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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #350, 8/20/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Count the People
  2. What We Are Watching at Drug War Chronicle
  3. California Patients Sue to Get Seized Marijuana Returned
  4. Recount of Nevada Marijuana Initiative Petitions Underway Following Federal Court Ruling
  5. DEA, Academic Pain Specialists Issue New Guidelines on Prescribing Pain Relievers
  6. Newsbrief: Canadian Marijuana Activist/Entrepreneur Marc Emery Jailed for 90 Days
  7. Newsbrief: DEA Raids Massive California Medical Marijuana Grow
  8. Newsbrief: Justice Department Using Pre-Written Op-Eds to Shill for Mandatory Minimums
  9. Newsbrief: DEA Training Narcs in India
  10. Newsbrief: Death Squad Killings Continue in Philippines, Civil Society Begins to Protest
  11. Newsbrief: Iraq Reinstates Death Penalty, Includes Drug Trafficking
  12. Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana "Sends Wrong Message" Claims Challenged By Decreasing California Teen Marijuana Use
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  14. Media Scan: Chicago Reader on Tribune-Hemp Connection, Counterpunch on California and Medical Marijuana Doctors
  15. Part-Time and Temporary Job Opportunities at DRCNet
  16. Job Opportunities at MPP
  17. The Reformer's Calendar
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Editorial: Count the People

David Borden
David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 8/20/04

DRCNet editor Phil Smith, in his "What We're Watching at DRCNet" overview this issue, likened the drug war to "a totalitarian fungus [spreading] into every aspect of our lives." Just as endless as the drug war's permutations may be, though, even more endless is its list of names -- names of the people the fungus has caught within its poisonous growth.

They are the names of students kicked out of school. They are the names of those stricken by drug-related hepatitis or HIV or preventable overdoses. They are the names of patients living with severe, under-treated chronic pain or who have ended their lives because of it. They are the thousands of drug users, or mere drug suspects, shot down in cold blood by Thailand's police in their murderous multi-year rampage. They are Colombians living with pervasive violence wrought by prohibition and the drug war and civil war it feeds. They are Bolivians and Peruvians who only want to grow coca to survive and continue their traditions. They are half a million nonviolent drug offenders clogging the prisons and jails of the United States. And the list, or rather the list of lists, goes on.

Every day the drug war rages, 4,000 people are arrested for drug offenses in the US, their lives disrupted, often ruined, for no justifiable cause or demonstrable benefit. How many of our fellow Americans, our fellow humans, have been run through this harsh, destructive gulag, forever altered, during this newsletter's lifetime for seven years or this organization's history for ten? Many were placed in cages before either of those two events, and remain in them to this day.

Nor does prison end for those who have been freed. Last week I met an old friend of the organization whose incarceration ended in 1998. Life is hard for those who have seen the inside, or can be, and such was the case for him -- education, friends, advantages all notwithstanding. Because prison does not end for those who have been freed.

This issue marks a special landmark for Drug War Chronicle, Issue #350, seven years. To work in one's chosen cause is a privilege, one for which we are grateful, and we take deep satisfaction in having served all this time in this way. But we will take greater satisfaction when the need for Drug War Chronicle has ended because the drug prohibition laws DRCNet opposes have been repealed. And I'm not content, in the meanwhile, to count the years. I want the drug war to end now.

Nor do I recommend counting the days. Rather, I say, each day count the people. Remember the thousands newly caught into the system -- on that day -- sent hurtling toward a destiny they did not want and mostly did not deserve. Remember the hundreds of thousands imprisoned, and the millions more suffering, one more miserable day that should have been lived in greater health and safety and freedom. Then imagine a world that is different -- better -- and share that vision with those around you.

While you're at it, of course, tell them about DRCNet and Drug War Chronicle and the movement for drug policy reform. And all the things that they and you can do to make change come one day or one year or a hundred years closer.


2. What We Are Watching at Drug War Chronicle

Phil Smith
Phillip S. Smith, Writer/Editor, Drug War Chronicle, [email protected], 8/20/04

Each issue of Drug War Chronicle attempts to discuss what we see as the most important drug policy-related stories of the week (as well as some that are just too fun or wacky to pass up), but with prohibition and the war on drugs affecting so many spheres of our personal and social lives, we can never deliver anything approaching total coverage of everything making up the drug war and drug reform. From being drug-tested at work or school to being pulled over on the highway to being unable to get a pain pill prescription to being imprisoned for years for a non-crime to losing social services because we have to pay for that jobs program for cops and prosecutors that is the war on drugs, the drug war creeps like a totalitarian fungus into every aspect of our lives.

No, we can't cover it all. The Drug War Chronicle is basically one guy with a telephone and an Internet connection who is on way too many e-mail lists. Some weeks we may not cover an issue or event that you think is of crucial importance. But we are scanning all the time for news on any number of important issues, and we are always looking for new information sources, particularly in the rest of the world. Below you will find a list of the issues we think are important and which we intend to cover in a regular, if not always continuous, fashion. If you think we're missing anything, send us an e-mail.

DOMESTIC ISSUES

  1. Medical Marijuana: An issue where impressive progress has been made in the past decade, but which remains contentious. In states where it has been legalized, users still face recalcitrant local law enforcement and the specter of the DEA, while in cities and states where it is in play on the November ballot, opposition led by the White House Office on Drug Policy is strong and growing.
  2. Marijuana Legalization: Medical marijuana is one thing, but it leaves millions of recreational pot users out in the cold. As one organization that frankly wishes to end prohibition -- period -- we view the achievement of marijuana legalization, or regulation, in any locale as a landmark to be impatiently awaited. We are watching Nevada and Alaska, where regulation initiatives are on the ballot this year, very closely.
  3. Sentencing Reform: The crime of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of drug offenders who harmed no one will stain this country's reputation for decades, if not centuries, to come. With mandatory minimum sentences and harsh federal sentencing guidelines, the US has become the world's leading jailer. While we may have seen the worst of it -- state-level politicians, if not the feds, have begun enacting sentencing reforms -- the US prison system is a juggernaut that will take years to slow down, let alone reverse, and the number of prisoners in America continues to grow. And we will continue to monitor.
  4. Needle Exchange and Other Harm Reduction Practices: Needle exchanges and other harm reduction programs aimed at reducing the spread of diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis C have been on the front line of cracking the prohibitionist consensus, through actions, not just words. But the programs remain on the edge of legality in some places, are resisted by the federal government, and serve as a real lightning rod for moralist prohibitionists. The spread of needle exchange programs is an indicator of both changing public attitudes and individual acts of courage by legislators.
  5. Pain Management: With tens of millions of Americans suffering from the under-treatment of chronic pain, the issue of pain treatment is huge, and it is made vastly more complicated by the heavy-handed intrusion of the federal government into doctors' offices. With hundreds of doctors prosecuted or sanctioned by state medical boards for attempting to prescribe adequate, scientifically justified amounts of pain relief medications, the clash between medicine and drug prohibition could not be more clear or more heart-rending.
  6. Drug Testing: Whether at work or at school, drug testing is a noxious invasion of privacy. The extent of drug testing and the population's acceptance of it is another indicator of drug war orthodoxy or, one hopes, eventually the end of it. Drug testing remains entrenched in large corporations and the public sector, and the Bush administration is pushing for an accelerated resort to drug testing in the nation's high schools.
  7. The Drug Menace du Jour: There always is one. When I first started writing this newsletter four years ago, it was ecstasy. Last year, it was Oxycontin. Now, it's methamphetamine. While any psychoactive substance of course has its risks, once lawmen, the drug rehab industry, and a compliant mass media demonize the drug of the day, reasonable discourse about those risks goes out the window. We will watch for these drug panics and try to deflate the myths and horror stories with realistic reporting.
  8. Police, Prison, and Prosecutorial Abuses and Corruption: They go along with drug prohibition. We won't let you forget it. Abuse of authority is one of the offenses most corrosive of respect for government. While the entire war on drugs may arguably be viewed as one big abuse of authority, as can specific drug war practices such as asset forfeiture, we are watching for particularly egregious examples. Sadly, they just keep on coming.
  9. Creeping Totalitarianism and the Rise of the Police State: Watch your amazing vanishing Constitution here!
  10. The Evolution of the American Drug Reform Movement: It has been little more than a decade since DRCNet was formed, and while we may complain about the glacial slowness of drug policy change, the world of drug reform in 2004 is light years advanced from 1994. Old organizations, such as NORML, have been revitalized, new organizations have sprung up, and grassroots marijuana activism has spread like wildfire across the land. And that's just pot. The drug reform movement has broadened and matured, although not without some bumps and scuffles, and is now no longer the province solely of scruffy longhairs and academic cranks. With harm reduction, drug treatment, public health, and even law enforcement members pressing for radical changes in the drug laws, the pressure for reform is mounting. The movement is a central part of our beat, and we will cover it until its successes mean our work is no longer necessary.
INTERNATIONAL
  1. Demolishing the Global Prohibition Regime: Drug prohibition is encrusted in the international legal system through a series of United Nations treaties, the 1961 Single Convention and its successors. These treaties are the legal backbone of global drug prohibition, and glacially-paced efforts are underway to appeal or amend them. We will continue to report from this front.
  2. Building a Global Legalization Movement: This is part of what we do. With our "Out from the Shadows" conference series, DRCNet, in conjunction with numerous other organizations and individuals, seeks to build a broad-based global social and political movement to end drug prohibition. You bet we'll be reporting on new developments from this movement.
  3. The International Harm Reduction Movement: The movement is strong and growing, from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Moscow to Mumbai. Here in the US, we have much to learn from our foreign colleagues.
  4. Drug Prohibition and Political Violence: The nexus is clear: Black market drug profits fund death and destruction, whether it's cocaine in Colombia, opium in Afghanistan, or all of the above in the favelas of Brazil. From Plan Colombia to the US war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, DRCNet will bring you the news about prohibition, war, and US foreign policy hypocrisy.
  5. Peasant Producers: Millions of poor peasants around the world depend on illicit drug crops for a livelihood. In the case of the Andes, that illicit crop is also a traditional sacred plant, the coca bush. Under prohibition, these peasants are subject to loss of their crops, violent attacks by police or soldiers, imprisonment, and even death for trying to make a living. We hope to get to the point where we have to worry about how they're going to make a living in a world where the commodity they grow is no longer illegal.
  6. Drug Reform in Canada: Our northern neighbor has quietly entered the vanguard of drug policy reform. While the marijuana laws there remain intact, the laws clearly lag behind social reality in a country where police in some cities are turning a blind eye to businesses doing over-the-counter recreational marijuana sales and where pot has become an economically significant growth industry. But Canada is also in the vanguard in harm reduction-based drug reform, with Vancouver hosting the hemisphere's first officially-sanctioned safe injection site, heroin maintenance trials planned for this fall, and local activists and health officials now clamoring for a safe crack-smoking site. We'll be checking for more breaths of fresh air from the Great White North.
  7. Drug Reform in Western Europe: Along with Canada, governments in various Western European countries are moving far ahead of the Americans on drug reform issues. Whether it is the normalization of marijuana, the spread of needle exchanges and safe injection sites, the decriminalization of drug use, or the ongoing effort to move the European Union toward a more humane drug policy, we will be watching.
  8. The Lost Continents: Africa and Asia. In Asia, especially Southeast Asia, drug war orthodoxy reigns supreme and is too often practiced in an especially brutal and bloody form. Death squads in the Philippines, police killings in Thailand, executions of traffickers in Singapore, mass show executions in China -- when Asian authoritarianism meets American prohibitionism, we will tell you about the nasty results and asking whether the human rights organizations are doing enough to try to stop it. In Africa, the repression is not as organized or as brutal, but with few exceptions, the continent appears trapped in the Reefer Madness mode of the last century. But even in Africa, the occasional ray of light shines. We will let you know when blinded by the light or driven to giggles by yet another Nigerian narc or Kenyan cop explaining how marijuana is a hard drug.
  9. The Andes: The US government has for more than two decades aimed to export its domestic drug problem and dump it on the backs of the residents of the cocaine-producing regions of South America. Now, under the impetus of the "war on terror," US involvement in the Columbian civil war has undergone mission creep from counter-narcotics to counter-terrorism, while Columbia bleeds and its crops turn brown under aerial fumigation. US policies toward drug producers in the rest of the region have also led to an American alliance with the most repressive sectors of those countries and generated tremendous mass movements, such as the cocalero demonstrations that unseated Bolivian President Sanchez de Losada. The area remains explosive.
  10. Afghanistan: The Taliban suppressed the opium crop there in 2000, but under the US-installed government of Hamid Karzai and his warlords, the country is now once again the world's largest opium producer. Will the US drug war bow before the imperatives of the US war on terror? Will Donald Rumsfeld continue to consort with some of Asia's largest drug traffickers? Will the Afghan opium boom make a hit of smack cheaper than a pack of smokes? Stay tuned.

3. California Patients Sue to Get Seized Marijuana Returned

In a mass legal action Tuesday, 38 California medical marijuana patients filed simultaneous lawsuits demanding that state law enforcement entities return almost $1 million worth of pot seized by police in recent years. California voters approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996, but recalcitrant law enforcement organizations continue to seize marijuana from patients.

In all 38 cases, the plaintiffs had their medicine seized but were never charged with a crime or had the charges dropped. But they have been unable to get police to return their property -- the marijuana. Now they are going to court in an effort to get their property back, or at least its cash value, and to try to shock California police into actually upholding and obeying the law.

Under California law, persons whose property was unlawfully seized may seek its return through a court order. If the property has been lost, damaged, or destroyed, plaintiffs are entitled to receive compensation. Each case must be filed separately, as was done Tuesday across the state.

According to a report issued this week by Americans for Safe Access (http://www.safeaccessnow.org), the group that coordinated the mass filing, illegal seizures of medical marijuana have occurred in more than half of the state's counties. The California Highway Patrol has also illegally seized marijuana from patients, the report found. Additionally, ASA found that eight years after the passage of Proposition 215, the state's Compassionate Use Act, most California law enforcement agencies have no procedures in place to determine who is a legal medical marijuana user.

In the report, which examined only the last three months, ASA found more than 100 cases of police violating patients' rights and seizing their medicine. ASA executive director Steph Sherer blamed the problem on a "culture of resistance" within law enforcement. "There is more support for medical marijuana in California than ever before," said Sherer in a Tuesday conference call. "But when we look at the implementation of Prop. 215, it is surprising that we see such a culture of resistance to it among law enforcement."

That reluctance to uphold the law will end up costing California taxpayers millions of dollars in arrest and prosecution costs, as well as millions more in compensation for seized or damaged property, Sherer said. "Patients are standing up for their rights and demanding their property back from the state," she said. "The Compassionate Use Act is not negotiable. Upholding the law is not negotiable. In addition to the return of property, we are asking for policies and regulations for law enforcement that will not only protect the rights of patients and monitor this culture of resistance, but also save money for taxpayers across the state."

Police have had long enough to adapt to the law, said Joe Elford, a constitutional law expert and ASA staff attorney. "When a substance such as pot has been illegal for so long, law enforcement cannot be expected to change its attitudes overnight," he said, "but it's been eight years. Because police continue to view marijuana as contraband and seize people's medicine, patients have had to stand up for their rights, they have had to go to court to try to get their medicine back. If this works," Elford continued, "we will have won a broader recognition of our rights. If it doesn't, we will see more lawsuits down the line. We don't intend to wait another eight years."

Former California police officer and current medical marijuana patient Kevin Lewis said that even though he considers himself a responsible user, he "fears" the attitude of law enforcement if he is ever found with marijuana. But those attitudes could be changed, Lewis said, and it is up to law enforcement agencies to do so. "Officer standards and training should make clear that if the person has a medical marijuana ID card and a doctor's recommendation, he should be treated like anyone else possessing a prescription drug. Officers need to review the documents, and if they are in order, let the patients go about their business," Lewis said. "I can't even understand what level of training these officers have or what orders they have to seize property," he complained.

Lisa Swartz is one of the patients who filed suit Tuesday. During the conference call, she told of being raided at gunpoint in 1999. "They came with a narc SWAT team, pointing semi-automatic weapons at my grandkids' heads," she said before breaking into tears. "It was a terrible experience and totally changed my view of everything. I used to believe the police were there to protect and defend us. It is just so bizarre that they do this to people," said Swartz. "Even if we get our property back, this still takes a terrible toll on our families."

Swartz spent 18 months and $50,000 defending herself before authorities dropped the charges. "They never apologized and they never gave me my medicine back," she said, explaining why she filed suit.

The law enforcement "culture of resistance" to implementing the state's medical marijuana law is centered in the California Narcotics Officers Association, whose 7,000 members make a living enforcing the drug laws. The association, which is the largest law enforcement training organization in the state, says flatly on its web site that "marijuana is not a medicine" and that a well-financed drug legalization lobby has duped the voters of California.

That's a big problem, said California Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). "I have only recently learned that the California Narcotics Officer Association says marijuana is not medicine," Leno said. "I would suggest they need to reread the wording of Prop. 215. That is the will of the voters, and it is not being respected. Prop. 215 clearly states seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes. That is what we are trying to implement."

Now, if we can only get the police to obey the law. The 38 cases filed this week may help give them an incentive to do just that.

To find out more about the ASA report and the lawsuits, visit http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=1351 online.

To read the California Narcotics Officers Association position paper on medical marijuana online, visit http://www.cnoa.org/position-papers-1.htm online.


4. Recount of Nevada Marijuana Initiative Petitions Underway Following Federal Court Ruling

The Nevada marijuana initiative could be back on again. In response to a lawsuit filed by the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) and its Nevada affiliate, the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana (http://www.regulatemarijuana.org), a federal judge in Las Vegas ruled August 13 that the state's "13 county" rule and its requirement that a second person sign off on signatures collected are unconstitutional. Under the "13 county" rule, petitioners were required to obtain the signatures of 10% of registered voters in at least 13 of the state's 17 counties.

Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller had rejected CRCM's marijuana initiative, saying the group had failed to get signatures in at least 13 counties and that some 19,000 Las Vegas signatures were not valid because they lacked a second signer. But in his decision on the case, US District Court Judge James Mahan has found the regulations unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction barring Heller from nullifying signatures based on those rules.

While Judge Mahan ruled for CRCM and MPP on the signature-counting issues, he refused their request to order that the measure be placed on the ballot. Instead, Judge Mahan ruled that the signatures must be recounted to see if the initiative will qualify.

"This is really good news," said CRCM spokeswoman Jennifer Knight. "We're crossing our fingers that the recount will get us over the top. We think this will get us to the ballot, but we're not there yet."

Nevada Secretary of State Heller was less enthused. The ruling was "bringing us to our knees," he told the Las Vegas Sun. "We're not killed yet but it took us out," he said.

The initiative, which would remove criminal penalties for adult marijuana use and possession and direct the state to create a system of regulated marijuana distribution, needs slightly more than 51,000 valid signatures to qualify. MPP and CRCM handed in more than 66,000 gross signatures earlier. The groups estimate that they now need fewer than 1,500 additional valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

That process is underway, and CRCM and MPP have put out a call for volunteers to monitor the count to ensure its accuracy. "This process is going to make Florida's 2000 ballot recount look orderly," said MPP executive director Rob Kampia in an e-mail to supporters seeking volunteer monitors for Reno and Las Vegas.

The clock is ticking. The statewide signature recount must be completed by August 31, and ballots are set to be printed September 7. "We'll get it done, but good God, we'll have to throw an awful lot of people and an awful lot of hours into this to get this done," Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday.

Volunteer observers are on the scene in Clark County (Las Vegas) and Washoe County (Reno), the state's two population centers, said CRCM's Knight. Still, not all is going perfectly, she said. "Here in Clark County, we have observers, but they relegated us to the back of the room, so we can't see everything that's going on," she said.

While it is nail-biting time for CRCM and MPP, Knight said the groups are meanwhile preparing to restart the campaign to win at the ballot in November. "We have had a lot of ups and downs in this campaign, and it's been tough, but we hope we will have a final decision by the end of the month," she told DRCNet. "We are preparing to start the TV ads back up, as well as a lot of direct mail, and generally restart the campaign."

Initiatives are tough business, and Nevada is a tougher state for them than most. In addition to the now-invalidated petitioning requirements, ballot measures must pass twice before they become law. Outright regulation of marijuana is even harder; a similar "regulation" initiative effort by MPP in 2002 failed to pass, as did an unrelated ballot measure in Alaska. This time around, MPP tweaked the initiative to address what it identified as voters' key concerns -- youth access and impaired driving. If the initiative passes this time, under Nevada law voters will have to approve it again in 2006. It may be that MPP's work in Nevada is not almost done, but just beginning.


5. DEA, Academic Pain Specialists Issue New Guidelines on Prescribing Pain Relievers

In response to a growing chorus of complaints from pain patients and the doctors who treat them, who say that heavy-handed drug law enforcement is leaving patients in pain and innocent doctors behind bars, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and leading pain specialists have coauthored a new set of guidelines spelling out how to prescribe opioid pain relievers such as morphine or Oxycontin without running afoul of the law. But while the guidelines are a consensus effort between drug enforcers and academics, they are not winning universal approval among pain relief advocates.

In recent years, hundreds of doctors have been prosecuted or sanctioned by state medical control boards as "Dr. Feelgoods" or drug traffickers by state or federal officials who view their prescribing practices as excessive. Those cases have become harder to prosecute as doctors have begun fighting back, and pain patient advocates have joined the fray, charging that the DEA crackdown on prescribing is leaving millions of Americans suffering needless pain. But they still have a devastating impact on physicians' willingness to prescribe pain medications.

The consensus statement was produced by experts from the DEA, the University of Wisconsin Pain and Policy Studies Group, and Last Acts (http://www.lastacts.org), a national coalition of consumer and professional organizations working to improve end-of-life care through the use of palliative medicine and pain management techniques. Last Acts and the DEA signed an earlier consensus statement stressing the need for "balance" between law enforcement's demand to prevent drug abuse and diversion and the medical imperative to treat the sick in 2001.

But with the White House Office of Drug Control Policy having declared war on prescription drug abuse this year and the prosecution of physicians for alleged over-prescribing continuing apace, doctors are reluctant to prescribe medically acceptable quantities of opioid pain relievers for fear of being stripped of their practices, subjected to criminal prosecutions, and possibly sentenced to decades in prison, pain relief advocates say. Thus the publication of "Prescription Pain Medications: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Health Care Professionals and Law Enforcement Personnel."

The document is intended to clarify matters for physicians and law enforcement alike. And it does make clear that opioids such as Oxycontin are legitimate pain medications, that they are sometimes subscribed in large quantities, that they are sometimes prescribed to large numbers of patients by one doctor or clinic, and that none of these things necessarily imply shady doctoring.

That is a critical message, study coauthor David Joranson, pain policy director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, told the Associated Press. Fewer doctors are willing to prescribe opioid pain relievers because of fear of prosecution, he said. "In some ways, pain management and the use of pain medications has become a crime story when it really should be a healthcare story," Joranson said.

The key message for law enforcement is that opioid pain relievers, even in large quantities, are good medicine, said Dr. Russell Portenoy, head of New York's Beth Israel Medical Center pain center. "These are legitimate treatments. They're essential for good medical care," he told AP.

The DEA will distribute the document to agents and prosecutors, said Patricia Good, the agency's drug diversion head. Helping law enforcement distinguish aggressive pain management from criminal over-prescribing would help remove the "unwarranted fear that doctors who treat pain aggressively are singled out," she said in a notice announcing the document. The information should help eliminate that "aura of fear," she said.

But parts of the guidelines have pain relief advocates and doctors concerned. Some activists said medicine is being perverted by the war on drugs with recommendations such as the following, which are designed to help doctors weed out "drug abusers" and protect themselves from arrest:

"Document a medical history, physical exam, pain assessment and treatment plan in first-time patients' charts, with re-evaluations at follow-up visits.

"Records should show evidence that the doctor evaluated the nature and impact of the pain, earlier treatments, and alcohol and drug history. Measuring pain intensity and extent of relief over time 'is important evidence of the appropriateness of therapy.'

"Watch for abuse warning signs, such as a patient unwilling to allow contact with previous doctors, escalating doses, seeking early refills or requesting specific medications. These require careful evaluations -- they might merely signal unrelieved pain.

"More worrisome signs include deterioration in functioning at home or work, illegal activities such as stealing or forging prescriptions, and repeatedly 'losing' prescriptions."

Frank Fisher
"Look, let me say there are some good features in this, but it's fundamentally misguided," said Dr. Frank Fisher, a California physician who underwent a five-year legal ordeal before being exonerated of all charges -- including spurious murder charges -- after being raided by state officials over his opioid prescribing practices (http://www.drfisher.org). "For the last 15 years, we've been doing this sort of thing -- intractable pain acts, patients' bills of rights, medical board guidelines, consensus statements like this one -- in recognition of the terrible public health problem with chronic pain. None of that has worked," he told DRCNet, "and this is more of the same."

Guidelines seeking "balance" between law enforcement and medicine fail to get to the root of the problem, Fisher said. "This doesn't address the underlying flaw in our social policy and legal approaches to the regulation of these medicines and how that affects the treatment of pain," he argued, calling the involvement of the criminal justice system in medicine a "fundamental structural problem in the law."

And that is prohibition. "By making opioids illegal," said Fisher, "prosecutors will have to decide who to prosecute, and to do that, they will have to apply some sort of standards to medical practices, which effectively has them regulating the medical system. This document is nothing more than a reiteration of the status quo that says let's keep doing all these things, the DEA is going to play nice, and you physicians shouldn't be so scared, but I find it terrifying," he said.

There was progress in some small sense, said Siobhan Reynolds, executive director of the Pain Relief Network (http://www.painreliefnetwork.org), a pain patients' advocacy group. "Well, it's the first time the DEA even admitted they had created an aura of fear," she told DRCNet. "But this will not remove the aura; it will only make things worse," she said. "What this does is criminalize in writing the application of the principles of pain management in their pure form. The doctors are supposed to practice with an eye to law enforcement concerns."

"Basically, addiction medicine doctors have adopted the dual concept of being a doctor and a cop, and this document is an astonishing display of paternalism," said Reynolds. "Academic pain medicine has been co-opted. What we are really talking about here with these 'drug abuser' profiles is the denial of the autonomy and dignity of patients and their civil rights when it comes to the practice of medicine," she argued. "These doctors think they're doing the right thing," said Reynolds, "but there is such a gap between what these academics see and what is actually happening to patients. There are 50 million people in chronic pain and maybe 7-9 million in out-of-control pain, and they're worried about a handful of 'drug abusers'?"

Read the consensus FAQ on pain medication prescribing at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/faq/pain_meds_faqs.pdf or http://www.stoppain.org/faq.pdf online.


6. Newsbrief: Canadian Marijuana Activist/Entrepreneur Marc Emery Jailed for 90 Days

Marc Emery, the Vancouver-based founder of the British Columbia Marijuana Party (http://www.bcmarijuanaparty.com), publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine (http://www.cannabisculture.com), and marijuana seed empresario, was sent to jail for 90 days Thursday afternoon in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for passing two joints at a political rally in March.

Marc Emery getting arrested in Winnipeg, July 2003
(courtesy Cannabis Culture magazine)
Emery, one of the most prominent figures in Canada's marijuana scene -- he is sometimes referred to as "The Prince of Pot" -- has a long history of arrests to further the cause of marijuana legalization, but has never before faced significant time behind bars. But, reported Cannabis Culture, this is Saskatoon, "one of Canada's most anti-pot regions," one where harsh sentences are frequently handed out. Emery was charged under Canada's drug trafficking law, which makes no distinction among quantities or between different drugs, and could have faced seven years in prison. Crown prosecutors asked for two.

Emery was arrested after sharing two joints with people in a local park after giving a speech denouncing the marijuana laws. While Canadian law permits laying a trafficking charge for sharing a joint, such charges are rarely brought, suggesting Emery was prosecuted for political reasons.

Emery served three nights in the Saskatoon jail after his arrest and had been free on bond pending trial and sentencing. While his attorneys said they were considering an appeal of the sentence, Emery will probably have done his time before the appeal is heard.


7. Newsbrief: DEA Raids Massive California Medical Marijuana Grow

The US Justice Department is at it again. DEA agents raided another California medical marijuana operation Wednesday, this one a highly publicized and easily visible outdoor grow covering more than 40 acres. DEA agents and Lake County sheriff's deputies seized 20,000 plants and arrested 13 people, including property owner and medical marijuana activist Eddy Lepp. He is charged under federal law with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Lepp maintains that the grow is legal under California law, and that he does not sell marijuana but grows it for other medical marijuana patients. And he isn't shy about it. The operation was clearly visible from nearby state Highway 20, according to local press reports, and was well known to local residents. Lepp and his garden had also been featured in High Times magazine, which touted the grow as "The World's Biggest Medi-Pot Garden" in its August issue.

DEA San Francisco office spokesman Richard Meyer was having none of that medical marijuana talk and he didn't care about California's Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medicinal use of the herb in the Golden State. "According to the United Constitution there is a supremacy clause, which says that in case of conflict federal law precedes state law," he told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. "According to federal law, there is no such thing as medical marijuana. Marijuana is a dangerous drug that the United States Congress has classified as a Schedule One substance. A Schedule One substance doesn't have any accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse."

Lepp is no dope dealer, said his wife Linda Senti, who told the Press-Democrat the crop had 1,000 shareholders. "They're not his plants. Eddy and I had plants, but the other plants were patients' plants," Senti said. "They're going to suffer a lot. That was a year's supply of medication for them," Senti said.

This isn't Lepp's first run-in with the law over medical marijuana. The crusading activist was arrested in 1997 for growing 131 plants, but was found innocent, largely because he was a medical marijuana patient. In 2002, the DEA raided Lepp, seizing 350 plants, but he was never charged. He has filed suit against the DEA seeking return of his plants.

Medical marijuana supporters demonstrated in support of Lepp outside the federal courthouse Thursday. While prosecutors originally sought a $200,000 bond, Lepp was released on his own recognizance after his attorneys explained the nature of the case to the judge.


8. Newsbrief: Justice Department Using Pre-Written Op-Eds to Shill for Mandatory Minimums

In response to increasing pressures to undo the harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences that have made the US the world's incarceration leader and the federal prison system the fastest growing in the country, the US Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft is striking back. The Justice counteroffensive is centered on an op-ed piece supporting mandatory minimums written at Main Justice in Washington but being pitched to newspapers across the country under the signature of local US Attorneys. The "astroturfing," or attempting to fake a grassroots upswelling of support for mandatory minimums, was first unearthed by Families Against Mandatory Minimums (http://www.famm.org) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (http://www.criminaljustice.org) last week, and noted by at least one newspaper, the Knoxville (Tennessee) News Republic, this week.

The op-eds extol the virtues of mandatory minimums and warn that the Supreme Court's Blakely decision, which held that juries, not judges, must find facts that lead to longer sentences, jeopardizes "the safety of America." According to NACDL, the same op-ed has appeared in at least three separate newspapers across the country under the names of three different, local US Attorneys. The News Republic this week found the op-ed published in three Tennessee newspapers alone, under the names of two different US Attorneys.

US Attorney Sandy Mattice, the chief federal prosecutor for East Tennessee and "author" of two of the op-eds, told the News Republic, the op-ed bearing his name was based on "a model" provided by the Justice Department. Prosecutors were "encouraged" to use the model, he said, "but I had complete autonomy in editing."

The Justice Department has reason to wage war to preserve mandatory minimums and reason to flood the country with op-eds this month. The American Bar Association general assembly this week passed a resolution condemning mandatory minimums. That vote came in response to the association's Justice Kennedy Commission report, ordered up by the group after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy criticized the federal criminal justice last year (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/343/aba.shtml).


9. Newsbrief: DEA Training Narcs in India

A five-person Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) team is in India to provide training in US-style drug law enforcement to federal anti-narcotics agents and drug police in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), the largest city in the world's most populous democracy. According to the Times of India, a similar training program has already occurred in New Delhi, and more are set with police forces in Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras).

The training programs are designed to teach local drug squads as well as customs agents and Narcotics Control Bureau personnel in the techniques that have served the US so well in its hundred-year war against drugs. It will also help the DEA develop intelligence on Indian drug markets.

"We will discuss issues like investigation techniques, drug identification, intelligence gathering through informants and other sources and also share our experience in combating the drug mafia in the US. The program will also help us to understand the drug problem in India," an unnamed DEA official told the Times.

The DEA has not take a sudden benevolent interest in India's drug abuse problem, such as it is. Instead, according to a Mumbai police official consulted by the Times, the US is concerned with the massive flows of opium and heroin out of Afghanistan. Since the US overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001, and its replacement by a government installed and supported by the US, Afghanistan has resumed its place as the world's number-one opium producing nation, responsible for three-quarters of the global supply, according to the United Nations.

"The program will be beneficial for us. We can also share information on international drug traffickers with US officials," said the Mumbai narc. "Drugs produced in Afghanistan are being routed via Pakistan or Nepal into India and then smuggled into Europe, US and other parts of the world," he added.

The DEA mobile training team in India is one of three such teams, budgeted at slightly under a million dollars each per year. The DEA uses them to instill US-style drug enforcement orthodoxy around the world. According to the agency, the teams train about 2,100 foreign police in 58 countries each year. The agency is seeking funding for a fourth team this fiscal year to "specifically address international training needs in the Andean Region and Mexico as well as training needs in vital areas of Southwest Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East," DEA administrator Karen Tandy told Congress in March.


10. Newsbrief: Death Squad Killings Continue in Philippines, Civil Society Begins to Protest

The Philippines' bloody-minded war on drugs continues apace, the Filipino trade publication Business World reported last week. According to the journal, "summary killings involving shady characters are spreading all over the region" of Davao City, where death squads popularly linked to police, businessmen, and local officials have been operating with impunity since the late 1990s. More than 60 people have been slain by the death squads in Davao City alone this year, according to local media, while officials in Tagum City in nearby Davao del Norte have reported 26 similar executions since May.

Business World reported that civil organizations in Davao del Norte rallied Tuesday to condemn the killings. The rally was called to "put emphasis on respect for life and human rights and denounce the senseless killings perpetrated by a shadowy death squad," organizers said in a statement. The rally is the latest manifestation of mounting criticism of the city government and local law enforcement agencies for their inability or unwillingness to stop the killings. No death squad member has been arrested in Davao City despite years of killings. Those killed are almost always on lists of persons "wanted" by the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is widely rumored to be behind the death squads, has repeatedly denied the charge, but his most recent comments once again failed to quell the notion that he approves. In his weekly television address, Duterte warned drug dealers to "start swimming" as far as Indonesia if they wanted to survive and called critics of the death squads "reactive idiots." Instead of criticizing the death squads, said Duterte, critics should instead help drug offenders by getting them to turn themselves in.

"These reactive idiots, I may call them, don't just sit there and wait for the next victim to fall," said Duterte. "Seek them out and help reform them or warn them to leave the city," he added, clearly implying that drug offenders would be killed. "Get the list of wanted persons from the PDEA, it's public, go to these persons and tell them to reform. You can't do anything just by shouting every time some drug addict is killed," he said. Still addressing his critics, Duterte added that the death squads are "much better than you because they did something to the problem."

The killings have support, especially among law enforcement and the business community. Businessmen are unafraid to tell Philippine media they support the murder of alleged drug criminals. "We're more confident to operate in a peaceful Davao, free from criminals, drug syndicates and terrorists," businessman Robert Te told the Mindanao Times. U Ching Siong, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce regional director, added that the summary executions have created a good atmosphere for the business sector in the city and boosted the confidence of businessmen.


11. Newsbrief: Iraq Reinstates Death Penalty, Includes Drug Trafficking

The interim government of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has reinstated the death penalty, Minister of State Adnan al-Janabi announced at an August 8 Baghdad press conference. According to a Reuters account of his remarks, al-Janabi said the move was a necessity, would last indefinitely, and would be effective immediately.

Capital punishment was common under Saddam Hussein, and his indiscriminate use of it constituted part of the brief against him for brutality. US occupation authorities abolished the death penalty after seizing the country last year. But faced with a murderous, multi-faceted insurgency, the Iraqi interim government has hinted since its inception June 28 that it wanted to re-impose the ultimate sanction.

While couched in the language of security and protecting Iraqis against political violence, the government order imposes the possibility of a death sentence not only for murder and the "execution of terrorism," as well as financing terrorism or attacking transport convoys, but also for crimes including rape, kidnapping and drug trafficking. "This law is to help protect the Iraqi people in the face of an onslaught of indiscriminate murder. I think it may help," al-Janabi said.

Drug use and the drug traffic are reportedly on the rise in post-Hussein Iraq (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/287/drugsiniraq.shtml), but no one has claimed that the drug traffic there is financing any of the murky groups opposing the US occupation and/or the interim government.

While the death penalty is deemed legal and widely accepted in the US, the European Union had pressured Iraq not to reinstate it. Britain, a close US ally in Iraq, was typical of European opinion. "If the Iraqi government has reintroduced the death penalty we will lobby them to abolish it as we would do with other states that have the death penalty," a spokesman at London's Foreign Office told Reuters.

Joining al-Janabi in unveiling the new death penalty law was Iraqi human rights minister Bakhtiar Amin. Exiled under Saddam Hussein, Amin has been a prominent and ardent campaigner against the death penalty for decades. "This is the most difficult day of my life," he told reporters. "I personally hate to see anyone put to death," said Amin. "There is nothing humane, there is no humane way of doing it."


12. Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana "Sends Wrong Message" Claims Challenged By Decreasing California Teen Marijuana Use

Results of a biennial study of California junior and senior high school students show declining rates of teenage marijuana use, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced Wednesday. The decline in teen pot-smoking came in the context of an overall decline in drug, alcohol, and tobacco use among teens in the survey.

The decline also comes despite eight years of legalized medical marijuana in the state. Opponents of medical marijuana have often claimed that allowing the medicinal use of the herb would "send the wrong message" to young people, presumably leading to an epidemic of reefer-crazed zombie teenagers.

According to the Tenth Biennial California Student Survey, which measures drug use among 7th, 9th and 11th graders, marijuana use declined among all three groups from the previous year, continuing a trend beginning in the mid-1990s. Six percent of 7th graders, down from 7.2 percent, and 18.8 percent of 9th graders, down from 19 percent, reported using marijuana during the past six months. Among 11th graders, the number dropped almost four percentage points, from 34 percent to 30.5 percent. The numbers are the lowest recorded since the survey began twenty years ago and are nearly half the level reported in 1995-1996. Medical marijuana passed by popular vote in 1996.

The survey also found record rates of abstinence from alcohol or drug use, with 70% of 7th graders, 49% of 9th graders, and 35% of 11th graders reporting no use in the previous six months. Even "heavy use" is reported to have declined.

"This is good news," said Attorney General Lockyer. "Not only is the number of 11th graders who are described as 'heavy users' declining for the first time since 1999, the survey shows that the rate of abstinence among seventh and ninth graders is at an all-time high," Lockyer said. "Research tells us the longer teens delay their substance use, the better chance they have of not becoming regular users of illicit drugs or engaging in risky behavior."

For the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), which is sponsoring a number of medical marijuana initiatives this year, the survey results serve to bolster its argument that medical marijuana availability does not have an impact on teen pot-smoking. "These new figures should put to rest forever the myth that medical marijuana laws 'send the wrong message to children,'" said MPP communications director Bruce Mirken. "Frankly, it never made any sense that kids would think a drug is 'cool' because cancer or AIDS patients use it to keep from vomiting. We teach young people that powerful medicines like morphine and other opiates can help some very sick people under a doctor's care, but that these drugs are not toys, and we now know that teens can understand the same message about marijuana."

"Unfortunately, as legislators and voters around the country consider medical marijuana proposals, opponents continue to falsely claim that such laws increase teenage drug use," Mirken added. "The public should understand that such claims are false, as eight years of experience in our nation's largest state has now demonstrated. We hope that those who oppose medical marijuana laws will have the integrity to stop making these misleading statements."


13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

Just because the Chronicle takes a week off doesn't mean that law enforcement drug war corruption does. Sometimes it's banal, as in the cases of Karen Scarborough and Stephen Bennett, the two Rapides Parish, Louisiana, sheriff's deputies arrested and fired for cooking meth and drug possession or Buffalo, New York, police officer Ronnie Funderburk, who is facing felony charges for advising his drug dealing brother-in-law how to avoid arrest. ("Don't wear no ball caps. Don't wear no jewelry. Wear your seat belt," Funderburk advised in a taped conversation. "I tell a lot of people, you got to be incognito. In other words, you can't look like the typical stereotype.")

And sometimes it's just downright sleazy, as appears to be the case with Reginald Cheney, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Cleveland office since 2001. Cheney has been placed on limited duty since last week because of allegations he took advantage of his position -- not to enrich himself, but to score chicks.

Federal authorities told the Plain Dealer Cheney is accused of using a law enforcement database to look up information on women, including license plate numbers. Cheney was put on limited duty after the DEA received a formal complaint from an unidentified woman, the officials said.

The law enforcement databases are a treasure trove of information, including driver's license photos, license plate numbers, and other information vital to investigations and surveillance -- or tracking down hot babes DEA dudes spot on the freeway.

According to the Plain Dealer, after hearing about the Cheney accusations, one Cleveland federal official lectured his agents about abusing the computer system. DEA spokesmen in Columbus and Washington, DC, confirmed that an investigation of Cheney is underway. It is unclear whether charges will be filed or the matter will be handled internally, the paper added.


14. Media Scan: Chicago Reader on Tribune-Hemp Connection, Counterpunch on California and Medical Marijuana Doctors

"Is California Spying on Pro-Cannabis Doctors?," Fred Gardner on the California Medical Board and doctors who prescribe medical marijuana, August 14-15 edition of Counterpunch:
http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner08142004.html

"The Colonel's Weed," Stephen Young on the Chicago Tribune publisher's ill-fated 1930s hemp crop, July 30th Chicago Reader:
http://www.maximizingharm.com/colonelshemp.htm


15. Part-Time and Temporary Job Opportunities at DRCNet

DRCNet is currently seeking part-time and temporary help for two positions -- Outreach Coordinator for the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform, doing work in the campaign to repeal a federal law that delays or denies financial to students because of drug convictions; and Administrative Assistant.

OUTREACH COORDINATOR: The Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR) represents education, addiction recovery, civil rights, religious, criminal justice, and drug policy reform organizations that support repealing the Higher Education Act Drug Provision, which has delayed or denied college financial aid to over 150,000 people with drug convictions. Visit http://www.raiseyourvoice.com for further information on our campaign.

CHEAR is hiring one or more part-time and temporary outreach coordinators to: (1) identify and contact organizations in target states and Congressional districts to expand the number of organizations endorsing repeal of the HEA Drug Provision; (2) mobilize these organizations and their members to contact their members of Congress, (3) identify outreach opportunities; and (4) identify and contact people who have lost their financial aid because of drug convictions. Other responsibilities include: preparing mass mailings and faxes; corresponding via e-mail with coalition members; and other administrative duties.

Applicants should be self-motivated, outgoing, articulate, and willing to speak extensively on the phone. Experience using e-mail, conducting Internet-based research, and using Microsoft Excel and Word are required. Microsoft Access experience is a plus. Prior coalition-building, organizing, or telephone sales/fundraising experience are a plus. Interest in social justice, higher education or drug policy reform is definitely helpful.

Applicants should be able to work in the office 20 hours a week, between the hours of 10:00am and 6:00pm. Exceptions for working at home or later in the evening, or for a different number of hours, will be considered for the right candidate. Starting pay is $10/hour, negotiable for the right candidate.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume via e-mail, fax, or mail to: Scott Ehlers, Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform, 1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20009, fax: (202) 293-8344, e-mail: [email protected].

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: DRCNet is seeking a part-time Administrative Assistant to work with the Executive and Associate Directors and the Member Coordinator. The Administrative Assistant will assist with all manner of clerical and administrative tasks.

Applicants should be experienced in using e-mail, Microsoft Word and Excel, filing, and other typical office duties, and must have a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. The ability to deal competently on the phone on issues such as billing and ordering of supplies and other items is a plus, as is enthusiasm for the cause of drug policy reform.

Applicants should be able to work in the office 10-20 hours per week, between the hours of 10:00am and 6:00pm. Within those constraints, we will show flexibility and work with the right applicant to find a mutually workable schedule. College students are encouraged to apply. The job will last from now through the end of the year, and is likely to be renewed in 2005 as well. Starting pay is $10/hour, negotiable for the right candidate.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume via e-mail, fax, or mail to: David Guard, Associate Director, DRCNet, 1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20009, fax: (202) 293-8344, e-mail: [email protected].


16. Job Opportunities at MPP

The Marijuana Policy Project currently has four full-time job openings -- two in Washington, DC, one in Vermont, and one in Nevada -- as well as several temporary canvassing positions available around the country.

The two Washington, DC positions are Legislative Analyst and Information Technology Coordinator. The full-time positions outside of Washington, DC are Database Manager (in Vermont) and Database Manager (in Nevada).

Visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs/ for detailed job descriptions for each of the above positions and instructions for applying. Additionally, MPP is seeking committed activists to do door-to-door canvassing for campaigns in Vermont, Nevada and Alaska. Visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs/canvass/ for details.

MPP is not taking phone calls about these positions; all interested candidates should apply by using the process described at the links above.


17. The Reformer's Calendar

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

August 1-November 1, VT, "Green Mountain State" tour by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition board member Peter Christ. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details or to add your organization to the tour.

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.

August 25-29, Manderson, SD, "2nd Annual Lakota Hemp Days," sponsored by Alex White Plume and family, Hemphasis Magazine, the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council, and others involved with the Lakota Hemp Project. At Kiza Park, contact Bob Newland at [email protected] or (605) 255-4032 or visit http://www.hemphasis.net for further information.

August 26, noon, Washington, DC, "Blakely's Wake: Should the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Be Saved," forum sponsored by the Cato Institute and the Federalist Society. At the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW, free, register by noon on 8/25, seating limited and not guaranteed. Call (202) 789-5229, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.cato.org/events/040826pf.html for further information and a webcast.

August 28, 5:00-7:00pm, Robbinsville, NJ, "Sean McGrath Medicinal Marijuana Awareness Event," featuring Assemblyman Reed Gusciora announcing a state medical marijuana bill, Ken Wolski of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, Jim Miller and a screening of the short film "The Case for Cheryl Miller." At 900 Route 526 (just east of the Allentown/Robbinsville exit off Route 195), contact (609) 208-2806 or [email protected] to RSVP or for further information.

August 30, 3:00-6:00pm, New York, NY, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network protest against the drug war and mandatory minimum sentences, requested location 7th Ave. between 24th & 34th Streets. For further information e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.hiphopsummitactionnetwork.org online.

September 5, 10:00am-5:00pm, Santa Cruz, CA, 2nd Annual Santa Cruz WAMMfest, benefit for the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medial Marijuana. At San Lorenzo Park Benchlands, visit http://www.wamm.org or call (831) 425-0416 for further information.

September 7-10, Vienna, Austria, "Ethnicity & Addiction: 16th International Congress on Addiction. For further information, visit http://www.ethnicity-addiction.com or contact [email protected] or +43(0)1-585 69 69-0.

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

September 20, Shrewsbury, MA, "Help or Hurt: Responding to the Criminalization of Mental Illness and Addiction," forum sponsored by the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition and the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts. At Hoagland Pincus Center, registration opens June 15, visit http://www.cjpc.org for further information.

September 23, Kalamazoo, MI, Drug Policy Symposium, featuring representatives of Sheriff Bill Masters of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Rev. Edwin Sanders of Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, Nora Callahan of The November Coalition and many others. At Western Michigan University, contact Ben Lando at (269) 760-5107 or [email protected] for further information.

September 25, 8:00am, Asheville, NC, "The Adverse Effects of Drug War Prohibition: Our Families, Our Children and Our Communities." Saturday morning conference sponsored by the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform and cosponsored by the UNC-Asheville Women's Studies Dept. At UNC-Asheville, visit for further information.

October 1, 5:00-8:00pm, Madison, WI, Medical Marijuana Benefit. At Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson, $10 requested donation. Hosted by IMMLY and Wisconsin NORML, contact [email protected] or [email protected] for further information.

October 1-3, London, England, London Hemp Fair, visit http://www.londonhempfair.com for further information.

October 2, noon, Madison, WI, "33rd Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival," Library Mall at 700 State St., 3:40pm parade to rally at State Capitol. Contact [email protected] for further information.

October 5, 10:00am, Washington, DC, Rally for Rescheduling Marijuana as Medicine. At the Dept. of Health & Human Services, sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, for further information visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org or contact (510) 486-8083 or [email protected].

October 26, 7:00pm, Burlington, VT, Forum with the Vermont Cannabis Coalition, with Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. At the Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, 162 Pearl St., visit http://www.VtCannabisCoalition.org or call (802) 496-2387 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.

November 18-21, College Park, MD, Students for Sensible Drug Policy national conference. Details to be announced, visit http://www.ssdp.org to check for updates.

November 27, Portland, OR, "Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards 2004," Seminar & Trade Show 10:00am-4:00pm, Awards Banquet & Entertainment 6:30-10:00pm. At the Red Lion Hotel, Portland Convention Center, sponsored by Oregon NORML, visit http://www.ornorml.org or contact (503) 239-6110 or [email protected] for further information.

April 30, 2005 (date tentative), 11:00am-3:00pm, Washington, DC, "America's in Pain!" 2nd Annual National Pain Rally. At the US Capitol Reflecting Pool, visit http://www.AmericanPainInstitute.org for further information.


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