legislation, marijuana users will be able to use and possess up to five grams of the herb without any punishment -- unless police accuse them of disturbing the public order. Sale of marijuana, however, will remain illegal and authorities have vowed not to allow the emergence of Dutch-style coffee shops selling over-the-counter weed. Instead, Belgian officials have suggested that marijuana consumers visit the Netherlands or grow their own.

The vote came with the approval of the ruling coalition of the Liberal, Socialist and Green parties, which has been working on the issue since 2001.

The Belgian Embassy Thursday could not tell DRCNet when the law would go into effect.

12. Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Indiana

A bill introduced in the Indiana General Assembly, House Bill 1626, would criminalize the possession of otherwise legal substances in certain circumstances as part of an effort to crackdown on so-called methamphetamine precursors. The bill as written would "establish a rebuttable presumption" that a person in possession of 24 grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine, or unspecified quantities of such items as hydrogen peroxide, paint thinner and lithium batteries, is engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Under current Indiana law, it is already a crime to possess any two listed precursors.

Under the bill, a person who purchased 18 boxes of Sudafed Maximum Strength Sinus and Allergy pills would be guilty of a crime. The bill also would make it a crime for store clerks to sell any of the listed substances if they knew they were to be used for cooking speed. And it would add an additional five-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a child.

The bill's provisions have drawn the ire of at least one Indiana newspaper, the Richmond Palladium-Item, which called editorially last week for the bill to be amended. "Police should not have the authority to arrest or search a person just because he possesses a few gallons of paint thinner or several lithium batteries," wrote the Palladium-Item. "It'd be like arresting a person for possessing a can of spray paint on the assumption that he plans to inhale fumes to get high." The paper was also leery of the provisions on sales of alleged precursors. "It could put store clerks in the position of feeling they need to report anyone who purchases strange amounts of the legal substances, so they won't be accused of being co-conspirators."

Cosponsored by two Democrats, Rep. Ed Mahern (Indianapolis) and Rep. Allan Chowning (Sullivan), the bill is under consideration by the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code. To read the bill online, visit:

13. Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Iowa and Illinois

Compliant retailers in the Iowa-Illinois Quad Cities area aren't waiting for legislators to tell them to stop selling large quantities of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and other common substances that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. And they're being proactive in reporting suspicious customers to police. The Moline (IL) Dispatch reported Sunday that Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart stores in the region are blocking large sales of such items and working with police to investigate people buying too much Sudafed.

Nancy Walsten, co-manager of the Moline Wal-Mart, told the Dispatch store cash registers are set to block sales of large quantities of any legal substance that could be on the meth-making suspicion list -- and that's not all. "Sometimes we get licenses of cars and turn them over to police," she said.

The Moline Kmart has a similar policy, according to store manager Tena Knapp. While Kmart won't block suspicious sales, it will narc out the buyers. "We have a list that we post that clerks look at. Anyone we see buying large quantities, we get their information from them," Knapp said, adding that the store will turn the information over to the police.

The Moline Target won't sell large quantities of items on a list provided by police, including batteries and glass bowls. "We pretty much track what they're coming through the lanes with," said manager Donna Winckler. "We don't report it to police, we just don't sell it."

Rene Sandoval, director of the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group, confirmed to the Dispatch that retail personnel are regularly tipping off police to suspicious sales. "If someone comes in and exceeds the maximum amount, they'll notify us so we can do an investigation," he said. "I think the training they're receiving is definitely a step in the right direction and is a help to law enforcement."

14. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story

One-quarter kudo to the Baltimore Police Department, through whose efforts we get this week's corrupt cop. Because of a history of problems with Baltimore Police planting evidence and then arresting suspects, the department two years ago began to check up on its officers. Using what it called "integrity stings," the department sometimes leaves bags of drugs and/or cash for officers to find, then watches what they do with them.

Officer Jacqueline Folio, an 18-year veteran of the force, fell for it last Thursday. She picked up a bag of cash and drugs left by the department's internal affairs unit, put it in her pocket, and within minutes reported arresting an 18-year-old Baltimore man for possessing the drugs and cash. In her arrest report, Folio wrote that she saw the young man place the bag behind a bush, but internal affairs detectives were watching and said the arrested man was never near the bag.

Folio is now on administrative duty and has lost her police powers pending the outcome of the department's internal investigation. No criminal charges have been filed.

Leon Burgess, the young man falsely arrested by Folio, told the Baltimore Sun that he felt his rights had been violated. Just another day in the drug war.

15. Web Scan: New HR95, JAPHA on Syringe Sales, Reason, Mama Coca, OAS

Human Rights and the Drug War, the organization that created the Shattered Lives book and the widely-viewed HR 95 exhibit, has added three new sections to its web site, on Ed Rosenthal, Lynn and Judy Osburn and Tulia. Visit to check them out.

Preventing Blood-Borne Infections Through Pharmacy Syringes Sales and Safe Community Syringe Disposal, a supplement to the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association reprinting a wide range of journal articles providing an overview of the topic:

Melinda Ammann debunks the Oxycontin crisis and exposes the real Oxycontin crisis, in "The Agony and the Ecstasy," published in Reason magazine, April 1:

Jacob Sullum debunks the government's drugs-terrorism ads in "Tokers and Terrorists," also in Reason, March 28:

Mama Coca, an organization devoted to drug policy reform in the Andes, including Colombia, has posted and linked to extensive materials online:

New report from the Office of Applied Studies of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on National Household Survey findings for injection drug use:

16. Clinical Cannabis Conference CDs Available

The presentations of The Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, held in Portland, Oregon on May 3-4 of 2002, are now available for purchase. Complete sets cost $8 each plus $2 shipping, and shipping costs waived for nonprofits ordering complete sets.

Topics covered include: Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seed and Oil; Clinical Trials in Canada; Medical Cannabis Providers; Alternative Delivery Systems; Cannabis Patch; Oregon and Hawaii Case Studies; the Missoula Chronic Cannabis Study; Cannabis in Pain Management; Matching Medical Cannabis Strains with Symptoms; Cannabinoids and Movement Disorders; Cannabis Diseases and Pests; as well as a historical review, presentations by individuals involved with medical marijuana from the patient or provider side as well as the organizational and political, and other topics.

Call (434) 263-4484, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information, or send your order to: Patients Out of Time, 1472 Fish Pond Rd., Howardsville, VA 24562, fax (434) 263-6753.

17. Job Listings: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless

The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, one of the lead organizations in the successful round of drug reform local ballot questions in last November's elections, is hiring an Executive Director. DPFMA seeks energetic, well-organized candidates to continue the development of this new organization as its first full-time employee. Candidates should be familiar with public health and/or criminal justice policy issues, have experience working with the state legislature and government agencies, and be intrinsically motivated. The successful candidate will exhibit a high degree of professionalism and be comfortable working with both grassroots organizations and high-level public officials.

The Executive Director will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the organization and will report to the Board of Directors. Major responsibilities will include working closely with the Board of Directors on overall strategic planning and program development; developing fundraising and writing grant proposals; building and maintaining coalitions with community groups, public policy organizations, and government agencies; directing lobbying efforts, including drafting new bills and preparing for legislative hearings; serving as spokesperson for public relations and participating in public forums and events; conducting and evaluating policy research; recruiting and managing interns and volunteers; and overseeing bookkeeping and budgeting, and preparing an annual report.

The Executive Director must value teamwork and professionalism and be experienced as a manager or a leader. Knowledge of drug policy is not more important than management skills for this position, but the candidate must become well-informed on this subject. Other qualifications include experience in non-profit management; experience with grant writing and fundraising; ability to listen, speak, and write well, including presentation skills; demonstrated leadership ability; experience in public policy and working with and lobbying the state government; working knowledge of major drug policy issues; and demonstrated ability to organize, teach, and train others.

Full-time, salary $35,000-$50,000 commensurate with experience, bachelors degree required, graduate degree preferred. Rolling interviews to be conducted between now and May 1, send cover letter, resume with three references, and one or two writing samples to: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts, Executive Director Search, 101 Tremont Street, Suite 509, Boston, MA 02108, or e-mail [email protected].

Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless is hiring a Harm Reduction Specialist. This position is full time, and involves work at a street outreach and drop-in center providing harm reduction services and related education, providing client advocacy, conducting assessments and referrals, representing the program at agency and community meetings, and assisting in the preparation of reports.

Requirements include high school diploma or GED, experience with homeless and/or culturally diverse populations and/or drug users, and a valid driver's license. Bilingual fluency in Spanish and English is a plus. For further information, contact [email protected]. To apply, submit resume and cover letter to: Allyson Riddiford, Human Resources, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, P.O. Box 25445, Albuquerque, NM 87125-0445, fax (505) 266-4188.

18. The Reformer's Calendar

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

April 4, noon-1:30pm, Washington, DC "Campaigning for Peace in Colombia Amidst Increasing Violence," luncheon discussion with Ana Teresa Bernal, founder of REDEPAZ, Colombia's National Network of Initiatives for Peace and Against War. At NCCC Hamilton Conference Room, Suite 108, 110 Maryland Avenue, NE, RSVP to Pax International at (202) 543-4347 or [email protected].

April 4-6, Providence, RI, Medical Marijuana Symposium, organized by Brown University Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Contact [email protected] for further information.

April 4-6, Providence, RI, "Brown University Medical Marijuana Symposium," organized by Brown SSDP. At Carmichael Auditorium on Waterman St., April 5-6, opening video screening and reception 7:00pm, April 4 at List Art Center on College St. For further information, contact Nathaniel Lepp at [email protected] or [email protected].

April 4-6, New Orleans, LA, "Critical Resistance South Regional Conference and Strategy Session." Call Critical Resistance South at (504) 837-5348 or (866) 579-0885, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 5, Tallahassee, FL, FSU NORML 2nd Annual Hempfest, contact [email protected] for further information.

April 5, noon, Ann Arbor, MI, "32nd Annual Ann Arbor Hash Bash," visit for further information.

April 6-10, 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 8, 7:00pm, Houston, TX, Drug War Forum, featuring Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Houston NORML and the November Coalition. At Emerson Unitarian Church, 1900 Bering Drive, visit for info.

April 8, 8:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, "High Hopes," medical marijuana benefit comedy show. At the Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., benefiting the Inglewood Wellness Center and the Ed Rosenthal Defense Fund. Admission $20, cash at the door or by credit card at online. Doors open 7:00pm, contact Howard Dover Productions at (323) 253-3472 or [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 9, noon, Laredo, TX, Cele Casillo of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition present to the Laredo Rotary Club. At the Laredo Civic Center, contact Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630 or [email protected] for further information.

April 9, 7:00pm, Northampton, MA, "The Drug War Follies," forum with Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy. At Smith College, building and room to be announced, contact Louise Bartlett of Smith College SSDP at [email protected] or Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630 or [email protected] for further information.

April 9-13, 8:00am-8:00pm, Phoenix, AZ, November Coalition table at County Fair. At the State Fair Grounds, 1826 W. McDowell Rd., contact Tom Murlowski at [email protected] for further information.

April 10, nationwide, "National Day of Action Against the HEA Drug Provision." Organized by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, call (202) 293-4414, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 10, 6:00-8:00pm, "Murder: The 'Real Thing' in Colombia," forum with Javier Correa, president of SINALTRAINAL, the national food and beverage workers union, which organizes Colombian Coca-Cola workers. At Kay Spiritual Life Center, American University, Ward Circle, call Lesley Gill at (202) 885-1833 for directions or further information.

April 10, 6:00pm, Fitchburg, MA, "Drug War Politics: The Mother of All Policies," presentation by Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy, sponsored by the Fitchburg Exchange Club. At Bootleggers Restaurant, contact Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630 or [email protected] for further information.

April 10, 6:30pm, Austin, TX, Drug War Forum, followed by a social hour at 8:30, with the Drug Policy Forum of Texas and the November Coalition, featuring Ann del Llano, Texas ACLU Criminal Justice Liaison and co-coordinator of the Police Accountability Project. At Trinity United Methodist Church, 600 E. 50th Street, visit for info.

April 10-13, Vienna, Austria, "Alternative Summit on Drugs," coinciding with the UN drug summit, visit for further information.

April 12, 6:00pm, Barcelona, Spain, "March Against the Prohibition of Drugs," sponsored by Associació Lliure Antiprohibicionista. At the Plaza De Sant Jaume, visit for further information.

April 12-13, Chicago, IL, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Midwestern Conference. At Loyola University, contact Matt Atwood at [email protected] or visit for info.

April 13, 12:30pm, Dallas, TX, Drug War Forum, First Unitarian Church of Dallas, 4015 Normandy, visit for info.

April 15, 9:00am-6:00pm, New York, NY, "Current Trends in Drug Policy Reform," symposium by NYU School of Law Student Drug Policy Forum. Panels on collateral consequences of the drug war, alternatives to incarceration and enforcement, and impact of federal law, featuring law professors, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and other criminal justice experts. At Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, contact Adam Bier at adam.bier at for further information.

April 17-19, San Francisco, CA, "Back to Basics: Stop Arresting Marijuana Smokers," 2003 NORML Conference. At the Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center, registration $150 or $100 for students. Call 888-67-NORML, e-mail [email protected] or visit for information.

April 20, noon, Atlanta, GA, "10th Annual Great Atlanta Pot Festival." Speakers and entertainment, sponsored by Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition, at Piedmont Park, $10 donation requested. Call (404) 522-2267 or visit for further information.

April 22, 6:30-8:30pm, Berkeley, CA, "What D.A.R.E. Didn't Teach You: from Absolut to Zima," evening of education on alcohol. At the Drug Resource Center, UC Berkeley, cosponsored by University Health Services and the US Department of Education, contact Scarlett Swerdlow at [email protected] for information.

April 23-26, Manchester, NJ, 13th North American Syringe Exchange Convention. Visit for further information.

May 1, 7:30am, Randolph, MA, "The Beginning of the End," presentation by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, at Lombardo's Function Hall, Route 28, contact Mike Smithson at (315) 488-3630 or [email protected] for further information.

May 3-5, many cities worldwide, "Million Marijuana March." Visit for local contact info.

May 8, 10:00am-evening, New York, NY, "Educate Don't Incarcerate," youth demonstration on the 30th anniversary of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. March from Rockefeller Center to Gov. Pataki's office, noon rally in front of Gov. Pataki's office, 4:00pm youth speak out, party to follow. Call (718) 838-7881, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

May 17-20, Indian Wells, CA, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers 2003 Annual Conference. At the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, see for further information.

May 26-28, Wellington, New Zealand, 4th International Conference on Drugs and Young People. At the Wellington Convention Centre, call +61 (03) 9278 8101 or +61 (03) 9278 8137, e-mail [email protected] or visit for information.

June 1-13, Witness For Peace Drug Policy Delegation to Colombia. Contact Alex Volberding at [email protected] or visit for info.

June 6-7, Milwaukee, WI, "Breaking the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs," Midwest Regional Conference. Sponsored by Drug Policy Alliance and WISDOM, a Wisconsin-based coalition of community and religious leaders for public policy reform. Admission $25 adult or $10 youth, visit for further information.

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

August 16-17, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "12th Annual Seattle Hempfest." At Myrtle Edwards Park, call (206) 781-5734 or visit for further information.

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

November 7-9, Paris, "Fourth Hemp and Eco-Technologies Exhibition." At the Cité de Sciences et de L'Industrie, call +33(0) 1 48 58 31 37, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

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