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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #300, 8/28/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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This issue is dedicated to the memory of Bradley Brent Smith.

Issue #301 will come out on Friday, September 5, and will use a new format. The e-mail version will include only the table of contents with web links, plus announcements. The full-text version of the e-mails will still be available on request, and instructions will be posted on how to sign up for it.


  1. Editorial: One Less Prisoner in America
  2. Cheryl Miller Memorial Project Coming to Washington, DC This September 22-23
  3. David Borden's Open Letter to DC's Chief Judge on Refusing to Appear for Jury Service
  4. August is Drug Reform Lobbying Month at Home!
  5. DRCNet/ Buttons and Stickers for Free or Cheap
  6. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions
  7. Newsbrief: Kentucky's Galbraith Enters Attorney General Contest, Downplays Marijuana
  8. Newsbrief: Supreme Court Justice Says Prison Terms "Too Long," Calls for End to Mandatory Minimums
  9. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  10. Newsbrief: Drug War, Chinese Style
  11. Newsbrief: Colorado Appeals Court Upholds Fake Drug Checkpoints
  12. Newsbrief: Fake Drug Checkpoints Cause Uproar in Indiana
  13. Newsbrief: Feds Seize Hemp Promotional Vehicle at US-Canada Border
  14. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)

1. Editorial: One Less Prisoner in America

Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle Editor, [email protected], 8/27/03

I buried my younger brother today. He died in prison in South Dakota a few months short of freedom. Bradley Brent Smith was 46 when he died, and from the time he was a teenager, he was in and out of prison. The trajectory of his life, its sorrows and its joys, was intensely personal, but like all our lives, his was shaped by social currents greater than himself. In a kinder, gentler society, it is unlikely that Brad would have seen so many years wasted behind bars.

His criminal record was a yard long, yet his offenses were not those of a dangerous criminal, but those of a man who developed a real problem with alcohol as grew older, drifting in and out of prison. He was first introduced to the tender mercies of the US criminal justice system not for any crime at all -- his "offense" was to be a child whom his parents couldn't control, an "incorrigible child." The state of South Dakota, in all its wisdom, decided the best thing for Brad was to go to reform school. He learned from that experience, but the things he learned were not exactly what the state had in mind. When he was 18, he made his first trip to prison. His crime? Selling a $25 bag of weed to a narc.

After that, he never really escaped the clutches of the criminal justice system. Probation and parole violations kept him returning to jails and prisons, including such "offenses" as violating curfew or being caught drinking. And he began picking up new charges, a series of DUIs and reckless driving charges, drunk and disorderly, and the like. More jail, more prison. And the occasional real crime, always involving alcohol. He got drunk and stole a motorcycle once; he only made it 50 yards before he drove the bike into a ditch and passed out. Back to prison again. And the charge that has kept him in and out of prison for the last 12 years, a 1991 burglary conviction in Florida, was another drunken misadventure.

The Florida conviction is worth talking about. He got a five-year prison sentence, which, with Florida's good time statutes, he completed in about 18 months, but he also received a probation sentence to be served upon his release. He left Florida for his home state of South Dakota, where he would work for awhile before being arrested for another alcohol-related offense. Throughout the '90s, whenever Brad got in trouble here, the state of Florida dragged him back to sit in a stinking county jail for a few months. In 1999, Brad got another DUI and served two years in South Dakota. But Florida wanted him again, dragged him back, and this time, re-sentenced him -- to more time than his original sentence. After two years in the Florida gulag, he managed to get transferred to a South Dakota prison, where he died, still doing time for Florida.

The behavior of the state of Florida, and sentencing Judge Jack Johnson in Daytona Beach, seems inexplicable. Brad had moved 2,000 miles away, had no intention of ever returning to the state, and was punished for his new offenses by the state of South Dakota. Yet Florida insisted on dragging him back repeatedly, and Judge Johnson insisted on tacking on a new prison sentence. Florida's prisons are bursting at the seams, Gov. Jeb Bush is seeking $66 million for an additional 4,000 prison beds, and drug and alcohol treatment has been cut so that is available at only four of the 55 prisons that make up the Florida gulag. The way Florida dealt with my brother helps explain the roots of its prison crisis. This mindless turning of the wheels of justice, blindly grinding millions of Americans beneath them, costs big money.

Florida, like the other states and the federal prison system, somehow comes up with the bucks to build and fill more prisons, but it does so at the expense of treatment, not to mention basic medical care. My brother, like tens of thousands of other prisoners, suffered from Hepatitis C. Florida did not treat him -- not sick enough, they said. (Of course, it will not treat those severely ill with Hep C, either -- too sick, they say.) But Hep C did not kill my brother, a ruptured aneurysm in his brain did. It may have been preventable. In the weeks before he collapsed, he repeatedly sought medical treatment from the prison for sudden severe headaches. He specifically asked for some sort of brain scan -- he got aspirin and Tylenol.

A brain scan might have detected the aneurysm. If detected, it might have been possible to intervene surgically. We'll never know. What we can find out is what his prison medical records say. But the South Dakota Department of Corrections told me today that I would have to get a court order to see them. I will. And if the records show negligence or indifference, I will fight for justice -- not for my brother, but for those for whom it is not too late.

My brother was not Everyman, or even Everycon. But his life and his interminable journey behind bars was representative of what has happened to a substantial number of our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. They seek to make their way in a society that early on decided it had no place for them -- or more accurately, had only a prison cell. Three days before Brad died, the US Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics released figures showing that more than 5.6 million Americans either had been or still were in prison, and that if current trends continued more than 6.5% of Americans will go to prison at some point. (It is far worse for blacks and Hispanics than whites, of course. My brother is a white guy, but this is South Dakota and we have few minorities to oppress, though we do pretty well with the Sioux.)

Dostoyevsky once wrote that you could judge the character of a society by how it treats its prisoners. I might add that you can also judge it by the number of its members it finds necessary to lock up. By either measure, what happens in the United States criminal justice system is a disgrace, a moral scandal. We lead the world in imprisoning our own. Where are those patriots who are always shouting "We're #1" now?

My brother didn't die doing time on a drug charge, but drug charges played a huge role in his criminal career. The never-ending, never winnable war on drugs is a key part of the "tough on crime" policies that have ravaged this country since Richard Nixon, and it got my brother early. He was one of the millions arrested on drug charges in recent years, and some percentage of them have followed paths like his.

And that is a true tragedy. I have been in prison myself -- on a marijuana charge -- and I have experienced for myself the mind-numbing sorrow, loneliness, and futility of prison life: the gradual falling away of girlfriends, wives, friends, and all too often, family; the severing of connections with any community; the despair, the depression, and hopelessness; the sheer cruel idiocy of prisons full of nonviolent offenders. In my case, I was old enough and mature enough emotionally and politically to turn the experience into one that steeled me instead of one that broke me. But too many other prisoners do not have those tools or life experiences. My brother certainly didn't when he went to prison at 18 over a bag of pot.

I want you to know that Bradley Brent Smith was not, however, merely a prisoner. He was a welder, mechanic, and construction worker -- and by all accounts, a good one. He was an outlaw biker. After one prison stint, I invited him to come stay with me in Austin, and he spent most of the '80s happily there, riding with the Outlaws and Bandidos, fixing his bike (hey, it was a Harley!), and working and paying taxes. I'll always remember him, tattooed and long-haired, wearing his leathers and riding with his biker buddies through the Texas Hill Country, the roar of the massed choppers filling the air. He was in his element then.

And like the rest of us, he wanted to love and be loved. He tried to be a family man, but that was tough, with alcohol wrecking some of his relationships and being gone to prison wrecking others. He left behind two young sons with his last serious other. I always accepted his collect phone calls, and he always talked about getting back to those boys. Now he won't get to. Now I take over for him.

Little brother, it is a bitter thing that you died in prison. You were only a few months from finally being reunited with your boys. My heart breaks for you and for them. And for all the others who died alone behind bars, and for all those who will, especially those who never did anything to anybody, and their name is legion. Little brother, the work I do, I do for you. I'll miss you.

2. Cheryl Miller Memorial Project Coming to Washington, DC This September 22-23

Many DRCNet readers remember the work of Cheryl Miller, multiple sclerosis sufferer and medical marijuana patient/activist, who with her husband Jim lobbied and shamed numerous members of Congress and devoted countless days to the cause. Cheryl passed away in June (, and friends and supporters from around the country, along with drug reform organizations, are holding a two-day memorial event in Washington, DC this September 22-23.

Cheryl's days will begin at 7:00am on Monday the 22nd, with a Memorial Table at the US Supreme Court. Sometime later to be announced, MS patients will visit the National Capital MS Society office. A half hour before sunset (roughly 6:30-7:00pm EDT), the candlelight vigil will commence, an event Cheryl had always talked about but never gotten to do herself. Then on Tuesday morning, 10:30am, there will be a press conference at the Rayburn House Office Building, after which patients and supporters will lobby Congress.

Whether you can make it to Washington next month, please visit for further information on what's going on, for things you can do in your own communities, or to make a donation to the project. DRCNet is a cosponsor of the event, and we will see you there!

3. David Borden's Open Letter to DC's Chief Judge on Refusing to Appear for Jury Service

In case anyone missed yesterday list posting of David Borden's open letter, we reprint the text here. Next week we will post a further discussion of the letter and the related issues, including the many interesting comments we've received from readers. The letter can also be found online in HTML or PDF format at:
The Honorable Rufus G. King III
Chief Judge
Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Moultrie Courthouse
500 Indiana Ave., NW, Room 3500
Washington, DC 20001

Re: Jury Summons, August 25, 2003, JIN # 559075

Dear Judge King:

I write you from a different corner of the world of law than the one you oversee for the District of Columbia: the community of advocates striving to change laws and policies. For the past ten years, I have worked as founder and executive director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet), an organization which calls for an end to prohibition and the so-called "war on drugs."

It is with sadness for our country, but hope for its future, that I write to inform you that conscience does not permit me to appear for jury service as your court has directed.

US drug policy is in a state of moral and humanitarian crisis, shaming us before history: Half a million nonviolent drug offenders clog our prisons and jails. Mandatory minimum sentences and inflexible sentencing guidelines condemn numerous low-level offenders to years or decades behind bars, often based solely on the word of compensated, confidential informants. Profiling and other racial or economic disparities assault the dignity and safety of our poor and minorities and deny them equal justice. Overall, criminalization has become a reflexive, default reaction to social problems, as opposed to its more limited, proper role as a last resort after other methods have failed. As a result, more than two million people are imprisoned in the United States, the highest incarceration rate of any nation.

The external consequences of the drug laws wreak a devastating toll on large segments of our society and on other countries: Prohibition creates a lucrative black market that soaks our inner cities in violence and disorder, and lures young people into lives of crime. Laws criminalizing syringe possession, and the overall milieu of underground drug use and sales, encourage needle sharing and increase the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Our drug war in the Andes fuels a continuing civil war in Colombia, with prohibition-generated illicit drug profits enabling its escalation. Thousands of Americans die from drug overdoses or poisonings by adulterants every year, most of their deaths preventable through the quality-controlled market that would exist if drugs were legal. Physicians' justifiable fear of running afoul of law enforcers causes large numbers of Americans to go un- or under-treated for intractable chronic pain. And frustration over the failure of the drug war, together with the lack of dialogue on prohibition, distorts the policymaking process, leading to ever more intrusive governmental interventions and ever greater dilution of the core American values of freedom, privacy and fairness.

Drug policies have significantly driven a deep corrosion of the ethics and principles underlying our system of justice: Police officers routinely violate constitutional rights to make drug busts, often committing perjury to secure convictions; or resort to trickery and manipulation to cause individuals to give up their rights, enabled by an intricate web of legalistic court rulings stretching the letter of the law while betraying its spirit. Manipulation of evidence and process is standard procedure. Many prosecutors, though thankfully not all, treat their position as a stepping stone to elected office, subjugating their oaths to seek justice to a political calculus based instead on individual career advancement. Corruption and misconduct among enforcers and within agencies is widespread. And all these problems, while not officially sanctioned, are in practice largely tolerated: criminal prosecution for police abuse is the exception, and disbarment for prosecutorial misconduct is almost unheard of. Meanwhile, false or unfair convictions occur with unacknowledged frequency, with persons thus victimized often spending years in prison while seeking exoneration.

Jurors in the United States cannot therefore confidently rely on the information we are provided for deciding criminal cases. We cannot know if we have been told the whole truth of a case -- as in the trials of Ed Rosenthal and Bryan Epis, whom California jurors convicted without knowing they were medical marijuana providers. We cannot trust the testimony of witnesses for the state to be truthful and balanced; for example, Andrew Chambers, a "super-snitch" used by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for numerous prosecutions, even after a court found him to be a repeat perjurer. We are not permitted knowledge of the possible consequences a defendant may face if we vote to convict -- and in a society that hands out decades-long punishments as a routine matter, and which fails to provide adequate safety or medical care to our incarcerated, we cannot have faith that a judge will be able, even if willing, to pronounce a sentence that is just. We are instructed to decide verdicts based solely on facts, showing no consideration to larger moral principles, with those daring to inform potential jurors of their power to do otherwise themselves subjected to criminalization to an increasing degree. And we subsidize the injustices by providing our time for mere travel cost as members of the jury pool, and for less than a living wage while serving as jurors on cases.

We in the District of Columbia have attempted multiple times to effect modest changes to our drug policy, only to have our voices rebuffed or silenced. A voter initiative to permit medical use of marijuana, Measure 63, was struck from our ballot by Congress; and an initiative to divert a limited class of offenders from jail into treatment, Measure 62, which the electorate of the District approved overwhelmingly, was blocked from being implemented by a court, in a proceeding initiated at the behest of our own Mayor. Despite a significant degree of reform sentiment among District residents, our criminal justice policies largely parallel the unceasing arrest and incarceration program of the nation as a whole. Indeed, our justice system is heavily influenced by a Congress that makes use of our taxes but affords us no voting representation within its ranks, and by a federal enforcement bureaucracy which this Congress funds and to which it has granted substantial authority over our local criminal justice matters.

None of the foregoing is intended to reflect any condemnation or disrespect of your office or profession -- and no such sentiment is harbored toward the son of Rufus King II, a great crusader for justice and a member of my organization. I take heart from your tenure as well as from the efforts of the majority of individuals working in the criminal justice system who strive with integrity to serve the public weal. But judges and jurors alike are in the grip of larger political and social forces; and the moral obligations of the private citizen vs. the official duties of the appointed public servant are not always one and the same.

I do not lightly exclude myself from jury service, which in a just society I would consider a privilege and honor. But while the past ten years have seen some encouraging developments in drug policy reform, the fundamental punitive, prohibitionist focus of the government's anti-drug program remains unchanged, as does the extremity of its execution and the corrupting toll it takes on the administration of justice as a whole. On that latter concern, I also do not dismiss the need for, or the validity of, legitimate laws protecting safety and property, even in the face of injustice in their administration; the District has a defensible need for jurors to serve on such cases, and I do not call for that process to cease or wait.

But the untrustworthiness of the system in its overview, a result to a significant degree of the drug war, presents potential jurors with a moral dilemma whose resolution lies beyond their power: to serve, at least on cases involving laws that are just in and of themselves, but risking committing wrong by enabling the system to commit an injustice that they cannot reliably identify in advance (a significant possibility for any juror in the current state of affairs), and in any case still facilitating injustice indirectly by enlarging the total size of the available juror pool; or to commit a different wrong by refusing to serve even on cases involving such laws (the system's overall unreliability being a valid justification for such refusal), but continuing to receive the benefits of the protection which those laws provide.

It may be that the lesser wrong, and the greater good, lie in refusing to serve a corrupted system entirely, in hopes of, through such a choice, provoking needed discussion and increasing the public and political will for reform. As the great American philosopher and abolitionist, Henry David Thoreau, expounded in his famous essay Civil Disobedience, "It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of... even the most enormous wrong... but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he give it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support."

My service as a juror in the District of Columbia would directly or indirectly support injustice, and would help to fuel the illusion that drug prohibition serves the health and safety of the public; when in reality only some form of legalization can adequately address the combined harms of drugs and drug prohibition, which in the currently one-dimensional public dialogue are commonly attributed only to drugs; and when in reality only some form of legalization can satisfy the fundamental obligation of society to respect individual freedom while requiring individual responsibility.

Lastly, should I report to your court as a potential juror, it is an all but foregone conclusion that my profession, which was asked of me on the juror registration form, would cause me not to be selected for a jury, as has happened in the past. Those of us who place greater importance on conscience and individual justice than on the enactments of legislatures, and who do so outspokenly, are effectively disenfranchised from jury service for this reason. For me to report as a potential juror, then, would amount to participation in a game, devaluing both the system you administer and the principles to which I ascribe.

For all these reasons, I have determined that unjust drug laws, and the corrosion wrought by the drug war on the criminal justice system as a whole, compel me to conscientiously refuse jury service. I take this action with knowledge and acceptance of the possible consequences, and request no special consideration.


David Borden, Executive Director, DRCNet/, and citizen of the District of Columbia

Cc: Duane B. Delaney, Clerk of the Court

4. August is Drug Reform Lobbying Month at Home!

August isn't over yet, and the US Congress is still in recess, its Senators and Representatives returned to their districts and states. There's still a day or two to pay a visit to their local offices and make the case for and against current legislation of importance in drug policy -- and you can always meet with a staffer even if you don't get to this until September. Get some friends or family members to go with you in a group! Below we reprint our list of issues and bills to bring up, with instructions for figuring out where to go and suggestions for when you do. Please write us at [email protected] by hyperlink) to let us know what actions you've taken and what responses you've gotten from your legislators or their staffs.

Visit and for links to your legislators' web sites (which generally include local and DC contact information), and for online tools for determining who they are if you don't already know, or call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask them. It's best to look presentable when you have your visit, so your legislators know that not only do you take this issue and the political process seriously, but other people who will vote in their races in the future take you and your opinions seriously.


This is not a complete list of every relevant issue affecting drug policy, but only the ones that are most "in play" at the moment.

1) HEA: DRCNet, with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, has a major national campaign to repeal a provision of the Higher Education Act that delays or denies federal financial aid to students because of drug convictions. There is a likelihood that legislation will pass this year that will exempt would-be students who were not in school at the time of their offenses. While this is a positive development, it is important for Representatives and Senators to hear that constituents feel it is not enough and that only full repeal of the law will adequately resolve the issue. Bring a copy of our 2002 sign-on letter at that strongly makes this case, and include the impressive list of organizational endorsers.

H.R. 685, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, has 62 cosponsors and would repeal the drug provision in full. Please urge your US Rep. to sponsor this bill if he or she is not already. (See for the latest cosponsor listing.) Visit for extensive information on this issue, to send an e-mail or fax to your Representative and Senators and the President, to make sure you are receiving district-specific HEA alerts as well as the general ones, and to get more involved in this campaign.

We are also asking residents of Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia to lobby Senators Sessions, Brownback, Snowe, DeWine, Specter, Chafee and Warner to cosponsor a forthcoming repeal bill sponsored by Sen. Kennedy (D-MA). Visit for resources and further information.

Visit for info on student drug reform activism.

2) MEDICAL MARIJUANA: There are currently two pro-medical marijuana bills in Congress, H.R. 2233, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, and H.R. 1717, the Truth in Trials Act. States' Rights would eliminate federal prohibition of medical marijuana in states that have passed medical marijuana laws. Truth in Trials would create a medical necessity defense for medical marijuana use in those states. We ask you to urge your US Rep. to cosponsor and support both of these bills. Visit and to read the latest cosponsor listings.

Also, there was a medical marijuana vote in the full House last month, and you should determine how your Rep. voted before you have your meeting. Visit (PDF) or (Excel) or (tab-delimited plain text) to find out. Visit to send e-mails and faxes to Congress and the President in support of these bills.

Visit or for further resources for working on this issue.

3) PLAN COLOMBIA AND THE ANDEAN DRUG WAR: Also last month, the House voted down an amendment to reduce drug war funding to the Colombia military. Now, the full Andean Counterdrug Initiative legislation has moved to the Senate. According to the Latin American Working Group, the Senate has no plans to even debate Colombia funding. DRCNet opposes the Andean drug war entirely, and we also support a call by the Latin American Working Group for Colombia aid to be debated on the Senate floor. Please ask your Senators to vote against continued funding of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, particularly Colombia funding, to support any amendments to eliminate or scale it back, and to demand a real debate on the Colombian drug war on the Senate floor.

The Andean drug war is not only harmful, it is futile and ridiculous. We have a graph that is useful for making that point ( The graph demonstrates how source country anti-cocaine efforts have only caused coca cultivation to shift from place to place, not to reduce it -- the amount of the shifts is far greater than the change in total coca growing, indicating the supply filling demand is the dominant force, not eradication programs.

Also consider bringing a copy of "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America," a new, concise but thorough overview of the issue by the Cato Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter -- visit and donate $35 or more and we'll send you a free copy -- let us know if you're bringing it to a legislator visit and we'll send it first-class -- or donate $60 or more for two copies -- or $85 or more for three.

Visit to send e-mail and faxes to your Senators in opposition to the Andean Counterdrug Initiative and for links to further resources for working on this issue.

4) RAVE ACT: Last year, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) obtained passage of the controversial Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) Act by sneaking it into the popular Amber Alert bill. The RAVE Act threatens to suppress freedom of speech and assembly by making club owners subject to draconian criminal penalties if patrons engage in illicit drug activity. Though Biden promised the law would not be used to stifle legitimate events, it has already happened. Please tell your Senators and your Representative that the RAVE Act is dangerous and undemocratic and should be repealed -- and that in the meantime they should exercise great scrutiny of law enforcers to prevent its further abuse. Bring a copy of our Week Online article on the shutdown by DEA threat of a NORML-SSDP fundraiser in Billings, Montana to make the point (

Visit for further resources for working on this issue.

5) SENTENCING AND INCARCERATION: Thanks in part to draconian mandatory minimum sentencing and insufficiently flexible federal sentencing guidelines, our nation's prisons and jails hold more than half a million nonviolent drug offenders -- more than the number of people imprisoned for any criminal offense in the entire European Union, even though the EU has more people than the United States. Overall, the US has more than two million people incarcerated, the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation known as the Feeney Amendment (now Sec. 401 of the PROTECT Act) that will strip even more discretion from judges by requiring the US Sentencing Commission to enact changes to the federal sentencing guidelines reducing the frequency of "downward departures," affecting sentencing across the board including for drug offenses. A measure introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Edward Kenney (D-MA), the JUDGES Act (S. 1086 and H.R. 2213), would repeal Sec. 401 and other unjust provisions of the PROTECT Act.

Please ask your Senators and your Representative to support the JUDGES Act and to go further and repeal mandatory minimum drug sentences in full. Visit to e-mail your Rep. and Senators, and visit for additional resources and information on this issue.

That is our recommended federal lineup. We have not discussed DRCNet's overall philosophy on drug policy, which is that prohibition should be ended and drugs and the drug trade be brought within the control of law -- meaning some form of legalization, to use the more popular word for the concept. This doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about this when you have a meeting. That is a judgment call you have to make based on what you know about the legislator and on the flow of things when you are there. If you only have a short time, which is probable, you might only want to bring up the current legislative issues.

If it seems like your Senator or Rep. (or more likely one of their staffers) is interested in having a dialogue on the larger issue, it may be worthwhile to bring it up. You can point to conservatives who have either called for legalization, such as National Review magazine (, or who haven't taken that position but have raised the issue, like Indiana Rep. Dan Burton ( You can talk about how prohibition causes violence by creating the underground drug trade instead of a licit trade governed as other legal businesses are; how that underground trade reaches literally into the schools themselves, whereas this doesn't happen with the legal drug alcohol; how fighting drugs through force is futile because supply fills demand and illegal drugs are so lucrative to sell; many reasons you can find in the pages of our web site.

If you do have such a conversation, it's a good idea at the end to point out that whether or not they agree with you, it's important to at least make positive progress on the smaller issues (such as the ones outlined above) on which you both agree.

Please forward this bulletin to other likely reform supporters, and please keep following DRCNet action alerts, sending the e-mails and faxes, making the phone calls and paying the visits. Though last month's two big votes were lost, they were closer than has ever happened before -- see our reports at if you haven't already -- proof that you can make a difference and that the drug war can end, but only with your help.

Again, please write to [email protected] to let us know what actions you've taken this month and what you've learned about your legislators' intentions and views. Thank you for standing with us against the drug war.

5. DRCNet/ Buttons and Stickers for Free or Cheap

Earlier this month DRCNet mentioned, in our August legislative bulletin (reprinted above) that we had made up new buttons that members could receive with donations of $10 or more -- or for any smaller amount of money or even for free if necessary. Our suggestion was to wear the pins as you go to lobby your US Rep. and Senators while they are available in your district or state for the August recess. (See for our recommended agenda and resources.)

Please visit to donate any amount of money -- large or small, hopefully $10 or more because we really need your help right now, but any amount will be appreciated -- and we will send your button out first class mail within 24 hours, in time for you to wear to your lobby visit or anywhere else you want. If you can't afford to donate anything or aren't sure, or want to donate later -- or if you're donating now but are doing so by mail instead of online -- please send us an e-mail at [email protected] with your mailing address so we can mail out your button without delay.

All respondents will also receive a free DRCNet/ sticker. Our mailing address for donations is: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036

We don't yet have a scanned photo of the new DRCNet button, but the design is the same as many of you have seen, the red stop sign logo. You can view samples of the button design on other DRCNet items (t-shirts, mugs and mousepads) at online.

We are also pleased to continue to offer "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America," by Cato Institute vice president for defense and foreign policy studies Ted Galen Carpenter. Last month the US House of Representatives voted to continue Colombia military/drug war aid at the proposed level, but the vote was the closest yet and the issue is very much alive. "Bad Neighbor Policy" is a "succinct, hard-hitting, fact-filled narrative of our quixotic crusade and its consequences," according to Phil Smith's book review in The Week Online ( You can get your own copy of "Bad Neighbor Policy" from DRCNet -- and we'll throw in a button and sticker for free -- by visiting and making a contribution of $35 or more. (Previous book choices such as Jacob Sullum's "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use" and other gift items are also available.)

DRCNet needs your help to continue our work. Though funding prospects for later in the year are promising, your help is very much needed in the meantime -- DRCNet literally will be unable to pay its bills or payroll or keep its online petitions to Congress running through even next month, without your support. So please visit to make a generous donation by credit card or to print out a form to send in with your donation by mail -- or just send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 -- and contact us for instructions if you'd like to make a contribution of stock.

Please note that donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to support our educational work, make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation, same address. Again, visit to join, donate and get your free button and sticker or other drug reform items today. Thank you for your support.

6. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions

The John W. Perry Fund, a project of the DRCNet Foundation in association with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, provides college scholarships to students losing federal financial aid because of drug convictions. The Fund has monies remaining for fall 2003 as well as future semesters, and eligible students are urged to apply as soon as possible.

Please visit to fill out a pre-application, print out an application form or brochure, or for further information. Students, financial aid officers, friends and family members and supporters of students, as well as media, activists, potential donors and other interested parties, are all welcome to contact us!

Supportive parties are urged to take copies around to financial aid offices, social services agencies whose clientele are likely to include drug ex-offenders, high school guidance offices, and to forward information about the Perry Fund to appropriate e-mail lists. Community and state colleges are of particular interest to the Perry Fund, because the low tuition rates enable us to fully finance a student's education in many cases, and because their student bodies include a high proportion of low income with especially great financial need.

Any applicant losing federal financial aid due to a drug conviction, however, attempting to attend any school, is welcome and encouraged to apply. We continue to raise money for the Perry Fund, and the more applications we have received, the more money we will likely be able to raise for them. Please urge potential applicants to visit for information and to apply, or to contact DRCNet at (202) 362-0030. Thank you for spreading the word.

7. Newsbrief: Kentucky's Galbraith Enters Attorney General Contest, Downplays Marijuana

Despite earlier demurrals, Lexington defense attorney and longtime marijuana legalization advocate Gatewood Galbraith has entered the race for Kentucky attorney general. He filed to run as an independent on August 11, one day before the deadline.

Galbraith is a well-known marijuana legalization advocate with a career stretching back to at least 1978, when he threw Kentucky buds to an adoring crowd from the stage of the Washington, DC, smoke-in. He ran on a pro-marijuana platform for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1991 and 1995, and garnered 27% of the vote in last year's congressional race on the Reform Party ticket, with a platform that, he told DRCNet at the time, sought to breach the gap between the pot people and the rednecks (

But this time around, Galbraith is retreating from his call for legalization of recreational marijuana use. Perhaps eying a close race where both major both nominees, Democrat Greg Stumbo and Republican Jack Wood, won their primaries with less than 40% of the vote and are tainted by scandal, Galbraith told the Lexington Herald-Leader he does not now support legalizing recreational pot use. But he added that he still uses the drug for medical reasons and has a prescription from a Berkeley, California, doctor, implying that he supports medical marijuana. He also said that, if elected, he would push for more drug treatment for addicts instead of jail time.

"The chemistry of this race is just phenomenal. I could not pass it up," Galbraith told the Herald-Leader. "This is a three-way race, folks," he said. "Thirty-four percent wins it."

8. Newsbrief: Supreme Court Justice Says Prison Terms "Too Long," Calls for End to Mandatory Minimums

The festering dispute between the federal judiciary and prison-happy Justice Department officials and Congressional Republicans was given public voice at the American Bar Association's annual convention on August 9, when a moderate conservative Supreme Court justice appointed by Ronald Reagan strongly rebuked the nation's sentencing policies -- which have led to the United States holding the position as the world's leading jailer.

"Our resources are misspent, our punishments too severe, our sentences too long," said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, according to the Associated Press. "I can accept neither the necessity nor the wisdom of federal mandatory minimum sentences," Kennedy said. "In too many cases, mandatory minimum sentences are unwise or unjust." While Kennedy told the assembled attorneys he supported federal sentencing guidelines, which also limit judges' discretion in sentencing, he also said they should be adjusted downward because they have resulted in longer sentences than before they were implemented in 1988. "We should revisit this compromise," he said. "The federal sentencing guidelines should be revised downward."

Kennedy did not directly address Attorney General John Ashcroft's July 28 memo directing US attorneys to appeal almost all downward departures from federally mandated sentences or report judges who issue lighter sentences ( That memo, the latest thrust from the prison faction in the increasingly nasty conflict between judges and law 'n order politicos, led to an upswing in grumbling from a federal judiciary that sees its ability to tailor sentences to individual circumstances unnecessarily limited by harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

Kennedy asked the ABA to lobby Congress to repeal mandatory minimums, even if they are constitutional. "Courts may conclude the legislature is permitted to choose long sentences, but that does not mean long sentences are wise or just," Kennedy said. He also urged the group to lobby for increased use of the pardon power. "The pardon process, of late, seems to have been drained of its moral force. Pardons are infrequent," Kennedy said. "A people confident in its laws and institutions should not be ashamed of mercy."

While Kennedy did not directly mention drugs -- drug offenders make up more than half of all federal prisoners -- he did mention the fact that about 40% of the prison population is black and that the American gulag is of "remarkable scale" with more than 2.1 million people behind bars. "It is no defense if our current system is more the product of neglect than of purpose," Kennedy said. "Out of sight, out of mind is an unacceptable excuse for a prison system that incarcerates over two million human beings in the United States."

9. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

Although there was tough competition from Detroit, where officers under indictment for drug-related corruption are now accused of harassing witnesses, this week's honors go to an Atlanta Police Department "Officer of the Year" who was indicted on federal racketeering charges August 13. Officer David Allen Freeman, 38, was described in charging papers as the leader of an Atlanta-area drug gang known as the Diablos. Prosecutors charge that he tipped-off the Diablos to police investigations, stole drugs from arrested members of other gangs, and attempted to recruit new members for the Diablos.

Freeman allegedly worked closely with Diablos leader Billy Ladson, also known as "Billy Diablo," and was a key lieutenant in the organization, where he went by the moniker "Day Day," the federal indictment charges. "Day Day" helped control the drug traffic in northwest Atlanta for the Diablos. He is specifically charged with alerting the gang to impending search warrants, setting up other drug dealers for robbery by gang members, and transferring seized cocaine and other drugs to the gang for resale.

Freeman, a 12-year veteran of the force, was named "Officer of the Year" for his zone two weeks earlier. He is suspended with pay pending a hearing with Chief Richard Pennington this week.

10. Newsbrief: Drug War, Chinese Style

Chinese authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou collectively sentenced 26 felons to death on August 9 as part of the government's four-year-old "strike hard" program against crime. Those sentenced in the mass hearing in Guanghzhou were mostly convicted of "drug trafficking and other heinous crimes," the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

The collective death sentence was handed out in Guanghzhou municipal court as some 150 armed police and security guards on hand to maintain order, Xinhua reported. The sentencing came as part of an effort to clear a back-log of cases awaiting verdicts and sentencing.

The Chinese government does not reveal execution statistics, but according to a book titled "Disdai" and written anonymously by a purported high government official, China has executed 15,000 people a year since the "strike hard" campaign began in 1999. According to Amnesty International, at least 150 people were executed in China for drug offenses in June alone, marking the UN's "International Anti-Drugs Day" on June 26, and at least 5,900 death sentences were pronounced and more than 3,500 executions carried out in 2001 and 2002, with the actual numbers believed to be much higher.

The government announced last month that the "strike hard" campaign would continue for at least another year.

11. Newsbrief: Colorado Appeals Court Upholds Fake Drug Checkpoints

Highway drug checkpoints are okay as long as they're not real, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled August 14. The Missouri Supreme Court upheld a similar practice last year. The ruling came in a case that began in June 2000, when Dolores County Sheriff's deputies put up roadblocks outside Telluride just as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival was getting underway. Ahead of the roadblocks, officers put up signs reading "Narcotics Checkpoint One Mile Ahead" and "Narcotics Canine Ahead." There was no checkpoint. Officers would then look for people attempting to turn around illegally or throwing items out of windows, pull them over for the criminal violation, and use that as a basis for a search.

It happened to Stephen Corbin Roth, who was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia. Upon seeing the warning signs, Roth tossed a pipe out the window, and after pulling him over for littering, police found another pipe and psychedelic mushrooms. Roth appealed his conviction, arguing that the fake checkpoints violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In a 2001 case involving the Indianapolis police, the US Supreme Court ruled that actual drug checkpoints are unconstitutional because they involved stops and searches with no probable cause to believe any given driver had committed a crime. But in the Colorado case, where police set up a fake checkpoint, then detained people attempting to avoid it, the judges ruled that police had reason to believe a crime had been committed. According to Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Sandra Rothenberg, who wrote the decision, fictitious checkpoints designed as "ruses" do not raise the same constitutional issues as the actual anti-drug checkpoints that the US Supreme Court disallowed. Police are allowed to create ruses that cause people to either commit violations or to abandon property that, when found, gives police reasonable suspicion to stop and search a vehicle. In the Roth case, Roth gave the police the legal grounds to stop him once he littered (by throwing out his pot pipe) and search his vehicle once police recovered the discarded pipe.

Dolores County Sheriff Jerry Martin had put the fake checkpoints on hold while the case was appealed, but told the Denver Post he would reinstate them. Martin, who is also head of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, added that he would encourage his colleagues to follow his lead.

Bottom line: If it says "Narcotics Checkpoint," it isn't one.

Visit to read the opinion online.

12. Newsbrief: Fake Drug Checkpoints Cause Uproar in Indiana

Fake drug checkpoints may have gotten the judicial okay in Colorado, but a similar effort by Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana, law enforcement agencies has been suspended after two days in the face of rising public criticism. On August 6 and 7, multi-agency law enforcement teams set up signs reading "Narcotics Checkpoint Ahead" in both English and Spanish on Interstate 65 just north of downtown Indianapolis. There was no checkpoint, but police would wait for drivers who saw the signs and then attempted an illegal u-turn or dangerous exit, ticket them for violations, and use that as "probable cause" to search vehicles.

Ostensibly designed to deter drug trafficking on I-65, which police, in their rote cop-speak refer to as a "major drug pipeline," the two-day effort resulted in a whopping four arrests for marijuana or drug paraphernalia possession, as well as a handful of traffic tickets. It was the brainchild of Marion County Sheriff's Department Major Scott Robinett, who heads covert operations for the department.

But the operation quickly drew criticism, and not just from the usual suspects. The usual suspects were there, of course, with the Indiana American Civil Liberties Union expressing concern, but several letter writers to Indiana newspapers ridiculed the idea, as well as expressing safety concerns. They were joined by Jim Baxter, president of the National Motorists Association, who told the Indianapolis Star the fake checkpoints could cause accidents. "The law against making U-turns in the median is there for a reason," he said. "Is it really prudent to set up a situation encouraging illegal U-turns on high-speed highways?"

And the Star itself weighed in, perhaps sensitized to the issues involved by the fact that an earlier Indianapolis effort to do drug checkpoints -- real ones that time -- led to a 2000 Supreme Court ruling barring the practice. While the court had upheld sobriety checkpoints because they had a public safety rationale, it ruled that checkpoints that impose suspicionless stops on drivers solely for law enforcement purposes are unconstitutional. The Star was blunt, relaying its stance clearly enough in the headline of its editorial: "Our Position Is: Sobriety Checks Serve A Useful Public Purpose, But Bogus Checkpoint Stings Are Silly."

Feeling the heat, Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson decided August 11 to suspend the phony checkpoints until he "reviews their effectiveness." Top Indianapolis police spook Robinett still doesn't get it, though. "All we're trying to do is stop illegal drugs; who can oppose it?" he plaintively asked the Star.

13. Newsbrief: Feds Seize Hemp Promotional Vehicle at US-Canada Border

Hemphry, a 1971 Volkswagen van used as a promotional vehicle by the Canadian hemp firm Pure Hemp, is currently being detained by Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE, formerly US Customs) in Maine. Hemphry, which sports a hemp field motif and "Pure Hemp" license plates, was impounded earlier this month after driver Johannes Chapman attempted to cross the border while carrying eight pounds of roasted, seasoned hemp seed. Hemp seed is legal in the United States, but Hemphry was seized and Chapman faces marijuana importation charges.

"I purchased three kilos of toasted and salted hempseeds in Montreal" said Chapman. "The owner advised me not to bring hemp seeds over the border, reminding me of America's 'zero tolerance,'" and I said 'hemp seeds are not banned in America.'"

Although the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the DEA's October 2001 interpretive rule banning hemp-based foods on June 30, that word apparently hasn't filtered down to line officers. US Customs agents field tested Chapman's hemp seeds and said they found traces of THC, a claim Natural Emphasis, Ltd. owner David Marcus, exclusive distributor of Pure Hemp rolling papers in North America, found hard to swallow. "The validity of this field test is questionable to say the least," he said in a press release. "An official THC test of the seed in question has been obtained from a Canadian lab accredited by Health Canada showing that the seed contains no THC." Furthermore, the field test indicated that both the Pure Hemp cigarette papers and hemp twine in the van's cargo also contained THC, yet both are made from the stalk fibers of the hemp plant which don't contain THC."

Hemphry remains in custody pending further tests of the hemp seeds. Chapman was turned back from the United States, but has been invited back to face the marijuana importation charges September 9.

14. The Reformer's Calendar

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

September 7-14, nationwide, "Semana Por La Paz," nationwide vigil for peace in Colombia. Contact Elanor Starmer of the Latin America Working Group at (202) 546-7010 or [email protected] for further info or if you want to organize an event, and visit!-Colombia.htm for event listings and other information.

September 9, Oakland, CA, Amnesty International hearing on racial profiling, chaired by Hon. Timothy K. Lewis, former Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Visit or call (202) 544-0200 for further information.

September 18, Tallahassee, FL, "Innovations in European Drug Policy," the Richard L. Rachin Conference. Sponsored by the Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in conjunction with the Journal of Drug Issues, at the Center for Professional Development, contact (850) 644-7569 or [email protected] to register or (850) 644-7368 or [email protected] for further information.

September 20, 3:00pm, Surprise, AZ, "The Failed War on Drugs," public forum with Nora Callahan of The November Coalition and Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. At the Unitarian Universalist Church, 17540 N. Ave. of the Arts, sponsored by the UU Church Social Justice Committee. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for other Jack Cole appearances in Arizona during 9/20-27.

September 21-28, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, "2nd Darwin International Syringe Festival and 1st International Conference on Using Direct Action to End the War on Drugs." Sponsored by the Network Against Prohibition, visit or for further information or contact [email protected] or +61 (0) 8 8942 0570.

September 22, 8:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, "High Hopes, A Medical Marijuana Comedy Show Extravaganja," Joe Rogan performs live to benefit WAMM, the Inglewood Wellness Club and Green Aid. At The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., $20 admission ($10 with a current compassion club or NORML membership card), cash only, two drink minimum, 21 and over. For further information visit or contact (323) 253-3472 or [email protected].

September 22-23, Washington, DC, "Cheryl Miller DC Memorial Project," vigil, exhibit, press conference and lobby day honoring MS patients and medical marijuana activist Cheryl Miller. Visit for further information.

September 22-23, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, "First National Seminar on Drug Users' Rights." Sponsored by ABORDA, visit for further information.

September 23, Chicago, IL, Amnesty International hearing on racial profiling, chaired by Hon. Timothy K. Lewis, former Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Visit or call (202) 544-0200 for further information.

September 25, 9:30am, Sun City West, AZ, "The Failed War on Drugs," public forum with Nora Callahan of The November Coalition and Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. At the Desert Palm Presbyterian Church, 13459 W. Stardust Blvd., sponsored by Desert Palm Christian Education Committee. Contact Roma Thomas at [email protected] for further information. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for other Jack Cole appearances in Arizona during 9/20-27.

September 25, 6:30-8:30pm, New York, NY, "Rockefeller Drug Laws' Effect on Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners," panel sponsored by the Seven Neighborhood Action Partnership/JusticeWorks Community. At Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church, 1975 Madison Ave., call (212) 348-8142 or (718) 499-6704 ext. 208, visit or e-mail [email protected] for info.

September 26, 6:30pm, Phoenix, AZ, "The Failed War on Drugs," public forum with Nora Callahan of The November Coalition and Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. At Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church, 8801 N. 43rd Ave., sponsored by Arizona Coalition for Effective Government. Contact Roma Thomas at [email protected] for further information. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for other Jack Cole appearances in Arizona during 9/20-27.

September 30, Tulsa, OK, Amnesty International hearing on racial profiling, chaired by Hon. Timothy K. Lewis, former Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Visit or call (202) 544-0200 for further information.

October 2, New York, NY, Amnesty International hearing on racial profiling, chaired by Hon. Timothy K. Lewis, former Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Visit or call (202) 544-0200 for further information.

October 3-4, Detroit, MI, "And Justice for All? Communities of Color and the War on Drugs," conference of Drug Policy Forum of Michigan with Wayne State University SSDP and other organizations. Visit or contact Debra Wright at (734) 368-8328 or [email protected] or Michael Segesta at (586) 873-5086 or [email protected] for further information.

October 5-17, Deming, Silver City, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, NM, "Continuing Drug Policy Reform in New Mexico," speaking tour by Jack Cole and Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

October 22, 7:00pm, Syracuse, NY, "Against All Odds: Cops Fighting the War on Drugs," forum with Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Sponsored by Reconsider: Forum on Drug Policy and Syracuse University Students for Sensible Drug Policy. At Syracuse University, for further information contact Gerrit Cain at [email protected] or Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected].

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 Cit� de Sciences et de L'Industrie, call +33(0) 1 48 58 31 37, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

November 22, 11:00am-10:00pm, Portland, OR, "Second Annual Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards 2003." At the Double Tree Inn Lloyd Center, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information!

January 28-February 7, 2004, Hannibal, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, "Special Delivery for John Ashcroft," speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Roger Hudlin. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

April 20-24, Melbourne, Australia, "15th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm." Visit or e-mail [email protected] for information.

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