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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #313, 11/28/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: The Presidential Turkeys
  2. No Prison Time for Defendants in LA Cannabis Resource Center Case -- Judge Criticizes Prosecutors, DEA
  3. Judge James Gray in Senate Bid -- Will Challenge Boxer, Call for End to Drug War
  4. Newsbrief: Traffic Stop Not a License for Criminal Investigation, Illinois Supreme Court Says
  5. Newsbrief: North Carolina Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession a Misdemeanor, Not a Felony
  6. Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Questions School Drug Testing
  7. Newsbrief: Kentucky Bill Would Let Families Commit Drug Users to Rehab
  8. Newsbrief: US Denies Visa to Bolivian Coca Leader Evo Morales
  9. Newsbrief: Life Without Parole for LSD Manufacture Conspiracy
  10. Nearly One Out Of Three HIV Patients in Ontario Use Marijuana Medicinally, Study Says
  11. 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
  12. Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions
  13. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)

1. Editorial: The Presidential Turkeys

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 11/28/03

David Borden
One of the feature stories on the evening news this week was, in what has become an annual White House tradition, the pardoning by George W. Bush of two turkeys. "Stars" and "Stripes," their names selected in an online poll on the presidential web site, will live out their natural lives on a farm in rural Virginia.

As a 25 year vegetarian, I can't fault the turkey pardons. As a drug reformer, though, I couldn't help but think of another tradition that has never been used sufficiently, and which has not been observed at all for during the nearly three years since the Bush inauguration. That tradition is the granting of clemencies and pardons, in time for holidays and at other times, of human beings.

A few controversial clemencies by Bill Clinton in his last days in office seem to have gotten the annual pardon tradition off-track. Despite some criticisms, however, most of the Clinton commutations were solid. I've even benefited from some of them; I've gotten to meet Dorothy Gaines and Kemba Smith, mandatory minimum prisoners who shouldn't have been locked up and who deserved their freedom. The only problem with the Clinton drug pardons is that there were too few of them.

George Bush has yet to show such mercy in his term. There is still time, and he has strong allies in high places -- such as US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who called for resumption of the presidential pardon as part of a speech to the American Bar Association last August attacking mandatory minimum sentences and an over-reliance on incarceration. "A people confident in its laws and institutions should not be ashamed of mercy," Kennedy said. "Our resources are misspent, our punishments too severe, our sentences too long."

George Bush pardons turkeys but not humans
I even have a few names to suggest to him for starters -- Chrissy Taylor and Michael Mahoney, prisoners identified by Families Against Mandatory Minimums as almost having made the Clinton commutation list but not quite. Robert Riley would be another good one, a good man (and Drug War Chronicle reader) serving a life prison term. Lawrence and Lamont Garrison never should have been imprisoned in the first place, and should be released immediately. It's too late for Peter McWilliams, but I would really like to see his friend, medical marijuana patient and activist Todd McCormick, go free early. I protested the sentencing of medical marijuana provider Bryan Epis in Sacramento, and he should get out too. And a few hundred thousand more...

It's all well and good to pardon a couple of turkeys, make a speech for the press and have a laugh. But George Bush should send some people home too. Because prison is no laughing matter, and a lot of people are waiting. The time is now.

2. No Prison Time for Defendants in LA Cannabis Resource Center Case -- Judge Criticizes Prosecutors, DEA

A federal judge sentenced the officers of a now defunct West Hollywood medical marijuana club to probation Monday and used the hearing as an opportunity to chastise the Justice Department and the DEA for hounding medical marijuana providers. The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center's ( Scott Imler, Jeffrey Farrington and Jeff Yablin faced up to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to the obscure federal charge of maintaining an establishment for the purpose of possessing, distributing and manufacturing drugs. Now, instead of prison, they face random drug tests and community service.

Imler and the LACRC were medical marijuana pioneers in California. The center, which provided marijuana to cancer, AIDS and other patients, opened in 1996, soon after voters approved Prop. 215, the state's medical marijuana initiative, and the LACRC tried at every turn to cooperate with state and local officials to ensure that the operation stayed within California law. But the US Dept. of Justice cared not a whit that Imler and his colleagues were obeying California law, and the DEA raided the LACRC in October 2001. The raiders seized 559 marijuana plants and charged the trio with drug trafficking offenses. Those charges were bargained down to the charge the three pleaded to earlier this year.

But the victory proved to be a phyrric one for federal prosecutors. US District Judge A. Howard Matz tore into the prosecution, saying at one point, "To allocate the resources of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the US attorney's office in this case... baffles me, disturbs me." Matz was also resolute in insisting that the men had acted from the loftiest motives. "They didn't do it for money or political leverage," the judge noted. "They committed a crime to avoid the harm of the greater suffering of patients" by providing them with medical marijuana, he added.

Supporters memorialize LACRC and protest DEA raid.
Only six weeks after 9/11, federal police devoted scarce resources
to attacking medical marijuana clinics.
(photo courtesy LACRC.)
Matz also noted that Imler and his codefendants had been scrupulous in following California medical marijuana rules, citing letters from LA County Sheriff Lee Baca and Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles), both of whom wrote about how Imler had openly discussed the LACRC's operations with them. After that, Matz told the courtroom the prosecution of the three men was "badly misguided."

And Matz laid into prosecutors for downplayin Imler's own illness. He suffers from advanced lung cancer and is scheduled for surgery next week, but prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald argued that Imler's cancer was "not an extraordinary impairment." That prompted an angry retort from the bench. "I don't know these prosecutors, but to say this is not an extraordinary impairment shows that this person has had no direct experience with cancer," Matz snapped.

While supporters cheered the trio's avoidance of prison time and hailed Judge Matz's decision to depart downward from federal sentencing guidelines, they also pointed to the continuing federal offensive against medical marijuana in particular and reforming the drug laws in general. "Judge Matz has shown that common sense can prevail against the federal government's mean-spirited attacks," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, who was present at the sentencing. "But the drug warriors are trying to stop him. John Ashcroft is reviewing decisions like this, and Congressman Mark Souder is introducing the "Drug Sentencing Reform Act," which requires longer prison sentences for medical marijuana than child molestation."

And the battle continues. So far, some 45 Californians have been arrested on federal marijuana charges for activities that are legal under state law. But with sentences like those issued Monday to the LACRC 3 and the one issued to Ed Rosenthal earlier this year, even federal convictions can't guarantee the feds they'll be able to lock up their foes.

3. Judge James Gray in Senate Bid -- Will Challenge Boxer, Call for End to Drug War

A leading US anti-prohibitionist, California Superior Court Judge James Gray, has announced that is he running for the US Senate under the banner of the Libertarian Party. If he wins the statewide Libertarian primary on March 2, he will challenge sitting Senator Barbara Boxer (D) and her as yet undecided Republican opponent. His campaign will focus on ending the war on drugs, Gray said as he announced his candidacy November 19 at the Old Courthouse Building in Santa Ana.

"Every single vote I get will legitimately be seen in favor of repealing drug prohibition," he said. "I want to make this clear: If we focus our campaign on the drug war, people who agree with us will not worry about 'throwing away their vote' on a third-party candidate. Our campaign will convince them, because of our anti-war stand, that every vote will rightfully be seen as a vote to end the drug war."

Gray does not expect to defeat Boxer, but does hope to win 15% of the vote, which he said will be enough to redefine the debate about the drug laws and the war on drugs. "If we capture only a third of the votes of people who favor drug reform... that would be enough to make us a political force to be reckoned with and to put the drug war into the nation's political debate," he said.

Gray has drafted a four-part platform that includes reining in federal government spending, returning control of education and health care programs to local governments, requiring the federal government to pay the cost of illegal immigration, and ending the drug war. Gray's drug policy plank reads as follows:

"Repeal the failed and hopeless War on Drugs by restricting the role of the federal government to assisting each state to enforce its chosen laws. Crime was reduced by more than 20% within one year after we pursued this course with the repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, and the same results will be realized when we finally repeal Drug Prohibition. People must be held accountable for their actions, instead of for what they put into their bodies. The War on Drugs has directly created an enormously large and lucrative black market that has corrupted institutions, people in all walks of life, and, most especially, children, here and all around the world. In addition, it has enabled the sale of illicit drugs to provide huge amounts of funding for terrorists. Our policy should be changed for specified drugs like marijuana to be strictly regulated for distribution to adults -- and taxed -- and users of other drugs should be allowed legal access to them under the strict supervision of medical professionals. Medical programs of this kind are successfully reducing crime, drug usage and health problems today in countries like Switzerland and Germany, and we can emulate their success."

A California superior court judge for two decades, Gray went off the reservation in the early 1990s by calling for an end to prohibition, and in 2001 published "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs," a scathing attack on prohibitionist policies. In that book, Gray argued that the war on drugs has failed to reduce the amount of illegal drugs but has succeeded in eroding the civil liberties of Americans while at the same time making drugs more dangerous. "Drug policy reform is the most important issue facing this great country, and our so-called War on Drugs is our biggest failure," Gray wrote. The answer is realistic drug education, drug treatment, harm reduction programs, decriminalization, and the regulated sale of drugs, Gray concluded.

Since then, Gray has been a prominent speaker against the drug war and an effective advocate for reform. He has also resigned his membership in the Republican Party and registered as a Libertarian. In an article in the Libertarian Party house organ, Liberty, Gray wrote that he joined the party because "I realized that the major parties will never begin the process of ending the War on Drugs. The Republican and Democratic parties are invested in the drug war, committed to it. "It takes another party to do that -- one that holds dear the principles of liberty. The Libertarian Party is my natural home. And it is the Libertarian Party's historic mission to begin the peace process in the War on Drugs."

Visit for further information.

4. Newsbrief: Traffic Stop Not a License for Criminal Investigation, Illinois Supreme Court Says

In a pair of decisions handed down November 20, Illinois' highest court has held that police conducting traffic stops may not undertake criminal investigations of drivers or passengers without a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. The twin decisions broaden Illinois citizens' right to be free from unlawful search and seizure and provide greater protection than granted by the US Supreme Court in similar cases.

In one case, the court threw out the conviction of a man arrested after a drug dog sniffed his car during a traffic stop. In the other, the same line-up of judges threw out the conviction of a passenger who was arrested after providing identification to a police officer, who then used it to run a warrant check.

Roy Caballes was stopped for driving 71 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 80, and while one trooper wrote him a speeding ticket, another trooper arrived with a drug-sniffing dog and walked around Caballes' vehicle. When the dog alerted, troopers searched the vehicle, found marijuana in the trunk, and arrested Caballes.

Caballes filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the search was illegal because there was no reasonable suspicion that he was in fact committing a crime. In trial court testimony, prosecutors produced no tell-tale smells, roaches in ashtrays, or any other evidence other than that Caballes appeared nervous and was wearing a new suit. The motion was rejected and Caballes was convicted. He appealed, and last week the Illinois Supreme Court agreed that the drug dog search resulting in Caballes' arrest was not allowed.

traffic stop reenactment
courtesy Flex Your Rights Foundation
"The police impermissibly broadened the scope of a traffic stop in this case into a drug investigation because there were no specific and articulable facts to support the use of a canine sniff," wrote Justice Thomas Kilbride in the 4-3 opinion.

The same logic prevailed in the case of Raymond Harris, a passenger in a car stopped for an illegal left turn. When the sheriff's deputy involved discovered the vehicle's driver had no valid driver's license, he asked Harris to produce his. Harris did so, and the deputy then checked his identity for outstanding warrants. Harris had one, was arrested on the old warrant, and upon being searched subsequent to arrest was found to be in possession of crack cocaine. He was convicted, but appealed, arguing that police had no probable cause to run a warrant check on him.

Again, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed. "The warrant check was not supported by a reasonable, articulate suspicion that Harris had committed or was about to commit a crime," Justice Charles Freeman wrote, overturning Harris' conviction.

While Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is threatening to take the rulings to the US Supreme Court, one legal observer told the Illinois State Journal that the decisions were "pretty unreviewable" because federal law allows the states to grant more due process rights than required under federal law. And that's a good thing, said Andrea Lyon, president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a professor at DePaul University College of Law. "I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised because, over the last few decades, we have been giving up so much of the Fourth Amendment," Lyons said. "What the Illinois Supreme Court is doing is saying, 'We take our citizens' right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures seriously.'"

To read the decision in People v. Caballes, visit:

To read the decision in People v. Harris, visit:

5. Newsbrief: North Carolina Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession a Misdemeanor, Not a Felony

Twice this month the North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that drug possession must be treated as a misdemeanor, not a felony, but those decisions are on hold pending a state Supreme Court review, and the legislature is scrambling to rewrite the state's muddied drug statutes. While the reflex response from legislators is to reinstate drug possession's felony status, some observers are suggesting that it could be an opportunity to revisit the entire scheme of drug sentencing in the Tarheel State.

If upheld, the rulings could have enormous consequences. Since the dawn of the crack era, tens of thousands of North Carolinians have been sentenced to prison as possession felons, and thousands more have been charged as habitual criminals or felons in possession of a firearm based on possession felonies. Those sentences and charges would have to be revisited if the state Supreme Court agrees with the appeals court.

In its first ruling on the issue earlier this month, the Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of Norman Jones, who had pled guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and who was subsequently convicted as a habitual offender. It cited conflicts in state law. Under North Carolina law, a felony is defined as any crime that is punishable by time in state prison. But a separate statute defines cocaine possession as a misdemeanor "punishable" as a felony by up to five years in prison.

That decision was greeted with howls of outrage and protest by North Carolina cops and prosecutors. The Attorney General's office filed papers with the state Supreme Court seeking a stay and arguing that any crime that is punished as a felony is a felony, regardless of legislative language. Thousands of current and prior cases could be appealed, the Attorney General's filing warned. The Supreme Court agreed to a stay pending the state's appeal.

But a week later, the Court of Appeals sent a clear signal the storm brewing over its decision had not caused a change a heart. On November 20, citing the same legislative conflict, the court overturned Corey Tyrone Sneed's conviction as a habitual felon and a felon in possession of a firearm, and threw out his eight-year prison sentence. "Since the General Assembly made this law, it is not within the province of this Court to employ legal gymnastics to read the clear language differently than what it states," said the unanimous opinion, written by Judge James Wynn.

For the state's largest newspaper, the Charlotte News & Observer, the imbroglio is a good opportunity to restore some sanity in drug sentencing. "Lawmakers may be tempted to affirm a felony label for the offense and let that be that," the paper observed in a November 21 editorial. "Yet some thought is called for, since possession as a felony can trigger much longer prison sentences -- for instance, in the form of habitual felon sanctions. The fairness of such sentences is debatable, at best... Communities need drug laws that deal harshly with cocaine dealers, and stiff penalties are reasonable for people arrested repeatedly for possession. But for possession to be classed as a felony, irrespective of the amount of the drug, seems excessive when it hasn't involved violence or dealing."

Only time will tell if the legislature will follow the high road suggested by the News & Observer, but for now, both the legality and the morality of North Carolina's harsh drug sentences are topics for debate.

To read the opinion in State v. Sneed, visit:

To read the opinion in State v. Jones, visit:

6. Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Questions School Drug Testing

In a November 20 ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the state constitution's privacy provisions protect high school students from "suspicionless" drug testing. The court's finding came in the case of Kimberly and Jennifer Theodore, who had sued the Delaware Valley School District over its policy imposing random drug tests on students involved in extracurricular activities, student athletics, and students who wished to receive school parking permits. In its ruling, the court refused a motion from the school district to dismiss the Theodores' lawsuit.

Jennifer Theodore was subjected to drug testing because she belonged to the National Honor Society and several academic clubs, while Kimberly Theodore was subjected to the tests because she participated in athletics. Both passed their drug tests and have since graduated, but their legal battle continues.

In its opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court blasted the school district for failing to show proof that its students have a drug problem, for failing to show that the targeted students contributed to any drug problem, and for failing to show how the district's drug testing policy addressed whatever drug problem existed. The court also had some scathing words for the district's plan of testing student leaders as a means of setting an example for the student body. "The theory apparently is that, even in the absence of any suspicion of drug or alcohol abuse, it is appropriate to single these students out and say, in effect: 'Choose one: your Pennsylvania constitutional right to privacy or the chess club,'" wrote Justice Ronald D. Castille in the 32-page opinion.

To read the opinion in Theodore vs. Delaware Valley School District, visit:

7. Newsbrief: Kentucky Bill Would Let Families Commit Drug Users to Rehab

A bill that would allow drug users to be involuntarily committed to drug treatment centers has been introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly. The bill, the "Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Prevention," would allow family members, friends, or anyone else, for that matter, to petition a Kentucky court seeking the involuntary commitment of a "drug abuser." Wethington was a 22-year-old Morning View man who died of a heroin overdose last year.

Under current Kentucky law, no adult can be forced to seek drug treatment. But under the bill pre-filed for the 2004 session by state Rep. Thomas Kerr (R-Taylor Mill), a longtime friend of the Wethington family, that would change, with drug users facing the same sort of involuntary commitment procedures used against mentally ill people who are found to be a danger to themselves or others.

Friends or relatives of drug users could petition for a treatment commitment hearing from a district court judge. If, after hearing a doctor's evaluation, the judge deems the person a danger to himself or others, that person could be committed to a treatment center for 60 to 360 days. Failure to comply with a commitment order would be construed as contempt of court, with criminal penalties.

"The analogy is a person who suffers from drug abuse really is in the same position as someone with mental health problems. They've lost the ability to make decisions for themselves," Kerr told the Kentucky Post last week. "When you have an individual that's a family member that has drug problems and that person is an adult, under current law there is nothing a family member can do to intervene," Kerr said.

Kerr filed a similar bill this year, but it died in part because of budget concerns. Under his original bill, Medicaid would have picked up the tab for treatment costs. In next year's version of the bill, however, the person petitioning for the involuntary commitment would have to pick up the tab.

The bill will be considered by the Kentucky General Assembly in its session beginning in January.

Visit to read the bill online.

8. Newsbrief: US Denies Visa to Bolivian Coca Leader Evo Morales

Bolivian coca grower leader Evo Morales, who also heads the country's second largest political party, the Movement Toward Socialism, was denied an entry visa from US officials to attend last week's demonstrations in Miami against the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. According to Agence France Presse, consular officials at the US Embassy in Bolivia failed to respond at all to Morales' visa request, forcing him to cancel his planned trip.

The US Embassy in Bolivia is no friend of Morales. It has publicly accused him of links with the drug trade and hinted that he has ties to "terrorism" or a guerrilla insurgency. Neither is the US happy with Morales' preeminent role in attacking forced coca eradication, the central pillar of US policy in the Andean nation, or with his role last month in forcing out President Sanchez de Lozada, who resigned in the wake of bloody street protests over gas privatization, coca eradication and economic issues.

And Morales is no friend of the US Embassy. "To get the visa to go to the United States, you have to be a corrupt, genocidal, narco-politician," Morales told AFP. "That is the case with Oscar Eid and Carlos Saavedra Bruno," both of whom were granted visas to attend the Free Trade summit. Eid, who was a principal advisor to Sanchez de Lozada, served four years in prison for links to the drug traffic. Saavedra Bruno is a former Bolivian chancellor who helped implement "zero coca" policies in the country.

Morales told AFP that he would continue to seek a visa to enter the United States. He needs one to be able to accept an invitation from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples at the UN in New York.

But perhaps Morales was fortunate in not making the Miami demonstrations. Reports of unwarranted arrests, police attacks on peaceful demonstrators, abuse of persons jailed during the demonstrations, and other law enforcement misbehavior in Miami are now filtering out, although they have been ignored by the mainstream media. Amnesty International and the AFL-CIO are among organizations calling for an investigation into the Miami "police riot" led by Police Chief John Timoney.

9. Newsbrief: Life Without Parole for LSD Manufacture Conspiracy

A former University of California drug researcher was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday after being convicted of one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 10 grams of LSD and one count of possession of LSD with intent to deliver. Another man convicted in the case will serve 30 years with no chance of parole.


Leonard Pickard

William Leonard Pickard, 58, of Mill Valley, California, faces two consecutive life sentences after his conviction in a case that originated with a LSD lab discovered in a Kansas missile silo two years ago. In a case that the DEA trumpeted as "the largest LSD lab bust in history," DEA agents seized more than 90 pounds of LSD. A government informant, Gordon Todd Skinner, testified that Pickard and his partner, Clyde Apperson, had been producing a kilogram of LSD, or about 10,000 doses, per week at a New Mexico lab.

Other testimony in the case established that the DEA had only seized four complete LSD labs in its history. Pickard and Apperson were involved in three of those seizures, in Oregon in 1996, in California in 1998, and the present case in Kansas.

St. Louis DEA Special Agent in Charge William J. Renton, Jr., crowed that the pair were very big fish indeed and their convictions had wiped out the US LSD market. "The sentencing of William Pickard and Clyde Apperson brings to conclusion their significant role in the international production and distribution of LSD," he said. "These defendants were proven, by overwhelming evidence, to be responsible for the illicit manufacture of the majority of the LSD sold in this nation. The proof of the significance of these prosecutions and convictions lies in the fact that LSD availability in the United States was reduced by 95% in the two years following their arrest."

Pickard and his supporters maintain his innocence and allege numerous acts of prosecutorial conduct during the trial. An appeal is underway.

Visit the Pickard support web site at for further information about the case.

10. Nearly One Out Of Three HIV Patients in Ontario Use Marijuana Medicinally, Study Says

courtesy NORML Foundation,

Approximately one in three HIV patients in Ontario uses marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the results of a study presented this week at the 2003 Ontario HIV Treatment Network research conference.

Among HIV-positive Ontarians, 29 percent use cannabis therapeutically, study presenter Michelle Furler of the University of Toronto said. Respondents explained that they used marijuana to stimulate appetite, aid sleep, and alleviate nausea and vomiting. A higher percentage of female respondents noted that they used marijuana for pain management.

Almost half of those who used cannabis medicinally said they used it daily.

According to a recently study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, use of inhaled marijuana demonstrates "no major, short-term harmful effects and possibly some beneficial effects... in HIV-infected patients taking protease inhibitors."

Presently, clinical trials examining the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in HIV patient populations are ongoing at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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 for further information or contact +32 (0)3 237 7436 or [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.

March 27, 2004, noon-6:00pm, Sacramento, CA, Medical Marijuana Rally. At the State Capitol, L & 12th, north steps, featuring singer/songwriter Dave's Not Here, speakers, entertainment. Contact Peter Keyes at [email protected] or (916) 456-7933 for further information.

April 18-20, 2004, Washington, DC, "America's in Pain!", March on Washington and Chronic Pain Patients Leadership Summit. For further information, visit http:// or contact Mary Vargas at (202)-331-8864 or Siobhan Reynolds at (212)-873-5848.

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

April 22-24, Washington, DC, NORML conference, details pending, visit for updates.

May 20-22, Charlottesville, VA, Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. At the Charlottesville Omni Hotel, visit for further information.

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

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