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Weekly: This Week in History

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June 19, 1812: The United States goes to war with Great Britain after being cut off from 80% of its Russian hemp supply. Napoleon invades Russia to sever Britain's illegal trade in Russian hemp.

June 24, 1982: During remarks about Executive Order 12368 made from the White House's Rose Garden, President Ronald Reagan says, "We're taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts. We're running up a battle flag."

June 18, 1986: The evening death (heart failure from cocaine poisoning) of promising college basketball star Len Bias, a recent Boston Celtics draft choice, stuns the nation and leads to enactment by Congress (without hearings) of draconian mandatory minimum sentences.

June 19, 1991: In a secret vote, the Colombian assembly votes 51-13 to ban extradition in a new Constitution to take effect on July 5. The same day Pablo Escobar surrenders to Colombian police.

June 20, 1995: On a Discovery Channel special, "The Cronkite Report: The Drug Dilemma," former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite calls the drug war a failure and calls for a bipartisan commission study alternatives to prohibition, concluding, "We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today."

June 23, 1999: New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson says, "The nation's so-called War on Drugs has been a miserable failure. It hasn't worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facing this country today... We really need to put all the options on the table... and one of the things that's going to get talked about is decriminalization... What I'm trying to do here is launch discussion."

June 18, 2002: The Supreme Court rules that in conducting random searches for drugs or weapons on buses, police need not advise passengers that they are free to refuse permission to be searched.

June 20, 2002: Rolling Stone magazine reports that the Senior Judge of England's highest court, Lord Bingham, publicly declared his country's marijuana prohibition "stupid" and said he "absolutely" supported legalization.

June 22, 2002: The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passes an "Alternatives to the War on Drugs" Statement of Conscience.

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