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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #307, 10/17/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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CONFERENCE:  DRCNet staff are looking forward to seeing new and old friends at the Drug Policy Alliance conference at the New Jersey Meadowlands next week.  Visit our table and look for David Borden and David Guard, Chronicle editor Phil Smith and membership coordinator Scott Morgan.  Hear HEA campaign director Jon Rosen speak on the HEA panel, and board of directors nominee Arnold Trebach moderate the international panel.  Visit to register for the conference or to get further information.


  1. Editorial: It's Time to Rejoin the Free World
  2. Presenting "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters"
  3. Decriminalization Comes to Britain: House of Commons Passes Cannabis Rescheduling Bill
  4. Leftist Legalizer Elected Mayor of Bogota in Voter Rebuke of Colombian President
  5. Dutch Government Seeks Ban on Foreigners in Coffee Shops
  6. One and a Half Million Drug Arrests Last Year, Nearly 700,000 for Marijuana, FBI Reports
  7. Media Scan: David Borden on Cultural Baggage, Forbes, Alternet, Pot TV
  8. This Week in History
  9. Newsbrief: MAPS/UMass Marijuana Grow Proposal Gets Backing from Senators Kennedy and Kerry
  10. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  11. Newsbrief: Campaign Comments -- Lieberman on Drug War Racial Disparities
  12. Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Says Nervousness Not Enough to Prompt Driver Search
  13. Newsbrief: More Death Squad Drug Killings in the Philippines
  14. Newsbrief: Retrograde Drug Politics in Kentucky Governor's Race
  15. Newsbrief: North Carolina Congressman in Drug Treatment Slush Fund Scandal
  16. DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime
  17. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions
  18. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)

1. Editorial: It's Time to Rejoin the Free World

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 10/31/03

The US government's foreign policy agenda in Latin America is not doing so well these days. Last year's elections saw leftist governments take power in nations such as Brazil and Ecuador. In Bolivia, coca grower leader and socialist Evo Morales didn't quite win Bolivia's presidency, but he and his party did rise to dramatically greater political prominence by coming in a close third. Earlier this month the administration of Sanchez de Lozada was forced out of power amidst mass demonstrations after numerous protesters were killed by Bolivian authorities.

And just this past week, Luis Eduardo "Lucho" Garzon, opponent of Colombia's president Uribe, critic of US-imposed anti-drug policy, and a former member of Colombia's communist party, was elected mayor of the capital city, Bogota, considered the nation's second most important office. Key planks in his campaign were ending the drug war and resolving the nation's long-running civil war with the FARC rebels through negotiation -- positions which both conflict fundamentally with the US foreign policy agenda. Garzon has vowed to use his new position to challenge Uribe's policies. Finally, a voter referendum including a range of Uribe measures the US wanted was soundly defeated.

A little background on that referendum: A few years ago, Colombia's Supreme Court ruled that the legality of personal drug possession and consumption was guaranteed by the nation's constitution. The ruling was written by then chief justice and now senator Carlos Gaviria Diaz (a keynote speaker at our conference last February). After taking office, Uribe announced the referendum, including a provision aimed at overturning that ruling to prohibit drug consumption once again. Criticizing the anti-drug provision in Colombian media, Sen. Gaviria pointed out that the announcement came closely in the wake of a visit to Colombia by George W. Bush.

The drug measure didn't actually make it to the ballot, though. It was struck out of the initiative earlier this year, again by the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly -- after all, it was unconstitutional, the court had found the first time. No great friend to Colombia's constitution, Uribe vowed to pursue the matter legislatively instead. He drew criticism for that comment -- the provision would be just as unconstitutional as legislation now as it had been when the court struck it down the first and second times.

That could just have been empty rhetoric, of course. Far more serious are Uribe's attacks on NGO critics of his policies, accusing them of supporting terrorism, words which some have seen as giving a green light to killings of human rights activists. The government has even been accused of rounding up and detaining some critics on unsubstantiated charges of involvement with terrorism themselves. President Uribe isn't just a bad president; he is evidently a bad person too. Ironically, while Uribe has been unwilling to negotiate with the FARC, he has vigorously pursued negotiations with the right-wing AUC paramilitary groups, by all accounts the most terroristic of Colombia's extra-legal militias, responsible for thousands of political murders every year. But the paramilitaries are tacitly allied with the government, as evidence presented by human rights organizations of collaboration between those groups and the military has illustrated multiple times.

This is the ally the US government has chosen in Colombia, and the situation is not unique. Around the world, fighting drugs is a justification used by US foreign policy warriors for supporting undemocratic or unsavory regimes. Also unfortunately, it is an area of policy in which some regimes are willing to bow to US pressure in order to decrease the pressure a little in other areas. For example, the da Silva administration in Brazil came in talking about significant drug policy reform; Lula is on the record for many years criticizing the war on drugs. But one of the first favors he did for the Bush administration was to team up with the US in drug fighting; and then, to the consternation of supporters who expected better, he appointed a general to head the nation's anti-drug agency, not a public health professional as reformers and members of his own administration wanted.

Bolivia should have been a lesson to the US foreign policy mafia, and so should Colombia, but they probably won't be. Seeking US-style drug war there as around the world, they have found that the drug war in some countries is a little more violent and oppressive than large portions of the populace are willing to tolerate. By strong-arming national leaders into regressive drug policies that directly harm the people of those nations, they are alienating citizenries throughout the region, thereby undermining their allies and the rest of their policy objectives.

It's time for US drug policy makers to break with the autocrats of the world's dictatorships and pseudo-democracies, and rejoin our allies in the free world. We'll gain many more friends, or at least better friends, if we do.

2. Presenting "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters"

DRCNet is pleased to offer a bold and exciting new instructional video, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," as our new premium gift to members donating at the $35 level or above. Produced by the Flex Your Rights Foundation and narrated by retired ACLU executive director Ira Glasser, BUSTED realistically depicts the pressure and confusion of common police encounters. BUSTED's actors illustrate the right and wrong ways to handle different police encounters, in an entertaining but revealing way, with special attention focused on instructing viewers how to courteously and confidently refuse police search requests. BUSTED is hot off the press, and you can be one of the very first people to own a copy -- just visit to donate and order today!

If you've ever been stopped and searched by the police, you know how humiliating it feels to be forced to sit and wait like a child while strangers with guns tear through your personal belongings. But that could be just the beginning of your ordeal. What if the police find a marijuana seed that your friend accidentally dropped? What if they find a prescription pill with no prescription? In these cases, waiving one's constitutional rights can lead to arrest, jail, expensive legal bills and seized property. Viewing BUSTED can prevent this from happening to you and your loved ones. So visit and donate $35 or more, and DRCNet will send you a copy for free!

Your donation will also help DRCNet (and Flex Your Rights) navigate the troubled waters of our nation's struggling economy. The drug reform movement is in a financial crisis of greater proportions than we have ever seen in nearly ten years of operating -- which means that members and readers like yourself are more important to drug policy reform than ever before -- we need your help! So please visit to make a generous donation by credit card or to print 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. We can also accept donations of stock: Our broker is Ameritrade, phone: (800) 669-3900, account number: 772973012, DTC number: 0188, make sure to contact us directly to let us know that the stocks are there and whether they are meant for the Drug Reform Coordination Network or the DRCNet Foundation.

Here is some of the advance praise that BUSTED has received:

"Our precious constitutional rights are worth only the paper they are written on unless we understand and exercise them. BUSTED makes an important contribution toward transforming the Constitution's paper promises into real rights for real people."
-- Nadine Strossen, president, American Civil Liberties Union

"BUSTED provides effective instruction in how to benefit from basic constitutional rights. It deserves wide distribution."
-- Milton Friedman, Hoover Institution fellow; Nobel laureate economist

"As a journalist covering the war on drugs, I've often been surprised at how readily people consent to searches. By clearly explaining and vividly illustrating the dynamics of encounters with the police, BUSTED should help people keep their calm -- and their freedom."
-- Jacob Sullum, senior editor, Reason Magazine; author, "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use"

"Chronic disregard for civil rights is tearing apart the fabric of America. Flex Your Rights has hit the nail on the head in this hard hitting instructional video."
-- Mike Gray, author, "Drug Crazy"; chairman, Common Sense for Drug Policy

"BUSTED is the only video I know of that is providing clear and candid information about how to 'just say no' to intimidating police searches. Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens across the US should use BUSTED to protect young people, who are often targeted by police, from the greatest harm of using marijuana -- arrest."
-- Robert Kampia, executive director, Marijuana Policy Project

"We should not be put in the position of trying to protect individuals from themselves, because that is when we police start violating people's constitutional rights."
-- Jack A. Cole, executive director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

"If enough people see BUSTED it will alter the balance of power on America's streets forever."
-- Nora Callahan, executive director, November Coalition

I was privileged to assist with the production of BUSTED as a member of the Flex Your Rights board of directors. I learned a great deal from watching BUSTED and also enjoyed it a great deal, and I believe you will too. So please order your copy today! Again, just visit and donate $35 or more, and we will put your copy in the mail! (You can also request other books we offer, as well as t-shirts, mugs and mousepads, a variety of books and other items.)

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 order your free copy of BUSTED today. Thank you for your support.

Read DRCNet's 6/02 interview with Flex Your Rights' Steven Silverman at
-- and visit Flex Your Rights at to learn much more!

3. Decriminalization Comes to Britain: House of Commons Passes Cannabis Rescheduling Bill

The British House of Commons Wednesday approved a government-sponsored bill that will reschedule cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug, putting marijuana in the category of least serious drugs, along with steroids and some anti-depressants. By an overwhelming vote of 316-160, British parliamentarians approved the measure that will effectively decriminalize marijuana use and possession on January 29. By rescheduling cannabis, lawmakers have removed the police power to arrest marijuana users -- except in special circumstances. Now, in most cases, pot possession law violators will be subject solely to a ticket and fine and loss of their stashes. But the bill also increases penalties for cannabis sales, leading some critics to call it a half-measure that will not address harms resulting from the herb's black market status.

European Parliament member Chris Davies, a staunch anti-prohibitionist campaigner who got himself arrested for cannabis possession in an act of civil disobedience in 2001, welcomed the improvements in the law, but said they did not go far enough. "Hundreds, indeed millions, of people have been arrested, fined or even imprisoned for the possession of cannabis, and these new guidelines show that it has all been a complete folly -- using up police resources and wrecking the lives of many cannabis users who have done no harm to anyone other than themselves," said Davies in a statement greeting the vote.

But the government's decision to double the penalties for cannabis sales from seven years to 14 years will only create more problems, said Davies. "This change in the law is a significant step forward, but the Home Secretary David Blunkett is about to take two steps backwards. If dealers are going to face 14 years in prison for the supply of cannabis, there is no incentive not to sell other drugs as well. Cannabis users may be pushed into the hands of heroin dealers. Instead the Government should be working to break the link between soft and hard drugs. Experience in Holland of separating the supply of soft and hard drugs has helped achieve a situation where the average age of a heroin addict in the Netherlands is forty and rising and in Britain it is twenty-one and falling," he added.

"The change, when it comes into law, will make very little difference," complained the UK Cannabis Internet Activists ( web site, home of Britain's Legalize Cannabis campaigns. "The original proposal which Blunkett took to the Home Affairs Select committee was simply to move cannabis from Class B to Class C, which would have lowered penalties and removed the power of arrest for possession. However, the penalties for dealing class C drugs are now to be increased to a maximum of 14 years, so there's no change there. The power of arrest is to be retained for cannabis, although, as was announced in the speech, other class C drugs will remain un-arrestable offences, so there's no change there either," said UKCIA. "The new regime will do nothing to separate the markets for class A drugs; it's a worthless and possibly dangerous step."

The British Home Office modified its original bill under pressure from the Association of Chief Police Officers, which successfully argued that police needed to maintain the power of arrest in certain circumstances. "Aggravating" circumstances could include smoking in front of a school, causing a public disturbance, or having been cited previously for marijuana possession, according to ACPO guidelines. Currently, British police arrest about 80,000 people per year on marijuana use or possession charges. Even under the ACPO guidelines allowing arrest under some circumstances, that number is expected to shrink to a fraction of its current level.

Danny Kushlick, director of Transform (, a leading British nonprofit campaigning for drug law reform, told the BBC News that the bill didn't go far enough and that illegal production was less safe than if it were regulated. "The only way to ensure that cannabis users are aware of the strength, purity and potential dangers of cannabis is to legalize, regulate and control its production and supply," Kushlick said.

Things looked a little different from the other side of the Atlantic. US reform group the Marijuana Policy Project ( saw the vote as an indication of increasing US isolation on marijuana policy. "Even our closest ally in the world -- the nation that marched side-by-side with the US into Baghdad when much of Europe would not -- can no longer join America in its failed war on marijuana users," said MPP executive director Rob Kampia. "Britain deserves congratulations for doing what the US government refuses to do: base policies on science rather than fear. The complete failure of our government's hysterical exaggerations of the dangers of marijuana is shown by the recent national PRIDE survey documenting a sharp rise in teen drug use after wave upon wave of government anti-marijuana ads," Kampia jabbed.

Debate in the House lasted only 90 minutes before a largely empty chamber. With Home Secretary Blunkett absent, the charge for the bill was led by Home Office Junior Minister Caroline Flint, who argued that rescheduling was not the same as legalizing cannabis and that it would free police resources to concentrate on harder drugs. "This Labor government is absolutely right to focus on the most dangerous drugs, to intervene most vigorously in the most damaged communities and to seek to break the link between addiction and the crime that feeds it," she told the House of Commons. "And to reduce harm that drugs cause by addressing the chaotic lifestyles of those users who are harming themselves and harming others."

Tory shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin responded by calling the Tony Blair government's drug policy "a dreadful muddle" and "a halfway measure." The bill was aimed at short-term popularity, said Letwin, rather than at arriving at a coherent policy. Either outright decrim a la the Netherlands or a harder, Swedish-style prohibitionist line would be preferable to the mixed message coming from the government, he said.

Junior Minister Flint replied that the rescheduling was necessary because of "postal code enforcement," or the differential enforcement of cannabis laws by police in different jurisdictions. "Individual police forces have developed disparate policies on the policing of cannabis possession based on their own view of the relative seriousness of the offence, leading to inconsistency and a lack of proper political accountability," she explained. "The policing regime will ensure that action is properly taken by police against someone who is causing a problem or needs help whilst avoiding needlessly charging large numbers of young people," Flint added. And the new 14-year sentences for cannabis sales will send "a very strong message" to dealers, she maintained.

Old school drug warriors, from Labor as well as the Tories, brought up their standard arguments, but they fell on deaf ears. Labor MP Martin Salter said the cannabis reclassification was "a grave disservice" to young people because it would confuse them, while Tory MP Graham Brady claimed the cannabis of today is not your father's weed and it would be "perverse" to downgrade the herb. Tory Ann Winterton insisted that the British are too stupid to understand the differences between drugs, maintaining that "sophisticated measures do not wash," while her compatriot Angela Watkinson warned of the dreaded "gateway" effect.

In the end, the doomsayers were outvoted by a margin of nearly two-to-one. Britain will now boldly take one step forward and one step back in the struggle for cannabis law reform. No word yet from drug czar John Walters on whether it will be necessary to slow traffic between the US and Britain in order to keep this nation safe from the British weed menace.

4. Leftist Legalizer Elected Mayor of Bogota in Voter Rebuke of Colombian President

In a stunning rebuke to Washington and administration ally Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, voters in Bogota, Colombia's capital and largest city, elected former communist union leader, harsh critic of US policy toward Colombia, and avowed drug legalization advocate Luis Eduardo "Lucho" Garzon as their mayor. The Sunday vote came a day after voters nationwide handed Uribe another defeat by rejecting his referendum on a package of "reforms" -- which initially included re-criminalization of drug possession until that provision was struck by the Supreme Court -- and austerity measures designed to raise money to further prosecute his policy of unrelenting war against guerrilla armies, drug traffickers, and coca-growing farmers.

Garzon, the son of a cleaning woman who climbed through the ranks of the leftist trade unions to come in third in the 2001 election that brought Uribe to power, garnered 46% of the vote against 40% for his chief rival, Uribe ally Juan Lozano. Running as head of the Independent Democratic Pole (PDI -- Polo Democratico Independiente), Garzon has orchestrated the most significant political victory for the Colombian left ever; this is the first time the Colombian left has controlled the capital city. As mayor of Bogota, a city of seven million, Garzon is now uniquely poised to challenge Uribe politically -- and has vowed to do just that.

But Garzon's victory was part of a broader rejection of traditional parties, as voters in most of Colombia's largest cities voted for the PDI and its allies or for other independent political formations. In Barrancabermeja, PDI candidate Edgar Cote won the mayoralty, while in Bucarmaranga, PDI-linked candidate Honorio Galvis won. In Medellin, the mayoralty went to Sergio Fajardo, candidate of the Indigenous Social Alliance, while in Cali, Apolinar Salcedo of the Yes Colombia movement won city hall. Likewise, in Barranquilla, Guillermo Hoenigsberg of the Civic Movement won the mayoralty. Uribe's Liberals and the opposition Conservatives were shut out.

As a presidential candidate in 2001, Garzon openly called for drug legalization as the only means of ending the bloodshed in Colombia. "The best way to end this problem and the war it has brought us is to legalize drugs," he said at the time ( While Garzon did not talk openly about legalization in the mayor's race, the focus of his campaign was a scathing attack on Uribe's overall approach to Colombia's 40-year-old civil war -- inextricably intertwined with the country's multi-billion dollar black market cocaine industry -- and his increasingly authoritarian security measures designed to defeat the leftist FARC and the drug traffickers.

The message resonated with voters. One man, a 35-year-old anthropologist, told Canada's National Post he voted for Garzon to to give Uribe a slap in the face. "With Uribe you're either on his side or you're a terrorist," he said. "Lucho represents a new alternative."

"We do not like the economic direction that has been given to the country," Garzon told a cheering crowd on Saturday, referring to Uribe's reducing social welfare and infrastructure spending to finance more war. "We believe that security policies must be based on the premise that the citizens are above the military." Garzon also appealed to the millions of impoverished Colombians living in the slums of the capital. "We have places here that look like Versailles," he said. "But many people in Bogota still live in conditions that resemble those in Calcutta."

Garzon's platform calls above all for negotiating an end to the civil war -- the path resolutely not taken by Uribe and his US backers -- fighting corruption, more democratic and transparent government, and improvements in public health and education services. And then there is drugs. Garzon is blunt: "Until now, Colombia has not had a national drug policy, but has been limited to accepting in an uncritical and automatic fashion the American prohibitionist policy, which equally criminalizes production, traffic, and use. No other country in the world is a better witness to its stupendous failure and its human, institutional, and environmental costs," says the platform.

Garzon calls for a new, national drug policy that would:

  • Suspend the fumigation of coca crops immediately and replace it with a gradual process of alternative development until farmers can be weaned from the illicit but profitable crop. Any eradication programs in the future would be manual, not chemical. Small coca plots would be decriminalized, and Garzon would work with the FARC and local communities to find "a solution to the problem of drugs in our country."
  • Call on the international community to "rethink the concepts and practice of 'international corresponsibility' regarding the drug trade and overcome the current distortion that makes the weight of the solution fall on the weakest link in the chain, the Colombian and Andean peasantry." Garzon's list of international tasks includes dealing with money laundering, gun running, precursor exports, international organized crime, and asset forfeiture. "The national drug policy promoted by the Democratic Pole is a policy against terrorism," the platform notes.
  • Drug use would be a public health matter, not a matter for the "repressive apparatus." Personal drug use and possession would continue to be decriminalized "based on the constitutional principles of personal autonomy and free development of the personality."
A widely-distributed photo Sunday showed President Uribe glumly voting in Bogota, surrounded by rifle-toting soldiers in the rain. Perhaps he had just seen the ghost of Colombia's future.

Spanish-speaking readers can learn more about Garzon and his platform at and online.

5. Dutch Government Seeks Ban on Foreigners in Coffee Shops

The conservative coalition led by the Christian Democrats that currently governs the Netherlands has floated a proposal to restrict access to the country's famous cannabis coffee shops to Dutch nationals. The government has said it is responding to foreign pressure, notably from Germany, whose hash-hungry citizens flood across the border by the thousands each day to score, but the attack on the coffee shops fits precisely with the coalition's own anti-drug agenda.

The Netherlands effectively decriminalized marijuana possession in 1976, and in the years since, the country's coffee houses have been tolerated as a technically illegal but socially acceptable means of allowing for the consumption and sale of cannabis. Although down from a peak of more than 1,200 coffee houses a few years ago, more than 800 are currently open, generating more than $3 billion in gross sales and nearly $340 million in tax revenues each year. The coffee shops have generated visible foreign "drug tourism" for at least 20 years as repressed Americans, Germans, and Britons, among others, seek to sample what they view as the sweet life.

First notice of the proposed move came last week, when the German newspaper Deutsche Welle reported on a meeting between German Interior Minister Otto Schily and Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner to discuss cooperation in efforts to fight the international drug trade. According to Deutsche Welle, Germany wanted the Dutch to completely shut down the coffee shops, and Donner countered with an offer to bar foreigners from using them. Under Donner's plan, people would need a pass card or membership to enter the shops, and such cards would be limited to Dutch residents.

But if initial reactions are any guide, Donner and the Christian Democrats are in for a battle. The coffee shops certainly aren't going along quietly. "It's totally ridiculous. The minister is stupid. If this system comes in, all the tourists will buy from criminals in the street," Arjan Roskam, of the Union of Cannabis Retailers, told the Expatica news service. The plan is "worthless," he added.

Nol van Shaik, owner of the Willie Wortels coffee shops, was less diplomatic. "Donner must have been on some strange dope when he thought this all up," von Shaik fumed in an e-mail bemoaning the move. "It is too insane to have to respond to this brainwave of a right-wing Catholic politician." The plan would be unworkable, van Shaik wrote, not least of all because people like him would actively work to sabotage it. "If Donner's scheme is accepted and executed, we will always have a host available, wearing a t-shirt with the following print: I buy cannabis for foreigners!"

Venlo, a town of 90,000 along the German border that is home to five official coffee shops, numerous unsanctioned ones, as well as independent hard drug dealers, is ground zero in the drug tourism debate. Within 30 miles of some five million Germans, Venlo alone sees some 4,000 German cannabis buyers each day. While the town has complained of unruliness around the drug trade, the Venlo Council has gone on record as opposing the ban on foreigners, agreeing with the coffee shop union that it would spark an explosive increase in illegal drug dealing.

The Association of Dutch Municipalities has been cautious, the British newspaper the Guardian reported. The association will await definite plans before taking a stand, it said.

The proposal is by no means a done deal. "The proposal is being debated these days and the outcome is unclear yet," said Dutch psychiatrist and drug researcher Frederick Polak of the Netherlands Drug Policy Foundation. It is uncertain that even the parties that make up the coalition with the Christian Democrats will go along, he told DRCNet. "The opposition in parliament comes from not only the Green Party and the progressive Liberals, but also from the conservative Liberals. It is unclear yet what the Social Democrats, the second largest party, will do."

Van Shaik, for his part, had advice for all involved in the scheme. "Minister Donner should have told off the Germans, the French and even the UN, if he is a true representative of his country, a country with the best and only drug policy in the world -- one can hardly call prohibition a policy. If it is, it is a dictatorial policy," the coffee shop baron fulminated. "Minister Donner should have told the German Justice Minister to keep his cannabis consumers in his own country, by making cannabis available in registered outlets, because cannabis consumption in Germany is higher than in his country, the Netherlands, where cannabis is available through coffee shops. Minister Donner should tell the UN, the US, and France to try and do something about the growing consumption of cannabis in their countries, without it being available, except from the dangerous black market, where all drugs are sold by the same suppliers, without any control on quality and prices," van Shaik recommended.

"Minister Donner will do none of this -- he just sucks up to the big countries, with their big drug problems, and he will just try to close as many coffee shops as he possibly can, following the line of his political party, blind as a mule, deaf as a mole, and as dumb as an ass," van Shaik predicted.

And, of course, eliminating the coffee shops is in line with Christian Democrat policies. Prime Minister Balkenende vowed to do as much before he was elected, and his government has given sign after sign it wants to crack down on drugs. Interior Minister Johan Remkes not long ago tried to ban Dutch police from frequenting coffee shops (, the government has been busy building "emergency" jail cells for drug smugglers pouring into Schipol Airport, and Minister Donner is now threatening to withdraw the landing rights of any airline found to be regularly carrying drug mules from the Caribbean. And now he wants to keep the foreigners out of the coffee shops. According to the Guardian, the Dutch government will introduce a new general drug policy proposal in December. Stay tuned.

6. One and a Half Million Drug Arrests Last Year, Nearly 700,000 for Marijuana, FBI Reports

The US crime rate entered its third year of virtual stagnation in 2002 and is dramatically lower than a decade ago, the FBI reported on Wednesday, but the war on drugs continues to scoop up Americans by the millions. According to the FBI's annual uniform crime report, "Crime in the United States 2002," more than 1.5 million people were arrested on drug charges last year, roughly 80% of them for simple possession. Marijuana users made up nearly half of all drug arrests, with some 693,000 pot busts last year, 88% of them for simple possession.

The marijuana arrest figure is down slightly from 2001's 723,000 arrests and the all-time high of 734,000 arrests achieved during the last year of the Clinton administration. By contrast, in 1993, the year Bill Clinton took office, the number of arrests was 380,000. In a virtual hempen holocaust, more than six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges in the past decade alone.

Marijuana activists were quick to jump on the findings. "It's ironic and sad that marijuana arrests remain at record levels at the same time that Americans are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition. Americans agree that alcohol prohibition failed to eliminate alcohol use, and this latest FBI report shows that marijuana prohibition is not preventing people from using marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project ( "Marijuana prohibition is an example of how a cure can be more harmful than the disease it's intended to treat. The simple use of marijuana ruins relatively few lives, but arresting 700,000 adults for marijuana disrupts the lives of millions of marijuana users and their families every year."

While law enforcement sources contacted by DRCNet for various stories almost uniformly claim that marijuana is a low priority, the numbers strongly suggest that somebody is arresting pot-smokers like crazy. "These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (, who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that should be dedicated toward combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."

But the "war on terror" notwithstanding, there is just not that much crime these days, according to the FBI. Violent crime decreased 0.9% last year, making the level 7% lower than five years ago and a whopping 26% lower than in 1993. Similarly, the most violent crime -- murder -- is down 34% from a decade ago. Likewise, while property crime was up 0.1% over 2001, last year's figures are 14.5% lower than in 1993. The measure of serious crimes per 100,000 population is also down significantly. The current figure of 4,119 serious crimes per 100,000 is 11% lower than 1998 and 25% lower than in 1993. Still, total arrests increased by 0.5% last year.

Drug arrests made up about 10% of all arrests and constituted the single largest grouping of arrests. With more than 1.5 million drug arrests, there were more than twice as many drug arrests as arrests for all violent crimes combined (620,000), for larceny (1.16 million), for drunk driving (1.46 million), or for liquor law violations and drunkenness arrests combined (1.23 million). Only when minor theft (larceny) is added to the list of property crimes does its total (1.61 million) slightly exceed drug arrests.

Marijuana possession accounted for almost 40% of drug arrests, followed by heroin and cocaine possession (21%), "other dangerous non-narcotic drugs" (16%), and synthetics (3%). Simple possession arrests constituted four-fifths of all drug arrest in 2001. But when it comes to drug sales and distribution, heroin and cocaine take the lead with more than 40% of all sales arrests, while marijuana sales or manufacture accounted for 22% of all drug arrests.

"Marijuana legalization would remove this behemoth financial burden from the criminal justice system, freeing up criminal justice resources to target other more serious crimes, and allowing law enforcement to focus on the highest echelons of hard-drug trafficking enterprises rather than on minor marijuana offenders who present no threat to public safety," pointed out NORML's Stroup.

The FBI figures also strongly suggest that the war on drugs is becoming a war on youth. While most other crime fell dramatically during the last decade, drug arrests were up 37% over 1993, and for people under 18, the increase was an even more dramatic 59.1%, with more than 116,000 teens busted for drugs in 2001. With youth crime also down dramatically in the past decade -- murder was down by 64%, robbery down 38%, car theft down 50%, weapons offenses down 46% -- drug busts appear to be one of the few remaining ways to arrest young people. There were also increases in teen arrest rates for "offenses against families and children" (up 48%), drunk driving (up 45%), and curfew violations (up 35%), but given the general decline in teen crime, these arrests may be driven by tougher enforcement rather than greater actual offense levels.

And, of course, blacks remain disproportionately targeted by the drug war. Although African Americans constitute about 13% of the population and a like percentage of drug users, they made up 32.5% of all drug arrests, the FBI reported.

Visit to read the Uniform Crime Report online.

7. Media Scan: David Borden on Cultural Baggage, Forbes, Alternet, Pot TV

DRCNet executive director David Borden was interviewed on the Houston Pacifica radio KPFT show "Cultural Baggage" on Tuesday, 10/28. Visit to check out the wide-ranging discussion on topics such as Rush Limbaugh and oxycontin, the ecstasy research scandal, Canada marijuana policy, the drug reform movement and more. Cultural Baggage offers weekly discussions with high-quality advocates, politicians and other drug reformers and host Dean Becker, and its archives and upcoming shows are well worth checking out -- visit to take look and listen!

Other current links:

Pot TV interviews Jack Layton, head of Canada's National Democratic Party:

Forbes magazine on "High Times: The Business of Marijuana":

Deroy Murdock writes on "Uncle Sam's Wacky War on Drugs" for Alternet's Drug Reporter:

Marsha Rosenbaum writes on "The Ecstasy Debacle" for Alternet:

Mike Newirth reviews Jacob Sullum's "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use" for In These Times:
(Read DRCNet's review of "Saying Yes" at -- complete with pictures from a DC author reception -- and visit to get your own copy!)

8. This Week in History

1991: While attempting to stop an air shipment of Colombian cocaine, Mexican Federal Police are killed by Mexican army members in the pay of the traffickers. Embarrassed, Mexican President Salinas orders an investigation, which results in the imprisonment of a Mexican General. The general is quietly released several months later.

November 2, 1951: The Boggs Act quadruples penalties in every single drug offense category.

November 4, 1998: Voters in seven states overwhelmingly approve nine initiatives reforming drug policy.

November 5, 1996: Proposition 215 in California (the Compassionate Use Act) passes with 56% of the voting public in favor. Proposition 200 in Arizona (the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act) passes with 65% of the vote.

November 6, 1984: US DEA and Mexican officials raid a large marijuana cultivation and processing complex in the Chihuahua desert owned by kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero. Seven thousand campesinos work at the complex, where between 5,000-10,000 tons of high-grade marijuana worth $2.5 billion is found and destroyed. Time magazine calls this "the bust of the century," and it reveals the existence of Mexico's sophisticated marijuana smuggling industry.

November 6, 1985: Upping the ante in the battle against extradition, guerillas linked to the Medellin cartel attack the Colombian Palace of Justice. At least 95 people are killed in the 26-hour siege, including 11 Supreme Court justices. Many court documents, including all pending requests, are destroyed by fire.

9. Newsbrief: MAPS/UMass Marijuana Grow Proposal Gets Backing from Senators Kennedy and Kerry

The ground-breaking proposal by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies ( and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to establish a privately-financed facility to grow high-potency marijuana for Food and Drug Administration-approved research picked up some powerful political patronage last week when both Massachusetts senators sent a letter to DEA administrator Karen Tandy urging her to approve the pending application.

"We are writing to express our strong support for the application by the University of Massachusetts Amherst for registration as a bulk manufacturer of marijuana for distribution to researchers in clinical investigations authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and non-clinical investigations at DEA-licensed laboratories," wrote Senators Edward Kennedy (D) and John Kerry (D). "We believe that the National Institute on Drug Abuse facility at the University of Mississippi has an unjustifiable monopoly on the production of marijuana for legitimate medical and research purposes in the United States... The current lack of such competition may well result in the production of lower-quality research-grade marijuana, which in turn jeopardizes important research into the therapeutic effects of marijuana for patients undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, or other diseases."

The support from the senators comes as the MAPS/UMass proposal is in its third year of winding through a maze of federal bureaucracies. Professor Lyle Craker, director of the Medicinal Plant Program at the UMass Amherst Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, first submitted a license application to the DEA in June 2001, but the DEA claimed to have lost it, then refused to accept a photocopy of the application because it lacked an original signature. Craker resubmitted the petition in August 2002, and the DEA now has it under consideration.

Currently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Mississippi pot farm is the only source of marijuana that can be used for research, but researchers have called NIDA's supply inferior and low-potency.

The senator's letter was "fantastic" and "will make it significantly more difficult for DEA to reject the application," MAPS said in announcing the assistance. "This is a major step forward in MAPS' efforts to create the conditions necessary for a serious medical marijuana drug development effort aimed at FDA-approval of the prescription use of marijuana, with the two essential elements being an independent source of supply of high-potency marijuana and FDA-approval of the use of vaporizer in clinical research."

Visit for DRCNet's earlier coverage of the MAPS/UMass application.

10. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

There were numerous examples of alleged drug war cop corruption this week, but none rose to the level of meriting special attention here. Instead, what we see is the dreary, day-to-day low-level corruption and hypocrisy engendered by US drug policies. Among this week's dishonorable mentions:

  • Mosses City, Alabama, Police Chief Henry Gordon was arrested by the state's 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force October 22 and charged with possessing crack cocaine. He is suspended without pay pending trial.
  • Former Brodnax, Virginia, Police Chief Bruno Crutchfield and former Virginia state trooper Marshall King were re-indicted by federal prosecutors on drug conspiracy and related charges October 24. The pair had earlier been convicted of running a crack cocaine sales ring and received double-digit federal prison sentences, but that conviction was overturned after allegations of perjury by prosecution witnesses. The new indictments set the stage for a new trial.
  • Also on October 24, South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Tony Caldwell was arrested by state police on charges he helped his father sell crack cocaine, bootleg alcohol, and gambling tickets. Caldwell faces two counts of crack distribution, while his father, Eugene Caldwell, faces two counts of crack distribution, as well as charges of unlawfully storing liquor, bookmaking, possession of marijuana, and operating a business without a license. Trooper Caldwell is suspended without pay pending trial.

11. Newsbrief: Campaign Comments -- Lieberman on Drug War Racial Disparities

During Sunday night's debate among the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman had some harsh words for the state of racial justice in the war on drugs. Responding to a question from Detroit WJBK TV Fox 2 News anchor Huel Perkins, Lieberman called for "a change" in policies that send non-whites to prison for drug crimes in disproportionate numbers. From the debate transcript:

Perkins: Senator Lieberman, a famous talk-show host admits his addiction to prescription drugs (LAUGHTER). He goes off for treatment. There are addicts who have also admitted that they have a problem. They're behind bars right now. There seems to be a disparity... (APPLAUSE) ... real or perceived, a disparity. But it seems that if you're rich and famous, you go to rehab, but if you're poor and unknown, you go to jail (APPLAUSE). How will you change the perceived mistreatment, or real mistreatment, of people in the medical and legal fields?

Lieberman: This is a very important question, and it's time for a change on this. Let's first acknowledge that there is a real problem here. This is not just rhetoric. Just this past week, I read in the newspapers of a study done in the state of Maryland that showed something like 90 percent of the people in Maryland jails for drug-related charges are African American. Now, that's a miscarriage of justice. There's just no rationale as to why that number would be so much larger than the African American population in the state of Maryland. [See for DRCNet coverage of the study.]

I believe in a system of justice. I believe, as I presume and I know everyone here does, that people have to be held accountable for crimes. But the system of justice must be fair. Too many people are in jail today for nonviolent drug offenses. They are costing our country, their states, their families, their neighborhoods an enormous amount. We need to commit ourselves to turn this around and invest in rehabilitation... education, job training.

The fact is, when I am president, I am going to fix this problem. I am going to not have John Ashcroft at the Justice Department. I'm going to have an attorney general who will work to see that there is justice that is fair. I say one final word, and it says it all. Reverend Jackson was in Connecticut some years ago, and he talked about this problem. And he said, you know, it costs more to keep a young African American in jail than to send that same young man through Yale. That's what we ought to be doing.

The highly partisan crowd enthusiastically applauded Lieberman's remarks, but then again, that same crowd even applauded during the question -- twice -- and also cheered just about any red-meat attack on President George Bush and his policies. Lieberman was the only candidate asked directly about drug policy, and no other candidates jumped in later to go on record about drug policy during the debate.

12. Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Says Nervousness Not Enough to Prompt Driver Search

Being nervous during a traffic stop is not enough grounds for police to detain and search a driver, a federal appeals court ruled last week. In a decision handed down on October 22, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed federal prosecutors' appeal of a lower court ruling throwing out the evidence against two Alabama men after an Alabama state trooper cited only the driver's "nervousness" and "a hunch" for holding them after he had finished writing the ticket for which they had been stopped.

Trooper John Colston testified that he initially stopped Jessie Perkins Jr. and passenger Johnny Scott because their car had drifted onto the shoulder of Interstate 20. After determining that Perkins was not intoxicated or too sleepy to drive, Colston wrote him a warning ticket. But Colson noted that Perkins seemed nervous, breathed rapidly, was evasive, and gave slightly different answers to questions about his destination than did Scott. Colson repeatedly asked both men if they were carrying drugs, and both repeatedly denied they were. Perkins also repeatedly refused to consent to a search of the vehicle -- until Colson threatened to call in a drug dog, at which point Perkins caved and admitted they had drugs hidden in the console. Colson testified that the men were not free to leave as he questioned them after writing the warning ticket.

That was going too far, said the 11th Circuit. Citing the venerable Terry vs. Ohio case as controlling, the court noted that "a traffic stop must be 'reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place'" and "may not 'last any longer than necessary to process the traffic violation' unless there is articulable suspicion of other illegal activity." In other words, Trooper Colston was bound by law to let the men be on their way once he had written the warning ticket because he could not say he had any knowledge of any illegal activity, merely a hunch.

The government argued that Perkins' nervousness and evasiveness were grounds enough to meet the bar of "reasonable suspicion" that a crime was being committed, but the 11th Circuit did not buy that argument. "There is no reason why Colston should have reasonably suspected that Perkins' nervousness was tied to anything other than the fact that he was being detained by an authority figure with police power over him," the court's opinion noted.

The court also addressed the fact that Trooper Colston's hunch that Perkins and Scott were carrying drugs was ultimately proven correct. That is "irrelevant for Fourth Amendment purposes," the court opined. "To hold otherwise would open the door to patently illegal searches by government officials, who would attempt to justify the legality of their conduct after-the-fact."

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals decision is binding on federal courts in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Visit to read the opinion online.

13. Newsbrief: More Death Squad Drug Killings in the Philippines

As previously reported by DRCNet, the Philippines' highly-publicized war on drugs has been marked by murder. Drug dealers and users on police lists are found shot to death on a regular basis, and while police blame drug gang wars for the killings, everyone else is pointing at shady vigilante death squads. In September, the local media reported a death toll of 125 in General Santos City alone, and the shadowy executioners were busy last weekend in Davao del Sur on Mindanao island.

According to the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, "armed men believed to be members of the dreaded 'death squad' killed at least five suspected pushers in Santa Cruz town." The murders are only the latest in Santa Cruz, where the mayor is complaining that killing drug suspects could erode public support in the drug war, a local government unit has formally asked the Philippine National Police to stop such executions, and a local congressman is threatening to raise the issue in the lower House.

The Filipino government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has in the past two years embarked on an anti-drug crusade so extreme that mainstream politicians are howling for the death penalty to be imposed against drug traffickers, schoolchildren are being encouraged to turn in drug users, and elected officials give a wink and a nod to the extracurricular activities of their police.

Recently, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte shrugged off charges that he is behind the killings there. "If they think it's me, so be it," he said. Duterte also denied the murders were government-sponsored. "There are just people out there perhaps who could not tolerate the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city," he told the Philippine Star Daily. Duterte also warned drug sellers and users who had turned themselves in to avoid the death squads that if they returned to their old ways either the vigilantes or the law would get them.

See and for previous DRCNet reporting on the Philippines anti-drug murders. See,13673,501020701-265480,00.html for coverage by Phil Zabriskie in Time magazine.

14. Newsbrief: Retrograde Drug Politics in Kentucky Governor's Race

Drug policy is popping up in Kentucky governor's race, but the discourse is decidedly last-century. Faced with a rapid increase in methamphetamine use in the west and the rise of non-medical Oxycontin use in the east, former attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial contender Ben Chandler ( and Republican nominee Ernie Fletcher ( have been fighting over who is "tougher" on drugs, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

As attorney general, Chandler helped create a meth task force established by outgoing Gov. Paul Patton in 1996 and was a key force in ensuring the passage of tougher anti-meth laws two years later. The 1998 meth law made manufacture a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, trafficking a five-year stretch, and simple possession a mandatory one-year stay behind bars. Chandler also helped create a 1997 prescription drug abuse task force that led to a tight prescription control law, and he claims credit for more than 300 prescription drug, mainly Oxycontin, diversion prosecutions. He also got high marks from Kentucky prosecutors of both parties, who told the Courier-Journal he did anti-drug publicity work and lobbied hard for funds for more prosecutors.

Chandler has promised even stiffer meth penalties as part of his anti-crime platform. In a sign of the political times, on Chandler's web site, drug policy and even criminal justice policy are both subsumed under the broader "security" heading. He is also now promising to appoint a drug czar to coordinate state anti-drug efforts.

That wasn't good enough for Fletcher and his running mate for lieutenant governor, former US Attorney Steve Pence. While out announcing the GOP anti-drug program last month, Pence said Chandler "has been asleep on the job." Then Pence blamed Chandler for the rise in methamphetamine and Oxycontin use. "On Ben Chandler's watch, drug abuse has exploded."

If Fletcher and Pence were taking the low road, Chandler was right there beside them as he retorted that Pence had once been -- gasp! -- a defense lawyer. "While Steve Pence defended the drug criminals in court, no one has done more to take on the drug problem in Kentucky than me," Chandler said. "My office has convicted more than 300 people on prescription-drug abuse since 1997."

Fletcher and Pence promised voters they would turn more meth prosecutions over to the feds, a technique pioneered by Pence in Operation Speedway, regardless of the quantity involved. As for Oxycontin, Fletcher vowed to increase the number of drug courts, tighten the state's prescription control system, and "empower community coalitions" to fight drug abuse.

The election is November 4, but from the tenor of the drug policy debate, there is little to suggest anything positive coming from either candidate once elected.

15. Newsbrief: North Carolina Congressman in Drug Treatment Slush Fund Scandal

US Rep. Frank Ballance (D-NC) used his position as a powerful state senator to garner funds for a foundation he operated for the last ten years, a state auditor's report has found. Much of that money went to relatives and political allies on the foundation's payroll, the report concluded. The John A. Hyman Foundation was "riddled with apparent conflicts of interest" and no formal structure for awarding grants, State Auditor Ralph Campbell reported on October 22.

The foundation, whose ostensible purpose was to provide drug treatment services, was founded by then state Sen. Ballance in 1993. When state funds starting flowing his way, Ballance was vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Since then, the Hyman Foundation has collected more than $2 million from the state. It has indeed provided drug treatment services, auditors found, but they also questioned numerous expenditures and described a foundation rife with political cronyism and nepotism:

  • Ballance was chairman of the foundation's board of directors and controlled the checkbooks.
  • Over the last three years (the scope of this investigation), Ballance hired a political ally, the pastor of the Greenwood Baptist Church, as his executive director, the treasurer of the Frank Ballance Senate Campaign as an administrative assistant, and the campaign manager of the Frank Ballance Senate Campaign as director of one treatment program.
  • Ballance's mother served on the foundation board and was employed by a nonprofit agency that received grants from the foundation.
  • Ballance paid a company owned by his daughter $5,000 for work that was not done. Valerie Ballance's Consultech firm got the money for "consulting" on the installation of a new computer system, but auditors found the system was installed by other contractors who never spoke with Consultech.
  • The "mini-grants" doled out by the foundation for "substance abuse prevention and treatment" were often spent on other items. From fixing roofs to buying new DVD players to paying for trips to ball games, "it is not apparent that many of the funded activities and expenditures were directly related to substance abuse treatment and prevention."
  • Ballance signed checks for more than $11,000 in the last three years for items "outside the scope of substance abuse treatment and prevention." These included $2,500 for an appreciation dinner for political ally Pastor Joyner of the First Baptist Church and $2,500 for a membership in the Warren County High School Boosters Club, as well as lesser amounts for high school trophies, senior citizen dinner photography, and Subway sandwiches.
  • The foundation failed to comply with state and federal reporting regulations.
It was the Hyman Foundation's failure to report spending to the state Corrections Department, which budgeted the funds, for the last three years that triggered the auditor's investigation. Now State Auditor Campbell is demanding that the foundation, which shut down after the Corrections Department cut off its funds this year, immediately return some $339,000 still in its accounts to the state. And the FBI and US Attorney's Office in Raleigh have begun an investigation.

No comment yet from Rep. Ballance.

Visit to read the State Auditor's report online.

16. DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime

Due to funding shortfalls, DRCNet has been forced to suspend our web-based write-to Congress program. We will bring it back to life as soon as you and other DRCNet supporters make it possible through your financial contributions. Please visit and make the most generous donation that you can!

Most importantly, don't let this temporary setback at DRCNet prevent you from lobbying Congress. We intend to continue to issue legislative action alerts in the meantime, and you can act on them by calling your US Representative and your two Senators on the phone; go through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or visit and to look up their names and phone and fax numbers or to contact them via e-mail or web form. The information contained on the alert pages of our legislative web sites will provide you with sufficient information to take such action. There are current action alerts posted at:
It's important that we get the web-based service online as soon as possible, for a few reasons:
  1. E-mails to Congress are more important and effective now than they were in the past, since the 2001 anthrax attacks and the resulting slowness and unreliability of snail-mail to Capitol Hill;
  2. The ease of going to a web site, reviewing and editing a prewritten letter, typing in your address and sending it at the click of a mouse, is highly effective for increasing our participation rates and resulting impact on Congress;
  3. The action alert web sites are a highly effective means for recruiting new people onto our e-mail lists, growing the movement and doing so in the process of carrying out needed grassroots activism -- and ultimately increasing our potential donor base and ability to maintain and enhance these services;
  4. The system lets us look up subsets of our list based on geography (e.g. state, congressional district, city, state legislative district, county), and target action alerts to people who live in the key areas whose legislators or officials need to be lobbied especially vigorously due to their membership on committees responsible for active legislation or other reasons; and
  5. The personalization features the online system provides us allow us to send each of you individualized e-mails containing the name and phone number of your legislators, making it easier for you to take it to the next level of lobbying by phone, thereby increasing the number of phone calls to Congress that we can generate, a crucial show of passion for the issue that members of Congress need to see. For example, if you've used our write-to-Congress web forms in the last 2 3/4 years, you've probably received a few e-mails from us recently with text like the following:

    "If you haven't moved since we last communicated (zip code ___ in ___, __, than your US Representative is Rep. ___. Please call Rep. ___ at ____ and ask him to vote YES on ___ when it comes to a vote on the House floor..."
So while we can continue to send you legislative alerts without the online lobbying system, we can't make use of any of those extremely powerful features described in the paragraphs above. In order to resume our use of the service, we need to pay off our balance with the company that provides it as well as raise additional funds to ensure we can continue to afford it after that. All in all, we need to raise at least $10,000 in non-deductible donations to our 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, to reactivate the service and be fiscally responsible in continuing to subscribe to it. While this sounds like a lot of money, it's only slightly more than members like you gave us during our most successful previous fundraising appeal.

So please take a few moments to send DRCNet a few dollars today and make it happen! Please visit to make a contribution by credit card or PayPal or to print out a form to send in with your check -- or just send your donation by mail to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network to support our lobbying work (like the action alert program) are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible contributions to support our educational work can be made to the DRCNet Foundation, same address. We can also accept donations of stock: Our broker is Ameritrade, phone: (800) 669-3900, account number: 772973012, DTC number: 0188, make sure to contact us directly to let us know that the stocks are there and whether they are meant for the Drug Reform Coordination Network or the DRCNet Foundation.

17. 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.

18. The Reformer's Calendar

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

October 18, noon, St. Louis, MO, Missouri NORML 2003 State Conference, featuring keynote speaker judge James P. Gray, presentations by professors Fredric Raines and Chuck Terry and others, followed by dinner in St. Louis. Contact Dan Viets at (573) 443-6866 [email protected] for further information.

October 28, 6:00-8:00pm, Washington, DC, "Daughter's Keeper," book talk with author Ayelet Waldman, plus remarks by Kemba Smith, story of a woman struggling to help her daughter who faces 10 years mandatory minimum for unwitting involvement in a drug deal. Sponsored by Drug Policy Alliance and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, copies of "Daughter's Keeper" on sale, profits to benefit Our Place DC. At Ellington's, 424A 8th St. SE (Eastern Market Metro), contact [email protected] for info.

October 20, 6:30pm, New York, NY, Tribute and Dinner Party for Judge Jerome Marks, fundraiser for the Mothers of the NY Disappeared campaign to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws. At Gus' Place, 149 Waverly Place (just west of 6th Ave.), minimum donation $60, call (212) 924-6980 for further information.

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].

October 23-26, Lisbon, Portugal, Lisbon International Symposium on Drug Policy. Sponsored by the Senlis Council, visit for info or contact [email protected].

October 25, 9:00pm-2:00am, Knoxville, TN, benefit show to help NORML-UTK do public education on medical marijuana, featuring "Drum-N-Bass" and "Groove Bubble." At Friends bar, Univ. of Tennessee, 17th St. & White Ave., general admission $5 or $3 for NORML members, 18 and over. For further information, contact Greg Webber at [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 Cité de Sciences et de L'Industrie, call +33(0) 1 48 58 31 37, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

November 9, 9:30pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Sixty Spins Around the Sun," documentary about comedian/drug reform activist Randy Credico. Screening at the American Film Institute Festival, visit for further information.

November 16, 3:30pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Sixty Spins Around the Sun," documentary about comedian/drug reform activist Randy Credico. Screening at the American Film Institute Festival, 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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