Weekly: This Week in History

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June 3, 1876: Fairgoers visit the Turkish Hashish Exposition at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where many partake.

May 30, 1977: Newsweek runs a story on cocaine reporting that "Among hostesses in the smart sets of Los Angeles and New York, a little cocaine, like Dom Perignon and Beluga caviar, is now de rigueur at dinners. Some party givers pass it around along with canapes on silver trays... the user experiences a feeling of potency, of confidence, of energy."

May 31, 1996: Psychedelic guru Timothy Leary dies.

June 1, 1996: Actor and hemp activist Woody Harrelson is arrested and charged with cultivation of fewer than five marijuana plants, after planting four industrial hemp seeds in full view of Lee County Sheriff William Kilburn in Lexington, Kentucky.

June 8, 1998: A well-publicized letter signed by more than 600 international leaders and high-profile, influential professionals from various fields is written to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging him to reconsider "failed and futile drug war policies" as the signers believe the war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself. The signatories call for opening the debate to alternative approaches to drug abuse based on common sense, science, public health and human rights.

June 4, 1998: Common Sense for Drug Policy begins a $60,000 advertisement campaign on CNN and other outlets, timed to coincide with the June 8 UN drug summit, featuring a video of President Clinton at the UN with an overdubbed voice imitating the president and urging a change in drug policy (with a visual disclaimer saying it is not Clinton talking). On June 7, ABC Evening News covered the story.

May 31, 2000: Lions Gate Films releases Grass, the Woody Harrelson-narrated/Ron Mann-directed documentary about the history of marijuana in 20th century America.

June 2, 2004: Judge Paul L. Friedman of the US District Court of the District of Columbia strikes down a law passed by Congress blocking marijuana law reform groups from purchasing ad space in public transit systems. Judge Friedman notes that the federal government cannot ban certain types of speech because it disapproves of their content -- especially in light of the government's own advertising advocating for the punishment of marijuana users on these same trains and buses.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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