Drug War Chronicle #490 - June 15, 2007

1. Feature: Is Mexico's Drug War "Calderón's Iraq"?

Shortly after taking office late last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the army to take on the drug traffickers. Six months in, the death toll is mounting on all sides, but the drugs just keep coming.

2. Chronicle Book Review: "Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom," by Andy Letcher (2007, Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 360 pp, $25.95 HB.)

With "Shrooms," British historian (and psychedelic folk band member) Andy Letcher has written a fine revisionist history of the magic mushroom. Modern myco-cultists will be disappointed with his findings, but the ride is entirely enjoyable.

3. Law Enforcement: Almost No Drug Warrants in Atlanta Since Police Gunned Down Old Woman in Botched Drug Raid

Atlanta police have virtually stopped seeking drug search warrants in the six months since narcs executing a fraudulent "no-knock" warrant shot and killed a 92-year-old woman.

4. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we need your feedback to evaluate our work and make the case for Drug War Chronicle to funders. We need donations too.

5. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"New ONDCP Video Demonstrates Exactly Why Their Ads Don't Work," "Bruce Willis Finally Figures it Out," "ONDCP Staffer Makes Threatening Phone Call to SSDP Office," "Oops, Wrong House. Sorry We Threw Grenades and Kicked You in the Crotch," "Mexico is Bleeding," "Did John Belushi die from cocaine?" and many more...

6. Conference: Drug Policy Alliance, New Orleans, December 2007

A major gathering of drug reform forces is planned for late this year, and special registration rates are available for those who plan early.

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

Yet another prison guard goes down, and a Georgia narc gets caught sleeping with his snitches.

8. Sentencing: Supreme Court to Decide Crack Sentencing Case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Virginia man sentenced under the harsh federal crack cocaine laws. This is the third case having to do with federal sentencing the court has taken in recent months.

9. Medical Marijuana: New York Bill Passes General Assembly, But Now Senate Balks

A medical marijuana bill has passed the New York General Assembly and the governor has indicated he would sign it, but now, the Republican-dominated state Senate is balking.

10. Press Release: Governor Signs Texas' First Needle Exchange Bill into Law

A pilot program is set to launch in Bexar County in the fall.

11. Good-Bye: One Woman Drug War Victim Dies, Another is About To

We say good-bye this week to two women victims of the drug war, Veronica Flournoy, who went from drug war prisoner to reformer, and Crystal Ferguson, whose arrest for testing positive for cocaine at childbirth led eventually to a victory at the Supreme Court

12. South Pacific: Northern Mariana Islands in Tizzy Over Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal

Trouble in paradise? The hint of a proposal for marijuana decriminalization from the top law enforcement official of the Northern Mariana Islands has blown up a typhoon of criticism.

13. Middle East: Dubai Customs Busts Canadian UN Afghan Drug Worker

Strict drug law enforcement at the Dubai airport has snagged yet another Westerner -- this time, a Canadian working for the UN anti-drug agency in Afghanistan.

14. Web Scan

Drug Truth Network, Ethan Nadelmann speech, Carl Olsen interview, "Plenty of Coca" says WOLA, BBC on Turkey's legal opium industry.

15. Weekly: This Week in History

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

16. Job Opportunities: Policy Researcher and State Strategies Coordinator, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project

The ACLU Drug Law Reform Project is hiring for two key positions in its offices in beautiful Santa Cruz, California

17. Job Opportunity: IT Director, Marijuana Policy Project

An opportunity for one of the many tech people on our list who might like to work in the movement.

18. 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!

19. Announcement: DRCNet RSS Feeds Now Available

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

20. 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. Feature: Is Mexico's Drug War "Calderón's Iraq"?

Almost as soon as he took office late last year, incoming Mexican President Felipe Calderón tried to win public support by sending out the military to take on the country's violent and powerful drug trafficking organizations, the so-called cartels. Now, six months into Calderón's anti-drug offensive, more than 24,000 soldiers and police are operating in a number of Mexican states and cities, but the death toll keeps rising, the drugs keep flowing, and Mexicans are starting to ask if it's all worth it.

According to Mexican press estimates, more than 2,000 people died in prohibition-related violence last year. With about 1,000 killed already this year, 2007 is on track to be the bloodiest year yet in Mexico's drug war.

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George Bush and Felipe Calderón (photo from whitehouse.gov)
Most of the victims are members of the competing trafficking gangs -- the Juárez Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel -- or their enforcers, like the ex-elite soldiers who switched sides and morphed into the Zetas or the former Guatemalan soldiers and gangsters known as the Kaibiles, or a new and shadowy presence on the scene, the Gente Nueva (The New People), a group supposedly formed of former police officers to take on the Zetas.

The violence among the battling cartels, factions, and enforcers has risen to horrific levels, with bloody beheadings taped on video and released to web sites like YouTube, heads being thrown on night club dance floors, and tortured bodies left on roadsides as exemplary warnings to others. On one day last month, at least 30 people died in prohibition-related violence.

But it's not only cartel soldiers dying. Hardly a day goes by without a police officer being gunned down somewhere in Mexico. Sometimes the attacks are spectacular, as when cartel gunmen attacked Acapulco police headquarters with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade launchers, or when assassins killed the new head of the attorney general's national crime intelligence center in a brazen shooting in the upscale Mexico City suburb of Coyoacán last month.

That's not all. In May alone, five Mexican soldiers, including a colonel, died in an ambush in Calderón's home state of Michoacán; the body of an Army captain was found near the highway from Mexico City to Acapulco, and an admiral narrowly escaped assassination in Ixtapa. Earlier this year, Calderon admitted that even he had received death threats from the cartels.

But wait, there's more. Also in May, dozens of cartel gunmen invaded the town of Cananea, Sonora, not far from the Arizona border, kidnapped seven police and four civilians, triggering a battle that left 20 people dead. The director of the Coahuila state police kidnapping and organized crime unit was himself kidnapped, a corpse found in Monterrey carried a note threatening the life of the Nuevo Leon state attorney general, and four bodyguards for the governor of Mexico state were gunned down. A note left with a severed head appeared to tie their deaths to angry cartels.

But wait, there's still more. Last Tuesday, in the northern city of Monterrey, a congressman from Nuevo León, the 44-year old Mario Ríos, was assassinated while driving on a downtown street by gunmen firing at him from at least two cars, according to Wednesday's Seattle Times.

While the Mexican government claims the offensive is working, pointing to nearly a thousand arrests and numerous drug shipment seizures, the chorus is critics is growing. The popular left-leaning news weekly Proceso recently called the campaign "Calderón's Iraq." It isn't alone, on either side of the border.

"I don't think it's working at all," said Alex Sanchez, a Mexico analyst for the Washington, DC-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs. "The problem is the way the cartels are structured. Taking out one guy, even a top leader, just leaves a vacuum that others fight to fill. There is a perpetual cycle of violence unless they can take down every single member of a cartel, from the top capos to the lowest drug runners," he said.

"Calderón says Mexico is winning, but his policies are just perpetuating all of this," said Sanchez. "It hasn't affected the flow of drugs from Mexico, so nothing has changed in that sense. What has changed is that the violence has reached a new level; there is essentially a civil war going on between the cartels and the government."

"The problem with this sort of strategy is that when you detain these capos, like Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel, you get a power void inside the cartel and you see new violence as members of the cartel fight to replace him at the top," said Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America associate for Mexico and Central America. "You need a different strategy," Meyer argued. "They need to put a lot more emphasis on police reform, and there needs to be a lot more transparency and oversight," she said.

"There was a need to have a very strong response, given the level of violence that had been accumulating," said Meyer. "But it seems at least in the short term that it has not produced the results people wanted. What is Plan B?"

"It's just a big circus," said Mercedes Murillo, head of the state of Sinaloa's independent human rights organization, the Frente Cívico Sinaloense. "The US comes in and says 'Bravo! Look what he's doing!' but he isn't achieving anything," she said. "They began doing this without any investigations, and that's a big, big problem. They don't know where the traffickers are, they haven't really caught anyone important, but now they have soldiers and tanks in downtown, they have checkpoints with a hundred soldiers at the same time parents are taking their children to school. The soldiers break down doors and search homes without warrants, they break things and steal things, and sometimes they rape the women."

And sometimes they kill innocent people. That's what happened June 2 at a military checkpoint in Sinaloa when troops opened fire on a vehicle they claimed failed to stop and opened fire on them. But it wasn't drug traffickers, nobody fired on them, and five people were killed, including school teacher Griselda Galaviz Barraza, 25, and her three young children. The Mexican military has arrested three officers and 16 soldiers in the case, but that has done little to assuage concerns about human rights violations by the military.

"And now they are killing people," Murillo said. "Instead of bringing out the military, they should be investigating where the money comes from. We don't have any real industry here, but you ought to see all the luxury cars, the luxury homes, the boats, the jewelry. Why can't they figure out where the money is coming from?"

Popular newspaper columnist Sergio Sarmiento, writing in Reforma, said the Sinaloa incident showed that innocents were being killed in the drug war. "The idea that drug dealers and the people close to them are the only people caught up in the violence we are living in Mexico is a silly lie made up to keep the population calm," Sarmiento wrote. "We are in the midst of war... a struggle in which two sides face off without any concern or thought about the civilian population."

The official Mexican National Commission on Human Rights has criticized the government for using the military in domestic law enforcement. The non-governmental national human rights organization the Centro de Derechos Humanos "Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez" is also raising the alarm about widespread military searches and detentions in Michoacan. American analysts are also raising concerns about the use of the military.

"The very strong military presence in these operations concerns us," said Meyer. "While it is understandable, we hope that reforming the police would effect a transfer from the military to the police in these operations. We are now seeing some of the unfortunate results of relying on the military to do law enforcement. What happened in Sinaloa is a very clear example of the risk of using the military trained for combat as opposed to a police force trained to use the least force possible."

"Soldiers are soldiers, they're not supposed to be used as a domestic police force, they're trained to fight an enemy," said Sanchez. "They're scaring the whole population, but they're just being themselves. The Mexican police are not capable of battling the cartels, but if you bring in the military, that will mean human rights violations."

"Mexico is at the greatest risk of any country in Latin America, warned COHA executive director Larry Birns. "You have the convergence of endemic and systematic corruption -- the corruption of the security forces is approaching Iraqi standards -- mated to a fragile political system with an unpopular president, and the near unraveling of civil society. For the average Mexican on the average day, law and order doesn't exist," he told the Chronicle.

Mexico blames the cartel problem on the demand for drugs in the US. "I have argued that this is a shared problem between the United States and Mexico," Calderon said last week. "The principal cause... is the use of drugs. And the US is the prime consumer in the world."

The prohibition-related violence in Mexico could also have an impact on US domestic politics. "This is becoming a real security problem for the US as we approach the latter phases of NAFTA," COHA's Birns argued. "The truck inspections will be more minimal, and the situation will compromise drug policy all along the border. It will also provide rhetorical weapons for those skeptical of any kind of open borders or amnesty program for undocumented workers. Open borders would mean near unrestricted infiltration of drugs and traffickers into the United States."

With neither government willing to address the root cause of the problem -- drug prohibition -- this year's drug war in Mexico is going to look a lot like next year's and the year after that. The only difference appears to be ever-escalating levels of violence, gruesomeness, and brutality.

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2. Chronicle Book Review: "Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom," by Andy Letcher (2007, Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, 360 pp, $25.95 HB.)

Phillip S. Smith, Writer/Editor, Drug War Chronicle

British historian (and psychedelic folk band member) Andy Letcher has produced a charmingly written, carefully researched, revisionist history of psychedelic mushrooms. While his findings may disappoint the most severely committed mushroom spiritualists, the journey is an eye-opening pleasure for anyone with an interest in matters psychedelic.

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In the past half-century, thanks to intrepid psychedelic adventurers like banker-turned-mystic Gordon Wasson, anthropologist-turned-shaman Michael Harner, and myco-promoter Terence McKenna, a wonderful and powerful mythology has grown up around the fantastic fungus.

It goes something like this: Through sacred use of the magic mushrooms, shamans from Siberia to Mexico were able to see visions, heal the sick, and talk with the gods. Santa Claus himself, with his gnomic appearance and red and white attire, is a symbolic representation of the amanita muscaria, or fly-agaric, mushroom. The mushroom was the mystery in ancient Greece's Eleusinian Mysteries, it was the soma of the Riga Veda, it -- not bread and wine -- is what Jesus ate at the last supper. The Druids used it at Stonehenge. The magic mushroom is the basis of religion, and evidence of its hidden cult can be found on everything from medieval Catholic church doors to ancient rock-paintings in the African desert.

There's more: Mushrooms are actually a "machine consciousness" representing a different dimension… or something like that. I get a little fuzzy on the finer arcana of myco-mythology.

Letcher, historian that he is, takes these claims on one by one, examines them, and, sadly for the myco-cultists, finds them lacking in historical substance. "There is not a single instance of a magic mushroom being preserved in the archaeological record anywhere," he writes. "We really do not know, one way or the other, whether the ancients worshipped the holy spores of God. If they did, they left not a single piece of evidence of having done so."

There is little evidence of sacramental, shamanic mushroom yet except for isolated tribes in Siberia, and even there, the evidence suggests that mushrooms were as much to be partied with as to be worshiped. Also in Mexico, where Gordon Wasson famously met Mazatec curandera (shaman) Maria Sabina and ate the "flesh of the gods" in 1956. As Letcher notes, Maria Sabina was hardly the primitive priestess of myth, but mythic she became, especially after Wasson ushered in the beginning of the psychedelic age with his publication of an article in Life magazine about his experiences.

That was certainly a seismic shift in Western attitudes toward the magic mushroom. Up until the mid-20th Century, magic mushroom intoxication was rare, almost always accidental, and almost always considered as poisoning. Man, how things have changed! While interest in psychedelic mushrooms, particularly the psilocybes, took a back seat to LSD in the tripped-out 1960s, the relatively milder mushrooms have remained popular among the psychedelic set ever since.

Although they are illegal in the US, aficionados here can legally purchase "idiot proof" spore kits (which contain no psilocybin, the prescribed ingredient), and the shrooms themselves remain fuzzily legal in some European countries. England banned the sale of and possession of mushrooms in 2005, as did Japan, but there is little evidence Bobbies are out chasing down mushroom-pickers.

Still, while it appears the magic mushroom is here to stay, it is decidedly an acquired taste. Most people who try them try them only once or twice; only a relative handful become serious shroom-heads. And while Letcher tries resolutely to stay clear of politics, the relative rareness of mushroom use and the lack of demonstrated harms leads him to criticize the British prohibition as "heavy-handed, motivated more by political concerns than any sensible evaluation of the evidence." Indeed, Letcher writes, "prohibition may prove to be a retrograde step in terms of harm reduction," as hapless users pick the wrong mushrooms, are sold substitutes, or are afflicted by a criminal justice system more harmful than the shrooms themselves.

Shrooms is a cultural history worth reading, rigorous in its analysis, incisive in its reporting, and enticing with its descriptions of bemushroomed reality. It makes me want to go out and order one of those "idiot proof" kits myself.

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3. Law Enforcement: Almost No Drug Warrants in Atlanta Since Police Gunned Down Old Woman in Botched Drug Raid

Atlanta Police Department narcotics officers have not sought a single "no-knock" search warrant in the six months since 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was killed in a botched drug raid. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which examined court records, the number of all drug search warrants also dropped dramatically, down from at least 125 in the six months preceding her death to 19 in the six months since then.

In the Johnston case, two of the officers involved have admitted lying to a judge in order to obtain a search warrant for her home. Since then, Police Chief Richard Pennington has reassigned the entire narcotics squad, and a federal grand jury is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into whether and how often police lied to obtain search warrants.

"No-knock" warrants, where police break down the doors of suspects without warning, are issued by judges when police claim they fear the destruction of evidence or that officer safety could be compromised by knocking on the door. Critics charge the use of "no-knock" warrants leads to the use of excessive force and increases the possibility of armed confrontations between homeowners and invading police.

Chief Pennington said the drop-off in warrants is a temporary lull. "Once the new narcotics team is put on the street, we are going to go right back into these areas that have a large concentration of drug activity," he said. "We are going to work with the community. But we are going to make sure they do everything by the book."

Pennington announced strict new procedures for obtaining search warrants two months ago. He said he told police officers to seek warrants in only the biggest cases until the new narc squad was trained and on the street.

Atlanta defense attorneys hailed the decline in warrant applications, saying it demonstrated that police were cutting corners before the Johnston killing. "Now that they are being watched more closely and have to follow the law, they don't get many warrants," said Peter Ross, who represents drug defendants. "In the past, they basically had the ability to fabricate the information and get a warrant for it."

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4. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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5. 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, with flappers (courtesy arbizu.org)

This week:

Scott Morgan -- who seems to be attracting a growing fan base among our readership -- brings us "New ONDCP Video Demonstrates Exactly Why Their Ads Don't Work," "Bruce Willis Finally Figures it Out," "ONDCP Staffer Makes Threatening Phone Call to SSDP Office," "Airport Narcs Fired For Peeing on Luggage" and "Oops, Wrong House. Sorry We Threw Grenades and Kicked You in the Crotch."

Phil Smith contributes "Latest Entry in the Annals of Excess Department," "Mexico is Bleeding" and "Why do we let cops be our 'drug experts'?"

David Borden discusses "Did John Belushi die from cocaine?," "Police deliberately crash truck into car, and then steal car -- in order to search it," "Crack Cocaine Sentencing Headed to Supreme Court" and "'Snow Fall' Atlantic Monthly article articulates the sheer futility of the supply-side drug war," plus various short blurbs and links.

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.

Please join us in the Reader Blogs too -- your participation is encouraged.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

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6. Conference: Drug Policy Alliance, New Orleans, December 2007

Registration has opened for the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, convening at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference begins the evening of Wednesday, December 5, and runs through Saturday, December 8. Special rates are available to those who register early.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance, is a major international gathering of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. The conference, which this year is themed "Working Toward a New Bottom Line," and will be co-hosted by the ACLU, the Harm Reduction Coalition, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Marijuana Policy Project and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

A new bottom line for drug policy would mean basing success on metrics such as prevention of overdose deaths and increased access to treatment rather than the current measure -- numbers of people arrested and incarcerated for drug use. The idea of working toward a new bottom line is particularly relevant in New Orleans, the site of the 2007 conference. Hurricane Katrina laid bare an array of problems, many of which are exacerbated by failed drug war policies. Furthermore, the state of Louisiana comes close to leading the nation in incarcerating people for drug law violations. Although the South remains a region where drug policy reform has yet to take a strong hold, choosing to hold the meeting in New Orleans could help to build momentum in an area that has the potential to make incredible progress.

Members and early-bird registrants will enjoy a significant discount off the regular registration rate:


Attendee Type Before Nov. 5 After Nov. 5 On Site Members $275 $375 $400 Non-members $325 $425 $450 Students $150 $250 $275 One Day Rate $125 $150 $175

For further information, including details about conference programming, travel and lodging, visit http://www.drugpolicy.org/conference/.

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

Yet another prison guard goes down, and a Georgia narc gets caught sleeping with his snitches. Let's get to it:

In London, Kentucky, a former guard got 6 ½ years in prison June 8 for smuggling drugs into the Big Sandy federal prison. Alice Marie Stapleton, 31, was charged last year with being part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin, marijuana, and contraband cell phones into the maximum security prison. She admitted receiving $1,000 each of three times she smuggled contraband behind the bars. Her 78-month sentence was the maximum allowed under federal sentencing guidelines.

In Augusta, Georgia, a former drug squad supervisor pleaded guilty Monday to lying to an FBI agent about not sleeping with his informants. Mathue Phares, 38, an 18-year veteran of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office was forced to resign in December as an investigation into allegations of civil rights violations got underway. Having sex with one's informants could be a civil rights violation because an officer is in a position of power or authority over an informant. Phares initially denied sleeping with his snitches, but later admitted to one sexual relationship. Now the feds say there was more than one. Phares is free on his own recognizance pending sentencing. He faces up to five years in federal prison.

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8. Sentencing: Supreme Court to Decide Crack Sentencing Case

The US Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear the case of a Virginia man sentenced under the harsh federal crack cocaine laws. Coming after the high court has already agreed to hear two other cases related to federal sentencing, the decision will broaden its review of federal sentencing law by adding the notorious crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity to it.

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US Supreme Court
Under federal law, it takes five grams of crack or 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence. Similarly, 10 grams of crack or 1,000 grams of powder cocaine merit a 10-year mandatory minimum. The 100:1 disparity in the amounts of the drug needed to trigger the mandatory minimum sentences has been the subject of numerous critics, including federal judges.

The case selected Monday was that of a Virginia man, Derrick Kimbrough, who pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing and distributing more than 50 grams of crack. Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentencing range of 19 to 22 years, but Federal District Court Judge Raymond Jackson in Richmond pronounced such a sentence "ridiculous" and "clearly inappropriate," and sentenced Kimbrough to the lowest sentence he could, the mandatory minimum of 15 years.

But the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Jackson's reasoning and ordered resentencing. "A sentence that is outside the guidelines range is per se unreasonable when it is based on a disagreement with the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine offenses," the three-judge appeals court panel said.

Other federal appeals courts disagree. Both the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and the District Colombia Circuit Court of Appeals have held that, as the Philadelphia appeals court put it, "a sentencing court errs when it believes that it has no discretion to consider the crack/powder cocaine differential incorporated in the guidelines." Both courts noted that the Supreme Court itself had made the federal sentencing guidelines advisory rather than mandatory in its 2005 ruling in Booker v. United States.

The other two federal sentencing cases the court has agreed to hear are also related to the confusion in the courts in the wake of Booker. One case, Rita v. United States, raises the question of whether a sentence within the guidelines range should be presumed reasonable. The second case, Gall v. United States, involved an Iowa college student given a sentence beneath the guidelines in an ecstasy case. The trial judge sentenced Gall to three years probation rather than three years in prison, but the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ordered resentencing, finding that such an "extraordinary" departure from the guidelines required "extraordinary" justification.

The Supreme Court will likely decide Rita in a few weeks, and will hear arguments in Gall in October. Kimbrough will carry over into the next term. But in the next few months, the Supreme Court will make decisions that will potentially affect the freedom of thousands of federal drug defendants each year.

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9. Medical Marijuana: New York Bill Passes General Assembly, But Now Senate Balks

A bill that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in New York state passed the General Assembly Wednesday night on a 92-52 vote, but now the Republican-dominated Senate is balking. Although Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) sounded agreeable at a Wednesday morning news conference, just hours later he was criticizing the bill as unworkable and vowing to introduce competing legislation.

With the clock ticking toward adjournment of the legislature next week, the move could kill the legislation this year. Even if the Senate passed its own bill, there is little time left reconcile differences, and the lawmakers face other pressing matters.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who has fought for a decade to advance it, the bill, A04867, would allow patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other severe illnesses or their designated caregivers to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and up to 12 plants. Patients must be certified annually by a physician and register with the state Health Department.

Gov. Elliot Spitzer (D), who last year had opposed medical marijuana, signaled this week that he was willing to sign a carefully crafted bill, but any elation on the part of the bill's proponents, which include the Marijuana Policy Project, was tempered by Sen. Bruno's contradictory pronouncements Wednesday.

During a morning news conference, Bruno said a colleague would introduce a companion bill this week and predicted "the chances are better than not that it will go to the governor." But by that afternoon, Bruno had changed his tune. The Assembly bill is, he said, "too broad and we think it just lets too many things happen that may be inappropriate... We're going to do our own bill."

The Empire State is potentially one vote away from enacting a medical marijuana law, but the Republican Senate leadership appears determined to use a procedural trick to derail it.

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10. Press Release: Governor Signs Texas' First Needle Exchange Bill into Law

press release from the ACLU of Texas:

AUSTIN -- Governor Perry signed a Medicaid reform bill (SB 10) into law this afternoon, which includes a provision authorizing the first legal needle exchange program in Texas. The new law brings Texas up to date with most other states in the nation by starting a safe, legal needle exchange pilot program in Bexar County this fall.

"The public health and safety of Texas requires that we offer public health programs that prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Fiscal responsibility also requires that preventive programs be made available, and this is just one way that we can begin to curb the spread of hepatitis and HIV in geometric proportions. I am pleased that we can begin this process with a pilot program in Bexar County," said Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, who sponsored the provision and represents part of San Antonio and Bexar County.

This year, Sen. Robert Deuell and Rep. McClendon teamed up to sponsor SB308/HB 856, which was originally proposed to authorize needle exchange programs statewide. The bill passed through the Senate, but appeared to die in the House Public Health Committee when the Chair did not call for the committee's vote. Rep. McClendon resurrected the concept by attaching an amendment to the Medicaid bill. Her amendment allows the health authorities in Bexar County to design and operate the program, which is expected to reduce disease and improve outreach to injection drug users.

Disease prevention is the goal of most needle exchange programs, but they also provide an opportunity to connect addicts to treatment. After filing the bill, Sen. Deuell said, "The local health authorities who administer these programs may also provide drug counseling and treatment. This might be the only time we can get to these people and give them the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves. One study showed more than 1,000 drug users found their way into treatment through a needle exchange program."

San Antonio has a history of strong and outspoken support for needle exchange. Rep. McClendon said, "In particular, we especially appreciate the encouragement received from Judge Nelson Wolff, Sheriff Ralph Lopez, Dr. Fernando Guerra of San Antonio Metro Health, and other local foundations and healthcare organizations. This pilot program is bound to be successful."

Rep. Garnet F. Coleman, who sponsored needle exchange legislation in years past added, "After working on this issue for two sessions, now we have a state-sanctioned opportunity to save lives through needle exchange. Hopefully this pilot program will lead to legislation next session that sets up needle exchange programs statewide."

"Needle exchange has become a standard disease prevention practice around the country, and we commend Rep. McClendon, Sen. Deuell and the rest of the legislators who worked hard to bring this important public policy measure to Texas," said Tracey Hayes, Director of the Access Project at the ACLU of Texas.

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11. Good-Bye: One Woman Drug War Victim Dies, Another is About To

Two women victims of the drug war on our minds this week, one who went all the way to the Supreme Court and won, only to be murdered a few days ago, and one who suffered long years in prison under New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws and won her freedom, only to be vanquished by a cancer that grew untreated while she was behind bars.

Down in Deltona, Florida, Rockefeller drug law prisoner turned reform advocate Veronica Flournoy is in a hospice surrounded by family as she lies dying of cancer. The pains in her chest that prison doctors told her to ignore turned out to be lung cancer, which has now spread to her brain. She is 39.

When she was sent to prison doing eight-to-life, Flournoy already had a two-year-old daughter. Her second child was born in prison. When she got out, she collected her children and for an all too brief time was able to enjoy life with her family.

But she didn't forget the women she left behind in prison. She turned up at drug reform rallies. And she continues to fight the good fight. Even as she now lies dying, a public service announcement urging New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer (D) to live up to his promise to reform the Rockefeller laws is airing.

Meanwhile, in Columbia, South Carolina, Crystal Ferguson, the poor, black woman jailed for testing positive for cocaine when she gave birth to a daughter at a Charleston hospital in 1991, was killed along with one daughter in an arson fire last month. Another daughter, Virginia, the one born in 1991, was away at camp. Ferguson's lawsuit against the hospital, Ferguson v. City of Charleston, South Carolina, resulted in a finding that the drug testing of pregnant women without their consent amounted to an illegal search. The case also brought the complex issues of race, class, pregnancy, and drug use to national attention.

After the Supreme Court victory, Ferguson faded back into the shadow, quietly raising her two daughters in a mobile home in a modest neighborhood. Her surviving daughter, Virginia, told the State newspaper she didn't like to talk about her mother's case, but that her efforts to get out of a life of poverty had inspired her. "All you see is either homeless people or something. Nobody wants to try. She wasn't like that. She wanted to try," Virginia said. "But I guess it didn't work out."

Both will be missed.

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12. South Pacific: Northern Mariana Islands in Tizzy Over Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal

A proposal by the highest law enforcement official in the Confederation of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to consider decriminalizing marijuana has met with a barrage of public criticism, according to the Saipan Tribune. The proposal saw the light of day when the newspaper obtained a copy of a letter from Health Secretary Joseph Villagomez to Attorney General Matthew Gregory addressing a May meeting between the two.

According to the letter, Gregory and Villagomez met to discuss Gregory's proposal to convene a meeting of experts to discuss marijuana's "benefits and lack of harm." In the letter, Villagomez said the Gregory hoped the health secretary would ask the legislature to remove marijuana from the archipelago's list of controlled substances.

That got to Senate Vice President Pete Reyes. "Just the idea that the highest law enforcement of the land is even thinking about it is very disheartening, frightening. It gives the impression that we're so desperate to generate some money that we would sell our souls," Reyes said.

In the wake of the blast from Reyes, a Gregory spokesman denied that he wants to legalize marijuana, but said that he is in touch with people who want to hold such a conference. He also said the administration has not take a position on making marijuana legal in the CNMI, but it approves of an open debate on the issue.

"No definite commitment has been made with regard to this proposal. The AGO will not do anything without the consent of the governor. We support an open discussion. We should let the people decide what they think is right," the spokesman said.

Health Secretary Villagomez, a 15-year substance abuse professional, declined to ask the legislature to decriminalize marijuana, saying he could not ignore the physical and psychological damage that he had seen drugs, including marijuana, cause to people. He also expressed concern that legalizing marijuana would result in more broken families, traffic accidents, and teen addiction, among other things. He noted that DPH would have to deal with these likely consequences. If Attorney General Gregory wants to decriminalize the weed, he should ask the governor to convene a meeting, he said.

"If the governor is onboard with this plan then I respectfully ask the governor to call for such a meeting. Since the Legislature will be the ultimate body that will remove marijuana from the listing, maybe they should be the one to call for such a meeting," Villagomez said.

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13. Middle East: Dubai Customs Busts Canadian UN Afghan Drug Worker

An international advisor to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Afghanistan Poppy Elimination Program appeared in the Dubai Court of First Instance Tuesday on charges he possessed 0.6 grams of hashish and two poppy seeds. The Canadian UN worker, known only by the initials H.W., pleaded innocent.

"My client is an anti-narcotics officer who cooperates with the UNODC," said defense attorney Saeed Al Gailani. "During his one-hour transit visit from Kandahar where he was on an anti-narcotics campaign, he was caught at the airport carrying the poppy seeds, which he was taking to Canada for experiments."

As for the hash, Gailani said H.W. participated in collecting and burning massive quantities of drugs. "His trousers must have mistakenly picked up the tiny quantity of hashish," said the lawyer. "It was natural that he tested positive for hashish which appeared in his urine test because he is considered a passive smoker especially that he burns about ten tons a day," said Gailani.

A verdict is expected later this month. The Canadian isn't the only one getting popped for ridiculously small amounts of drugs. Just last week, the Chronicle reported on an an unfortunate Englishman sentenced to four years for 1/100th of a gram of hash and an Italian facing a similar fate for 7/100ths of a gram of marijuana. As we noted last week, don't take your doobies to Dubai.

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14. Web Scan

Reality Check, report from the Washington Office on Latin America:
"The latest US coca cultivation estimates make one thing clear: There is plenty of coca."

Dan Viets interviews Carl Olsen on pending religious use of marijuana case (podcast section of page)

BBC report on legal Turkish opium growing for medical supply

Ethan Nadelmann speech in Detroit

Drug Truth Network update:
Cultural Baggage for 06/08/07 -- Richard Traylor disproves faulty Tx correctional urine tests & Doug McVay with Drug War Facts & Phil Smith of Stop The Drug War (MP3)
Century of Lies for 06/08/07 -- Sanho Tree debunks O'Reilly Screed & Lynn Paltrow dispels meth baby myth (MP3)

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15. Weekly: This Week in History

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 17, 1971: President Nixon declares war on drugs, calling drug abuse "public enemy number one in the United States" in a press conference and announcing the creation of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP), to be headed by Dr. Jerome Jaffe, a leading methadone treatment specialist. [Historical Note: During the Nixon era, for the only time in the history of the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement.]

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 21, 1986: Larry Harvey and his friend Jerry James burn a wooden man on the beach near San Francisco, beginning the popular annual festival "Burning Man."

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 15, 1998: Random House publishes Mike Gray's masterpiece exposing the futility of the war on drugs, "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out."

June 16, 1999: Testifying before the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources panel of the House Government Reform Committee, ACLU executive director Ira Glasser tells lawmakers that the most effective way to control drug abuse is through regulation, not incarceration.

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.

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16. Job Opportunities: Policy Researcher and State Strategies Coordinator, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project

The Policy Researcher will report directly to the Advocacy Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and work collaboratively as part of the Project's growing Advocacy staff, who complement litigation strategies by connecting to audiences outside of the courtroom. The Policy Researcher will take primary responsibility for staying abreast of relevant policy developments and drafting specific policy reform proposals that can be utilized in public education efforts. The Policy Researcher will play a key role in constructing the content needed to effectively communicate a compelling and convincing vision for workable alternatives to the failed "war on drugs."

Roles and responsibilities include collecting, analyzing and organizing research on drug policy issues; researching and compiling reliable statistics that accurately document racial disparity in drug law enforcement for use in public education efforts, and in some instances, litigation; surveying scientific research regarding the health and societal effects of illicit drugs, including research about the medicinal use of marijuana, for use in public education efforts, and in some instances, litigation; tracking and analyzing news, state and federal legislation and other significant policy developments that are relevant to the Project's major campaigns and priority areas; drafting specific policy reform proposals and content for the Project's website and publications; developing, organizing and managing the Project's library of research; and communicating directly with and providing research assistance to ACLU state affiliate offices and other ACLU staff that advocate for the reform of drug laws.

Qualifications include a Bachelor's degree or equivalent (required), advanced degree in public policy, social science or other relevant field desired; at least two years experience with health policy and/or criminal justice research (preferred); demonstrated commitment to public interest issues in general and civil liberties and rights issues in particular; excellent research and writing skills (required); ability and/or aptitude to utilize computer technologies; familiarity with online and multimedia communication tools and forums; and willingness to travel occasionally.

To apply, please send a cover letter, a resume, and three writing samples (with explanation of the extent to which they were edited by others) by email to [email protected] -- reference [DLRP-18/WACLU] in the subject line -- or by mail to: Human Resources, RE: [DLRP-18/WACLU], American Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, which will not be before July 9, 2007. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.

The State Strategies Coordinator will report directly to the Deputy Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and take primary responsibility for overseeing and coordinating all of the Project's state-based campaigns. The Project currently has multi-year, multi-pronged campaigns in six states and plans to steadily expand into additional states. The campaigns revolve around marijuana law reform, addressing the misuse of informants in drug law enforcement, particularly within communities of color, and exposing racially-biased drug law enforcement practices in select locales. The State Strategies Coordinator will manage a collective budget of over $1 million and at least seven state-based campaign staff.

Responsibilities include developing and overseeing the implementation of strategic work plans in all state-based campaigns; managing a collective budget of over $1 million; the cross-state coordination of all campaigns; developing systems for measuring the success and progress of state-based campaigns; developing systems of accountability and mutual-support between state-based campaign staff and the Project; identifying and developing criteria for and initiating contact with new states in which to enact campaigns; and serving as the primary liaison between the Project and ACLU state affiliate offices.

Qualifications include a Bachelor's degree or equivalent (required); advanced degree in public policy, management or similar field (desired but not necessary); demonstrated commitment to public interest issues in general and civil liberties and rights issues in particular; at least 2 years of prior experience supervising campaigns or similar projects (3-5 years relevant experience preferred); exceptional project management skills (required); proven ability to supervise staff (experience supervising staff at a distance is a plus); strong ability to develop strategic plans and ensure their timely implementation; demonstrated ability to collaborate with partners or allies; excellent verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal skills; and willingness to travel.

To apply, please send a cover letter, a resume, and writing samples that evidence strategic planning experience (with explanation of the extent to which they were edited by others) by email to [email protected] -- reference [DLRP-15/WACLU] in the subject line -- or by mail to: Human Resources, ATTN: [DLRP-15/WACLU], American Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, which will not be before July 15, 2007. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.

The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of ACLU compensation scale.

The goal of the Drug Law Reform Project is to end punitive drug policies that cause widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration. Founded in 1998, the Project brings lawsuits throughout the country with lasting impact on public understanding of, and government response to drug use and drug policies.

The Project's legal strategies are built on the idea that fighting for civil rights means more than just persuading judges. It means changing hearts and minds. The Project works on the front lines with the communities most affected by drugs and drug laws, to integrate litigation with innovative public education campaigns and to develop tools to help these communities demand justice.

The Project has an unparalleled track record, having successfully litigated issues ranging from racial profiling in drug law enforcement to protecting medical marijuana users and their doctors from prosecution; and will continue that tradition of success, combining litigation, education, and community empowerment to achieve a humane and sensible drug policy that respects basic human rights and the liberties enshrined in our nation's Constitution.

The Project's current priority areas focus on challenging (1) racial disparities in drug law enforcement and over-incarceration within communities of color, and (2) punishment of non-violent marijuana users.

The Project is currently litigating cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies challenging racial profiling in drug enforcement, the denial of college financial aid to those with previous drug convictions and federal obstruction of medical marijuana. Other issues of interest include the misuse of informants in drug law enforcement, alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders, student drug testing, censorship of speech advocating drug policy reform and police harassment of sterile syringe exchange programs and other health-based approaches to drug use and abuse. The Project represents the first national effort to harness litigation in combination with coordinated advocacy and community organizing as a tool of drug policy reform. For more information, please visit http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy.

Santa Cruz, California, the home of the Project, is a 55,000-person college town and eclectic beach community situated on the northern part of Monterey Bay about 70 miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles from San Jose. The Project's location in Santa Cruz offers the rare opportunity to engage in fast-paced, national litigation and activism within a relaxed, small-town environment. The surrounding natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay marine sanctuary, combined with proximity to California's urban centers, makes living and working in Santa Cruz ideal for professionals seeking work-life balance.

NOTE: The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "ACLU."

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

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17. Job Opportunity: IT Director, Marijuana Policy Project

The Marijuana Policy Project, a fast-paced, well-respected lobbying organization, is seeking an IT Manager for MPP's Washington, DC headquarters.

The IT Manager manages a three-person IT department, which handles all of MPP's networking infrastructure, data management, and Web development.

QUALIFICATIONS: The IT Manager must be able to perform exceptionally in an extremely fast-paced campaign environment. The position requires an ease with juggling multiple projects simultaneously and quickly; the ability to translate technical issues into plain English for non-technical staff; and a proven track record of successful project management in a deadline-driven environment. MPP is a heavily Apple-based organization, so extensive experience with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server is essential. Candidates should be comfortable working in both the graphical user environment and at the command line level, as well as generally familiar with and comfortable using UNIX or Linux and Microsoft Windows XP. Experience managing Linux/UNIX servers and/or experience with Windows-based networking is a plus. Expertise in data management and/or Web development is a plus.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The IT Manager manages one Network and Systems Analyst and one Web Developer, while serving as a back-up for the services and functions they provide. Specifically:

  • Data Management: Oversee the work of the Network and Systems Analyst, who is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of MPP's in-house databases and database servers; perform general database management and development using FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Server, and MySQL; help MPP's staff to develop and debug database queries and reports; and work with outside vendors to ensure integrity of MPP's internal database, including NCOA, Telematch, district matching, and other matching services or methods.
  • Networking and Systems: Oversee the day-to-day maintenance and troubleshooting of all IT infrastructure, such as desktop and laptop computers, network devices, servers, back-up system, VPN, telephones, and other associated peripherals; and research and recommend new technologies, services, software, and hardware that will improve MPP's ability to execute its mission.
  • Web: Oversee the work of MPP's Web Developer, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of MPP's web sites and development of new web sites; oversee the transition of MPP's main web site from its current provider to a new provider, as well as the transition of MPP's remaining web sites from hand-edited sites to one or more content management systems, and oversee the training of MPP staff in their usage; and when the Web Developer is unavailable, make web site updates as needed.
  • Department Management: Manage a high-volume incoming workload for the department, ensuring jobs are prioritized and executed; and effectively manage the department staff.

The IT Manager reports to the Executive Director. In addition to a competitive salary, the position includes full health insurance and an optional retirement package. Please see http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html to apply for the IT Manager position. Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible, as MPP is seeking to fill the position quickly.

MPP has 33 staffers -- 23 staffers in MPP's DC headquarters, three in California, four in Minneapolis, one in Massachusetts, one in Michigan, and one in New Hampshire. With more than 23,000 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. For more information about the organization, please visit http://www.mpp.org.

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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School