This Week in History 9/3/04

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September 4, 1991: US District Judge Juan Burciaga said, "The fight against drug traffickers is a wildfire that threatens to consume those fundamental rights of the individual deliberately enshrined in our Constitution."

September 5, 1989: In his first nationally-televised address from the Oval Office, President George Bush declared that narcotics were "the gravest threat facing our nation," and said that he was stepping up the war on drugs. Bush waved a packet of seized "crack" cocaine around on national television and declared, "This is crack cocaine, seized a few days ago by drug enforcement agents in a park just across the street from the White House." During the same address, Bush also demanded the death penalty for kingpins such as Pablo Escobar and called for the largest budget increase to date in the history of the drug war by pledging $2 billion in aide to the drug fight Andean nations. A Washington Post article by Michael Isikoff published later that month revealed that DEA agents had to lure a suspected drug dealer to Lafayette Park four days earlier in order to make the bust, the agency's first ever in that park.

September 5, 1990: Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates said during testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee that casual drug users should be taken out and shot. It was later revealed that such a policy could have led to the summary execution of his son, a drug user.

September 6, 1988: After two hearings, DEA administrative law judge Francis Young recommended shifting marijuana to Schedule II so it could begin to be used as medicine. Young wrote, "It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record" and called marijuana "in its natural form... one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

September 6, 1999: Jorge Castaneda, an NYU law professor who was later appointed foreign minister of Mexico, is quoted in Newsweek, "In the end, legalization of certain substances may be the only way to bring prices down, and doing so may be the only remedy to some of the worst aspects of the drug plague: violence, corruption, and the collapse of the rule of law."

September 6, 2000: The Ottawa Citizen reported that Jaime Ruiz, senior adviser to Colombia's president, said, "From the Colombian point of view [legalization] is the easy solution. I mean, just legalize it and we won't have any more problems. Probably in five years we wouldn't even have guerrillas. No problems. We [would] have a great country with no problems."

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Issue #352, 9/3/04 Editorial: Back Home in Indiana | In Indiana, Gubernatorial Candidates' College Marijuana Use Provides Opening for Discussion of Higher Education Act Drug Provision | Outgoing New Jersey Governor Calls for Needle Access Legislation | Kentucky's New Drug Strategy: More of the Same, Plus a Drug Czar | Montana Moving Toward Appointing a Drug Czar? | Newsbrief: Alaska Supreme Court Restricts Marijuana Search Warrants | Newsbrief: European Drug Reformers Seek More Dialogue with European Union, Funding for Permanent Dialogue | Newsbrief: House Speaker Dennis Hastert Defames Drug Reform Funder Soros, New Jersey DA Joins Smear Campaign | Newsbrief: Human Rights Watch Calls on Schwarzenneger to Sign Needle Access Bills | Newsbrief: Marijuana Policy Ads Return to DC Following Court Victory | Newsbrief: Safe Crack-Smoking Kits Distributed in Winnipeg | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Ninety-nine Percent of All Marijuana Eradicated in US is Feral Hemp, Federal Data Reveals | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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