Media Racial Profiling
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en Español Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em Português Latest News Drug Library Search

Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #334, 4/23/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

subscribe for FREE now! ---- make a donation ---- search

HELP DRCNET GROW! Visit to spread the word to your family and friends.


  1. Another Victory in California: Federal Judge Tells Feds to Leave Medical Marijuana Co-op Alone
  2. Florida Pain Patient Sentenced to 25 Years
  3. Texas League of Women Voters to Study Drug Policy
  4. Going Dutch, American Style? Netherlands Politicians Take Aim at High-Potency Nederwiet, but Restrictions Still Seem Unlikely
  5. Newsbrief: Pakistani Opium Farmers Confront Police, Army
  6. Newsbrief: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Ready for Signature Gathering
  7. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story
  8. Newsbrief: One Cop Fired, One Cop Cleared in Kentucky Drug War Killings
  9. Newsbrief: Bostonian Sues Over Drug Raid Strip-Search
  10. Court Denies DEA Extension Request for Hemp Food Rehearing
  11. This Week in History
  12. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)

1. Another Victory in California: Federal Judge Tells Feds to Leave Medical Marijuana Co-op Alone

A year and a half ago, the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana ( had an unpleasant encounter with some unpleasant visitors: the DEA ( A cooperative established by Mike and Valerie Corral to help medical marijuana patients help themselves, WAMM provided marijuana to more than 250 people qualified under California law to use the herb as medicine. Despite the legality of the operation under state law, the Justice Department of Attorney General John Ashcroft was determined to nip the medical marijuana movement in the bud, and the raid on WAMM and its patients was part of that effort.

But Ashcroft's offensive has run into a series of reverses in the courts, from the judge's refusal in the Ed Rosenthal case to sentence him to prison, to last December's US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Raich vs. Ashcroft, where the court held that the federal Controlled Substances Act did not apply to patients receiving medical marijuana in states where it was legal and who were not engaged in commerce (

The raid on WAMM also led to a slew of unfavorable publicity for Ashcroft and the DEA, as Santa Cruz officials publicly responded by allowing WAMM to distribute marijuana from the steps of city hall. Some of those same officials also appeared on nationally-televised programs to criticize the raid, the DEA, and the Justice Department. Even California Attorney General Bill Lockyer joined the critics, sending a letter to Ashcroft calling the WAMM raid a "provocative and intrusive incident of harassment."

In the most recent reverse for the feds, US District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose Wednesday ordered the federal government to keep its hands off WAMM -- at least for now. WAMM and supportive Santa Cruz city and county government had sued for relief from federal harassment after the DEA raid, in which federal law enforcers seized 167 marijuana plants and left WAMM members dry and not high.

Fogel's ruling Wednesday was the first to interpret the meaning of Raich v. Ashcroft in a wider context than single patients and their sole providers. In the December Raich ruling, the 9th Circuit held that: "The intrastate, noncommercial cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for personal medical purposes on the advice of a physician is, in fact, different in kind from drug trafficking. This limited use is clearly distinct from the broader illicit drug market, as well as any broader commercial market for medical marijuana, insofar as the medical marijuana at issue in this case is not intended for, nor does it enter, the stream of commerce."

Judge Fogel had thrown out an earlier lawsuit seeking the return of items seized in the raid, but attorneys for WAMM and the city and county of Santa Cruz filed a new lawsuit in April 2003, challenging the federal government's authority to interfere with medical marijuana activities that are legal under California law.

Federal officials had argued that the commerce clause of the US Constitution preempted state laws allowing for medical marijuana. According to the feds, marijuana use of any kind constituted interstate commerce. But the 9th Circuit didn't buy that argument in Raich, and Judge Fogel didn't buy that argument Wednesday.

Instead, he issued a preliminary injunction barring the feds from harassing WAMM until remaining legal issues are sorted out. Applying the Controlled Substances Act to the WAMM cooperative "is an unconstitutional exercise" of federal power, said Judge Fogel.

"We applaud the court's decision and we are profoundly pleased as we prepare to replant our garden," said Valerie Corral, cofounder of WAMM, during a Wednesday conference call with reporters. "But we also steady ourselves for a tug of war with the present administration's unwillingness to honor the democratic process."

"In the face of overzealous federal law enforcement, for the first time a court has applied the law in a way that protects the right of a group of sick people to grow and share their medicine without fear," said Judy Appel, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (, which provided part of the legal team that argued the case.

"Today's decision affirms the right of WAMM's members to cultivate and use marijuana for medicinal purposes free from federal interference," said Neha Shah Nissen, an attorney with Bingham McCutchen, a law firm that worked with DPA. "The federal government can no longer ignore the will of the people of the State of California and the City and County of Santa Cruz to protect the health and welfare of terminally and chronically ill individuals."

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on the WAMM ruling, but it did announce this week that it is appealing the Raich decision to the US Supreme Court. And the injunction issued this week by Judge Fogel is only temporary, barring the Justice Department from raiding or prosecuting WAMM until he has had a chance to rule on the applicability of the commerce clause to medical marijuana co-ops. But in the meantime, WAMM is free to plant, and its member patients are free to get their medicine.

Hear Valerie Corral live on Cultural Baggage, live on the Internet or via the airwaves in Houston this Tuesday, April 26. in Houston. Tune in at 7:30 EDT, 6:30 CDT or 4:30 PDT to or 90.1 FM, or check it out in the Cultural Baggage archives after the following morning at online.

2. Florida Pain Patient Sentenced to 25 Years

A wheelchair-bound Richard Paey was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Florida judge on April 16. Paey, who was convicted of forging prescriptions for pills to ease chronic, severe back pain dating from failed surgeries after an auto accident in 1985, was sentenced under Florida law as a drug dealer -- though even prosecutors conceded there is no evidence he did anything other than consume the medicine himself (

Paey's sentencing came as Florida endures a bout of prescription pain pill abuse hysteria, marked by the continuing legal and media odyssey of an Oxycontin-gobbling Rush Limbaugh and a sensational series of ill-reported stories in the Orlando Sentinel ( Taking full advantage of the media frenzy is the Florida drug control establishment, led by Citrus State "drug czar" James McDonough, head of the governor's Office of Drug Control. Since last fall, McDonough and Florida Republican legislators have been pressing a bill that would enact a prescription monitoring system, and that bill is now near passage.

Richard Paey is a desperately sick man who took desperate measures to ease his pain: Florida police and DEA agents who followed him for months described him wheeling himself into one pharmacy after another and leaving clutching his bags of pain pills. But that didn't matter to prosecutors who tried him as a drug trafficker three times before they could win a conviction that would send him to prison for years.

"It's unfortunate that anybody has to go to prison, but he's got no one to blame but Richard Paey," Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis told the St. Petersburg Times after sentencing. "Even if he possessed one pill illegally, it's a crime. All we wanted to do was get him help and get him treated to ensure that he's not doing anything criminal," he added.

Paey and prosecutors wrestled over possible plea bargains as the third trial neared, but Paey ultimately decided to reject a deal that would require him to plead guilty to a crime. He simply didn't believe he was anything other than a victim of a medical system hijacked by the imperatives of the war on drugs.

It was a gamble that almost paid off. One juror, Dwayne Hillis, told the Times he did not want to vote to convict Paey, but relented after he was assured by the jury foreman that Paey would receive probation. "It's my fault," said Hillis, a 42-year-old landscaper from Hudson. "Basically I should have stuck it out."

Hillis was misinformed by the foreman. Paey was convicted of "trafficking" in more than 28 grams -- less than one 100-pill prescription -- of Percocet, a medicine containing 1.5% oxycodone. Under Florida law, he faced a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence and $500,000 fine.

"They compromised," Paey said after the verdict, "and in the field of justice, compromises lead to horrible injustice."

"I said, "Guilty. Put it on the (verdict). I hope you all can live with yourselves,'" Hillis recalled. "I just hate myself for what I did."

At the hearing, sentencing Circuit Judge Daniel Diskey expressed dismay at having to impose the harsh sentence, but ultimately washed his hands of the matter. Responding to a comment from a Paey defense attorney that the legislature needed to change the law, Judge Diskey said, "You read my mind. In 22 years of practicing law... I have watched the trial court's discretion in sentencing eroding away." Legislative guidelines have "virtually eliminated judicial discretion," he added. But Judge Diskey ultimately played his appointed role. "It should come as no surprise that I am going to follow the law," he said just before imposing sentence.

"Look what happens when prosecutors know that the defendant was a patient in pain and had no intent to sell the medicines. This madness must be stopped," said Siobhan Reynolds, head of the Pain Relief Network (, a group supporting the right of pain patients and the physicians who prescribe for them to be treated with dignity and compassion. "Richard V. Paey has been a victim of advanced multiple sclerosis and a botched back surgery, and on April 16, Paey became another victim of overzealous prosecution of pain patients and mandatory minimums," said Reynolds, who attended the sentencing.

"Paey, in his wheelchair with a morphine pump sewn into his ruined back, will live out what for him is a death sentence in a Florida prison for possessing the medicine that he requires to survive," Reynolds noted. "He needs air conditioning in order to survive the summer, but Florida's prison system does not provide it. This is an absolute travesty."

Two weeks ago, Paey's wife Linda told Drug War Chronicle she expected him to serve less than a year before winning on appeal. Now, if he can only hold out that long.

You can keep up with the pain wars on a daily basis by tuning in to PRN's new blog, -- visit and click on "Pain War Chronicles" to check it out.

3. Texas League of Women Voters to Study Drug Policy

At the urging of drug reform activists who are also members, the League of Women Voters of Texas ( voted at its annual convention last weekend to approve a two-year study of drug policies in the Lone Star State. The Texas League is the state affiliate of the national League of Women Voters (LWV), the venerable and well-respected nonpartisan political association encouraging good government and civic involvement.

The national League approved a similar study of drug policy two years ago, but that study withered on the vine for lack of financial support. That is not the case with some state and local chapters, however. LWV Seattle has for nearly a decade played a crucial role in what has become a formidable drug reform coalition there (, and according to Texas League members, efforts to get similar studies underway are now taking place in Arkansas and South Carolina.

The action taken by the LWV of Texas is due largely to the efforts of two women, Suzanne Wills of Dallas and Noelle Davis of Austin. Wills, a longtime member of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas (, has been the drug policy chair for the Dallas chapter since she joined the group in 2001, Wills told DRCNet. She used her position to hammer at the issue, she said. "I've been keeping it in front of them with an article in every issue of our chapter newsletter," she said. "Most of the Dallas delegates to the state convention voted for the study because they knew what the issues were."

But the Dallas chapter did not put the motion before the convention—the Austin chapter did, and that was largely thanks to Noelle Davis, a 29-year-old newcomer to the LWV. "I joined the League a couple of years ago," she told DRCNet. "I was interested in drug policy, and I was interested in the League because they are a nonpartisan organization and don't take positions on things until they study them."

As a relative newcomer, said Davis, she sought out chapter leaders to understand the process of getting an issue considered, then ran with it from there. "The first step was to present the idea of a program study to a local chapter," said Davis. "Everyone there was very receptive to the idea," she told DRCNet. "Once we approved it at the local level, we let the state League know our group wanted to study drug policy in Texas."

But a request from one local chapter was not enough to convince the state league's board of directors to recommend drug policy as a study item. Instead, Wills and Davis and other advocates for the study took an alternate route to get the proposal before the state league. "We had to offer an official motion from the floor and convince delegates to approve it," Davis explained.

Advocates for approving the study held two caucuses before the final vote in an effort to educate and sway delegates. "We had to get two-thirds of the delegates to win approval for the study," said Wills. "We put out flyers telling people about the caucuses, and we had plenty of information on the issues for people to read."

Proponents advanced a number of arguments to win over delegates, said Wills and Davis. "We related drug policy to other issues of interest to the League, particularly criminal justice and public health issues," said Wills, "and we argued that we needed to study drug policy to arrive at an informed position." They also played the age card -- a smart move in an organization viewed as the domain of older women. Drug policy is an issue that could draw younger women into the organization, said Wills, pointing to the example of Davis.

Of the two caucus meetings, the first one was largely informational, while the second was devoted to answering the questions and objections of delegates. "We used the time allotted at the microphone pretty well," said Wills. "We addressed questions about what the state of Texas can do when prohibition is a national policy, we explained that we thought we could get the funding for the study (LWV studies must be self-supporting), and we pointed out that the LWV is very grey, looking to attract young members, and this could be an issue that does that," she said.

Given its orientation, the League can be a key player in drug reform if nudged in the right direction, said Wills. "The League tends to be progressive people, and while they may not be especially well-informed when it comes to drug policy, they are progressive and interested in good government. It is a good place for people interested in drug policy to go," she suggested.

The motion approved by the delegates calls for the state LWV to conduct a study on drug policy so it can "effectively advocate for its previously established positions on public school finance, criminal justice, juvenile justice, election laws and voting rights, health care for older Texans, and equal opportunity/income assistance." The study will research the history of Texas drug laws and "evaluate current laws and policies governing the sale and use of illegal drugs including their effects on young people, communities of color, and medical care and public health." Its mandate also includes evaluating "the social and economic costs of relying on prohibition, law enforcement, and imprisonment to solve problems related to drugs," and seeking alternatives to current policies.

"Since the delegates voted to approve this study, we will set up a chair and a committee," said Amy Farrier, communications coordinator for the LWV of Texas. "They will meet to pull together some background information, then after the study is complete, it will be submitted to our members," she told DRCNet. "What we want to generate is an unbiased educational piece for our members. Once that is done, there will be statewide study of the report, and then the LWV of Texas will attempt to reach a consensus position on what should be done."

The study of governmental issues is one of the League's primary functions at all three of its organizational levels -- local, state, and national, said Farrier. "We do studies of these issues for reasons of both education and advocacy, which are two of the basic missions of the League," she explained. "The League's process for study has acquired a solid reputation for its in-depth and unbiased exploration of an issue submitted to its grassroots membership for informed discussion. Once a position is reached, the League uses its grassroots strength to influence the shape of public policy."

Now, said Davis, it's time to get on the study committee. "The state League was very interested to know if there were people willing to work on this issue, and I definitely am, so I'm hoping I'll be selected."

For Wills, her work with the Drug Policy Forum of Texas and the LWV is an outgrowth of her experience. "I grew up in the 1960s, and the main thing that got me was the lies they told, like LSD causes birth defects and Agent Orange is benign," she said. "Not to mention the idea that they would imprison us for smoking a joint. That was important, too."

For Davis, the trajectory is much shorter. "I really didn't know much about drug policy until I attended a forum at a Unitarian Universalist church in Austin a couple of years ago," she said. "It's hard to think what you can do, and I think working with the League is something that can help."

Willis and Davis may represent a different generations in the LWV, but their goal remains the same: End the injustices of the drug war. And the example of their work with the League should be a beacon for other drug reform activists seeking change. In the Vietnam War era, activists spoke of a "long march through the institutions" of American society as the way to win fundamental change. They didn't march long enough then; but the long march of the drug reformers is just getting underway.

4. Going Dutch, American Style? Netherlands Politicians Take Aim at High-Potency Nederwiet, but Restrictions Still Seem Unlikely

special to Drug War Chronicle, by John Calvin Jones, Political Science Dept., Xavier University

As widely reported in the Dutch press, on April 6 two top government ministers announced that they want the government to consider banning the sale of Nederwiet (the generic name for the various high-potency strains bred by Dutch growers beginning in the 1980s). Justice Minister Donner of the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Public Health Minister Hoogervorst of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) suggested that the sale of Nederwiet should be prohibited. Rather than condemn marijuana outright, the officials suggested that the THC levels in Nederwiet have become so high that it should be considered a "hard drug" (a term the Dutch use to describe heroin, morphine, cocaine, LSD, and PCP -- there is still a bit of ambivalence is to which category they should assign ecstasy and mushrooms). Because hard drugs cannot be sold legally in coffeeshops (hash bars), redefining Nederwiet as a hard drug would ban its sale.

In couching the move in terms of public health, the ministers insisted that their primary concern was to curb drug abuse and addiction. In a bait-and-switch routine that would make Barry McCaffrey or John Walters proud, the ministers' announcement included a note that the number of addicts in the Netherlands ranges somewhere from 30,000 to 80,000, with only around 3,500 seeking help. But what officials -- both Dutch and American -- fail to mention is that such "addicts" typically report difficulties with heroin use. It is less often that Dutch users cite cocaine or alcohol as their problem drug of choice, and only in the rarest instances do young people find marijuana use as problematic.

In fact, according to the Dutch National Drug Monitor 2002 report, fewer than 3,500 Hollanders of any age sought out-patient drug treatment for cannabis in 2001. A report from the University of Amsterdam Center for Drug Studies (CEDRO) in 1996 estimated that less than one-half of one percent of Dutch adults were "cannabis dependent." Given that they are not arrested, drug tested, expelled from school, or kicked off of sports teams for using weed, why should Dutch youth see pot smoking as a problem? In fact, results from a 1998 international test by the National Center on Educational Statistics showed that teens from the Netherlands, who on average smoke marijuana more often that do American kids, are also far more proficient at math. Further, Donner's move to link Nederwiet, and by extension marijuana, to heroin addiction is curious, when according to government studies from the Trimbos Institute in Utrecht, only 2.5 to 3% of all Dutch adults use soft drugs regularly.

In presenting a package of new drug policy proposals, Ministers Donner and Hoogervoorst added that they wanted to make it more difficult for "drug tourists" to buy marijuana. The government leaders claim that local Dutch officials in border cities are asking for such a change and that border nations continually complain about how easily one can buy soft drugs in the Netherlands. Donner also suggested that the parliament might need to pass a law to forbid foreigners from buying weed. Donner informed the Tweede Kamer (Dutch parliament) that given the country's status as a member of the European Union, Dutch coffeeshops near the border must become strict enforcers of such a law if the Netherlands is to maintain its current laws that allow domestic production and consumption.

What is surprising is that Hoogervorst, as a leader of the libertarian VVD, would openly back Donner's proposal. Historically, when it comes to Dutch drug policy, the VVD has supported science, individual freedom and responsibility over patronizing laws that restrict individual choice and legal avenues of commerce. An indication that Hoogervorst's stance was causing uneasiness within his party came when the VVD, trying to temper an anticipated political and public backlash against itself and coalition partner the CDA, declared that it has no plans to reclassify marijuana as a hard drug. "That question must first be studied," said two ruling-coalition members of the Tweede Kamer.

In the typical Dutch fashion of accommodation and consensus-seeking, both Donner and Hoogervorst said Nederwiet should be investigated to determine if its high THC levels, on average about 15%, make it as addictive as heroin or cocaine, or if Nederwiet users suffer high unemployment rates, engage in crime, or manifest mental health problems similar to hard drug addicts.

The call for another study might only be a short-term solution to a looming political crisis, though. In the long run, marijuana policy could break the current majority in the Tweede Kamer. The third coalition party member, the "Democrats of 1966" or D66, included a call for the outright legalization of soft drugs in their party platform in the run up to the last election. Still, as a minor party in the current government, after the announcement by Donner and Hoogervorst, D66 leaders took a pragmatic stance and chimed in that a study on the harmful nature of Nederwiet is important so the public can learn if the drug indeed produces unacceptable or previously unknown individual or social harm.

Reaction to the attack on Nederwiet, and by extension, the Dutch cannabis economy based on it, was swift and predictable. The largest opposition party, PvdA, the Dutch labor party, called the notions that Nederwiet be regulated as a hard drug or shares properties of heroin or cocaine "incomprehensible." The party said that banning Nederwiet would lead to more illegal drug use (by definition) and increase public health risks. PvdA leaders said that prohibition will not lower consumption of Nederwiet and that THC levels will remain high, but visibility of users and marijuana will decrease. "We want the use of soft drugs to remain in the open and well regulated. As you move it into the field of illegality, that cannot happen," said PvdA leaders. One aim of the Dutch decriminalization policy was to prevent the social stigma, marginalization and isolation that prohibition laws create.

That's why, for those reasons that still make sense today, in 1973 then-newly appointed Public Health Minister, Irene Vorrink (PvdA) announced that the Netherlands would treat drug use primarily as a public health matter, not exclusively a criminal one. One of the first objectives of the marijuana harm-reduction model was to separate the soft drugs from harder drugs like heroin and cocaine -- that is, remove marijuana from the back alleys to the mainstream -- where respectable shop owners and proprietors would, like bartenders, sell a recreational drug to adults. While cross-national comparisons are problematic, heroin and cocaine use rates are far higher in the prohibitionist US than in the pragmatic Netherlands, where Dutch officials consider the policy of separating drug markets a success.

Any move to ban Nederwiet would also run afoul of economic interests, notably the Vereniging van Cannabisdetaillisten (Cannabis Retailers Union or CRU), which stated the obvious in speaking out against the government announcement. According to Jan Goos of the CRU, such a prohibition would throw away in an instant what it took forty years to establish -- a safe, stable, and regulated drug market. Coffeeshop owners also warn about the prospect of criminalizing Nederwiet. "Then we will have street dealers and an underground market, mixing the marijuana trade with hard drugs. No one is looking forward to that."

Rejecting histrionic claims about the effects of weed with higher levels of THC, pot dealers say that Nederwiet has none of the characteristics of hard drugs like heroin or cocaine. Pot is still pot -- the question is one of dose, said Goos. According to Goos, coffeeshop workers advise consumers about the strength of Nederwiet. Goos contends that the consumer decides for himself how much weed to put in a joint, just as people put various amounts of Bacardi in their rum and coke.

Ironically, it is because of current Dutch law, which restricts the size of grow operations and the amount of weed a coffeeshop retailer can have in stock at anyone time, that Nederwiet has been developed. According to August de Loor of the Drugs Advice Bureau (Stichting Advies Drugsbureau), when growers do not have much room to grow their crops, they have to make the weed stronger to maximize profits. Still, de Loor insisted that scientific studies have yet to show that higher levels of THC cause any problem in users or society. Reacting to the repackaged "Reefer Madness"-style allegations by the current ministers saying that use of potent marijuana may cause schizophrenia, de Loor responded that "speculation that high levels of THC bring about some type of harm is sheer insanity."

But it is not just the old saw about marijuana "making one crazy" that Christian conservatives in the Netherlands are raising. Present leaders are making silly allegations, long dismissed by their own researchers and politicians. Turning the clock back thirty years (for the Dutch, which means the present-day for American researchers looking for NIH grants), Donner even invoked the discredited "gateway drug" argument, arguing that the fact that there are 30,000 heroin addicts in the Netherlands, up from 10,000 in 1979, is attributable to the country's marijuana policy. Even in the US, in the last four years, USC professor Dr. Mitch Earleywine and the RAND Corporation have published works showing that marijuana is not a gateway drug.

Coming on the heels of the Dutch decision to go forward with its free heroin program (, the declarations of the Dutch ministers seem bizarre. But there is one common denominator: a link to the United States of America. After completing his undergraduate degree in law in Amsterdam, Donner, the CDA rightist, studied in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 1974-1975. For Donner, an Amsterdammer who had witnessed anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and the birth of the Dutch style hippy movement, Ann Arbor in 1974 must have seemed like déjà vu all over again. By 1974 the city's infamous Hash Bash, first held in 1971, was well-established, and marijuana had been decriminalized since passage of a 1972 city ordinance that made the punishment for a first-time, marijuana possession offense only $5. While in Michigan, Donner missed what went on back home -- major policy debates resulting in a declaration by the leaders of the now defunct Catholic party (it would form the basis for the current CDA), who actually led the charge -- ahead of the socialists and Labor party leaders -- for marijuana decriminalization.

While Donner saw one face of the drug culture in the Midwest, Hoogervorst saw another aspect of it in Baltimore and Washington, DC, during the Reagan era. He studied international affairs at Johns Hopkins from 1981-1983 and later lived in Washington, DC. Perhaps seeing high rates of heroin and crack use and violence in and around Baltimore, and our nation's capital, hearing misleading news reports about the death of University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias, all the while hearing Nancy Reagan's "just say no" message as America's prison population soared, Hoogervorst came to see that a harsher, meaner drug policy was the way to go?

But explanations for the behavior of Donner and Hoogervorst need not be based solely on the personal; there is also the realm of realpolitik. The current Dutch regime could be maneuvering to strengthen relations with the Bush administration. Facing its own domestic concerns with Muslim immigrants and anti-Arab sentiments, which have only grown since September 11th, this "coalition partner on the war on terror" could be trying to parlay an anti-Nederwiet position (what the Bush administration might call an anti-terrorism move) into money or aid to buy more US fighter planes, like the Joint Strike Fighter, or payments for her troop deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the coming months, Dutch parliament directives and American appropriations may provide an answer to why some Dutch leaders want to "Go American."

5. Newsbrief: Pakistani Opium Farmers Confront Police, Army

As if the Pakistani government did not have enough problems in its largely ungovernable tribal areas -- its forces ran into heavy armed opposition when it tried to sweep the area as part of the "war on terror" earlier this month -- it has now enraged farmers eking out a living by growing opium in the area. According to the Associated Press, on Wednesday, hundreds of gun-toting opium farmers whose crops were destroyed earlier in the day blocked a major highway in southwest Pakistan and burned paramilitary and United Nations vehicles.

The paramilitary police had been responsible for uprooting the crops, and when farmers armed with assault rifles clashed with them on a highway near the Afghan border, the paramilitaries were forced to retreat and their vehicles torched. Paramilitary commanders then called in the Pakistani army to clear the roadblock 85 miles northwest of Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. The farmers melted into the hills with the arrival of the military, and the scene was reported quiet by Wednesday evening.

While according to the US DEA, Pakistani opium production peaked in the mid-1990s before declining late in the decade, poppy cultivation has been increasing in the remote tribal regions adjacent to the Afghan border. Recent press reports have suggested that opium grown in parts of Afghanistan and neighboring areas of Pakistan is financing the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters, who remain strong in the region more than two years after a US invasion overthrew the regime of the mullahs.

The poppies were destroyed under a government eradication program, Pakistani anti-drug official Abdul Basit told the AP. "We took action only when they refused to destroy their crop voluntarily," Basit said.

6. Newsbrief: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Ready for Signature Gathering

The Montana Secretary of State's office and the Montana Attorney General's office have approved the language and legal sufficiency of a medical marijuana initiative. The way is now open for initiative organizers with the Montana Medical Marijuana Policy Project ( to begin the signature-gathering phase of the effort. Organizers must gather some 20,000 signatures, including at least 5% of voters in half of the state's counties, by June 18.

The Montana Medical Marijuana Act, which would amend state law and which will be known as Initiative 148 (I-148), would:

  • Allow terminally and seriously ill patients who find relief from marijuana to use it with their doctors' approval.
  • Protect these seriously ill patients from arrest and prosecution for the simple act of taking their medicine.
  • Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for their medical use, with limits on the amount they could possess.
  • Create registry identification cards, so that law enforcement officials could easily tell who was a registered patient, and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards.
  • Allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to discuss their medical use in court.
  • Keep commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.
Under the ballot measure, patients could use marijuana under medical supervision for a list of specified illnesses (cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS), as well as other conditions or treatments that produce wasting, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms, or other conditions defined by the state.

Visit to read the text of the ballot measure online.

7. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story

Reggae singer Junior Murvin once sang of the twin perils of "Police and Thieves," but Shelby County (greater Memphis), Tennessee Deputy Sheriff Jodie Chambers may have merged the two roles into one. Chambers was indicted for possession of 12 pounds of marijuana, four ounces of crack cocaine, three counts of obstruction of justice, five counts of money laundering, three counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking, and one count of violating civil rights by a federal grand jury in Memphis, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. Chambers was arrested April 16 and was jailed pending a bond hearing this week.

According to the indictment unveiled when Chambers appeared in federal court upon his arrest, the 13-year veteran of the force had teamed up with convicted murderer Leo Bearden in an informal drug-stealing and ­dealing enterprise. On March 31, the indictment alleges, Chambers "unlawfully took controlled substances and $6,000" from a drug suspect. He is also accused of using his .45-caliber service issue pistol to threaten and intimidate witnesses. The money laundering counts stem from the sale of stolen property and drugs, the indictment says.

Bearden was arrested during a search of North Tire Company, which is owned by Chambers. Police found him carrying a .40-caliber Glock pistol. He now faces additional charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chambers, a former SWAT officer, most recently worked patrol on a midnight shift. He also faces administrative charges, Shelby County Sheriff Mark Lutrell told the Commercial Appeal. That action "will be swift," said Lutrell, who lamented the new stain on a department whose reputation he had been working to rehabilitate. It was "a dark day for police," he said. "We have some good people, and it only takes one to embarrass us."

But it's not only one cop, and it's more than an embarrassment; it's a national scandal. As this continuing Drug War Chronicle feature makes clear on a weekly basis, police are being corrupted by drug prohibition day in and day out in rural sheriffs' offices and big city police departments alike. Drugs may or may not corrupt the morals of those who use them, but the drug laws most certainly corrupt too many cops who enforce them.

8. Newsbrief: One Cop Fired, One Cop Cleared in Kentucky Drug War Killings

Drug War Chronicle has reported previously on the January killing of black Louisville teenager Michael Newby, 19, the community mobilization that followed, and the eventual murder indictment against Louisville police undercover detective McKenzie Mattingly ( The Chronicle also reported the killing less than two weeks later of James Alexander, a 62-year-old Roanoke, Virginia, , shot by Kentucky State Police officer Sgt. Bobby Day during an alleged marijuana buy at a house in Jenkins. There are new developments in both cases.

In Louisville, Officer Mattingly is that rare police officer who actually faces punishment for unjustifiably killing someone. Mattingly shot Newby three times in the back as the youth fled after a scuffle during an undercover crack buy gone bad. In the face of angry street protests, Commonwealth Attorney Dave Stengel sought and won a grand jury indictment against Mattingly for the killing, but Mattingly continued to draw a policy salary as he sat on suspension. Not any longer. On April 16, Louisville Police Chief Robert White fired him, the first time any Louisville police officer has been fired in any of the 12 fatal shootings by police in the city since 1998.

In a letter notifying Mattingly of his dismissal that Chief White made available to reporters, White wrote that Michael Newby's actions the night he was killed did not leave Mattingly with no choice but to shoot Newby. "I've determined Newby's actions didn't threaten his life or anybody else's life," White wrote. "Your conduct clearly brought discredit upon our department and you as a member. Your conduct is alarming and has damaged the bond which we have established with our community."

And if that weren't bad enough, Mattingly also violated departmental procedures, the chief continued. "I further find that you failed to appropriately articulate any fact to indicate that Mr. Newby would clearly endanger human life unless apprehended without delay" -- the departmental standard for shooting someone. This violation of policies, wrote White, "demands your termination." The firing took effect immediately.

Mattingly, who faces felony murder and wanton endangerment trials, declined an opportunity to meet with the chief and argue his case, but he said in a statement that he was "scared to death" during the incident and believed that Newby had a gun. Newby in fact did have a weapon, a .45 caliber pistol tucked in his waist band, but Mattingly told investigators he never saw a weapon. That, along with the four eyewitness accounts, including Mattingly's, that Newby was fleeing when shot, led to both the indictments, and now, the firing.

Michael Newby was a well-known and well-liked member of a Louisville black community that had a preexisting civil rights and anti-police brutality movement able to press for justice in the face of police wrongdoing. It wasn't like that for James Alexander, who was an unknown out-of-stater in the small Kentucky town where he died. With his relatives scattered hundreds of miles away and with activists clustered in Louisville or Lexington, there was no one to turn up the heat on local authorities. And a grand jury convened and directed by Letcher County Commonwealth Attorney Edison Banks thus failed to indict Sgt. Day for twice shooting an unarmed man as he sat in the kitchen of a friend's house. No drugs were found.

Commonwealth Attorney Banks wouldn't talk to the Lexington Herald-Leader about his failure to win an indictment, leaving it to state police spokesman Sgt. Phil Crumpton to explain why Alexander had to die. "You're looking at a high-stress situation when someone is given a specific order and he makes an aggressive move that we feel is a threat to us," he said.

Alexander's "aggressive move" was, according to reports in the Herald-Leader, reaching in his jacket for a cell phone.

The failure to indict did not sit well with Alexander's family and relatives. "If they didn't find any guns or drugs on him, how can they do that?" Alexander's uncle, Reuben Alexander, asked the newspaper.

Even if he was a drug dealer, how can they justify shooting James twice when he wasn't armed," asked a friend, Beverly Hunt, 38, of Roanoke. "I was with James for 2 ½ years. He never carried a gun," she told the newspaper. "They're covering up. They've done it again. I've talked to the police, and the way they were talking, I could tell they were thinking, 'We just got another black man off the street.'"

9. Newsbrief: Bostonian Sues Over Drug Raid Strip-Search

A Boston man forced to strip and endure an anal search while visiting his girlfriend's apartment during a drug raid last year has filed a federal civil right lawsuit against the city of Boston and two Boston police drug investigators, the Boston Globe reported. Police violated his civil and constitutional rights by subjecting him to the indignity without probable cause and in violation of departmental policy, the suit alleges.

On March 23, 2003, Boston police drug squads carrying a search warrant raided the apartment of Jacqueline Lugo, the girlfriend of plaintiff Ivan Santiago, who was visiting the apartment at the time. The raiders' target was Lugo's brother, Ronaldo Lugo, the lawsuit explains. After police threatened to take Jacqueline Lugo's two-year-old child if Ronaldo did not cooperate, he admitted to hiding drugs in his anal cavity and in a stuffed animal.

Officers seized the drugs and arrested Ronaldo Lugo, but before leaving the apartment, their supervisor, Detective Sergeant William Feeney, ordered Officer Marcus Eddings to take Santiago into the bathroom and search him, the lawsuit says. Eddings made Santiago remove his clothing piece by piece, then performed a body cavity search with rubber gloves. He found no drugs on (or in) Santiago, who has no criminal record.

Santiago first tried to get justice through the department, filing a complaint with the internal affairs division. But that investigation found nothing wrong except that Feeney had failed to note the search on his incident report.

Santiago's attorney, Stephen Hrones, told the Globe that having a seach warrant did not give police the right to do cavity searches on his client. "You don't have the right to search everybody on the premises," he said. "Plus, they violated their own rules," he said, explaining that departmental policy allows body cavity searches only when there is "a high degree of probable cause" and only by qualified medical personnel. Hrones told the Globe that he knew of at least three similar cases, and he believes that Boston police routinely violate that policy.

It is sometimes said that you are what you eat. In the case of Boston's narcs, it may be a case of you are what you search.

10. Court Denies DEA Extension Request for Hemp Food Rehearing

Two months ago, Drug War Chronicle reported a major court victory won by hemp industries against the DEA's attempt to ban hemp foods ( DEA's legal maneuverings in this area appear to be fizzling to a sorry ending.

Earlier this week, DEA attorneys filed a petition for rehearing en banc by the 9th Circuit, but they submitted it one day after the deadline -- forcing them to have to file a motion for permission to file it one day late. The 9th Circuit denied the motion -- refusing even to consider DEA's petition for rehearing, let alone grant a rehearing.

DEA has filed a motion to reconsider that denial.

Visit for extensive information on this issue.

11. This Week in History

April 25, 1894: The Indian Hemp Drug Commission concludes that cannabis has no addictive properties, some medical uses, and a number of positive emotional and social benefits. Visit for the full text of the report.

April 30, 1984: Colombian Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who had crusaded against the Medellin cartel, is assassinated by a gang of motorcycle thugs. President Belisario Betancur, who has previously opposed extradition, announces, "We will extradite Colombians." Carlos Lehder is the first to be put on the list. The crackdown forces the Ochoas, Escobar and Rodriguez Gacha to flee to Panama for several months. A few months later, Escobar is indicted for Lara Bonilla's murder, and the Ochoas and Rodriguez Gacha are named as material witnesses.

12. The Reformer's Calendar

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

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

April 22-24, Washington, DC, 2004 NORML Conference. At the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14th & K Streets NW, visit for further information, register on site.

April 23, Carbondale, IL, "15 to Life: Unintended Consequences of the War on Drugs," multi-visual presentation by artists and anti-drug war activist Anthony Papa. For further information contact David Warden at (217) 721-4002 or [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 24, 8:45am, Norwalk, CT, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," public screening sponsored by the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates. At 20 North Main St., 3rd Floor, contact Kurt Kemmling at [email protected] or (860) 223-1900 or visit for info.

April 24, nationwide, Day and Night of Outrage against the RAVE Act and the drug war's attack on live music. Major events so far announced in Fayetteville, AR; Santa Cruz, CA; San Francisco, CA; New Orleans, LA; Warren, MI; Billings, MT; Santa Fe, NM; Taos, NM; New York, NY; Houston, TX; and Salt Lake City, UT. Visit for the latest updates.

April 24, 7:00pm, Billings, MT, Billings NORML fundraiser as part of national day of action against the RAVE Act. At the MSU Billings Ballroom, contact Adam Jones at (406) 256-0107 or [email protected] or visit http://www. for further information.

April 25, 10:30am-5:00pm, Washington, DC, "Women Against the Drug War Rally & March," delegation to the March for Women's Lives. Meet in front of the Dept. of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, followed by 5:00pm After-March-Appreciation Celebration at the Drug Policy Alliance office, 925 15th St., NW, 2nd Floor, contact Caren Woodson at (202) 669-6573 or Abby Bair at (202) 903-6329 for further information.

April 27, 8:00am-2:00pm, Montevideo, Uruguay, "Seminar: Challenges of the Drug Problem for the Uruguayan Penal System," sponsored by the Latin American Harm Reduction Network. At Edificio Jose Artigas (Anexo), Sala Dra. Paulina Luisi (Nivel -1), contact Maria Luz Osimani at [email protected] for further information.

April 27, 7:00pm, Kent, OH, "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," public screening sponsored by the Kent State student chapter of Amnesty International. At the Student Center, 3rd floor, contact Grace Peterson at [email protected] or visit for further information.

April 30, noon, Warsaw, Poland, Session with the European NGO Council on Drugs and Kanaba, at the European Economic Forum, Hall 2 of the Radical Theater Forum at Pola mokotowskie, visit or for further information.

May 1, international, Million Marijuana March, visit for event listings and further information.

May 1, noon-5:00pm, Burlington, VT, Million Marijuana March event, including speakers, music and information tables. At Burlington City Hall Park, contact Denny Lane at (802) 496-2387 and [email protected] for further information.

May 1, noon-10:00pm, Eau Claire, WI, Eau Claire's 10th Annual Hempfest. At Rod and Gun Park, sponsored by Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Students for Sensible Drug Policy, contact Randy Lusk at [email protected] or (715) 834-0424 for 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 or call (866) DOPE-DLR.

May 7, 8:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, "Green Therapy," medical marijuana comedy show. Featuring Joe Rogan, Rick Overton, Dean Haglund and others. Admission $20 or $10 for patients with a compassion club card or a doctor's recommendation, funds to benefit the Inglewood Wellness Center and the Crescent Alliance Self Help for Sickle Cell/Nigritian Kief Society. Visit or e-mail [email protected] for further information.

May 8, 8:00am-5:30pm, Vancouver, BC, Canada, "Beyond Prohibition: Legal Cannabis in Canada," featuring keynote speaker Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin. Sponsored by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue, registration $20. For further information, visit or contact Kirk Tousaw at [email protected] (preferred communication method) or (604) 687-2919.

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 for further information.

June 26, Copenhagen, Denmark, Assembly of members of the European NGO Council on Drugs (ENCOD), coinciding with the United Nations "Day Against Drug Abuse" spring event. Contact [email protected] before June 1 to attend, or visit for info.

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

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

If you like what you see here and want to get these bulletins by e-mail, please fill out our quick signup form at

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle 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: 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.

Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en Español Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em Português Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts 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]