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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #421 -- 2/3/06

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Table of Contents

    The Department of Education
    doesn't want you to be
    educated about everything.
  1. FEATURE: AFGHAN OPIUM CONUNDRUM -- FOUR YEARS ON, THE WEST SEARCHES FOR ANSWERS
    Four years after the United States invaded and overthrew the Taliban, neither the West nor the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai has figured out what to do about the country's burgeoning opium economy.
  2. FEATURE: SSDP SUES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT DISPUTE
    The organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy announced last week it has filed a lawsuit over a hefty fee the Department of Education wants to release state-by-state data on the number of students affected by the Higher Education Act drug provision.
  3. FEATURE: DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE ISSUES FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DRUG POLICY VOTER GUIDE
    A new Congressional voter guide identifies "heroes," "villains" and "champions" of drug policy reform.
  4. LAW ENFORCEMENT: THIS WEEK'S CORRUPT COPS STORIES
    This week, systemic corruption in the Topeka drug squad continues to roil local law enforcement, and a civilian sheriff's office employee in Oakland has more on her mind that filing reports.
  5. MEDICAL MARIJUANA: STEVE KUBBY JAILED AND SUFFERING IN CALIFORNIA
    His four-year odyssey as a medical marijuana refugee over since last week, Steve Kubby has asked a court for house arrest or to be allowed to use medicinal marijuana while jailed. No correctional facility in the state allows prisoners access to this particular medicine despite state law making it legal.
  6. HEA REFORM: CONGRESS PASSES PARTIAL REFORM TO LAW BARRING FINANCIAL AID TO STUDENTS WITH DRUG CONVICTIONS
    With the passage of a controversial budget bill, Congress has scaled back the Higher Education Act drug provision to apply only to those in school at the time of their offenses.
  7. MEDICAL MARIJUANA: NEW MEXICO BILL CLEARS SENATE, HEADS FOR HOUSE AS CLOCK TICKS
    The New Mexico medical marijuana bill blessed repeatedly by Gov. Bill Richardson passed the Senate overwhelmingly and now heads to the House, where legislators have a week to act.
  8. MARIJUANA: ALASKA GOVERNOR'S BID TO RECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA BACKFIRES AS HOUSE REJECTS COMBINED "METHIJUANA" BILL
    Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski and his allies hoped that tying their bill to recriminalize marijuana possession to a methamphetamine bill would help them steamroll the legislation into law, but it didn't work out that way this week.
  9. EUROPE: ITALY POISED FOR GIANT STEP BACKWARD ON DRUG POLICY
    Possession of personal use quantities of drugs has been decriminalized in Italy for more than a decade, but a tough new law being pushed through parliament could change that.
  10. LATIN AMERICA: MEXICO'S DRUG WAR ERUPTS BLOODILY IN ACAPULCO
    In an unintended consequence of Mexican drug law enforcement, the sunny tourist destination Acapulco has found itself wracked by dramatic and murderous violence as rival cartels -- perhaps aided by corrupted police allies -- fight for control of the trade.
  11. WEB SCAN
    Richard Paey on Sixty Minutes, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  12. WEEKLY: THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
    Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
  13. JOB OPPORTUNITIES
    Drug Policy Alliance, Full-Time Legislative Assistant and Part-Time Office Manager
  14. JOB OPPORTUNITY
    Publications Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and DanceSafe
  15. WEEKLY: THE REFORMER'S CALENDAR
    Showing up at an event can be the best way to get involved! Check out this week's listings for events from today through next year, across the US and around the world!

(Chronicle archives)


1. Feature: Afghan Opium Conundrum -- Four Years On, the West Searches for Answers
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/conundrum.shtml

An international donor's conference this week in London resulted in pledges of more than $10 billion in developmental assistance for Afghanistan, but more than four years after the United States invaded and overthrew the Taliban, neither the West nor the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai has figured out what to do about the country's burgeoning opium economy. Opium production has exploded since 2001, with Afghan poppies now accounting for nearly 90% of the world's heroin supply and more than 50% of the country's economy, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

war-torn Afghanistan
(photo by Drug War Chronicle editor Phil Smith)
Opium wasn't the only item on the donor conference agenda, but it was a crucial one -- especially for Britain, which has taken the lead role in attacking the poppy so far (and received much criticism for its lack of results), and the US, which is finding it difficult to simultaneously pursue both the war on drugs and the war on terror in Afghanistan. Like the government of Tony Blair in Britain, the Bush administration has been hit with charges it has allowed Afghanistan to become "a failed narco-state." Some of those charges come from political adversaries at home, but similar charges have been made by both the World Bank and the UNODC.

With opium playing such a key role in the Afghan political economy, dealing with it is integral to efforts to develop the country, create viable political institutions, and foster social stability. To ensure that those goals are met, the West is sending boots on the ground along with money. Some 19,000 US troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan, and the NATO presence is expected to grow to 15,000 troops this year, including more than 3,000 British troops set to go to southern Helmand province, both a key opium-producing province and a hotbed of Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgent activity.

"Afghanistan has been a success story," Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah bravely asserted in London this week. "It has been a success story by all accounts. Today we have a constitution. Today we have an elected president. Today we have an elected parliament." Still, Abdullah conceded, the presence of insurgents and well-armed drug traffickers meant the government needed foreign troops to support it. "The presence of the international forces in Afghanistan, of course it is needed, not only for the overall stability of the country but they are also helping us in the training of our own national army, our own national police force, and other security institutions."

Indeed. If anything, the security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. President Karzai remains in effect "the Mayor of Kabul," with central government control limited in the countryside, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda are back with a vengeance. More than 1,600 people were killed in fighting last year, including 99 US troops -- double the number killed in the each of the three preceding years -- and suicide bombings, once a rarity, have become commonplace. The US Embassy constantly warns staffers and visitors to avoid restaurants, hotels, and other places popular with foreigners, and has banned embassy personnel from traveling on Jalalabad Road, one of the main highways out of the city.

President Karzai warned the West this week that it could take 15 years to wipe out opium in his country and it was likely to involve fighting insurgents and traffickers alike. "It might entail fighting terrorism, as the coalition is already doing," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program. Poppy cultivation is fueling the insurgents, he said. "Terrorists and drug money go hand in hand. This money generated by poppies supports terrorism. They are now intimidating farmers, forcing them to grow poppies," he said. "We have a tough fight on our hands but we have to overcome it."

Karzai may have an even tougher fight on his hands in reining in members of his own government, a large number of whom have links to the opium trade. According to some observers, as many as 60% of those elected to parliament last fall are linked to warlords and the drug traffic, such as former Jalalabad-based warlord Hazrat Ali. Some governors and other officials are also believed tied to the trade.

Moving against opium not only threatens to drive farmers into the hands of rebels and sow dissension within the government, it also threatens the primary economic engine of the country and the livelihoods of millions of Afghan citizens. Britain, the US, and the Afghan government are now struggling to reach a common strategy to combat the drug.

"I'm not sure there is a single unified strategy," said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a research fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government who watches Afghan affairs. "US military and political authorities originally didn't want to deal with the counter-narcotics issues because they were worried about the military being drawn into a difficult situation. They were also concerned about antagonizing the population and certain prominent warlords who were implicated in the drug trade like Hazrat Ali," she said.

"Britain was supposed to take the lead role, and it tried compensated eradication, but that didn't work," said Felbab-Brown. "Then they embraced alternative development in combination with interdiction and limited eradication. But meanwhile in the US, the Democrats, for domestic political purposes, were jumping on the Bush administration about Afghanistan becoming a failed narco-state, and there were similar complaints from the World Bank and the UNODC. As a result, the US Embassy in Kabul starting setting up alternative means of pursuing counter-narcotics efforts, they created an eradication task force, then expanded the US military mission to protect the task force. The US wants a much faster, stronger eradication effort," she said.

And it's willing to pay for it. The Bush administration asked for and got $780 million for counter-narcotics operations in Afghanistan this year and is expected to push aggressively on eradication. The US is heavily invested in Afghanistan. It pledged $1.2 billion in development aid in London this week, and Thursday the administration announced it was seeking another $70 billion in war funds for Iraq and Afghanistan. While most of that is destined for Iraq, it still means billions more in military spending in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government is caught in the middle, said Felbab-Brown. "The Brits have the lead role, but the Americans are becoming very active. The Karzai government announced its own strategy in 2004, one that embraces eradication, alternative development, building law enforcement capacity and the rule of law, and I don't think the London conference will change that. None of these three actors has successfully captured control of counter-narcotics policy. Karzai would like to be in charge, but many important assets are dependent on the US. The resulting policy is a mix of all the classic source country strategies."

"It appears the US has ruled out aerial eradication, but even the very rapid eradication it desires would, if carried out, generate very large instability in Afghanistan," said Felbab-Brown. "The people will be deprived of their sources of income and be forced into debt. They may go to Pakistan, and they will be susceptible to manipulation by the Taliban and local warlords, even if those warlords are now governors. They can tell the farmers 'Karzai is an American stooge enforcing the will of the infidels.' Large-scale eradication will create instability in the face of a growing insurgency."

That is happening in Nangahar province, the scene of an effective eradication effort last year. Village elders north of Jalalabad who spoke with DRCNet in October complained bitterly that the government had wrecked their crop, promised compensation, and then failed to deliver.

"When we grew opium, the farmers were strong," said elder Amasha Kaul over tea and cookies. "Now we have little money. When the government destroyed our crop, they said they would compensate us, but they never did. The government is big liars."

With eradication efforts leaving a legacy of bitterness and despair, the Senlis Council thinks it has a better idea. The European drug policy think-tank that last fall proposed licensing part of the opium crop and diverting it into the legitimate medicinal market, used the occasion of the London conference to hold its own press conference to denounce eradication and release a report supporting its position. "Eradication is a dangerous and ineffective policy and it attacks those who are profiting least in the opium trade -- the farmers," said Senlis executive director Emmanuel Reinert. "Farmers are the most vulnerable part of the opium production chain; they are the first casualties of this ineffective tool used to attempt to curb production of opium for heroin."

"If implemented, the planned eradication would be a dangerous gamble which would jeopardize the achievements so far," said Jorrit Kamminga, a Senlis policy analyst who worked on the council's Eradication Assessment Report. "Eradication is a tool which should only be used as a last resort in countries where the rule of law is firmly established. Eradication, while touted as a crucial part of the international community's reconstruction work in Afghanistan, is in fact an impediment to reconstruction in the country."

"These displaced families have either had to find itinerant work within Afghanistan or even covertly cross the border into Pakistan in search of a means of supporting their families," said Gulalai Momand, Deputy Country Manager for The Senlis Council in Afghanistan.

The Senlis Council also unveiled a proposed new anti-eradication law that would severely punish anyone who participates in involuntary eradication activities. "Individuals -- including public officials of any nationality and including Afghans and private contractors -- will face heavy penalties of up to 200 billion Afghanis (US$200 million) and up to 25 years of prison for any forced eradication activities," said Reinert. The law will be presented to the Afghan parliament for consideration, Senlis said.

The council is also launching a farmer's defense fund to help victims of eradication and has proposed a national farmers' jirga, or council, to be held in Kabul in April. "The Jirga will provide farmers -- the real stakeholders in Afghanistan's opium crisis -- with the opportunity to become part of the debate and discussion concerning drug policy in Afghanistan," said Gulalai Momand. "They will be able to share their views on opium licensing, eradication and alternative livelihood programmes."

Interdiction -- arresting traffickers, busting labs -- is another alternative, but has had paradoxical results, said Felbab-Brown. "In both Nangahar and Helmand, interdiction has led to the vertical integration of the trade. It used to be many small traders, but now it's larger traders who are well-connected to local authorities. The police will selectively bust traffickers from different ethnic groups or they will tax traffickers, and when they arrest traffickers, they frequently seize the stock and sell it to other, better-connected traffickers. Is this progress?" she asked.

It is not only, or even primarily, farmers who are profiting from the opium trade. While the value of Afghan opium last year was estimated at $2.7 billion, only about $550 million was paid to farmers, with the rest going to smugglers and traffickers. While much of that money doubtlessly goes to people in the Afghan government, among those benefiting from the trade is the Taliban, and possibly, though not conclusively, Al Qaeda.

"The Taliban lost control over production when they were pushed from power in late 2001," said Felbab-Brown. "For several years, it was cut off as local warlords, who could protect fields and control enforcement, had the advantage. It probably had ties with some Pashtun traders, but it couldn't protect them inside the country. But now, with the interdiction efforts underway, some of the local crime organizations are looking for new protectors. We've seen some joint fights with Taliban and local traffickers and traffickers carrying out attacks for the Taliban. The real question is to what extent are they connected to the traffic in Pakistan," she said.

As for Al Qaeda, which remains active on the Afghan-Pakistan border, Felbab-Brown said there was no "persuasive, conclusive evidence" that it was involved in the traffic. Without a territorial base in Afghanistan, it would be impossible for Al Qaeda to protect crops and difficult for the group to try to tax cultivation. "It's more likely they will try to penetrate smuggling routes and tax them, and it is plausible they could have the means to do so in Pakistan."

While the Taliban and Al Qaeda are distinct entities with separate goals, those goals are complementary, and the distinctions may be blurring to some degree, Felbab-Brown said. "There are personal linkages between the Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership, and being pushed into Pakistan together gives them further opportunity to act. The current insurgency that calls itself the Taliban has many more international jihadis from the Gulf, even Iraq, and they are fighting as Taliban," she said. "Still, while there are a lot of connections, the two are distinct entities," she concluded.

The only long-term solution, said Felbab-Brown is comprehensive rural development, but that takes time. "Alternative development will have to be part of any lasting solution to freeing Afghanistan of opium production, but if you look at the historical record, it has been extremely difficult to achieve on a countrywide level. The only place I can think of where it worked is Thailand, and there it took 30 years and lots of money and systematic effort. What we are talking about here is comprehensive rural development, and we cannot assume that will take hold rapidly. There is a real danger that the West will grow impatient and demand significant decreases in poppy production in a year or two, then move more aggressively toward eradication. This is something that is going to take 10 years or more, and I'm not sure the international community has the patience for that."

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2. Feature: SSDP Sues Department of Education in Freedom of Information Act Dispute
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/heasuit.shtml

The nonprofit organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy announced late last week it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education alleging that the department is refusing to release state-by-state data on the number of students affected by a law barring them from receiving financial aid because they have a drug conviction unless SSDP pays a hefty fee for the service. The student group wants information about the impact of the Higher Education Act's (HEA) drug provision, authored by arch-drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), and in effect since 2000. SSDP is part of a large coalition of student, academic, professional, and civil rights organizations seeking to repeal the provision. (The coalition won a partial victory in their campaign to repeal the provision Wednesday when Congress voted to restrict the aid denial to students whose offense took place while they were enrolled in school and receiving aid. See related story this issue.)

Dept. of Education logo
Under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), government entities are required to provide information to the public unless there is an exception on national security or other limited grounds. They are also required to provide this information without charge if releasing the information serves the public interest and is not an effort by the requester to gain some sort of commercial advantage.

Using FOIA, SSDP requested a state-by-state breakdown of the number of students affected by the drug provision, but the Department of Education has refused to waive the fee for the information search. In rejecting the fee waiver request, the department made some extraordinary claims, and it is the department's strange reasoning that has resulted in the lawsuit.

In denying SSDP's appeal of its decision not to waive the fees -- more than $4,200 -- the Department of Education argued that SSDP had not "asserted the intent, much less demonstrated the ability, to disseminate such information in a way that will contribute meaningfully or significant to the general public's understanding" of the policy issue. According to departmental FOIA officer Michell Clark, who authored the denial, the state-by-state information about how many people were denied aid would not contribute to public understanding of the issue because it would not include the number of people who had failed to answer the student financial aid questionnaire at all -- an unknowable number.

But Clark didn't stop there. She instead asserted that SSDP should be denied the fee waiver because it stood to profit from drug legalization. Her reasoning is worth quoting at length: "A review of the contents of SSDP's web site, and the materials you submitted in connection with your fee waiver request, reveal that the principal goal of your organization is to 'end the war on drugs,'" Clark wrote. "As SSDP's campaign could directly benefit those who would profit from the deregulation or legalization or drugs, I cannot conclude, based on the information before me, that SSDP has no commercial interest in the disclosure sought."

"It's no big surprise that the government is afraid to reveal the true impact of its punitive drug war policies," said outgoing SSDP executive director Scarlett Swerdlow. "If citizens and legislators knew how this misguided and ineffective policy impacts their communities, we would be much closer to erasing it from the law books. Blocking college access to thousands of would-be students only makes our nation's drug problems worse."

"We're just trying to get a state-by-state breakdown of who has been affected by the drug provision," said SSDP campaigns director Tom Angell. "When we go to Capitol Hill and talk to legislators about this issue, they naturally want to know how it affects their states, and we don't have that information. The Department of Education is trying to stifle us to the best of their ability," he told DRCNet.

The attitude of the department is indicative of the Bush administration's overall stance on its drug policies, said Angell. "This is part of a larger effort on the part of the administration and the federal government to hide the effects of the drug war, to put up a curtain to hide what they are doing. As students, we are trying to find out how these policies affect us, and the federal government doesn't want us to even get that information."

At a dead end with the Department of Education, SSDP turned to the only avenue left to it: legal action. The group made contact with the national nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which has frequently challenged the government on accountability issues. Public Citizen attorney Adina Rosenbaum, a FOIA specialist, took on the case.

"We do a lot of work on open government and government transparency, and we think this is an important case about the ability of public interest groups to get fee waivers," said Rosenbaum. "Under FOIA, requesters are supposed to get fee waivers if the request would contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and is not being done to advance commercial interests. We took this case because we think that SSDP met that standard," she told DRCNet. "This is important not just for SSDP, but for other public interest groups making requests for accountability," she said.

"The Department of Education argued first that revealing this information would not help public understanding of the issue, but I think this is clearly information that would help people understand the impact of this government program," Rosenbaum continued. "And the fact that the department could not find that this was not predominantly in SSDP's commercial interest is very troubling because, as a nonprofit, SSDP does not have a commercial interest. The commercial interest they cited was something very attenuated, some unnamed person who may or may not benefit if drugs are regulated. That is not a good reason to deny the fee waiver," she said. "By this logic, it is difficult to imagine who would not have a commercial interest in any given request."

SSDP and Public Citizen weren't the only ones having problems with the department's reasoning. "This decision by the Department of Education sounds very imaginative. I guess that's the polite way to put it," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, which has long experience dealing with FOIA requests. "Another way to put it is that it sounds completely spurious. SSDP is not an entity poised to go into the drug dealing business, thus there will be no evidence to support that claim," he told DRCNet.

"The decision to deny the waiver should be firmly appealed," said Aftergood. "It sounds like an abuse of the fee waiver provisions to avoid responding to the request, and the fee Education is demanding is prohibitively high for a nonprofit organization."

The Department of Education was tight-lipped, but sticking to its guns this week. "We haven't been served and we can't comment on the suit itself," said department spokesperson Stephanie Babyak. "The department refused to grant the fee waiver because this organization failed to demonstrate that its request was in the public interest (in that it was likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government), and that it was not primarily in the commercial interest of SSDP," she told DRCNet via email.

"Also and you probably know this, in 1998 Congress decided that they didn't want federal taxpayer-funded student aid going to students convicted of drug offenses," Babyak volunteered unbidden.

Merely because the Department of Education may disagree with the policy goals of SSDP is not a reason to deny a fee waiver, Aftergood said. "The political orientation of the FOIA requester should play precisely zero role," he said. "The language of the act says that any person may request records, and it's not limited to any person who holds a certain policy position. While the department may be suggesting that SSDP is an interested party because it wants to sell legalized drugs, as a nonprofit, the group is legally incapable of doing that."

The government now has 30 days to respond to SSDP's initial filing. SSDP's Angell held out some hope the issue can be resolved favorably without having to go to court. "I think we have a very strong case. It is the FOIA administrator's job to try to stifle organizations like us and make us give up our quest for public information. It does cost the department time and money to compile this data, but it also costs to defend a case like this," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up biting the bullet and just giving us the information now."

Time will tell about that. While many FOIA requests -- the number now exceeds three million a year -- are processed without problems, requesters can face both recalcitrant individuals and a federal government hyper-focused on secrecy, said Aftergood. "Many FOIA requests are processed in good faith, but in some cases one runs into an agency or an officer who has a bad attitude," he said. "There has also been a distinct tightening up in many areas of government information. There are many categories of documents no longer released to the public, and documents that were once available on government web sites have been withdrawn. When it comes to federal government information policy, we are living in a climate of growing official secrecy."

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3. Feature: Drug Policy Alliance Issues First Congressional Drug Policy Voter Guide
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/voterguide.shtml

Political interest groups across the board issue voter guides, both to educate voters and to highlight their issues. The ACLU does it. The AFL-CIO does it. The NRA does it. The Catholic Church does it. But up until now, no organization working for drug policy reform has done it at the federal level. That changed this week, with the release of "The 2006 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide," by the Drug Policy Alliance and its lobbying arm, the Drug Policy Alliance Network (DPAN).

Sheila Jackson Lee statement,
CHEAR press conference, March 2005
In addition to recording how members voted on key drug reform measures in the US House of Representatives -- the Senate is not included -- the voters guide also identified "champions," "heroes," and "villains" of drug reform. Texas Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee won DPAN's champion designation, voting correctly on every measure and sponsoring four of them. In a close race to the bottom, Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, head of the House Judiciary Committee, beat out arch-drug fighter Indiana Rep. Mark Souder for biggest villain.

"Rep. Lee has a real commitment to do something in this area," said Lee spokesman Stony Cook. "She has looked at Houston and the nation and the number of African-American men who have had drug problems and are in prison, and she has become an advocate for reform in this body," he told DRCNet. "It's no accident that she has a perfect record with the Drug Policy Alliance because this is a very important issue to her."

Rep. Sensenbrenner's office did not respond to a DRCNet request for comment.

"We are trying to hold members accountable for the votes and also trying to educate our supporters on where members stand on drug policy reform issues," said Bill Piper, DPA's director for national affairs and the man behind the guide. "We've been getting a lot of e-mails from supporters thanking us for doing it."

The voters guide scores each congressperson on what it identified as six key drug reform votes last year. "We picked those six amendments because they were really the only ones to go to House floor votes," Piper said. "One is about states' rights, another is about the deregulation of drug treatment, three are about increased funding for federal programs, and one is about racial profiling. Five out of these six issues could be seen as boosting conservative goals, yet Democrats were overwhelmingly more likely to vote the right way than Republicans."

The votes were:

  • House Vote 245: Amendment to H.R. 2862 on Justice Assistance Grants, increasing funding to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program (DPAN opposed);
  • House Vote 255: Amendment to H.R. 2862 on Medical Marijuana, prohibiting the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws (DPAN supported);
  • House Vote 264: Amendment to H.R. 2862 on Racial Conviction Distribution, requiring local narcotics taskforces that receive federal money to ban racial profiling and report their convictions by race (DPAN supported);
  • House Vote 329: Amendment to H.R. 3057 on the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, cutting funding to the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (DPAN supported);
  • House Vote 344: Amendment to H.R. 3058 on the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign: increasing funding to the anti-marijuana media campaign (DPAN opposed); and
  • House Vote 435: S. 45, Drug Addiction Treatment, lifting the 30-patient limit on group practices for treating people who struggle with addiction to heroin and other opioids through buprenorphine-assisted approaches (DPAN supported).
When the results are tallied, a significant drug reform-friendly bloc, mostly Democratic, is detectable. Some 33 representatives garnered perfect scores, voting the right way on all six amendments, while 70 more voted right on five out of six. While 69 representatives voted wrong on five out of six, not a single one managed to earn a score of zero by voting wrong every time.

"If you look at the 33 representatives who had perfect scores, all except Ron Paul were Democrats," said DPA's Piper. "If you look at the 70 representatives who voted right on five out of six, all were Democrats except Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders," he said. "On the flip side, while nobody voted the wrong way on all six votes, of the 69 who voted wrong on five, all were Republicans except Scott Matheson from Utah," he told DRCNet. "The contrast is startling. It is clear that Democrats have a better voting record on the whole than Republicans," Piper declared. "Still, three Republicans got our hero award."

While the ranking of individual representatives was done strictly by their "correct" voting percentage, when it came to awarding honors, DPAN had to resort to more subjective criteria as well. "We looked at their votes on the amendments, of course, but we also looked to see if they were sponsors or cosponsors of good bills, how good they've been at the committee level, and how outspoken they've been in criticizing the war on drugs," Piper explained. "Take John Conyers. He only voted right on four out of six -- he missed one vote and was wrong on one other -- but that was outweighed by his strong support for four of the bills, all the work he's done in the Judiciary Committee, and his record of speaking out on drug policy."

The voter guide is just the beginning of DPA's lobbying effort, which will be undertaken by the group's lobbying arm, the DPAN and D-PAC, the Drug Policy Alliance PAC. "This is phase one of a two-phase plan," said Piper. "The second phase involves giving campaign contributions to members who have good voting records. We'll probably hold fundraisers in Washington and one or two other cities this year. Between the voter guide and the campaign contributions, we're trying to take drug policy to the next level," he said.

It would be a first for the national drug policy reform movement. While the Marijuana Policy Project has handed out campaign contributions based on the pot politics of the recipients, no other group has created a federal PAC for drug policy reform in general. "As far as I know, we are the only federal PAC dedicated to supporting candidates critical of the drug war as a whole," said Piper. "We're trying to make drug reform a political force on the Hill."

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4. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/thisweek1.shtml

This week, systemic corruption in the Topeka drug squad continues to roil local law enforcement, and a civilian sheriff's office employee in Oakland has more on her mind that filing reports. Let's get to it:

In Topeka, fallout from corruption in the police department's "troubled" narcotics unit continued this week. In September, former Topeka narc Thomas Pfortmiller was sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars in drug buy money in a case that revealed festering corruption in the drug squad. A month later, Shawnee County District Attorney Robert Hecht reported that drug squad officers routinely tampered with evidence and falsified records and demanded that narcs be regularly rotated out of the unit in an effort to reduce corruption. The police and their union disagreed. This week, Hecht announced he will no longer use reports from three of the eight officers in the unit, all of whom had put in more than five years on the drug squad. That means the cases they developed will not be prosecuted.

In Oakland, a longtime Alameda County Sheriff's Office civilian employee and her husband, a convicted drug dealer, were arrested last Friday as major drug dealers after delivering six pounds of cocaine and six ounces of heroin to an undercover agent. Edie Nash-Hargrove, 38, and her husband, Darrell, were caught with more than $1.1 million dollars worth of heroin and cocaine, according to the Alameda County Drug Task Force. Nash-Hargove is a 17-year veteran at the sheriff's office, where she has held clerical positions. She has been placed on administrative leave by Sheriff Charles Plummer.

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5. Medical Marijuana: Steve Kubby Jailed and Suffering in California
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/stevekubby.shtml

His four-year odyssey as a medical marijuana refugee ended by a Canadian government deportation order last week, Steve Kubby returned to his home state of California to begin serving a 120-day jail sentence he said he feared would be the death of him. Kubby suffers from a rare form of adrenal cancer that causes adrenaline production to spike, threatening him with strokes or other life-threatening medical consequences. He left for Canada in 2001 after being raided for his medical marijuana garden and ultimately being convicted of possession of a peyote bud and dried magic mushroom stems.

He was arrested last Thursday night when he flew into San Francisco and is now housed at the Placer County Jail in Auburn, just east of Sacramento. He is being prescribed Marinol, the synthetic cannabinoid medication, but says that it does not have the same alleviating effect as marijuana. Marinol contains only one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in raw marijuana.

"The Marinol does not provide the level of protection that I receive from cannabis," Kubby said Wednesday, "but it provides enough protection so that I have not had any more full-blown, hypertensive paroxysms."

In phoned conversations from the Placer County Jail made available online, Kubby described health problems, but said he respected the medical staff and felt he was "in good care." He complained of blood in the urine last Friday: "They checked me in on Friday, and I had just had one of the worst blood-pressure attacks of my life, which is what probably started the bleeding in my urine from the kidneys. I come in there. I'm 170 over 120, I've got chest pains for the first time in my life, scared silly to be honest with you, and I'm pissing blood. And I don't get any medical care until Monday, I don't see anyone until Monday. Well, that was bad. But once they found out what was going on, they were all over me, doing everything they could do to help me. These are actually very dedicated, very qualified people. The jail people are really treating me well." By yesterday, Kubby reported improvement. "The swelling and agonizing pain of my kidneys is finally, finally letting up, and I'm not passing any more blood. So, that alone is enough to make me feel a lot better. It's very disconcerting to see blood coming out your urine. Pink on few occasions, red on a few occasions."

Kubby appeared in state court Tuesday to ask for house arrest or to be allowed to use medicinal marijuana while jailed. Although California law recognizes medical marijuana, no correctional facility in the state allows prisoners access to this particular medicine. The hearing also addressed the issue of whether Placer County would attempt to try Kubby for probation violation for fleeing the state. He could face up to three additional years in prison if tried and convicted on that charge.

"It may be that we will force the courts under a writ of mandamus to uphold the law as it is written, that I am entitled to marijuana in jail," Kubby said in a Tuesday call. "And if they want to play games with me, fine. At least I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that hundreds of thousands of prisoners, who deserve their medical-marijuana rights to be upheld, will be upheld once we establish this important precedent. So, they may succeed in killing me, but they're going to have to deal with medical marijuana statewide in all the jails before they're successful."

Joining Kubby in court were his attorney, Bill McPike, and dozens of supporters and well-wishers. Kubby supporters have been loud in demanding he be treated properly while imprisoned and have demonstrated in front of the court house, as well as repeatedly calling the jail to gain reassurance that his health remains intact. Those protests, and numerous calls to the jail about his health paid off, Kubby said, adding that no one need call the jail anymore.

"He looked really bad," McPike told reporters and supporters outside the courthouse. Kubby has complained of weight loss since jailed, but was buoyed by the outpouring of support, McPike said.

Among Kubby advocates was Clark Sullivan of Hemp Evolution, who has been key in organizing support for the coauthor of California's medical marijuana law and former Libertarian Party candidate for governor. "I'm an advocate for a lot of medical marijuana users and don't always know who they are," Sullivan said. "I'm here to support Steve and to demand that the Placer County authorities allow him to use medical cannabis as his doctor has prescribed."

Kubby will be back in court today to see if the judge has ruled on his request for house arrest, his request to be allowed to medicate with marijuana while in jail, and whether he will face additional charges. Stay tuned.

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6. HEA Reform: Congress Passes Partial Reform to Law Barring Financial Aid to Students with Drug Convictions
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/heachange.shtml

College students saw a $12.7 billion reduction in student loan spending in the budget bill passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday. But in passing the bill, Congress also provided some small solace for some of them because it also scaled back the much-reviled Higher Education Act (HEA) drug provision. That law, authored by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) in 1998, bars students with drug convictions -- no matter how minor -- from receiving student financial assistance for specified periods of time (a year to indefinite) from their conviction dates. The change approved by the House amends the HEA to allow some students with past offenses to receive aid, but still retains the penalty for those whose offenses were committed while they were enrolled in school, and receiving aid.

Wednesday's vote was a final procedural vote on the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which both houses approved late last year. It now goes to President Bush to be signed into law.

The partial fix came in response to pressure generated by a broad coalition of student, educational, professional, and civil rights organizations in the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform, a grouping coordinated by DRCNet. In the face of calls for a complete repeal of the provision, Rep. Souder decided he had intended all along for the law to apply only to currently enrolled students and offered his "fix." In the meantime, more than 180,000 students have been denied financial aid, according to the US Department of Education.

"After years of political posturing and empty promises, Congress has finally helped some students harmed by this misguided policy," said Kris Krane, newly-named executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. "But this minor change is just a ploy to sweep the penalty's problems under the rug. Tens of thousands of students will still be pulled out of school every year because politicians failed to listen to our concerns. The only option students have left is to take action in court."

DRCNet's David Borden, who has pressed the issue since the drug provision was passed in 1998, was more sanguine about continuing the legislative campaign. "The Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) approved further-reaching changes to the law before the education language got moved to the budget bill. This did not get its fair share of discussion because there was no education conference committee and the budget conference committee existed only on paper. We intend to press for Congress to remove the drug question from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form -- which their own Advisory Committee Congress appointed recommended -- the next time they look at the Higher Education Act, which will probably be this year."

Whatever comes next, the repeal coalition can pat itself on the back for what it has achieved. For the first time since the "safety-valve" sentencing reforming legislation in 1994, a major piece of the federal drug war has been scaled back, even if only in part.

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7. Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Bill Clears Senate, Heads for House as Clock Ticks
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/nmbill.shtml

The New Mexico medical marijuana bill blessed repeatedly by Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson passed the state Senate on an overwhelming 34-6 vote Tuesday and now heads for the House, where legislators have one week to act before the 2006 short session ends. If the bill passes the House, New Mexico will become the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana.

But there could be trouble coming. The Drug Policy Alliance reported Thursday that opponents are mobilizing. The group, which has been instrumental in pushing the bill along, also reported that opponents had diverted it into the hostile House Agriculture Committee and was calling on supporters to flood legislators with phone calls demanding the bill be passed out of committee and brought to the floor.

Senate passage came despite an attempted intervention last Friday by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sent David Murray, a special assistant to drug czar John Walters, to testify against the bill when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But the drug czar's effort to strong-arm New Mexico legislators backfired, as the committee passed the bill handily and legislators from both parties publicly criticized Murray's remarks.

SB 258, the Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, would allow patients with serious medical conditions, including AIDS and cancer, to use marijuana to alleviate symptoms or side effects of treatments for those diseases. Patients with a doctor's recommendation would register with the state Department of Health, which would also oversee the production of medical marijuana in a facility either state-run or operated by a private agency that would contract with the state.

Last year, the bill passed the Senate and two House committees, but was derailed for unrelated reasons in a political spat between its sponsor, Sen. Cisco McSorley (D) and a key House legislator. This year, it has to again make it out of committee and get a floor vote -- all in the next seven days. Advocates are already working on that. "We had a great meeting last week with House Speaker Ben Luján (D)," Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico office director Reena Szczepanski told the Santa Fe New Mexican. While Luján made no promises, she said, "it's definitely in his court now."

Luján, for his part, complained to the New Mexican Tuesday that the medical marijuana bill was such a high Senate priority. "I would have hoped that the first bills passed would have addressed issues that are more at the forefront of what the general public really wants," he said. But, Luján said, "I'm not going to derail this bill or attempt to keep it from being heard."

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8. Marijuana: Alaska Governor's Bid to Recriminalize Marijuana Backfires as House Rejects Combined "Methijuana" Bill
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/alaska.shtml

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski and his allies in the state legislature hoped that tying their pet bill to recriminalize marijuana possession to a popular bill dealing with methamphetamines would help them steamroll the legislation into law, but it didn't work out that way this week. On Wednesday, the Alaska House rejected the bill, with several lawmakers saying their "no" votes were a protest against Murkowski's heavy-handed effort to mix-and-match the two separate drug bills into what they called the "methijuana bill."

That doesn't, however, mean Murkowski's effort is dead. Because the House passed a version of the Senate bill last year, the issue will be taken up in conference committee later this session.

The "methijuana bill" was defeated in the House on a vote of 23-15, with several Republicans breaking ranks to vote against their governor. Ironically, the combined bill also lost Republican support because it removed a meth provision requiring that stores keep log books to record purchases of over-the-counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in mom-and-pop meth manufacture. The Senate version of the bill now only requires that sales of such items be restricted.

Democrats cited a number of reasons to oppose the combined "methijuana bill." "I thought we did some excellent work, bipartisan work, and it's come back as a Christmas tree," Rep. Harry Crawford (D-Anchorage) said on the House floor before casting his vote against the revised bill. "I believe the trunk of the Christmas tree is rotten now, and I'm not buying it," Crawford said.

Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) said she was voting against the bill because the governor's maneuver meant the House would have to vote to recriminalize marijuana without holding any hearings on the subject. "It's not because I want to see marijuana or meth being used," Kerttula said, adding that she thought recriminalizing marijuana would not pass constitutional muster.

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that the state constitution's privacy provisions protected marijuana use in the privacy of one's home, a decision that was restated in court decisions in 2004 and 2005. Under current Alaska law, people can possess up to a quarter pound of marijuana in their homes with no criminal penalty. Gov. Murkowski wants to pass the marijuana bill in order to force the Alaska Supreme Court to once again revisit its decision. Murkowski and his allies hope they can persuade the court that marijuana is so much more dangerous than in 1975 that the court will reverse itself.

The conference committee that will decide the bill's fate will meet later this month and will likely be composed of two Republicans and one Democrat from each chamber. House Majority Leader John Coghill (R-North Pole) told reporters this week he doubted the committee will make any changes to the "methijuana bill." Some Democrats had suggested it be broken up and its components considered separately.

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9. Europe: Italy Poised for Giant Step Backward on Drug Policy
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/italy.shtml

For more than a decade, the possession of personal use quantities of drugs has been decriminalized in Italy, but with a tough new drug law being pushed through parliament, that could be about to change. The "zero tolerance" drug bill, which has languished for nearly three years, was fast-tracked when supporters tied it to an emergency bill dealing with the Winter Olympics in Turin. It passed the Senate last week and is scheduled for a vote in the Chamber of Deputies next week. Given that the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has a strong parliamentary majority, the bill is almost certain to pass.

Pushed by Vice-Premier Giancarlo Fini, the leader of the neo-fascist National Alliance, the bill calls for prison terms of six to 20 years for drug offenses, including drug consumption, according to an analysis published by the Italian drug reform web site Fuoriluogo, which includes English language material. The bill would also remove the distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs, making marijuana as punishable as heroin. Under the bill, people found in possession of very small quantities of an illegal drug would face not jail time but administrative sanctions or treatment orders, but the thresholds for personal use amounts have not yet been set.

Early indications are that the government will try to set thresholds so low (a fifth of a gram of heroin, half a gram of cocaine) that many drug consumers will find themselves facing harsh prison sentences. Similarly, marijuana users could find themselves labeled "drug addicts" and forced into treatment over small quantities of the weed. The bill would also allow private drug treatment clinics to certify users as "addicts," an ability previously limited to the government.

The bill overcame parliamentary opposition in the Senate, leading Daniele Capezzone, secretary of the Italian Radical Party to warn last week it would result in a huge prison boom. "Now with the government's wretched acceleration on the drugs issue it is concrete," she said. "There is now the risk of prison for hundreds and thousands of youths. I am launching an appeal to the parents who might not like that their child smokes a joint, but it is incredible that for something as ridiculous as five or six joints one risks being searched at sunrise, arrest, trial and then one to six years of prison. At this point I ask whether the only great government work will be the construction of new prisons," she said.

The Radicals were not alone in denouncing the bill and the way it was railroaded through the Senate. "This is frankly scandalous behavior," said PRC secretary Fausto Bertinotti, who added that the law would be repealed in the event the Berlusconi government is thrown out in April elections. "The government is winking at the most reactionary part of the electorate, telling it that it gives them the arms to fire and reprimand those with transgressive behavior." The drug issue, Bertinotti continued, "is an enormous societal problem and the repressive line will resolve nothing. A problem like this must be discussed in Parliament with the right conditions and the necessary time, and confronted with the vast non-prohibitionist experience that this country has."

While the drug bill has excited strong opposition from drug users, drug reform groups, and treatment professionals, among others, it appears unstoppable. The last chance to block the bill would be to persuade President Ciampi to refuse to sign it. While under a parliamentary system, the presidency is a largely ceremonial post, the president does have the power to refuse to sign laws he thinks may be unconstitutional.

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10. Latin America: Mexico's Drug War Erupts Bloodily in Acapulco
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/acapulco.shtml

Mexicans have become used to the bloody "ajuste de cuentas" (settling of accounts) among drug trafficking organizations attempting to consolidate power in the wake of the Mexican government's latest crackdown on the trade. In an unintended, but no longer surprising, consequence of Mexican drug law enforcement, the border cities of the north have seen unprecedented violence in the past year, with more than 1600 dying in the battle of the so-called cartels last year and 144 since the new year began, according to the Mexican National Human Rights Commission.

But it wasn't supposed to happen in sunny Acapulco, far from the border on Mexico's southern Pacific Coast. Still, the faded but reviving tourist destination found itself wracked by dramatic and murderous violence during late January. In a one-week period ending January 27, at least 11 people were killed, 10 wounded, and 12 under arrest, according to Mexican press reports compiled by New Mexico State University's Frontier News Service. The week was marked by grenade attacks, pitched battles, and hours-long, siren-laced street chases, and was a loud challenge to both local and national law enforcement in the final months of the administration of President Vicente Fox.

The violence is being attributed to conflict between the cartel headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and an alliance of the Tijuana-based Arrellano-Felix cartel and the Tamaulipas-based Gulf Cartel. Both sides count on heavily-armed paramilitary squads of former soldiers. The violence included an attack on visitors leaving a state prison that left three dead, the street assassination of another man outside a karaoke bar, and the killings of three more men at retail illicit drug outlets known as "tienditas." Then things really started getting out of hand.

On January 27, Acapulco police tried to stop three vehicles in an armed convoy in the La Garita neighborhood, setting off an hour-long gun-battle that left workers, residents, and passers-by scrambling for cover. The mayhem spread throughout the city, as a 15-vehicle convoy of police and soldiers screamed through town in pursuit of an SUV that fled the shootout. By the time it was over, four narcos lay dead in the street, four policemen were wounded, and so were two civilians. The four dead gunmen were wearing vests from the Federal Agency for Investigations (AFI), and three carried AFI IDs. While federal authorities said the IDs were phony, the familiar scent of corruption is in the air.

At least new Mayor Felix Salgado Macedonio, of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), thought so. He caused controversy early on by claiming state and federal police allowed shooters in the January 20 attack escape after city police had them cornered. Police were involved in crime, he said. His charge was bolstered a few days later when the Mexican army detained nine men in Acapulco, seizing military weapons, drugs, and cash. The men detained included two Guerrero state policemen, a Tamaulipas state policeman, and a Mexico City policeman.

It all had Acapulco cops and political figures pretty jumpy. Armed squads of police and soldiers guarded the hospital rooms of wounded law enforcement personnel and the city's municipal buildings and police headquarters were transformed into armed camps. Mexican army soldiers took up fortified positions around police headquarters, and Mayor Salgado cancelled all public appearances. Meanwhile, just up the coastal highway near Zihautenejo, two government helicopters on a drug-spraying mission were hit by gunfire, and just across the state border in Michoacan, three policemen were gunned down by unknown assassins.

Acapulco had traditionally been relatively free of cartel violence, but with its roles as a cocaine transshipment center for goods heading north, major local retail drug market, and ideal money laundering center, it is now paying the price for Mexico's war on drugs.

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11. Web Scan: Richard Paey on Sixty Minutes, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/webscan.shtml

Pain prisoner Richard Paey on Sixty Minutes

Report from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network:
"Nothing About Us Without Us -- Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative" -- English and French

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12. Weekly: This Week in History
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/thisweek2.shtml

February 3, 1987: Carlos Lehder is captured by the Colombian National Police at a safe house owned by Pablo Escobar in the mountains outside of Medellin. He is extradited to the US the next day. On May 19, 1988 Lehder is convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus an additional 135 years.

February 4, 1994: An unpublished US Department of Justice report indicates that over one-third of the drug felons in federal prisons are low-level nonviolent offenders.

February 4, 2003: Jurors who had convicted Ed Rosenthal hold a press conference, saying they were deceived by the withholding of information about Rosenthal's involvement in medical marijuana, that they would not have convicted him had they known, and calling for a new trial.

February 5, 1988: A federal grand jury in Miami issues an indictment against Panamanian General Manuel Noriega for drug trafficking. Noriega had allowed the Medellin cartel to launder money and build cocaine laboratories in Panama.

February 6, 2004: The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejects the DEA's ban on hemp foods.

February 7, 1968: In a move likely spurred on by the Nixon campaign's "law and order" rhetoric, President Lyndon Johnson creates the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) by combining the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control. By 1972, the BNDD is 1,361 agents strong.

February 7, 1985: Enrique Camarena, an aggressive DEA agent stationed in Mexico who discovered that drug traffickers there were operating under the protection of Mexican police officials, is kidnapped outside of his office in Guadalajara. His body is found several weeks later bearing marks of brutal torture.

February 7, 2001: After a contentious confirmation process, new Attorney General John Ashcroft declares, "I want to escalate the war on drugs. I want to renew it. I want to refresh it, re-launch it, if you will." He said this despite of the fact that under President Clinton's two terms in office the number of jail sentences nationwide for marijuana offenders was 800% higher than under the Reagan and Bush administrations combined.

February 8, 1914: In an example of the role of racial prejudice in the genesis of US drug laws, The New York Times publishes an article entitled "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' New Southern Menace."

February 9, 1909: Congress passes the Opium Exclusion Act.

February 9, 2000: Deborah Lynn Quinn, born with no arms or legs, is sentenced to one year in an Arizona prison for marijuana possession and violating probation on a previous drug offense, the attempted sale of 4 grams of marijuana to a police informant for $20. Quinn requires around the clock care for feeding, bathing, and hygiene.

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13. Job Opportunities: Drug Policy Alliance, Full-Time Legislative Assistant and Part-Time Office Manager
://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/dpajobs.shtml

The LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT is responsible for tracking and analyzing federal legislation and executive branch policies pertaining to the war on drugs, developing lobbying materials, researching issues, planning events, assisting other staff and coordinating special projects.

Qualifications include some legislative or advocacy experience; excellent research and writing skills; and strong attention to detail. Qualified applicants should fax or e-mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary requirements by February 15 to Bill Piper at (202) 216-0803 or [email protected].

The PART-TIME OFFICE MANAGER/RECEPTIONIST oversees the daily operations of the Alliance's Washington, DC office. Duties include, but are not limited to, answering the telephone, meeting and greeting visitors, tracking and ordering office supplies, processing mail, handling office maintenance issues, and assisting staff.

Applicants should be organized, friendly, thoughtful, and have excellent phone skills. Commitment to drug policy reform preferred, but not essential. Qualified applicants should fax or e-mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary requirements by February 15 to Bill Piper at (202) 216-0803 or [email protected].

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14. Job Opportunity: Publications Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and DanceSafe
://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/ssdpds.shtml

In a collaborative effort, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and DanceSafe and hiring a Publications Coordinator to disseminate both the SSDP and DS message to youth through the production and distribution of literature, materials, and resources. Through the production and distribution of SSDP and DS literature, materials, and resources, the Publications Coordinator will grow and strengthen the existing chapters and activists of both organizations, as well as inspire others to take interest in the important fields of reform and harm reduction. Generally, through his or her artistry and creativity the Publications Coordinator will advance both the SSDP and DS mission to educate the public about drugs, drug laws and policies.

Visit http://www.dancesafe.org for a full job description and information on how to apply. The application deadline is March 3.

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13. Job Opportunities: Drug Policy Alliance, Full-Time Legislative Assistant and Part-Time Office Manager
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/dpajobs.shtml

The LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT is responsible for tracking and analyzing federal legislation and executive branch policies pertaining to the war on drugs, developing lobbying materials, researching issues, planning events, assisting other staff and coordinating special projects.

Qualifications include some legislative or advocacy experience; excellent research and writing skills; and strong attention to detail. Qualified applicants should fax or e-mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary requirements by February 15 to Bill Piper at (202) 216-0803 or [email protected].

The PART-TIME OFFICE MANAGER/RECEPTIONIST oversees the daily operations of the Alliance's Washington, DC office. Duties include, but are not limited to, answering the telephone, meeting and greeting visitors, tracking and ordering office supplies, processing mail, handling office maintenance issues, and assisting staff.

Applicants should be organized, friendly, thoughtful, and have excellent phone skills. Commitment to drug policy reform preferred, but not essential. Qualified applicants should fax or e-mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary requirements by February 15 to Bill Piper at (202) 216-0803 or [email protected].

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14. Job Opportunity: Publications Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and DanceSafe
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/ssdpds.shtml

In a collaborative effort, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and DanceSafe and hiring a Publications Coordinator to disseminate both the SSDP and DS message to youth through the production and distribution of literature, materials, and resources. Through the production and distribution of SSDP and DS literature, materials, and resources, the Publications Coordinator will grow and strengthen the existing chapters and activists of both organizations, as well as inspire others to take interest in the important fields of reform and harm reduction. Generally, through his or her artistry and creativity the Publications Coordinator will advance both the SSDP and DS mission to educate the public about drugs, drug laws and policies.

Visit http://www.dancesafe.org for a full job description and information on how to apply. The application deadline is March 3.

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15. Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/421/calendar.shtml

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

February 2-9, Cincinnati, OH, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Howard Wooldridge. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected]">[email protected] for further information.

February 3, Oakland, CA, NORML Winter Benefit Party, at the Oakland Sailboat House, Late Merritt. Admission $60, advance reservations required, visit http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5602 for information.

February 27-March 2, Abbotsford, BC, Canada, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Norm Stamper. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

February 9-11, Tasmania, Australia, The Eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA), coordinated by Justice Action. For further information visit http://www.justiceaction.org.au/ICOPA/ndx_icopa.html or contact +612-9660 9111 or [email protected].

February 11, 7:00pm EST, Free Talk Live interview with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) executive director Jack Cole. Visit http://www.freetalklive.com/affiliates.php for a stations listing or http://www.freetalklive.com/tunein.php to listen online.

February 15, 6:00-7:00pm, Boulder, CO, 2nd Anti-Drug War Candlelight Vigil, on The Mall at the Courtyard, contact Hemptopia at (303) 449-4854 or visit http://www.hemptopia.org for further information.

February 16, 8:00pm, New Paltz, NY, "Know Your Rights" forum, screening of "Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters," Q&A with attorney Russell Schindler and a speaker on racial profiling. Sponsored by New Paltz NORML/SSDP, Student Union Building, Room 100, admission free, refreshments served. For further information, visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/norml/ or contact [email protected], (845) 257-2687 or (646) 246-8504.

March 3-5, Columbia, MO, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Midwest Regional Conference. At the University of Missouri, contact Joe Bartlett at [email protected] for further information.

March 13-26, central New Jersey, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Peter Christ. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

March 22-25, Monterey, CA, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson James Anthony. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

March 27-April 10, western Kansas, focusing on Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence & Kansas City, speaking tour by LEAP executive director Jack Cole. Contact Bill Schreier at [email protected] or Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

March 29, 6:00pm, New York, NY, "Drug Policy for the Union Man," forum for members of the Local 375 District Council 37, presented by LEAP, DPA, CJPF and ReconsiDer. At 125 Barkley St., two blocks north of Old World Trade Center, contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected]">[email protected] for further information.

March 30, 8:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, MPP Party at the Playboy Mansion, tickets $500, visit http://mppplayboyparty.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=153214 for further information.

April 2-8, St. Louis, MO, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Howard Wooldridge. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

April 5-8, Santa Barbara, CA, Fourth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Sponsored by Patients Out of Time, details to be announced, visit http://www.medicalcannabis.com for updates.

April 7, Charleston Beach, SC, launch of "Journey for Justice Number Seven: Cross Country Bicycle Ride for Medical Marijuana Safe Access," by medical marijuana patient Ken Locke. Visit http://www.angelfire.com/planet/bikeride/ for further information.

April 9, noon-6:00pm, Sacramento, CA, "Cannabis at the Capitol," medical marijuana rally sponsored by the Compassionate Coalition. At the California State Capitol, west steps, visit http://www.compassionatecoalition.org or contact Peter Keyes at (916) 456-7933 for info.

April 9-12, Vancouver, BC, Canada, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Norm Stamper. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

April 20-22, San Francisco, CA, National NORML Conference, visit http://www.norml.org for further information.

April 25-27, Olympia, WA, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson Norm Stamper. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

April 30-May 4, Vancouver, BC, Canada, "17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm," annual conference of the International Harm Reduction Association. Visit http://www.harmreduction2006.ca for further information.

May 6-7, worldwide, Million Marijuana march, visit http://www.globalmarijuanamarch.com for further information.

June 3, 1:00-11:00pm, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10th Legalize! Street Rave Against the War on Drugs. Visit http://www.legalize.net or contact Jonas Daniel Meyerplein at +31(0)20-4275626 or [email protected] for info.

July 4, Washington, DC, Fourth of July Rally, sponsored by the Fourth of July Hemp Coalition. At Lafayette Park, contact (202) 887-5770 for further information.

August 19-20, Seattle, WA, Seattle Hempfest, visit http://www.hempfest.org for further information.

September 16, noon-6:00pm, Boston, MA, 17th Annual Boston Freedom Rally. On Boston Common, sponsored by MASS CANN/NORML, featuring bands, speakers and vendors. Visit http://www.MassCann.org for further information.

November 9-12, Oakland, CA, "Drug User Health: The Politics and the Personal," 6th National Harm Reduction Conference. Sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, for further information visit http://www.harmreduction.org/6national/ or contact Paula Santiago at [email protected].

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