This Week in History

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June 30, 1906: Congress passes the "Pure Food and Drug Act."

July 6, 1919: A Los Angeles Times article entitled "Officers Object to 'Dream Weed' Crop" includes an account of a woman many believe to be the state's first medical marijuana arrestee, a Mexican maid who insists that she was raising marijuana to make tea for stomach trouble.

July 1, 1930: The Porter Act establishes the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), an agency independent of the Department of the Treasury's Prohibition Unit and consequently unaffected by the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment. Harry J. Anslinger is named acting commissioner, a position he remains in for the next thirty years.

July 4, 1970: First annual 4th of July "Smoke-In" near the White House, still taking place today.

July 1, 1973: The Drug Enforcement Administration is established by President Nixon, intended to be a "super-agency" capable of handling all aspects of the drug problem. DEA consolidates agents from BNDD, Customs, the CIA, and ODALE, and is headed by Myles Ambrose.

July 4, 1997: Amado Carrillo Fuentes, according to the DEA the number one drug trafficker on the planet and chased world-wide, dies in a Mexico City clinic of post-surgery complications. He was attempting to change his face through plastic surgery by having excess fat removed.

July 1, 1998: DEA Chief Thomas Constantine is quoted, "[In] my era everybody smoked and everybody drank and there was no drug use."

July 2, 1999: Robert Vorbeck, 38, is arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to undercover officers. Facing life in prison if convicted of felony drug charges, he commits suicide in his jail cell 11 days later. On July 10, 2001, the AP reports that his estate has been ordered to pay $750,000 to the Nassau County, New York district attorney's office. The ruling, part of a settlement in a civil forfeiture case, is the first in the state in which a prosecutor seeks assets from a dead person.

July 5, 1999: In response to Governor Gary Johnson's call for drug reform debate, organizations in New Mexico form an alliance to examine alternative options to current drug policies.

July 1, 2001: Portugal introduces Europe's most liberal drug policy to date with the implementation of new laws establishing no criminal penalties for using and possessing small amounts of not only cannabis but also hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.

July 4, 2001: Sir Keith Morris, Britain's former ambassador to Colombia, is quoted in The Guardian: "It must be time to start discussing how drugs could be controlled more effectively within a legal framework. Decriminalization, which is often mentioned, would be an unsatisfactory halfway house, because it would leave the trade in criminal hands, giving no help at all to the producer countries, and would not guarantee consumers a safe product or free them from the pressure of pushers. It has been difficult for me to advocate legalization because it means saying to those with whom I worked, and to the relatives of those who died, that this was an unnecessary war. But the imperative must be to try to stop the damage. Drug prohibition does not work."

July 3, 2003: The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) announces the results of a California Latino voter poll: 65% oppose jailing young, first-time marijuana sellers, 85% oppose jail for marijuana possession, and 58% oppose jail for possession of "hard drugs."

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