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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #435 -- 5/12/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


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"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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Table of Contents

    nice uniforms, bad ideas
    Drug warriors have made spectacles of themselves two times during the last two weeks. They should be careful -- we might start making some spectacles ourselves.
    An ad hoc coalition of Canadian and US drug reform groups greeted the US Drug Enforcement Administration and its law enforcement buddies from across the hemisphere in Montreal this week.
    As the International Harm Reduction Association annual conference in Vancouver wound down last weekend, leading drug reformers from Canada, the US, Australia, and Europe met in a downtown meeting hall to lay the groundwork for an international movement to end the drug war by 2020.
    Events in the US were peaceful and small-scale during this year's coordinated marijuana rallies. But some cities in other countries saw large crowds and others suffered police repression. One news agency temporarily reported a march as being anti-marijuana.
    Get your copy of the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition video that Walter Cronkite called a "must-see for any journalist or public official dealing with [the drug] issue."
    Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we need your feedback to evaluate our work and make the case for Drug War Chronicle to funders. We need donations too.
    Police officers in Baltimore, Memphis and Florida are hit this week for marijuana and cocaine distribution, robbing drug dealers and extorting sex during drug busts.
    Albany District Attorney David Soares ignited a firestorm of criticism over remarks he made at last week's International Harm Reduction Association conference in Vancouver. But given the response, it may be his critics who are feeling like they got their fingers burned.
    A bill passed by New York state's assembly and headed to the Senate would extend 2004's limited reforms to more Rockefeller drug law prisoners.
    In a surprise vote last Friday, the Alaska House approved a bill that would recriminalize marijuana possession in the state. But an injunctive challenge to the law based on the state's constitution and court rulings is coming on fast.
    India's Supreme Court has called on the federal and state governments to prohibit alcohol, citing an article of the nation's constitution. The Times of India wasn't impressed.
    The Afghan government's effort to eradicate opium poppies provoked deadly violence Tuesday as angry farmers clashed with anti-drug agents trying to chop down poppy fields.
  13. WEB SCAN
    Buffalo Legalization Talk -- Twice, Flash Animation on Two Years for One Joint, Cannabinoid Chronicles, U-Mass v. DEA, World Prison Populations
    Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
    Office Administrator/Book-keeper, MPP, Washington
    Cannabis Action Network, Berkeley, California
    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. Editorial: Another Spectacle of Unreason in the Drug War

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 5/12/06

David Borden
Last week thoughtful Americans had to live through the unseemly spectacle of US leaders like San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and CNN mouthpiece Lou Dobbs roasting Mexico for the sensible drug decriminalization bill the Congress had passed and President Fox was planning to sign, and the dire consequences our embassy there implied if he did. Mexicans who deserved better had to watch while a loud anti-drug set of their own joined the hysterical chorus and their president caved in to the pressure to send the bill back unsigned.

This week another spectacle of unreason took place -- not national, thankfully -- but also important. In Albany, the capital city of New York, District Attorney David Soares, who had run and been elected on a platform of opposition to the state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws, drew loud criticism from the mayor, sheriff and police chief for a speech he gave last week at the international harm reduction conference in Vancouver.

Soares had criticized US drug laws and called the drug war a failure, urging Canada not to follow the US lead on it. He cited "lucrative police jobs" and said that prison-building had become an understood economic development strategy. On the surface it was that "jobs" part that set some people off. It probably wasn't the best choice of words -- jobs aren't just about the money, after all, often they are about one's sense of identity as well, certainly in a profession as dangerous as that of policing. Many drug enforcement people actually believe in what they're doing, despite all the evidence; it can't be very pleasant for them to hear that all their efforts over all the years were in vain or even worse did harm.

Nevertheless, jobs are jobs, and it would be foolish to believe that has no impact. It's occasionally posited that some upstate New York politicians are reluctant to get rid of the Rockefeller laws because of all the prison jobs their districts could lose if that happened. On the West Coast, the California prison guard's union set a record several years ago with a massive, half a million dollar campaign contribution to then Gov. Pete Wilson -- a fan of prison building who also gave the guards a raise when other state employees' wages were frozen.

Mayor Jennings, Sheriff Campbell and Chief Tuffey doubtless understand how little one small turn of words like that can really mean -- they were just using that as a pretext for attacking a outsider maverick they don't like. Soares apologized publicly for that particular remark -- probably a good idea -- but went on to say he stood by his views and was glad the issue had been raised there at home because that meant it could be debated.

The issue should be -- must be -- debated. Despite protestations by a few loud critics, Soares was telling the truth -- the drug war really is a failure -- it's not even close. For example, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), reports that the retail cost of heroin declined by more than a factor of five and its purity increased by a factor of three between 1981 and 2003. Together that's an effective price drop of 94% -- quite the opposite of what the strategy calls for, increasing price in order to reduce demand. Internationally, figures released by ONDCP last month show that production of coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived, is as widespread now as when efforts to reduce the crop began in the 1990s.

Both these dramatic failures transpired despite several tens of billions of dollars spent on the drug war every year. On a local level, in nearby Syracuse, a 2002 City Auditor report found that the city's more than 6,000 annual arrests were occurring mostly in minority neighborhoods, were not achieving their goal and were having unintended consequences. In moral terms, New York's Rockefeller laws have been a source of great injustice that would call for rethinking on that basis alone.

Rather than trying to shut the discussion down by attacking the messenger, Sheriff Campbell, Chief Tuffey and Mayor Jennings should follow Soares' lead and work together to foster a rational debate on this critically important issue. Instead, they chose to appeal to the worst in people by demonizing a political opponent and talking nonsense to do it. It was a sad spectacle indeed. But it's not clear that they succeeded. As Soares pointed out, he doesn't work for the mayor of sheriff or police chief, he was elected by the people and he works for them. And since he ran on a drug law reform platform, people probably won't be that surprised at the views he expressed in Canada.

As for Mexico, another speaker in Vancouver, former Colombian attorney general Gustavo de Greiff, had hopeful words turned to harsh ones when Drug War Chronicle asked him about that situation. "Let us not forget that before he was elected, Fox said we need to discuss alternatives to prohibition. I hope he does not veto this bill," said de Greiff, who also served as Colombia's ambassador to Mexico, before Fox retreated. "This refusal by Fox to sign the bill is an act of political cowardice" is what he said afterward.

There will be more such spectacles before it's over and done, but maybe that's good -- the more our opponents attack us, and the more harshly, the more progress they must think that we're making. They should be careful -- we might start creating spectacles too.

Read a brief article about the Albany controversy below in this issue, followed by a media action alert.

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2. Feature: DEA Montreal Confab Greeted by Counter-Conference

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its law enforcement buddies from across the hemisphere met in Montreal this week for the agency's annual International Drug Enforcement Conference. But for the first time, the annual narc convention was met by organized opposition as an ad hoc coalition of Canadian and US drug reform groups countered the DEA with produced two days of events in Montreal and Ottawa, the Canadian national capital.

Mounties at the DEA conference
The "Can We Talk? International Drug Enforcement Counter-Symposium" was organized by the Alliance of Canadian Reform Organizations, the criminology department at the University of Ottawa, NORML-Canada, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. It brought a variety of law enforcement, judicial, and academic, and elected critics of the drug war to Montreal to ensure that messages emanating from the DEA conference did not go unchallenged.

Among those addressing audiences in Montreal on Monday and at the University of Ottawa on Tuesday were Argentine Judge Martin Vazquez Acuna, Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament Libby Davies, and British Columbia Provincial Court Judge Jerry Paradis, along with LEAP members former police Chief Jerry Cameron and Terry Nelson, a former Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security counter-narcotics officer. Also speaking were attorneys Eugene Oscapella, executive director of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and Kirk Tousaw, acting director of the BC Civil Liberties Association Drug Policy Project.

"This is the first time the DEA's drug enforcement conference has come to Montreal," said counter-conference coordinator Boris St.-Maurice of Canada NORML. "It is also the first time retired judges and police officers have challenged them by speaking out against the insane drug wars," he said.

The LEAP members made particularly effective speakers. "The only thing we're accomplishing is filling our jails because we're not keeping the drugs off the street," former Border Patrol officer Terry Nelson told the conference. "The war on drugs is not working. It's broken and it needs to be fixed." The solution is to tax and regulate drugs, Nelson said.

"After 40 years of failure, it's obvious it's time to try something new in the US, and Canada certainly doesn't want to follow the path of failure -- that's what I told them," said LEAP member and former Fernandina Beach, Florida, Police Chief Jerry Cameron. "My comments were very well received. I didn't realize Canadians were as concerned about their sovereignty as they are," he told DRCNet.

"We represent the establishment -- that's what makes us important," said Cameron. "Unfortunately, for the past 50 years the law enforcement establishment has totally misrepresented the drug problem to the public. When I think about the trillion dollars spent fighting the drug trade since 1970, fighting a war that cannot be won, I just have to wonder what would have happened if just a fraction of that money had been put into education and intervention."

But the events in Montreal and Ottawa were about more than hearing himself and the others talk, Cameron said. "I gave a class at the University of Ottawa, and I met with associates of the minister of justice and with a couple of members of parliament. This is about networking, and we have met a large community of people who really believe we need to change our drug policies. We're building the connections," Cameron said.

"We worked with Boris to promote the event in the student community and got students from a variety of schools to attend the meetings and come meet the dignitaries," said Eric Rumi, head of the McGill University chapter of SSDP Canada. "We also organized a student breakfast with the dignitaries Tuesday morning, and we had students and faculty there from colleges in Ontario and Quebec, as well as from Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire," he told DRCNet. "This has been phenomenal. There are several initiatives that are going to grow out of this, and I'm sorry I can't tell you any more just now, but this has provoked a lot of talk about social justice. The students learned a tremendous amount from the dignitaries. We were bouncing ideas off them as fast as we could."

Canada SSDP is just getting off the ground, Rumi said. "We're setting up chapters at McGill, Concordia, the University of Ottawa, and Queen's University in Kingston," he said. "What we will be doing here is different from the States. We don't have to worry about getting kicked off-campus for a joint or losing our financial aid, so we can concentrate on different issues. We'll be looking at promoting human rights and harm reduction on campus, and we are also working with American SSDP chapters to integrate drug war issues with other student organizations, like Amnesty International chapters or campus AIDS organizations. For us as Canadians, we see the drug war more as a social justice issue than as a civil liberties drug culture kind of thing."

"This turned out to be a very good event," said St.-Maurice. "There was lots of media interest, and the public came out, too. The timing couldn't have been better. Not only did we attract attention to the DEA conference, but with our new government here in Canada it was also important to be able to get the anti-prohibitionist message out now. Having a bunch of high-caliber anti-prohibitionist judges and police is very powerful, and I hope it will help us hold back the repressive tide."

The event was a bit of a mind-blower for some Canadian pot people, St.-Maurice said. "For a few of the people who came to this, to see judges and politicians and police talking about the hard drug issue was a real eye-opener. It made people think twice, and that's fine, because we want to use this to begin building a national anti-prohibition network."

While the counter-conference's expressed goal of "opening a dialog with the DEA" seems chimerical, the event did manage to garner plenty of press attention and public support. "Our LEAP members have been on national talk radio and television, on the CBC, on the BBC," said LEAP speakers' bureau coordinator Mike Smithson. "On the CBC, they juxtaposed interviews with Jerry Cameron and DEA head Karen Tandy. I got calls from producers in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto," he told DRCNet. "The Canadian media is very interested, and it's very interested in balancing its stories, something the American press has shown very little interest in."

The Canadian press dutifully filed stories from the DEA conference, reporting that methamphetamine is scary indeed, but that marijuana remains the number one global drug problem. But this time around, opposing views made it into the media, and the DEA has been put on notice that it can expect no more free rides at its annual dog and pony shows.

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3. Feature: "2020 Group" Begins Building an International Drug Reform Movement

As the International Harm Reduction Association annual conference in Vancouver wound down last weekend, leading drug reformers from Canada, the US, Australia, and Europe met in a downtown meeting hall to lay the groundwork for an international movement to end the drug war by 2020. Known informally as the 2020 Group, the reformers and the organizations they represent are now agreeing to work together toward this common goal.

The year 2020 is somewhat -- but not completely -- arbitrary. That year will come just a few months after the 2018 (or 2019) meeting of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs. While reformers hold little hope of making significant progress at the special session set for 2008 (or 2009), when the international body will ponder how close it came to its stated goal of wiping out drug use by 2008, aiming at just beyond the next special session suggests that it will be a target of serious reform efforts.

But the number also suggests that ending drug prohibition is something that can happen in the foreseeable future. As Danny Kushlick of the British reform group Transform related, the year came to him when he was in conversation with a UN official and asked him when drugs would be legalized. "Never," the official responded. "Well, what about by 2020?" Kushlick asked. "Oh, before that," the official replied, "maybe by 2015."

unrealistic UN flyer
"That conversation suggested to me that if we put a concrete date on it, it not only seems more real, it seems absolutely doable," he told DRCNet. "If you ask someone when it is going to happen, it just seems too nebulous. Thus, we are aiming at a concrete date."

Among Americans attending the initial meeting were Ethan Nadelmann and Marsha Rosenbaum of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Eric Sterling of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF), Deborah Small of Break the Chains, Roger Goodman of the King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project. Dr. Alex Wodak of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation also attended, as did Europeans Danny Kushlick and Steve Rolles of the British Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Martin Tjelsma of the Transnational Institute, and Dutch psychologist and reformer Dr. Frederick Polak.

The meeting was hosted by Keeping the Door Open, a Vancouver-based harm reduction organization, and also included representatives of Vancouver and British Columbia government entities, including provincial health officers who released a report last year calling for a move to a regulated market in drugs.

"This group is about trying to end prohibition, and we would like to get it done by 2020," said Gillian Maxwell, head of Keeping the Door Open and host for the meeting. "That's the vision. We have all bought into that vision and we all agree that we want to work together to do it. But right now, we are just in the gestation period; we still have a few things to figure out. We are suggesting that we need to move beyond prohibition, but we haven't yet articulated how that is going to work," she told DRCNet.
The 2020 Group may not have figured out the ideal means of regulating currently illicit drugs, but at least three of its members have done significant work in that regard that will be the basis for a common position. The King County Bar Association, Transform, and the Health Officers Council of British Colombia have all issued reports on how the drug market may be regulated, and representatives of those three organizations will be working over the next 12 months to arrive at a consensus position.

"We have three models from England, Seattle, and Vancouver, and the three groups are working together to nail this down," said Maxwell. "All three papers articulated a regulatory model, and they are all astonishingly similar given that they were written separately in different countries. There is a real synergy here. What we in the group suggested and what the three groups agreed is that they will collaborate in wrestling with these big issues."

The biggest issue is distribution, Maxwell said. "How do we distribute drugs without having some sort of corporate monopoly? Do we want the government do to it? How this would work is really a big deal. If it is not government or business or medical, what does it look like? I feel like until we have that piece of the puzzle figured out, we don't have the vehicle to move forward, but once we get that, we will be able to launch ourselves."

While the 2020 Group's membership appears elite, it is not exclusive. "This was to a certain degree a self-selected group," said the King County Bar Association's Roger Goodman. "It arose out of a lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Long Beach back in November during the Drug Policy Alliance conference, and the first question was 'Who do we know?'" Goodman told DRCNet. "This was just people who had expressed a real interest in this."

There is room for many more, Goodman said. "This will be an ever-expanding group as time goes on. Right now, we only have representation from Europe, North America, and Australia, but not from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or South America. We decided to keep it small at first to see who we are and what we want. When we have a clear focus, something tangible to show people, then we will ask other groups 'Can you support this?'" Goodman explained. "That would include drug users," he added. "They need to be represented."

US drug reformers were enthusiastic about the group. "I think that it's valuable to build another effort at improving international cooperation in reform and to do so with an explicit sense that strategy and timetables are key tools for achieving reform," said Eric Sterling, head of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "Reform can't be accomplished in any one country and reform efforts in various countries will improve the climate for reform in their neighbors," he told DRCNet.

As the 2020 Group effort gathers steam -- expect the group to be fairly quiet for the next year as it sorts itself out -- it will have to confront other issues. "We haven't figured out, for example, whether our efforts will be aimed at the UN or at individual countries," said Maxwell. "Some people say either/or, but I think it'll probably be a little bit of both."

"Every country other than the US is concerned first and foremost about the UN," said Goodman, "but we Americans tend to say the UN is irrelevant and that all we have to do in the US is make our laws more rational. It's funny how representatives from the other countries were aghast at that. It was like 'Oh, that's how a superpower thinks.'"

Similarly, said Goodman, the 2020 Group has yet to figure out how it will structure itself. "We haven't decided yet whether we will try to establish an international NGO or create a coalition of existing NGOs," he said. "We do know that we want to identify and name a new global organization that complements the international harm reduction movement, and that is the international drug law reform movement. There are still missing pieces, especially in the so-called developing world and among the drug users' groups, but we will be working on that."

"What has worked for us in Canada has been to go with a many-layered approach," said Maxwell. "We create networks and support and lay the groundwork in our community. On the international level, we don't have to bring down governments; we just have to reinvent community, first at the local level, and then connecting up internationally. We will be at this for the next decade, and hopefully not much longer."

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4. Feature: Marijuana Activists Take to Streets for Annual Global Marijuana March

Tens of thousands of supporters of marijuana legalization rallying under the banner of the Global Marijuana March took to the streets in cities around the country and the globe this weekend. While events in the US were peaceful and small-scale, some cities saw large crowds and yet others suffered police repression. According to march organizers, protests occurred in 200 cities worldwide and on every continent.

Herewith, some of the highlights:

Toronto saw what was probably the second largest turnout of the weekend, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people gathering in front of the Ontario legislature under the slogan "Stinking It to the Man" and filling the air with the stinky, skunky smell of high-grade Canadian weed. Booths at the day-long event sold pipes and vaporizers and t-shirts, as well as cookies, baked goods, pizza, and hotdogs, and business was good, Canada Press reported. Thousands of students, Goths, and hippies mixed peacefully with a prominent but restrained uniformed police presence to demand that the conservative government of Prime Minister Steven Harper lay off the herb. The Harper government recently announced it would not seek to pass the Liberals' decriminalization bill and has warned it will seek stiffer sentences for marijuana grow operators.

Rome (courtesy Italy IndyMedia)
In Rome, in the largest turnout of the day, tens of thousands marched in that city's 16th consecutive Global Marijuana March to the Piazza della Repubblica to demand an end to the persecution of marijuana users, the recognition of medical marijuana, and the right to freely grow the plant. And in a message aimed squarely at the newly elected government, the Rome marchers called for the immediate repeal of the "Fini" law, passed in March and named after the neo-fascist minister in the former Berlusconi government. That law stiffens penalties for drug use and possession in Italy.

In Mexico City, more than 500 people gathered in the Alameda to celebrate marijuana and protest the Fox administration's reversal of a controversial bill that would have legalized the possession of personal use amounts of all drugs. Among those demonstrating was presidential candidate Patricia Mercado of the small Alternative Social-Democratic Party, who told the crowd: "Decriminalization does not create more users... we have to decriminalize the discussion of decriminalization." But for many, the day was not about discussing but about doing, and the scent of pot smoke hung heavy over the openly-smoking crowd.

"The president has declared war on users," said Alfonso Garcia, secretary of AMECA, the Mexican Association for Cannabis Studies, the group that sponsors the Mexico City event. US officials asking Mexico to reconsider the drug bill amounted to interference in Mexico's internal affairs, he added.

The event was peaceful. At one point, a half-dozen uniformed police officers confronted pot-smoking protestors, but they retreated after being surrounded by a crowd shouting "Take us all! Take us all!"

In Nimbin, Australia, home to the annual Mardi Grass celebration, more than 10,000 people endured a massive, heavily militarized police presence and 93 arrests as they marked the weekend of the Global Marijuana March. While Nimbin has a decades-old reputation as a pot-friendly community, New South Wales police characterized their presence as going after amphetamines. But earlier, New South Wales Police Commissioner Carl Scrully had warned that Nimbin would no longer be "a post-70s hippie no-go zone for police."

Mardi Grass organizer Michael Balderstone said such police tactics only drive hard drug use underground. "Heaps of kids last night were taking ice, pills, and powder," he said. "Police can stop the joints, but it just makes them use more dangerous drugs."
Police presence or not, Nimbin was a haze of marijuana smoke as revelers fortified themselves for such athletic events as the bong toss and the joint-rolling competition. Sharp-eyed shopkeepers even got in the swing of things, selling pre-rolled joints to happy customers.

Police repression was more effective in several other cities. In Porto Alegre, Brazil, police actions blocked the march, while in Moscow, local authorities for the third year in a row refused to grant permission for the march. Similarly, in Tel Aviv, municipal authorities put an early end to the rally there, shutting it down on the grounds that organizers had failed to gain proper permits. In Kiev, Ukraine, pro-marijuana marchers tussled with several hundred nationalist, neofascist demonstrators in what the local press called "a riot."

Several thousand pro-pot demonstrators also marched through the streets of Prague before gathering for music and a rally at Letna Plain. Cries of "Legalization, Legalization" filled the air and marchers unfurled banners calling on politicians to legalize the "partnership" with marijuana, a reference to the Czech government's recent approval of registered partnerships for gay couples. But political support came only from the junior Freedom Party, whose chairman and Justice Minister Pavel Nemec addressed the crowd in a white t-shirt saying "It's Legal to Use It."

The most bizarre press account of a Global Marijuana March event came from the Sofia News Agency in Bulgaria, which got the story completely backwards in its initial reporting. The news agency Saturday described the march as "a peaceful promenade expressing disagreement with the usage of marijuana" and added that the Sofia marchers also "gave out leaflets explaining the damages of this drug addiction." By Sunday, the agency story had changed. The march was "a peaceful promenade expressing disagreement with the ban on marijuana usage" and marchers handed out leaflets "explaining the damages of other types of addictions compared to marijuana." Oops.

In the US, events were, for the most part, much smaller. About one hundred people gathered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, another hundred or so met in Bakersfield, California. Similar numbers showed up in Eugene, Oregon, and Madison, Wisconsin, while other towns and cities reported turnouts in the dozens. Larger events occurred in places like St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco, according to organizers.

Even in New York City, home to Global Marijuana March maven Dana Beal and his group Cures Not Wars, the turnout was a disappointing 200 or so. While construction in Battery Park, where the rally has been held since it was pushed out of Washington Square Park, meant that the city refused to issue rally permits, some observers interpreted the small size of the crowd as more of a comment on the state of the march in its home city than on the hazards of permit acquisition. As High Times editor Steve Bloom commented in his blog, "from thousands of supporters in the '90s to a handful on Sunday, the rally appeared to be on life support."

"High Times won't back the New York march," said Beal. "The media is just interested in marijuana, and High Times wanted me to drop ibogaine as an issue. The media doesn't see that this is about harm reduction, not just marijuana. We had a woman who talked about the Rockefeller drug laws."

Beal also defended small turnouts in the US. "You don't have to have thousands of people to have an impact," he said. "This is a worldwide event, and everywhere we were, the local media covered it and mentioned 200 other cities. And these are not just smoke-ins -- these are political events."

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5. Offer and Appeal: Important New Legalization Video and Drug War Facts Book Available

Drug War Facts -- an important resource used widely in "the movement" -- is an extensive compilation of quotes, stats, charts and other info dealing with more than 50 drug policy topics ranging from economics to needle exchange programs to the marijuana gateway theory to environmental damage in the drug war, drug policy in other countries, race as it plays into drug war issues, even a "Drug Prohibition Timeline." Whether your goal is to improve your understanding, add force to your letters to the editor or prepare for a debate or interview, Drug War Facts, a publication of Common Sense for Drug Policy, is a valuable if not essential tool.

The 5th edition of the convenient print version of Drug War Facts is now available. Donate $17 or more to DRCNet, and we will send you -- or your specified gift recipient -- a copy of Drug War Facts. Or, donate $25 or more for Drug War Facts AND the essential DVD video Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.Please visit to make your donation and order Drug War Facts 5th Edition today -- consider signing up to donate monthly!

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  • "A compendium of facts that fly in the face of accepted wisdom." - David Duncan, Clinical Associate Professor, Brown University Medical School

We continue to offer the new DVD from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). As Walter Cronkite wrote in a testimonial for the video, "Anyone concerned about the failure of our $69 billion-a-year War on Drugs should watch this 12-minute program. You will meet front line, ranking police officers who give us a devastating report on why it cannot work. It is a must-see for any journalist or public official dealing with this issue."

DRCNet's ability to get the word out about important tools like Drug War Facts and the LEAP DVD depends on the health and reach of our network, and that depends on your donations.Please consider donating more than the minimum -- $50, $100, $250 -- whatever you are able to spare to the cause.The cause is important -- as former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper expressed it in the LEAP video, "The Drug War has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery."

LEAP DVD promo

Again, our web site for credit card donations is -- or send a check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. (Note that contributions to Drug Reform Coordination Network, which support our lobbying work, are not tax-deductible. Deductible contributions can be made to DRCNet Foundation, same address.) Lastly, please contact us for instructions if you wish to make a donation of stock.

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7. This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A quiet week on the corrupt cop front this week. More problems in Memphis and Baltimore, cities with which readers of this feature are all too familiar, and a pot-dealing sergeant in Florida rounds out the picture. But despite a quiet week this week, the corrupt cops feature is very popular. The current issue of Cannabis Culture is running a "Worst Of" feature compiled from last year's corrupt cops stories. The magazine is available at a newsstand near you -- check it out! Now, let's get to it:

In Memphis, two more police officers have been arrested in the ever-widening federal corruption investigation known as Tarnished Blue. At a Monday press conference, US Attorney David Kustoff and Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin announced that two officers had been arrested Sunday, bringing the number of Memphis cops arrested in the investigation to 19. Memphis Patrolman Ted Williams, 43, a 12-year veteran of the force, was charged with robbing drug dealers traveling Interstate 40 after he bit on a sting where he thought he was robbing Mexican marijuana traffickers. Memphis Police Officer Terrance Lashun Harris, 32, on the force since 1997, faces cocaine distribution charges. He came to the feds' attention when the IRS reported he had assets far in excess of his reported income. Harris owns a fast food restaurant, a suburban home, a 2003 Hummer, a 2001 Corvette, and still managed to deposit $132,297 in the bank in three months in 2004, Kustoff charged.

In Baltimore, Police Officer Jemini Jones, 28, was indicted May 4 on charges he extorted sex from a woman whose home he searched on a drug raid. He faces charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense, and misconduct in office. This is the second set of rape charges for the Baltimore cop; he was indicted in January on charges he had sex with a 22-year-old university student in exchange for releasing her after he detained her for drug possession. Two of his fellow officers were also indicted for failing to stop the attack. Jones was being held on $75,000 bail.

In Clewiston, Florida, a police sergeant was arrested May 4 and charged with dealing drugs while on duty. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Clewiston Police Sgt. Brian Knicely, 42, was using police databases to gather information he then sold. An undercover agent contacted Knicely and arranged to buy information, paying him $100. Knicely kept in contact with the undercover agent and told him he could get marijuana. The agent scored twice from Knicely in April, including once when he was on duty and in uniform. He is charged with two counts of official misconduct, one count unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, and two counts sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

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8. Politics: Albany DA Ignites Firestorm By Calling Drug War "Lucrative"

Media links and letter-writing information appears below.

Albany, New York, District Attorney David Soares has ignited a firestorm of criticism over remarks he made at last week's International Harm Reduction Association conference in Vancouver. But given the local response to the controversy, it may be his critics who are feeling like they got their fingers burned.

David Soares
Soares' remarks were unsurprisingly uncontroversial in Vancouver, but that wasn't the case back home in upstate New York. "The attempt to engage in cleaning the streets of Albany one twenty-dollar sale on the street at a time is a failed policy," said Soares, who was elected to office as a critic of the state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws. The only reason the drug war continues is "because it provides law enforcement officials with lucrative jobs," he added. It was that last remark that especially irked local law enforcement officials and political figures.

Both Albany Police Chief James Tuffey and Albany County Sheriff James Campbell ripped into Soares after his Vancouver speech was reported in New York. County Commissioner Ann Comella offered up a no-confidence resolution calling on Soares to apologize for his remarks because they supposedly insulted police officers.

Early this week, Soares apologized for appearing to attack police officers, but clarified that he was really attacking a failed drug policy. He was not saying that police were in it to get rich, he explained. "I am saying we have an incredibly expensive criminal justice system that continues to expand as a result of laws we pass." And while he expressed admiration for police, he stood firm on the larger issue. "I stand by my statements; we are losing this drug war. We are losing it ultimately here on the streets."

Soares supporters from around the country were quick to respond. "I spent 34 years as a cop and saw firsthand the damage caused by the war on drugs, the cost to individual lives, public safety and community health, not to mention the squandered taxpayer money," said Norm Stamper, former chief of police for the city of Seattle and a member of the advisory board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "We all owe David Soares our respect and admiration for speaking the truth. We need more public servants like David, especially in the criminal justice system," said Stamper, "It's not uncommon to be castigated or criticized for speaking an unpopular truth."

"Without courageous, principled leadership, the US will never develop the workable, effective drug policies that we need to address the impact of drug abuse on our families and communities," says Gabriel Sayegh, Director, State Organizing and Policy Project for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Albany County and New York State should be proud to have a district attorney who has the intelligence and vision to demand effective alternatives to failed drug war policies," said Sayegh.

Soares also scored the backing of the Albany Times Union, which in an editorial castigated his critics. "What neither Mr. Tuffey nor Albany County Sheriff James Campbell nor any other aggrieved party can do is muster much of a counterargument to Mr. Soares' larger point," the Times pointed out. "The facts are on his side when he says, 'My advice to Canada is stay as completely far away from US drug law policy as possible.' How have Draconian laws that disproportionately leave blacks and Hispanics serving excessively long prison sentences stopped drug abuse and all the problems that come with it? What can Mr. Soares' critics say to rebut his view that it's a fear of reform that keeps these laws on the books?"

At the Monday night commission meeting where Soares was supposed to be censured, it was instead a Soares pep rally. Scores of Soares supporters turned out, and more than 20 took the opportunity to tell the county legislature he has their backing.

Shawn Morris, president of the Albany Common Council, was one of them. "The real subjects of David Soares' remarks were lawmakers who are afraid to make a change," he said.

Chief Tuffey has now agreed to meet with Soares, and Commissioner Comella decided Monday evening that her no-confidence resolution wasn't really necessary. The prohibitionist attack dogs came after Soares, but in a sign of changing times, they are the ones ending up licking their wounds.

Below are links to news reports we know of about the controversy:

Governor Faults Soares' Remarks, Albany Times Union, 5/10
When the Law is a Loon, New York Post, 5/10
Soares Apologizes to Police Officers, Albany Times Union, 5/8
Head Start on 2008 for Soares, Albany Times Union, 5/9
Soares Sets the Record Straight, WTEN-TV, 5/9
Sorry Time for $oros DA, New York Post, 5/9
Soares Discusses Drug Policy, Capital News 9, 5/9
Soares Returns, Welcomes Controversy, WTEN-TV, 5/8
District Attorney David Soares Speaks Out, Capital News 9, 5/7
Soares Back in Albany, Capital News 9, 5/6
A Call for David Soares to Resign, WTEN-TV, 5/5
Police Officers Union President Speaks Out on Soares, Capital News 9, 5/5
Prosecutor Urges Political Reform, Times Union, 5/5
Soares Responds to Criticism, Capital News 9, 5/4
Soares Under Fire for Drug Policy Comments, Capital News 9, 5/4
and letter/feedback info:
Albany Times Union, letters to the editor:
New York Post, letters to the editor: [email protected] or
WTEN-TV: comments to [email protected]
Capital News 9: [email protected]

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9. Sentencing: New York Assembly Passes Rockefeller Law Reform Bill

The New York Assembly passed a bill Monday that would further undo the state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws, some of the nation's harshest. After years of stalemate at the statehouse, the legislature in 2004 passed limited reforms aimed at those sentenced to the most serious time, but failed to act on "B" felony offenders, the most numerous of Rockefeller law prisoners. Introduced by Rep. Jeffrion Aubrey, Assembly Bill A-8098 would allow "B" prisoners to apply for resentencing just as the more serious "A" prisoners can now.

The bill would allow more offenders to be diverted into treatment, but prosecutors would retain the power to decide who qualifies. It also requires that all prisoners and probationers identified as having drug problems undergo mandatory one-year treatment programs with a drug-testing component. Those who fail treatment would face a felony conviction and possible prison sentence.

More positively, the bill also increases quantity thresholds for lower level drug possession crimes and doubles the quantities required to trigger Class A felony charges, from two to four ounces (A-I) and four to eight ounces (A-II). But it also increases penalties for trafficking involving children and major drug trafficking and creates the new offense of possessing a weapon while selling drugs.

Backers of the Assembly bill held a press conference Monday at the capitol in Albany to prod the Republican-dominated state Senate and Gov. George Pataki (R) to address the inadequacies of the 2004 bill. Despite pledges from both the Senate and the governor to act, no bills have been forthcoming from either this year.

"This bill provides for the kind of judicial and correctional reforms the Assembly has been seeking for years and that are at the heart of any effort to curb addiction and drug-related crimes," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "Our smart, comprehensive approach seeks to get to the root of our state's drug problem by hitting the drug kingpins hard, and getting the low-level, nonviolent offenders the treatment they need to get off and stay off drugs."

"Despite a commitment made two years ago by the governor and the Senate to revisit New York's ineffective and imprudent drug laws, they have failed to come forward with any further steps that would provide additional reforms," said Aubrey. "We in the Assembly continue to recognize that existing laws are badly flawed and in need of further changes. My bill fulfills our commitment by providing for a more sensible, comprehensive and cost-effective approach for dealing with low-level drug offenders and addicts."

The next move is up to the Republicans in the Senate and Gov. Pataki.

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10. Marijuana: In Reversal, Alaska House Passes Recriminalization Bill

In a surprise vote last Friday, the Alaska House approved a bill that would recriminalize marijuana possession in the state. That vote came only three weeks after the House had rejected the same bill in conference committee, but legislators voted 21-17 to rescind their earlier vote. Once signed into law by Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), the measure is certain to provoke a constitutional challenge.

Under a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court ruling, the state constitution's privacy provision protects the ability of adults to possess up to a quarter-pound of marijuana in their homes. Alaskans voted to recriminalize marijuana possession in 1991, and that remained the law until 2004, when the state Supreme Court reaffirmed its 1975 decision, throwing out the possession law. Murkowski and his allies in law enforcement have been fighting to re-recriminalize marijuana ever since.

The bill, House Bill 149, was pushed hard by Murkowski. His allies attached it to an anti-methamphetamine bill in an effort to speed its approval, but that move nearly backfired as House members revolted against the governor's heavy-handed manipulations, objecting that tying the two bills together meant they had no opportunity for hearings on the marijuana bill.

The bill contains a lengthy list of "findings" that marijuana is a more potent and dangerous drug than it was in 1975. Those findings are aimed directly at the Supreme Court, which in its original decision held that the harms of marijuana did not warrant the intrusion on privacy created by criminalizing possession, but also noted that its decision could be revisited and possibly changed if marijuana's harmfulness was shown to outweigh privacy concerns.

House Democrats said the only reason the bill passed on a second try was pressure from the governor. "To me, this shows how distorted this process has become," House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D-Anchorage) told the Associated Press." If I wake up in the morning and there's snow on the ground, I don't have to see the snow falling to know that it has snowed. It's what you call circumstantial evidence."

While Murkowski's office pronounced the governor well pleased, he is about to find that he has only entered a new phase of battle. The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska has served notice it will not even wait for a criminal possession case to be filed to challenge the law. In a letter sent last Friday to Alaska Attorney General David Marquez, state ACLU director Michael Macleod-Ball warned the group would sue for injunctive relief if the governor signs the bill. "Plain and simple, you are attempting to further restrict the right to privacy enjoyed by all Alaskans by enacting the marijuana provisions of the bill," the letter warned.

Gov. Murkowski and his forces of darkness have won a battle, but the war is far from over. For the time being, pot is still legal in Alaska, and if the ACLU has its way, the new law will never be implemented.

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11. South Asia: India Supreme Court Says Time to Prohibit Alcohol

India's Supreme Court has called on the federal and state governments to prohibit alcohol, citing the Indian constitution's Article 47, which directs the state to move to ban intoxicating drugs injurious to the health and which is the constitutional basis for India's drug laws. Although the court's comments are not binding and came in a ruling on an obscure case involving the payment of Bombay distillery fees, they have excited hostile reaction and appear destined to go nowhere.

"Article 47 of the constitution clearly casts a duty on the state at least to reduce the consumption of liquor in the state, gradually leading to prohibition itself," wrote Justices SB Sinha and PK Balasubramanyan. "It appears to be right to point out that the time has come for the states and the union government to seriously think of taking steps to achieve the goal set by Article 47 of the constitution."

Demon alcohol was rearing its ugly head, the justices wrote. "It is a notorious fact, of which we can take judicial notice, that more and more of the younger generation in this country is getting addicted to liquor. It has not only become a fashion to consume it but it has also become an obsession with very many. Surely, we do not need an indolent nation," they scolded.

"Why the state in the face of Article 47 of the constitution should encourage, that too practically unrestrictedly, the trade in liquor is something that is difficult to appreciate," the court asked. "The only excuse for the state for not following the mandate of Article 47 of the constitution is that huge revenue is generated by this trade and such revenue is being used for meeting the financial needs of the state."

The Supreme Court had its supporters. "The problems arising due to alcohol must be seriously addressed," S. Arul Rhaj, president of the Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance, told the Financial Express. "Prohibition must be strictly observed, especially in the case of driving, pregnancy, and the workplace," he said.

But as the justices noted, alcohol is big business in India and tax revenues from its sales pour into state government coffers. According to the Financial Express, liquor sales pumped more than $620 million into state coffers last year. "If prohibition is enforced, the state will incur annual losses that would be a huge dent," said Sharat Chauhan, Delhi state's commissioner of excise, entertainment and luxury taxes.

The Indian state's love-hate relationship was noted by the Times of India in an editorial that blasted the justices for their remarks. After snippily encouraging the court to keep its mouth shut on "moral positions" and stick to the narrow focus of the law, the Times cut to the meat of its opposition to alcohol prohibition. "On the issue of prohibition, the state has no business in taking a position on whether an individual drinks or not," the Times flatly editorialized. "If the state decrees that liquor be banned, that would be infringement of the fundamental rights of an individual to choose.

"The Indian state is caught in a bind over liquor," the Times continued. "On the one hand, it feels the need to pay lip service to the virtues of abstinence from alcohol. On the other, it wants to milk the liquor industry and tipplers of as much revenue as it can." Noting that alcohol has a long history in India, the newspaper suggested that "It is time government accepts that drinking is not a reprehensible act. Government must get rid of the notion that drinking by itself is objectionable even if the framers of the Constitution deemed it undesirable on moral grounds."

Alcohol prohibition is an affront to liberal values, the Times concluded. "Though prohibition might represent the letter of the constitution, it violates the constitution's spirit of liberalism and the individual's rights of choice -- which is the very basis of democracy."

If only we could see the New York Times or the Times of London making similar pronouncements about our own taboo drugs.

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12. Southwest Asia: Afghan Eradication Campaign Takes Deadly Turn

The Afghan government's effort to eradicate opium poppies provoked deadly violence Tuesday as angry farmers clashed with anti-drug agents trying to chop down poppy fields. Two farmers were killed and nine policemen wounded after shooting broke out when farmers in the fields harvesting the poppies confronted the eradicators.

incised papaver specimens (opium poppies)

Afghanistan produces about 90% of the world's opium, from which heroin can be refined. According to the United Nations, the crop brings about $600 million a year to Afghan farmers (and $2.1 billion to smugglers and traffickers), and opium accounts for more than one-third of Afghanistan's Gross National Product. It also provides a living for hundreds of thousands of Afghans and their families.

Under pressure from the West, particularly Britain and the United States, the government of President Hamid Karzai has declared a jihad against opium, but the government's efforts are hampered by its weakness, its infiltration by drug trafficking interests, and its awareness that too aggressive an eradication campaign could benefit a reinvigorated Taliban, which has promised to protect opium farmers in the south. The Karzai government is undertaking only limited eradication efforts and has rejected the use of aerial eradication.

Tuesday's violence, the most serious so far this year, occurred in the province of Sar-i-Pul in the north. "Police faced resistance from armed people among the farmers," provincial police chief General Nadir Fahimi told Reuters. "Two farmers were killed while nine policemen were wounded, three of them critically," he said.

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13. Web Scan: Buffalo Legalization Talk -- Twice, Flash Animation on Two Years for One Joint, Cannabinoid Chronicles, U-Mass v. DEA, World Prison Populations

Buffalo News Columnist Donn Esmonde -- generally conservative, according to one of our readers -- calls county executive Joel Giambra a crusader, not crazy, for legalization talk

Giambra himself four days later

Two Years for One Joint -- flash animation about Great Barrington prosecutions

new issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles is available online

DEA final brief in Craker v. DEA (U-Mass medical marijuana program)

newest World Prison Population List, from the International Centre for Prison Studies in Britain

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14. Weekly: This Week in History

May 14, 1932: "We Want Beer" marches against alcohol prohibition are held in cities across America -- 15,000 union workers demonstrate in Detroit alone.

May 15, 1928: Birth of Arnold Trebach, father of the modern drug policy reform movement.

May 15, 1988: Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke calls for a national debate on decriminalization of illicit drugs. Schmoke is quoted in the Washington Post: "Decriminalization would take the profit out of drugs and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the drug-related violence that is currently plaguing our streets."

May 15, 1997: Conclusions from a comprehensive, long-term study by Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, CA) show no substantial link between regular marijuana smoking and death, but suggest that marijuana prohibition may itself pose a health hazard to the user.
May 16, 2001: Regina McKnight is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in South Carolina for using crack during a pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth. It is the first time in US history that a woman is convicted of homicide for using drugs during a pregnancy.

May 17, 2001: Canada's House of Commons passes a unanimous motion to create a committee to examine the issue of non-medical drugs in Canada. Members of all five parties say they intend to discuss legalization, or at least decriminalization, of marijuana as part of a sweeping look at the country's drug strategy.

May 18, 1971: Tapes released years later reveal that sometime between 12:16 and 12:35pm, President Nixon says to entertainer Art Linkletter, "... radical demonstrators that were here... two weeks ago... They're all on drugs, virtually all."

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15. Job Opportunity: Office Administrator/Book-keeper, MPP, Washington

The Marijuana Policy Project is seeking an Office Administrator/Book-keeper to manage MPP's main office in Washington, DC, manage the organization's bookkeeping, and assist the executive director. This is an excellent opportunity for someone smart and fastidious to be exposed to every behind-the-scenes aspect of running a nonprofit organization.

First and foremost, the Office Administrator/Book-keeper must be meticulous and have a fastidious attention to detail; even small degrees of sloppiness cause serious problems in this position. Candidates must also have exceptional written and oral communications skills, be highly organized, and have a professional attitude and appearance and a courteous phone manner. Experience working with QuickBooks and/or doing book-keeping is helpful but not required.

The work of the Office Administrator/Book-keeper falls into three basic categories:

1. Administering Payroll, Benefits, and Accounting: Paying all bills and maintaining financial records in QuickBooks; Coordinating monthly paychecks via payroll vendor; Coordinating health and retirement benefits for employees, including health care, dental, Simple IRA retirement plan, deferred compensation plan, life insurance, and transportation benefits; Completing all new employee and terminated employee paperwork; Managing filing system for all financial records and reconciling financial data; and Managing MPP's legal entities in various states (business filings, employer tax filings, applications for any new states).

2. Personal Assistant to Executive Director: Assisting the Executive Director with day-to-day tasks, such as scheduling meetings; Making all travel arrangements for the Executive Director; and Helping the Executive Director with special projects, as needed.

3. Office Manager (for DC office with 22 full-time staffers): Answering MPP's main phone line; Ordering office supplies; Opening and sorting mail; Receiving visitors and shipments at the front desk; and Managing office's contracts (insurance contracts, leases office equipment maintenance contracts, phone service, water service, and so forth).

The salary of the Office Administrator/Book-keeper is $35,000-$40,000. Full health insurance and an optional retirement package are included. To apply, see MPP's application guidelines at This position will be filled as soon as possible. Interviews are being conducted on a rolling basis, and interested individuals are encouraged to apply immediately.

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16. Part-Time Job Opportunity: Cannabis Action Network, Berkeley, California

The Cannabis Action Network is looking for someone to work 20 hours a week at their office on Ashby Ave. in Berkeley.

Possible projects for the position include: event planning, including summer festival booths and Wonders of Cannabis
publicity; "Less Busts, More Fun" campaign research; and working with CAN's webmaster to overhaul the organization's web site.

To apply, send your resume to Danielle at [email protected] by May 16. (Cover letter optional.)

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17. Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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

May 12-13, Sturgis, SD, 6th Annual Black Hills Hemp Hoe Down, geaturing music, workshops, hemp food, hemp beer, speeches, camping and more. At the Elk View Campground, five miles outside town, exit 37 off Interstate 90, visit or visit (605) 484-1806 or [email protected] for information.

June 2-4, Marysville, CA, 4th Annual California Music that Matters Festival, benefit for Americans for Safe Access, California NORML and the Dr. Stephen Banister Legal Defense Fund, featuring music, camping, health fair, vendors and more. At the Mervyns Riverfront Pavilion, admission $60 for three days with camping or $30 for one day with no camping. Visit or call (530) 346-2763 for further information.

June 3, 1:00-11:00pm, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10th Legalize! Street Rave Against the War on Drugs. Visit or contact Jonas Daniel Meyerplein at +31(0)20-4275626 or [email protected] for info. >June 4, 6:30pm, New York, NY, William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice Ten Year Anniversary celebration and Racial Justice Awards Ceremony, featuring hosts Danny Glover and Amy Goodman, and Lifetime Freedom Fighter Award recipient Harry Belafonte. At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Synod Hall, 1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 110th St., visit or contact (212) 924-6980 or [email protected] for further information.

June 12, 6:00-9:30pm, New York, NY, MPP Awards Gala. At Capitale, 130 Bowery, featuring Medeski Martin & Wood, tickets $250 if purchased by May 22 or $300, $500 VIP. Visit for further information.

June 13, 7:00-9:00pm, Lawrence Township, NJ, Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey Public Meeting. At the Mercer County Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike (corner of Darrah Lane & Business Route 1), room #3, light refreshments served, all welcome. For further information visit or contact Ken Wolski at (609) 394-2137 or [email protected].

July 4, Washington, DC, Fourth of July Rally, sponsored by the Fourth of July Hemp Coalition. At Lafayette Park, call (202) 251-4492 or visit for further information.

June 8-9, Monterey, Fresno & Palo Alto, CA, speaking tour by LEAP spokesperson James Anthony. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for further information.

July 15-20, Chicago, IL, "Freedom, Tolerance, and Civil Society," free summer seminar for college students, sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies. At Loyola University, visit by April 10 for information or to apply -- apply before March 31 and receive a free book.

July 20-23, Vancouver, BC, Canada, "Fourth Biennial International Meaning Conference on Addiction," contact Dr. Paul T.P. Wong at [email protected] or visit for information.

July 21, 7:00pm, Washington, DC, "Race to Incarcerate," book talk with The Sentencing Project's Marc Mauer. At Politics & Prose bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, visit for further information.

August 19-20, Seattle, WA, Seattle Hempfest, visit 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 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 or contact Paula Santiago at [email protected].

February 1-3, 2007, Salt Lake City, UT, "Science & Response: 2007, The Second National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV, and Hepatitis," sponsored by the Harm Reduction Project. At the Hilton City Center, visit for info.

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