Weekly: This Week in History

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January 23, 1912: In the Hague, twelve nations sign a treaty restricting opium and coca production.

January 28, 1972: The Nixon Administration creates the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) to establish joint federal/local task forces to fight the drug trade at the street level. Myles Ambrose is appointed director.

January 28, 1982: President Ronald Reagan creates a cabinet-level task force, the Vice-President's Task Force on South Florida. Headed by George Bush, it combines agents from DEA, Customs, ATF, IRS, Army, and Navy to mobilize against drug traffickers.

January 25, 1990: President George Bush proposes to add an additional $1.2 billion to the budget for the war on drugs, including a 50% increase in military spending.

January 24, 1992: A Washington Post editorial comments, "... performance testing appears to be more effective than the standard urinalysis now used in the industry both after accidents and on a random basis." It also mentions that 97 percent of railroad accidents are caused by fatigue, illness, stress and other factors not associated with drug or alcohol use, and states, "On an annual basis, the test is less expensive than periodic urinalysis, and it's far less intrusive."

January 25, 1993: Based on a tip that drugs were on the premises, police smash down the door and rush into the home of Manuel Ramirez, a retired golf course groundskeeper living in Stockton, California. Ramirez awakes, grabs a pistol and shoots and kills one policeman before other officers kill him. No drugs are found.

January 25, 1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act extends ONDCP's mission to assessing budgets and resources related to the National Drug Control Strategy. It also establishes specific reporting requirements in the areas of drug use, availability, consequences, and treatment.

January 25, 1995: The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia by Robert Kampia and Chuck Thomas. MPP's mission is to provide the marijuana law-reform movement with full-time, organized lobbying on the federal level.

January 27, 1995: The international hashish seizure record is set -- 290,400 pounds -- in Khyber Agency, Pakistan.

January 23, 1996: President Clinton nominates General Barry McCaffrey to become the nation's fourth drug czar.

January 29, 1998: Judge Nancy Gertner, a district judge in Boston, criticizes the drug war for spending too much federal funds while depriving Americans of liberty at a forum organized by the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers.

January 26, 2000: Rockefeller drug law prisoner Elaine Bartlett, subject of the book "Life on the Outside: the Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett," is set free after sixteen years in Bedford Hill prison for a first time, low-level, cocaine selling offense.

January 24, 2005: The US Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, rules that police do not violate the Fourth Amendment when they use drug-detecting dogs to locate illegal drugs in the trunks of cars during a legal traffic stop.

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