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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #330, 3/26/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Canada Plans To Offer Medical Marijuana in BC Pharmacies, But Move Won't Heal Government Pot Program's Woes, Activists Say
  2. Peruvian Coca Growers Threaten National Strike as Deadline Looms
  3. Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Moving After Okay Given on Ballot Wording
  4. Western Australia Marijuana Moves: Possession Now a Ticketable Offense, Hemp Bill Passes
  5. BUSTED Screening Events Scheduled!
  6. DRCNet StoptheDrugWar.org Merchandise Special Extended
  7. Newsbrief: Polls Show Close Race in Nevada
  8. Newsbrief: Justice Kennedy Denounces Harsh Sentencing -- Again
  9. Newsbrief: Bulgarian Reformers Report Tough New Law Approved
  10. Newsbrief: "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery Jailed in Saskatoon on Trafficking Charge
  11. Newsbrief: Bush Wants More US Troops, Civilian Contractors in Colombia
  12. Newsbrief: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Dead in Oklahoma
  13. EU Think Tank Slams Global Drug Fight
  14. This Week in History
  15. Job Opportunity: Justice Policy Institute Hiring Media Director
  16. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Canada Plans To Offer Medical Marijuana in BC Pharmacies, But Move Won't Heal Government Pot Program's Woes, Activists Say

Health Canada confirmed this week that it has a proposal under development to undertake a pilot program where marijuana grown under government contract will be made available through pharmacies to medical marijuana users registered with Health Canada. The move, which, according to press reports, will begin in British Columbia, will make Canada only the second country to provide the herb at the drugstore. The Netherlands began making medical marijuana available through pharmacies last year (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/301/netherlands.shtml).

But despite a story that appeared in the press agency Canadian Press on Monday saying that British Columbia would be the site of the first pilot program, Health Canada spokesperson Catherine Saunders told DRCNet Thursday she couldn't confirm that because "all the details haven't been worked out." Actual implementation of a pilot program is "months away, at best," she said.

"We are examining a range of changes to the medical marijuana access regulations, and one proposed change is to include allowing patients to obtain it through Canadian pharmacies," Saunders said. "If the regulatory changes were made so that pharmacists had the authority to dispense marijuana, then we could move forward. What needs to happen first is that we have to submit proposed amendments to the regulations for approval by publishing them in the Canada Gazette in May and have them approved in the fall. After the regulatory changes are made, over the next few months Health Canada will be working with pharmacists and their associations, as well as provincial and local regulatory authorities on how to implement a program. It will be some months before anything concrete is developed," she cautioned.

While activists and medical marijuana patients and advocates welcomed any loosening of what they see as Health Canada's cumbersome and bureaucratized medical marijuana program, they said the proposal does not address broader complaints they have with the program. Health Canada has not supported medical marijuana, but was forced to take it up because of court rulings that threatened to undo Canada's marijuana possession laws if the government did not act to make marijuana available to patients who need it.

Only some 700 people nationwide have undergone the process of becoming a Health Canada-certified medical marijuana patient, while Health Canada estimates the number of Canadian medical marijuana users at 400,000. That number may be low. In the Canadian Press article on Monday, Health Canada pharmacist consultant Robin O'Brien estimated the number of medical marijuana users in British Columbia alone at 290,000.

"It's a step sideways," said Tim Meehan of Ontario Consumers for Safe Access to Recreational Cannabis (http://www.ocsarc.org). "The government may be trying to say that you can just go down and get it from your pharmacist, but it is not addressing the fundamental issue that the product is crap," he told DRCNet. "You can go online to one of Canada's existing compassion clubs and order far better stuff than Health Canada offers -- several have mail order services," he pointed out.

Indeed, the marijuana produced under a $5 million dollar contract with Prairie Plant Systems of Flin Flon, Manitoba, for use in the Health Canada medical marijuana program, is widely scorned. "I'm a recipient of the government cannabis and I can't tell you how bad it is," said Philippe Lucas, who is director of Canadians for Safe Access (http://www.safeaccess.ca), a spin-off of its sister organization to the south, as well as the communications director for DrugSense (http://www.drugsense.org). "It's horrible stuff. It's not as strong as the government claims, and it's high in heavy metals. I couldn't sell this on the street, let alone at my compassion club. That the government is trying to make this stuff more widely available is a form of fraud," Lucas told DRCNet. "I would support this if they allowed multiple strains to be grown in a safe, organic manner by people with experience growing medical marijuana."

"That criticism is based on personal perceptions, not anything inherent in the actual product," retorted Health Canada's Saunders. "But we are attentive to the feedback we've received about Prairie Plant Systems, and we are exploring ways of modifying the manner in which it is physically prepared. We're hoping we can make some changes to address those comments."

"Personal perception?" scoffed Lucas. "They say it has 10% THC, but our lab results this week showed it at 6%, and last week the sample came in at 5.1%." Still, even Lucas conceded that getting medical marijuana into pharmacies is a step in the right direction. "Some aspects of this are quite good," he said. "It is good to see BC pharmacists recognizing the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis. Their enthusiasm for the pilot program is telling."

For Brian Taylor of Cannabis Health magazine (http://www.cannabishealth.com), who along with Lucas was one of a handful of medical marijuana advocates invited to meet with Health Canada to discuss revision of the regulations last month, the key issue is that of supply. "These new regulations that are coming down will basically open the door to thousands of new patients via distribution through pharmacies," he told DRCNet. "Patients should be able to use their patient card and get their cannabis. But what we've seen in Holland is that patients are turning away from the pharmacies because of the cost. We need to have a system where patients can get cannabis medicine that is safe, affordable, and that comes in different varieties," he said. "Health Canada is only planning one more big contract for one more strain."

Lucas pointed out that the pilot program will expend a lot of dollars to reach very few people. "Right now there are 115 exemptees in British Columbia. On average, about 10% of the people in the government program ask the government to be their supplier, whereas about 50% currently get it through the compassion clubs. This will literally affect about a dozen people, and we will spend a million dollars to do it. It's disturbing to see our tax money spent this way when we could just let the clubs do it," he said.

"We should be exploring the licensing and registration of the organizations that have done so much more to help people on this than the federal government -- the compassion clubs," said Lucas. "When we met with the heads of the Office of Medical Cannabis Access we asked them if they saw a place for the clubs, and they said no. They claimed international treaties blocked that, but I read those treaties as excluding medicinal distribution from their purview."

Health Canada doesn't see it that way. "That is not so," said Saunders when confronted with Lucas' interpretation of the international drug treaties. "We have an international obligation to remain committed to the regulation of controlled substances. The treaties would frown on our having an open market in medical marijuana. That's why in the regulations you can only grow for one person -- to limit the possibility of diversion."

Still, said Saunders, Health Canada is committed to working with all the stakeholders on this issue, including people currently authorized to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Brian Taylor has a better idea. "The ideal solution is end prohibition," he said. "In the short term, we don't need bad government cannabis in pharmacies when we have community-based cooperatives -- the compassion clubs -- currently serving many, many more people than Health Canada with better quality and a higher satisfaction level."

So, medical marijuana will soon be coming to a Canadian pharmacy near you. Too bad it's going to be crappy weed. And too bad the people who know how to grow the good stuff and get it to patients are being cut out.


2. Peruvian Coca Growers Threaten National Strike as Deadline Looms

Peruvian coca growers are less than a month away from unleashing a national strike if the government of President Alejandro Toledo does not begin to deal with their demands. But the Peruvian government, backed by the US embassy, is more interested in demonizing the coca growers than listening to them. Instead of entering into negotiations with the country's cocaleros, the government is conjuring up the twin specters of armed rebellion and social explosion.

The strike call issued from the II Cocalero Conference held in Lima on February 18-20 and organized by the National Confederation of Coca Growers of Peru (CONPACCP), led by Nancy Obregon and Elsa Malpartida in the absence of Nelson Palomino, who has been jailed for more than a year in Ayacucho. Indeed, freedom for Palomino is one of their central demands of the government, along with:

  • suspension of coca eradication in all its forms, whether voluntary or not;
  • shutting down the Peruvian drug agency, DEVIDA, and expelling the non-governmental organizations that operated in its corrupt alternative development programs;
  • empowering coca growers to have a greater role in the governance of ENACO, the Peruvian state coca monopoly; and
  • promulgation of a new coca law that includes its industrialization and commercialization, and repeal of the existing coca law, Law 22095.
CONPACCP gave the government 60 days to respond, and the clock is ticking toward the April 20 deadline. Meanwhile, earlier this month another cocalero convention, the VI Extraordinary Congress of Coca Leaf Producers and Consumers, took place in Cusco. There, Iburcio Morales, a coca leader not affiliated with CONPACCP, and his followers adhered to the call.

At Cusco, Morales and his followers rallied around the following platform of struggle: "No to the eradication and substitution of the coca bush and coca leaf in whatever form; we will defend it even with our lives." And, oh yes, Morales and followers also demanded that DEVIDA and ENACO be shut down.

"The cocaleros have called this strike because the government has been deaf and blind to the viable and intelligent proposals made by the growers since 2001," said Hugo Cabieses, an economist and coca expert at the University of the Pacific who advises the coca growers. "The growers have signed accords with DEVIDA on more than 14 occasions, but they have not been respected by the government."

But it would be better if a strike could be avoided, said Cabieses. "The government must enter into dialogue," he said. "The other path is the path of force, with the results that we all know: people dead, wounded, arrested, and the aggravation of the social situation of the country. If it comes to a strike, like whatever peasant strike anywhere in the world, there will be picket lines, the blocking of highways, the shutting down of buses, whatever it takes for them to make themselves heard," he said. "I think that we all believe in peace. We must have intelligence and dialogue in order to avoid arriving at this extreme," he warned.

There isn't much of that coming from the Peruvian government these days. While President Toledo makes the occasional conciliatory noise, he, his top advisors, and a shrill mass media are busy conjuring up bogeymen. The violent Maoist revolutionary movement Sendero Luminoso, or at least its remnants, are behind it, news stories claim. President Toledo and his advisors took the opportunity of the XII International Drug Control Conference, held in Lima last week with DEA head Karen Tandy in attendance, to issue more dark warnings. While Toledo took pains to emphasize that "the cocaleros are not our enemies," he added that, "There is a perverse alliance of narcoterrorism" that is financing the cocaleros with "dark resources."

[Editor's Note: That's odd. Those cocaleros, their pockets supposedly bulging with narcodollars, have been beseeching DRCNet to help them find funds to support their struggle.]

The Toledo government is weak and unpopular, with presidential approval ratings running consistently in the single digits, but in the Peruvian national context, the coca growers are in a similarly weak position. "The movement is young and immature," said Ricardo Soberon, a Lima attorney and consultant on international security and drug issues. "It does not yet have a national vision, which it needs to build. There is not one political movement, but different movements depending on geographic area. Each sector still sees its own agenda, and that is the difference between Peru and Bolivia, where Evo Morales and the Movement to Socialism have created a strong political arm."

Not only are the cocaleros still in the process of unification, they lack significant political support. "The coca growers don't have the support of any 'official' political sectors, but each time they gain more support from the sectors of the trade unions, who understand that their struggle is just. No important political party with seats in parliamentary supports them," said Cabieses, adding that the cocaleros did have support from a pair of marginal political groups, including one linked to the controversial attorney Ricardo Noriega, who while he is now representing the imprisoned Palomino, was also an associate of the much-reviled former dark power behind the throne of deposed President Fujimori, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Still, the cocaleros are mobilized and they are reaching out. An event Thursday in Lima was set to begin in front of the national palace and end with a march to the US ambassador's residence. [Editor's Note: This story was written Thursday afternoon before any reports from the event were received.] "This demonstration was proposed by commandante Antaur Humala, who is in solidarity with the struggle of thousands of coca growers who still have not heard an effective response from the government to their demands," said Elsa Malpartida, leader of the cocaleros of the Valley of Tingo Maria and secretary of organization for CONPACCP. "Mr. Humala has invited us to a demonstration in front of the palace of justice. All of the people of Lima are invited and those who want to chew this leaf for free can do it so they can see it is not something maleficent," she told the newspaper La Razon.

And she had a warning to the government: "First they called us drug traffickers, now terrorists. What new lie will they invent to demonize a popular struggle and its demands?" she asked. The government and the US embassy are smearing the cocaleros, said Malpartida, because "they know that April 20 we are going on general strike. But what the regime is causing with these lies is more anger in the countryside, and surely the farmer will now make his protest much more angrily. The authorities are playing with fire."


3. Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Moving After Okay Given on Ballot Wording

Organizers hope the third time is the charm for an initiative that would allow seriously ill patients in Arkansas lawful access to medical marijuana. Efforts in 2000 and 2002 stalled during the signature-gathering phase, and because of delays in securing approval from state Attorney General Mike Beebe (D) for ballot language this year, the signature-gathering period is even shorter.

But after twice rejecting proposed language, Beebe this week gave his statutorily required okay, and the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative campaign is hitting the ground running. "We will have major teams of canvassers going door-to-door, said Denele Campbell, executive director of the Arkansas Alliance for Medical Marijuana (http://www.arkansasalliance.org), the group that is spearheading the campaign. "It will be hard work, but we've got a lot of good people and we're optimistic that we can get the job done," she told DRCNet.

The delays in winning approval of the ballot language by Beebe were not an effort to sabotage the initiative, said Campbell. "We needed to get it just right," she explained. "In Arkansas, the attorney general has to certify that the ballot both summarizes and explains everything the proposed law will do and that it is readable by the average voter within a certain period of time. We were not surprised that we had to go back a couple of times."

The attorney general has good reason to want solid ballot language, Campbell said. "Here, once the ballot title is approved and you've gathered the signatures, whoever your opponents are will wait until October, then file a lawsuit to knock you off the ballot," she said. "In that case, it's the attorney general who defends the ballot language, and wants a ballot that can be defended."

If passed by voters in November, the initiative would allow patients whose doctors find they suffer from a "debilitating medical condition" to obtain a registry identification card from the Arkansas Department of Health. Holders of such a card would be allowed to possess and use marijuana without fear of arrest or prosecution. Patients or their designated caregivers ("marijuana providers") could possess up to six plants or one ounce of usable marijuana.

It is past time to bring medical marijuana to Arkansas, said Campbell. "We've been working on this for five years, and we owe it to the patients to get it done."

One of the people Campbell has in mind is a 68-year-old Northwest Arkansas woman who uses marijuana to alleviate symptoms of post-polio syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome. The woman, who asked that her name not be revealed, told DRCNet she suffers from not being able to obtain marijuana from a dependable legal source. "Marijuana is definitely a medical benefit to me," she said, "and now I have to find it where I can, on the black market. But the supply here is just not that great," she said.

This patient knows how it could be. "I lived in California, where I helped work on Proposition 215, and where I could and did get a recommendation from my doctor. I belonged to the Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco and was able to buy it there," she related. "But I came back here to care for my Dad, and it was a different world. Now I run the constant risk not only of arrest but of getting kicked out of my apartment because these apartments prohibit drugs of any kind."

But marijuana works for her. "I can take all kinds of drugs for pain or muscle relaxation, but this is still what works best for me," she said. "If I had the wherewithal, I would move to another place where they have medical marijuana. As the law now stands, I either have to do without my medicine or take a big risk. That's not a very good choice."

Such stories garner sympathy even in the Bible Belt. According to a 2001 poll conducted by the University of Arkansas, 63% of those surveyed favored legal access to medical marijuana. And Campbell said that number had held steady in more recent polls, as well. "It's about compassion," she said. "You can make your commonsense arguments about wasting taxpayer money to arrest sick people, but it's primarily because people either know someone with cancer or some other serious illness that benefited from using medical marijuana and feel sympathetic, or they just imagine themselves in that situation and want to know that the option is open to them if they want it."

The campaign hasn't yet generated any organized opposition, said Campbell, adding that she hoped it would go largely unnoticed until after the signature-gathering process is complete. "We want to let sleeping dogs lie," she laughed.

In the meantime, the alliance is laying the groundwork for the fall campaign. "We already have some good support, especially in Northwest Arkansas, and we've got state Sen. John Riggs as an advisor and public spokesman in the central part of the state," said Campbell. "While we strong in this corner of the state, we still have a lot of work to do in other parts of Arkansas.

The initiative needs to come up with some 64,000 signatures by July 2 to make the November ballot . The clock is ticking.

Visit http://www.arkansasalliance.org/initiative/ to read the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative online.


4. Western Australia Marijuana Moves: Possession Now a Ticketable Offense, Hemp Bill Passes

As of this week, Western Australia, the huge but sparsely populated state that covers nearly half the continent, has implemented a new marijuana law under which those caught in possession of 30 grams or less will, in most cases, be ticketed and subject to fines instead of arrest. Meanwhile, two weeks ago, the state's parliament passed a bill that will allow for the legal production of hemp for the first time in Australia.

With the downgrading of marijuana possession offenses, Western Australia becomes the second Australian state to effectively decriminalize cannabis. A similar regime has been in effect for years in the state of South Australia, and the federally-controlled Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have also decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. The states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria still treat simple possession as a criminal offense, but police have wide discretion, and in practice, few people go to jail over simple marijuana charges.

"The reality is that cannabis is the most widely used drug in Australia," said then state Health Minister Bob Kucera last fall when the plan was okayed. "Although only a minority of Australians would be considered to be dependent users, 39% of all Australians aged 14 and over have used cannabis at some point in their lives," he told the Western Australian. "Research has shown that people with minor cannabis convictions can have problems with employment, difficulty in obtaining accommodation, travel problems and an increased risk of future contact with the criminal justice system. But research also shows that applying civil, instead of criminal, penalties for the personal use of cannabis does not lead to an increased proportion of the population using the drug."

Under the law that went into effect Monday, people caught in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana will be ticketed and fined -- not charged with a criminal offense, but instead cited for a "Cannabis Infringement Notice." Fines will range up to $100 Australian for quantities under 15 grams and $150 Australian for quantities over 15 grams but less than 30 grams. People ticketed can avoid paying the fines by instead attending a "Cannabis Education Session," where they will be warned of the dangers of the weed. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also downgraded from a "simple offense" (the equivalent of a misdemeanor) to a ticketable offense.

As for cultivation, the new law makes growing up to two plants a ticketable offense, but lowers the threshold for the "serious offense" (felony) of marijuana cultivation from 25 plants to 10 plants. And in a reflection of the uniquely Australian obsession with hydroponic marijuana cultivation, any number of hydroponically grown marijuana plants remains a criminal offense. The new law also creates the new offense of selling hydroponic equipment for the purpose of growing marijuana.

"I think Australian cannabis reformers will admit this is a small positive step," said Down Under cannabis politics watcher Niall Young, site administrator for Marijuana Australiana (http://www.MarijuanaAustraliana.net), a national marijuana news provider. "But all agree that the new law is unworkable and unrealistic. It's a very small baby step in the right direction, in that a threshold amount has been set to be classified as personal use and that you can be fined instead of given a criminal record, but police retain full discretion to charge anyone, even those under the limits," he told DRCNet, adding that Australia has a long history of police corruption. "There is a lot of skepticism, but overall people feel that it's a positive change."

"This is probably the best we could do," said Western Australia Green Party parliament member (MLC) Christine Sharp, whose party supported the governing Labor Party-sponsored bill but also fought for improvements in the law. "We were able to get the counseling included as an alternative to the fines precisely because we wanted to avoid that 'net-widening' effect of people ending up with criminal records because they couldn't pay the fines."

"For political reasons, the government here has been ducking for cover even though they were reforming the drug laws," she told DRCNet. "For instance, the bill had in it a very draconian clause about retailers selling hydroponic equipment for marijuana production -- much more severe than any other part of the bill -- and we were able to get that amended to make it less draconian," said Sharpe, who is the Western Australia Greens' point-person on drug policy issues. "The hydroponic provision is still in there, but what we accomplished was to shift the burden of proof from the retailer. Just because someone walks in with long hair and a beard doesn't mean he is going to grow marijuana," she explained.

The provisions against hydroponically grown marijuana are the result of "anecdotal suggestions that it is more harmful because it uses additional chemicals," Sharpe said. "I'm not sure if that is a valid criticism," she conceded. "We need some good research on the chemical qualities of hydroponically grown marijuana."

"The hysteria about hydoponically grown pot is well and truly rooted in Australia," said Young. "The reasoning is that hydroponic pot results in more potent super-plants of gargantuan proportions," he explained. "With hydro, you get these unavoidably huge plants that exceed personal use quantities, so it's a no-go," he said. "There is no negotiation on this point."

While attention was focused on the cannabis law revisions, the state parliament quietly passed a bill that would allow the commercial cultivation of hemp in Western Australia, Sharpe reported. "We just passed an industrial hemp bill that will set up a system of regulated hemp production," the Green MLC said. But she is concerned that without adequate follow-up and support from the state government, it could be for naught. "The government has now removed the legal barriers to the hemp industry, but to be successful you need more than that, you need research and development. Hemp is a versatile plant, but we need to decide what kind of product we want to produce here and what sorts of genetics are best suited to our unique agronomic characteristics," Sharpe explained.

But despite limited progress on marijuana possession and the new Western Australia hemp bill, progress toward broader, deeper marijuana law reform has been stymied in Australia. While few people actually go to jail for marijuana, medicinal users, for instance, have won no accommodation at either the state or national level. Sharpe told DRCNet she tried to push it in Western Australia, to no avail.

There may be some movement in the states, said Young. "South Australia was the first to decrim, then the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territories have made similar reforms. There is now talk of Victoria and New South Wales following after they study our model," he said.

And while Australian Prime Minister Bob Howard and his Liberal Party have been staunch foes of drug reform, the federal government's "tough on drugs" strategy could go by the wayside once national elections are held late this year or early next year. Like Spain's Popular Party, which was defeated in elections less than two weeks ago, a party that hews to an arch-conservative drug policy is likely to be defeated because of its support of President Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"The Liberals are expected to lose to Labor in the next election," said Young. "Labor doesn't have a clear policy one way or the other, but the Greens explicitly support the regulation and legalization of drugs for personal use, and they are expected to win more seats in the next election, in part because the Western Australia Greens have recently joined the national party. This may be our best chance for a national approach to cannabis law reform."

There is a marijuana movement, said Young, but it is disorganized and apolitical, emphasizing the moral and cultural aspects of marijuana law reform. "They don't seem to understand that a serious political effort must be organized," he said. "I've started Marijuana Australiana for this purpose, to try and get people talking on a national level about reform, to try and get people organized and involved online, to try and glamorize the activist calling and inspire people to stand up and start initiatives in each state," Young argued.

"We need activists, we need people to overcome their fear of punishment, their fear of stigmatization and coming out of the closet. I've called for volunteers for a Million Marijuana March in Perth [capital of Western Australia] and got one response that never followed up on it. No one wants to come out, no one wants to get caught, and very few even tell their family or friends or colleagues about what they believe in. We need a movement, we need to overcome our fear and unite under a common goal, we need to achieve critical mass as Canada and the USA have achieved," Young said.

To read the Western Australia cannabis bill online, type in the bill number (188) in the search box at the following web site:
http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/web/newwebparl.nsf/iframewebpages/Bills+-+All

Visit http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/pdf/cac/CINscheme.pdf to read the state Department of Health's explanation of the bill online.

To find out more about MLC Christine Sharpe, go to http://wa.greens.org.au/parliament/csharp/ and http://www.mp.wa.gov.au/sharp/ online.


5. BUSTED Screening Events Scheduled!

The first slate of screenings of "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," have been scheduled at locations around the country, some of them as soon as the coming week. BUSTED is a product of the Flex Your Rights Foundation -- visit http://www.flexyourrights.org for info or http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ to order your video or DVD copy today! It's not too late to set up a screening in your home or community -- write to [email protected] for info! These are the listings that were available as of publishing time:

March 30, 12:45pm, New York, NY, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by New York Law School's National Lawyer's Guild Chapter, at New York Law School at 57 Worth Street, Room A700, between West Broadway and Church Streets in Tribeca. Pizza and refreshments will be served.

March 31, 5:10pm, Fort Pierce, FL, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by the ACLU of Florida, Treasure Coast Chapter, at the Tap House Grill, 603 S. US 1. For further information contact Ethel Rowland at [email protected].

March 31, 8:00pm, New Paltz, NY, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Presented by SUNY New Paltz NORML/SSDP, at SUNY New Paltz L.C. 100. For further information, visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/norml/ or call (845) 257-2687.

April 12, 8:00-10:00pm, Iowa City, IA, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by University of Iowa SSDP, at Lucas Dodge Room in Iowa Memorial Union. For further information contact Kyle Fitzgerald at [email protected].

April 17, 4:00pm, Chatham, OH, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Presented by North Ohio NORML, at the Chatham VFW Hall, 6299 Avon Lake Rd. (off Rt. 83). For further information, contact Cher Neufer at 330-948-WEED.

April 19, 7:00pm-8:30pm, Tempe, AZ, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by ASU SSDP, at Arizona State University, Arizona Ballroom in the Memorial Union. For further information, contact Lauren Hathorn at [email protected].

April 20, 7:30pm, Billings, MT, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by Montana State University-Billings NORML, one of three events this week including a benefit concert/after party, at the Petro Theater at Montana State University-Billings.


6. DRCNet StoptheDrugWar.org Merchandise Special Extended

Late last month DRCNet announced a special for the last week of February on our StoptheDrugWar.org t-shirts and other gift items. This week's good news is that we've decided to continue this offer through the rest of March! DRCNet's StoptheDrugWar.org t-shirts, mugs, mousepads -- and our two new items, ink stamps and strobe lights -- are therefore available now as premiums for gifts of significantly lower size than the usual amounts. Donate, place your order, then get ready to wear and display the stop-sign shaped StoptheDrugWar.org logo prominently among your friends and in your community. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ to take advantage of these or any of our other offers:

  • Donate $25 or more and receive a complimentary StoptheDrugWar.org t-shirt;
  • Donate $20 or more and receive a StoptheDrugWar.org mug;
  • Donate $15 or more and receive a StoptheDrugWar.org mousepad;
  • Donate $20 or more and receive a StoptheDrugWar.org red ink stamp;
  • Donate $15 or more and receive a StoptheDrugWar.org red strobe light/bike reflector;
  • Add the prices together to request any number of any or all of the above, and make a note in the comment box at the bottom of the donation form to let us know exactly what you'd like.
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Your donation -- which can also be sent by mail to DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 -- will help get the message out in another, important way. As you may already know, recently we reactivated our online "write-to-Congress" grassroots lobbying service. This was made possible by a generous $2,000 donation from a long-time supporter of the organization. But to keep it going past March 31st, we need your help. More generally, we need continued support, from more of our readers, if we are to avoid the budgetary problems that plagued DRCNet during much of 2003. Please help us help you send the drug reform message to Congress in 2004 and beyond, by visiting http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate/ and making the most generous contribution that you can -- the reduced amounts listed above, if that's what you're able, or $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more for one of our higher membership levels if you can. Consider signing up for a monthly credit card donation while you're on the site.

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7. Newsbrief: Polls Show Close Race in Nevada

An initiative that would legalize the adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Nevada is leading in one poll, but trailing in another. On March 11, Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) executive director Rob Kampia announced that the group had commissioned the first statewide poll of Nevada voters, which found that MPP's initiative is ahead 49% to 47%, with 4% undecided. But another poll released this week found the initiative losing by five percentage points. That poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for the Las Vegas Journal-Review, found that 43% of respondents would vote for the initiative, 48% would vote against, and 9% were undecided.

The competing poll numbers suggest it could be a tight race in Nevada come November, and even the Review-Journal poll findings put MPP four percentage points ahead of where they were on election day 2002, when the initiative it sponsored that year got 39% of the vote. The Review-Journal poll shows a spread similar to that of July 2002, when 42% favored legalizing possession of up to three ounces of pot and 46% opposed it. But through the late summer and fall of 2002, as opponents of the initiative rallied against the measure, support dropped steadily until by late October the Review-Journal poll showed 36% in support and 60% opposed -- understating the measure's ultimate support level but closing tracking its opposition in the actual election outcome two weeks later.

This time, MPP and its Nevada affiliate, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana (http://www.regulatemarijuana.org), are hoping a retooled, toned-down initiative will ultimately win favor with voters. Two years ago, opponents hammered hard at the quantity of pot to be legalized, the issue of driving while under the influence, and the possible negative impact of adult legalization on the youth.

As MPP executive director Rob Kampia told the Chronicle last month (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/326/nevadaII.shtml), "We've changed the language on the permissibility amount, lowering it from three ounces to one ounce. We've hard-wired in penalties for vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, we've hard-wired in penalties for selling marijuana to minors, we've noted that tax revenues will be earmarked for drug and alcohol treatment."

MPP and CRCM are already running TV ads hammering away at the theme that marijuana prohibition encourages teen marijuana use in an effort to sway public opinion, but drug czar John Walters has already showed up in Las Vegas to badmouth the initiative -- he was officially in town to talk about prescription drug abuse -- and the law enforcement establishment is already mobilizing against the measure. Clark County District Attorney David Roger told the Review-Journal parts of the measure were "ridiculous" and the measure would lead to "more people smoking dope," while Washoe County DA Richard Gammick was ready with dire "it's not your father's pot" and "gateway drug" warnings.

We'll see how Nevada II fares in November...


8. Newsbrief: Justice Kennedy Denounces Harsh Sentencing -- Again

The revolt of the black robes against harsh federal sentencing policies, particularly mandatory minimum sentences, continued last week as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy told the House Appropriations Committee mandatory minimum sentences are "unjust, unfair, and unwise." Kennedy also praised federal judges who buck the system and grant "downward departures," or sentences less than those mandated by law.

Kennedy's remarks are only the most recent manifestation of deep dismay on the federal bench over the reduction in judges' flexibility in sentencing defendants. While concern has been building for years, the passage last year of the so-called Feeney Amendment, which makes it more difficult for judges to grant downward departures, and an order from Attorney General John Ashcroft commanding US Attorneys to not grant plea bargains, have brought the federal judiciary to a ferment (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/323/robes1.shtml and http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/323/robes2.shtml).

"I do think federal judges who depart downward are courageous," the Associated Press reported Kennedy as saying. Judges should not have to "follow, blindly, these unjust guidelines," he said, criticizing mandatory minimums directly. "The mandatory minimums enacted by the Congress are in my view unfair, unjust, unwise," Kennedy said during the hearing on the Supreme Court budget.

The US needs to take another look at how it sets sentences, Kennedy added. "There are two different philosophies. One was the tough on crime argument, the other was well, everybody should be treated the same," Kennedy said. "Every time they compromised it was for higher sentences... and this is wrong."

This is not the first time Kennedy has lashed out at mandatory minimum sentences. Last August, he drew cheers and applause when he told the American Bar Association US justice was too harsh. "Every day in prison is much longer than any day you've ever spent," Kennedy said. "A country which is secure in its institutions and confident in its laws should not be ashamed of the concept of mercy."


9. Newsbrief: Bulgarian Reformers Report Tough New Law Approved

The Bulgarian drug reform group Promena (http://www.promena.org for you readers of Cyrillic) reports that on March 16 the Bulgarian parliament voted overwhelmingly for a law that would recriminalize the possession of small amounts of controlled substances, including marijuana. Under current law, Promena said, people arrested with small quantities of drugs could avoid jail by undergoing drug treatment. Under the law passed last week, possession of even small quantities of illicit drugs will bring instead a 10-to-15 year prison sentence.

Promena has written to Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov to ask him to veto the bill, the group reported, and will also notify the European parliament, which Bulgaria hopes to join in 2007. The group said the bill was pushed through by a prominent populist in the ruling party who appealed to older, low-income voters. Promena reported "unusually intense and very negative" media reaction to the move. "Never have so many people spoken out against prohibition and never have they received so much attention by the media," said Promena.

The main victims, said Promena, would be "the people between 18 and 28 who comprise 75% of the 'drug scene,' as well as teenagers," while the main beneficiaries would be "the mafia as drug prices will rise, the corrupt police and judiciary (revenue will increase from both arrested users and protected drug dealers) and the proponents of the law who will gain public esteem for fighting crime."


10. Newsbrief: "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery Jailed in Saskatoon on Trafficking Charge

Saskatoon, Sasketchewan, has a reputation in some circles as Canada's redneck capital. Its police have recently been in the news for their old bad habit of picking up drunk native people and dropping them off to freeze to death on the city's outskirts during cold winter nights. And police and prosecutors there certainly made the news this week with their treatment of Canada's most famous pot advocate, Marc Emery, the Vancouver marijuana seed magnate who founded Cannabis Culture magazine and the British Columbia Marijuana Party.

Emery has for years traveled the country to challenge its marijuana laws and has suffered the occasional (usually intentional) arrest for his efforts. He is known to share generously of his personal stash and has done so publicly on innumerable occasions. But he has never previously experienced frontier justice a la Saskatoon.

Emery, who is currently on tour campaigning for the New Democrat Party (NDP), whose leader, Jack Layton, has called for legalization of the herb, and whose platform all but does the same, had finished speaking at the University of Saskatchewan Monday evening and had suggested that people get together afterward to smoke some marijuana, per normal. When police arrived, Emery reported, an admirer said that Emery had handed out two joints, whereupon police arrested him for simple possession, but also for the crime of drug trafficking. Canadian law currently makes no distinction among drugs or amounts of drugs -- two marijuana cigarettes or two tons of cocaine, it's all drug trafficking and carries a possible seven-year sentence.

Then, to get their pound of flesh in advance, Saskatoon prosecutors held Emery in jail from Monday night until Thursday afternoon, opposed his release on bail, and attached as many conditions to it as they could persuade the judge to accept. Emery finally walked out of jail after paying a $3,500 bail bond.

An unrepentant and unchastened Emery lashed out at his captors upon his release, saying in an e-mail message circulated on Canadian drug reform lists that Saskatchewan is a "harsh place" governed by "evil tyranny." Then he got mad: "It is a shame and disgrace that Saskatchewan is part of Canada, a condemnation of Canada, the province of Saskatchewan and the city of Saskatoon," he wrote. "The police in this province are implicated in many police scandals involving death, framing accused persons, concocting evidence, the Crown and judges are complicit in extremely punitive sentencing.

"I was released on an outrageously high bail of $3,500! I am officially accused of passing two lit joints, thus I am charged with trafficking, which carries a 7 year maximum. The crown is seeking SIX MONTHS INCARCERATION on this charge, of passing two joints! I had in my possession 2.3 grams of pot.

"In addition to $3,500 bail (in cash!), I cannot POSSESS MARIJUANA or HAND OUT MARIJUANA until my VERDICT, up to 3 or 4 months away! Wow! In addition, I MUST SUBMIT to any WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF MY PERSON, MY HOME!, MY CAR, at any time by any police officer. If I break these conditions, I will be remanded in custody until trial in Saskatoon. Wow! Further, the crown here wanted a curfew, restrictions on my ability to travel and lecture and participate in the federal election. The crown also asked that I not be in any building where marijuana smoking may be going on. These conditions were rejected by the court."

Emery got a chance to do some Bible reading while awaiting his conditional freedom, and it led him to ponder suffering and evil, and redemption. "The suffering of the cannabis culture here is great, and remedy is desperately needed, and I shall be here often to rally the marijuana community in this forsaken province. I am full of sorrow for the people here. They suffer a reign of evil by Bible thumping prohibitionists and corrupt police and sadistic prosecutors. I am merely a victim of their obscenities but unlike those here, I garner attention, unlike so many others here who languish in obscurity, and no one hears their crying or pain."


11. Newsbrief: Bush Wants More US Troops, Civilian Contractors in Colombia

The Bush administration wants to step up US involvement in Colombia's long-running civil war, Gen. James Hill, the top US military official in the region, told a congressional panel Wednesday. Hill, who heads the US Southern Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that the administration is asking Congress to raise the cap on the number of US military personnel and civilian contractors.

In an effort to forestall a gradual build-up of US forces in Colombia, Congress mandated limits on the number of personnel who could be deployed there at any one time. That limit is currently set at 400 military personnel and 400 civilian employees. The administration wants to double the cap on military personnel to 800 soldiers and increase the number of civilian contractors by 50% to 600.

US military personnel train and advise one of the sides in Colombia's four-decade-old civil war, the Colombian Armed Forces. The US State Department and other government agencies employ civilian contractors for a number of tasks related to counterinsurgency efforts, most prominently as pilots and crews for the aerial eradication campaign against coca crops.

Increasing the personnel caps is critical to the success of Plan Colombia, said Gen. Hill. That multi-billion dollar program began under President Clinton as a counter-narcotics effort and was expanded and folded into the global "war on terror" under President Bush. It is now in its sixth year. The White House is seeking more than $700 million this year for its Andean Regional Initiative, the bulk of it destined for Plan Colombia.

"It is vitally important that we sustain Plan Colombia's progress," Hill said, according to a Reuters account of his remarks. The personnel caps must be raised or the limits will hurt Plan Colombia just as it "is beginning to pay huge dividends," he said.

Hill praised hard-line Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, claiming that Uribe had turned the tide against the leftist insurgents of the FARC and the smaller Army of National Liberation (ELN). "As a result of this substantial progress, a window of opportunity has opened in which the Colombian government has the potential to deal a decisive blow to the narco-terrorists," Hill said.

Some of Hill's audience remained skeptical, however. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) told Hill Colombia ought to do more to fight its own war, Reuters reported. "They ought to be digging deeper into their own pockets and they ought to be asking their own kids to serve," he said, adding that Colombia had not approved long-term revenue measures to pay for the war or reformed draft laws that allow the wealthy to avoid military service.


12. Newsbrief: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Dead in Oklahoma

A bill supported by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety that would have made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a ticketable offense was defeated in a House committee vote Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Capt. Van Guillotte, legislative liaison for the DPS, told AP the agency wanted the bill passed because arresting people for simple pot possession was a waste of Highway Patrol officers' time. If an arrest is made, it could take two or three hours to transport and book the person, he said, and the cops often just don't bother. "In some cases, the evidence, the marijuana, is just thrown on the side of the road and destroyed, and the person is given a verbal warning and allowed to go on," Guillotte said. Heck, said Guillotte, if the bill had passed there might have been more prosecutions for marijuana possession. "Right now, if the oral warning is given and the product is thrown on the side of the road, nothing is recorded," he said. "This bill never changed the penalties, it only changes the method."

But legislators shied away from anything they thought might be perceived as soft on crime. "I know clearly where we're headed with the bill, but I also understand politics," said Rep. Jim Newport (R-Ponca City). "As soon as the highway patrol campaigns as aggressively for this bill out in my community, the same way I have to campaign when it's perceived by my opponent that I'm soft on crime, then I will vote for the bill," he told the AP.

The bill was defeated 4-2 in the House Criminal Justice Committee, effectively killing it for this session.


13. EU Think Tank Slams Global Drug Fight

courtesy NORML News, http://www.norml.org

Vienna, Austria: Representatives from the Network of European Foundations (NEF) Comite de Sages and The Senlis Council criticized UN-sponsored drug prohibition policies at a symposium last week coinciding with the United Nations 47th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Speakers criticized criminal drug prohibition and enforcement policies as fueling drug-related crime, endangering international security, and sponsoring terrorism.

"The system [of criminal drug prohibition] is not working but [this] is not being debated at the UN; it is a taboo," said NEF member Sir Keith Morris, a former British ambassador to Colombia.

Former Interpol Secretary General Raymond Kendall said that the UN must "change its approach from repressive law enforcement" to one of harm reduction. "The United Nations in 1998 set itself the aim of a drug free world by 2008," he said. "We are halfway down the road to 2008 and there are more drugs than ever. So much for the idea we have made progress."

Canadian Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, who chaired a 2002 Senate committee that recommended regulating cannabis to those age 16 and older, said: "A drug free society has never existed in human history and will not exist in the near future... Sooner or later, governments around the world will have to, in the names of transparency and honesty, acknowledge this massive failure."

Other speakers at the conference included Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation on Drug Policy, Portuguese MP Vitalino Canas, and General Paulo Roberto Yog de Miranda Uch a, national anti-drug secretary for Brazil.


14. This Week in History

March 27, 1961: The UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was convened in New York City. This was the first of the three most important UN Drug Conventions that require states to adopt penal measures against drugs in their domestic law. Article 4, section C, of the treaty limits "exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs" (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/legal/singconv.htm).

March 27, 1992: Bill Clinton, during the 1992 Presidential Campaign, stated, "When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale."


15. Job Opportunity: Justice Policy Institute Hiring Media Director

The Justice Policy Institute seeks a dynamic and seasoned full-time Director of Communication to lead an ambitious communication program. The Director is responsible for communicating with the media, the public and a myriad of interested parties on a wide variety of juvenile and criminal justice issues. The Justice Policy Institute utilizes mass and specialized communications in combination with research, policy analysis, legislative initiatives, professional education, and coalition-building to directly impact its mission to reduce society's reliance on incarceration. The Director of Communication reports directly to the Executive Director and will work closely with the Managing Director in the area of strategic planning and implementation. A fuller job posting is available at http://www.justicepolicy.org online.

If interested, please forward cover letter, current resume, salary history, writing sample, and three references to: Gail Lyle, Managing Director, Justice Policy Institute, 4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008, e-mail [email protected] or fax to (202) 363-8677,


16. The Reformer's Calendar

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

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.

March 29, 6:00pm, New Haven, CT, "Life on the Outside," book talk with authors Elaine Bartlett, former Rockefeller drug law prisoner and reform activist and Jennifer Gonnerman, journalist with the Village Voice. At Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, visit http://www.lifeontheoutside.com for further information.

March 30, 12:45pm, New York, NY, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by New York Law School's National Lawyer's Guild Chapter, at New York Law School at 57 Worth Street, Room A700, between West Broadway and Church Streets in Tribeca. Pizza and refreshments will be served. Visit http://www.flexyourrights.org for further information.

March 31, 5:10pm, Fort Pierce, FL, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by the ACLU of Florida, Treasure Coast Chapter, at the Tap House Grill, 603 S. US 1. For further information contact Ethel Rowland at [email protected] or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

March 31, 8:00pm, New Paltz, NY, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Presented by SUNY New Paltz NORML/SSDP, at SUNY New Paltz L.C. 100. For further information, visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/norml/ or call (845) 257-2687 or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

April 1-3, Houston, TX, "Breaking the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs," conference of Drug Policy Alliance, contact [email protected] or (888) 361-6338 or visit http://www.breakingthechains.info for further information.

April 2, 7:00-9:00pm, New York, NY, "Life on the Outside," book talk with authors Elaine Bartlett, former Rockefeller drug law prisoner and reform activist and Jennifer Gonnerman, journalist with the Village Voice. At West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street, visit http://www.lifeontheoutside.com for further information.

April 3, noon, Ann Arbor, MI, "3rd Annual Ann Arbor Hash Bash." At the DIAG, University of Michigan campus, visit http://www.newagecitizen.com/HashBash.htm for further information.

April 5, 6:00-8:00pm, Harlem, NY, "Life on the Outside," book talk with authors Elaine Bartlett, former Rockefeller drug law prisoner and reform activist and Jennifer Gonnerman, journalist with the Village Voice. At Hue-Man bookstore, 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd., sponsored by Writer's Voice of the West Side, visit http://www.lifeontheoutside.com for further information.

April 5, 8:00pm, New York, NY, Rockefeller Drug Law Panel Discussion and showing of the "60 Spins Around the Sun" film about comedian and drug law reformer Randy Credico. Featuring Judge Jerome Marks, Credico, Anthony Papa and Jan Warren, at the Roone Arledge Cinema, Lerner Hall, Columbia University, 115th & Broadway. Contact [email protected] for further information.

April 5-20, New Zealand, "LEAP Down Under, Part I: The Kiwi Tour," speaking engagements by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director Jack Cole and LEAP board members Eddie Ellison and Judge Eleanor Schockett. Visit http://www.leap.cc or contact Mike Smithson at [email protected]for further information.

April 6, 8:00pm, "Cops Say Legalize Drugs: Ask Them Why," forum with Peter Moskos of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition discussion the effects of the drug war on the urban community. At Columbia University, hosted by Columbia University SSDP, visit http://www.leap.cc or contact Mike Smithson at [email protected]for further information.

April 8, Carbondale, IL, drug policy symposium, sponsored by the School of Social Work of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, featuring keynote speaker Howard Wooldridge of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Visit http://www.leap.cc or contact Mike Smithson at [email protected]for further information.

April 8, 7:00pm, Washington, DC, "Life on the Outside," book talk with authors Elaine Bartlett, former Rockefeller drug law prisoner and reform activist and Jennifer Gonnerman, journalist with the Village Voice. At Politics & Prose bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, visit http://www.politics-prose.com or http://www.lifeontheoutside.com for further information.

April 10, 1:00-7:00pm, Providence, RI, Second Annual Brown University Students for Sensible Drug Policy Medical Marijuana Symposium, featuring panel discussions and a 4:00pm press conference with legislators from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. At Hunter Lab, 89 Waterman Street, Brown University, admission free, $10 donation suggested. Visit http://www.ssdp.org/brown/ for further information, or contact Jesse Stout at (401) 867-5592 or [email protected].

April 12, 8:00-10:00pm, Iowa City, IA, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by University of Iowa SSDP, at Lucas Dodge Room in Iowa Memorial Union. For further information contact Kyle Fitzgerald at [email protected] or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

April 13, 7:00pm, Big Rapids, MI, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Ferris State University, the Dome Room, contact the Student Activities office at (231) 591-2606 for further information, visit http://www.adopedealer.com or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

April 14, noon, Big Rapids, MI, "The Dynamics of American Drug Use," lecture by Sheldon Norberg. At Ferris State University, the Dome Room, contact the Student Activities office at (231) 591-2606 for further information, visit http://www.adopedealer.com or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

April 15, 1:00pm, Philadelphia, PA, "Life on the Outside," book talk with authors Elaine Bartlett, former Rockefeller drug law prisoner and reform activist and Jennifer Gonnerman, journalist with the Village Voice. Luncheon address at a conference organized by Rutgers University's Center for Mental Health Services and Criminal Justice Research. At the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, visit http://www.lifeontheoutside.com or http://www.ihhcpar.rutgers.edu/cmhs-cjr/conference.html for further information.

April 15, 4:00pm, Washington, DC, panel on the war on drugs, featuring Criminal Justice Policy Foundation president Eric Sterling. At Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Slowinski Courtroom, 3600 John McCormack Road, NE. Sponsored by the American Constitution Society CUA chapter, for further information call (202) 319-5140.

April 17, 11:00am-11:00pm, Kingston, RI, "6th Annual Hempfest," free outdoor event with live music, vendors, speakers, activism and fun. Sponsored by University of Rhode Island SSDP, at URI, visit http://www.uri.edu/home/visitors/Map/kingston_direction.html for location or contact Micah at (401) 829-0904 or [email protected].

April 17, 4:00pm, Chatham, OH, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Presented by North Ohio NORML, at the Chatham VFW Hall, 6299 Avon Lake Rd. (off Rt. 83). For further information, contact Cher Neufer at 330-948-WEED or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

April 18, 7:00pm, Berkeley, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," performance by Sheldon Norberg. At UC Berkeley, 155 Dwinelle Hall,reserve tickets at http://www.adopedealer.com or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

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 19, 7:00pm-8:30pm, Tempe, AZ, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by ASU SSDP, at Arizona State University, Arizona Ballroom in the Memorial Union. For further information, contact Lauren Hathorn at [email protected] or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

April 20, noon, Fredonia, NY, "The Dynamics of American Drug Use," lecture by Sheldon Norberg. At SUNY Fredonia, contact the Student Activities office at (716) 673-3144 for further information, visit http://www.adopedealer.com or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

April 20, 7:30pm, Billings, MT, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" screening. Sponsored by Montana State University-Billings NORML, one of three events this week including a benefit concert/after party, at the Petro Theater at Montana State University-Billings or visit http://www.flexyourrights.org.

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 1, international, Million Marijuana March, visit http://www.cures-not-wars.org for event listings and further information.

May 6, 7:00pm, Cotati, CA, "Confessions of a Dope Dealer," performance by Sheldon Norberg. At Sonoma State University, contact the Student Activities office at (707) 664-2815 for further information, visit http://www.adopedealer.com or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

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.

August 21-22, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "Seattle Hempfest." For further information, e-mail [email protected], visit http://www.hempfest.org or call (206) 781-5734.

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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