Weekly: This Week in History

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February 21, 1971: The United States joins with other countries in signing the international Convention on Psychotropic Substances, in Vienna, Austria.

February 16, 1982: During a speech in Miami, Florida, George H. W. Bush promises to use sophisticated military aircraft to track the airplanes used by drug smugglers. By June, airborne surveillance time was running a mere 40 hours per month, not the 360 hours promised by Bush, prompting Rep. Glenn English to call hearings on this topic. By October, the General Accounting Office issued an opinion in which it found "it is doubtful whether the [south Florida] task force can have any substantial long-term impact on drug availability."

February 17, 1997: Legislation to repeal an 18 year-old state law permitting physicians to prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from cancer or glaucoma is voted down by a Virginia Senate committee in a 9-6 vote.

February 20, 1997: CNN reports that a prestigious panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health said there is promising evidence that smoking marijuana may ease the suffering of some seriously ill patients.

February 18, 1999: Dr. Frank Fisher, a pain doctor from Northern California, is arrested and charged with five counts of murder. After about six years of legal wrangling and having more charges levied against him, he is determined to be completely innocent.

February 18, 2000: President Clinton signs the "Hillary J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Drug Prohibition Act of 2000," categorizing GHB as a Schedule I drug.

February 22, 2000: Due to drug-related violence, the US State Department issues a traveler's advisory warning for Tijuana, México City, and Ciudad Juárez, which are labeled as "dangerous." Juárez Mayor Gustavo Elizondo protests to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

February 21, 2001: The New York Times reports that a recent study released at a World Health Organization meeting found that American teens are more likely to smoke marijuana and use other illicit drugs than their European counterparts. While they are more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, only 17 percent of European 10th graders reported marijuana use, compared to 41 percent of American 10th graders. The study is interesting considering the US implements a zero-tolerance approach while many European countries tend to employ harm-reduction strategies and are generally more tolerant.

February 19, 2004: Veterans and medical marijuana activists in San Francisco hold a protest/rally in front of San Francisco's Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic and ask doctors working for the Veteran's Administration to help provide better access to medical marijuana.

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