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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #323, 2/6/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Drug War Kills More Than a Cop a Month
  2. HEA Struggle Enters New Year as Bush Budget Pushes Souder Reform
  3. Mothers to Mothers: New York Drug Reform Activists Visit Argentina
  4. Marijuana Rx for Methamphetamine? Hawaii May Give It a Try
  5. Offer and Appeal: New StoptheDrugWar.org Ink Stamps and Strobe Lights -- DRCNet Needs Your Support in 2004
  6. Newsbrief: San Francisco Releases Proposition S Report, Gives Okay to Possible City-Supported Medical Marijuana Co-ops
  7. Newsbrief: Update -- Colorado Confrontation on Hold Pending Federal Court Ruling
  8. Newsbrief: Lane County Won't Be Sensible -- Group Ends Marijuana Amendment Effort
  9. Newsbrief: Florida Pain Doctor Sees Murder Charge Dropped
  10. Newsbrief: Dutch Do De Facto Decriminalization for Small-Time Cocaine Smugglers
  11. Newsbrief: The Continuing Revolt of the Black Robes, Part I
  12. Newsbrief: The Continuing Revolt of the Black Robes, Part II
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  14. This Week in History
  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. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Drug War Kills More Than a Cop a Month

Drug War Chronicle has reported with depressing regularity on people killed by police prosecuting the war on drugs. This week, we look at the flip-side: the number of police officers killed fighting the drug war. Working from a list of 146 officers killed in the line of duty last year presented on the Officer Down Memorial Page (http://www.odmp.org), part of a larger pro-police web site, Officer.com, and digging into the background of the sometimes incomplete reports, DRCNet has found that at least 14 police officers, or slightly more than one per month, were killed enforcing drug prohibition last year.

And the toll continues. The latest prohibition-related police fatality occurred just last week, when 24-year-old St. Louis Police Officer Nick Sloan was killed while working undercover to make a drug purchase as part of the federally-funded Weed and Seed program. When Sloan and other officers attempted to arrest Dennis Hathorn, 31, of nearby Centreville, Hathorn grabbed Sloan's weapon and opened fire, killing Sloan and wounding his partner, Police Officer Gabriel Keithley. Hathorn was in turn shot and killed by other police.

LEAP director Jack Cole at the
European Parliament Out from the Shadows
conference, Brussels, Belgium, October 2002
"I just spoke with a relative of a police officer who was a friend of the one killed in St. Louis," said Jack Cole, director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.leap.cc), who happened to be in Missouri this week for a set of appearances detailing the group's opposition to the drug war. "She came up to me after a speech almost in tears, telling me about that dead officer," Cole told DRCNet. "I would bet you anything that the guy who shot him was not a big time criminal."

Cole would win that bet. According to St. Louis police, Hathorn had no criminal record. His mother told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her son, a railroad worker, was having money troubles. "After this incident happened, one of his friends told me that Dennis had financial troubles with child support and that he was thinking about finding someone to show him how to sell cocaine until he could get on his feet," said Francis Hathorn. "The police said they found crack cocaine in his pocket. I can only go by the reports of the police. I would have said, 'No, he never would get involved in drugs.'" Hathorn added, "Dennis may have thought he was being robbed. I know he didn't know they were police officers."

While the younger Hathorn was relegated to the dustbin -- in an article Thursday on Officer Sloan's funeral, he was referred to only as "a drug dealer" -- Sloan's death was marked by an outpouring of official grief.

"These police deaths are totally unnecessary," said Cole. "If we ended drug prohibition, none of these officers would have had to die. We're killing our police. All we have to do is legalize drugs and that would not be happening. Can't we learn from Alcohol Prohibition?" Cole asked. "We had the highest murder rate in our history and cops were dying right and left."

"These are casualties of war," said LEAP member Peter Christ, a retired police captain with 20 years of experience fighting the drug war. "It's a war we shouldn't be fighting," he told DRCNet. "Drug prohibition creates an environment where we put cops in a job where they can't win, and you have to expect these kinds of results. The answer is a no-brainer, at least for me: You have to legalize drugs."

Officer.com identified 146 police officers who died in the line of duty last year, a figure in line with recent years, when, except for 2001, the number of police killed has hovered between 150 and 200 each year. Nearly one-third of those died in car crashes, while among those killed confronting criminals, responding to domestic disturbances proved to be a leading killer. But at a minimum, almost 10% of all police line-of-duty fatalities last year came in the war on drugs. They include:

  • Officer Andre Gerard Booker, 26, Henrico County Police Department, VA, killed January 12, 2003. Booker drowned when his patrol car sank in an icy pond as he was maneuvering to block the road to stop a fleeing suspect. Although authorities charged the suspect in the case with Booker's murder, he was not convicted of the death. He was convicted of possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance.
  • Patrolman Jeremy (Jay) Carruth , 29, Alexandria Police Department, LA, killed February 20, 2003. Carruth was one of two Alexandria police officers killed in a shootout with escaped fugitive Anthony Molette, 25. Molette had broken out of the parish jail, where he was serving a sentence for sale of Schedule II drugs. He had been arrested numerous times before, including eight separate times for drug offenses. Four of those arrests were for "anti-drug loitering" or "drug trafficking loitering." After he escaped from jail, Molette ambushed another police officer the day before he turned an AK-47 on Carruth and his partner. Molette was killed by police later in the same engagement.
  • Private First Class David Ezernack, 26, Alexandria Police Department, LA, killed February 20, 2003. Ezernack was the other Alexandria police officer shot and killed by Molette.
  • Deputy Sheriff Randy Smith, 31, Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Department, LA, killed April 16, 2003. Smith was shot and killed while attempting to arrest Frank Jack, who had escaped from the Evangeline Parish jail two months earlier. Jack was in jail for distribution of counterfeit drugs. Jack was shot and killed by police during the same incident.
  • Police Officer Mary Ann Collura, 43, Fair Lawn Police Department, NJ, killed April 17, 2003. Collura was shot and killed and another police officer wounded in a shootout at the end of a vehicle chase where passengers were seen throwing items from the car as it fled. Police in nearby Clifton began the pursuit, and Collura joined in to provide assistance, but was shot and killed in a struggle once the vehicles came to a stop. According to the police, her killer stole her car and ran her over as she lay dying. That killer was "drug dealer Omar Marti of Passaic," who in turn was killed in a shootout with police three days later in Florida.
  • Officer Tony Zeppetella, 27, Oceanside Police Department, killed June 13, 2003. Zeppetella was shot and killed during a traffic stop by Adrian George Camacho, 30. Camacho was identified as a gang member and was in possession of methamphetamine. He was wounded, but fled to a relative's house, where, surrounded by more than 50 police, he surrendered after a four-hour standoff. He faces murder charges.
  • Sergeant Michael Johnson, 39, Vermont State Police, VT, killed June 15, 2003. Johnson died attempting to place spike strips on Interstate 91 to stop 23-year-old Evan Daley, who, facing drug charges in Vermont and New Hampshire, sped away from a traffic stop minutes earlier. After placing the strips on the highway, Johnson was standing in the median when Daley swerved to avoid the strips and hit him. Daley didn't stop, but was caught two days later in Pennsylvania and faced charges of second-degree murder in Johnson's death.
  • Police Officer Douglas E. Wendel, 41, Richmond Police Department, VA, killed July 30, 2003. Wendel was shot and killed after responding to a call about a suspected drug dealer in the city's Southside. Wendel was patting the suspect down when he felt a gun, and a struggle ensued. Peter Lee Boone, 19, was convicted of shooting Wendel four times and sentenced to life in prison. At the time of the incident, Boone was on probation on a drug charge.
  • Deputy Stephen Sorensen, 46, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, CA, killed August 2, 2003. Sorenson disappeared after responding to a trespass call. Witnesses reported hearing six shots, and after searching the area for an hour, other deputies found his body. He had been shot six times with a .223 rifle before his feet were tied together and his body was dragged into the desert. Deputies found meth lab chemicals in the area, leading to the theory he had discovered a meth lab. The man who admitted killing Sorenson died a week later in a blazing inferno. Surrounded by deputies at Lake Los Angeles area house, the man responded to tear gas and battering rams with gunfire before the house burst into flames.
  • Sergeant Rodney L. Davis, 30, Greene County Sheriff's Department, VA, killed August 26, 2003. Davis was shot and killed as he and another deputy attempted to serve a warrant on a man for selling crack cocaine. The suspect was also killed when deputies returned fire.
  • Narcotics Officer Donnie Washington, 31, Richland County Sheriff's Department, SC, killed October 16, 2003. Washington died in a one-vehicle car accident while on duty as an undercover narcotics officer.
  • Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, 26, Burbank Police Department, CA, killed November 15, 2003. Pavelka was shot and killed while doing back-up on a traffic stop. After the driver of the vehicle was unable to produce a driver's license, he and his passenger came out firing handguns. One of the suspects was killed in the exchange of gunfire; the other fled and was arrested in Tijuana, Mexico. He faces murder and attempted murder charges. Police found methamphetamine and several semi-automatic rifles in the vehicle.
  • Sergeant Hubert (John John) Yancey, 35, Scott County Sheriff's Department, TN, killed November 28, 2003. Yancey was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer while conducting a raid on a suspected meth lab. The first deputy inside the residence noticed someone hiding in a closet and took cover when the door began to open and women residents began screaming. Thinking his fellow officer was in trouble, Yancey entered the building, and the deputy, thinking he had an armed suspect, shot him. Four people were arrested on methamphetamine charges, but were not charged in Yancey's death.
  • Trooper Nikky J. Green, 35, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, OK, killed December 26, 2003. Green was shot and killed after he stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the side of the highway. During the stop, Green discovered the occupant had been cooking meth in the vehicle. A struggle ensued, and the suspect shot and killed Green with his own weapon. The suspect was caught two days later and faces murder charges.

BREAKING: In addition to LEAP's web site, you can read about them on the front page of today's issue of the northern New Jersey newspaper The Bergen Record.


2. HEA Struggle Enters New Year as Bush Budget Pushes Souder Reform

The political battle over the Higher Education Act's (HEA) anti-drug provision, which bars students with drug convictions from obtaining federal financial aid for college for specified periods, is heating up. With the release of its fiscal year 2005 budget, the Bush administration signaled that it is supporting a move by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), the provision's author, to redraw the measure to include only students who are convicted of drug offenses while they were in school. But that doesn't go far enough for the coalition that has grown up around the issue, which wants to see outright repeal of the anti-drug provision, and the battle lines are being drawn as the HEA faces a reauthorization fight this year.

Stung by criticism from across the educational establishment and harried by student drug activists, drug warrior Souder has engaged in a tactical retreat from the law he wrote. The wording of that provision clearly made no distinction between old drug arrests and arrests made while students are in school, but according to Souder, that's not what he meant. He only meant to include students arrested while in school, he said.

Now, in the 2005 Department of Education budget, the Bush administration has included Souder's anti-drug provision version 2.0 in its proposals around HEA reauthorization. In a press release announcing the new budget, the Department of Education noted that the budget seeks to:

"Clarify that student aid applicants who have been convicted of a drug-related offense are only ineligible for Federal student aid if the offense was committed while they were attending school."

The proposal was part of a package of HEA proposals that also included reducing interest rates for most borrowers, slightly increasing loan limits, broadening repayment options, and increasing loan forgiveness for math and science teachers in poor communities.

"This is a clear signal that they want to change the policy," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance's Washington office, a member of the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR). "Souder now claims that the anti-drug provision has been misinterpreted from the beginning, but what is unclear is whether the Bush administration will be able to unilaterally change the provision," he told DRCNet. "There are two different versions of Souder's reinterpretation in the House and Senate bills for the Office of National Drug Control Strategy budget, and HEA reauthorization is coming up in a month or two."

"This means it is more likely that the Souder proposal will pass, which we have mixed feelings about," said Scott Ehlers, outreach coordinator for CHEAR, a coalition which includes such organizations as the NAACP, the ACLU and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. "If his reform proposal passes, that opens up aid for more students, but it also may make full repeal more difficult, and that's what we really want."

The fact that the Souder proposal showed up in the Education budget suggests that Souder asked the president to put it in, said Ehlers. "This is really more of a policy issue than a budget issue," he said, "but putting this in the Education budget sends a signal to congressional Republicans that this is the president's policy on this issue. This makes me more confident that we will get some sort of reform this year, but the question is how far it will go. It is important that we get reform, but partial reform isn't enough."

Still, the likely passage of the Souder proposal showed up in the budget does not fundamentally change reformers' strategy, said Ehlers. "We're going ahead with the successful game plan that we have previously laid out," he said. "We've won on the message that HEA needs to be fixed, now we need to work to get full repeal."

DRCNet executive director David Borden recounted that an amendment offered by Rep. Souder in the Education and the Workforce Committee in May 2000 would have enacted his proposed reform back then. "For half a year we and our allies on Capitol Hill believed, albeit incorrectly, that the Souder reform was pretty much a done deal, and we communicated this to our grassroots networks. Yet there was no perceptible dampening effect on the enthusiasm of activists or interest in Congress in full repeal. I believe that repeal remains a viable eventual goalt, even after Souder's partial scale-back of the law actually happens." Borden added, "Souder has been talking about this change for five years, but made no concerted effort until now to actually ensure it happened. So we're not sure whether his motivation is compassion for some would-be students, or if he just saw it as a good public relations strategy to pose as the reformer."

The effort moves into a new phase next week, with announcements set to go out on Monday from DRCNet (the founding and coordinating organization of CHEAR), Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and other organizations, calling a national phone-in day on Thursday to lobby legislators, a student-led national day of action in the spring and a program of campus activism in the meantime.

"Congress has clearly heard the message that the anti-drug provision needs fixing, and now we need them to go a step further than Bush and Souder want to take it," said DPA's Piper. And because of all the work of thousands of people around the country, the momentum for change is mounting."

Visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com on Monday afternoon for updated information on the campaign to repeal the HEA drug provision. Visit http://www.ssdp.org for information on Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Visit http://www.drugpolicy.org for the web site of the Drug Policy Alliance.


3. Mothers to Mothers: New York Drug Reform Activists Visit Argentina

Members of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared (http://www.nymom.org), a group devoted to repealing that state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws, traveled this week to Argentina to meet with their namesakes and inspiration, Argentina's Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared (http://www.madres.org and http://www.madres-lineafundadora.org). In a gesture of solidarity and support that stretches across the hemisphere, the two groups fighting against repression and for human rights met for the first time in Buenos Aires this week.

The New York Mothers, part of a large and growing coalition to "Drop the Rock," or repeal the Rockefeller laws, are made up of family members of some of the more than 20,000 people serving lengthy mandatory minimum sentences in the state. Their Argentine counterparts formed in the 1970s to demand that the Argentine government account for the thousands of people who "disappeared" at the hands of the rightist military dictatorship that took power in 1976.

The Argentine junta's "dirty war" against leftist opponents -- armed and unarmed alike -- was one of the darkest chapters of 20th Century Latin American history. Somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 students, trade unionists, peasants, human rights workers, and complete innocents were kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the military regime with the quiet acquiescence of successive US governments, who viewed the Argentine atrocities as part of a larger hemispheric struggle against communism. Many were tortured at the Naval Mechanics School in Buenos Aires, then drugged and tossed unconscious from Argentine Air Force planes into the frigid waters of the South Atlantic. Others were executed, then dressed in guerrilla uniforms and displayed as battle casualties. Still others were buried in mass graves. Pregnant women gave birth in captivity, then were killed, their infants disappearing into military families.

The Argentine Mothers of the Disappeared (also known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) were forged in this terrible crucible. Beginning while the military junta still held power, they confronted the military with the moral authority of wronged parents. The Mothers, in their trademark white scarves, endured the sneers and scorn of regime supporters, as well as threats, assaults, and kidnappings, as they marched without fail every Thursday in front of the presidential palace demanding justice. And they still march, for justice has not been done. While some leaders of the junta have since been jailed, the ultimate fate of thousands of "disappeared" remains unknown, as do the whereabouts of the babies born into captivity.

Randy Credico and Anthony Papa, center, Julie Colon, right,
with members of Argentina's Mothers of the Disappeared

New York Mothers cofounders Randy Credico of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Social Justice (http://www.kunstler.org) and former Rockefeller drug law prisoner Anthony Papa (http://www.15yearstolife.com) were joined by group member Julie Colon for the trip. Colon is the daughter of Melia Oliveira, who was arrested at JFK Airport in 1988 carrying cocaine and sentenced to a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison. Oliveira was granted clemency by New York Gov. George Pataki (R) in December, but now faces deportation to her native Peru as a "criminal alien."

The New York Mothers of the Disappeared came to meet their counterparts with some anxiety and trepidation because they were unsure whether the Argentine Mothers would see their cause as worthy, said Credico. "We were a little nervous," he said. "It's one thing to be in jail for drugs and quite another to be secretly tortured and killed for your political beliefs. But they understood. They could see the political ramifications of the drug war, and while there are different levels of repression, they could see that these policies target the poor and the non-white."

Credico contacted the Mothers' groups in Argentina because he wanted to honor them as role-models and explain the New York Mothers' struggle to their Latin American counterparts. "We decided we would go to show some gratitude and see if we could come up with some support for our movement in New York," an exhausted Credico said by phone from Buenos Aires Tuesday night.

Editor's Note: DRCNet had arranged interviews with the Argentine Mothers to be conducted Thursday afternoon, but was foiled by busy international phone lines all day long.

The New Yorkers spent a busy week in Buenos Aires, meeting on Tuesday with two groups of Mothers of the Disappeared, Wednesday with the Grandmothers of the Disappeared, and participating Thursday in the Mothers' weekly vigil at the Plaza de Mayo and at a well-attended press conference following the vigil. This week's vigil honored the New York Mothers of the Disappeared.

"The Argentine Mothers researched the Kunstler Fund and the New York Mothers before we came down," said Credico. "They knew about the two million people in prison in the United States, they understood the racist aspect of the drug war. They know what it means to have a person disappear from your life, whether it's in Greenhaven state prison or an Argentine torture chamber. We are flabbergasted, ecstatic, I'm at a loss for words," said Credico, who rarely is.

"We are fighting the same fight," said Papa. "I went into their offices and saw the posters on the walls and I broke out it chills. It was just like my office, but these posters had the names and faces of people killed or disappeared in the dirty war. The Mothers understand that the drug war is our dirty war." And they are lending a hand, Papa said. "They are writing a letter to Gov. Pataki to ask him to change the Rockefeller laws, and they are getting all the other human rights groups to sign on."

"I was kind of scared to meet with them at first," said Julie Colon, the only Spanish-speaker among the New Yorkers making the trip. "I didn't know what to expect. But they embraced our cause, they understood our suffering, and they support us."

"They are a real inspiration," said Credico, "there is so much strength and courage. And they are old, some in their 70s and 80s. "They say 'we're not special heroes; these are our children.' They kept going and going and going, and even though their activism brought down the military government, they're still not satisfied and they continue to fight. Just as once we destroy the Rockefeller laws, we will still be on the street fighting for justice."


4. Marijuana Rx for Methamphetamine? Hawaii May Give It a Try

As Drug War Chronicle has previously reported, Hawaii has the nation's highest incidence of methamphetamine abuse. It also has medical marijuana. And it has the Rev. Jonathan Adler of the Religion of Jesus Church-East Hawaii Branch (http://www.sacramedicine.com and http://www.medijuana.com). Mix these three facts together, add in some legislative action, and you could have the recipe for the nation's first state-approved effort to use marijuana to treat meth addiction.

That's what's going on in the Aloha State right now, as a bill championed by Rev. Adler and supported by powerful House Judiciary Chair Eric Hamakawa (D-Hilo) moves through the legislative process. The bill, SB3139, would permit "a section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, including a church whose sacraments include the use of marijuana, to be a distributor for persons using medical marijuana and to treat qualifying patients who are addicted to crystal methamphetamine if certain conditions are met." The bill has already passed a first reading in the Senate and is now before the Health and Judiciary committees.

The bill is the brainchild of Adler, whose unstinting support of medical marijuana and marijuana as a holy sacrament has made him the bane of politicians in the Aloha State. So has his reputation as a "wild man of weed," so to speak, which has also distanced him from more than a few other activists. In the mid-1990s, Adler and his Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute began offering medical marijuana under the state's comatose 1977 law. Adler's agit-prop activities drew publicity for the cause, but they also drew the interest of police. Although Adler claimed a religious right to use the drug, he was arrested in 1998. He walked away from his first trial a free man after the jury, citing confusion over his religious use claims, declared itself unable to reach a verdict.

But his legal luck didn't hold. Adler was eventually convicted on the 1998 charge and another from 1999 and sentenced to six-months in prison, a stint he served last year. That sentence effectively ended his gubernatorial bid as the candidate of the Natural Law Party. But both before doing his time and since, Adler has stayed on course and on message.

Now, after months of exposure to jailed ice users -- "ice" is the common term for meth in Hawaii, where it is typically smoked -- he wants to bring the healing power of the herb to the state's burgeoning methamphetamine-using population. "I was in jail for six months, and 90% of my fellow prisoners were ice addicts," Adler told DRCNet. "They were smoking in the jail at 3:00am. I came out committed to rehabilitate the ice users and the law." Medical marijuana is "a multi-purpose therapeutic aid" that can do a better job of treating ice users than current programs, Adler said. "Here in Hawaii, current treatment programs have a 95% failure rate. I think what these addicts need is education, occupation, and medication." His church program, called "Breaking the Ice," would provide all three, he added.

While there are no studies of the therapeutic effect of marijuana on methamphetamine users, studies of its use in treating crack users have returned promising results. In a Brazilian study, researchers followed crack users who turned to pot to break their addiction. After nine months, they reported, "most of the subjects ceased to use crack and reported that the use of cannabis had reduced their craving symptoms, and produced subjective and concrete changes in their behavior, helping them to overcome crack addiction." In another study from Jamaica, researchers followed 33 crack-smoking women for nine months and found that "cannabis cigarettes ("spliffs") constitute the cheapest, most effective, and readily available therapy for discontinuing crack consumption."

"It could work," said Dr. Ethan Russo, Senior Medical Advisor to British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceutical's Cannabinoid Research Institute. GW is the maker of Sativex, a sublingual cannabinoid medicine. "Cannabis is helpful for a variety of addictions, and the mechanisms of crack and meth are quite comparable."

In fact, Russo told DRCNet, a century ago, cannabis was seen as a cure for addiction to other substances. "Historically, in the 19th Century, cannabis was frequently used to treat cocaine and morphine addiction and alcoholism," he explained. "There is a famous book from the beginning of the last century called 'Narcomania,' which described all of the addictive substances, from cocaine to caffeine, morphine to nicotine. The only context in which cannabis was mentioned was as a treatment for addiction to other drugs."

Despite Adler's reputation, he has also earned the respect, or at least the notice, of some politicians, including Rep. Hamakawa. "How can a guy who has smoked on TV at least 10 times, been arrested, showed cops how to smoke medical marijuana, and more get taken seriously?" Adler asked. "He knows I'm sincere, that's why. He is my local representative, and I caught up with him at our local ice summit, and he agreed to do it for me. Hamakawa is not going to use up his own political capital to vocally support this, but he came through on getting it filed."

Hamakawa has also come through with another bill dear to Adler, HB2669, which would allow for religious use of marijuana: "Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the religious use of marijuana shall be permitted by a bona fide clergy practitioner or a qualifying religious member-practitioner" if that use harms no one else, if it takes place during a religious service in a designated religious structure, if it involves fewer than 10 mature plants, 15 immature plants, or an ounce of usable pot, and if the use is limited to religious purposes.

"This is a piggyback bill to SB3139, which will clarify the religious exemptions for marijuana," Adler explained. "This is the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute's effort to register as legal distributors in the state of Hawaii. We had essentially the same bill last year; that one specifically mentioned the Religion of Jesus Church—East Hawaii, but this one is more general."

That bill has also passed its first reading and is headed for the House Judiciary chaired by Rep. Hamakawa, the man who introduced it. But a hearing is unlikely without a showing of support from others besides Adler -- Adler reported that he had again spoken with Rep. Hamakawa, who told him he would not give the religious exemption bill a hearing unless he hears from constituents and others that a hearing should be granted.

The read the meth treatment bill (SB3139) and the religious exemption bill (HB2669) online, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/docs/docs.asp?press1=docs and type in the bill number in the search box.

Hamakawa can be contacted at: Rep. Eric G. Hamakawa, 3rd Representative District, Hawaii State Capitol, Room 302, 415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, phone: (808) 586-8480, fax: (808) 586-8484, from the Big Island toll free at 974-4000 + 68480, or e-mail to [email protected].

Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/320/hawaii.shtml for DRCNet coverage of the Hawaii methamphetamine task force report.


5. Offer and Appeal: New StoptheDrugWar.org Ink Stamps and Strobe Lights -- DRCNet Needs Your Support in 2004

DRCNet is pleased to announce two new "fun" gift items available as our gift to any and all interested parties who want to donate to DRCNet at or above a certain level and also get the message out in their own communities. In addition to our t-shirts, mugs and mousepads, DRCNet's merchandise line now includes a stop sign shaped StoptheDrugWar.org ink stamp (complete with red ink pad) and a stop sign shaped StoptheDrugWar.org strobe light. Mark your envelopes and other papers or appropriate possessions with the StoptheDrugWar.org message via red stamp; and use our 2 1/2 inch octagonal, flashing light as the perfect attention-getter at parties or other events. The StoptheDrugWar.org flashing red light also doubles as a bike safety device as it is visible for up to 1/2 mile, and comes complete with a replaceable battery good for 100 hours of continuous use and a handy clip.

Just visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ and donate $25 or more by credit card or PayPal, and we'll send your complimentary StoptheDrugWar.org strobe light. Donate $30 or more and we'll send you the StoptheDrugWar.org stamp with red ink pad. Donate $50 or more and we'll send you both, or two of either one. Send any amount, large or small and you will qualify for a free StoptheDrugWar.org button and sticker. While you're there, consider getting some of our StoptheDrugWar.org t-shirts, mugs or mousepads, the exciting Flex Your Rights Foundation video "BUSTED: The Citizens Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" or any other item -- use the handy comment box at the bottom of the donation form for any needed clarifications to your order.

YOUR SUPPORT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF OUR ORGANIZATION AND THIS IMPORTANT CAUSE. DRCNET HAS SURVIVED THIS TROUBLED ECONOMY BECAUSE OF MEMBERS LIKE YOU. IF YOU VALUE OUR WORK, PLEASE VISIT http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ TO DONATE TODAY!

If you're not comfortable donating by credit card, visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ to print out a paper order form to mail with your check or money order 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.

Again, please visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ to check out the new items and help DRCNet work to end the war on drugs! Thank you for your enthusiasm and support.


6. Newsbrief: San Francisco Releases Proposition S Report, Gives Okay to Possible City-Supported Medical Marijuana Co-ops

The San Francisco Office of the Legislative Analyst (OLA) told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday that recent court rulings had made possible the establishment of collectives and cooperatives to grow and distribute medical marijuana. The groundbreaking report is a result of Proposition S, the 2002 ballot measure passed by city voters in reaction to a series of highly-publicized DEA raids on patients and providers. That measure, which passed with 62% of the vote, directed the city to "explore the possibility of establishing a program whereby the City would grow medical cannabis and distribute it to patients attempting to exercise their rights under Proposition 215," the state's medical marijuana law passed by ballot initiative in 1996.

The OLA did just that with its report, and it found the possibility good. A cooperative based on the model of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (http://www.wamm.org) would be legal under both Proposition 215 and SB420, a recently passed bill that explicitly allows for the creation of medical marijuana co-ops and collectives. Equally important, the OLA found that since the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Raich v. Ashcroft, which enjoined the Justice Department from raiding medical marijuana patients and providers in its jurisdiction, a major legal obstacle no longer existed, or, as the OLA put it, in the current legal climate the city has "greater legal flexibility for the establishment of non-profit medical marijuana collectives/cooperatives in San Francisco."

The city could "explore the possibility of establishing a program whereby the City would grow medical cannabis and distribute it to patients attempting to exercise their rights under Proposition 215," the report said. It also presented various options for city involvement, including grants for supplies and equipment and renting land at a discounted rate. The report provided a range of options for the city, from taking no action and allowing private collectives to form, to imposing zoning and/or permitting requirement for city-approved co-ops, to actively supporting the co-ops as mentioned above.

"City involvement would signal active support and legitimacy for medical marijuana, provide incentives for the formation of collectives/cooperatives in San Francisco, and could reduce the risk and cost of providing medical marijuana to chronic and terminally-ill patients in San Francisco," the report noted.

But it also warned that such involvement could rouse the feds or increase the city's civil liability. City involvement could increase the risk that any co-op would constitute interstate commerce, a trigger for federal involvement, or that it could "cause the Federal government to retaliate by cutting off funds to the City for law enforcement or Homeland Security."

The city acted at the behest of its voters, but also because of continued pressure from groups such as Americans for Safe Access (http://www.safeacccessnow.org), the Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org), and the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), as well hundreds of patients, caregivers, cannabis club owners and their supporters. With a municipal government response to the concerns of its citizens, San Francisco is one step closer to city-supported medical marijuana co-ops.

Visit http://www.sfgov.org/site/bdsupvrs_page.asp?id=22631 to read the report online.


7. Newsbrief: Update -- Colorado Confrontation on Hold Pending Federal Court Ruling

Drug War Chronicle reported last week on Colorado resident Don Nord and his fight to make the cops give his medicine back (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/322/colorado.shtml). Nord, who suffers from a variety of ailments, grew his own marijuana in compliance with Colorado law, but his crop was seized by a joint federal-state anti-drug task force. Nord successfully moved to have his property returned, but the task force declined to return his marijuana, saying it was illegal under federal law. The nine members of the task were scheduled to appear in state court this week to answer contempt charges, but that hearing was postponed at the request of a federal judge called in by the Colorado US Attorney, who is representing the task force members against the state contempt charge.

At a January 29 hearing, Nord's attorney, Kris Hammond, and federal prosecutors argued before federal District Court Judge Walker Miller over whether the federal courts should assume jurisdiction over the case. Miller made no decision last week, and a hearing is set to hear more complete arguments over the jurisdictional issue next week.

In the meantime, Nord, who lives on a disability pension of $655 a month, and Hammond, who is receiving a token $100 monthly payment from Nord, are seeking contributions to a defense (and offense) fund to cover the costs of litigating what has turned into a federal-state confrontation over medical marijuana. The $100 a month "just about pays the cost of phone calls in this case," said Hammond.

To contribute to Nord's defense (and offense), send a check to: Don Nord, P.O. Box 1616, Hayden, CO 81639.


8. Newsbrief: Lane County Won't Be Sensible -- Group Ends Marijuana Amendment Effort

Sensible Lane County (http://www.sensiblelanecounty.tk), the Eugene-based group planning an initiative that would have directed county law enforcement officials to stop arresting and prosecuting adult marijuana users, has given up the effort after finding little support in polls. The proposed amendment to the Lane County, Oregon, charter would have cut funds for enforcement of the state's law against marijuana possession. The state decriminalized possession in 1973 -- the first in the nation to do so -- but those caught with pot are ticketed, with fines ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Modeled on the Sensible Seattle coalition (http://www.sensibleseattle.org), which passed a similar initiative there last September, Sensible Lane hoped to replicate that effort in Lane County. But the group's preliminary polling showed that such a measure "is clearly not viable at this time," the group's co-director, Chris Wise, told the Portland Oregonian this week.

While Oregon led the way with decrim in 1973, voters have been happy with the status quo ever since. Efforts to legalize marijuana have failed six times since then, although, on the other hand, so did a 1998 effort to increase penalties for marijuana possession. That same year, Oregon voters did approve a medical marijuana initiative, under whose auspices some 7,500 patients are now getting their medicine.

Wise told the Oregonian that Sensible Lane will now work for the passage of new medical marijuana initiative, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act 2 (http://www.voterpower.org/news/initiative.html). That initiative, which is scheduled to be filed this month, would refine and expand provisions of the 1998 initiative. Among other things, it would allow for the creation of a system of nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, increase the plant and poundage limits for patients, and lowers registration fees for patients.

"It's a pathway to further reform," Wise said. Sensible Lane, which is organized as a political action committee, will also look for other candidates and issues to support, he added.

Read our earlier reporting on Sensible Lane at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/308/sensiblelane.shtml online.


9. Newsbrief: Florida Pain Doctor Sees Murder Charge Dropped

Florida prosecutors overreached when they charged a Palm Beach County physician with first-degree murder after one of his patients died of a drug overdose, a Florida judge ruled January 29. Palm Beach County prosecutors charged Dr. Denis Deonarine in July 2001 under the state's felony murder law, which allows the bringing of first-degree murder charges if the death takes place during the commission of another crime.

Dr. Deonarine, like dozens of other physicians across the country, has been indicted on drug trafficking charges -- he faces 79 counts related to the prescription of opioid painkillers, including Oxycontin -- and those felony counts made up the crime prosecutors alleged was being committed when Michael Labzda, 21, died after a night of hard-drug partying.

Even prosecutors admitted at the time that the murder charge was a "novel legal theory." Unfortunately for them, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Wennet agreed last Thursday. The murder charge could not be supported, he said, and dismissed it. "It didn't occur during the actual trafficking, during the movement of the actual narcotics," the judge explained.

Yeah, said Deonarine's attorney, Richard Lubin, who pointed out that the alleged felony -- the unlawful prescribing of painkillers to Labzda -- took place two days before his death. "If he died after, it's not felony murder," Lubin said. There has never been a successful prosecution under the legal theory anywhere in the country, he added.

Labzda died after a night of drinking and drug-taking on February 8, 2001. According to the Palm Beach medical examiner, he died of "polydrug toxicity." Labzda's family sued Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, but in September a federal judge dismissed their wrongful death suit. Purdue Pharma could not be found negligent because Labzda caused his own death by drinking rum and beer, gobbling down Xanax tablets, and snorting Oxycontin tablets he crushed to get around their time-release mechanism, the judge found.

Palm Beach prosecutors may still try to nail Dr. Deonarine on a murder charge, they told the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. They will go back to a grand jury and attempt to indict him for murder under a section of state law that says he can be charged if the death results from the "unlawful distribution" of a derivative of the opium poppy, which includes OxyContin.

Florida has already scored one first in the persecution of pain doctors. In February 2002, Panhandle physician Dr. James Graves became the first doctor convicted of manslaughter in a patient's overdose death. He is currently serving a 63-year prison sentence while appealing his conviction.

Visit http://www.PainReliefNetwork.org and http://www.aapsonline.org for extensive information on unjustified pain physician prosecutions and efforts to stop them.


10. Newsbrief: Dutch Do De Facto Decriminalization for Small-Time Cocaine Smugglers

The Dutch government has quietly quit prosecuting people it catches smuggling cocaine into Amsterdam's Schipol Airport, the Times of London reported Wednesday. Last year, Dutch customs officers arrested 2,176 smugglers flying in on "cocaine flights" from the Caribbean, an average of more than five every day. Now it says that prosecuting them is a waste of resources.

"Locking up thousands of smugglers doesn't solve the problem. There will always be more of them," Dutch justice ministry spokesman Ivo Hommes told the venerable newspaper. "We've been honest enough to admit that we only manage to stop 15% of the drugs coming in, so we are trying something new."

While Hommes characterized the move as innovative policy, a justice ministry memorandum obtained by the Times suggested the Dutch made the move because prosecutors were overburdened by the ceaseless flow of Caribbean mules. Arresting them should not be permitted to "block the justice system," the memo said.

The policy may soon be extended to other hard drugs, Hommes said.

There those Dutch go again. First the coffee shops, now this. So damnably pragmatic.


11. Newsbrief: The Continuing Revolt of the Black Robes, Part I

Discontent within the federal judiciary over Attorney General John Ashcroft's hard line on judicial discretion in sentencing continued to simmer this week. In Pennsylvania, retiring US District Court Judge Robert Cindrich blasted a Justice Department-backed vote in Congress last year that reduces judges' ability to depart from federal sentencing guidelines by giving more lenient sentences than those called for and requires that every such downward departure be reported to the Justice Department.

The guidelines supported by Ashcroft are "morally wrong" and have disproportionately affected the poor and the non-white, Cindrich told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Monday. Federal judges have become little more than functionaries, he added. "We have been sidelined. Make no mistake about it."

The guidelines result in big drug dealers and violent criminals getting reduced sentences if they provide information to prosecutors, but small-time offenders with no information to provide get harsh sentences, according to Cindrich. "The ones at the bottom of the food chain have no one to offer up," he said. "That's one of the great frustrations. It happens all the time. And as judges, we're stuck."

Cindrich's is only the latest judicial voice to rise in protest over the ever-contracting sphere of judicial discretion in sentencing. US Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist criticized Congress and the Justice Department for the new restrictions in his annual state of the courts address in late December, and the conference of US 9th Circuit Court judges in the West lambasted the law as unjust last month.


12. Newsbrief: The Continuing Revolt of the Black Robes, Part II

A federal judge in Rochester, New York, has set aside a jury's conviction of a Rochester man on drug charges, infuriating federal prosecutors and igniting controversy in the upstate New York legal community. US District Judge Charles Siragusa threw out a November crack cocaine possession conviction against Tyshawn Ross, saying that the jury did not hear evidence that could have led to Ross's acquittal.

Ross was arrested after driving long-time friend Mark Montgomery to an apartment complex where the latter obtained a quantity of crack cocaine. Ross then drove Montgomery to a fast food restaurant where Montgomery sold the crack to what turned out to be a DEA agent. "What the fuck did you get me into?" Ross said he yelled at Montgomery seconds before the bust went down.

Ross, Montgomery, and five others were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2002 as part of an ongoing DEA investigation. Ross, a father of seven with no criminal record, continued to maintain his innocence, and was hit with a "superseding indictment" with additional charges in September 2003 after failing to provide any information against the others. He went to trial, was duly convicted, and was awaiting a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years. Case closed, or so prosecutors thought.

Montgomery, meanwhile, had pled guilty. As a condition of his plea, he had to testify truthfully in a hearing before Judge Siragusa about his knowledge of the crack operation. At the December hearing, Montgomery testified that "Ross kept telling me that 'I had nothing to do with this' ... He was hollering and cursing at me," a claim he had made previously to both the DEA and federal prosecutors.

Judge Siragusa then had to determine Montgomery's truthfulness. Under the plea deal, Montgomery was looking at seven years if Siragusa found him to be truthful, 20 years if he did not. The judge decided that Montgomery was telling the truth, which left him with the uncomfortable conclusion that Ross had been convicted in error. He then entertained a motion by Ross's lawyer, Jeffrey Wicks, to vacate the verdict and order a new trial. That's when the fireworks began.

Federal prosecutors vehemently objected. "The circumstances of the case are such that he does not have the legal authority to order a new trial," said Assistant US Attorney Andy Rodriguez, who prosecuted Ross. "A jury heard the evidence and made that decision," added his boss, US Attorney Michael Battle. "That's where justice was done."

"So the government's position is this: Even if this court finds that Mr. Montgomery is truthful and that Mr. Ross was not involved... this court should let Mr. Ross go to prison for a crime that he didn't do," Siragusa said at the hearing. "You know what? I cannot and refuse to believe, despite the government's position, that that's the law."

Siragusa's move was unheard of in local legal circles, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. No federal judge in the region, including Siragusa, had vacated a verdict in a criminal case in more than 20 years, the paper noted. "I have never granted a motion for a new trial because I believe firmly in the sacredness of a jury's verdict," Siragusa said in court. "But I cannot believe that our system of justice -- which is premised on the fact that we would rather have 10 guilty people go free than let one innocent man go to prison" -- would bar him from overturning the conviction and ordering a new trial.

The federal prosecutors have asked the Justice Department for permission to appeal the ruling. A decision is expected within weeks. Better an innocent man go to prison than prosecutorial prerogatives be challenged. There's nothing like wielding the law as a weapon against... justice.


13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

The competition was tough this week. Dishonorable mentions go Memphis police officer Terrance King, who was arrested January 22 on a Texas highway with 100 pounds of marijuana and a kilo of cocaine, and former Buffalo, NY, police officer William Westbrook, who pled guilty January 21 conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possessing a stolen firearm.

But this week's winner is former Chicago police detective Jon F. Woodall, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on January 27 for stealing seven kilos of cocaine, selling part of it, and using some of the rest to frame an innocent man. As part of a plea agreement, he pled guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

Woodall admitted in court that he and two other Chicago detectives, James Benson and Richard Matich, stole the coke after getting a tip from an informant that it was sitting in an impounded car. The three cops agreed to sell most of the cocaine, and plant the rest on a drug suspect. Charges have since been dropped against that man.

Judge John Darrah, who rejected an earlier plea with a 9-year sentence, said he accepted the plea deal "reluctantly" and accused the former detective of acting "solely out of greed."

Benson cooperated with prosecutors and got 18 months. Matich awaits sentencing after Darrah rejected a 7-1/2 year sentence as too lenient.


14. This Week in History

February 7, 1968: In a move likely spurred by the Nixon campaign's "law and order" rhetoric, President Lyndon Johnson creates the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) by combining the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (a sub-agency of the Food and Drug Administration). By 1972, the BNDD is 1,361 agents strong.

February 7, 1985: Enrique Camarena, an aggressive DEA agent stationed in Mexico who discovered that drug traffickers there were operating under the protection of Mexican police officials, was kidnapped outside of his office in Guadalajara. His body was found several weeks later bearing marks of brutal torture.

February 7, 2001: After a contentious confirmation process, new Attorney General John Ashcroft declared, "I want to escalate the war on drugs. I want to renew it. I want to refresh it, re-launch it, if you will." He said this despite the fact that under President Clinton's two terms in office the number of jail sentences nationwide for marijuana offenders was 800% higher than under the Reagan and Bush administrations combined.

February 11, 1999: Researchers in Boston, MA found no link between marijuana use by pregnant mothers and miscarriages. The study did document a strong link between tobacco consumption and miscarriages, and also showed an increased risk of miscarriage by mothers who use cocaine.

February 11, 2001: President Jorge Battle of Uruguay calls for legalization of drugs.


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. The Reformer's Calendar

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

February 1-6, Hannibal, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Springfield, MO, "Special Delivery for John Ashcroft" speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] or visit http://www.leap.cc for further information.

February 6, 8:30am-2:30pm, San Diego, CA, "Demystifying Harm Reduction: Social, Political and Clinical Implications for Abstinence Based Treatment," conference sponsored by A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing), and NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies). At the San Diego HILTON Hotel Mission Valley, 901 Camino Del Rio South, guest speakers Ethan Nadelmann and Pat Denning. For further information visit http://www.drugpolicy.org/events/event.cfm?eventID=277 or contact Dr. Annette Smith at (858) 549-8949 or [email protected] or A New PATH at (619) 670-1184.

February 10, 4:00pm, Brooklyn, NY, Keith Donoghue of the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project speaks on the Conant v. Walters Ninth Circuit medical marijuana free speech case. At Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon Street, contact David Ries at [email protected] for further information.

February 15, 4:00-6:30pm, Austin, TX, "Where is Our Constitution When We Need It?" Dinner hosted by the Libertarian Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring LP presidential candidate Gary Nolan and former Austin City Councilman George Humphrey discussing peace, politics and the dissolution of our freedoms. At Threadgill's, 301 W. Riverside at Barton Springs Rd. Dinner $12 and optional, all political affiliations welcome. For further information call (512) 467-1776.

February 15-22, nationwide, "Medical Marijuana Week 2004," day of protests organized by Americans for Safe Access. E-mail [email protected], call (510) 486-8083 or visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org to get involved.

March 1-2, Houston, TX, speaking tour by Bob Owens of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] or visit http://www.leap.cc for further information.

March 3-11, Idaho, "Modern-day Paul Revere calls America to the Truth," speaking tour by Howard Wooldridge of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] or visit http://www.leap.cc for further information.

March 27, 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, Washington, DC, "America's in Pain!", March on Washington and Chronic Pain Patients Leadership Summit. For further information, visit http://www.PainReliefNetwork.org 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 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 18-19, New York, NY, "Break the Cycle: Tear Down the New Slave Industry -- Criminal Injustice." Conference at Manhattan Community College/CUNY, 199 Chambers St., for further info contact Johanna DuBose at (212) 481-4313 or [email protected], or Victor Ray or Umme Hena at the BMCC Student Government Association, (212) 406-3980.

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

November 11-14, New Orleans, LA, "Working Under Fire: Drug User Health and Justice 2004," 5th National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, at the New Orleans Astor Crowne Plaza, contact Paula Santiago at (212) 213-6376 x15 or visit http://www.harmreduction.org/conference/5thnatlconf.pdf for further information.


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