This Week in History

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September 13, 1994: President Clinton signs The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322), which includes provisions to enhance penalties for selected drug-related crimes and to fund new drug-related programs.

September 14, 1995: The conservative, Reagan appointed judge described by American Lawyer magazine as "the most brilliant judge in the country," Richard Posner, Chief Judge of the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, is quoted in USA Today: "I am skeptical that a society that is so tolerant of alcohol and cigarettes should come down so hard on marijuana use and send people to prison for life without parole... We should not repeal all the drug laws overnight, but we should begin with marijuana and see whether the sky falls."

September 13, 1999: The US 9th Circuit Court rules that seriously ill patients should be allowed marijuana if the need is there.

September 8-9, 2000: Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins New Mexico's Republican Governor Gary Johnson in criticizing the nation's war on drugs, calling for the legalization of marijuana and reform of what Nader calls "self-defeating and antiquated drug laws." Rehabilitating drug addicts gives a far better payoff than "criminalizing and militarizing the situation," he said. "Study after study has shown that, and yet somehow it doesn't get through to federal policy."

September 13, 2000: Eleven-year-old Alberto Sepulveda of Modesto, California, is shot dead during a SWAT raid targeting his father, when an officer on the scene accidentally squeezes off a shot, killing the boy instantly. A year and a half later the family settles a federal lawsuit over the death.

September 12, 2002: In Petaluma, CA, the Genesis 1:29 medical marijuana dispensary is raided by the DEA, and Robert Schmidt, the owner, is arrested. Agents also raid a garden in Sebastopol, which supplied the Genesis dispensary.

September 10, 2004: NewScientist.com news service releases an article entitled "Cannabis Truly Helps Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers," reporting on new research confirming marijuana's efficacy in treating pain and muscle spasms associated with sufferers of the disease.

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