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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #312, 11/21/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: One Step Too Far
  2. Harsh New Drug Bill About to Be Introduced in House
  3. Jamaica: Ganja Decrim is Moving Again
  4. Incident at Goose Creek: Fallout Continues in Aftermath of High School Drug Raid
  5. DRCNet Interview: Youth Sociologist Mike Males
  6. Call Campaign Targets Congressmen Voting Against Medical Marijuana
  7. Newsbrief: Methamphetamine Labs Are Not Weapons of Mass Destruction, North Carolina Judge Rules
  8. Newsbrief: California Judge to Run for Senate on Legalization Platform, Libertarian Ticket
  9. Newsbrief: Mexico City's Top Prosecutor Goes Off the Reservation -- Talks Legalization While Fox Government Vows Loyalty to Drug War
  10. Newsbrief: California to Quit Sending Parolees Back to Prison Over Drug Tests
  11. Newsbrief: Arkansas Attorney General Rejects Medical Marijuana Initiative -- Again
  12. Newsbrief: Filipino Senator Calls for Firing Squads in Continuing Escalation of Drug War Rhetoric
  13. Newsbrief: Reform Judaism National Body Endorses Medical Marijuana
  14. Media Scan: Jack Cole of LEAP on Cultural Baggage Radio Show Next Week
  15. 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
  16. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions
  17. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Editorial: One Step Too Far

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 11/21/03

David Borden

It's easy when watching drug policy to think that the warriors can get away with anything. After all, they are dumping poisons on Andean peasants. They routinely bust down doors for routine drug busts, sometimes based on wrong information and sometimes killing people in the process -- and then they go on to do it again, and again. They have half a million people in jail or prison for drug offenses -- some of them not truly guilty in any meaningful sense of the word. And of course, they lie and lie and lie and lie and lie... the list of outrages goes ever on.

But sometimes they make mistakes. Tulia, Texas, is one example. Though it took years to correct, though the officials involved haven't owned up to their guilt, though the townspeople for the most part haven't apologized and thought the perpetrators may never be punished -- at least it was corrected, and a lot of people were woken up to the drug war in the process.

The frightening incident at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, was another such mistake. Americans have tolerated paramilitarized policing and Stalinist-style no-knock drug raids for years -- and they have tolerated an ever-growing oppression and abuse of youth for purposes of supposed drug control -- but in Goose Creek the warriors made the mistake of putting both of those things together, and people are angry.

Yes, the white townspeople, whose kids weren't targeted, are still mostly rallying around the police and the principal. But that consensus is breaking down, and far more rapidly than happened in Tulia. Goose Creek's superintendent has publicly criticized the raid, as have two of the local newspapers. The principal himself has finally pulled back a little, saying he didn't think the police would actually pull their guns on the students. One professor was actually quoted last week (albeit in this newsletter) likening the police squad's tactics to those one might consider using in the Sunni triangle for fighting terrorists!

Like Tulia, Stratford may be another turning point for stopping the war on drugs. A picture of a rally, distributed over drug reform talk groups this week, showed a Stratford High parent, with a Students for Sensible Drug Policy activist, holding a banner up calling not only for stopping the drug war but for ending prohibition itself. When parents start calling for an end to prohibition, not just of the drug war, things are getting serious.

I don't know who it was who first theatrically uttered the famous phrase, "This time they've gone too far," or where or when. But it seems appropriate here. Things went just a little too far in Stratford for the public to tolerate, and students and parents as a result are beginning to question situations and practices they may heretofore have taken as a given. When that kind of questions starts to take place, that is our opportunity to educate and get the kinds of people involved who are needed to bring about change. One step too far for the drug warriors at Stratford may mean one step -or maybe two -- in the right direction for our movement.


2. Harsh New Drug Bill About to Be Introduced in House

One of Congress's staunchest drug warriors, Rep. Mark Souder, is at it again. The Indiana Republican best known for authoring the Higher Education Act's anti-drug provision is about to introduce legislation that would jam federal prisons even more full of drug offenders. The bill, called with Orwellian flair the "Drug Sentencing Reform Act," is set to be introduced within the next two weeks, and Souder is looking for cosponsors, reported the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org), which has two staffers working Capitol Hill full-time and which is organizing to kill the bill.

According to an explanation of the bill provided in a Souder e-mail to his colleagues his legislation would:

  • Expand the purview of the Feeney Amendment, which restricts federal judges' ability to reduce sentences, to include drug offenses.
  • Mandate random drug testing for almost all federal parolees and probationers, not just drug offenders or people suspected of having substance abuse problems.
  • Direct the US Sentencing Commission to no longer allow lower sentences for nonviolent drug offenders who have certain mitigating circumstances (such as being addicted to drugs) or who lack previous criminal records.
  • Create harsh new penalties for growing "high-potency" marijuana.
"This was a little holiday surprise," said Bill Piper, legislative director at DPA's Washington office, "and it's not a very pleasant one. This bill is overwhelmingly bad," he told DRCNet, "it's all sentencing and no reform. This bill continues a trend of tying the hands of judges and preventing them from reducing sentences for drug offenders. Not only will more people go to prison for longer stays, the taxpayers will have to pay for it."

The sentencing provisions are not the only provisions that will leave taxpayers clutching their wallets, Piper said. "The mandatory drug testing provision will also cost," he said. "Right now, judges have discretion on ordering testing, and they usually only impose a drug testing condition on parolees who have drug charges or a substance abuse problem, but this bill would require everyone on supervised release to have drug tests, even if there is no reason to believe they might be using drugs. It costs money to test every single federal parolee or probationer," Piper explained.

And while corrections departments in the states are moving to rein in the practice of returning parolees to prison for "administrative" violations such as failing a drug test (see California newsbrief this issue), federal drug testing will be used to re-imprison thousands of nonviolent drug offenders for years, Piper added. There is an exception for some federal misdemeanors or if prosecutors move to waive drug testing. "When is that going to happen?" Piper asked. "The states are trying to fix this problem, but Souder is moving in the opposite direction."

And then there's Souder's continuing war on marijuana. Long a loud opponent of medical marijuana, Souder has crafted a "high-potency" pot provision seemingly designed to be used against medical marijuana grows in states where the practice is legal. According to the bill's draft, marijuana growing offenders will be sentenced not just on the weight of the drug but according to its potency. Souder's bill creates three classes of high potency pot, between 6 and 13% THC, 13-25% THC, and greater than 25% THC.

Souder and former SSDP
national director Shawn Heller,
moments before Souder loses
his cool in a televised
street encounter
in his district
The changes in sentencing for high-potency growers would be dramatic under the Souder bill. For instance, if someone grew 50 plants in California as part of a medical marijuana program, under current law he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. Under the Souder bill, the same grower would face a mandatory minimum 5-year sentence and a maximum 40-year sentence.

"This is really about the cultural war on marijuana," said Piper. "They know they're losing the battle in terms of public support for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. Both Souder and John Walters like to talk about 'super-pot,' not your father's pot, this dangerous high-potency stuff. They also want to go after the pot co-ops, and it's easier to say they're going after dangerous, high-potency marijuana than it is for them to argue that we need increased marijuana penalties across the board."

Medical marijuana users smoke marijuana with high THC concentrations because it works better for them, said Piper. "It is ironic that Souder would discourage people from using stronger marijuana. People using more potent pot smoke less, and that's good for their health. Souder is encouraging people to grow and smoke low-quality pot, which means marijuana smokers will just smoke more."

That provision also provoked the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) to jump in to oppose the bill. "This bill is a direct threat to the health of patients and to the caregivers and loved ones who assist them," said Steve Fox, MPP director of government relations. "Souder should call his bill the Lung Disease Promotion Act of 2003. The only serious health risks associated with marijuana use involve lung problems like bronchitis caused by the tars in smoke, and research has shown that users of higher-THC marijuana inhale less of those contaminants."

While Souder scurries around seeking cosponsors, DPA is gearing up to ensure that he finds few or none. "We're doing a whole bunch of things to blunt this bill," said Piper. "We're encouraging people to call their representatives and tell them not to cosponsor, we've contacted congressional offices with the same message, we've faxed every congressional office a one-page analysis, and we're working to get media around so people are too embarrassed to become cosponsors," he explained.

Visit http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/SouderEmail.pdf to view a copy of the Souder e-mail.


3. Jamaica: Ganja Decrim is Moving Again

It has been 26 years since an official Jamaican commission called for the decriminalization of marijuana in the ganja-friendly Caribbean island and four years since the latest National Commission on Ganja, headed by Dr. Barry Chevannes, was empanelled. Two years ago, after months of extensive hearings, that commission also called for the decriminalization of marijuana use, and while the Jamaican government vowed to move rapidly on its recommendations, efforts to do just that have been bottled up in parliament. Now, there is movement again, and a decrim vote in parliament could come by March, according to Jamaican sources.

On November 12, the Jamaican parliament's Joint Select Committee on the Report of the National Commission on Ganja gave its imprimatur to one of the seven recommendations for ganja decrim elaborated by the commission. The panel will meet again next week to address questions on the other recommendations and hear new testimony, including appearances from Keith Stroup of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org) and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org).

That effort is part of a push to get a decrim bill moving this session, said Member of Parliament Mike Henry, long an advocate of not just decriminalization but legalization, who is on the Joint Select Committee. "Several of us on the committee are pushing hard to get this bill before parliament, certainly during this session, which ends in March," he told DRCNet.

But Henry added that reform proponents were moving carefully to ensure that decrim is all it is supposed to be. "We are all for decrim, but we have some questions about what the word decriminalization actually means here," he said. "Will it be a civil offense? That is supposed to be the intent, but we have to be very careful because, based on our history and the behavior of our police, you may have some abuses if the law is not carefully crafted."

Sen. Trevor Munroe

If Henry is patient, Senator Trevor Munroe, who introduced the bill calling for a new national commission in 1999, is less so. In an impassioned plea for action in parliament during last week's session of the Joint Select Committee, Munroe scored his colleagues for their sloth and indecision on the ganja issue. "With the greatest of respect to participatory democracy, of which I am and remain an unapologetic advocate, we should not confuse participatory democracy with gross indecision, indecisiveness, and failure to implement what has been a consensus for 26 years," he said.

Paul Chang and the Coalition for Ganja Law Reform ("Ganja: Tax Regulate Control Educate") are doing their part to keep the pressure on. "We are trying to push the agenda forward and create momentum for decriminalization," Chang told DRCNet. "We are planning a national poll to make news, as well as a campaign of billboards, flyers, seminars, and activity in the streets to educate the population. And we are working with American reformers, such as NORML and the Drug Policy Alliance," Chang said.

"What I am seeing is that there is a real effort to have the decrim recommendations go to parliament before Christmas," Chang explained. "We have another committee hearing next week, when the Attorney General's office is supposed to enter its opinion. Keith Stroup and Ethan Nadelmann will testify then, and other American reform groups will enter written testimony in support. The question will be whether we can get a vote before parliament adjourns in March."

"Paul Chang asked a few individuals if they wanted to go down and testify and if they could do it without funding," said NORML's Allan St. Pierre, "and as far as I know, Keith and Ethan Nadelmann are both going down. Keith will hit all those tried and true points he always hits -- that decrim makes sense but legalization is better, that people who use marijuana are not deviants, and that every commission that has examined the topic has recommended these changes," he told DRCNet.

St. Pierre also expressed concern about the actual wording of a decrim bill. "I can almost see this passing, but with components added that would denude it and give lots of deference to the US-UN prohibitionist drug policies," he said. But while the US embassy in Kingston made some blustering noises when the ganja commission issued its report, US prohibitionists have been relatively silent on Jamaican decrim lately. "We have not seen anything like the saber-rattling we saw with Walters in Canada," St. Pierre noted. "It may be because Canada is our major trading partner. But even with US disapproval there is something almost ridiculously self-evident about marijuana law reform in a place like Jamaica, with its history, culture, and current practices."

The US is not the only opposition, Chang said. "We have to watch out for the churches down here," he said. "Some of them are very conservative."

Despite opposition at home and abroad, it appears likely that ganja decrim will finally have a vote before parliament this session. Stay tuned.


4. Incident at Goose Creek: Fallout Continues in Aftermath of High School Drug Raid

The fallout continues over the raid at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, earlier this month. The raid, in which Goose Creek police stormed a school hallway with guns drawn as they ordered cowering students to the floor, cuffing those who complied too slowly, caused a national furor as graphic videos from high school security cameras were shown repeatedly on national network television news programs.

No drugs were found during the raid, although the high school principal said he ordered the raid because of "increased drug activity" he thought he saw as he peered at the school's more than 70 security cameras. The principal added that he did not know police would conduct the raid with guns drawn.

The raid and subsequent uproar have caused rifts in Goose Creek, largely along racial lines. Although Stratford High School is predominantly white, the students assaulted by police during the raid were predominantly black. The South Carolina NAACP and the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project have both conducted meetings with aggrieved parents (mostly black) who say black students were targeted in the raid to plot legal strategies, while some white parents and faculty members have lined up in support of Principal George McCrackin and the Goose Creek police.

"The search seems to have been conducted in a part of the school frequented by African-American students who ride buses to school," the state NAACP chapter said in a news release. "There was no reported effort to search arriving personal vehicles, the predominant mode of transportation for white students."

That didn't seem to concern predominantly white parents and faculty who rallied in support of McCrackin and the raids earlier this week. Stratford High parent Robin Stout told the Spartanburg Times she supported the principal and the police 100%. "If I was going to place blame, it would have to be on the kids that have been bringing drugs to school," Stout said. "I wouldn't blame the school. I wouldn't blame the police department."

SSDP's Dan Goldman and a Stratford High parent
Outsiders who traveled to Goose Creek in the wake of the raid, including Loretta Nall of the US Marijuana Party (http://www.usmjparty.org) and Dan Goldman of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org) commented on racial tensions in South Carolina, where issues such as the prosecution of poor black women for prenatal drug use and the long-simmering conflict over the state's Confederate-style flag, have long stirred the racial pot. "It's hard to believe there is anyplace more racist than Alabama," said Nall, a resident of that fine state, "but I found it here."

Both Goldman and Nall reported being harassed by angry white guys, but they also reported positive meetings with students and parents as they attempted to organize around the raid and related issues. The activist tag-team spent a busy week, they told DRCNet. "On Monday, I began passing out "Notice to Law Enforcement" t-shirts that have the 4th Amendment printed on the back," said Goldman. "They were a huge hit. I also passed out a bunch of "No More Drug War" stickers and kids immediately began putting them on their cars and on themselves."

Goldman and Nall also copied and made available materials like the "Racism and the Drug War" section of Common Sense for Drug Policy's "Drug War Facts" (http://www.drugwarfacts.org) which they passed out to dozens of interested parents and students, as well as attending an NAACP-sponsored meeting on the issue that same night.

"I reminded them that they have the support of hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the country who share their outrage and that although this is going to be a long, hard battle ahead, they can count on SSDP and the broader drug reform community for support," said Goldman.

By Tuesday, students were wearing the "Notice to Law Enforcement" t-shirts to schoo,l and others were asking where they could get theirs, Goldman said. "I am happy to report that no student got in trouble for wearing the provocative but politically-protected attire," Goldman said.

Goldman got in some trouble, though -- when visiting the school campus to hand out stickers and literature from SSDP, Drug Policy Alliance and Flex Your Rights, two teachers first accused him of trespassing but then offered to take him to see Principal McCrackin -- an offer Goldman accepted with enthusiasm. McCrackin, as it so happened, had police officers with him in his office, and neither he nor they seemed to like the information at all. At one point McCrackin asked him who [Flex Your Rights founder] Steven Silverman was; at another point one of the officers told him he was being detained. (Lawsuit in the offing?)

Angry parents and "outside agitators" like Goldman and Nall are not the only ones protesting the raids. Berkeley County Superintendent of Schools Chester Floyd repudiated the police tactics last week. "I don't believe these particular tactics are acceptable," he told a public meeting. "I am sure that everyone is going to learn some lessons from this," he said.

And two of the state's leading newspapers, the State and the Charleston Post and Courier, have weighed in as well. "We support the goal of a drug-free environment for the teen-agers studying in high schools around our state," wrote a State editorialist. "We back the parents, educators and law enforcement officers who strive each day for an orderly, lawful and safe school environment. So there is no way we can back last week's armed incursion into Berkeley County's Stratford High School."

The Post and Courier, for its part, has editorialized on the topic twice since the raid two weeks ago. "The passage of a week has failed to quell complaints about a drug raid at Stratford High School, as witnessed by the public response at a school board hearing," the newspaper editorialized. "Small wonder. Most parents would be understandably irate over having police hold their children at gunpoint. They should be gratified to hear the Berkeley County School District superintendent say that it won't happen again. They should hear it from the school board as well."

Time will tell. The school district is reconsidering its policies, the Goose Creek police department has begun an internal investigation, and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is now two weeks into its estimated two-month investigation. And the parents, the NAACP, and the ACLU are contemplating lawsuits.

Visit http://www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-2313.html for online video footage of the raid.


5. DRCNet Interview: Youth Sociologist Mike Males

University of California at Santa Cruz sociologist Mike Males (http://home.earthlink.net/~mmales/) has been casting a jaundiced eye on the national discourse on youth for years. In an era when children are alternately viewed as potential "superpredators" or moral imbeciles incapable of protecting themselves from potential danger, Males brings a refreshing and provocative voice to the table. A senior researcher at the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco, Males is also author of such books as "The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescents" and "Framing Youth: 10 Myths About the Next Generation." DRCNet originally contacted Males for his insights on the South Carolina Stratford High School raid, and we found his comments so thought provoking that we came back this week for more.

Drug War Chronicle: You have written extensively about the scapegoating of youth. Generally, what do you mean by that? How is it manifested?

Professor Mike Males: Thirty years ago, Margaret Mead wrote that adults in societies experiencing rapid social change automatically fear youths as symbols of an alien, menacing future older age groups don't comprehend. While must cultures have taken steps to keep generations connected, Americans -- experiencing not just social, but racial evolution -- have let fear and hostility toward youth rage out of control. Today's American adults are irrationally afraid of youths and imagine that young people -- particularly in cities and states in which aging adults are white and youths are increasingly non-white -- harbor unheard of dangers and threats. Private industries have arisen to profit from grownup fright toward the young and advance their interests by inflaming them further. As a result, virtually every American social problem today -- drugs, drinking, smoking, violence, crime, guns, imprisonment, AIDS, obesity, poverty, anti-social behavior, bad moral values -- are quickly converted into epidemics caused by youths. Private and political interests across the spectrum push their own solutions to punish, manage and redirect the supposedly out-of-control young.

In reality, however, every standard measure shows that it is not teenagers but aging baby boomers who are causing today's most serious, fastest-growing problems with drug addiction, crime, imprisonment, AIDS, and family and community disarray. Because the older generation refuses to face its problems, it inflicts especially vicious stigmas and disinvestments on younger generations. As a result of rising adult paranoia that has no basis in reality, America is in a punishing, terrified rage against youths -- one, unfortunately, fed by interests from left to right across the spectrum. I spent a lot of time in "Scapegoat Generation" (1996) and "Framing Youth" (1999) showing that nearly all the imagined youth crises of today -- from guns to heroin to suicide -- are hallucinations. They simply do not exist, and the big problems are among the middle-agers. It is a disgraceful situation, and both the war on drugs and its reformist opponents advance their goals by deploying the worst disinformation about youth while ignoring the crisis of addiction, crime, and rigidly punishing moralism among older Americans that threaten young people far more than drugs ever did.

America's most catastrophic social crisis over the last 25 years has been the explosion in hard-drug abuse among aging baby boomers. More than 100,000 Americans over age 30 have died from overdoses of illegal drugs since 1980, and untold thousands more have died from illicit-drug effects, such as accidents and chronic abuse, and millions have been hospitalized in drug emergencies. Today the fastest growing population in terms of drug abuse, criminal arrest for violent, property, and drug offenses, and imprisonment is persons aged 35 to 59, mostly white. This middle-aged crisis underlies a parallel explosion in felony crime and imprisonment, family violence and community disruption, and drug-supply gangs whose conflicts have contributed to the murders of thousands of inner-city young men at the street level of drug distribution. The most recent federal Drug Abuse Warning Network figures, for 2001 and 2002, show drug abuse deaths and hospital emergencies are at record levels, worse than at any time in known history.

Yet no one -- certainly not the drug war, and bafflingly not reformers -- mentions this middle-aged drug crisis, which has skyrocketed every year as the drug war has escalated. Instead, drug reform groups have tamely gone along with the drug war's hysterical obsession with whether a few teens smoke pot, which is a non-issue. Teens comprise perhaps 2% of America's drug problem, but 90% of the raging controversy over drug use. That is scapegoating.

Chronicle: How does the war on drugs play into targeting young people?

Males: The drug war has prospered -- despite its massive failure to stem drug abuse after spending hundreds of billions of dollars and arresting 13 million people over the past 20 years -- by constantly whipping up fears of adolescents. Nearly every ONDCP, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and CASA press release today claims a massive, conveniently hidden teenage drug crisis -- the crisis rotates from coke to pot to heroin to meth to ecstasy to Oxycontin, etc. -- terrible scourges they claim parents would be terrified of if they knew about them.

The teen drug crisis does not exist. I've investigated nearly every one of them. There is no evidence of teenage deaths, hospital ER cases, or even addiction-related crime by youths that would be obvious if any real youth drug abuse epidemic existed. Rather, it is fear of some imagined youth crisis that drives the war on drugs. Today's San Francisco Chronicle reports John Walters was in San Francisco campaigning against medical marijuana because he says it makes pot sound harmless, leading many youths to smoke it when many are supposedly in treatment for pot abuse. Another article says an Oakland youth center has to move because medical marijuana clubs in Oaksterdam are a bad influence on kids. And on and on. It's easy to refute Walters' hysteria; the vast majority of youths forced into treatment for pot are there not for dependency, but for "non-dependent abuse," which mainly means just "use."

But the larger point is Walters' and drug warriors' relentless campaign to tie marijuana and other drugs to teenagers. Why do they do this? We spend a lot of time refuting wild exaggerations of the health dangers of pot or ecstasy, which is fine. But what we have to recognize is that a drug isn't illegal because of its potential for damage -- or else hard liquor and tobacco would be outlawed -- but because of who is perceived as using the drug. Teenagers are an unpopular, feared, even hated minority in the US that is falsely depicted as causing terrible social problems. In fact, teens use pot as responsibly as adults do, and they aren't causing terrible problems -- but the fearsome image created by the drug war is one of a massive, frightening youth crisis.

Unfortunately, several drug policy reform groups have issued public statements reinforcing the drug war's distorted claim that teens are suffering some kind of drug abuse crisis and agreeing that stopping teens from using any drug should be our drug policy's overriding goal. This is not simply dishonest, it's a politically insane strategy for reformers to pursue. What they are saying is that marijuana is so dangerous to teens that we should marshal the drug war to enforce absolute teen prohibition. Bizarrely, they somehow think this tactic will build support for their nonsensical claim that legalizing marijuana for adults will stop teens from getting it.

These groups comb dozens of surveys (including ones such as CASA's and PRIDE's that are completely biased and unreliable) that measure use of dozens of drugs across multiple adolescent groups and drug-use categories such as lifetime, monthly, etc. -- hundreds of numbers each year, which always show some drugs are being used a bit more and some a bit less -- in order to selectively ferret out any increase in teen use, no matter how insignificant. They then issue alarmist press releases alleging huge increases in this or that category of teenage coke or heroin or pot use and blaming the drug war for failing to "protect our children." Those kind of emotional, prohibitionist scare tactics are exactly what we condemn drug warriors for exploiting.

Meanwhile, 200 separate surveys by more reliable entities such as Monitoring the Future and the National Household Survey show without exception that teens find legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco far easier to get, and use them far more, than illegal drugs. The best information is that if we legalize marijuana, a few more teens and adults will use it, and that is no cause for panic. Surveys clearly show strong correlations between adult drinking, smoking, and marijuana use -- where adults use a lot, so do teens.

Crazier still, a few reform lobbies have even supported plans to continue arresting, even imprisoning, persons under 21 for even the smallest marijuana infraction as a ploy to win greater support for legalizing marijuana for use by adults. That is not reform; it just reinforces the drug war's traditional repressions aimed at younger, feared groups. Other, more responsible drug reform groups issue meaningless statements that pretend we can devise some "realistic" anti-drug education scheme aimed at teens that will lead to a society in which adults can party but teens will abstain. It can't be done and shouldn't be tried because it represents a fundamentally misplaced priority.

Youths have already demonstrated that they know the difference between hard and soft drugs. The vast majority of teen drug use today consists of (a) beer, (b) social, that is, weekend or occasional, cigarette smoking, (c) marijuana, and (d) ecstasy. They use softer drugs in more moderate quantities than adults do. That is why so few teens are dying from drugs or getting addicted. It is a major irony that today's adolescents already follow the very model of "harm reduction" that drug reform groups want to see society as a whole adopt, and yet we insist on depicting the teens as in some kind of terrible danger.

Trying to scare the public about teens is not just useless. The whole scheme of focusing on teenage drug use is just plain crazy for drug reformers. This country will never legalize pot as long as it remains so frightened of its youth and ready to believe any terrible thing any self-interest group says. In fact, teenage drug use is the least of our problems. We need to turn down the heat on this issue. Drug reform groups need to go back to basic honesty -- drug abuse (not use) is the problem, older (not younger) groups are suffering from addiction crises, the drug war's diversionary distortions about teens and its punitive policies have only made these worse, and it's time to spell out why America is caught up in its worst drug abuse crisis in history right now -- record peaks in hospitalizations and deaths from illegal drugs, as well as drug-related imprisonments, in 2001 and 2002. The worst crisis is a very real, gigantic increase in drug abuse by hundreds of thousands of older-agers -- mostly white folks -- that no one will talk about precisely because our real drug abusers are higher status, mainstream populations.

The Netherlands has done many fine things with drug policy, and its first step to reform was to change the public image of who abuses drugs from relatively harmless use of soft drugs by young people to the reality of hard-drug abuse by aging addicts. Unfortunately, the Dutch do a terrible job of surveys. You can find a Dutch survey to document anything you want about drug use. The only long-term ones, by the Trimbos Institute, indicate marijuana use was rare among Dutch teens 20 years ago but has since risen to levels comparable with the US. Clearly, the Dutch don't care much about whether 5% or 10% of their teens smoke pot in a given month, and we shouldn't either. It's irrelevant. The real victory is that the Netherlands brought down its heroin death rate by 50% over the past 20 years while heroin deaths in the US quadrupled.

Chronicle: Are you saying that teen drug use is less than it's cracked up to be?

Males: Teen drug use goes up and down, but teen drug abuse (in terms of overdose deaths) is far rarer today than it was 30 years ago, and far lower than middle-aged drug abuse today. Drug reform groups should stop trying to exploit fear of teenagers and just state the facts: Teens are not the drug problem, teenage use of marijuana is not a serious issue, and teens are far more endangered by the drug war's dereliction in preventing manifest drug abuse among their parents and other adults than they are by their own adolescent drug experimentation. Meredith Maran's new book, "Dirty," is fine when it sticks to profiles of individual teen drug abusers, but it is a disaster when it claims a massive teenage drug epidemic and evades the far worse drug abuse in her own baby boom generation.

Chronicle: What should be done about teen drug use?

Males: Let them handle it -- we have no choice in any case. We should have confidence in teens' judgment and learn from them. Teens are using milder drugs (beer, marijuana, ecstasy) in safer settings than adults, which is why teens suffer so few overdoses and deaths today. Of 20,000 drug overdose deaths in 2000, just 475 were under age 20 -- 16,000 were over age 30. Leave teens alone. Look instead at drug abuse by their parents, whose bad example of heroin, cocaine, meth, mixed-drug, and alcohol combined with drug abuse is the best (and most painful) education of the younger generation against hard drug abuse ever.

Chronicle: You talk about teens being scapegoated, but what about the issue of teen safety being used as a wedge for restricting the freedom of adults? And are reformers falling into this trap?

Males: Exactly -- hysteria that a teen might blaze up if pot were legalized is the central fear the drug war exploits to keep pot illegal. It's a phony fear -- neither criminalization nor legalization has anything to do with teen pot use. The Netherlands decriminalized pot and allowed its sale in coffee shops, and Dutch teenage marijuana use tripled during the 1980s and 1990s. The US arrested millions of people (half under age 21) for marijuana use in the 1980s and 1990s, and teenage marijuana use rose rapidly here as well. As of today, it's a wash -- Dutch teens are no more likely to use marijuana than US teens. Both drug warriors and drug reformers have lied shamelessly about whether Dutch-style legalization or US-style punitive prohibition better deters teens from smoking pot. In fact, neither approach has any relevance. Teens smoke pot in accordance with the adult customs of their respective countries, and the legal regime makes no difference.

Interestingly, surveys indicate that in years in which US teen pot-smoking is more prevalent, such as the late 1970s and mid-1990s, teenage death rates from drug overdoses of all kinds (already very low) go lower still. When fewer teens use pot, harder drug fatalities rise. It is time to get the calamitous, 125-year US drug war off dead center. Exploiting fear of drug use by unpopular, feared populations -- whether Chinese and opium, blacks and cocaine, Mexicans and marijuana, or teens and any drug -- just feeds the irrational panic that drives the drug war. America's drug abuse crisis is mainstream -- middle-American, middle-aged, and white. We should say that directly.

Chronicle: How do we remove the drug issue from the arsenal of those who would use it to oppress teens and adults alike?

Males: There is only one way to end a drug war -- to change the public perception of who uses illegal drugs, and to reduce fear of the feared population being used as a scapegoat. The reason the drug war fights medical marijuana so fanatically is that it changes the image of who smokes pot from rebellious teens to respectable, suffering old folks. What drug is stigmatized depends entirely on who is depicted as using the drug. That is why a reformer policy of hyping fear of adolescents is so completely self-defeating.

Chronicle: How do we try to address the broader issue of targeting teens?

Males: In two words: Stop lying. Teens are not the drug problem; not even a small fraction of the drug problem. If we legalize marijuana, and we should for all ages, teen use will probably rise by a small amount. It did in the Netherlands. They didn't panic over that, and we shouldn't either.

Chronicle: And how do we ultimately address the drug issue? Are you a legalizer? Regulator? Decriminalizer?

Males: I'm a legalizer for adolescents and adults alike. I would apply essentially the same standards to soft drugs that Italy or Greece apply to alcohol use. For harder drugs, we have to understand how baby boomers came to suffer such high abuse rates in order to establish regulations to make these drugs legal. Legalizing implies an active government role in preventing and treating drug abuse. Modern teens are the third generation exposed to hard drugs. They've shown they can handle drug availability without the high death rate that plagued baby boomers (the first group exposed to widespread hard drugs). That is a very hopeful sign; we should be publicizing it to reduce fear of adolescents.


6. Call Campaign Targets Congressmen Voting Against Medical Marijuana

press release from Americans for Safe Access -- come back next week for Chronicle report!

For the first time, a medical marijuana advocacy group is going after Congressmen where they live. Beginning Monday morning (11/24/03), every registered voter in four House Congressional districts will receive a phone call about their Representative's opposition to an amendment that would have stopped federal raids on medical marijuana patients and providers. Over 600,000 voters will be called during the week.

The recorded messages feature either a medical marijuana patient describing her plight or one of the jurors who recanted their verdict in the Ed Rosenthal medical marijuana cultivation case. Both explain that the House member voted to continue the current policy -- despite polls showing 80% of Americans support medical marijuana -- and ask that voters spread the word. The campaign targets Representatives Wally Herger (R, CA 2nd), Elton Gallegly (R, CA 24th), Joe Baca (D, CA 43rd), and David Wu (D, OR 1st).

"We're sure the congressmen are so busy with other matters that they don't realize how important the suffering of everyday people is to their constituents," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the organization sponsoring the calls. "We're educating the voters about the Congressmen's record, so those voters can educate their Congressmen about compassion."

Visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?list=type&type=79 to listen to the recorded messages by Rosenthal juror Marney Craig and medical marijuana patient Angel McClary-Raich, and for further information.


7. Newsbrief: Methamphetamine Labs Are Not Weapons of Mass Destruction, North Carolina Judge Rules

Watauga County, North Carolina, prosecutor Jerry Wilson thought he'd hit on a brilliant new tactic in his personal crusade against methamphetamine cookers when he came up with the idea of charging them under state terrorism laws. The meth labs were weapons of mass destruction, Wilson charged amidst a flurry of publicity.

Not so fast, said a Watauga County judge last week. On November 12, Superior Court Judge James Baker dismissed 15 WMD charges against 10 people accused of cooking meth. Making meth in home labs does not rise to the level of possessing, creating, or using weapons of mass destruction, despite Wilson's novel arguments, the judge ruled.

Eight of those accused were in the courtroom, unable to make bail set as high as $500,000 on the WMD charges. While those charges have now been dismissed, most of the defendants still face meth manufacturing charges.

District Attorney Wilson vowed to appeal.


8. Newsbrief: California Judge to Run for Senate on Legalization Platform, Libertarian Ticket

The name James P. Gray is well known to DRCNet readers as a 10-year+ opponent of the "war on drugs." Judge Gray, who serves on the Superior Court of Orange County, California, has announced that he intends to run for Senate on the Libertarian Party ticket.

DRCNet will be reporting on Judge Gray's candidacy next week, but in the meantime you can learn more about it from the following:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gray20nov20,1,5024361.story?coll=la-headlines-california
http://www.lp.org/lpnews/0401/jamesgray_senate.html

9. Newsbrief: Mexico City's Top Prosecutor Goes Off the Reservation -- Talks Legalization While Fox Government Vows Loyalty to Drug War

Mexico City's top prosecutor went on the record November 13 calling for the "slow legalization" of some drugs, with the government providing limited free distribution in an effort to combat the black market illicit drug business. At about the same time, Mexico's attorney general was in Ottawa telling the Organization of American States that member governments must fight any moves toward drug legalization.

In remarks made after a national security cabinet meeting and reported in the Mexico City daily La Jornada, Bernardo Batiz, head of the Mexican federal district's prosecutor's office, hardly sounded as if he were reading off the same script as Mexican attorney general Rafael Macedo de la Concha. "We could begin in the slum neighborhoods [presidios], which are places where there are true mafias dedicated to the drug traffic, and provide the drugs free and under medical control," suggested Batiz. "Beginning with that effort, from that experience, we could go to other places where the drugs would be provided freely."

The theme was discussed in the security cabinet meeting, Batiz told La Jornada, adding that participants discussed various ways of getting a grip on the drug market and fighting the ubiquitous retail drug trade. "It was said that it is possible to look for other paths," Batiz related. "I believe it is a problem hanging over us, and I think if there is a good treatment program and controlled delivery of the drugs, with a simultaneous medical project, and an education program for the youth, this problem could be sensibly reduced."

That's just the kind of talk Attorney General Macedo de la Concha was telling the OAS Monday he didn't want to hear. In a slap at his Canadian hosts, where marijuana laws are under siege and Vancouver hosts the hemisphere's only safe injection site, Macedo de la Concha insisted that the hemisphere must reject efforts to liberalize drug laws as part of its effort to suppress drug use and the drug trade. "Rejecting drug trafficking and preventing drug consumption without allowing its legal or controlled consumption is a form to do that," he said in prepared remarks. "The increased social acceptance" of drug use must also be fought, he added.

Macedo de la Concha's position is official policy; despite legalizer murmurings from members of the early Fox administration, Batiz's is not. And even while Batiz speculated aloud about a regulated drug distribution scheme, at the same meeting he was also plotting heightened enforcement of the drug trafficking laws and tighter cooperation with his federal counterpart.


10. Newsbrief: California to Quit Sending Parolees Back to Prison Over Drug Tests

The new administration of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Tuesday agreed to a settlement that will result in thousands of paroled California drug offenders avoiding a return to prison for "administrative" violations. The move comes only a week after the state's Little Hoover Commission, an independent state agency monitoring the efficiency of state programs, sharply criticized California's parole system as "broken" and a billion-dollar failure because of its high rate of parolees returned to prison. It should also save the cash-strapped state millions of dollars over the next few years.

The settlement came in a class-action lawsuit filed in 1994 by ex-convicts who charged that the state's handling of parole violators was unconstitutional. Under California practice up to this point, nearly 100,000 people a year were jailed or imprisoned pending hearings on their alleged parole violations. Now, parole violators who are not charged with a crime will instead be diverted to home detention, electronic monitoring, or residential drug treatment centers, among other options.

The new rules will apply only to parolees without serious felonies on their records and only for "administrative" violations, such as a positive drug test or missing a meeting with a parole agent, not to parolees charged with new crimes. State officials have said such a move could reduce the number of parole violators sent back to prison each year by one-third within the next three years.

"Some people will view this as soft on crime, but that's not the case," Michael Brady, deputy secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, told the Los Angeles Times. "Instead, we are taking people whose underlying problem is substance abuse and making sure they get help and get the tools they need to become law-abiding citizens."


11. Newsbrief: Arkansas Attorney General Rejects Medical Marijuana Initiative -- Again

For the second time in two months, Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe has rejected the ballot title and name of a proposed initiative that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state. He rejected an earlier draft last month.

But it could be that Beebe simply doesn't want to see such an initiative come before the voters. His reason for rejecting the initiative this time was that it was ambiguous, he wrote. He cited a section of the initiative that says it "shall not permit the medical use of marijuana that endangers the health or well-being of another person, such as driving or operating heavy equipment while under the influence of marijuana."

While the language appears straightforward -- this initiative would not protect marijuana-impaired driving -- Beebe pronounced himself baffled. "The scope and effect of this provision are unclear, in my view," he wrote. He also wrote that he was not sure how to interpret the phrase "shall not permit."

The initiative, drafted by the Alliance for the Reform of Drug Policy in Arkansas, would allow doctors to advise patients they could be candidates for marijuana use and would allow those patients to possess up to six plants or ounce of marijuana. The Alliance hopes to get the initiative on the ballot for the November 2004 elections, but each delay makes that process more difficult.

Looks like it's back to the drawing board for the Arkansas medical marijuana initiative -- or maybe to the courthouse, if state elected officials continue to play semantic games.


12. Newsbrief: Filipino Senator Calls for Firing Squads in Continuing Escalation of Drug War Rhetoric

Apparently, those informal Philippine anti-drug death squads aren't doing the trick (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/309/philippines.shtml). With the Southeast Asian archipelago in the full grip of drug war madness, Filipino politicians are in a competition to see who can be the "toughest" on drugs. Senator Robert Barbers climbed into the lead with comments last week calling for firing squads for drug offenders.

"With a substantial number of drug lords and pushers falling into the hands of our law enforcement authorities, the government should be more aggressive to weed out the illegal drug problem. It's not just enough to file proper charges against collared drug suspects in court. We have to line them up against the wall and shoot them. It's been since martial law years that a convicted high-profile Chinese drug lord was put to a firing squad, and now we have 38 convicts awaiting restitution [Editor's Note: By restitution he means execution] for their drug crimes," he said on November 12.

"How many more of our youth would be lured to intense drug addiction before the government could finally put a lid to the dangerous drug trade," Barbers said, adding that "in no way can the state protect their welfare if the government does not implement drastic measures."

With many, if not most, Philippine drug users also involved in the drug trade, Barbers would be protecting their welfare by having them shot. The Philippines' draconian anti-drug law (RA 9165) already imposes the death penalty for high-profile drug sellers, but just any old form of execution isn't enough for the bloody-minded Barbers: Bring on the firing squads! Of course, given the inexorable logic of relentless prohibitionism at work in the Philippines, Barbers will no doubt soon be derided as "soft on drugs" by other political figures willing to go even further.


13. Newsbrief: Reform Judaism National Body Endorses Medical Marijuana

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which speaks for the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, the Reform movement, has adopted a resolution supporting the use of marijuana for medical reasons. At its 67th General Assembly the first week of November in Minneapolis, the Reform association urged elected officials to support federal legislation "to allow the medicinal use of marijuana for patients with intractable pain and other conditions, under medical supervision." The UAHC represents more than 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues.

The resolution also urged the Food and Drug Administration to act through its Investigational New Drug program "to move research forward more quickly toward an approved product," and called for further research on marijuana and its compounds to develop "reliable and safe cannabinoid drugs for management of debilitating conditions." And, urging its membership to put its money where its mouth is, the resolution called upon congregations "to advocate for the necessary changes in local, state and federal law to permit the medicinal use of marijuana and ensure its accessibility for that purpose."

To arrive at successful passage of the resolution, submitted by Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos, California, members cited Jewish tradition as well as contemporary medicine. "According to our tradition," read the resolution, "a physician is obligated to heal the sick." The resolution cited Maimonides as the Talmudic authority. Less authoritative for the association was the state of research on medical marijuana. The resolution cited "anecdotally based reports" of marijuana's efficacy, as well as the 1999 Institute of Medicine report, but found the latter "inconclusive."

To read the resolution online, visit:
http://www.uahc.org/minnesota/preso/2003_Biennial_Resolutions_Packet_for_the_Congregations.pdf#page=15


14. Media Scan: Jack Cole of LEAP on Cultural Baggage Radio Show Next Week

The Cultural Baggage radio show will next week feature former undercover police officer Jack Cole, now the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc).

Listen online to Cole and host Dean Becker at http://www.kpft.org -- on Tuesday, November 25 2003, 7:30EST, 6:30pm CDT and 4:30PST. Those in Houston can tune in to KPFT directly at 90.1 FM.


15. 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 http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ 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 http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov 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:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/
http://stopthedrugwar.org/justice/
http://stopthedrugwar.org/stopthehelicopters/
http://www.raiseyourvoice.com
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 http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ 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.


16. 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 http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com/perryfund/ 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 http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com/perryfund/ for information and to apply, or to contact DRCNet at (202) 362-0030. Thank you for spreading the word.


17. The Reformer's Calendar

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

November 5-December 2, locations in western Europe, "Bolivien: Permanente Krise in den Coca-Anbaugebieten?" tour by Bolivian coca experts. Visit http://www.comma2000.com/cocaplants-tour/ for further information or contact +32 (0)3 237 7436 or [email protected]

November 21, 8:00pm, New York, NY, "Reading to End the War on Some Drugs and Users" and benefit for New York NORML. At the Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street at Stanton, call (212) 253-7246 for info.

November 22, 8:30am-noon, Landover, MD, "Our Justice System Today: A Collective Response to the Threat on Judicial Discretion." Fourth annual Prince George's County FAMM chapter forum, at First Baptist Church of Highland Park, 6801 Sheriff Rd., for information contact Bessie Morgan at (301) 386-3417 or [email protected], or Angelyn Frazer at (202) 822-6700 or [email protected].

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 http://www.ornorml.org for further information!

November 22, 6:00-9:00pm, Anchorage, AK, "Meet and Greet" with Marijuana Policy Project, sponsors of upcoming state marijuana reform initiative. At Mexico in Alaska, 7305 Old Seward Highway, RSVP to [email protected].

December 6, 10:00am-1:00pm, Washington, DC, Town Meeting on Ex-Offenders. Sponsored by R.E.A.C.H., Process Work DC and the International Graduate University, at 1325 D St. SE. Contact Wallace Kirby at (202) 582-8520 or Dr. Omowale Elson at (202) 483-1251 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 http://www.ihra.net or e-mail [email protected] for information.

April 22-24, Washington, DC, NORML conference, details pending, visit http://www.norml.org for updates.

May 20-22, Charlottesville, VA, Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. At the Charlottesville Omni Hotel, visit http://www.medicalcannabis.com for further information.

September 18, 2004, noon-6:00pm, Boston, MA, 15th Annual Freedom Rally, visit http://www.masscann.org for further information.


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