Weekly: This Week in History

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July 24, 1967: The Beatles pay for a full page advertisement in a British newspaper, which states, "The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice." The ad calls for the legalization of marijuana possession, release of all prisoners on marijuana possession charges and government research into medical uses.

July 29, 1995: In an interview with the editors of the Charlotte Observer, Pat Buchanan says he favors measures that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for relief from certain conditions. "If a doctor indicated to his patient that this was the only way to alleviate certain painful symptoms, I would defer to the doctor's judgment," he says.

July 29, 1997: A large number of Los Angeles sheriff's deputies swarm into the home of author and medical marijuana patient Peter McWilliams and well-known medical marijuana activist Todd McCormick, a medical marijuana user and grower who had cancer ten times as a child and suffers from chronic pain as the result of having the vertebrae in his neck fused in childhood surgery. McCormick ultimately serves a five-year sentence, while McWilliams chokes to death on his own vomit in 2000 after being denied medical marijuana by a federal judge.

July 27, 2000: Referring to one of drug czar Barry McCaffrey's tired lines, Salon.com publishes "Fighting 'Cheech and Chong' Medicine," an article showing that the entire genesis of the government's new media campaign, the motivation for making the Partnership for Drug Free America's donated ad time and making it a billion dollars worth of taxpayer funds, was a direct response to the passage of medical marijuana initiatives in California and Arizona in 1996.

July 26, 2001: The British newsmagazine The Economist devotes an entire issue to drug policy, endorsing decriminalization and harm reduction.

July 25, 2002: The Hawaiian Tribune Herald reports: Marijuana eradication in Hawaii contributed to the increase in the use of the drug "ice," according to a three-year study prepared for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study's four-page executive summary states, "The use of ice in Honolulu had led to particularly serious physical and psychological problems and significant social disruption in poor working communities where it replaced marijuana, which had become scarce and expensive due to eradication policies... Residents were both pushed away from pakalolo [marijuana], their staple drug of choice, and pulled toward ice by a well organized marketing campaign by Asian distributors." It also notes that violence is more prevalent in the Honolulu meth users.

July 27, 2002: The Associated Press reports that a regional director of Mexico's main intelligence agency was slain in the border city of Tijuana, the 11th person killed over the last week in what authorities say is an escalating drug war.

July 30, 2002: ABC airs John Stossel's special report, "War on Drugs, A War on Ourselves," which critically points out the futility of the government's current approach to drug control policy.

July 26, 2003: The Honolulu Advertiser reports that a Hilo woman who smokes marijuana to treat her glaucoma received a check for $2,000 from her homeowners insurance company for the loss of four plants stolen from her yard. Under a state law passed in 2000, patients with permits who are under a doctor's care may possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana and grow up to seven plants at a time for medical purposes.

July 28, 2003: James Geddes, originally sentenced to 150 years for possession of a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia and for growing five marijuana plants, is released. Geddes had said, "How can it be that the President, his wife, the Vice President and his wife, the mayor of Washington DC, even the Speaker of the House can do these things, but I must pay dearly?"

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