This Week in History

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September 18, 1969: In testimony before the Senate Special Subcommittee on Alcohol and Narcotics, Judge Charles W. Halleck of the District of Columbia Court of General Sessions explains why he no longer issues jail sentences to youthful marijuana offenders: "If I send a [long-haired marijuana offender] to jail even for 30 days, Senator, he is going to be the victim of the most brutal type of homosexual, unnatural, perverted assaults and attacks that you can imagine, and anybody who tells you it doesn't happen in that jail day in and day out is simply not telling you the truth... How in God's name, Senator, can I send anybody to that jail knowing that? How can I send some poor young kid who gets caught by some zealous policeman who wants to make his record on a narcotics arrest? How can I send that kid to jail? I can't do it. So I put him on probation or I suspend the sentence and everybody says the judge doesn't care. The judge doesn't care about drugs, lets them all go. You simply can't treat these kinds of people like that." [Ed: This quote was given in 1969. By repeating it in full, Drug War Chronicle does not intend to imply that any kind of sexual assault is acceptable.]

September 21, 1969: In an attempt to reduce marijuana smuggling from Mexico, the Customs Department, under Commissioner Myles Ambrose, acting on the orders of President Richard Nixon, launches Operation Intercept, subjecting every vehicle crossing the Mexican border to a three-minute inspection and to many observers marking the beginning of the modern war on drugs. The operation lasts two weeks and wreaks economic havoc on both sides of the border, but fails to seriously impact the flow of marijuana into the US.

September 19, 1986: Federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin says, "Drug testing is a form of surveillance, albeit a technological one. Nonetheless, it reports on a person's off-duty activities just as surely as if someone had been present and watching. It is George Orwell's Big Brother society come to life."

September 15, 1994: The Boston Globe prints the results of a reader call-in survey that asks, "Do you favor legalizing marijuana for medical use?" Ninety-seven percent of the callers say "yes."

September 17, 1998: Ninety-three members of Congress vote yes in the first vote on medical marijuana to take place on the floor of the House.

September 20, 1999: The public is finally informed of the results of Washington, DC's Initiative 59, the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, after Judge Richard Roberts orders the release of the tally previously suppressed by Congress. Voters had supported medical marijuana by 69-31%.

September 17, 2002: Santa Cruz, California officials allow a medical marijuana giveaway at City Hall to protest federal raids.

September 19, 2002: The Guardian (UK) reports that Mo Mowlam, the former cabinet minister responsible for drugs policy, is calling for the international legalization of the drug trade as part of a more effective drive to combat terrorism.

September 21, 2004: In a speech, US House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) says, "The illegal drug trade is the financial engine that fuels many terrorist organizations around the world, including Osama bin Laden."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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That's some history

Makes you wonder how the prohibitionists have managed to win the majority of the cases when it is obvious that the courts and the people have no time for drug prohibition anymore.The only ones who haven't got the message are the politicians.I guess the majority of corporate America must still see more money in prohibition than they could ever make in drug sales.They control the politicians and therefore,us.

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