Drug War Chronicle #487 - May 25, 2007

1. Editorial: Presidents and Popes Alike Should Remember the Lessons of History on Prohibition

Things aren't going well in Mexico's drug war -- and they won't, until leaders learn to listen to history's lessons.

2. Feature: Border Blues -- Canada, US Both Bar People Who Used Drugs -- Ever

Planning to cross the US-Canadian border? No matter which direction you're going, they don't want you if you ever used drugs.

3. Feature: With UMass Researcher One Decision Away From Approval to Grow Marijuana, Supporters Turn Up the Heat on the DEA

With a DEA administrative law judge ruling in favor of a Massachusetts agronomist's request to grow marijuana for research purposes, supporters are turning up the heat on the DEA to heed that ruling.

4. In Memoriam: Medical Marijuana Researcher, Advocate Dr. Tod Mikuriya Dead at 73

The medical marijuana movement has lost a pioneering researcher and advocate. Dr. Tod Mikuriya is dead at age 73.

5. DRCNet Member Offer: Stand Up for Freedom with 4th Amendment T-shirts from Flex Your Rights

Educate and motivate your friends to respectfully assert their rights during police encounters, with these fourth amendment t-shirts from our friends at Flex Your Rights!

6. DRCNet Member Offer: The Trebach Trilogy

Two re-released classics and one new volume by drug reform pioneer Arnold Trebach make up DRCNet's latest premium offer for our members.

7. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

In addition to the weekly reporting you see here in the Chronicle, DRCNet also features daily content in the way of blogging, news links, redistributed press releases and announcements from our allies and more.

8. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The beat goes on: State troopers running Oxycontin rings, problem ex-cops running Oxycontin rings, and another conviction in the infamous Dallas "pool chalk" scandal.

9. Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Awaits Expected Veto, Override

After final procedural votes this week, the Rhode Island legislature has sent a bill making the state's medical marijuana law permanent to Gov. Donald Carcieri. He's threatening to veto it, but the legislature has the votes to override as it did last year.

10. Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes House, Heads for Senate

Despite opposition by law enforcement and one opponent's virtual legislative crusade, medical marijuana passed the Connecticut House of Representatives by a wide margin.

11. Medical Marijuana: MPP, Michigan Activists Launch Initiative Campaign

Signature-gathering is set to begin in force for a medical marijuana initiative campaign getting underway in Michigan.

12. Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Dies Without House Vote as Legislature Adjourns

A bill that would have added Minnesota to the list of medical marijuana states has died after the House adjourned without a final floor vote. But it has already passed the Senate, and under the state's two-year session, it won't have to again next year.

13. Presidential Politics: Democrat Mike Gravel is Latest to Say Legalize

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel made a splash at the first Democratic presidential debate last month in South Carolina. That's drawing attention to his drug policy platform and recent statements supporting the regulation and control of drugs.

14. Latin America: UN Drug Office Blames Central American Crime and Violence on Drugs, Not Prohibition

A new report from the UN drug office warns that Central America is being submerged in drugs and crime. It recommends heightening prohibitionist efforts.

15. Middle East: Opium Poppies Flower Again in Iraq

Opium poppies flourished along the Euphrates River when the Sumerians ruled. Now, amidst civil war and chaos, they are returning to Iraq.

16. Europe: Finnish Left Party's Youth Organization Calls for Marijuana Legalization

The youth affiliate of Finland's Left Alliance Party is calling for the legalization of marijuana use and home cultivation.

17. Web Scan

DrugTruth radio tribute to Tod Mikuriya, Washington Post crack cocaine sentencing editorial, OC Weekly on MedMj, Science Mag on MedMJ, WOLA/AIN, JPI

18. Weekly: This Week in History

Events and quotes of note from this week's drug policy events of years past.

19. Job Opportunity: Program Manager, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Near Washington

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation is seeking a Program Manager to work directly with the CJPF President.

20. Job Opportunity: Web Administrator, Marijuana Policy Project, Washington

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a webmaster, to work out of the organization's Capitol Hill office.

21. Announcement: DRCNet Content Syndication Feeds Now Available for YOUR Web Site!

Support the cause by featuring automatically-updating Drug War Chronicle and other DRCNet content links on your web site!

22. Announcement: DRCNet RSS Feeds Now Available

A new way for you to receive DRCNet articles -- Drug War Chronicle and more -- is now available.

23. Announcement: New Format for the Reformer's Calendar

Visit our new web site each day to see a running countdown to the events coming up the soonest, and more.

1. Editorial: Presidents and Popes Alike Should Remember the Lessons of History on Prohibition

David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
Things aren't going well in Mexico's drug war. The headlines tell the story:

"Violence May Return to Oaxaca"

"Escalating drug war grips Mexico"

"23 Die in Mexico Violence Outbreak"

"Soldiers versus Narco-Soldiers"

"Steel-plated motel offers refuge in Mexico drug war"

"Mexico violence worrying both sides of border"

Just to print a few. Roughly 2,000 Mexicans died in drug trade violence in 2006, according to press reports. President Calderon is standing firm, the headlines also read:

"Mexico not to abandon war against drug gangs"

"Mexico's Calderon vows no backtracking in drug war"

Standing firm as his nation sinks in prohibition's quicksand. The president's escalation of the fight against the drug trade began almost immediately on his taking office, but the drug war killings escalated soon after. It is by no means the first time drug enforcement has sparked increased drug trade violence. And by no means, of course, is it the first time Mexico has suffered from such violence.

One particularly tragic and infamous drug war killing was that of Juan Jesús Cardinal Posados Ocampo, archbishop of Guadalajara, 14 years ago yesterday at the hands of a team of drug cartel thugs in the city's airport. Ocampo was lionized as a martyr, though recent theories suggest the killers may have mistaken him for a rival drug lord of their boss. Bad either way.

Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI was friends with Ocampo -- that doesn't seem unlikely -- and perhaps he had Ocampo in mind when, on a visit to a Franciscan-run drug treatment center in Brazil this month, he warned drug traffickers in Latin America they would face divine justice for "the grave harm they are inflicting on countless young people and on adults from every level of society."

Clearly there are many drug traffickers who merit such judgment. But to focus solely on their role in the system -- as most politicians have done -- is to simplify the issue to the point of dysfunction. Do the political leaders who enact prohibition laws also merit divine judgment for their actions? After all, it is their laws that sustain the black market and cause violence by sending the billions people spend on drugs every year into the criminal underground. And it is their laws that drive addicts to desperate measures by forcing them into that underground with all its uncertainties, its high street prices and the threat of punishment from the law.

Presidents and popes alike should remember the lessons of history and the experience of prohibition -- the danger it brings to their people and the ill temptation to crime it brings to their flocks. Until they do, things will not go well in Mexico's drug war, nor in the drug war anywhere. Because it is the money more than the drugs that degrades and corrupts.

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2. Feature: Border Blues -- Canada, US Both Bar People Who Used Drugs -- Ever

Nearly one of out six Canadians could be turned away from the United States because they used drugs at some point in their lives, and nearly 100 million Americans face the same prospect at the Canadian border. Under the immigration laws of both countries, persons who admit to past drug use or have a drug conviction can be excluded by the decision of the border guard they encounter and his immediate supervisors.

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I-5 at Peace Arch Park, US-Canada border between Seattle and Vancouver
Fortunately for millions of North Americans, the laws are not enforceable if they have kept their past drug use to themselves and not left a record of it in print or online. But for the at least 17 million US citizens who have drug convictions and a smaller but still sizeable number of Canadians with drug convictions, such laws could lead to a rude awakening when arriving at the border.

How many people are actually turned back at the border for past drug use is unknown. US Customs and Border Protection Service officials could not provide a detailed breakdown of the 574 aliens deemed inadmissible on the average day. Nor were Canadian figures obtainable from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

While such policies have been in place for years, they have been little known -- except for people who have found out the hard way. One of those people is Dr. Andrew Feldmar, a Vancouver, BC, psychiatrist, who had crossed the border on numerous occasions, only to be turned back last summer by a US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent who googled his name and turned up an academic article in which he discussed taking LSD on two occasions nearly forty years ago.

An independent Canadian newspaper, The Tyee, picked up on the story last month, and since then it has been recounted in numerous publications, including a May 14 piece in the New York Times that was widely syndicated and appeared on numerous blogs. The Feldmar fiasco has led to renewed attention to the persecution of admitted drug users at the border under a policy that, if strictly enforced, would make hundreds of millions of people ineligible to enter the US.

The relevant section of US immigration law says that the US can exclude "aliens who have been convicted of, or who admit to having committed, or who admit to committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation or conspiracy to violate any law or regulation of a State, the United States or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance as defined in s. 102 of the Controlled Substances Act. An attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime is included in this ground of exclusion."

"Drug violations or admissions of drug use fall under the controlled substances statutes and make people inadmissible under certain circumstances," said Mike Milne, a US Customs and Border Protection spokesman in Seattle. "It depends on the totality of the circumstances," he told Drug War Chronicle. "We don't treat marijuana differently from any other illicit drug," Milne added. "It's considered a prohibited substance."

But as the case of Dr. Feldmar shows, the "totality of the circumstances" is very open to interpretation. In Feldmar's case, two instances of ancient LSD use for research purposes outweighed his decades of solid citizenship and professional activity and the fact that he had previously entered the US without problem on multiple previous occasions.

"Denying a respected researcher like Dr. Feldmar entry into the county is just absurd," said Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann, whose organization has begun a campaign to undo the policy. "We have grave concerns about the impact this can have on researchers on drugs writing openly. And what about people coming here for a conference on methadone or on injection drug use and HIV? Many of these people are likely to have been drug users," he told the Chronicle. "Are we to exclude them now? We are also deeply concerned that these increasingly powerful databases make it possible to go back and dredge up anything you ever wrote or blogged or posted on a web page."

DPA is looking into what, if any, action could be taken in Congress to ameliorate the problem, but it is unlikely anything would happen this year. "100 million Americans have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives, and it's hard to find a presidential candidate who hasn't smoked pot; yet we're prohibiting people from other countries who have used drugs from visiting our country. It just doesn't make sense," said Bill Piper, DPA's director of national affairs. "Imagine if other countries adopted similar policies. Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, Sam Donaldson and millions of other Americans wouldn't be able to travel."

Work in Congress is just getting underway, Piper told the Chronicle. "We just started our first round of lobbying congressional offices, talking to the staff of people on the judiciary and homeland security committees," he said. "People didn't know about this and were shocked at the policy; it just seemed unfair to them to punish people for things they'd written or things they had done in the past."

After educating key congressional staffers, said Piper, it will be on to phase two. "Right now, we trying to gauge how widespread is the interest in this, and then we'll probably go back for a second round of lobbying."

For people thinking about traveling to the US, CBP's Milne outlined what could happen in the event they are excluded. If a person is denied admission because of past drug use or convictions, said Milne, three possibilities present themselves. "In most cases, you can just withdraw your application for admission and turn around and walk away," he said. "Or you can choose to go before an immigration judge to adjudicate the issue. In that case, you would most likely remain in custody until the hearing," he said. "But if you make false statements during the course of your application [if you get caught denying past use or a conviction], you can be subject to extradited removal. In that case, we will document that something illegal took place on this attempt to enter, remove you from the country, and bar you from readmission for up to five years."

Milne could provide no statistics on the number of people turned away because of admitted drug use or drug convictions, but did say that of the 680,000 aliens who attempt to enter the country through ports of entry on any given day, about 575 are denied entry and 63 are arrested.

Famed Dutch drug researcher Peter Cohen isn't taking the chance. "I will not try to enter the US anymore," said Cohen, who has done ground-breaking work on the (lack of) links between drug policies and drug use levels. "Imagine if they read my research!" he told the Chronicle. "I am dead serious. I will not risk being treated like a piece of dirt by US law enforcement people who are known the world over as brutes and idiots," he vowed.

"Just a few weeks ago, we had a story here of a young Dutch man who was in the US one day past his permit," Cohen continued. "They kept him imprisoned for weeks, and his stories about his treatment and his inaccessibility to lawyers and the Dutch embassy were just horrible. No, that is not for me."

A Canadian substance use and drug policy researcher who asked not to be identified told Drug War Chronicle that "border enforcement that focuses on either research into or past personal use of illicit substances directly impacts our ability to study our current approach towards drugs, and will likely stifle dialogue that might move us towards more evidence-based policies and practices." Not only are such policies "a violation of free speech and personal liberty rights on both sides of the border," he added, "stopping the flow of information on effective harm reduction practices in both Canada and the US could have a negative impact on the public health of both our nations."

The very fact that this prominent researcher requested anonymity proves the point that the policy has a silencing impact. "I'd rather not be quoted in this article although I believe that it's an important story," he said while noting that he has not run into problems at the US border, "because if the US has reduced its homeland security infrastructure to a simple Google search, I worry that it's just a matter of time before they start to hassle me as well, and being quoted in a story pointing out that I haven't yet been harassed or denied entry sounds like the best way to raise a red flag the next time I cross the border."

But the door at the US-Canadian border can be slammed shut by either side, and despite its reputation as a cannabis-friendly nation, border guards at Canadian points of entry are just as quick to turn you back as are the Americans. In fact, Canadian border guards may be even tougher than the Americans, especially for offenses like driving under the influence.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site explains:

"Whether you are planning to visit, work, study or immigrate, if you have committed or been convicted of a criminal offence, you may be prohibited from entering Canada. Criminal offences include both minor and serious offences such as theft, assault, dangerous driving, driving while intoxicated and manslaughter, among others. For a complete list of criminal offences in Canada, please consult the Canadian Criminal Code. If you have juvenile convictions (convictions for crimes committed while under the age of 18), you are most likely not prohibited from entering Canada."

The one bit of good news is that a simple marijuana possession conviction probably won't keep an American out of Canada. Under Canadian law, possession of less than an ounce is a summary offense and does not constitute inadmissibility, said Vancouver immigration attorney Gordon Maynard.

Don't try to deny any criminal history, Maynard warned. "It is not a good idea to lie. The Ports of Entry have access to the NCIC database and can readily see any history of arrests, charges, court proceedings, convictions and incarceration in the database," he said. "Officers have this information even before they ask the questions. Failure to truthfully answer questions on any relevant matter, including criminality, constitutes misrepresentation and is a separate bar against entry and can include a two-year penalty against any further entry."

Still, Maynard told the Chronicle, you could be excluded even with a clean record. "You don't need a conviction to be inadmissible to Canada on criminal grounds," he said. "Pending charges, or an admission of prior criminal behavior, can be enough if the Canadian officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a criminal offense."

"I think this is one of the worst manifestations yet in the war on some drugs," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML). "Keeping people out of the US because they once used a drug is absurd, but Canada does the same thing. Although Canada has historically hewed toward a more open and tolerant marijuana policy, has functionally decriminalized marijuana to some degree, allows medical marijuana, and lets farmers legally grow hemp, an American can be turned away if he has a marijuana or other drug conviction or has even publicly acknowledged his drug use."

Publicity over the Feldmar fiasco has the phones ringing off the wall at NORML, St. Pierre said. "We're getting lots of calls now from people with past convictions or people who have blogged or spoken publicly or appeared on TV or radio about their marijuana use," he noted. "This includes people who are NORML lawyers, as well as Dr. Lester Grinspoon. It's his birthday next month, and his family wanted to take him to Vancouver. Although he's never been convicted of any crime, he has admitted to using cannabis, so now the family is worried about whether he can even cross the border. This is a great concern," St. Pierre said.

It's also a personal concern for St. Pierre, who was born in Maine and has family on the Canadian side of the border. "I've acknowledged using cannabis on many, many occasions, so I don't know if they'll let me in," he said. "I'd like to go up there to see family, to go fishing, to go on educational junkets, but now I don't know."

Of course, not everyone has to worry about these laws. Admitted former drug users, such as David Cameron (head of the British Tory party), former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, the current Premieres of Quebec and Ontario, actors Colin Farrell and Pierce Brosnan, British billionaire Richard Branson (Virgin Air) and numerous musicians like Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and George Michael all seem to be able to get into either country at will. Similarly, Canada doesn't seem to have any problem with admitted former drug users like Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Perhaps, as CBP spokesman Milne mused when asked about apparent differential enforcement, "Maybe they all got waivers." Perhaps not.

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3. Feature: With UMass Researcher One Decision Away From Approval to Grow Marijuana, Supporters Turn Up the Heat on the DEA

Six years after he first filed a petition with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seeking to grow marijuana to supply researchers, University of Massachusetts agronomy professor Lyle Craker is now one decision away from winning DEA approval of his project. Last week, a DEA administrative law judge issued a final recommendation that the project be allowed to move forward.

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Lyle Craker (courtesy aclu.org/drugpolicy/)
Currently, the only marijuana available for scientific and medical research is grown at a US government facility at the University of Mississippi and distributed through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). But NIDA has proven extremely reluctant to approve scientists' requests for access to marijuana when the research they are planning to conduct is on its medical uses.

"Respondent's registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest," wrote Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner in her decision. "There is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes," she concluded, noting also that the risk of diversion was minimal and that Craker had complied with all applicable laws.

But the judge's decision is not binding. The final decision on Craker's petition will be made by the DEA's deputy administrator, and it is by no means certain that the functionary will heed the judge's recommendations. The agency has historically opposed any efforts to end the government monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes and it has already stated that it disagrees with the judge's conclusions.

Backed by the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which will finance the research, and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project, Craker has persevered for more than half a decade as his request languished in the bowels of the DEA. Now, only one obstacle remains.

In an effort to press the DEA to respond favorably to the petition, Dr. Craker and his backers and supporters held a press conference Wednesday at the agency's Northern Virginia headquarters to turn up the heat. "Working with medical marijuana seems so similar to the work we're doing with other medicinal plants that I've never understood the DEA's big problem with it," said Craker.

"The DEA has an opportunity here to live up to its rhetoric, which has been that marijuana advocates should work on conducting research rather than filing lawsuits," said MAPS president Dr. Rick Doblin "It's become more and more obvious that the DEA has been obstructing potentially beneficial medical research, and now is the time for them to change," he said.

"For almost 20 years, MAPS has been trying to conduct the research," Doblin noted. "We've had two protocols approved by the FDA, one to look at AIDS wasting and the other looking at medical marijuana for migraines. Both were blocked by NIDA, which refused to provide the marijuana we needed to do the studies. We've been struggling for four years to purchase 10 grams for vaporizer research for a non-smoking delivery system. Currently, the government has a monopoly, and our ability to do research is fundamentally compromised," he noted.

"We've won the latest round in the perennial litigation, with the DEA judge recommending that Dr. Craker get the license," said Doblin. "Unfortunately, we have to unleash a major lobbying campaign to get the DEA to live up to its rhetoric. The government is too trapped into the drug war to be comfortable funding studies that might contradict the propaganda and 'send the wrong message.' We have a situation where the government is focused on suppressing research, not facilitating it."

Also at the press conference was medical marijuana patient Angel Raich, whose challenge to federal marijuana laws went all the way to the US Supreme Court before being denied in 2005. "It is extremely frustrating that the federal government has made a really large effort to block research that could help patients like me," said the California woman, who uses marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of seizure disorders, wasting syndrome, and an inoperable brain tumor, among other conditions. "It is time for the government and the DEA to stop playing games with patients' lives," she said.

"The ACLU is involved because we believe patients like Angel should be able to get their medicine from a pharmacy, like everyone else," said the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project's Allen Hopper. "Judge Bittner reached the only decision she could under the law," he argued, noting that Bittner acknowledged that NIDA had a stockpile of research marijuana, but that researchers were routinely denied access to it.

"We are here today," Hopper continued, "because we are now one step away from entering the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. We are confident the administration will do the right thing, but we are also prepared to go to the federal court of appeals to force the DEA to do the right thing if necessary."

An impressive array of politicians and groups is prepared to push the DEA in the right direction. Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry (D) and Edward Kennedy (D) and 38 members of the House of Representatives have joined a broad range of scientific, medical and public health organizations in challenging the federal government's policy of blocking administrative channels and obstructing research that could lead to the development of marijuana as a prescription medicine. These organizations include the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the National Association for Public Health Policy, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, as well as several state medical and nurses' associations.

Now it is up to the DEA to render a final decision. The DEA administrator who will make the call is not bound by Judge Bittner's recommendation, nor is she required to make her decision within any timeline. It will be up to public pressure to produce the desired results. Wednesday's press conference was only the beginning.

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4. In Memoriam: Medical Marijuana Researcher, Advocate Dr. Tod Mikuriya Dead at 73

Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, MD, a psychiatrist, prominent researcher, and medical marijuana advocate, died Sunday night at his Berkeley, California, home. He was 73 years of age.

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Tod Mikuriya
Mikuriya, who was a member of DRCNet's Board of Advisors, earned a medical degree at Temple University, then completed a psychiatric residency at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco before joining the US Army Medical Corps. After military service and serving at state hospitals in California and Oregon, he directed marijuana research at the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1967, but quickly quit, citing political interference with research results.

He turned to a private practice in psychiatry, but his clinical interest in marijuana never waned. In 1973, he published the pioneering "Medical Marijuana Papers," an anthology of journal articles on cannabis therapeutics, and he later founded the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

Mikuriya was deeply involved in the campaign for Proposition 215, the groundbreaking 1996 initiative that made California the first state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. After Prop 215 passed, Mikuriya served as Medical Coordinator of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the Hayward Hempery, and the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club -- organizations established to provide access to medical marijuana for patients.

In 2000, Mikuriya founded the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to conducting quality medical marijuana research, to ensuring the safety and confidentiality of all research subjects, and to maintaining the highest quality of standards and risk management."

In 2003, Mikuriya was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California after an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct in 16 cases since 1998. Mikuriya and his supporters said he was being targeted for his medical marijuana advocacy. He appealed the board ruling, and continued to practice up until his death.

Dr. Mikuriya remained an ardent and animated advocate of medical marijuana, and more broadly, social justice, up until the end. His vision, principles, and perseverance are to be emulated. They will certainly be missed.

Mikuriya contributed a collection of papers that are available in DRCNet's Drug Library, Schaffer Library section, online here.

Listen to the DrugTruth Network's half hour tribute, including interviews with Mikuriya and remembrances of friends and family, here.

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5. DRCNet Member Offer: Stand Up for Freedom with 4th Amendment T-shirts from Flex Your Rights

As our latest membership premium, DRCNet is pleased to offer t-shirts from our friends at the group Flex Your Rights -- white t-shirts reading "I Don't Consent to Searches" and black t-shirts reading "Got a Warrant?," both with the text of the 4th amendment on the back. Flex Your Rights is the maker of a video that more than 800 DRCNet subscribers have bought from us, "Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters." I wear Flex Your Rights shirts all the time, and they've gotten me into many conversations, but never into trouble.


Donate $30 or more to DRCNet take your pick of the two shirts -- donate $55 or more to get both! Donate $50 and we'll send you a shirt AND a copy of Busted -- or $75 to order Busted and both shirts!


We also continue all our other recent offers -- "Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics," the three Arnold Trebach books, StoptheDrugwar.org merchandise, many more. Visit our donation page online to view all the offerings in the right-hand column.


Your donation will help DRCNet as we advance what we think is an incredible two-year plan to substantially advance drug policy reform and the cause of ending prohibition globally and in the US. Please make a generous donation today to help the cause! I know you will feel the money was well spent after you see what DRCNet has in store. Our online donation form lets you donate by credit card, by PayPal, or to print out a form to send with your check or money order by mail.


Please note that contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, our lobbying entity, are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations can be made to DRCNet Foundation, our educational wing. (Choosing one or more gifts will reduce the portion of your donation that you can deduct by the retail cost of the item.) Both groups receive member mail at: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.


Thank you for your support, and hope to hear from you soon.


Sincerely,



David Borden
Executive Director

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6. DRCNet Member Offer: The Trebach Trilogy

Update to original offer: Trebach has agreed to sign all copies of his books that you get from DRCNet! Also, add just $22 or more to your donation to get a copy of Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics too! (Make a note in the comment box to let us know you're requesting this.)

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Arnold Trebach at 2003 press conference on which DRCNet collaborated
We are pleased to announce that our latest premium book offer for members is the "Trebach Trilogy" -- two re-released classics by Arnold Trebach -- a long-time friend of DRCNet, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation and known to reform cognoscenti as the father of the modern drug policy reform movement -- and one newly-minted volume:

  • The Heroin Solution: "A blockbuster," says Publishers Weekly. "Eloquent and persuasive," according to The New York Times.
  • The Great Drug War, and Rational Proposals to Turn the Tide: Two decades ago, in what was a heartfelt indictment of the Reagan-era war on drugs, Trebach identified and brought to vivid life all sorts of abuses derived from the effort to enforce drug prohibition and began to elaborate a strategy for escaping from drug war and achieving "drug peace." (Drug War Chronicle)
  • Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror: [T]he distillation of a life's work in the trenches of drug law reform... a book grizzled reformers and bright-eyed newcomers to the cause alike will want to read and absorb. (Drug War Chronicle)

Please help DRCNet's work with a generous donation. If your donation is $35 or more, we'll send you a complimentary copy of any one of the Trebach books -- or donate $65 or more and choose two, or $90 or more for all three.

Your donation will help DRCNet as we advance what we think is an incredible two-year plan to substantially advance drug policy reform and the cause of ending prohibition globally and in the US. Please make a generous donation today to help the cause! I know you will feel the money was well spent after you see what DRCNet has in store. Our online donation form lets you donate by credit card, by PayPal, or to print out a form to send with your check or money order by mail. Please note that contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, our lobbying entity, are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations can be made to DRCNet Foundation, our educational wing. (Choosing gift items will reduce the portion of your donation that you can deduct by the retail cost of the item.) Both groups receive member mail at: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.

Read Chronicle editor Phil Smith's review of The Great Drug War here, Phil's review of Fatal Distraction here, and Phil's review of The Heroin Solution here.

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7. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Along with our weekly in-depth Chronicle reporting, DRCNet has since late summer also been providing daily content in the way of blogging in the Stop the Drug War Speakeasy, as well as Latest News links (upper right-hand corner of most web pages), event listings (lower right-hand corner) and other info. Check out DRCNet every day to stay on top of the drug reform game!

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Speakeasy photo (courtesy arbizu.org)

This week:

Phil Smith on "Remedial Psychedelic Ethics 101: Don't Dose People" and "More Reefer Madness Yellow Journalism in Australia."

Scott Morgan on "New Marijuana Research: Stoned People Aren't Stupid," "Can You Smell the Meth," "Attention Marijuana Users: Hershey™ Doesn’t Want Your Business," and "Remedial Marijuana Ethics 101: Don't Be An Idiot."

David Guard has been busy too, posting a plethora of press releases, action alerts, job listings and other interesting items reposted from many allied organizations around the world in our "In the Trenches" activist feed. DRCNet's Reader Blogs have been going too -- we invite you to join them and become an author in the DRCNet community too. And we urge you to comment on any or all of the above.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

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8. Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

State troopers running Oxycontin rings, problem ex-cops running Oxycontin rings, and another conviction in the infamous Dallas "pool chalk" scandal. Let's get to it:

In Boston, a Massachusetts State Trooper was arrested May 15 on charges he ran an Oxycontin trafficking and extortion ring. Trooper Mark Lemieux, who had a long career arresting drug traffickers, was himself arrested along with a former state trooper, Joseph Catanese, and two other people, including Lemieux's girlfriend. Lemieux had been assigned to the Bristol County Drug Force, but that didn't stop him from allegedly arranging with a drug dealer to let his girlfriend courier Oxycontin from Florida to Massachusetts. Lemieux and company went down after the dealer got busted and turned state's evidence. He had been a snitch for Lemieux, but now he has snitched on him.

In London, Kentucky, a former local police officer was arrested May 18 on drug sales charges. Brad Nighbert, the son of state Department of Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert, was an officer for the Williamsburg police for seven years. Things began to go downhill for him when he crashed his cruiser into a woman's car while on duty in 2006, and drug tests showed he had consumed oxycodone and cocaine. As the town board met to consider firing him for that, he resigned. He was later arrested on drug possession and other charges in that incident. While awaiting a September court date on those charges, Nighbert managed to get stopped for acting suspicious in the parking lot of a night club where a stabbing had occurred. Police found 14 Oxycontin pills and $32,000 in cash in his vehicle, and, after obtaining a search warrant, another $3,000 in cash, 57 methadone tablets, and ledgers. He is now charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, having prescription drugs in an improper container, tampering with evidence, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and impersonating a police officer.

In Dallas, a former Dallas police officer was found guilty in the "pool chalk" scandal last Friday. Former officer Jeffrey Haywood was convicted of lying on a police report by saying he field-tested a substance believed to be cocaine when it was seized in May 2001. The substance turned out to be pool chalk with a trace of cocaine. More than two dozen people, most of the Hispanic immigrants, were arrested, convicted and sent to prison as drug traffickers based on drug seizures that turned out to be pool chalk. Former officer Mark Delapaz has already been convicted in the scandal, and cases are pending against two other officers. Haywood was sentenced to two years probation.

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9. Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Bill Awaits Expected Veto, Override

A bill that would make Rhode Island's medical marijuana law permanent has passed its final legislative hurdle and is now proceeding to the desk of Gov. Donald Carcieri (R), who vows to veto it. But the measure has passed both houses by margins sufficient to override that threat. If so, it would mark the second time in as many years that the legislature overrode Carcieri's veto of a medical marijuana law.

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leading RI patient activist Rhonda O'Donnell, at DC protest
When passed last year, the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act contained a sunset provision causing the state's program to die June 30 if not re-approved by the legislature. This year's bill actually passed both houses earlier this month, but the final procedural hurdle was cleared when the full House voted this week to pass the Senate version of the bill.

The bill would allow a patient diagnosed as having a debilitating medical condition to possess up to 12 marijuana plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. A caregiver could have 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana for each of up to five qualified patients. The state Health Department would register patients and caregivers.

The bill has been pushed by a coalition of medical, legal, and drug reform groups, the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. It appears the group is just a veto override vote away from victory.

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10. Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes House, Heads for Senate

A bill that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for some patients has passed out of the Connecticut House of Representatives on a vote of 89-58. It now heads for the state Senate, which approved a similar measure in 2005. That bill was defeated in the House. The vote came after six hours of debate in the House, where lawmakers cited their own experiences with debilitating illness.

"The message is simple: We have compassion for people who are suffering in this state," said Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) during the debate.

"Today, we have the opportunity to give relief to Connecticut residents who are sick, who are dying, who are wasting away, who are losing their quality of life," she said. "And we can tell those Connecticut residents that the state of Connecticut no longer will prosecute you," said Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers), who led the fight for the bill.

The bill, HB 6715, would allow physicians to certify an adult patient's use of marijuana after determining he or she has a debilitating condition and could potentially benefit from marijuana. Patients and their primary caregivers would then register with the state's Department of Consumer Protection. Patients and caregivers could grow up to four plants four feet high in an indoor facility.

The bill was supported by a broad coalition including The Alliance Connecticut, United Methodist Church of Connecticut, Connecticut Nurses Association, Dr. Andrew Salner -- Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital, A Better Way Foundation, the Drug Policy Alliance Network, and the Drug Policy Alliance.

It was opposed by law enforcement and by Rep. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), who led a virtual legislative crusade against it. Boucher filed 50 hostile amendments to the bill before Thursday's vote, but gave up after the first eight got shot down. Her proposals included informing police departments of the names of registered medical marijuana users and requiring the state Agriculture Department to set up a pilot program.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero put on his best street hustler accent as he opposed the bill. "How do you get it?" he asked, referring to the seeds for starting the four plants allowed under the bill "You've got to buy it. How do you buy it? As Rep.(Michael) Lawlor said, you've got to hit the streets folks -- nickel bag, dime bag. You gotta make a drug deal, baby."

Cafero's Scarface imitation notwithstanding, the bill has passed and now heads to the Senate, where it faces committee votes.

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11. Medical Marijuana: MPP, Michigan Activists Launch Initiative Campaign

Fresh from a string of victories at the local level, Michigan medical marijuana activists aided and abetted by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) announced Wednesday they are launching an initiative campaign that would add Michigan to the ranks of medical marijuana states.

The Ferndale-based Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care will have six months to gather 304,101 valid voter signatures to place the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act on the 2008 ballot. The group said Wednesday it planned to gather 550,000, and MPP announced it would pay a dollar per signature.

The act would allow people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases to grow and use small amounts of marijuana for the relief of pain. The act would set up a registry program for patients and caregivers.

Since 2004, voters in five Michigan cities have passed ballot initiatives allowing for medicinal marijuana use, including Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Ann Arbor and Traverse City.

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12. Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Dies Without House Vote as Legislature Adjourns

A bill that would have made Minnesota the 13th medical marijuana state died for lack of a House floor vote before the state legislature adjourned Tuesday. A companion bill had passed the Senate earlier in the session, but even if the House had passed it, it faced a veto threat from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The bill, HF 655, would have allowed patients with specified chronic debilitating conditions to possess up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Patients would have been able to designate caregivers to grow for them. The bill also called for patients to register with the state after obtaining a written recommendation from a physician, registered nurse, or physician's assistant.

Although the Minnesota medical marijuana bill could not clear the final legislative hurdle this year, supporters said their success this year left them well-positioned for next year. Under the state's two-year session, next year's drive will begin with the legislation having already passed the Senate, and with the momentum of an unbroken string of committee wins.

"We are in a very strong position to pass this sensible, compassionate bill into law next year, and making sure that happens will be a top priority," said Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) in a press release from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC), a coalition of citizens, patients, medical professionals and others working to pass the bill.

"Passage of the medical marijuana bill in the Senate this year gave the effort incredible momentum, and I look forward to passing the House in 2008," added Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing).

Another legislative supporter, bill cosponsor and former House speaker Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) vowed to work on bringing Gov. Pawlenty around in the mean time. "I look forward to having a continuing dialogue with the governor about the need to protect seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana, and about the safeguards built into this legislation," he said. "I'm confident we will pass it when we return next year because it's the right thing to do."

Last month, New Mexico became the latest state to enact a medical marijuana law when Gov. Bill Richardson, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, signed a bill into law there. That gave some hope to MCC director Neal Levine. "As states like New Mexico continue to step forward and new research continues to document the relief that medical marijuana can provide for suffering patients, the momentum is overwhelming," said Levine. "No Minnesotan should fear arrest and jail simply for trying to stay alive, and I have no doubt that 2008 will be the year that protection for patients becomes law."

If that is indeed the case, Minnesota will join Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington as medical marijuana states.

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13. Presidential Politics: Democrat Mike Gravel is Latest to Say Legalize

Opposition to the drug war among major party presidential candidates has thus far been represented by Rep. Ron Paul, libertarian Republican congressman from Texas, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, progressive Democratic congressman from Ohio. The list just got longer. Former Alaska US Senator Mike Gravel is definitely a long-shot for the Democratic Party 2008 presidential nomination, but his performance at the first Democratic presidential candidates debate (transcript here) April 26 in Charleston, SC, really raised his profile and is giving Paul and Kucinich some competition for the anti-prohibitionist vote.

Gravel's combination of humor and anger as he attacked President Bush and his fellow Democratic contenders for their stances on the Iraq war, relations with Iran, and other issues were for many watchers the first introduction to a man who retired from politics in 1980. But the Mike Gravel who played a key role in the publication of the Pentagon Papers and ending the draft all those years ago didn't really seem to have changed all that much. He's still the iconoclast he was forty years ago.

It shows in his position on drug policy. According to his campaign web site, Gravel's prison and drug reform plank is as follows:

"The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other peacetime nation in the world. According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics the number of US residents behind bars has now reached more than 2.3 million.

"We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. Our nation's ineffective and wasteful 'war on drugs' plays a major role in this. We must place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention. We must de-criminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment and prevention in our communities as well as in jails and prisons.

"We must increase the use of special drug courts in which addicted offenders are given the opportunity to complete court supervised substance abuse treatment instead of being sentenced to prison. We must eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We must increase the use of alternative penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. Drug defendants convicted of nonviolent offenses should not be given mandatory prison sentences. We should emphasize the criminalization of the importers, manufacturers, and major distributors, rather than just the street vendors. Prisons in this country should be a legitimate criminal sanction -- but it should be an extension of a fair, just and wise society."

But Gravel went much further in a May interview with the Iowa Independent. When asked if he really thought marijuana should be legal, and should cocaine and methamphetamine be legal, too, he replied: " When are we are going to learn? We went through the Depression and we realized how we created all the gangsters and the violence. When FDR came in he wiped out Prohibition. We need to wipe out this whole war on drugs. We spend $50 billion to $70 billion a year. We create criminals that aren't criminals. We destabilize foreign countries. With respect to marijuana, Doug, I'll tell you what: Go get yourself a fifth of scotch or a fifth of gin and chug-a-lug it down and you'll find you lose your senses a lot faster than you would smoking some marijuana."

When pressed again about cocaine and meth, Gravel replied: "We need to legalize the regulation of drugs. The drug problem is a public health problem. It's not a criminal problem. We make it a criminal problem because we treat people like criminals. You take a drug addict, you throw him in jail, you leave him there, and he learns the criminal trade so that when he gets out you have recidivism."

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14. Latin America: UN Drug Office Blames Central American Crime and Violence on Drugs, Not Prohibition

Central America's stability and development is being thwarted by crime and violence, much of it caused by the drug trade, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released Wednesday. However, the report called for an intensification of the prohibitionist policies that helped create the problems in the first place.

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global and tunnel vision at the same time
When a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking industry and the violence it generates is added to a witch's brew of social problems, including poverty, income disparity, gang violence, high homicide rates, easy access to firearms, weak political and social institutions, and widespread corruption, the weak Central American nations are under siege, the report warned.

"The warning signs are evident in this report -- gun-related crime, gang violence, kidnapping, the proliferation of private security companies," said UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa in a press release accompanying the report. "But these problems are in no way inherent to the region. They can be overcome."

Sandwiched between the coca and cocaine producing regions of South America and the insatiable market for cocaine in North America, Central America sees nearly 90% of cocaine headed north. While little of it falls off the truck -- Central American usage rates are low, according to UNODC -- violence and corruption associated with the black market drug trade take their toll.

"Where crime and corruption reign and drug money perverts the economy, the State no longer has a monopoly on the use of force and citizens no longer trust their leaders and public institutions," Mr. Costa said, underscoring that development is stunted where crime and corruption thrive. "As a result, the social contract is in tatters and people take the law into their own hands."

Countries in the region and beyond need to work together to strengthen their criminal justice systems, and break the links between drugs, crime, and underdevelopment, the UNODC advised. "Cooperation is vital," Costa said. "The problems are too big, too inter-linked and too dangerous to be left to individual states."

But rather than revising the global drug prohibition regime that generates the huge black market flows of cash, drugs, and guns at the root of many of Central America's problems, Costa and the UNODC simply call for more of the same. "We have a shared responsibility and common interest in helping the countries of Central America to withstand external pressures and to strengthen their internal resistance to the damaging effects of drugs and crime," Costa said. "Let us unlock the potential of this region."

If Costa and the UNODC suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to drug prohibition, at least they displayed a nuanced understanding of the youth gangs or "maras" that are so quickly demonized in the press. "Heavy-handed crackdowns on gangs alone will not resolve the underlying problem. Indeed, it may exacerbate them," Costa noted. "Gang culture is a symptom of a deeper social malaise that cannot be solved by putting all disaffected street kids behind bars. The future of Central America depends on seeing youth as an asset rather than a liability."

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15. Middle East: Opium Poppies Flower Again in Iraq

Ancient Iraq is the source of some of the earliest written accounts of opium poppy production. As far as 5,000 years back, the plant known to the ancient Sumerians as Hul Gil, the "joy plant," was cultivated in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia. Now, according to the London newspaper The Independent, opium production is once again underway in Iraq.

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the opium trader's wares (photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith during September 2005 visit to Afghanistan)
Rice farmers along the Euphrates river west of Diwaniya have switched to opium poppies, the Independent reported, citing "two students from there and a source in Basra familiar with the Iraqi drug trade." The newspaper noted that the area, which is the scene of power struggles between rival Shiite militia groups and outside the effective control of the national government, is too dangerous for Western journalists to visit.

While concern has been rising since the US invasion in 2003 about Iraq's role as a conduit in the international drug trade, particularly the distribution of Afghan heroin smuggled through Iran, into Iraq, and thence to wealthy Middle Eastern and Western European markets, the apparent turn toward poppy cultivation in Diwaniya is a first.

The reported poppy planting comes amidst increasing, if largely unreported, conflict in southern Iraq between the Mehdi Army of firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Badr Organization, the armed wing of Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. At least one source told The Independent that the current fighting in the south started over control of opium production, but has since spread into a general turf war.

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16. Europe: Finnish Left Party's Youth Organization Calls for Marijuana Legalization

The Left Youth of Finland, the youth organization of the Left Alliance Party (link to official web site in Finnish here) narrowly approved a resolution calling for the legalization of marijuana use and home cultivation. The resolution passed by a two-vote margin at the group's annual convention last weekend, according to Finnish media reports.

While a four-year-old Left Youth drug policy statement said there should be no punishment for personal marijuana use or growing, the group had previously hesitated to call for legalization. In fact, the same policy statement that said marijuana use should not be punished also said that "Cannabis should not be legalized in Finland."

Passage of the resolution comes some six months after Left Youth's Satakunta area chairman was sentenced to a fine for growing and smoking marijuana.

Among those opposing the resolution was new Left Youth president Jussi Saramo. He said the matter needed more consideration and should have been debated in the broader context of overall policy toward intoxicants. "However, as chairman, I stand behind the decision," he added. "We don't need any more drugs, but victimizing the users does not help," Saramo added.

Passage of the resolution puts the Left Youth at odds with its parent organization, the Left Alliance. Party chairman Matti Korhonen criticized the youth group, saying holding a vote at a convention is not the proper way to decide important issues. "The party's starting point is one of zero tolerance," he added.

The Left Alliance, formed in 1990 from former socialist and communist parties, receives around 10% of the vote in Finnish elections. With three strong parties, Finnish governments typically involve multi-party coalitions. The Left Alliance joined coalition governments led by the left-leaning Social Democrats in 1995 and 1999, but it is not part of the current coalition government led by the conservative National Coalition Party.

Under current Finnish drug laws, which changed two years ago to include the offense of "drug use," possession of up to 10 grams of hashish or 15 grams of marijuana is typically punished by a small fine. Growing marijuana plants, however, is still considered a "drug production" offense and is punished more severely.

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17. Web Scan

DrugTruth radio network celebration of the life of Tod Mikuriya

Washington Post editorial about mandatory minimum crack cocaine sentences, featuring NAADPC's Judge Burnett.

ONDCP Reports No Increase in Coca Cultivation in Bolivia in 2006," memo from the Andean Information Network and the Washington Office on Latin America

Dude, Where's My Pot?, Nick Schou in the Orange County Weekly remarks on the county's continued war on medical marijuana 10 years after voters legalized it in the state.

Justice Policy Institute new web site resource to help advocates put rising crime rates into perspective

Science Magazine editorializes in favor of medical marijuana, partial reprint with link to full-version on paid subscription site

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18. Weekly: This Week in History

May 27, 1963: President Nathan M. Pusey of Harvard University announces that an assistant professor of clinical psychology and education has been fired. The man dismissed was Dr. Richard Alpert, later known as "Ram Dass."

May 29, 1969: The Canadian government forms the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical use of Drugs, which ultimately issues the famed LeDain report, recommending that simple possession of cannabis and cultivation for personal use be permitted. The report contradicts almost all of the common fallacies held by some of the general public. During an interview in 1998, LeDain blames politicians for the fact that virtually none of the commission's recommendations were made into law.

May 26, 1971: In tapes revealed long after his presidency ended, President Richard M. Nixon says, "You know it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it's because most of them are psychiatrists, you know, there's so many, all the greatest psychiatrists are Jewish."

May 25, 1973: The NBC Evening News reports that 28 marines and 18 sailors handling the president's yacht were transferred and reassigned from Camp David due to marijuana offenses.

May 30, 1977: Newsweek runs a story on cocaine reporting that "Among hostesses in the smart sets of Los Angeles and New York, a little cocaine, like Dom Perignon and Beluga caviar, is now de rigueur at dinners. Some party givers pass it around along with canapes on silver trays... the user experiences a feeling of potency, of confidence, of energy."

May 28, 1994: President Clinton's appointed director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Thomas Constantine, says in a Washington Times interview: "Many times people talk about the nonviolent drug offender. That is a rare species. There is not some sterile drug type not involved in violence -- there is no drug user who is contributing some good to the community -- they are contributing nothing but evil."

May 31, 1996: Psychedelic guru Timothy Leary dies.

May 31, 2000: Lions Gate Films releases Grass, the Woody Harrelson-narrated/Ron Mann-directed documentary about the history of marijuana in 20th century America.

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19. Job Opportunity: Program Manager, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Near Washington

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation is seeking a Program Manager to work directly with the CJPF President. This is an ideal position for a detail oriented person who wants to work with a high degree of independence in a small office for social justice. CJPF is one of the nation's leading voices for drug policy and criminal justice policy reform, and collaborates closely with both movements. CJPF responds quickly to new events and frequently develops new projects. More information about CJPF's activities is posted on its website, http://www.cjpf.org.

The administrative duties involved include providing general administrative support to foundation president; paying bills; recording and depositing checks using QuickBooks online; advertising for, hiring, and managing the foundation's internship program; updating the website; managing computer systems, software and technical support; developing and maintaining necessary relationships with vendors; and making recommendations for administrative improvements.

The program responsibilities include writing miscellaneous correspondence; managing the research, writing and production of the quarterly newsletter; editing drafts written by foundation president, providing research assistance to the foundation president; and making recommendations concerning research and program activities.

Qualifications include a minimum of one year work experience and Bachelor's degree, a high degree of competence with Office programs, including PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, and experience with Dreamweaver and QuickBooks is preferred.

Job performance criteria include work being performed promptly, intelligently, self-confidently, accurately and thoroughly; writing that demonstrates a high degree of English literacy; undertaking projects only at which time the employee understands the project's objectives (projects are carried out with self-confidence and the ability to solve problems); well-organized work, work environment, use of time, and responding to priorities as they change; and developing and maintaining familiarity with issues addressed by the foundation, with the clientele with whom the foundation works, and with the political environment in Washington and other relevant jurisdictions.

The ideal employee will learn rapidly, require minimal supervision, is self-directed, and demonstrates keen problem solving skills. He or she has a high degree of curiosity, a passion for the mission of the organization, and an eagerness to serve and to learn. He or she is mature, professional and enthusiastic.

The salary will depend on experience.

To apply, send a fax to (301) 589-5056 or an e-mail (with MS Word attachments) to [email protected]. Before applying, go to http://www.cjpf.org to familiarize yourself with CJPF's work and the writing of the foundation president.

Please send a cover letter, a resume, your best writing sample, and the names of at least three references.

The position is open until filled.

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20. Job Opportunity: Web Administrator, Marijuana Policy Project, Washington

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy reform organization, is seeking a Web Administrator, to be based in MPP's headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Web Administrator position requires the ability to perform exceptionally in a fast-paced, high-pressure campaign environment -- and is an excellent opportunity for someone who is meticulous and hard-working to become immersed in the technology aspect of a successful and good-sized nonprofit advocacy organization.

The Web Administrator's primary responsibility is to maintain MPP's presence on the web. This includes, but is not limited to planning, implementing, and maintaining MPP Web sites (including setting up the sites on a server, working with MPP staff to design the front-end interface (including graphics and interactive elements), and integrating the sites with MPP's content management systems); general web site maintenance for mpp.org and all other MPP-related sites (using XHTML and CSS standards-compliant technology); researching, recommending, and implementing cutting-edge Web technologies to help MPP achieve its goals; monitoring and regularly reporting on Web activity for all MPP web sites to the Director of IT, Chief of Staff, and Executive Director; carrying out ad hoc projects as assigned in order to relieve department-wide workload; and occasionally providing back-up help-desk support for MPP's staff when other IT staffers are unavailable.

MPP is a heavily Apple-based organization, so extensive experience with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server is a huge plus. Ideally, the candidate will be comfortable working with and supporting Mac OS X systems, servers and applications.

Familiarity with and experience developing web sites and applications using JavaScript (W3C DOM, not specific to any browser), PHP, Perl, Python, and other Web-enabled scripting and programming languages are a plus; candidates who can demonstrate skills in this area are strongly desired.

The salary of the Web Administrator is $40,000 to $50,000, depending on experience. Health insurance and an optional retirement package are included. The Web Administrator reports to MPP's Director of Information Technology, who in turn reports to MPP's Executive Director.

To apply, please visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html and follow the instructions there. Please note that interviews are being conducted on a rolling basis, and interested individuals are encouraged to apply very soon as we are seeking to fill this position as soon as possible.

With more than 21,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, MPP is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit its use -- and believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. MPP has 23 staffers in its DC office, three staffers in California, five in Minneapolis, and one in New Hampshire.

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21. Announcement: DRCNet Content Syndication Feeds Now Available for YOUR Web Site!

Are you a fan of DRCNet, and do you have a web site you'd like to use to spread the word more forcefully than a single link to our site can achieve? We are pleased to announce that DRCNet content syndication feeds are now available. Whether your readers' interest is in-depth reporting as in Drug War Chronicle, the ongoing commentary in our blogs, or info on specific drug war subtopics, we are now able to provide customizable code for you to paste into appropriate spots on your blog or web site to run automatically updating links to DRCNet educational content.

For example, if you're a big fan of Drug War Chronicle and you think your readers would benefit from it, you can have the latest issue's headlines, or a portion of them, automatically show up and refresh when each new issue comes out.

If your site is devoted to marijuana policy, you can run our topical archive, featuring links to every item we post to our site about marijuana -- Chronicle articles, blog posts, event listings, outside news links, more. The same for harm reduction, asset forfeiture, drug trade violence, needle exchange programs, Canada, ballot initiatives, roughly a hundred different topics we are now tracking on an ongoing basis. (Visit the Chronicle main page, right-hand column, to see the complete current list.)

If you're especially into our new Speakeasy blog section, new content coming out every day dealing with all the issues, you can run links to those posts or to subsections of the Speakeasy.

Click here to view a sample of what is available -- please note that the length, the look and other details of how it will appear on your site can be customized to match your needs and preferences.

Please also note that we will be happy to make additional permutations of our content available to you upon request (though we cannot promise immediate fulfillment of such requests as the timing will in many cases depend on the availability of our web site designer). Visit our Site Map page to see what is currently available -- any RSS feed made available there is also available as a javascript feed for your web site (along with the Chronicle feed which is not showing up yet but which you can find on the feeds page linked above). Feel free to try out our automatic feed generator, online here.

Contact us for assistance or to let us know what you are running and where. And thank you in advance for your support.

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22. Announcement: DRCNet RSS Feeds Now Available

RSS feeds are the wave of the future -- and DRCNet now offers them! The latest Drug War Chronicle issue is now available using RSS at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/feed online.

We have many other RSS feeds available as well, following about a hundred different drug policy subtopics that we began tracking since the relaunch of our web site this summer -- indexing not only Drug War Chronicle articles but also Speakeasy blog posts, event listings, outside news links and more -- and for our daily blog postings and the different subtracks of them. Visit our Site Map page to peruse the full set.

Thank you for tuning in to DRCNet and drug policy reform!

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23. Announcement: New Format for the Reformer's Calendar

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With the launch of our new web site, The Reformer's Calendar no longer appears as part of the Drug War Chronicle newsletter but is instead maintained as a section of our new web site:

The Reformer's Calendar publishes events large and small of interest to drug policy reformers around the world. Whether it's a major international conference, a demonstration bringing together people from around the region or a forum at the local college, we want to know so we can let others know, too.

But we need your help to keep the calendar current, so please make sure to contact us and don't assume that we already know about the event or that we'll hear about it from someone else, because that doesn't always happen.

We look forward to apprising you of more new features on our web site as they become available.

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Permission to Reprint: This issue of Drug War Chronicle is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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