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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #354, 9/17/04

"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: WHAT IS IT ABOUT OPIUM?
    In response to the DEA's "drugs and terrorism" exhibit visiting New York, we reprint David Borden's October 2001 editorial which explains the fundamental truth of drug prohibition that the DEA is intentionally leaving out.
  2. CANADA CANNABIS CAULDRON BUBBLING AGAIN
    Canada has been in a tizzy over marijuana for the last few years. The minority Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin hopes to quiet the issue by reintroducing its "decriminalization" bill. Meanwhile, Canada's best known reformer continues a 90-day sentence as a "drug trafficker" for passing a joint at a rally, and a Vancouver "cannabis cafe" finally is raided but reopens.
  3. DEA BRINGS TRAVELING "DRUGS = TERROR" EXHIBIT TO NYC AS CITY COMMEMORATES 9/11 ANNIVERSARY
    With remembrances of 9/11 commemorations still ringing in their ears, denizens of New York City's Times Square had something new to gawk at this week. Beginning Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) brought its traveling exhibition, "Target America: Drug Traffickers, Terrorists, and You," to town. Reformers and families are offended.
  4. DRUGS AND SPORTS: A NEW ARENA FOR DRUG REFORMERS?
    On February 12, Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press event to announce indictments for alleged distribution of steroids and money laundering. That day he did more than spotlight a high-profile case. Ashcroft deftly opened a new front in the war on drugs, implementing a strategy that President Bush had signaled three weeks earlier.
  5. NEWSBRIEF: IN GOTHAM SHOCKER, NEW YORK POST CALLS FOR REPEAL OF ROCKEFELLER LAWS
    In a surprise move, the right-leaning tabloid The New York Post editorialized Monday in support of repealing the Empire State's draconian Rockefeller drug laws. A light sentence for a student the Post had dubbed a "Pot Princess" finally got the Post upset over unequal justice.
  6. NEWSBRIEF: DRUG REFORMER CHALLENGER DEFEATS HARD-LINE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN ALBANY, NEW YORK
    David Soares, an outspoken advocate for repeal of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug law, won the Albany County Democratic primary race for district attorney Tuesday in a lopsided vote. Drug reformers hailed the election results as a bellwether and a victory for the cause of repealing the Rockefeller laws.
  7. NEWSBRIEF: YES, FOUR OUNCES OF MARIJUANA AT HOME IS LEGAL, SAYS ALASKA SUPREME COURT
    The Alaska Supreme Court reaffirmed its groundbreaking 1975 decision barring the state from criminalizing the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana in the privacy of one's home.
  8. NEWSBRIEF: DRUG CZAR ATTACKS OREGON MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE
    US drug czar John Walters, who intervened famously against marijuana initiative efforts in 2002, most notably in Nevada, is back at it this year. Walters has come out against OMMA2, an Oregon medical marijuana initiative that would break new ground by creating state-regulated dispensaries.
  9. NEWSBRIEF: OAKLAND POLL SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT FOR LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA (press release from California NORML)
    A new poll conducted by David Binder Research shows unprecedentedly strong support for legalization of marijuana among Oakland voters. The poll was commissioned by the campaign for Measure Z, the Oakland Cannabis Initiative, which would make private adult marijuana offenses the lowest enforcement priority and put the city on record in favor of taxed and regulated marijuana sales.
  10. NEWSBRIEF: SOUTH AFRICA TO REJECT MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION
    South Africa's lead anti-drug agency, the Central Drug Authority, has released a draft paper rejecting the decriminalization of marijuana, or "dagga" as locally known, the Johannesburg Sunday Times reported. The paper will guide the country's marijuana policy as part of the National Drug Master Plan until 2009.
  11. NEWSBRIEF: MORE DRUG EXECUTIONS IN IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA
    Both Iran and Saudi Arabia again meted out the death penalty to accused drug traffickers this month. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, Iran was a distant second to China in executions last year. Saudi Arabia also resorts frequently to the death penalty for drug offenses.
  12. NEWSBRIEF: THIS WEEK'S CORRUPT COPS STORY
    Let this feature slide for one week and we hear it from the readers. Not to fret -- there is always more coming down the pike -- prohibition ensures it. While last week we came up empty, we make up for it this week with a double dose of corrupt cops. This week's honorees' are from Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Lumberton, North Carolina.
  13. NEWSBRIEF: MEXICO SHUTS DOWN THREE "YOUTH TREATMENT" CENTERS, DEPORTS KIDS BACK TO US
    Mexican immigration officials, acting on complaints of abuse and mistreatment, shut down three US-based "youth treatment" centers and began deporting some 590 youths back to the United States, Reuters reported Saturday.
  14. THE REFORMER'S CALENDAR
    Showing up at an event can be the best way to get involved! Check out this week's calendar for events from today through next year, across the US and around the world!
(last week's issue)

(Chronicle archives)


1. Editorial: What Is It About Opium?
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/whatisit.shtml

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 9/17/04

David Borden
[In response to the DEA's "drugs and terrorism" exhibit visiting New York, we reprint my October 2001 editorial which explains the fundamental truth that the DEA is intentionally leaving out.]

What is it about opium? To listen to drug warriors these days, it is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations around the globe. Ohio Rep. Rob Portman lamented that Americans who spend money on heroin (made from Afghani opium) are financing the Taliban, who in turn protect terrorists like Osama bin Laden. Therefore, say Portman and his ilk, reducing drug demand and disrupting drug trafficking organizations is part of the war against terrorism.

Translation: Anti-drug agencies and their supporters are afraid of seeing their budgets cut in favor of other law enforcement priorities. And, they're anxious to get themselves back in the headlines. So it's business as usual for the drug warriors -- stretch the facts as much as necessary, ignore the key issues, and hope no one notices -- or if some people do notice, hope that no one else notices them.

In reality, the resources being poured into the drug war can only come at the expense, not the benefit, of all other budget priorities, law enforcement or otherwise. Certainly, some drug traffickers will turn out to have ties to terrorist groups; but that doesn't mean that indiscriminately targeting all users and sellers of all drugs is even a remotely efficient way of tracking down or dismantling or disempowering perpetrators of terrorism.

Not to mention that most heroin reaching the US now comes from Latin America, not Asia or the Middle East -- another fatal flaw in Portman's logic. [Note: Heroin production in Afghanistan has seen a major resurgence since this editorial was written.] And would an attack on opium cultivation and distribution do anything other than move the supply and supply lines from place to place? That's all such operations have ever done before. Such displacement might take some cash out of the hands of one set of enemies, but could just as easily put it in the hands of another. And eradicating the opium trade from the war-shattered land of Afghanistan, where it is one of the primary sources of income, is an even less realistic than usual drug war strategy.

But there's a larger issue at stake, which drug warriors hate to talk about, at least in a context like this. Why is that opium destined to be processed into heroin is a funding source for crime and terrorism, but opium intended for pain medicines or anesthesia isn't?

Are they two different types of opium? No. Are the drugs highly different? No, heroin and morphine, for example, are essentially similar. Not that any of that would make any difference anyway.

The only difference between opium for heroin and opium for pain meds is that pain meds are manufactured, distributed and taken legally. Heroin, on the other hand, is illegal.

In other words, the reason that opium grown to ultimately be processed into heroin provides easy money for terrorists is that heroin is illegal. And the converse is also obvious: Legalization of drugs would eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars a year of illicit profits, some of which accrues to perpetrators of terror and other violence. While the connection between drug prohibition and terrorism can be overstated, it is clear that ending prohibition is one of the steps that must be taken to make the world a safer place. It is equally clear why drug warriors don't like to talk about this.

Ignoring these undeniable facts is hard to excuse under ordinary circumstances. To still do so now, when Americans are filled with pain and fear and are seeking real answers, and to do so for political and budgetary gain, is a profound failure to lead. What is it about opium, and other such drugs, that our leaders refuse to think or speak rationally about them -- even at the most important times?


2. Canada Cannabis Cauldron Bubbling Again
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/cauldron.shtml

Canada has been in a tizzy over marijuana for the last few years. The minority Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin hopes to quiet the issue by reintroducing its "decriminalization" bill, which would make possession of small amounts (less than 30 grams) subject to fines instead of criminal sentences. Liberal parliamentarians announced earlier this year that the bill would be reintroduced.

But earlier versions of the decrim bill garnered only lukewarm support even from the Liberal Party, while angering old-line drug warriors who thought it was a cave-in to "the drug lobby" and drug reform activists who viewed it as too little too late. Now, a pair of incidents in the last month have raised more questions about just what a decrim bill would accomplish, while at the same time putting the issue squarely back on the Canadian political front burner.

Marc Emery getting arrested in Winnipeg, July 2003
(courtesy Cannabis Culture magazine)
In a surprise move, on August 19, a judge in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, sentenced Canada's most well-known marijuana reformer, pot seed entrepreneur "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery to 90 days in jail as a drug trafficker after Emery pled guilty to sharing two joints with supporters after a political speech there. Emery, founder and president of the British Columbia Marijuana Party (http://www.bcmarijuanaparty.ca), publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, and creator of Pot-TV (http://www.pot-tv.net), has been convicted at least 11 times for his cannabis-related civil disobedience, but never sentenced to serious jail time.

Canadian drug trafficking law makes no distinctions based on drug quantities or on the particular drug involved. In theory, if not often in practice, persons who, like Marc Emery, merely shared a joint, can be charged as drug traffickers and sentenced to as much time as a major heroin or cocaine importer. The decriminalization bill being prepared by the Liberals does not redress this glaring problem.

If Emery's imprisonment, the daily protests outside the Saskatoon courthouse by his supporters, and the deluge of media coverage about it weren't enough, the pot issue received another huge round of publicity after Vancouver police raided a Commercial Drive shop for selling marijuana on September 9. Da Kine Food and Beverage shop (http://www.dakinesmoke.ca) had been open for four months, selling marijuana in a cannabis café setting reminiscent of Amsterdam. Vancouver police claim to have been aware of the business, but did not act to shut it down until CTV -- the Canadian equivalent of Fox News -- ran a "shocking expose" revealing the café's operations.

Da Kine bust
(courtesy Cannabis Culture magazine)
That raid resulted in the surrealistic scene of dozens of Vancouver police dragging Da Kine employees off to jail while a large crowd jeered and smoked joints in solidarity with the neighborhood business. What the raid did not achieve was closure of Da Kine. It was back in business the next day, once again selling marijuana. While Da Kine has been raided, police in Vancouver have turned a blind eye to at least two other, lower profile businesses doing the same thing on Commercial Drive and one, not affiliated with Marc Emery, selling marijuana on Vancouver's West Hastings Street "pot block." Cannabis café-style shops are also open in at least one interior British Columbia community and reportedly in Toronto.

The publicity surrounding Da Kine has put Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, an advocate of drug legalization, is an awkward position. While the clamor was growing in some quarters to crack down on the illicit business, Campbell had said the fact it existed was "no big deal." Campbell was forced to elaborate Sunday at a meeting across the street from Da Kine as customers continued to make their way into the café.

By staying open, Da Kine is "poking a stick at the police," Campbell said. "Certainly there is a big deal from the point of legality. It's illegal and there's nothing the city can do to change that. It's a federal law and this idea that we can pass a by-law that says coffee shops can sell marijuana is craziness. We can't do it, it's not a municipal responsibility. I support legalization of marijuana but at the same time that doesn't mean they get to flout the law until the law is changed," Campbell said. "My answer is you legalize it and tax the living hell out of it. And every bit of the tax should go straight to health care, not the general fund," the mayor added.

Marc Emery will get out of jail in a few weeks, and Da Kine will either be busted again or not, but with support for marijuana law reform strong and Canadian activists determined to push the envelope, what is clear is that the gap between social reality and the criminal law on marijuana is growing wider by the day.

"There is an increased divergence between what the law says and what actually happens," agreed Dana Larsen, editor of Cannabis Culture and a BC Marijuana Party leader. "These cafes will expand over time, just like in Amsterdam," he predicted. "There are already other places selling over the counter on Commercial Drive. We are really seeing the coffee shop movement develop before our eyes now here in Vancouver," he told DRCNet. "We already have a safe injection site for heroin users, and a safe inhalation site for crack smokers is in the works here," said Larsen. "Da Kine is a safe inhalation site for marijuana people."

The incidents with Marc Emery and Da Kine have roused the New Democrats (NDP), Canada's third national party, whose platform implicitly calls for the complete legalization of marijuana. "We are seeing huge legal problems with the lack of rational and just laws governing marijuana," said federal party head Jack Layton in a statement Monday.

Vancouver NDP Member of Parliament Libby Davies elaborated. "In light of Marc Emery's arrest last month for 'passing a joint' and the recent arrests on Commercial Drive, parliament needs to have a realistic discussion about the laws governing adult marijuana use," she said. "Many are likely not aware but sharing a joint is considered trafficking under our current federal laws," said Davies. "I had an amendment when parliament considered changes to the marijuana laws last fall which would have stricken this from the books, but the Liberal-dominated committee voted it down. These sorts of situations are going to continue if Paul Martin and the federal government refuse to face the issue, and as a result lives are ruined because of criminal convictions and communities and local business are unfairly affected by police raids," said Davies, whose district includes Da Kine.

"We are making it clear that we think this legislation needs to be dealt with urgently and it needs to be changed," Davies told DRCNet. "We will work to amend the bill and make it more realistic, but even so, we see the decrim bill as only a first step; we want to go far beyond that," she said. "This year we will try again, and we will try to win support from the Bloc Quebecois [while only a regional party, the Bloc has the third largest number of seats in parliament; the NDP is fourth] and negotiate with the Liberals."

If the renascent marijuana controversy has roused the NDP, it has also roused the Conservative opposition. "The Liberal decriminalization bill is a waste of time," said Member of Parliament Randy White, the Conservative drug policy critic. "It will not satisfy either those who want legalization or those who want abstinence," he told DRCNet. The Conservatives will not support the Liberal decrim bill unless it is part of a larger national drug strategy, White said.

"We need a national drug strategy. You may not like the American strategy, but at least they have one," White said. "We should have done this 12 or 15 years ago. Now we have a situation where anything goes, from arresting someone with one joint to giving no punishment for someone with 40 joints. This is a result of not having a drug policy."

Most Canadian marijuana activists consider White a Neanderthal on the issue, but White, too, sounded like he was being swept by the same tides sweeping the country. "I am open to looking at cannabis policy," White said, "and my position has changed. Once upon a time, I believed in total abstinence for everything. I still believe in abstinence, but I am no longer naïve enough to believe that is possible. Let's talk about marijuana, but let's do it in the context of a national drug strategy. I'm not prepared to talk about decriminalization if we are going to be ignoring crystal meth labs."

Dana Larsen and Randy White don't have much in common other than being Canadian, but one thing they do share is the prediction that the Liberal decrim bill will die a lonely, neglected death. "I don't expect it to pass," said Larsen. "It's contentious, and the Liberals are famous for not dealing with issues like that. But we are approaching the end game," he contended.

While continued public support for marijuana prohibition may be waning and even waning rapidly, it is unclear what will happen next. The Canadian Supreme Court last year had an opportunity to throw out the marijuana law, but declined. That leaves parliament. But with the Liberals offering up only a weak bill that pleases no one, a parliamentary exit appears a long way off. The other option is for Canadian authorities to follow the Dutch model and allow for the regulated sale and consumption of cannabis. But, as was evident in Vancouver this week, that will only fly as long as authorities are allowed to ignore the fumes wafting up from Commercial Drive -- or until Canadian officials make ignoring the pot laws official policy.

Meanwhile, Marc Emery is about halfway through his jail sentence. And while Saskatoon authorities can lock him up, they haven't been able to shut him up. Emery posts regularly to a blog on the BC Marijuana Party web site and even addressed a Saskatoon rally in his support via telephone. We are seeking an interview for next week's issue of Drug War Chronicle.

In the meantime, if you want to support Marc Emery, send him a postcard at: Marc Emery, c/o Saskatoon Correctional Centre, 910 60th Street, East Saskatoon S7K 2H6, CANADA.


3. DEA Brings Traveling "Drugs = Terror" Exhibit to NYC as City Commemorates 9/11 Anniversary
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/exhibit.shtml

With remembrances of 9/11 commemorations still ringing in their ears, denizens of New York City's Times Square had something new to gawk at this week. Beginning Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) brought its traveling exhibition, "Target America: Drug Traffickers, Terrorists, and You," (http://www.targetamerica.org) to town. Taking up three floors of rented space, the exhibit attempts to draw a link between drug use, drug trafficking and terrorism. It is a controversial theme, but a favorite of drug warriors in recent years, as evidenced by the Office of National Drug Control Policy's widely-ridiculed Superbowl 2003 "smoke a joint, aid terrorists" ad campaign.

DEA's offensive exhibit
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a crumpled green 1994 Thunderbird. The car was being driven by a man high on drugs when he hit and killed a woman, the DEA said. The car is surrounded by drug paraphernalia and barrels of methamphetamine precursor chemicals, as well as broken children's toys.

In a DEA press release, Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the exhibit deserved praise for showing how drug use, production and trafficking hurt children and damage the body and brain. "Helping the public understand these consequences is key to preventing drug abuse," Volkow said.

But it is the drug-terror link that is the central theme of the exhibit. In one kiosk, visitors can follow the flow of cocaine and heroin out of Colombia and Afghanistan and the flow of dollars back to rebel or terrorist groups. "The money spent on illegal drugs helps fund terrorists who spread violence, corruption and addiction throughout the world, said ONDCP head John Walters. "We hope illustrating how the drug trade devastates our communities, more Americans will get active and help stop it."

As we shall see below, the proposition that "drugs fund terror" is debatable. But the exhibit goes even further out on the limb by attempting to link the drug trade to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The exhibit features a large display of debris from the attack sites, but does not attempt to make a direct link between the attacks and the drug trade. Instead it uses the ruins to suggest that terrorists could use illegal drug profits as one method of funding more attacks.

The exhibit also features lots of neat-o law enforcement memorabilia, including an actual cocaine lab from Colombia, a Stinger missile launcher, photos of arrested "drug kingpins," opium tax receipts from the Taliban, and Ecstasy pills. But wait, there's more! On the second floor, visitors are treated to a replica or a crack den, replete with guns and dirty diapers, as well as photos of children taken from homes where methamphetamine was being cooked.

While DEA officials praised their traveling museum, reaction elsewhere was decidedly less enthusiastic.

"I thought it was a pretty callous and appalling thing to do bring that exhibit here now," said Patricia Perry, whose son John, a New York City firefighter, died in the 9/11 attacks. "This is like a last gasp from people who know full well that that it is our failed drug policy that creates those huge black market profits, not some kid smoking pot," she told DRCNet.

"There is so much wrong with our drug policy," she said, taking a few minutes from preparations for a Saturday ceremony to rename a local street in honor of her son. "From creating those windfall profits to penalizing some kid for using the wrong substance. My son believed this war on drugs was wrong, and so do I," she said. That belief led her to take a leading role in the John W. Perry Fund (http://www.raiseyourvoice.com/perryfund/), a scholarship fund (sponsored by DRCNet Foundation, the publisher of this newsletter) providing financial assistance to college students who have lost financial aid eligibility under the Higher Education Act's anti-drug provision because they have been arrested on drug charges, no matter how minor. "Like the drug war itself, this exhibition is a terrible farce," Perry said.

"Of course, there is no way to accurately measure where marijuana comes from because it is an illegal market, but according to government figures, the vast majority of marijuana smoked here is grown here, and the largest importers to the US are Mexico and Canada, neither of which are hotbeds of terrorist activity," said Kris Krane, associate director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org). "It is clear that what the drug czar is trying to do is take a failed, unpopular government program -- the war on drugs -- and try to tie it to a new, more popular government program -- the war on terror," Krane told DRCNet.

Krane took particular umbrage at the exhibit's attempt to link 9/11 and the drug trade. "To present pieces of the World Trade Center as part of this exhibit is horribly manipulative," he said. "The 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with drugs. The exhibit has pictures of Bin Laden and implies he might have gotten some money from the drug trade, but there is no link presented. That is shameful."

"I saw the exhibit here in Washington," agreed Krissy Oechslin, assistant director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "It's really vile. It is so obvious that it is the war on drugs that funds terrorism, not drug users or drugs themselves. But you don't have to be involved with drug policy reform to be upset with this. That they would bring this exhibit to New York City right around the anniversary of 9/11 is really sick," she told DRCNet.

This is not a new issue for MPP, which responded to ONDCP's Superbowl "drugs = terrorism" ads by running its own TV ads parodying the originals. MPP has also produced its own online exhibition demonstrating how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other drug warriors terrorize and kill US citizens. "It features Esequiel Hernandez, the Texas youth killed by drug busters as he watched his flock near his home, and Ronnie Bowers, the American missionary who was killed along with her infant child when Peruvian pilots working with the CIA blew her plane out the sky," said Oechslin. "But it's not a big exhibit because we didn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to spend on it like the DEA did with theirs."

According to the DEA, the traveling exhibition cost $1.5 million, half of which was raised from private donors.

The MPP online exhibition (http://www.mpp.org/targetamerica/) may be small, but it gets its point across: "The DEA and the White House want the public to believe that drugs are inherently connected with terrorism, and that anyone who uses illegal drugs supports terrorists," the exhibit notes. "In fact, it is the 'War on Drugs' that promotes terrorism, and the DEA and its law enforcement allies regularly commit terrorist acts: They take medicine from the seriously ill, jail their caregivers, and murder innocent, unarmed people with no evidence and no trial."

But it's not just the pot people or people who lost relatives in the 9/11 attacks who are criticizing the exhibition.

"This is just another example of the tendency of drug warriors to miss the point entirely," said Ted Galen Carpenter, author of "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America" and vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute (http://www.cato.org) in Washington, DC. "They create a system of prohibition that generates enormous black market profits, then are shocked, shocked that terrorist organizations exploit that to put money in their coffers. But it is absolutely predictable and inevitable," he told DRCNet. "Terrorists tap into anything that is highly profitable to fill their coffers, and there are few things more profitable than illegal drugs. If they ended prohibition, the profits would shrink dramatically, but that's far too obvious for John Walters or anyone else involved in the drug war."

In the case of Afghanistan, where the US most directly confronts Al Qaeda and where political actors on all sides are benefiting from opium profits, the exhibit is especially misleading, said Carpenter. "Virtually every significant political faction is involved in the drug trade," he said. "Roughly six percent of Afghan families are directly involved in growing poppies, and if you think about the extended family and clan structures there, maybe one-quarter of the population is directly or indirectly involved," Carpenter noted. "Afghan farmers see opium as the difference between destitution and approaching prosperity, but we are supposed to be stunned that they would do that."

Fighting the war on terror by fighting the war on drugs is bass-ackward, Carpenter said. "Walters says he wants to go after the Afghan opium growers, but if we do that we will push them right into the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda," said Carpenter. "A useful parallel here is the Shining Path in Peru. The government there made no progress against the Shining Path until it decided to look the other way and ignore coca growing. The same choice is emerging in Afghanistan. You can have your war on terror or you can have your war on drugs, but you absolutely cannot have both and think you will be successful."


4. Drugs and Sports: A New Arena for Drug Reformers?
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/sports.shtml

special to Drug War Chronicle, by Steve Beitler -- first in an occasional series on drugs and sports

On February 12, Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press event to announce indictments for alleged distribution of steroids and money laundering. That day he did more than spotlight a high-profile case. Ashcroft deftly opened a new front in the war on drugs, implementing a strategy that President Bush had signaled three weeks earlier. In a State of the Union address that didn't mention AIDS, America's obesity pandemic, or worldwide growth in previously unknown viruses, Bush found room to say, "The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment and that performance is more important than character."

The events leading up to Ashcroft's press conference began in June 2003, when a track coach anonymously sent a used syringe to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). USADA is the American arm of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which the International Olympic Committee set up in 1999 as an independent group chartered with ridding the Olympics and the global circuit of elite track and field, cycling and other Olympic sports of the deeply entrenched use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The USADA lab in southern California identified the substance on the syringe as tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, a previously unknown steroid. USADA announced its discovery, saying several athletes had tested positive for THG, and described a Burlingame, California firm, the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO), as a "likely source." A week later, a spectacular grand jury investigation began, featuring testimony from track star Marion Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and baseball megastar Barry Bonds.

Bonds's personal trainer, Greg Anderson, was one of four people named in Ashcroft's indictments; all four had strong ties to BALCO. Founded in the early 1980s by Victor Conte, a former member of the funk band Tower of Power, BALCO produced legal supplements that won favor with world-class athletes. The feds claim that BALCO also provided illegal drugs, including steroids that were designed to enhance performance and to evade drug tests.

Ashcroft's indictments were the most public expression to date of the growing ties between the effort to "clean up" sports and the larger drug war. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that in 2003, USADA received nearly $7 million -- more than half its total budget ­ in a grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the office headed by the "drug czar." That was an excellent return on the investment of between $60,000 and $100,000 that, according to lobbying reports, USADA had made in 2003 with the American Continental Group, a Washington law firm with strong ties to the Republican Party, to help lobby Congress and the White House for federal money.

Last April, the Senate Commerce Committee subpoenaed Justice Department documents related to the BALCO case. A month later the committee, chaired by Arizona Republican John McCain, decided to turn over evidence in the BALCO investigation to USADA to help that group in its quest to keep athletes who had used performance-enhancing drugs off the US team that went to Athens for the recently completed Olympics.

The renewed fervor to make sports "drug free" raises philosophical and strategic questions for the reform movement. What do the links between the sports crusade and the war on drugs portend for the future of the drug war? Do ideas like harm reduction and responsible use apply to sports? Or is sports an exception in which zero tolerance is the right goal? What would an above-ground, regulated drug regime in sports look like? Finally, what can a reform perspective bring to the debate about drugs and sports?

Like their counterparts who tackle the destructive fantasy of a "drug-free America," some scholars are questioning the widely accepted notion that sports have to be free of drugs to be fair. "Sport is the province of the genetic elite, or freak. Taking drugs would make sports less of a genetic lottery," according to Prof. Julian Savulescu and Bennett Foddy of Oxford University. They cite with approval former Australian track Olympian Raelene Boyle, who said, "Far from being against the spirit of sport, biological manipulation embodies the human spirit -- the capacity to change ourselves on the basis of reason and judgment." Savulescu and Foddy see no difference between elevating your red blood cell count (which boosts oxygen delivery to the muscles, a desirable event in endurance sports) by training at altitude, using an air machine that simulates altitude training, or taking erythropoietin, a popular drug with cyclists.

Dissenters from the orthodox view also point to the long history of ingenuity by athletes seeking an advantage. Greek athletes in the ancient Olympics downed sheep testicles to boost testosterone levels, a daunting precursor of today's steroids, which build strength in the same way. Charles Yesalis of Penn State University, who has studied steroids for more than 20 years, said that "perhaps the most profound effect that BALCO is having... is debunking the (message) that sports federations have fed (people) for 30 years, that there's only a few bad apples in the barrel. There's only a few good apples in the barrel."

Such heresy is unthinkable to the international sports establishment. US baseball commissioner Bud Selig has set "zero tolerance" for steroids as the goal, and Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track and Field, that sport's governing body, noted that "there's no turning back from this. We've got to embrace this fight." In its zeal to "win" against drugs, sports officials have embraced drug testing as their main weapon and are deploying it in ways that could portend its use beyond sports. USADA has increased drug tests by nearly 100 percent over the last four years, reported the New York Daily News, in part by implementing an anytime, anywhere, no-notice policy. Tara Nott Cunningham, a US weightlifter who won a gold medal in Sydney, is one of about 3,200 elite athletes who receive regular visits from USADA doping control officers, or DCO's. Cunningham estimates that she has taken about 100 tests, the scheduling of which is made easier because USADA requires athletes to submit a quarterly Athlete Location Form. The form spells out where the athlete will be every day for a three-month period. Despite its faith in testing, USADA goes further. Its charter gives it the right to sanction athletes without a positive drug test.

USADA's zest for tests could soon be trumped by a fast-approaching new frontier of performance enhancement. Gene therapy and transfer techniques are showing great promise in enabling scientists to build muscle and increase the production of red blood cells, with potentially dramatic implications for people who suffer from muscular dystrophy and other diseases. The same methods could make athletes better at what they do. Since some of these methods increase the amount of substances that our bodies produce naturally, drug testing would face a fresh challenge. How could it tell what was natural and what wasn't?

Many aspects of drug use by athletes, and the attempts to stamp out drug use in sports, parallel what reformers have seen in the larger war on drugs. In the US, the enlistment of the nation's leading drug warriors in the crusade to "clean up" sports is an ominous new theater of the drug war. Reformers will increasingly be challenged to engage or to watch from the sidelines.


5. Newsbrief: In Gotham Shocker, New York Post Calls for Repeal of Rockefeller Laws
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/shocker.shtml

In a surprise move, the New York Post editorialized Monday in support of repealing the Empire State's draconian Rockefeller drug laws. The Post, a right-leaning tabloid, has previously supported the Rockefeller laws, both editorially and in its reporting.

"George Pataki needs to call a special session of the Legislature, with one simple objective: The repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws, effective now," the Post wrote.

What finally got the Post to write, "OK, we surrender?" Typically, the tabloid was unconcerned about the disparate racial impact of the Rockefeller laws -- more than 90% of those sentenced under them are non-white -- or the screaming injustice of sentencing people to decades in prison for nonviolent crimes. No, it was misplaced outrage at the light sentence given to a well-connected young college drug dealer, "Pot Princess" Julia Diaco, as the Post labeled her. (In an op-ed three days earlier, Post columnist Andrea Peyser called her "a defiant little outlaw" and a "fledgling college drug lord.")

"We have always been skeptical of the movement to eliminate the quote-draconian-unquote drug laws," the Post noted, adding that it's better that "muggers, thugs, and thieves" are in prison than on the street. "Yet, a main argument for repealing the Rockefeller laws was that -- in practice -- they created a double standard, with sentences sometimes driven by race, class and other subjective factors. Well, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon gave that argument a big boost with the plea deal he signed off on Thursday for Diaco, a former NYU student," the Post complained. "For selling pot, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms on eight separate occasions to undercover cops, Diaco gets some quality downtime in Idaho for 'rehab.' Not a day of prison time."

As if it had suddenly become aware of inequality and injustice in the drug war, the Post found itself disillusioned by the Diaco case. "So, why continue the charade?" it asked. "Scrap the Rockefeller laws. Little Miss Tokehead's slap on the wrist is a little too much to bear, if equal justice before the law is to mean anything in New York."

If not sending an 18-year-old student dorm dealer to prison for decades is what it takes to break the Post's support of the Rockefeller drug laws, so be it.

Read the editorial, "Getting Rid of Rockefeller," online at:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/09132004/postopinion/editorial/30187.htm


6. Newsbrief: Drug Reformer Challenger Defeats Hard-Line District Attorney in Albany, New York
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/soares.shtml

David Soares, an outspoken advocate for repeal of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug law, won the Albany County Democratic primary race for district attorney Tuesday in a lopsided vote, defeating his ex-boss, anti-reform hard-liner, two-time District Attorney Paul Clyne by a margin of 62% to 38%. Drug reformers hailed the election results as a victory for the cause of repealing the Rockefeller laws.

Soares made repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws a centerpiece of his campaign, and he was still on message when he spoke with the Associated Press Wednesday. "The people of Albany have spoken loud and clear, and all the DAs in New York state need to hear them," said Soares, 38. "The Rockefeller drug laws need to be repealed."

Soares' progressive position on the Rockefeller laws won him the support of the Working Families Party, Citizens Action, Drug Policy Alliance and a plethora of community groups that seek repeal of those laws, which carry 15-year mandatory minimum sentences for persons caught with relatively small amounts of drugs. He also raised more than $130,000 for the primary campaign, with the AP reporting that funds came "largely through anti-drug law sources and downstate contributors."

Clyne, whom DPA's Ethan Nadelmann described as a "belligerent" foe of Rockefeller reform, told the AP the drug law issue and the money it helped generate for Soares were "decisive" in his loss.

While Clyne called the issue a "red herring" because state legislators must change the law, not district attorneys, he was being disingenuous. The State District Attorneys Association has been a vigorous opponent of repeal or even partial reform of the Rockefeller laws, because such changes would lessen their power in the courthouse by returning some measure of sentencing discretion to judges.

For DPA's Nadelmann, the election was a bellwether. "I would say that what happened in Albany last night really has national resonance," Nadelmann told the AP Wednesday. "It is the first election that I can think of in which a candidate has lost because of their outrageous support for the drug war to another candidate who has made that issue the salient issue in that campaign."


7. Newsbrief: Yes, Four Ounces of Marijuana at Home is Legal, Says Alaska Supreme Court
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/yes.shtml

The Alaska Supreme Court reaffirmed its groundbreaking 1975 decision barring the state from criminalizing the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana in the privacy of one's home on September 9, when it denied a petition from state Attorney General Greg Renkes asking it to overturn a Court of Appeals ruling from a little more than a year ago. In that case, Noy v. Alaska, the Court of Appeals relied on the state Supreme Court's 1975 ruling in Ravin v. Alaska (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/301/alaska.shtml).

Although the state Supreme Court had held in Ravin that the state could not penalize the possession of up to four ounces at home, Alaskans voted in 1990 for an initiative making it illegal to possess any quantity of marijuana. That situation obtained until challenged by David Noy, a North Pole resident who was found guilty of a sixth-degree misdemeanor after police searched his home and found five pot plants. In Noy, the appeals court held that voters could not overturn the Ravin decision and any law criminalizing home possession for personal use was invalid.

"Noy basically restored Ravin and reaffirmed the right to privacy," said attorney Bill Satterberg, who filed the appeal. "People don't realize the purpose of the court is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority," he told the Associated Press. "I'm certainly encouraged that we've recognized we're dealing with constitutional right regardless of your personal preferences," Satterberg said. "I'm glad to see the court not succumb to political pressure."

But more political pressure could be coming. Attorney General Renkes has vowed to soldier on. "We're not giving up," Renkes said. He added that he will try to convince the state legislature that marijuana is so harmful it should approve a constitutional amendment allowing the state to ban it. It's more powerful and it's a gateway drug, he argued.

"I'm really appalled that it appears some people are still fighting the culture war of the 1970s," Renkes said as he continued to fight the culture war of the 1970s. "To me it's all about the kids and what kind of message we're sending to our kids," he added.

Alaska voters have a chance to make it a moot point in November --an initiative on the ballot, if successful will give the voters' stamp of approval not only to home possession, but for regulated cultivation and distribution as well. Read about the initiative, the Cannabis Decriminalization and Regulation Act at http://www.alaskahemp.org/initiativetext.htm online.


8. Newsbrief: Drug Czar Attacks Oregon Medical Marijuana Initiative
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/omma2.shtml

An Oregon medical marijuana initiative that would break new ground by creating state-regulated dispensaries to sell marijuana to patients is under attack from "drug czar" John Walters, head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov). Walters, who intervened famously against marijuana initiative efforts in 2002, most notably in Nevada, is back at it this year.

Ballot Measure 33, also known as the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act II (http://www.omma2.org), would increase quantity limits for patients to one pound of usable marijuana and 10 marijuana plants at any given time and add naturopathic physicians and nurse practitioners to the definition of attending medical personnel who can qualify patients. The measure would require the state to provide medical marijuana to indigent patients for free.

Oregon voters passed a medical marijuana initiative in 1998, but proponents of OMMA2 argue that its weight limits were too low, leaving patients scrambling for an adequate supply of their medicine, and that the lack of a distribution system left patients at the mercy of the black market.

In an interview with the Associated Press September 10, Walters warned that passage of OMMA2 would make Oregon a "safe haven for drug trafficking" and would constitute a fraud upon the voters by sneaky legalizers. "People are being played for suckers," Walters said. "Their compassion for sick people is being used to do something that's destructive for the state."

Versions of the AP story ran in the Eugene Register-Guard and the Salem Statesman Journal, the main newspapers in the state's second and largest cities. For some reason unknown, it also appeared in the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

The article also reported that the measure is opposed by the Oregon District Attorneys Association and the Oregon Medical Association, which paid for a page in the state voter's pamphlet to urge a "no" vote. "It is a thinly disguised effort to legalize the use of marijuana without any medically scientific justification," said the association.

Long-time marijuana activist John Sajo of Voter Power (http://www.voterpower.org), the group that sponsored the measure, scoffed at the critics. "Our opponents don't have any good arguments against medical marijuana, so they call this a legalization measure. That is nonsense," Sajo said.


9. Newsbrief: Oakland Poll Shows Strong Support for Legalization of Marijuana
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/oakland.shtml

press release from California NORML, http://www.canorml.org

A new poll conducted by David Binder Research shows unprecedentedly strong support for legalization of marijuana among Oakland voters.

The poll was commissioned by the campaign for Measure Z, the Oakland Cannabis Initiative, which would make private adult marijuana offenses the lowest enforcement priority and put the city on record in favor of taxed and regulated marijuana sales. Out of 400 likely voters, 65% said they were inclined to support Measure Z.

Surprisingly, the poll found that 70% of voters believe marijuana should be legalized, the largest margin for legalization ever recorded in any poll. A somewhat smaller majority, 64%, said marijuana should be decriminalized. Because of the sample size, the difference may not be statistically significant.

Only 18% of voters felt that legalizing marijuana would lead to increased use of "hard" drugs, while 61% felt that legalization would separate marijuana from the illicit market and discourage access to hard drugs. In addition, 73% of voters agreed that the drug war has been ineffective, costly and racist.

"This marks a turning point in public opinion," commented California coordinator Dale Gieringer, campaign chair of Measure Z. "Until now, the 'L-word' has been considered to be political poison. Drug warriors have sought to stigmatize their opponents as 'legalizers.' Now it turns out this label may be a compliment. Oaklanders have come to recognize that marijuana prohibition is bankrupt, and as with alcohol, the only sensible policy is legalization."


10. Newsbrief: South Africa to Reject Marijuana Decriminalization
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/dagga.shtml

South Africa's lead anti-drug agency, the Central Drug Authority, has released a draft paper rejecting the decriminalization of marijuana, or "dagga" as the herb is locally known, the Johannesburg Sunday Times reported. The paper will guide the country's marijuana policy as part of the National Drug Master Plan until 2009.

According to draft paper lead author, Dorothy Malaka, a social work lecturer at the University of the North, such reforms would be premature. "Although there is a case for decriminalizing cannabis, it would be a mistake at this stage," she said. "Developed countries like the Netherlands have decriminalized cannabis, but it is a new policy and the effects of it have not yet been tested," Malaka asserted -- roughly twenty years after cannabis cafes first began booming in Amsterdam.

Another Central Drug Authority member, David Bayever, a lecturer in pharmacotherapy at the University of Witwaterstrand, told the Times he opposed legalization, saying there was evidence linking crime and substance abuse. The social service system could not manage the increase in users if pot were legalized, he added.

While the draft paper nixed the idea of decriminalization, it did recommend more research on marijuana's uses as a medicine. Malaka told the Times dagga has proven therapeutic uses, citing its use in Canada and the US.

Not everyone involved in drafting the paper was opposed to decriminalization or legalization. Professor Charles Parry, director of the Medical Research Council's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Group, told the Times liberalizing cannabis controls would result in considerable law enforcement savings.


11. Newsbrief: More Drug Executions in Iran, Saudi Arabia
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/executions.shtml

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia again meted out the death penalty to accused drug traffickers this month. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, Iran was a distant second to China in executions last year, with 68, beating out the US's 65. Saudi Arabia also resorts frequently to the death penalty, with at least 53 executions last year.

International Anti-Drugs Day activity in Tehran, Iran, 2001
In both countries, executions for drug offenses make up a substantial portion of those killed. According to figures compiled by the Australian Coalition Against the Death Penalty, at least 21 people were executed for drug offenses in Saudi Arabia last year and six in Iran, although human rights groups consistently say these numbers are probably lower than the actual numbers because many death sentences and executions are carried out in secrecy. (For example, an Associated Press story on this week's executions in Saudi Arabia said that "mostly drug smugglers" were executed last year.)

In Saudi Arabia, three security guards were beheaded Sunday after being convicted of trafficking in hashish and using government vehicles to move the drug, the Interior Ministry reported. Khamis bin Mabrouk al-Sayeri, Nasser bin Mohammed al-Fahadi and Zidan al-Oqaili al-Anzi were caught in the act as they loaded an undisclosed amount of hash into vehicles belonging to the Saudi border guard. They were executed in the northern border city of Arar, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Three more drug traffickers were executed in Iran last week, according to a report in the Cyprus Mail. Two brothers, Kamran and Keivan Razaghi and Amin Janati-Tabar, were sentenced to death after being convicted of purchasing and selling almost 20,000 kilos of heroin and cocaine. They were hanged September 7 in prison in Tehran.

To read the Amnesty International report, "Death Sentences and Executions 2003" online, visit:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGACT500062004/

To view the Australian Coalition Against the Death Penalty numbers online, visit:
http://www.angelfire.com/stars/dorina/worldexecutions2003.html


12. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/oxendine.shtml

Boy, let this feature slide for one week and we hear it from the readers. Not to fret -- there is always more coming down the pike -- prohibition ensures it. While last week we came up empty, we make up for it this week with a double dose of corrupt cops.

This week's runner-up is former Massachusetts corrections officer Christine Callahan of Weymouth. While employed at the Norfolk County House of Corrections, Callahan smuggled in heroin to inmate Anthony Marchetti, who overdosed and died inside the jail. Last week, the Associated Press reported, Callahan pled guilty to distribution of heroin and distribution of heroin in a jail. On Tuesday, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara sentenced the ex-guard to 2 ½ years in prison.

Callahan's acts were corruption of the most venal and banal sort; the acts of which Lumberton, North Carolina, police Lt. Leon Oxendine stand accused threaten to corrupt the workings of the criminal justice system itself. Again according to the Associated Press, Oxendine is currently in federal court facing charges of witness tampering, lying to the FBI, and five counts of lying to a grand jury. He stands accused of conspiring to plant evidence at the home of a man he suspected of being a drug dealer. Another Lumberton officer involved in the case, James Jordan, has already pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge after originally facing similar charges and will be sentenced after testifying against Oxendine.

In court testimony Tuesday, Oxendine faced the ironic situation of having his own informant rat him out. Scott LaClaire, an ex-con seeking to avoid going back to the pen, testified that he went to the Lumberton police looking to cut a deal. He knew a drug dealer who had a computer disk with an image of $100 bill, he testified he told Oxendine. But the disk was really in LaClaire's possession, and when Oxendine found out, he told LaClaire to go to the house and plant the disk. "It was his intention to arrest [the drug dealer] for the disk and get him on federal [counterfeiting] charges," LaClaire said.

Oxendine is charged with lying to the FBI and the grand jury about his role in planting the disk, as well as denying that he had conspired with LaClaire to commit the deed. LaClaire has pled guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges and will be sentenced after testifying against Oxendine. The trial continues this week.


13. Newsbrief: Mexico Shuts Down Three "Youth Treatment" Centers, Deports Kids Back to US
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/mexico.shtml

Mexican immigration officials, acting on complaints of abuse and mistreatment, shut down three US-based "youth treatment" centers and began deporting some 590 youths back to the United States, Reuters reported Saturday. The youths were in the country illegally -- as tourists, not residents of a treatment program -- Mexican officials said, and at least one of the centers was run by an American also on a tourist visa who had no legal right to run a business in the country.

"Seventy-five percent of the undocumented Americans have left the country. The rest will stay in the care of the US Consulate in Tijuana until their parents are contacted," said Raul Zarate, a spokesman for Mexican immigration authorities.

In a statement, the immigration ministry said the American kids were residents of the centers, which treat behavioral problems and drug and alcohol abuse. The state health ministry temporarily closed the centers after patients complained of physical and psychological abuses.

Two of the centers have been identified. One is the House of Hope Academy (http://www.houseofhopeacademy.com), which specializes in a 12-step approach to "help troubled teens lead productive lives free of drug-alcohol abuse and dependence," and is led by a US Military Academy graduate.

[House of Hope Academy is not to be confused with the National House of Hope (http://www.nationalhouseofhope.org), another teen drug treatment center operated by Sara Trollinger, a former teacher who "was led by the Lord to establish a faith-based ministry" and who is the author of "Unglued & Tattooed: How to Save Your Teen from Raves, Ritalin, Goth, Body Carving, GHB, Sex, and 12 Other Emerging Threats."]

The second center identified was the Casa by the Sea, a behavioral modification program overseen by the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (http://www.wwasp.com), a for-profit association of eight treatment centers in Jamaica, the US, and, until last week, Mexico. The organization emphasizes that it teaches "respect for authority" and that its programs are "tough". Mexican immigration officials told the New York Times some teens there showed signs of mistreatment.

WWASP president Ken Kay, of St. George, Utah, denied the charges to the Salt Lake City newspaper the Deseret News. "If you're investigating immigration violations, you don't talk to a couple of kids who are angry about being sent away by their parents," said Kay, whose St. George-based company makes millions by enrolling troubled youths at facilities operating in several states and Jamaica. "We had no letters, no notice, nothing. They brought armed guards and six buses to transport the kids across the border."

But the organization has a history of problems. The Deseret News mentioned a case in New York in March where two WWASP employees were accused of assaulting a 17-year-old being transported to a WWASP program. Other assaults have been alleged at WWASP centers in Utah and Montana.

Then there is Tranquility Bay, WWASP's Jamaica operation. The New York Times reported in June 2003 on complaints of misrepresentation, mistreatment and abuse there, noting also that a WWASP affiliate had been shut down under government pressure in the Czech Republic and its Costa Rica affiliate was closed after a revolt by its students there in May 2003.

In a deposition in a lawsuit filed against WWASP and Tranquility Bay, Aaron Kravig, who was sent there by court order, explained the punishment for a moderately serious infraction: "They lay you flat on the floor, one... One of the staff will get on... will like kneel down on your ankles, pressing your ankles into the tile floor. One will probably sit on your back and help another one pull your arms up over your back, so they will like hyperextend your arms, sometimes they do it to your legs. Sometimes they will like, they will set it on pressure points on your body pretty much just to hurt you into subservience, so you won't... so you will do what they tell you. I've seen the director of the facility doing it himself, restraining a kid. We were walking up from night head count and you could hear screaming; you always heard screaming..."

For a comprehensive and well-documented account of WWASP operations, visit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Association_of_Specialty_Programs_and_Schools/

For further information on drug treatment abuse, visit http://www.thestraights.com online.


14. The Reformer's Calendar
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/354/calendar.shtml

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

September 17, 11:00am-12:30pm, Washington, DC, " The Politics of Pain: Drug Policy & Patient Access to Effective Pain Treatments," Congressional briefing organized by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. At 121 Cannon House Office Building, admission free, RSVP by noon, 9/15 to [email protected] or (800) 635-1196.

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

September 19, 3:00pm, Oakland, CA, Fall Campaign Kickoff for Yes on Z Campaign. At the Courthouse Grill, 719 Washington, St., contact Joe DeVries at (510) 459-8444 or [email protected] or visit http://www.yesonz.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 21, 6:00pm, New York, NY, "Narcoterrorism: Is the War on Drugs a War on Terror?" Panel discussion at Fordham University, sponsored by the Fordham Law Drug Policy Reform Project. At McNally Amphitheatre, contact Meredith Kapushion at [email protected] 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, 6:30pm, New York, NY, "The Body Electric," benefit for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, at Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, 520 W. 27th St. 4th Floor. Full admission to dinner and dance party $100 requested donation, join MAPS at any membership level for admission to dance party only. Visit http://www.maps.org/announce/thebodyelectric.html or e-mail [email protected] for further information, visit http://www.maps.org/donate/ to RSVP.

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

October 2, New York, NY, "LOCKED UP: Drugs, Prisons & Privilege," Students for Sensible Drug Policy Northeast Regional Conference. At Columbia University, 116th & Broadway, contact Daniel Blau at [email protected] for information or to RSVP.

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 4-5, Washington, DC, two days of medical marijuana events sponsored by Americans for Safe Access, including a Rally for Rescheduling Marijuana as Medicine at the Dept. of Health & Human Services at 10:00am on October 5. For further information visit http://www.safeaccessnow.org or contact (510) 486-8083 or [email protected].

October 8, 9:00am-1:00pm or 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction in Violent Relationships, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 15, 9:00am-1:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction 101, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 15, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction 102, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

October 19, 6:30-9:30pm, Washington, DC, PreventionWorks! 6th Anniversary Celebration/Fundraiser supporting harm reduction in the capital. At HR57, 1610 14th St. NW, contact (202) 588-5580 or [email protected] or visit http://www.preventionworksdc.org for further information.

October 23, 2:00-10:00pm, Atlanta, GA, "The 11th Annual Great Atlanta Pot Festival", cannabis reform event sponsored by the Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition. At Piedmont Park, for further information visit http://www.worldcamp.org or contact (404) 522-2267 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.

October 29, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Harm Reduction and the Sex Trade, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 5, 9:00am-1:00pm, Chicago, IL, Safer Injection, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 5, 2:00-6:00pm, Chicago, IL, Legal Rights, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org for further information.

November 11-14, New Orleans, LA, "Working Under Fire: Drug User Health and Justice 2004," 5th National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, at the New Orleans Astor Crowne Plaza, contact Paula Santiago at (212) 213-6376 x15 or visit http://www.harmreduction.org/conference/5thnatlconf.pdf for further information.

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.

December 3, full day, Chicago, IL, Opiate Overdose Intervention, presented by the Chicago Harm Reduction Training Collaborative. Registration $30, discounts available for multiple event signups. At the Bridgeview Bank Building, 4753 N. Broadway, contact Shira Hassan at (773) 728-0127 or visit http://www.anypositivechange.org 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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