Weekly: This Week in History

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October 24, 1968: Possession of psilocybin or psilocin becomes illegal in the US.

October 22, 1982: The first publicly known case of contra cocaine shipments appears in government files in a cable from the CIA's Directorate of Operations. The cable passes on word that US law enforcement agencies are aware of "links between (a US religious organization) and two Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary groups [which] involve an exchange in (the United States) of narcotics for arms." [The material in parentheses was inserted by the CIA as part of its declassification of the cable. The name of the religious group remains secret.]

October 25, 1997: Regarding Colombia, the New York Times quotes US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey as saying, "Let there be no doubt: We are not taking part in counterguerrilla operations." Less than two years later, on July 17, 1999, the Miami Herald reports: "McCaffrey said it was 'silly at this point' to try to differentiate between anti-drug efforts and the war against insurgent groups."

October 19, 1999: Taking a states' rights approach to medical marijuana, candidate George W. Bush says, "I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose." As president, Bush instead escalates prosecutions of medical marijuana providers by the US Dept. of Justice and opposes states' rights arguments in court proceedings.

October 23, 2001: Britain's Home Secretary, David Blunkett, proposes the reclassification of cannabis from Class B to Class C. Cannabis is soon decriminalized in Great Britain.

October 23, 2002: Time/CNN conducts a telephone poll of 1,007 adult Americans over two days (October 23-24). The result: Nearly one out of every two American adults acknowledges they have used marijuana, up from fewer than one in three in 1983.

October 20, 2004: A groundbreaking coalition of black professional organizations comes together to form the National African American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC). NAADPC "urgently seeks alternatives to misguided drug policies that have led to mass incarceration."

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