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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #360, 10/29/04

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. ON THE BALLOT: MARIJUANA, MEDICAL MARIJUANA, SENTENCING REFORM
    With national elections now just days away, it is time to review one last time the drug policy-related initiative measures on the ballot in various states and localities.
  2. MARIJUANA ARRESTS AT ALL-TIME HIGH, FAR EXCEED VIOLENT CRIME ARRESTS
    Despite a decade of marijuana law reforms and protestations by police chiefs across the land that marijuana is not a priority, the FBI reported Saturday that the number of arrests for violations of the marijuana laws hit an all-time high in 2003.
  3. LATIN AMERICAN ANTI-PROHIBITIONIST UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION FORMS, EYES UN 2008 VIENNA MEETING
    The movement toward an integrated hemispheric coalition to end the drug war has taken another step forward with the formation last month of a new, anti-prohibitionist umbrella group.
  4. AFRICAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL GROUPS MOVE INTO DRUG REFORM ARENA
    Fueled by a sense that blacks bear a disproportionate burden in the drug war, a new umbrella grouping of African-American professional associations dedicated to winning changes in the war on drugs has emerged and is calling for a series of limited reforms designed to reduce the number of African Americans going to prison for drugs.
  5. NEWSBRIEF: FORMER INTERPOL CHIEF CALLS PROHIBITION "OBSOLETE AND DANGEROUS"
    The former chief of Interpol called drug prohibition "obsolete and dangerous" in an op-ed published Wednesday in Le Monde. Europe must take the lead in reforming the drug laws, Raymond Kendall wrote, particularly at the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs in Vienna in 2008.
  6. NEWSBRIEF: PROHIBITIONIST BUSH SUPPORTERS "EXPOSE AND OPPOSE" SOROS
    In an event timed just days before next week's national election, prohibitionist supporters of President George Bush held a "National Anti-Drug Summit to Expose and Oppose George Soros" Thursday in Washington, DC.
  7. NEWSBRIEF: NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR BYPASSES LEGISLATURE, OKAYS NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS BY EXECUTIVE ORDER
    With the clock ticking down on his scandal-shortened term and frustrated by a recalcitrant legislature, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D) Tuesday issued an executive order allowing three Garden State cities to begin needle exchange programs (NEPs) in an effort to stem the spread of HIV and other viruses transmitted through intravenous drug use.
  8. NEWSBRIEF: NADER CALLS ON BUSH TO GRANT CLEMENCY TO DRUG WAR PRISONERS
    Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader called in an October 24 letter for President Bush to grant clemency to some 30,000 nonviolent federal drug offenders.
  9. NEWSBRIEF: BALTIMORE COPS OFFER MINOR DRUG SUSPECTS FREEDOM FOR GUNS
    The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that police in Charm City have for years followed an unofficial policy of picking up people on minor drug charges and offering to let them go if they turn in a weapon. But the dropping of charges in exchange for weapons is neither legal nor enforceable, according to experts cited by the Sun, and some residents don't like it either.
  10. NEWSBRIEF: US-CANADA JOINT BORDER DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT SAYS BC BUD ONLY TWO PERCENT OF US MARIJUANA IMPORTS
    Although drug czar John Walters has screamed loudly and often about the menace posed to the US by high-grade Canadian marijuana. But a sober assessment of cross-border drug issues done by law enforcement in both countries seriously undercuts his hysterics.
  11. NEWSBRIEF: FIJI ISLANDS IN GRIP OF REEFER MADNESS
    Marijuana is much in the news in the South Pacific Fiji Islands these days, with police and doctors warning of its dangers for users while persistent pot-growers in the Navosa Highlands face threats of increased police action, according to the Fiji Times.
  12. NEWSBRIEF: THIS WEEK'S CORRUPT COPS STORIES
    The daily grind of drug war corruption continues. This week, we find crooked deputies in Tennessee, dope-planting cops in Pennsylvania, and big trouble for the federal government and some Customs agents in Texas.
  13. THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
    Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
  14. THE DARE GENERATION RETURNS TO DC: STUDENTS FOR SENSIBLE DRUG POLICY 2004 NATIONAL CONFERENCE NEXT MONTH
    Students and activists from across the country will convene at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Sixth Annual National Conference in College Park, Maryland, outside Washington, DC, next month.
  15. APPLY NOW TO INTERN AT DRCNET!
    Make a difference next semester! DRCNet and the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform are seeking motivated and hardworking interns for the Spring 2005 Semester.
  16. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: PART-TIME JOB OPPORTUNITY AT DRCNET
    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.
  17. 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. On the Ballot: Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Sentencing Reform

With national elections now just days away, it is time to review one last time the drug policy-related initiative measures that have managed to make it to the ballot in various states and localities. Organizers in a handful of states and cities have managed to overcome the hurdles facing grassroots efforts, and voters in those locales will have a chance to vote directly on aspects of the war on drugs.

Here are the races we will be watching:

Alaska -- Regulating Marijuana: Courts in Alaska ruled in 1975 that possession of up to four ounces of marijuana in one's own home was legal under the state constitution's privacy provisions. Although in 1990 voters approved an initiative recriminalizing home pot possession, the Alaska courts in recent rulings have upheld the original 1975 decision, making Alaska the most progressive state when it comes to marijuana policy. Now, with Ballot Measure 2, Alaska voters have the opportunity to make the state's marijuana law the most progressive in the world. The ballot measure would remove all criminal and civil penalties for any adult who grows, uses, or sells marijuana for any reason and direct state authorities to craft a regulated distribution system.

According to a recent missive from the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), which is working closely with Alaska activists, the measure currently trails, with pollsters reporting 42% in favor, 50% opposed. But MPP sees victory as attainable, noting that support for the measure has been increasing while opposition is declining. (See http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/356/alaska.shtml for further background.)

California -- Sentencing Reform: A well-financed initiative to reform the Golden State's draconian "Three-Strikes" law (http://www.yes66.org and http://www.amend3strikes.org) appears poised for victory. Under three-strikes, persons who commit a third felony after having been convicted of two violent or "serious" felonies face sentences of 25-years-to-life and up. Though ostensibly aimed at violent criminals, three-strikes has also netted thousands of small-time crooks and drug users. Prop. 66 would limit it to violent felons.

While the Supreme Court ruled last year that sending someone to prison for 25 years for stealing golf clubs or video cassettes or possessing small quantities of drugs did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, according to recent polling, California voters are ready to overrule the justices. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/359/strikes.shtml to read our most recent coverage.

Massachusetts -- Regulating Marijuana and Medical Marijuana: In the Bay State, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (http://www.masscann.org) and the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts (http://www.dpfma.org) are continuing the ongoing effort to show legislators that voters approve of marijuana decriminalization. Voters in two senate and five representative districts will have the opportunity to go on record as telling their representatives marijuana that possession should be a civil violation like a traffic ticket. In one senate district and three representative districts, voters will be able to signal to their representatives that they approve of medical marijuana.

This year's vote continues an effort that began in 2000, when voters approved changing marijuana policy one senate and three representative districts. In 2002, voters supported changing marijuana policy in all 19 representative districts where it was on the ballot. That is a perfect record so far.

Montana -- Medical Marijuana: The Montana Medical Marijuana Act (http://www.montanacares.org) would legalize the medical use of marijuana to relieve symptoms of certain diseases. Support for Initiative 148 is strong despite visits from top officials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) arguing against the initiative. Two recent polls show the initiative winning with 59% and 62% of the vote. The Marijuana Policy Project is backing the effort. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/358/mmppm.shtml for our latest coverage.

Oregon -- Medical Marijuana: In 1998, Oregon voters approved a medical marijuana initiative. Now, organizers are back with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act II (http://www.yeson33.org and http://www.voterpower.org), which would deepen and broaden the existing state medical marijuana law to create state-licensed dispensaries to distribute marijuana to qualified patients.

The measure has been opposed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Oregon district attorneys and the Oregon Medical Association. It has also drawn painful opposition from the poster child for the 1998 initiative, medical marijuana patient Stormy Ray, who worried loudly it would endanger the existing program and open the door for criminal operations. Despite a late infusion of advertising dollars from the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative faces an uphill battle. A recent poll had it trailing 52% to 34%, with 14% undecided. See our most recent coverage at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/358/omma2.shtml online.

In addition to the state-level initiatives, several cities will also deal with drug policy-related questions. In the college towns of Ann Arbor, MI, Berkeley, CA, and Columbia, MO, medical marijuana initiatives are on the ballot. In Columbia, the medical marijuana measure is accompanied by a second ballot measure that would make simple pot possession a city -- not a state -- offense, protecting students from the Higher Education Act's anti-drug provision (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/358/localinits.shtml). And in Oakland, a two-part initiative (http://www.yesonZ.org) gives voters the opportunity to direct city officials to make marijuana law enforcement the lowest priority and to establish a system of licensed, regulated marijuana sales in the city as soon as legally possible. While legal pot sales would have to await changes in state law and federal law, the lowest law enforcement priority provision could take immediate effect. Sponsored by a coalition of veteran activists under the banner of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the measure polled heavy support early on and appears headed for success (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/325/oakland.shtml).

Alright, people, let's get to the polls.


2. Marijuana Arrests at All-Time High, Far Exceed Violent Crime Arrests

The FBI reported Saturday that the number of arrests for violations of the marijuana laws hit an all-time high of 755,186 in 2003. Despite a decade of marijuana law reforms and protestations by police chiefs across the land that marijuana is not a priority, that figure is nearly double the number of people arrested for pot in 1993. The number of people arrested on marijuana charges last year also exceeds the number arrested for violent crimes by more than 150,000.

With only a couple of hiccups, the number of people arrested on marijuana charges has trended steadily upward in the past decade, no matter which party controls the levers of government. The previous peak of 735,500 was recorded in 2000, with 724,000 arrested in 2001 and 697,000 in 2002.

To illustrate the scope of the problem, the number of those arrested for marijuana is more than the entire population of the state of South Dakota (pop. 754,844). Or, for those for whom it is too easy to picture South Dakota as a empty wasteland, the number of pot arrests is greater than the populations of San Francisco (pop. 751,682), Jacksonville (pop. 735,617), or Columbus (pop. 711,470).

As has been the case in past years, the vast majority of marijuana arrests -- some 88% -- were for simple possession. Arrests for marijuana offenses constituted a whopping 45% of all drug arrests.

The numbers appeared in the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report and were grist for the mill for pro-reform organizations. "With marijuana arrests exceeding 750,000 a year, it's safe to say that the drug war isn't preventing people from using marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) in Washington, DC. "It's time to acknowledge this reality by taxing and regulating marijuana. A responsible system of regulation will do a better job of keeping marijuana away from kids and end the pointless persecution of adults who use marijuana responsibly."

"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org), who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 42 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources, costing American taxpayers approximately $7.6 billion dollars annually. These dollars would be better served combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."

While simple marijuana possession offenses typically draw light punishment, such as fines or suspended sentences, except in the most conservative or rural jurisdictions, the consequences of a marijuana arrest or conviction go far beyond having to pay a fine or submit to probationary drug testing. "Some people are lucky and just get a slap on the wrist," said Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications. "But we also have horrifying cases like that of Jonathan Magbie, who died in the Washington, DC, jail earlier this month while serving a 10-day marijuana sentence. Or the young man in Florida who was raped in jail while serving a weekend sentence for a minor marijuana violation. One case like either of those is one case too many," he told DRCNet. "There is simply no rational reason why we should subject people to that sort of risk for private adult responsible use of a substance that is well-documented to be less harmful than alcohol."

While horror stories like that of Jonathan Magbie are thankfully the exception rather than the rule, everyone convicted of a marijuana crime is subject to a raft of continuing punishments beyond those exacted by the criminal justice system. "It can literally haunt them for the rest of their lives," said Mirken. "They lose access to federal benefits, they lose job opportunities because of the arrest record, they can't get student loans." According to the US Department of Education, over 150,000 college students or would-be students have lost access to federal financial aid because of drug crimes, the vast majority of them for simple marijuana possession.

"The bottom line," said Mirken, "is that none of this makes any sense. Even if people think we should be trying to curb marijuana use, arresting all these people hasn't done that, either."

While some 662,886 people were charged with simple marijuana possession, an additional 92,301 were charged with the more serious offense of "sale/manufacture." That number includes all those arrested for selling or growing marijuana, even those who were growing for their own use or for medical reasons.

While marijuana arrests are a large part of the drug war, they are by no means all of it. According to the FBI, nearly a million (923,006) people were arrested on other drug charges, with the vast majority of those being for simple possession. The Uniform Crime Report notes that the overall trend in all drug arrests is up 22% since 1994.

The number of drug arrests in 2003 (1,678,192) was greater than for any other major crime category. All property crimes combined totaled 1,605,127 arrests, while all violent crimes combined totaled 597,026. The number of drug arrests was also greater than the number of driving while intoxicated arrests (1,448,148) or the seemingly popular offense of simple assault (1,246,698). Drug arrests made up 12.3% of all arrests nationwide.

To read the FBI's 2003 Uniform Crime Report, visit http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/03cius.htm online.


3. Latin American Anti-Prohibitionist Umbrella Organization Forms, Eyes UN 2008 Vienna Meeting

The movement toward an integrated hemispheric coalition to end the drug war that first manifested itself at the Mérida, Mexico, "Out from the Shadows" conference in February 2003 has taken another step forward with the formation last month of a new, anti-prohibitionist umbrella group. The Latin American Drug Policy Reform Network, known as REFORMA, so far includes member individuals and organizations from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, and was formed with an eye toward influencing the 2008 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drug policy in Vienna.

Drug prohibition adversely affects Latin America in myriad ways, from fueling civil and war and environmental devastation in Colombia to threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor small peasants who depend on poppies or coca or marijuana as a cash crop, from fueling violence and corruption in Mexico to creating virtual ungovernable zones in Rio de Janeiro. Whether it is middle-class Buenos Aires marijuana smokers, Rio crack users, hardscrabble Sinaloa opium farmers or resource-strained Latin American governments themselves, all pay a price for drug prohibition.

When Latin American drug reformers who first met at Mérida reunited in September at the Andean Amazonic Forum in Popayan, Colombia, they reflected those differences, but they also reflected an emerging continental sensibility. From Colombia came Mama Coca (http://www.mamacoca.org), especially defending the interests of Colombian coca growers. From Argentina came the Argentine Harm Reduction Network (ARDA), with its emphasis on marijuana legalization and drug decriminalization as well as harm reduction. From Peru and Bolivia came the Andean Council of Coca Farmers, also defending the interests of coca growers. From Brazil came Psicotropicus (http://www.psicotropicus.org), a frankly anti-prohibitionist organization concentrating recently on marijuana legalization. And from the international community came the anti-prohibitionist Transnational Radical Party (http://www.radicalparty.org) and its offshoot, the International Antiprohibitionist League (http://www.antiprohibitionist.org).

"REFORMA stands for an anti-prohibitionist approach towards drug laws and a harm reduction approach to public health drug policies," said the group's introductory manifesto. "The network demands the decriminalization of drug use, the legalization of coca leaf and marihuana, legalization of medical marihuana, the defense of unbiased scientific research on drugs, the end of whatever Plan Colombia or Andean Initiative from the US, the complete stop of fumigations in Colombia, and indemnity to the affected population."

Psicotropicus billboard in Rio de Janeiro. Rough translation:
"The drug traffic is against marijuana legalization."
(courtesy Psicotropicus.)
"We have three broad objectives," explained Luiz Paulo Guanabara, executive director of Psicotropicus and one of the coauthors of REFORMA's introductory manifesto. "We want to create a Latin American coalition that can bring an anti-prohibitionist position to bear on drug laws and a harm reduction approach to public health policy," he said. "We want to help preserve the human rights of peasants, indigenous peoples, and drug users by reducing the damage caused by mistaken drug policies that have failed dramatically in Latin America. And, with an eye toward Vienna in 2008, we want to support the design and execution of more effective and humane drug policies in the region and the world."

"The purpose of REFORMA is very clear: to advance the anti-prohibitionist agenda at Vienna," explained Gustavo de Greiff, the former Colombian attorney general named honorary head of the group. "We will attend the International Harm Reduction Association conference in Belfast next year to meet with other organizations, and in the meantime, we will undertake a lot of activity to demonstrate to our national governments the necessity of changing prohibitionist drug laws. We need to create the conditions for individuals, society, and governments to understand the failure of the drug laws and the necessity of changing them," he told DRCNet from his Mexico City office.

The continent already has an international network of drug reformers in the Latin American Harm Reduction Association (http://www.relard.net), and REFORMA members told DRCNet the new grouping seeks neither to supersede nor compete with RELARD, but to frankly push an anti-prohibitionist agenda, something that is beyond RELARD's scope.

"These are two absolutely different sorts of networks," said Silvia Inchaurraga, head of the Argentine Harm Reduction Association and one of the key instigators of REFORMA. "While we understand and support harm reduction efforts, we are also interested in actually changing the drug laws, for example, where they punish personal use or impinge on the rights of producers and farmers. The harm reduction movement in Latin America is too often tied to the state or to large non-governmental public health organizations to be able to advocate for these kinds of policy changes," she argued.

"We intend not only to promote laws designed to reduce the harm associated with drug use, but also to promote decriminalization and legalization," agreed de Greiff.

Baldomero Caceres is an advisor to Peruvian coca growers who attended the Popayan meeting. "Silvia and Luiz persuaded me to join with REFORMA," he told DRCNet. "I agreed with them on the necessity of talking about changing the drug laws as well as harm reduction, and that's why I joined," he said. "We also agreed on the need of rising to the defense of opium and marijuana and persuading the cocaleros to do the same. We believe it is all one battle."

"Ever since the 'Out from the Shadows' Mérida conference, the International Antiprohibitionist League and the TRP been paying particular attention to prohibition in Central and Latin America, working in particular to raise awareness on the issue of crop eradication in UN and European fora to urge a halt to the practice of the fumigations," said the TRP's Marco Perduca, who attended the Popayan conference. "We have also people in organizations with years of experience in harm reduction who are developing interesting ideas about the bigger picture of reforming drug laws. We think the IAL and the TRP could assist in sharing some of their thinking but also some of the activists' experience that in Italy and Europe has denounced prohibition and its failures through nonviolent means and direct civil disobedience as well as concrete reforms through referendums," he told DRCNet.

"This is something that has been growing since the meeting in Mérida," said Inchaurraga. "Many of the people and groups who came together in Popayan to form REFORMA first met at Mérida. This is the same movement, and we are now at a place where we think that drug policy reform is absolutely necessary in Latin America. This is the next step."

While the ultimate goal is reform or repeal of the UN drug control treaties, the legal backbone of the global prohibition regime, REFORMA members also hope to use their synergies to good effect in their home countries and the region at large. "If we can get the South American countries to have a common understanding that they need to change, that there must be drug policy reform, maybe we can challenge the American embassies and try to legalize marijuana, which is the main work we are doing here in Brazil," said Guanabara. "If we get our governments to agree that marijuana and coca should not be criminalized as they are under the UN conventions, then perhaps we can make some progress, not only at home but at the international level as well."

"We need to have a common effort," concurred Inchaurraga. "What we learned in one country can be applied in another. This is an extension of the spirit of Mérida, which brought together all the key actors in drug policy and made us aware of each other and what we were doing and how we are trying to achieve some of the same things."

REFORMA is reaching out to more groups and individuals, said Inchaurraga. "We are trying to develop new contacts and energize old ones," she said. "We are working with former Argentine solicitor general Jaime Malamud Goti and anthropologist Anthony Henman, and we are waiting to hear if Colombian Senator Gaviria will come on board. We are also trying to involve other key people within the drug user movement in Argentina and Brazil." The Jamaican Coalition for Ganja Law Reform has also come on board, Inchaurraga reported.

And so the movement grows.


4. African American Professional Groups Move Into Drug Reform Arena

As DRCNet briefly noted last week, a new umbrella grouping of African-American professional associations dedicated to winning changes in the war on drugs has emerged (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/359/naadpc.shtml). Fueled by a shared sense that blacks bear a disproportionate burden in the drug war, the National African-American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC) is calling for a series of limited reforms designed to reduce the number of African Americans going to prison for drugs.

In its debut at a Capitol Hill press conference last week, the NAADCP announced a five-year program to address drug policy issues affecting African-Americans. The umbrella group has identified three areas where it hopes to force changes: more and better drug treatment; increased use of pretrial diversion for drug offenders; and what it calls "therapeutic justice," or drug court-style forced treatment. The group is planning pilot programs to seek such changes in seven cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington, DC, as well as the smaller cities of Huntsville, Alabama, and Flint, Michigan, and a yet to be determined city in the US Virgin Islands.

With a membership including the nation's largest African-American attorneys' group, the National Bar Association; the Howard University School of Law; the National Association of Black Sociologists; the National Association of Black Psychologists; the National Association of Black Social Workers; the National Black Nurses Association; the National Dental Association; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.; and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the NAADPC has pulled together a stunning array of organizations to fight for drug law reform.

Founded by Clyde Bailey, the past president of the National Bar Association, the umbrella group will be led by Bailey, retired District of Columbia Senior Judge Arthur L. Burnett, and former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke, currently dean of the Howard University Law School in Washington, DC.

"Our approach is a two-step approach," said Judge Burnett, whose history as a barrier-breaker goes back to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s. "For people charged with nonviolent crimes like drug possession, we will try to persuade prosecutors to agree to pretrial diversion and let that person go into drug treatment. If that person complies during that period, prosecutors could drop the charges. That's what we are looking for," he told DRCNet.

"We'll look at the issue of sentencing policy and I believe we will stand with the American Bar Association's Kennedy Commission recommendations that mandatory minimum sentences should be relieved so judges have some discretion and persons who deserve treatment don't get sent to prison," the judge continued. "We will also be looking at statutes that would allow prosecutors to defer prosecution, and we want to make sure that legislative bodies appropriate enough money for appropriate treatment. We are talking about six months or a year, not those 30-day-wonder programs. Those don't work," he said.

"Legislators have to provide enough money for treatment to be effective, but that is still far cheaper than just warehousing prisoners," Burnett argued. "This would actually save money. Providing adequate treatment would stop people from committing new crimes, it would make the community safer, there would be less work for the police and the courts, and it would stop the revolving door."

"This is an idea whose time has definitely come," said Clarence Edwards, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, a member of the coalition. "The drug issue has dropped off the screen in this country, but black men continue to go to prison in record numbers. We've heard the pleas from the families and friends of victims of drug-related gun violence," he told DRCNet. "One thing we know for sure is that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem."

The NAADCP did not emerge from nowhere. Instead it was the result of contacts between black attorneys and white legal drug reformers, especially those associated with Seattle's King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project (http://www.kcba.org/druglaw/) and the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers (http://www.vcl.org), an association of judges and attorneys concerned that current drug policies are a disaster. Named after a predecessor group that helped end alcohol Prohibition, the VCL in its current incarnation is headed by president Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (http://www.cjpf.org) and executive director Roger Goodman of the King County bar's drug policy project.

"At the American Bar Association midwinter meeting in Seattle a couple of years ago, there was a presentation by leaders of various state and local bar associations, and that included one by Fred Noland, the man who kicked off the King County bar's drug policy project," recounted Sterling. "By then, the KCBA Drug Policy Project had already grown into a multi-associational coalition, and Roger was the director. Clyde Bailey, who was then president of the National Bar Association, was there and sought out Roger and said, 'I want to do this with the National Bar Association and other organizations.'" From there, said Sterling, it was a matter of phone calls and meetings. "Roger did a lot of work in helping sell this model of an inter-professional coalition to advocate for drug policy reform."

"Roger Goodman's experience in King County was definitely a model for us," concurred Judge Burnett. "Let's pull the African-American professional associations together like they did with the professional organizations in Seattle. Hopefully, that way we can make an impact."

"I think this is extraordinarily important," said Sterling. "As we've seen at conferences like 'Breaking the Chains,' the key thing in looking at drug policy reform is to ask how do we get a Congress that is highly divided and afraid of this issue to enact substantive meaningful reform. That will only happen when it is no longer perceived as politically dangerous, and indeed, is blessed by important interests that the parties represent. Only when African-Americans and others of color, as well as the women's movement, the environmental movement, and other constituencies say that drug policy reform is important, will Democrats will feel secure enough with their base to take on these issues."

The same logic is at play with the Republicans, Sterling argued. "If we want to see Republicans voting for drug reform, they must feel that their business-oriented base wants it. When the head of the US Chamber of Commerce goes to House Whip Tom DeLay and tells him they are selling a million less widgets because of the drug war, that the drug war is a strike against the bottom line of corporate America, that we can't afford prohibition -- only then will Republicans start to come onboard."

NAADPC can also serve to inoculate black drug reformers from arguments that drug reform equals legalization equals genocide, said Sterling. "If the broadest conceivable coalition of black professionals says they've studied the drug problem and they are calling for profound change, guys like former drug czar Lee Brown will no longer be able to make that charge."

Working with professional organizations which are otherwise only peripherally involved in drug policy issues means building a consensus around a minimum program, said Burnett. "For example, we are not into the controversy over whether marijuana should be legalized -- we are looking for issues with a broad consensus within our coalition. That's mainly white college kids talking about marijuana. What we're concerned about is things like the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine," he said.

Nor is the NAADPC ready to join the ranks of the outright anti-prohibitionists. But that's just fine, said Sterling. "While people who do drug policy for a living may be ready to criticize them for not going far enough, these are sophisticated people and it is important to recognize that the people involved in this will develop a comfort level with each other, and they will end up with a much more sophisticated, multi-disciplinary understanding of the problem of drug abuse," he said. "And when you have a comprehensive understanding of the problem, you begin to identify prohibition as driving the problem, not just the substances themselves of some sort of social pathologies."


5. Newsbrief: Former Interpol Chief Calls Prohibition "Obsolete and Dangerous"

In an op-ed piece Wednesday in the Paris newspaper Le Monde, Raymond Kendall, the former chief of the international law enforcement agency Interpol, called drug prohibition "obsolete and dangerous" and said its continuation represented a missed opportunity for reform. Prohibition has failed to protect the world from drugs, he said, and Europe must take the lead in reforming the drug laws, particularly at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs in Vienna in 2008.

"Although I am not personally in favor of the legalization of drugs, the general feeling is that the opportunity has been missed to profoundly reform a dangerous and obsolete legal framework and replace it with a modern and effective policy," wrote Kendall, who headed the international police body from 1985 to 2000 and who remains its honorary head.

Drug prohibition simply does not work, Kendall pointed out. Despite decades of suppression efforts, "cannabis has become a common substance with high rates of consumption, sometimes more accessible than alcohol," he wrote, while the distribution of drugs like cocaine and ecstasy is steadily increasing despite the billions of dollars poured into the drug war.

Prohibitionist drug policies are no match for policies based on harm reduction, the former top cop argued, citing a recent British study that found every dollar spent on health care would save $3 that would have been spent in the criminal justice system. "With regards to heroin, the medicalization of dependent drug users and the prescription of pharmaceutical opiates have led to an 80% decrease in overdose deaths, noticeably limited the spread of epidemics and sharply cut the delinquency of drug addicts," Kendall noted. "The number of heroin addicts has also significantly decreased due to the recent advances in realistic detoxification processes, and because illegal drug supply has moved towards a 'medicalized' market."

Kendall regretted, however, that innovative harm reduction policies have too often been attacked by the international institutions that administer the US-influenced and "obsolete" UN conventions on drugs. Europe must take the lead in reforming the global prohibitionist regime in Vienna, Kendall concluded.


6. Newsbrief: Prohibitionist Bush Supporters "Expose and Oppose" Soros

In an event timed just days before next week's national election, prohibitionist supporters of President George Bush held a "National Anti-Drug Summit to Expose and Oppose George Soros" Thursday in Washington, DC. Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire currency speculator, has long supported drug reform initiatives through his Open Society Institute, as well as supporting democratic openings in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

But despite the "anti-drug" language of the attack on Soros, it appears he is being targeted not because of his support of drug reform but because of the millions of dollars he has thrown into the effort to defeat President Bush. As the summit announcement notes, "Through a loophole in the campaign finance law, Soros is spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat President Bush, who opposes drug legalization." The summit was "designed to draw attention to how Soros intends to subvert our nation's anti-drug policy if he achieves his stated goal of defeating Bush on November 2," organizers announced.

The event featured a gaggle of notorious prohibitionists, including Maryland anti-drug activist Joyce Nalepka, former DEA administrators Donnie Marshall and Peter Bensinger, recently resigned deputy drug czar Andrea Barthwell, former NIDA head Robert Dupont, and Robert Charles, current Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and former counsel and staff advisor to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Hastert himself made waves a few weeks ago when he slandered Soros on national television by implying that he made money through consorting with drug cartels (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/352/soros.shtml).

In a further indication of the summit's intensely partisan focus, it will also feature the release of a "comprehensive report on how the major media have completed failed to investigate the Soros agenda for America and his controversial financial dealings." That report is authored by Cliff Kincaid, editor of the conservative publication Accuracy in Media (http://www.aim.org).


7. Newsbrief: New Jersey Governor Bypasses Legislature, Okays Needle Exchange Programs By Executive Order

With the clock ticking down on his scandal-shortened term and frustrated by a recalcitrant legislature, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D) Tuesday issued an executive order allowing three Garden State cities to begin needle exchange programs (NEPs) in an effort to stem the spread of HIV and other viruses transmitted through intravenous drug use.

If the move survives threatened court challenges, it will mark the end of a decade-long struggle to bring NEPs to the state, which suffers from one of the highest injection drug-related HIV rates in the country. Although the issue had died down in recent years, it was revived earlier this year, largely thanks to the city councils in Atlantic City and Camden, both of which voted to start NEPs without waiting for new enabling legislation. In both cases, the Drug Policy Alliance's (http://www.drugpolicy.org) New Jersey director, Roseanne Scotti, played a key role by lobbying for the measures and by helping to craft a novel legal argument supporting their establishment.

But after those efforts were challenged by state Attorney General Peter Harvey and knocked down in the court, Scotti and key legislators moved to pass a bill this fall. That effort gained crucial political support when Gov. McGreevey threw his weight behind the effort. McGreevey had previously supported NEPs in principle, but opposed them in practice for what it is now clear were political reasons. After McGreevey decided to resign his office in the wake of scandal, his spokesperson told DRCNet he had changed his position on NEPs because "now it is not about good politics, but about good policy."

The measure sailed through the state's lower chamber, but was stalled in recent weeks in the Senate, forcing the governor's hand. McGreevey cited a public health emergency as the basis of the executive order. It will immediately allow Atlantic City, Camden, and one other New Jersey municipality to set up NEPs. Cities with high rates of HIV infection will have to apply to the state Health Department to start the programs, which have been proven to reduce the spread of AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other blood-borne infections. The order will remain in effect until December 31, 2005.

Atlantic City Health and Human Services Director Ron Cash told the Press of Atlantic City he expected to send an application to the state "immediately" so the program can get underway in a city where one of every 40 residents has HIV. "We worked so hard, we're kind of excited about it," Cash said. "We're thankful the governor has reconsidered, whatever his reason is."

Not everyone was so thankful. Both the New Jersey League of American Families and state Sen. Ron Rice (D-Newark) vowed to challenge the order in court. "It is most unfortunate that Gov. McGreevey will use his last days to promulgate something that will lead to the demise of the urban community and especially women and minorities," Rice said. "This is a sad legacy to leave."

With the issuance of McGreevey's executive order, neighboring Delaware becomes the only state in the nation that neither authorizes NEPs nor allows for the sale of needles without a prescription.


8. Newsbrief: Nader Calls on Bush to Grant Clemency to Drug War Prisoners

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader called in an October 24 letter for President Bush to grant clemency to some 30,000 nonviolent federal drug offenders. The call echoed the effort by Jubilee 2000 (http://www.jubileeusa.org), a social justice network, to get then President Bill Clinton to grant similar clemencies.

Clinton was not listening. As a last minute gesture before he left office, he pardoned a grand total of 21 drug offenders, many of them the beneficiaries of well-organized and well-publicized efforts to win their freedom (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/170/21free.shtml). There is little indication Bush will listen any more closely. He has been consistent in his disinterest in providing clemency to drug offenders -- or almost anyone else, for that matter.

The Nader letter mentioned President Bush's substance abuse problems and noted that if he had been incarcerated for cocaine use he "probably would not have gone on to have the career you have had." The letter also highlighted the rapid expansion of the prison system in the United States which now houses more than 2.1 million people, one-quarter of the world's prison population. Clemency for nonviolent drug offenders would save more than $1 billion annually, Nader claimed.

"It is urgent that the US reverse the incarceration binge," Nader wrote. "The US Department of Justice estimates that if incarceration rates remain unchanged an estimated 1 of every 20 Americans and greater than one in four African Americans can be expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime," said Nader. "It is time to make the failed war on drugs a central issue in the American political dialogue. For too long we have let this injustice continue to grow unhindered. Taking action on clemency at the federal level will set an example for the states and begin the process of reversing this failed policy."

Read the letter in full at http://www.votenader.org/media_press/index.php?cid=317 online.


9. Newsbrief: Baltimore Cops Offer Minor Drug Suspects Freedom for Guns

The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that police in Charm City have for years followed an unofficial policy of picking up people on minor drug charges and offering to let them go if they turn in a weapon. The dropping of charges in exchange for weapons is neither legal nor enforceable, according to experts cited by the Sun. And it isn't right, according to some Baltimore residents.

"That's kidnapping and holding for ransom," said Sheila Harding, a 59-year-old South Baltimore resident whose handcuffed stepson appeared on her porch one day pleading for her to give accompanying police officers a weapon so he would not be arrested. "And because they have a badge and a gun, they're allowed to get away with it."

Although the practice is not sanctioned by law, it has been going on for years, the Sun reported, citing interviews with police and prosecutors and court documents. The practice is so typical one lieutenant recently declared it a regular procedure and some officers have created forms to complete when doing such exchanges.

Police officials argued that the practice effectively removed guns from the streets and was an exercise in police discretion. But discretion ends with an arrest, which should not be able to be waved away in some informal deal, said critics. "How is that justice?" asked Cheryl Jacobs, the chief prosecutor of the city state's attorney's narcotic division. "That's not the way our system of justice is set up to work... It's laudable to get guns off the street, but this is not the way we go about it," she told the Sun.

Told of the practice, Mayor Martin O'Malley says he had heard about it previously, but it now appears to be more common than he knew. "It's certainly something we can look at," says O'Malley, a former prosecutor, "and certainly something the police commissioner should look at."

"If it's an ends-justifies-a-means thing, that's problematic," Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York police officer and prosecutor told the Sun. "That's not our legal system. The means matter in our legal system."

The "policy" is under review by the city and the department, the Sun reported. Police Commissioner Kevin Clark banned the use of the unofficial gun-trade forms in May, but did not explicitly ban the practice, so it continued. In September, after the Sun began inquiries and department leaders discussed the issue, police said the practice has almost entirely ceased and the department will soon implement an official policy toward "gun flipping."


10. Newsbrief: US-Canada Joint Border Drug Threat Assessment Says BC Bud Only Two Percent of US Marijuana Imports

Although drug czar John Walters has screamed loudly and often about the menace posed to the US by high-grade Canadian marijuana (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/306/walters.shtml), a sober assessment of cross-border drug issues done by law enforcement in both countries seriously undercuts his hysterics. According to the "United States-Canada Border Drug Threat Assessment" released this week and whose US contributors include the DEA, the FBI, the drug czar's office, the National Drug Intelligence Center, and the Department of Homeland Security, Canadian pot makes up only a miniscule amount of the weed smoked in the US.

While noting that marijuana smuggling is a two-way street, with Mexican, Colombian, and Jamaican pot flowing into Canada through the US, the assessment found most of the cross-border marijuana trade was Canadian pot headed south. Still, it didn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things. "Most marijuana trafficking activity is southbound, although it is smuggled in both directions across the border," the assessment reported. But "Canadian-produced marijuana accounts for only approximately 2% of overall US marijuana seizures at its borders."

According to the assessment, US marijuana consumption is somewhere between 3,100 metric tons and 7,100 metric tons annually, with much of it being produced domestically. The vast bulk of the rest comes from Mexico. Of the 701 metric tons (nearly 1.6 million pounds) seized entering the US in fiscal year 2003, only 15.8 tons came from Canada. Assuming for the sake of argument that US officials seized 10% of Canadian pot imports, Canadian pot would account for at most 5% of the US market -- and that's using the low-end domestic consumption figure cited in the assessment. Using the high-end figure, the Canadian share of US domestic consumption dips closer to 2%.

Unsurprisingly, given high use levels reported in Canada, the assessment found that much Canadian marijuana is also consumed domestically.

The assessment also gives the lie to another prohibitionist canard: the menace of super-potent Canadian marijuana (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/333/walters.shtml). While Walters and his ilk are fond of warning that BC Bud is "not your father's marijuana" and is seven, 10, or 20 times stronger than the weed that stoned the hippies, the assessment's sober analysis failed to back them up. Ignoring "ditchweed" and "commercial-grade" (Mexican) marijuana, potency differences between US and Canadian high-quality marijuana are minor, although the Canadians can still take pride in consistently producing slightly higher THC levels. US kind bud tested by federal authorities in 2003 averaged 7.4% THC, while Canadian averaged 9.6%.

The assessment dryly notes that nonetheless "the media are reporting THC levels averaging 20% or higher. This perception is based in part on US law enforcement reporting..." But, the study found, of more than 15,000 Canadian pot samples assayed since 1989, only 81, or 0.5%, had THC levels of 20% or more. If drug czar Walters and the other prohibitionists don't believe their critics about the Canadian marijuana threat, or the lack thereof, maybe they will believe their own law enforcement agencies. But somehow we doubt it.

Read the "United States-Canada Border Drug Threat Assessment" at http://www.psepc.gc.ca/publications/policing/drug_threat_e.asp online.


11. Newsbrief: Fiji Islands in Grip of Reefer Madness

Marijuana is much in the news in the South Pacific Fiji Islands these days, with police and doctors warning of its dangers for users while persistent pot-growers in the Navosa Highlands face threats of increased police action, according to the Fiji Times. The paper published three marijuana-related articles in two days last weekend.

When last we checked in on the island paradise, Navosa marijuana farmers were resisting police raids in their remote, impoverished region by sabotaging police vehicles and covering roads with nails (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/346/fiji.shtml). Now, according to the Times, the battle continues, with police warning of no leniency for growers after the recent discovery of four pot plantations in the area. Police reported nine arrests and more than 8,000 plants uprooted.

Acting Acting Assistant Superintendent Kolinio Vunaki inadvertently revealed the futility of the prohibitionist exercise as he vowed eternal vigilance. "Police operations in drugs will never end," he told the Times, "but it will be a consistent event to help build a drug-free society for our country."

Those who grow marijuana harm the country's younger generation, Vunaki said, a point the Fiji Times emphasized with a pair of articles on Fiji's youth drug menace. In one, the paper quoted Dr. Shish Narayan of St. Giles Hospital as saying 80% of patients re-admitted to the drug treatment unit have "marijuana-related problems." But in his next remark, Narayan noted that for most of those people, the only "problem" was the fact that they continued to smoke it after undergoing drug treatment. "The patient will either have been taking his medication and smoking marijuana or they do not want to take their medication and prefer to smoke the drug," he said. The solution, he said, was better treatment programs.

And a day earlier, the Times trumpeted a story saying the Ministry of Education was studying "strategic plans" to combat the drug problem in the schools. Counseling was not working, said Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa. The apparent root cause of this crisis in Fijian drug education was the arrest of one 16-year-old student for selling pot to his fellows last week.


12. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The daily grind of drug war corruption continues. This week, we find crooked deputies in Tennessee, dope-planting cops in Pennsylvania, and big trouble for the federal government and some Customs agents in Texas.

  • In Memphis, a former Shelby County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty October 19 to two counts related to his robbery of a drug dealer in a Millington hotel room. Jodie Chambers, 39, admitted stealing drugs and cash, piling it in his squad car, and spending the proceeds. He left with $6,000, 12 pounds of marijuana and four ounces of cocaine. He gave an accomplice the drugs to sell, and they split the $8,000 profit, Parker said. What Chambers didn't know was that both his accomplice and the drug dealer were FBI informants. No word yet on sentencing, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
  • Two days later, a federal grand jury in northeastern Pennsylvania indicted two police officers for planting drugs during raids last year. Jeremy Sommers, 28, formerly of the Lansford Police Department, and Michael Weaver, 35, formerly of the Coaldale Police Department were charged with planting drugs in at least two cases and then arresting people based on the bogus evidence. Sommers and Weaver are charged with conspiring to violate civil rights, conspiracy to obstruct the investigation, obstruction and lying to federal agents, the Associated Press reported.
  • And the same day, in El Paso, Texas, the family of Luis Padilla filed suit against the US government, the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit in a shocking case previously noted in this space where Customs agents supervising a Mexican cartel drug informant allowed him to engage in criminal activity, including most spectacularly, the murders of at least 12 people -- some of which occurred while ICE agents were on the phone with the informant. Luis Padilla, a US citizen and El Paso resident, was the last of the victims. The lawsuit alleges that if Customs had pulled its informant when it first realized he was killing people, Padilla would be alive today. Padilla, the lawsuit says, was not involved in the drug trade, but was killed because he witnessed a cartel kidnapping.

13. This Week in History

October 31, 2002: The Washington Post releases a story about a rare interview with Benjamin Arellano Felix, the man accused of running Mexico's most ruthless drug cartel, from the La Palma maximum security federal prison in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico.

November 1991: While attempting to stop an air shipment of Colombian cocaine, Mexican Federal Police are massacred by Mexican army members in the pay of the traffickers. Embarrassed, Mexican President Salinas orders an investigation, which results in the imprisonment of a Mexican General. The general is quietly released several months later.

November 2, 1951: The Boggs Act nearly quadruples penalties for all narcotics offenses and unscientifically lumps marijuana in with narcotic drugs.

November 3, 1995: Anthony Lewis writes in The New York Times, in part: "We tried Prohibition to end alcohol abuse. It brought so much crime that we quickly gave up the Noble Experiment... Prohibition of drugs began in 1915. The experiment has been going for 80 years now, and by every rational test it is a ghastly failure."

November 3, 1999: The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) cosponsors a press conference releasing a letter to "drug czar" Gen. Barry McCaffrey by distinguished American and Latin American leaders who reject the US export of the failed "war on drugs" to Latin America (http://www.cjpf.org/drug/1999latinam.html).


14. The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month

Save the date! Students and activists from across the country will convene at the SSDP Sixth Annual National Conference. The conference runs from the 18th to 21st of November at the University of Maryland, College Park, outside Washington, DC.

In January, SSDP conquered New Hampshire when Democrats such as Howard Dean, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich joined calls to repeal the Higher Education Act Drug Provision. Now, SSDP returns to Washington to lobby Congress, network with students and activists, and learn from drug policy reform experts. Hundreds of SSDPers will be there!

Find conference details and registration at http://www.ssdp.org online.


15. Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet!

Make a difference next semester! DRCNet and the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR) are seeking motivated and hardworking interns for the Spring 2005 Semester. We are especially looking for people interested in the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, an active, vigorous, visible effort to repeal a federal law that takes college aid away from students because of drug convictions.

Preference will be given to those able to work 20 hours per week or more, though others will be considered. DRCNet needs interns with good people skills, web design skills, superb writing skills, and a desire to end the war on drugs. Office and/or political experience are a plus. Spring internships begin in the second or third week of January and ideally last through April, but the dates are flexible. Internships are unpaid, but travel stipends are available for those who need them.

Apply today by sending a short cover letter and resume to: [email protected].


16. Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet

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, preferably including some hours on all or most weekdays. 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].


17. The Reformer's Calendar

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 3-5, San Francisco, CA, 11th Annual Hemp Industries Association Convention. At the Holiday Inn Civic Center, 50 8th St. (at Market), call (707) 874-3648 or see http://www.thehia.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 21-25, Barcelona, Spain, "Psychoactive Botanical Exposition: Magic Plants." At the K.O.L.P. "La Fera," C/ Santa Agata num. 28, contact [email protected] for further information.

November 22-28, Barcelona, Spain, various events celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Lliure Antiprohibitionist Association. At "Casal Antiprohibicionista," c/ dels Salvador num. 20-bajos, contact [email protected] for further information.

November 27, Barcelona, Spain, "Demonstration for the Legalization of All Drugs," sponsored by Lliure Antiprohibitionist Association. Contact [email protected]">[email protected] for further information.

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.

March 10-12, 2005, Silver Spring, MD, Families Against Mandatory Minimums National Conference. Details to be announced, visit http://www.famm.org or contact (202) 822-6700 or [email protected] for updates.

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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