Newsbrief: Joycelyn Elders Joins Detroit Medical Marijuana Initiative Effort 3/19/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

The Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care (http://www.mmdetroit.org), the group spearheading the effort to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Michigan's largest city through a voter initiative, announced Tuesday that Dr. Joycelyn Elders has endorsed the initiative and will be joining the group's steering committee. Elders served as US Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton until she was forced to resign after becoming a lightning rod for conservative critics because of her outspoken views on a number of sensitive issues, including drug policy.

Elders has agreed to allow her image to be used on direct mailings to Detroit voters, the coalition announced, and she will pen an op-ed to appear in a major Detroit newspaper in the month before the August vote. In the direct mailing, a photo of Elders will accompany her statement of support for the initiative: "The doctor/ patient relationship must be protected in this country. Medical use of use of marijuana should be legal and I urge the voters of Detroit to say YES on August 3rd."

Elders' addition to an already impressive roster of endorsers will be welcome in what is shaping up to be a real battle in the Motor City. Anti-medical marijuana forces led by the Partnership for a Drug-Free Detroit are mobilizing against the measure (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/327/detroit.shtml).

Elders was the first African-American and the second woman ever to hold the title of surgeon general, but her tenure was short-lived and marked by controversy -- her willingness to approach sensitive topics with an open mind proved too much for her political foes and, eventually, for President Clinton, who forced her from office after only 15 months. She was finally ousted in 1994 after daring to suggest at an AIDS conference that masturbation "is part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught."

But Elders had already irritated conservatives with her support of Clinton's national health and irritated Clinton by having the temerity to even suggest that the US might want to study legalizing drugs. "I do feel that we would markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized, but I don't know all the ramifications of this," she said at a December 7, 1993, speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. "I do feel that we need to do some studies. In some of the countries that have legalized drugs, they certainly have shown that there has been a reduction in their crime rate and that there has been no increase in the drug use rate."

While Elders was forced out of the Clinton administration, she has remained a visible fighter for progressive health causes and continues to speak out on sexual health and drug policy issues, and not just medical marijuana. In a 1997 interview with the St. Petersburg (FL) Times, she said her greatest regret about her tenure as surgeon general was that she did not push harder for needle exchange programs. As perhaps the country's best-known black physician, Elders continues to draw crowds at speeches around the country.

The Detroit coalition credited the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) with facilitating the dialogue between initiative organizer Tim Beck and Dr. Elders and thanked MPP for a $30,000 donation received last week.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #329, 3/19/04 "Drugged Driving" Campaigners Open New Front with Federal Legislation | Correction/Update: Russia's New Drug Law Held Up, Due to Go Into Effect May 12 | Medical Marijuana in the State Legislatures, 2004 | New York's Dirty War | Screenings! "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters.shtml" to Air Around the Country March 29th to April 12th -- Host One in Your Home or Community or School! | DRCNet StoptheDrugWar.org Merchandise Special Extended | Newsbrief: WHO Says Licit Drugs Greater Health Threat Than Illicit Ones | Newsbrief: Berlin on Verge of Decriminalizing Cannabis Possession | Newsbrief: Trouble in Christiania | Newsbrief: Judge vs. Prosecutor in St. Louis Sentencing Scuffle | Newsbrief: Joycelyn Elders Joins Detroit Medical Marijuana Initiative Effort | Newsbrief: Utah Woman Charged With Murder in Newborn's Death, Drug Use Cited as Factor in Charge | Newsbrief: New Government Good News for Spanish Marijuana Culture | This Week in History | Drug War Facts 2004 Now Available Online | Job Opportunity: Prevention Point Philadelphia Hiring Syringe Exchange Site Worker | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]