Weekly: This Week in History

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

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, 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 14, 1993: The New York Times reports that Judge Whitman Knapp said, "After 20 years on the bench I have concluded that federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the government out of drug enforcement."

May 13, 1996: The Weekly Standard reports: "Coast Guard cocaine and marijuana seizures are down 45 and 90 percent, respectively, since 1991. In 1994, the Customs Service let two million commercial trucks pass through three of the busiest ports-of-entry on the Mexican border without seizing a single kilogram of cocaine. Between 1993 and early 1995, the estimated smuggling 'disruption rate' achieved by federal interdiction agencies fell 53 percent -- the equivalent of 84 more metric tons of cocaine and marijuana arriving unimpeded in the United States each year."

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 12, 1998: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) places an ad in the New York Times Op-Ed section headlined, "Let me ask you something… If you had a choice, what would it be, Marijuana or Martinis?" Note: The ACLU has opposed marijuana prohibition since 1968, and overall drug prohibition since 1994.

May 11, 2000: The Arellano-Felix brothers are charged with 10 counts of drug trafficking, conspiracy, money laundering and aiding and abetting violent crimes. The US State Department offers a $2 million reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

May 15, 2001: Governor of Hawaii Ben Cayetano is quoted by the Associated Press: "I just think that it's a matter of time that Congress finally gets around to understanding that the states should be allowed to provide this kind of relief [medical marijuana] to the people. Congress is way, way behind in their thinking."

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.

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