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Drug War Chronicle
(formerly The Week Online with DRCNet)

Issue #440 -- 6/16/06

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

    danger (not) knocking at your door, thanks to the Supreme Court
    One of the regularly repeating outrages in the drug war is that of innocent people terrorized, physically harmed or killed in drug raids gone bad. The court has decided this is okay -- which means we have to say it's not.
    With 14 deaths being linked by Chicago authorities to heroin laced with fentanyl in a two-day period last week, the nationwide death toll in a wave of ODs tied to the powerful synthetic opiate continues to rise.
    Most Americans favor treatment, not prison time, for drug users. Those who don't are more likely to make moral judgments about drug users, more likely to deny that racism is a problem in the US, and more likely to buy into misconceptions about who uses drugs.
    Moves are afoot in California and North Dakota to win approval of industrial hemp production at the state level, but the ultimate goal is removing the federal government as an obstacle to domestic cultivation of the valuable and versatile plant.
    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."
    In fall 2001, activists Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm were gunned down by state and federal agents, after desperation drove them to set fire to the buildings on their beloved Rainbow Farm campground and concert site. A new book tells the heart-wrenching story.
    This July, the US House of Representatives will vote again on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, which if passed will forbid the US Dept. of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. It's crucial that more members of Congress vote for medical marijuana this year than did last year.
    Special thanks to the more than 1,000 DRCNet subscribers who lobbied Congress to reduce aerial fumigation funding. We lost, but the numbers are getting close.
    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.
    Three bad apples from North Carolina, a former Minnesota cop dealing powder, a Connecticut cop passing out favors, another Border Patrol officer goes down, and so does yet another prison guard.
    In a ruling overturning decades of precedent and centuries of common law tradition, the US Supreme Court has allowed police with a search warrant to enter homes and seize evidence without knocking.
    The extent of methamphetamine use in the United States is overplayed and exaggerated by the news media and politicians, the widely-respected think tank The Sentencing Project said in a study released this week.
    If you've got cash, you can "buy down" the charges against you and walk away from a serious drug bust in Whatcom County, Washington. If you don't have the cash, too bad for you, the hammer will fall.
    As one of its last legacies, the rightist government of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi passed a tough new drug law treating people in possession of more than five grams of marijuana or similarly small amounts of other drugs as if they were dealers. The new government is moving to scale it back.
    A move to lump meth together with heroin and cocaine would bump sentences up to seven years for possession and life for dealing in Great Britain.
    The Canadian government's medical marijuana program is not working, the Canadian AIDS Society said in a report released Wednesday.
    Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.
    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: Real World Consequences

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

David Borden
One of the regularly repeating outrages in the drug war is that of innocent people terrorized, physically harmed or killed in drug raids gone bad. Retired Boston minister Accelyne Williams, felled by a heart attack after a SWAT-style squadron battered his door down and tackled him to the floor; 23-year old Anthony Diotaiuto, shot ten times by a SWAT team in Sunrise, Florida; Harlem's Alberta Spruill, dead from a heart attack after police detonated a flash grenade in her home; many others, from many places, their lives and deaths touching many others far and wide.

The moral equation seems clear to me: No-knock drug raids are demonstrably dangerous, carrying a predictable risk of injury or death to innocent or otherwise undeserving victims. Therefore, they should almost never be carried out -- police should knock and take great care when entering a home, except in situations of the most exceptional need (such as those involving hostages).

Nevertheless, police forces around the country continue with their immorally reckless ways despite the continuing carnage. This week's Supreme Court ruling, then, paving the way for even more such behavior, is especially unfortunate. Though there is still technically a distinction between regular and "no-knock" warrants, a majority on the court has decided there should be no penalty -- no exclusion of evidence -- when police forces without authorization to do a no-knock raid go ahead and do one. Without such a penalty, and with no criminal penalties attaching to levels of recklessness by police officers that would land any ordinary citizen behind bars or in civil court facing liability of millions, the problem is bound to increase.

Though rank-and-file law enforcers bear moral responsibility for their actions, as we all do, the greater blame lies with the leadership. It's hard to tell a group of people that drugs are destroying society and that they are charged with fighting a "war" to stop them, to give them heavy weaponry and special forces-style training, and then expect them to reliably keep it in hand and not over-apply the use of force in the ways they've been taught to do. When the courts then say it's okay for them to break even the court's own rules, well, what's a nation to do? None of us are safe in our homes, thanks to the unfortunately still vital drug exception to the US Constitution.

Prohibition's ravages probably won't barge their way into the home of Samuel Alito or the other members of the 5-4 majority who plunged the drug war knife yet deeper into the heart of our freedoms. Hopefully history will remember their love of extended government power and its application without regard to the tragically obvious consequences. By not recognizing the right to be safe in one's home from fatal attack by the state, they have failed in their moral obligation to stop the other branches of government from violating us.

This means the burden is on us to call for a stop to it -- to not tolerate the reckless disregard for our safety and demand responsible conduct from the agents of the state who work for us.

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2. Feature: Death Toll Climbs as Fentanyl-Laced Heroin ODs Spread

With 14 deaths being linked by Chicago authorities to heroin laced with fentanyl in a two-day period last week, the nationwide death toll in a wave of ODs tied to the powerful synthetic opiate continues to rise. Although precise figures are hard to come by, Chicago authorities believe 75 people have died of the lethal combination there this year, while in Detroit, authorities put the number at more than 130 dead since last fall, including 33 in the past few weeks. Dozens more overdoses and fatalities have been reported in Atlanta, St. Louis, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the New Jersey-Maryland-Delaware region.

fentanyl package
After a slow initial reaction -- the first deaths were reported in September -- both state and federal authorities are beginning to respond. Local health officials in cities from Newark to Detroit have issued alerts, and Michigan public health workers are now engaged in an intensive street outreach program. But it is street-level harm reduction outreach workers who have led the way.

Detroit has been one of the hardest hit cities. "I think we had 58 deaths in the three weeks beginning in mid-May," said Ricardo Marble, lead trainer for substance abuse services for Detroit's Community Health Awareness Group, which runs drug user harm reduction programs, including a needle exchange, in the city. "On May 18, we had 12 deaths in one 24-hour-period, and we've had over 130 fentanyl-related deaths since the fall of 2005."

Marble and substance abuse workers across the state are hitting the streets in an effort to lessen the toll. On Thursday, there was an "emergency call to arms" for outreach workers, with workers across the state going out onto the streets to provide information about fentanyl and overdose protection where it is most needed.

"We went out with 30 people here in Detroit and targeted areas with high rates of injection drug use," said Marble. "We're distributing pamphlets we got from the Harm Reduction Coalition and getting that information into the hands of the community," he told DRCNet.

Two weeks ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a nationwide alert to outreach workers, treatment providers, and hospitals warning of the deadly problem. "Individuals involved in the public health need to be aware of this new dangerous drug combination," Dr. Westley Clark, director of SAMSHA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), said in the letter. "They need to be prepared to alert patients, clients and others to help save lives. After all, fentanyl is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. When mixed with cocaine or heroin, the results can be lethal."

"We sent the letters to treatment providers, hospitals, and the like, alerting them to the existing problem and identifying both prevention and quick intervention methods," said a SAMSHA spokesperson. "We are encouraging people to work as part of a community, to share information," she told DRCNet.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta have also been involved, although less so than some might imagine. While the CDC sent a team to investigate the situation in Detroit two weeks ago, that is the limit of the agency's participation, said CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burton. "The Michigan Department of Community Health requested our assistance, and we sent members of our epidemiological intelligence service to Detroit to assist state and local officials with autopsy reports and analysis to help them understand the overdoses and formulate prevention guidelines for clinicians and educators and the like," she told DRCNet.

That work is still ongoing, Burton said. As for help with the wave of overdoses, all the states have to do is ask. "We will be returning a final report to Michigan authorities, but no other state or municipality has asked for our assistance," she said.

"The public health response has been very disorganized," said Harm Reduction Coalition medical director Dr. Sharon Stancliff, who also runs the group's SKOOP (Skills and Knowledge on Overdose Prevention) program, which teaches users how to administer the opiate antidote naloxone. "I am glad to see that it has risen to the level of attention where SAMSHA has finally responded and the CDC has been involved, but it is disturbing that it takes a spike in deaths to get everyone's attention," she told DRCNet. "ODs are a fact of life, and we need to focus on the ODs in general, not just dealing with fentanyl, but dealing with overdoses as a true public health problem."

State and federal law enforcement has also been hard at work. After an early round of ODs in the Philadelphia and Camden areas last month, police cracked down on dealers peddling the fentanyl-heroin combo, and last week, federal drug czar John Walters held a loudly ballyhooed press conference to announce that DEA agents working with Mexican lawmen had busted a lab in Guadalajara that may -- or may not -- have been the source of the lethal combo.

This week, the DEA organized a two-day, invitation only, no-press brainstorming session Wednesday and Thursday in Chicago to "coordinate worldwide investigative efforts aimed at identifying and dismantling the drug trafficking organizations responsible for the diversion, illicit production, and/or distribution of fentanyl," according to the DEA's announcement. The conference brought together representatives from more than a dozen states, Mexico, the drug czar's office, and the CDC. While the DEA confab paid lip service to actually preventing and reducing overdose deaths through public health measures, its overwhelming emphasis was on law enforcement.

That is part of the problem, said Dan Bigg of the Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA), an organization that does needle exchange, mobile methadone maintenance, and other harm reduction programs in the Windy City. "What we think is going on is that the destabilization of drug markets by the police has produced the more regular use of fentanyl as a public relations move by dealers to attract new users, and that's caused a one or two notch increase in the purity of heroin on the streets," said Bigg. But the abnormal rate of overdoses has occurred only in the past few weeks, he told DRCNet, suggesting there is an element of hype involved. "We don't really know what's going on," he said. "We don't have the evidence that this is a new problem."

A law enforcement focus will not solve the problem, said Bigg. "They haven't seemed to have achieved anything with enforcement. DEA street level buys will show increased purity, and that's the same as them basically acknowledging they are losing. In recent weeks, we've seen a genuine increase in the overdose rate, and that is most probably related to the purity level of the heroin."

There are measures that have been proven to work to reduce overdoses and overdose deaths, Bigg suggested. "We need a massive expansion of opiate substitution therapy," he said. "There is clear evidence that that does more to reduce overdose levels than anything else. We also need the development and proliferation of safe injection sites. There is substantial evidence from around the globe that the sites reduce community overdose levels. And we need opiate antidotes, but the government won't fund them, even though we've seen 400 heroin OD death reversals with these drugs since we started in 2001."

But CRA wasn't part of the DEA-sponsored fentanyl conclave. "We are the most hands-on group in the city on this, and they didn't even invite us to the meeting," said Bigg.

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3. Feature: Among Whites, Imprisoning Drug Users a Minority Opinion, Survey Finds

Three out of four white Americans believe drug users should get treatment, not prison time, a nationally representative survey has found. The minority of whites who support sending dopers to prison are more likely to make moral judgments about drug users, more likely to blame addicts for their addiction, more likely to deny that racism is a problem in the US, and more likely to believe -- incorrectly -- that blacks are more likely to use cocaine than whites.

The researchers measured moral values by asking respondents how strongly they agreed or disagreed with two statements: Drug users are evil; and if people took their religion more seriously they would not become addicted to drugs. The researchers measured racial beliefs about drugs by asking respondents whether they thought blacks or whites were more likely to use cocaine. Racial attitudes were tested by asking respondents to agree or disagree with two statements: Discrimination against African-Americans is no longer a problem in the United States; and over the past few years, African-Americans have gotten more economically than they deserve. Respondents were also asked if they were conservative or liberal, if they felt that law enforcement was effective in reducing the demand for and supply of drugs in America; and whether or not they believed that drug addicts have only themselves to blame for their addiction.

The study was published in the June issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy under the title "Five Grams of Coke: Racism, Moralism and White Public Opinion on Sanctions for First Time Possession." The study is part of a larger survey of public attitudes toward substance abuse whose results will be published later.

Conducted by Drs. Rosalyn Lee and Kenneth Rasinski at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, the survey asked what should be the appropriate sanction for a first-time offender charged with possession of five grams of cocaine. The study found that an absolute majority of whites -- 51%--favored drug treatment, 26% favored probation, and only 23% favored sending him to prison. Dr. Lee told DRCNet the survey did not ask respondents if the drug possessor should just be left alone.

Regarding imprisonment, the survey gave respondents two choices: one year or five years. The survey found that only 5.5% were so punitive as to support a five-year sentence for first-time drug possession, while 17.6% supported a one-year sentence.

The study did not distinguish between crack and powder cocaine. Under federal law, possession of five grams of crack cocaine is punishable by a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. Five grams of powder cocaine merits no set prison sentence. Those laws are widely blamed for increasing the disparity between white and black imprisonment rates.

The study was conducted to assess why some Americans support imprisoning drug users and whether public policy, which favors imprisonment over treatment, was aligned with public opinion. "Scholars have suggested that racism and moralism have influenced American attitudes on addressing drug problems and we believe that this is the first study to empirically test whether these factors are related," Rasinski said.

"Our study shows that racial attitudes were related to the tendency to blame and make moral judgments about addicts for addiction; and those with a tendency to blame and moralize were more likely to support prison sentences," Lee said.

"Moralism drives drug laws, race drives harsh drug laws or 'moral panics,' and now we have social science, not just anecdotes to prove it," said Nora Callahan, executive director of The November Coalition, a grassroots organization devoted to freeing prisoners of the drug war. "Our members will be pleased to know that we've been speaking truth about our perceptions. We had a good idea that most people didn't like the long imprisonment for lots of 'drug crime,' too."

"In various surveys, people have shown what I would call a very warped sense of morality, and it is evident in this survey, too," said Charles Thomas, executive director of the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative (IDPI). "It's a morality that doesn't include things like compassion, mercy, and justice, but is about judging other people. This is what I would call a judgmental or authoritarian outlook," he told DRCNet. Associating morality with its authoritarian variant is a mistake, Thomas said. "When researchers and the media talk about this judgmental outlook and call it morality, as opposed to the morality of compassion and justice, it creates an effect where people say 'If I want to be moral, I have to be judgmental and punitive and oppose this and that.'"

While many authoritarians view drug addiction as a choice -- and therefore something that should be punished as a "bad choice" -- viewing drug use as a choice does not have to imply support for throwing drug users in jail, said Thomas. "There are also various libertarian psychologists who believe there is at least a degree of choice in drug use, but they don't believe people should be punished for it. There are also people who will say that drug use is bad and a choice, but that the government shouldn't be involved in punishing people for it," he noted.

"For many religious people, the idea that someone would take a substance just for fun is wrong, just like masturbation is wrong," Thomas continued. "But they don't advocate that masturbation should be illegal. To the degree we can reach the group reflected in this survey, we might try to extend that perspective. Just because something may be a sin, it is not government's role to try to stamp it out. Our hope is that people who can't be convinced about the morality of drug use would just leave it up to God."

But that may not work, Thomas conceded. "On a deeper psychological level, these sorts of beliefs reflect an overall orientation toward the world," he said. "If at the deepest level of your being, you believe some people are so bad they should be sent to Hell, you probably won't be that upset if the government sends them to prison forever. A lot of the punitive aspects of our society stem from people having already accepted that some people deserve to be punished as sinners, but they don't ask whom should God punish and whom should the government punish."

Metaphysical ruminations notwithstanding, this study should help enlighten public attitudes, said Dr. Lee. "The findings of this study provide both a challenge and hope for the future," she said. "The challenge is overcoming the public misperception that drug use disorders are a moral problem associated with race. The hope is that that the gap between public support for substance abuse treatment and current public policy will close."

For the November Coalition's Callahan, the study provides more ammunition for the long struggle for justice. "I'm reminded of the words of long-departed organizer Saul Alinsky," she said. "In 'Rules for Radicals,' he tells those of us in the struggle for the long haul that we must have the patience of activism. Along with that patience of plodding ahead, we should watch for signs that can move goals forward in a hurry. He tells us that when the gap between what should be, and what actually is gets wide enough, a spark can light a prairie fire of change," she said. "We've seen that gap grow wider with the release of this report, and many new research and reports of late."

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4. Feature: Industrial Hemp Push Underway in California, North Dakota

Moves are afoot in California and North Dakota to win approval of industrial hemp production at the state level, but the ultimate goal is removing the federal government as an obstacle to domestic cultivation of the valuable and versatile plant. Under current US law, hemp products are legal and hemp may be imported to be used in products produced here, but the plant itself cannot legally be grown in the US.

WWII-era federal
film encouraging
hemp growing
for war effort
Still, seven states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia -- have changed their laws to give farmers an affirmative right to grow industrial hemp commercially or for research purposes. This week, North Dakota took another step toward adopting administrative rules and regulations to breathe some life into its law with a public hearing Thursday. And in California, a bill that would move the Golden State to the hemp camp has already passed the state Assembly and is moving in the Senate after a legislative hearing Tuesday.

Hemp is classified as the same species as marijuana, Cannabis sativa L., but is a different cultivar and possesses different characteristics. Most important legally, hemp is distinguished from marijuana by its very low levels of THC, the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. Hemp plants typically contain THC levels under 1%. In the Dakotas, feral hemp, or "ditch weed," descended from the "victory hemp" of World War II grows everywhere, and, as local farm boy wisdom puts it: "You could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole, and all you'd get is a sore throat and a headache."

Industrial hemp proponents point not only to the downright silliness of classifying hemp as a controlled substance, but also to its virtues as an agricultural crop and industrial product. The plant's fibers can be used to make everything from paper to automobile panels, while its seeds and oils are in high demand in the ever-growing hemp food industry. Next door to North Dakota, the Canadian hemp crop has expanded to 40,000 acres in the past six years, and American farmers want some of the action.

"With our proximity to the Canadian border, we can see hemp fields from here," said North Dakota Agriculture Department plant industries program manager Jeff Olson, whose boss, Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson is leading the push to get regulations in place. "We see it as another agronomic tool for farmers. There is plenty of economic potential there, and it is something farmers could consider growing instead of wheat, barley, or corn," he told DRCNet. "We passed our legislation back in 1999 after a groundswell from farmers led Assistant Majority Leader David Monson (R-Osnabrook) to sponsor it. Now it's working its way through the process."

A hearing on the regulations was set for Thursday, Olson said Wednesday afternoon, and it looked as if it would be favorable. The hemp industry would be well-represented, Olson said, while no opponents have signed up to speak. "We have a representative from Vote Hemp, and there will be a Canadian researcher, among quite a number we're expecting," he said. In written testimony, there was only one objection to the notion of industrial hemp, "from law enforcement out of South Dakota," he explained.

The regulations being discussed Thursday would allow farmers to grow hemp under the law passed in 1999. It won't be as easy as planting a crop of wheat or corn, though. "Under our law, farmers have to pass a criminal background check and apply for a license to grow. They will have to pay a per acre fee. There are requirements on how it's planted; it can't be surrounded by other crops and hidden from view," said Olson. "They will be inspected periodically throughout the summer, and if we grant them a permit, they will then have to apply to the DEA for permission," he told DRCNet.

North Dakota Ag Commissioner Johnson went to Washington in February along with ag commissioners from Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Wisconsin to meet with the DEA to seek ways of allowing industrial hemp production. In a statement issued at the time, Johnson said DEA officials were "cordial," but they warned legalizing hemp would be "extremely complicated" under existing law. "DEA has never responded to our earlier inquiries," Johnson said, "but today, we were able to present our case and learn from them what may be required in terms of regulations and safeguards."

Good luck, if the DEA's past (and present) position is any indication. The agency did not return DRCNet calls for comment, but DEA spokeswoman Rogene Waite reiterated the agency's longstanding position in an interview with the Associated Press last month, where she stated flatly that the federal drug laws do not distinguish between hemp and marijuana because both contain THC.

Still, Olson had an optimistic view for the record. "We're hoping that DEA will look at industrial hemp separately form marijuana. We don't think industrial hemp meets the definition of a drug, and our goal is to have the DEA determine that yes, hemp and marijuana are two separate plants to be regulated separately."

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, the California Senate Public Safety Committee held a hearing Tuesday on that state's hemp bill, AB 1147. Sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill "would require industrial hemp to be cultivated only from seeds imported in accordance with federal law or from seeds grown in California, as specified" and would not authorize "the transportation or sale across state borders of seed or any variety of Cannabis sativa L. that is capable of germination."

The bill sets an upper permissible THC limit of 0.3% and requires laboratory tests of the crop to verify it. But it is the language about seeds that is crucial for strategic reasons.

"We're hoping that carefully crafted state regulations that explicitly prevent the parts of the plant controlled by the DEA -- the seeds and the flowers -- from leaving the state will mean the DEA has no power to regulate inside the state as long as farmers are following the state regulations, but that will probably require that we file a lawsuit," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, director of governmental relations for Vote Hemp.

The California bill does just that. "It was drafted specifically with the idea of limiting the crop to the production of legal substances and not letting viable seeds leave the state," said Baden-Mayer. "If California started to grow hemp, viable seeds would not cross the state line." It would be inconvenient for the industry, but "would be worth it for states to not engage in interstate commerce in hemp seed to avoid DEA control," she told DRCNet.

Although the Supreme Court a year ago rejected a similar challenge to the federal government's use of the interstate commerce clause to extend federal jurisdiction to medical marijuana, this would be different, Baden-Mayer argued. "Unlike the medical marijuana case, all the commodities associated with industrial hemp are legal. The only thing that's not legal right now is the plant in the ground."

But the California bill must pass before it can provide the basis for a legal challenge to DEA control over hemp, and North Dakota must get its regulations in order before farmers there can start the permitting process. The California bill faces a committee vote and a Senate floor vote before passing -- neither of which is assured at this point. And the North Dakota Ag Commission's Olson said given the process, farmers would be lucky to be permitted in time for the 2007 crop, and 2008 is more likely.

It can't happen soon enough for US agriculture. "American farmers are tired of looking around the world and seeing other farmers making healthy profits growing hemp for export to the US. They want change," said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra.

Farmers aren't the only ones looking for a domestic hemp industry. Increases in US hemp food production -- sales are up 50% a year, said Vote Hemp -- are increasing demand for hemp seed and may cause hemp seed shortages to develop. The natural fiber composite industry, which has largely replaced fiberglass in vehicle interiors, is also hungry for hemp made in America. FlexForm, an Indiana manufacturer who uses 250,000 pounds of hemp fiber a year, is eager to expand its use of the fibers. "Hemp fiber possesses physical properties beneficial to our natural fiber-based composites," FlexForm said, adding that it would "gladly expand domestic purchases."

It has been 50 years since the last legal industrial hemp crop was planted in Wisconsin. It is not quite back yet, but industrial hemp in the US is poised to make a comeback -- if only the federal government will get out of the way or can be adjudicated out of the way.

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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!

Testimonials for Drug War Facts:

  • "A valuable resource for anyone concerned with drug policy." - Ira Rosen, Senior Producer, ABC News
  • "Filled with hard numbers that shed much needed light on the drug war." - Lester Grinspoon, MD, Assoc. Prof of Psychiatry (emeritus), Harvard Medical School
  • "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.

Thank you for your support -- we hope to hear from you soon. Special thanks for Common Sense for Drug Policy for making these important resources possible.

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6. Book Offer: Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke

Many DRCNet readers remember the heartbreaking tragedy of Rainbow Farm, the alternative campground and concert site outside Vandalia, Michigan, where marijuana activists Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm, driven to desperation by a relentless prosecutor, were killed by FBI and state police in fall 2001. Killed for no good reason -- as a local sympathizer expressed it to Drug War Chronicle's Phil Smith at the funeral, "[Prosecutor] Scott Teter said this was their choice, but it was his choice to hound them and try to take their land and their son. He's the one who chose to shoot and kill." Rohm and Crosslin before the end burned down their beloved buildings to keep the government from getting them.

Journalist Dean Kuipers of the Los Angeles CityBeat has now written "Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went up in Smoke," a 304-page book being released by Bloomsbury USA this June 13. DRCNet is offering "Burning Rainbow Farm" as our latest membership premium -- donate $35 or more to DRCNet, and we will send you a copy -- donate $45 or more and we will send you one signed by the author. Your donations will help our work to end drug prohibition, while raising awareness of the recklessness and excesses of drug enforcers like prosecutor Teter -- click here to donate and order your copy.

Publishers Weekly writes of Kuipers' book, "Drawing on extensive interviews, government documents and news coverage, the author [who grew up 20 miles from the shootings] verges on portraying the prosecutor as evil incarnate. But Kuipers doesn't cross the line from sound journalism into advocacy, while letting the story unfold through superbly detailed characterizations and skillful pacing."

We also continue to offer the DVD video Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the 5th edition of Drug War Facts. Add $5 to the minimum donation to add either of these to your request, or $10 to add both of them. Again, you can make your donation and place your order online, 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. (Also note that copies of Rainbow Farm will be mailed out from DRCNet during the third week of June.)

Thank you for your support. If you want to read more about Rainbow Farm in the meanwhile, please see Phil's articles in the Drug War Chronicle archive: Michigan Drug Warriors Drive Marijuana Activists to the Brink, Then Gun Them Down on 9/7/01; Rainbow Farm Marijuana Activists Laid to Rest, Friends Not Resting on 9/21; and Phil's book review last week.

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7. Alert: Important Medical Marijuana Vote Coming Up in Congress -- Your Help Needed

Since medical marijuana initiatives were first passed ten years ago, the DEA has conducted raids against medical marijuana clinics in California, recently with increasing frequency, forcing hundreds if not thousands of patients to procure marijuana in the black market instead. In a ruling issued on June 6, 2005, the US Supreme Court upheld the government's power to do this.

While this doesn't change anything -- state laws protecting medical marijuana patients and their providers still are binding upon state and local law enforcement authorities -- it is a missed opportunity for the Court to rein in federal overreaching and help some of our society's most vulnerable members.

This July, the US House of Representatives will vote again on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, which if passed will forbid the US Dept. of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. Your help is needed -- it is crucial that more members of Congress vote for medical marijuana this year than did last year. Please visit to e-mail your member of Congress today!

When you're done, please call him or her on the phone to make additional impact -- use the talking points appearing below to prepare for your phone call. You can reach your Rep.'s office through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or you can find the direct number using our lookup tool online.

Please also tell your friends about this important action alert -- we need for everyone who cares about this to take action, and sending them to our web site to do so will also help to grow our list for the next time. Again, please visit to lobby Congress and help medical marijuana patients today!

Talking Points for Your Phone Call or Letters to the Editor:

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, which will come up during debate on the House Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill this July, would forbid the Dept. of Justice from using funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws.

  • More than three out of four Americans think medical use of marijuana should be legal, according to polls, and eleven states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington -- have all enacted medical marijuana laws in recent years.
  • Despite such strong support, the federal government continues to block even research to determine marijuana's medical benefits. Yet the 1999 Institute of Medicine report determined that marijuana does have medical benefit.
  • Medical organizations such as the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians support legal access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
  • Blocking patients from receiving needed medicine -- threatening them with arrest, prosecution and incarceration -- is senseless and cruel.

  • Congress should respect state's rights and not used armed federal agents to threaten patients and providers who are in compliance with state law.

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8. Follow-up: Colombia Amendment Results

coca eradication
Special thanks to the more than 1,000 DRCNet subscribers who wrote to Congress asking them to approve the McGovern amendment, transferring $30 million of funding away from aerial fumigation of drug crops in Colombia to humanitarian assistance for refugees.

The vote lost 174-229, so the $30 million will still go toward poisoning people and the environment and fueling political instability in Colombia. However, that's a far closer vote than seemed imaginable ten years ago -- progress is being made, eventually we will start winning these.

Click here to see how your US Representative voted -- it went mostly but not entirely along partisan lines. Click here to find out who your Representative is, if you don't already know.

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9. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we'd like to hear from you. DRCNet needs two things:

  1. We are in between newsletter grants, and that makes our need for donations more pressing. Drug War Chronicle is free to read but not to produce! Click here to make a donation by credit card or PayPal -- consider signing up to donate monthly -- or scroll down in this e-mail for info on donating by mail.
  2. Please send quotes and reports on how you put our flow of information to work, for use in upcoming grant proposals and letters to funders or potential funders. Do you use DRCNet as a source for public speaking? For letters to the editor? Helping you talk to friends or associates about the issue? Research? For your own edification? Have you changed your mind about any aspects of drug policy since subscribing? Do you reprint or repost portions of our bulletins on other lists or in other newsletters? Do you have any criticisms or complaints, or suggestions? We want to hear those too. Please send your response -- one or two sentences would be fine; more is great, too -- to [email protected] or just reply to this e-mail. Please let us know if we may reprint your comments, and if so, if we may include your name or if you wish to remain anonymous. IMPORTANT: Even if you have given us this kind of feedback before, we could use your updated feedback now too -- we need to hear from you!
Again, please help us keep Drug War Chronicle alive at this important time! Click here to make a donation online, or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation to make a tax-deductible donation for Drug War Chronicle -- remember if you select one of our member premium gifts that will reduce the portion of your donation that is tax-deductible -- or make a non-deductible donation for our lobbying work -- online or check payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network, same address. We can also accept contributions of stock -- e-mail [email protected] for the necessary info. Thank you for your support.

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10. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Three bad apples from North Carolina, a former Minnesota cop dealing powder, a Connecticut cop passing on favors, another Border Patrol officer goes down, and so does yet another prison guard. Let's get to it:

In Connecticut, a former Vernon police officer has copped a plea in a case where he was accused of using law enforcement databases to pass information about drug investigations on to his former girlfriend and her family, who in turn passed it on to the targets of the investigations. Former officer John Troland, a seven-year veteran of the force, pled guilty last Friday to one count of computer crime and one count of interfering with a police officer and faces up to two years in prison. Prosecutors claimed Troland's misdeeds led to one assault on a snitch and to police targets dumping their drugs to avoid arrest.

In Florida, a US Border Patrol officer was arrested June 7 on a single charge of marijuana distribution. Thomas Henderson, 45, of Macclenny, allegedly arranged marijuana transactions over the phone, quoting prices, and arranging a deal there. He faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The government wants to seize his house, too.

In Minnesota, a former St. Paul police officer was charged last Friday with possessing 22 pounds of cocaine and 13 pounds of methamphetamine with intent to distribute after he tried to pick up a package without proper ID at the Minneapolis Greyhound Bus terminal two days earlier. Suspicious Greyhound employees notified police and took down the man's license plate number. When the police opened the package, they found the drugs. Former St. Paul police officer Clemmie Tucker, 55, turned himself in later the same day. Tucker is currently out on $25,000 bail.

In Montana, a former Montana State Prison guard was sentenced last Friday to three years and one month in state prison for trying to smuggle marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine into the joint. Michael Short, 50, was arrested in July 2005 after two sting operations where he agreed to smuggle drugs into the prison for money. Short pleaded guilty to attempted possession with intent to distribute marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine, as well as being a drug user in possession of a firearm. The state also seized his pickup truck.

In North Carolina, three former Robeson County deputies who worked the Sheriff's Office Drug Enforcement Division were arrested last Friday on racketeering and theft charges. Roger Hugh Taylor, 39, Charles Thomas Strickland, 39, and Steven Ray Lovin, 36, all of Lumberton, are accused by federal prosecutors of engaging in a criminal conspiracy for nearly decade involving arson, assault, theft of public funds, drug dealing, and money laundering, and were indicted two days earlier. According to the indictment, the crooked cops used marijuana to pay an arsonist, stole thousands of dollars from suspected drug dealers in traffic stops, and provided drugs to a DEA snitch. Robeson County District Attorney told the Fayetteville Online between 200 and 300 cases were dismissed because of the deputies' involvement and at least one innocent man had been convicted and imprisoned because of their actions.

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11. Search and Seizure: Supreme Court Upholds Searches Without Notice

In a major victory for the government, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a search warrant may enter homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock. In previous rulings citing centuries-old common law tradition, the Court had held that except in cases of "no-knock" warrants, police must generally knock and announce their presence or risk violating the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches.

danger knocks with new court ruling
The decision came on a 5-4 vote. The deciding vote came from Bush appointee Justice Samuel Alito. Most analysts believe Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whom he replaced, would have voted the other way. When she heard arguments in the case before her retirement, she worried aloud that a favorable ruling for police could lead to police bursting unannounced into people's homes. "Is there no policy of protecting the home owner a little bit and the sanctity of the home from this immediate entry?" she asked.

The case, Hudson v. Michigan, came from Detroit, where police with a search warrant acknowledged violating the "knock and announce" rule by calling out their presence at the door and then entering within five seconds -- before residents had a chance to respond. Police found drugs and a weapon, and petitioner Booker Hudson was convicted at trial. He appealed, arguing that because of the Fourth Amendment violation, the evidence against him should be suppressed under the exclusionary rule. The federal appeals court agreed with Hudson, but that decision has now been overturned.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said Detroit police admitted violating the rule, but they shouldn't be punished for what he called "a misstep." "Whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house," Scalia wrote.

Suppressing the evidence would give Hudson a "get out of jail free card," Scalia wrote. Better that the police get a "violate the Constitution without penalty card," one supposes.

In their dissent, four justices led by Justice Stephen Breyer warned that the decision spits in the face of more than 90 years of Supreme Court precedent and centuries of common law tradition. By allowing police to violate the "knock and announce" rule without excluding the subsequent evidence, "the Court destroys the strongest legal incentive to comply with the Constitution's knock-and-announce requirement. And the Court does so without significant support in precedent. At least I can find no such support in the many Fourth Amendment cases the Court has decided in the near century since it first set forth the exclusionary principle in Weeks v. United States," wrote Breyer. "Today's opinion is thus doubly troubling. It represents a significant departure from the Court's precedents. And it weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection."

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12. Methamphetamine: Epidemic? What Epidemic? Study Asks

The extent of methamphetamine use in the United States is overplayed and exaggerated by the news media and politicians, The Sentencing Project said in a study. Overheated rhetoric, horror stories, and factually incorrect assertions about meth use lead policymakers to make poor decisions about how to allocate precious resources for dealing with drug use and abuse, said study author Ryan King.

The Sentencing Project is a nonprofit research organization that calls for reductions in the use of incarceration. The report, "The Next Big Thing? Methamphetamine in the United States," was released Wednesday.

Relying on the common national indicators of drug use, such as the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program to argue that meth use levels are lower than the news media would have us believe, King wrote: "The portrayal of methamphetamine in the United States as an epidemic spreading across the country has been grossly overstated."

Citing government figures that estimate about 583,000 people used meth in the past month, King noted that four times as many people used cocaine and 30 times as many used marijuana. The report acknowledged that meth is more widely used today than a decade ago, but argued that use levels are fairly flat and that reported use has been declining among teens for the past five years.

The report also acknowledged that meth is a regional problem, with arrestees in large Western cities show high rates (between 25% and 38%) of meth use. But overall, King noted, only 5% of men arrested nationwide had meth in their systems. By comparison, 30% had cocaine in their systems and 44% had marijuana.

"Mischaracterizing the impact of methamphetamine by exaggerating its prevalence and consequences while downplaying its receptivity to treatment succeeds neither as a tool of prevention nor a vehicle of education," King wrote.

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13. Law Enforcement: Justice for Sale in Washington Border County

If you've got cash, you can walk away from a serious drug bust in Whatcom County, Washington, astride the US-Canada border between Seattle and Vancouver. In a story this week, the Associated Press reviewed marijuana cases from Whatcom County and found a system where defendants who can quickly come up with $2,000 or more can "buy down" the charges against them by paying into a fund administered by the county prosecutor.

The system of "all the justice you can afford" is an outgrowth of the county's position just across the border from the booming British Columbia marijuana industry. As a result of border busts, overworked federal prosecutors routinely dump reams of cases on overworked local prosecutors each year.

In one case examined by the AP, Joshua Sutton and Joseph Hubbard were arrested after buying $15,000 worth of pot from an undercover agent last year. Both were charged with unlawful possession with intent to deliver, a felony. But Sutton, who put up most of the money for the drug buy, paid $9,040 into the prosecutor's fund, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and walked away. Hubbard, a construction worker without money, pleaded guilty as charged, was sentenced to 45 days on a county work crew, and is now stigmatized as a felon.

In other cases reviewed by the AP, many people caught with pounds of marijuana were allowed to plead to reduced misdemeanor charges if they kicked into the fund. At the same time, one young man caught with less than two ounces pleaded guilty to a felony after being unable to cough up the dough.

"Yikes, it sounds like the sale of indulgences in the old Catholic church," said Janet Ainsworth, a criminal law professor at Seattle University. "If you were to have a continuum between paying a fine and bribery, this is somewhere in between," she told the AP.

The presiding judge for the county, Steven Mura, agreed. "It can appear to be the purchase of a lesser charge," he told the AP. Mura, who said his calendar is so swamped he barely glances at plea agreements, added that he would be interested if an attorney were to challenge the payments as part of plea deals.

The money, which must be paid up front, goes to the county drug enforcement fund controlled by Prosecutor Dave McEachran with court approval. The practice has generated $432,000 for the county in the last three years, and has helped pay for new equipment for the county drug task force, for drug investigations, and for the drug court.

While McEachran defended the payments as similar to fines or restitution, lawyers and legal scholars scoffed. "Plea bargaining isn't always pretty, but this just seems to make a mockery of it," said Helen Anderson, of the University of Washington law school.

"You kind of wonder, 'Gee, is this quite right?'" Bellingham defense attorney Thomas Fryer told the AP. "But if you're looking at it as the best possible arrangement for your client, you're not going to just take a stand. If that means a drug fund contribution, so be it."

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14. Europe: New Italian Government to Move to "Reduce Damage" of Tough Drug Law

As one of its last legacies, the rightist government of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi passed a tough new drug law in February that treated people in possession of more than five grams of marijuana or similarly small amounts of other drugs as if they were drug dealers. Under the new law, possession of lesser amounts still subjected people to drug treatment and/or other administrative sanctions.

Rome Global Marijuana march, May 2006
(courtesy Italy IndyMedia)
Passage of the so-called "Fini-Giovanardi law," named after its author, neo-fascist politician Gianfranco Fini, and Berlusconi minister Carlo Giovanardi, sparked protests and calls from opposition figures to reverse it. The law's passage also helped make Rome's Global Marijuana March one of the world's largest this year, with more than ten thousand participants.

Berlusconi and his center-right coalition lost power after the April elections, and the new government is signaling it will move to ameliorate the law's harsh impact. "We do not know what act we will issue yet, but it must cause a reduction of damage with respect to the current law," said Welfare Minister Paolo Ferreri last week outside a National Committee for Rehabilitation conference in remarks reported by the Agencia Giornalistica Italiana (AGI). "There will then be a comprehensive modification... through which there will be a clear separation of light drugs from heavy drugs, because the most worrying aspect among the youth is the lack of awareness of the different dangers of drugs."

Minister Ferrari also reiterated the commitment of the left-leaning Union coalition led by new Prime Minister Romano Prodi to decriminalize drug possession. "It is also necessary to make consumption a non-penal infraction along with the improvement of administrative measures," Ferrero said. "It is therefore necessary to differentiate between the dealing of drugs and the consumption of them, setting up talks with consumers to explain the true dangers of heavy-duty drugs."

By early this week, pressed on recent, well-publicized arrests of young pot smokers, Ferrari was ready to go a little further. In an interview with Radio Radicale, he said his team "is working hard in order to find a rapid solution -- certainly by the end of the year -- against the negative effects of the Fini-Giovanardi law." Not only must use be decriminalized, but even administrative sanctions must be abolished, he said. As for the pot arrests, those shouldn't even be happening, he said.

The new Italian government is talking the talk. Time will tell if it walks the walk.

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15. Europe: Britain to Reclassify Methamphetamine as Class A Drug

Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported Monday that the government's panel of drug experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has recommended that methamphetamine be rescheduled as a Class A drug along with heroin, cocaine, and psychedelics. The council made the recommendation to Home Secretary John Reid following reports from police that meth labs have begun showing up in Britain.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, methamphetamine is currently a Class B drug, with penalties of up to five years in prison for possession and up to 14 years for dealing. As a Class A drug, meth offenses would bump up to seven years for possession and up to life for dealing. Class A designation also means police will be able to operate under a lower standard of evidence in prosecuting meth trafficking cases.

The ACMD acted after hearing from the Association of Chief Police Officers that the drug is being imported from the US and Southeast Asia, but there are also police reports that meth labs have begun appearing in the UK itself. The Metropolitan Police in London reported that it was aware of several significant meth dealers in the city's gay club scene, and that falling prices have led to it being sold to mainstream clubbers as a cost-effective alternative to crack or powder cocaine.

"Meth is arguably as much a hazard as crack cocaine and heroin, and more of a hazard than Ecstasy and LSD," said Detective Inspector Jason Atwood, author of the ACPO report. "Previous concern about reclassification and 'stoking up' media interest has been overtaken by events." Meth is different because it can be easily made at home, he said. "The chemicals are available within the UK and the internet gives endless guidance on making," he added.

Reclassifying meth makes sense given international data on the social and health impact of its use, said Harry Shapiro of Drugscope, the British drug charity and resource center. "Although rates of usage in the UK remain low at present, reclassifying crystal meth could have preemptive value in enabling police resources to be directed towards the drug as part of the strategy to focus on class A drugs," he said.

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16. Canada: Federal Medical Marijuana Program a Flop, AIDS Society Says

The Canadian government's medical marijuana program is not working, the Canadian AIDS Society said in . According to the report, only 1.7% of Canadian medical marijuana patients take part in the government's program, while 85% of them obtain their marijuana on the black market.

Although the Canadian government has spent more than $5 million US on its program, fewer than 200 Canadians are currently enrolled, the report found. The report is the culmination of an 18-month project aimed at identifying barriers to access to medical marijuana and the federal government's medical marijuana program.

The report points out a number of obstacles to greater enrollment in the government plan, including lack of awareness that it even exists, difficulties in finding physicians who will cooperate by recommending marijuana, and the lack of good options for an affordable, legal supply. Marijuana provided through the government program is grown by a single contractor and is almost universally shunned as low quality by patients. Taken together, these obstacles are an absolute incentive for patients to turn to the black market, the report said.

The AIDS Society report made several recommendations to improve the program. The program should be audited by the Auditor General to ensure it is using resources effectively, the group said. Seriously ill Canadians and other interested parties should be represented in a renewed Health Canada Stakeholders' Advisory Committee to ensure their interests are heard. The country's hesitant doctors' associations need to come on board as well, and the government needs to back away from its efforts to restrict individual grows for patients and community grows in the form of compassion clubs.

If Health Canada were to heed the reasonable recommendations in this report, Canada's Medical Marijuana Access Regulations could move from being the bad joke they have become.

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17. Weekly: This Week in History

June 16, 1999: Testifying before the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources panel of the House Government Reform Committee, ACLU executive director Ira Glasser tells lawmakers that the most effective way to control drug abuse is through regulation, not incarceration.

June 17, 1971: President Nixon declares war on drugs, calling drug abuse "public enemy number one in the United States" in a press conference and announcing the creation of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP), to be headed by Dr. Jerome Jaffe, a leading methadone treatment specialist. [Historical Note: During the Nixon era, for the only time in the history of the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement.]

June 18, 1986: The evening death (heart failure from cocaine poisoning) of promising college basketball star Len Bias, the recent Boston Celtics draft choice, stuns the nation and leads to enactment by Congress (without hearings) of draconian mandatory minimum sentences.

June 18, 2002: The Supreme Court rules that in conducting random searches for drugs or weapons on buses, police need not advise passengers that they are free to refuse permission to be searched.

June 19, 1812: The United States goes to war with Great Britain after being cut off from 80% of its Russian hemp supply. Napoleon invades Russia to sever Britain's illegal trade in Russian hemp.

June 19, 1991: In a secret vote, the Colombian assembly votes 51-13 to ban extradition in a new Constitution to take effect on July 5. The same day Pablo Escobar surrenders to Colombian police.

June 20, 1995: On a Discovery Channel special, "The Cronkite Report: The Drug Dilemma," former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite calls the drug war a failure and calls for a bipartisan commission study alternatives to prohibition, concluding, "We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today."

June 21, 1986: Larry Harvey and his friend Jerry James burn a wooden man on the beach near San Francisco, beginning the popular annual festival "Burning Man."

June 22, 2002: The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passes an "Alternatives to the War on Drugs" Statement of Conscience.

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18. Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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

June 17, 9:00am-3:00pm, Durham, NC, "Social Injustice Meeting," hosted by Families Against Mandatory Minimums, The Freedom Project and Project R.E.A.C.H. At Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville Street, contact LaFonda Jones-General at (919) 530-8077 or [email protected] for further information.

June 17, Elkhart, IN, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. Time and location to be announced, contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 18, 2:00-4:00pm, Portage, MI, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. At Barnes & Noble, 6134 South Westnedge, reception at 5:00pm at Bell's Eccentric Café at 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. in Kalamazoo, contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 19, 7:00-9:00pm, Oak Park, MI, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. At Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield Rd., contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 20, 12:30-2:00pm, New York, NY, "Marked: The Effects of Race and Criminal Background on Finding a Job," lecture by Prof. Devah Pager of Princeton University as part of the Mellon Speaker Series. At the Herb Sturz-Burke Marshall Conference Center, Vera Institute of Justice, 233 Broadway, 12th Floor, space limited, RSVP to [email protected].

June 20, 7:00-8:00pm, Birmingham, MI, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. At Borders, 34300 Woodward, contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 21, 8:00-9:00pm, Grand Rapids, MI, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. At River Bank Books, 86 Monroe Center NW, contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 23, 7:30-8:30pm, Lansing, MI, book talk with "Burning Rainbow Farm" author Dean Kuipers. At Schuler Books and Music, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Eastwood Shopping Center, contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

June 29, 7:00-10:00pm, Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles CityBeat party in honor of "Burning Rainbow Farm." At Café-Club Fais Do-Do, 5257 W Adams Blvd., contact Laura Keefe at (646) 307-5580 or [email protected] for further information.

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.

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.

October 7-8, Madison, WI, 36th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival, sponsored by Madison NORML. At the Library Mall, downtown, 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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