Drug War Chronicle #538 - May 30, 2008

1. Feature: Summer's Here and the Time is Right for... Getting Busted Going to the Festival (If You're Not Careful)

Summer music festival season is here, and with it, the annual exercises in drug law enforcement aimed at festival-goers and highway travelers in general. Here are a few tips for avoiding trouble.

2. Feature: BC Supreme Court Rules Vancouver Safe Injection Site to Stay Open, Federal Drug Law Controlling It Unconstitutional

In a surprise ruling, the British Columbia Supreme Court has held that Canada's federal drug law is unconstitutional as applied to Vancouver's safe injection site. The site will therefore stay open despite the wishes of the Harper government.

3. Feature: Brazil Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession Not a Crime

A Brazilian appeals court in São Paulo has ruled that drug possession is not a crime. The ruling only applies to one case, but has set an important precedent.

4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

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

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war.

6. Medical Marijuana: California Appeals Court Throws Out Quantity Limits

A California appeals court has declared a 2004 law setting limits on the amount of marijuana patients may possess unconstitutional because it seeks to amend a voter initiative, and only the voters can do that.

7. Medical Marijuana: Employment Rights Bill Passes California Assembly

In January, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers could fire employees who tested positive for marijuana even if they were legal patients under California law. Now, a bill that would undo that ruling has passed the state Assembly.

8. Marijuana: Hawaii County Council Rejects "Green Harvest" Eradication Program

For 30 years, residents of Hawaii's Big Island have endured the annual helicopter swoops and marijuana field raids of "Operation Green Harvest." But last week, the local government said "no thank you" to the state and federal funding that support the operation.

9. Marijuana: Idaho Resort Town Passes Three Initiatives -- Again

For the second time in less than a year, voters in Hailey, Idaho, have passed a trio of marijuana reform municipal initiatives. The first time around, city officials rejected them. Now what will they do?

10. Sentencing: New Jersey Spends $331 Million a Year Jailing Nonviolent Drug Offenders, Study Finds as Legislature Ponders Reforms

A new study from the Drug Policy Alliance finds that New Jersey is spending more than $330 million a year to imprison drug offenders. The study comes as the state legislature ponders a first baby step toward reforming its tough drug sentencing laws.

11. Latin America: Rising Death Toll in Mexico's Drug War Signals Imminent Victory, Attorney General Claims

People are being killed in prohibition-related violence in Mexico at a rate 50% higher than last year. Mexico's attorney general claims that's a sign of success in the drug war.

12. Australia: Doc Group Lobbies for Tougher Western Australia Marijuana Laws, Cites Mental Health Threat

Citing an alleged link between marijuana use and mental illness, the Australian Medical Association is calling for tougher marijuana penalties. That goes against its earlier position that criminal laws don't work as a deterrent and can in fact be harmful to drug users.

13. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Barbara Kay Says Mean Things About Marijuana Users and the Reform Movement," "Another Ryan Frederick Update," "McClellan: Bush Partied So Much, He Couldn't Remember Whether He Tried Cocaine," "If the Drug War Reduces Violence, Please Explain What's Happening in Mexico," "Japanese Customs Hid 5 oz. of Marijuana in Passenger's Bag, Now They Can't Find It," "Ryan Frederick Formally Charged With First Degree Murder."

14. Weekly: This Week in History

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

15. Drug Policy Alliance's Advocacy Grants Program Application Deadline Approaching

With the application deadline fast approaching, Drug Policy Alliance has approximately $1.2 million to allocate during its 2008 Promoting Policy Change grant cycle.

16. 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.

17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on Your Web Site!

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

18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

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

19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

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

1. Feature: Summer's Here and the Time is Right for... Getting Busted Going to the Festival (If You're Not Careful)

With Memorial Day now just a memory, the summer music festival season is on -- and with it, special drug law enforcement aimed at festival goers in what could be called a form of cultural profiling. If years past are any indicator, music lovers should be prepared to encounter everything from announced "Drug Checkpoints" that aren't -- they are instead traps to lure the freaked out -- to real, unconstitutional, highway drug checkpoints masquerading as "safety checks" (complete with drug dogs) to undercover cops working inside the festival grounds themselves.

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Richard Anderson, via commons.wikimedia.org
Nationally known festivals like Bonaroo in Tennessee and Wakarusa in Kansas, as well as countless lesser festivals, especially in rural areas, have drawn special law enforcement efforts in the past. With this year unlikely to be any different, festival goers will need to know their rights and how to exercise them when they encounter the cops.

The police enforcement actions are already getting underway. Last weekend, the 2008 Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, drew some 13,000 fans to hear a diverse line-up of bands including the Flaming Lips, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Blind Melon, the Roots, and the New Pornographers. It also drew city and state police, who claimed 20 drug arrests -- for marijuana, ecstasy, and LSD -- between them in and around the festival.

The police were pleased. "I think a lot of it had to do with all of the agencies getting together before the event and really planning out our attack," Chillicothe Police Chief Steven Maurer told local HOI-19 TV News. "Our goal is to prevent it from coming in and that's what we did a lot of."

Meanwhile, down in northeast Georgia, some other law enforcement agencies had also gotten together to plan an attack. This one wasn't aimed directly at concert-goers, but at the highway-traveling public in general. In what the Northeast Georgian described as "one of the county's largest highway interdiction and safety checks in at least five years," personnel from the Habersham County Sheriff's Office, Northeast Georgia Drug Task Force, Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Unit, Lee Arrendale State Prison, Phillips State Prison and Cornelia Police Department participated in a 24-hour checkpoint on a local highway.

Police bragged about the success of their checkpoint, which netted 74 arrests, 31 of them for drug offenses. "It worked well, I thought," said Habersham County Sheriff De Ray Fincher. "The operation resulted in a seizure of $36,000 in illegal drugs. And a total amount of currency, drugs and vehicles seized is estimated to have a value of $82,000."

Police did write some tickets for traffic offenses, Fincher told WNEG-TV 32 News. "We got a lot of people with no insurance, no driver's license or suspended license," he said. And some pot smokers: "The majority of our cases were marijuana cases; however, we did get several methamphetamine and we got one case of cocaine," Fincher explained.

In a 2000 Supreme Court decision, Indianapolis v. Edmonds, the high court held that indiscriminate highway drug checkpoints were unconstitutional since motorists were being stopped without suspicion for a law enforcement -- not a public safety -- purpose.

But Fincher was open about his constitutionally-suspect highway checkpoint. "We are trying to do everything we can to prevent drug activity in Habersham County, whether it's just passing through or stopping here," he said, noting that drug arrests in the county were on the rise. "That just means we've taken a real aggressive approach to drug enforcement."

"In the wake of the Indianapolis case, law enforcement has tried to figure out ways to still conduct drug checkpoints that comport with that ruling," said Adam Wolf of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "Intent is the name of the game. If the intent is to conduct a checkpoint basically for law enforcement purposes, that's not okay. If it's for public safety purposes, such as sobriety checkpoints, that is okay."

A constitutional challenge to any given checkpoint would turn on intent, said Wolf. "If it turns out the intent was primarily to be a drug checkpoint, that would be an unreasonable search and not comply with the Constitution," he said. "That kind of checkpoint should be shut down, but it would take someone to challenge it."

Noting Sheriff Fincher's report of cash and goods seized, Wolf suggested the purpose of the checkpoints could really be about something other than law enforcement or public safety. "So often these things are being done to fund law enforcement agencies. Asset forfeiture is really a cash cow," he said.

Whether the checkpoints or other special law enforcement tactics are to raise money, wage the drug war, or indeed for "public safety," experts consulted by the Chronicle sang a remarkably similar song: Be prepared, don't be stupid, and don't give away your rights.

"The most efficient way to get arrested for marijuana possession short of blowing pot smoke in an officer's face is to smoke marijuana while driving or parked in your car, especially on the way to a festival," said Steven Silverman of the civil liberties group Flex Your Rights, which has released a video instructing people how to flex theirs. "You have a minimal expectation of privacy, and it reeks. Officers can smell it, and if they can smell it, that's probable cause to search you."

"Keep your private items out of view," recommended the ACLU's Wolf. A baggie full of weed on the front seat is all the probable cause an officer needs to search the vehicle and arrest the owner.

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car search
"The only sure thing to do is not to carry," said Keith Stroup, founder and currently senior counsel for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "But the problem with that is there may or may not be good marijuana available at the festivals. If you're going to bring something with you, keep the quantity as small as possible, and for God's sake, don't smoke in the car!"

If you are stopped at a checkpoint (or pulled over for any reason) and you haven't provided police probable cause to search you or your vehicle, now is the time to exercise your rights. People in such situations should be polite but assertive, the experts said.

"If you are pulled over by police for any reason, the officers are very likely to ask you to consent to a search," said Silverman. "Don't do it. Never, ever consent under any circumstances. It might be couched in terms of a command, but it is a request. If you consent, you are waiving your Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. They won't 'go easier' on you; anything they find, they will confiscate, and arrest you and put you in jail. Don't do their job for them."

"There is no circumstance I can imagine where you should ever consent to a search," agreed NORML's Stroup. "If you give permission, you waive your Fourth Amendment protections. They may say it'll go easier if you cooperate, but that's bullshit. Their only reason for being there is to see if you have contraband and arrest you and put you in jail if you do."

"Just say no to warrantless searches," echoed the ACLU's Wolf. "Officers won't tell you you have the right not to consent, but you do, and it is one that people have held dear since the founding of the Republic."

There are other highway hazards for the unwary festival-goer. Law enforcement can be creative in its unending war on drug users and sellers.

"Anybody driving to see his favorite band should also be aware of fake drug checkpoints," said Silverman. "Drug checkpoints are unconstitutional, but what some sheriffs will do close to festival sites is set up a big 'Drug Checkpoint Ahead' sign, and then watch who turns off the highway at the next ramp or who throws something out his car window. Then they pull them over for littering or failure to signal a lane change or something. If you see such a sign, keep driving -- it's a bluff designed to see who it scares."

"When you see a sign like that, proceed ahead within the speed limit, driving safely through the area," advised Wolf.

Wolf has problems with the harassment of festival-goers that run deeper than particular law enforcement tactics. "Profiling based on race is not okay, profiling based on gender is not okay, and profiling based on the type of concert you attend is not okay," he said. "It's unreasonable and unjustifiable for police to target a group of people because they are going to any particular type of concert."

"Simply having a Grateful Dead sticker or dreadlocks doesn't constitute reasonable suspicion of anything," agreed Silverman.

But in the real world, it can. Festival-goers and other highway travelers need to be aware of their rights, as well as the realities of life in the contemporary US, as they hit the highway this summer.

And one last thing once you actually make it to the festival. "There's a big myth out there that police officers must reveal if they're an undercover cop," said Silverman. "That's wrong, and it's stupid to believe that. Police officers can and do legally lie in doing their jobs. Believing that has probably led to thousands of people being arrested."

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2. Feature: BC Supreme Court Rules Vancouver Safe Injection Site to Stay Open, Federal Drug Law Controlling It Unconstitutional

In a ruling that stunned and very pleasantly surprised advocates for Vancouver's Insite safe injection site, the British Columbia Supreme Court Tuesday held that Insite can stay open indefinitely. Canada's federal drug law is unconstitutional when applied to Insite because it conflicts with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and health matters that are a provincial responsibility, the court held.

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InSite (courtesy Vancouver Coastal Health)
The future of Insite has been a bitter political battle between the Conservative federal government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and harm reductionists, scientists, academic specialists, and broad swathes of the Vancouver community, including Mayor Sam Sullivan and BC Health, the provincial health agency. Begun in 2003, under Harper, Insite has limped along on a series of temporary exemptions from Canada's drug law. The latest was set to expire June 30, and a campaign to save it was in full swing when the court made matters moot.

While the political fight was brewing, some actors sought recourse in the courts. Represented by Vancouver attorney John Conroy, the Portland Hotel Society, which operates Insite for BC Health, and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) filed suit in the provincial courts seeking protection for the site, and in particular, for workers at the site who might be at risk under the federal drug law. By imposing an absolute, unqualified prohibition on the possession of controlled substances, the law prevented access to Insite and its health services. That was an improper expansion of the federal government into what should be a provincial sphere, they argued. It was this lawsuit that brought Tuesday's victory.

In his ruling in PHS Community Services Society v. Attorney General of Canada, Justice Ian Pitfield declared part of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act unconstitutional and null and void, and gave Ottawa one year to rectify the law so it does not interfere with medical treatment. In the meantime, Pitsfield declared, Insite is constitutionally exempt from the drug law.

"In my opinion," Pitfield wrote, "section 4(1) of the CDSA, which applies to possession for every purpose without discrimination or differentiation in its effect, is arbitrary. In particular it prohibits the management of addiction and its associated risks at Insite. It treats all consumption of controlled substances, whether addictive or not, and whether by an addict or not, in the same manner. Instead of being rationally connected to a reasonable apprehension of harm, the blanket prohibition contributes to the very harm it seeks to prevent. It is inconsistent with the state's interest in fostering individual and community health, and preventing death and disease."

The drug law blocks addicts from receiving health care that could reduce their chances of overdose or death by infectious disease, and that violates their rights under the Charter, Pitsfield wrote. "While users do not use Insite to directly treat their addiction, they receive services and assistance at Insite which reduce the risk of overdose that is a feature of their illness, they avoid the risk of being infected or of infecting others by injection, and they gain access to counseling and consultation that may lead to abstinence and rehabilitation," he said. "All of this is health care."

He pointed out that people who drink alcohol or smoke tobacco to excess aren't denied treatment. "I do not see any rational or logical reason why the approach should be different when dealing with the addiction to narcotics," he wrote. "Simply stated, I cannot agree with Canada's submission that an addict must feed his addiction in an unsafe environment when a safe environment that may lead to rehabilitation is the alternative."

Advocates for Insite, who fought for years to create it, then again to keep it going in the face of the ideological opposition of the Conservatives, wavered between ecstasy and disbelief. "I just want to cry, I'm so ecstatic," Liz Evans, one of the directors of PHS, told the Vancouver Sun.

"This is a significant victory for the people in our community," said New Democratic Party provincial parliamentarian Jenny Kwan, in whose district Insite is located.

NDP Member of Parliament Libby Davies, who represents the district at the federal level, went on the offensive in Ottawa Wednesday. "Mr. Speaker, yesterday BC's Supreme Court decision makes it abundantly clear that Insite, the supervised injection facility in east Vancouver, is a health facility," she said during parliamentary questions. "The ruling also makes it clear that closing Insite would be 'inconsistent with the state's interest in fostering individual and community health and preventing death and disease.' Can the Minister of Health assure the House today that his Conservative government will abide by the court's decision and not appeal this important case?"

While Health Minister Tony Clement denied any responsibility for any decision on an appeal, he let it be known his government was not happy. "We are disappointed with the judgment," he responded. "We disagree with the judgment. We are, of course, examining our options and I would say to the House that we on this side of the House care about treating drug addicts who need our help. We care about preventing people, especially our young people, from becoming drug addicts in the first place. That is our way to reduce harm in our society and we are proud of taking that message to the people of Canada."

"If the Minister of Health claims that he cares about people who use drugs and the issues they face, then he will respect the decision of the court," Davies retorted. "The medical, scientific and now legal conclusions just could not be any clearer. Insite is a life-saving facility and harm reduction is an essential component of Canada's drug strategy. When will the minister put aside his personal ideological position, respect the court's decision and get to work on changing Canada's drug laws to allow access to health facilities such as Insite? When is he going to do that? He is taking too long."

Clement did not respond, except to say, "We are here to help our kids, prevent them from getting on drugs in the first place. We are here to help addicts."

If he wants to help addicts, Clement should quit opposing the safe injection site, said the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. "The court has recognized that criminalizing drugs and drug users cannot be allowed to deny people the benefits of a health facility such as Insite, and that to do so would violate the constitutional rights of some of those who are most vulnerable and in need of such health services," said Richard Elliott, the network's executive director.

"It's time to end the waffling and misdirection that we've seen so far," said Elliott. "The evidence is extensive and shows the benefits of such health facilities, including reducing injecting behavior that risks transmitting HIV and hepatitis C. Ideology cannot be allowed to block the delivery of health services and perpetuate a public health crisis."

Update: Late Thursday the government announced it would appeal the decision.

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3. Feature: Brazil Appeals Court Rules Drug Possession Not a Crime

At the end of March, a Brazilian appeals court in São Paulo declared that possession of drugs for personal use is not a criminal offense. Several lower courts had previously ruled in the same way, but the ruling from the São Paulo Justice Court's 6th Criminal Chamber marked the first time an appeals court there had found Brazil's drug law unconstitutional as it pertains to simple drug possession.

The ruling came in the case of Ronaldo Lopes, who was arrested with 7.7 grams of cocaine in three separate bags on the night before Carnival began in 2007. Lopes acknowledged that the drugs were his and said they were for his personal use. Lopes was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison as a drug trafficker. But the appeals court judges threw out the trafficking charge since it was based on an anonymous complaint. It then threw out the possession charge, saying it was unconstitutional.

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Psicotropicus banner promoting marijuana (maconha) legalization.
In his opinion in the case, Judge José Henrique Rodrigues Torres said the law criminalizing drug possession for personal use was invalid because it violated the constitutional principles of harm (there is no harm to third parties), privacy (it is a personal choice), and equality (possessing alcohol is not a crime). "One cannot admit any state intervention, mainly repressive and of penal character, in the realm of personal choice, especially when it comes to legislating morality," he said.

The ruling applies only to Lopes, but can be used as a precedent in other court proceedings. There is no word yet on whether the Brazilian government will appeal.

The ruling comes nearly two years after Brazil changed its drug laws to depenalize -- but not decriminalize -- drug possession for personal use. Under that law, drug possession is still a criminal offense, but penalties are limited to fines, fees, education, and community service.

In his opinion, Torres cited earlier decisions by now retired Judge Maria Lúcia Karam, who told the Chronicle this week the appeals court decision was "praiseworthy" and "significant."

"The praiseworthy ruling by a Court of Appeals in São Paulo, proclaiming the unconstitutionality of the Brazilian law that criminalizes drug possession for personal use, is a remarkable moment in Brazil's judicial history," she said. "This is a decision of great significance. This is the first time a Brazilian appeals court has clearly stated that a law that criminalizes drug possession for personal use contradicts the Constitution and the international declarations of human rights. This is the first time that a Brazilian appeals court has clearly stated that drug possession for personal use is a behavior that matters only to the individual, to his or her privacy, and to his or her personal choices. This is the first time that a Brazilian appeals court has clearly stated that the state is not authorized to interfere within this sphere of privacy. This is the first time that a Brazilian appeals court has clearly stated that the individual shall be free to be and to do whatever he or she wants, while behaving in such a way that does not affect any rights of others," Karam said.

The decision should reverberate through the Brazilian courts, said Karam. "This is a real precedent, and it should encourage other Brazilian courts and judges to also accomplish their main mission, that is to guarantee liberty and all other fundamental rights of individuals, to actually respect the Constitution and the international declarations of human rights," she said.

"This is good news," agreed Luiz Paulo Guanabara, head of the Brazilian drug reform group Psicotropicus. "The 2006 drug law reform did away with prison sentences for people possessing illicit drugs for personal use, but under that law, drug users were still criminals who could be penalized by community service or fines and fees. This is an advance," he said.

"Amazing," said Martín Arangurí Soto, a graduate student in political science in São Paulo and Drug War Chronicle's Spanish and Portuguese translator. "The Justice Court of São Paulo is a very conservative court. It was among the ones that banned the marijuana marches at the beginning of this month," he noted. "Does this mean the marijuana march is on next year? They won't be able to argue that it is an 'apology for drug use,' because possessing for personal use is not a crime anymore."

Drug law reform is a work in process in Brazil, said Guanabara. "This is a timely decision because the new law is not carved in stone and must be amended to fit social reality. Now we have the chance to quit unjustly criminalizing people for consuming this or that substance or carrying illicit drugs for personal use."

One of the remaining issues to be resolved is what quantity of drugs is considered personal use, said Guanabara. "There is no set quantity to distinguish users from dealers," he explained. "This ruling is notable because the defendant was caught carrying more than seven grams of cocaine. If he had lived in a slum and been detained with that same amount he would have been considered a drug dealer and subjected to the same penalties as someone caught with 10 kilos of cocaine, which is one of the more irrational aspects of our drug laws."

Beyond the impact the ruling could have on the lives of drug users, it also shows how far Brazil has come, said Guanabara. "The drug policy discussion has reached the mainstream in Brazil," he said. "When Psicotropicus was created just a few years ago, the topic was taboo and people who spoke in favor of drug policy reform were regarded as lunatics or advocates against the 'indisputable' crime of possessing, using or selling the forbidden drugs."

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4. Students: Intern at DRCNet and Help Stop the Drug War!

Want to help end the "war on drugs," while earning college credit too? Apply for a DRCNet internship for this fall semester (or spring) and you could come join the team and help us fight the fight!

DRCNet (also known as "Stop the Drug War") has a strong record of providing substantive work experience to our interns -- you won't spend the summer doing filing or running errands, you will play an integral role in one or more of our exciting programs. Options for work you can do with us include coalition outreach as part of the campaign to repeal the drug provision of the Higher Education Act, and to expand that effort to encompass other bad drug laws like the similar provisions in welfare and public housing law; blogosphere/web outreach; media research and outreach; web site work (research, writing, technical); possibly other areas. If you are chosen for an internship, we will strive to match your interests and abilities to whichever area is the best fit for you.

While our internships are unpaid, we will reimburse you for metro fare, and DRCNet is a fun and rewarding place to work. To apply, please send your resume to David Guard at [email protected], and feel free to contact us at (202) 293-8340. We hope to hear from you! Check out our web site at http://stopthedrugwar.org to learn more about our organization.

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

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

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too much drug cash can corrupt cops
In Hartford, Connecticut, a prison guard was arrested last week in a state police sting operation after agreeing to smuggle heroin and a cell phone into a Suffield prison for an inmate. Corrections officer Connie Atkins, 43, met with an undercover police officer posing as a drug connection in Hartford on May 21 and took possession of a cell phone and what she thought was 28 grams of heroin. She was then arrested. Atkins faces charges of criminal attempt to possess narcotics, criminal attempt to convey narcotics into a correctional institution and criminal attempt to convey a wireless communication device into a correctional institution. She is out on bail, with a Superior Court hearing set for June 20.

In New York City, two Customs and Border Protection officers were arrested Wednesday, accused of taking bribes in a drug probe that snagged five other people as well. The so far unnamed CBP officers allegedly took bribes to look the other way as the other arrestees smuggled hashish and other drugs and contraband through Kennedy International Airport. The others arrested included two Customs brokers, an operations manager of a cargo cooperative, and two importers of counterfeit goods and controlled substances. They were due in court this week.

In Tucson, a Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty May 20 to smuggling more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the country in his government vehicle. Agent Juan Luis Sanchez pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, bribery, and workmen's compensation fraud. He admitted transporting at least six loads of marijuana ranging from 376 pounds to 921 pounds in 2002 and 2003. He also admitted receiving $45,000 in bribes. Sanchez will be sentenced August 13, when he faces up to life in prison, but a plea deal with prosecutors calls for a sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a former New Haven detective was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in federal prison after admitting he planted drug evidence and stole money from a crime scene. Former narcotics detective Justen Kasperzyk pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to violate civil rights and theft of government property. He will report to prison June 24, where he can hang out with his old boss, former narcotics division head Lt. William White, who is doing 38 months for corruption.

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6. Medical Marijuana: California Appeals Court Throws Out Quantity Limits

In a May 22 decision, the California 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles has ruled that state lawmakers unconstitutionally overstepped their bounds by limiting the amount of marijuana patients could possess. California's Compassionate Use Act became law as the result of a 1996 voter initiative, and the legislature cannot amend initiatives, the court held.

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California medical marijuana bags (courtesy Daniel Argo via Wikimedia)
Seeking to regulate medical marijuana in the state, the legislature passed a bill that set limits on the amount of pot patients could possess. That bill set the limit at eight ounces of dried marijuana and six mature or 12 seedling plants.

Prosecutors used that provision of the law to charge medical marijuana patient Patrick Kelly with marijuana possession and sales after they busted him with 12 ounces. Kelley was a registered patient, but did not have a doctor's recommendation that he needed more than the eight ounces envisioned by the legislative action. Prosecutors were wrong to charge Kelly, the court held.

"The CUA does not quantify the marijuana a patient may possess. Rather, the only 'limit' on how much marijuana a person falling under the act may possess is it must be for the patient's 'personal medical purposes,'" Justice Richard Aldrich wrote.

"The legislature... cannot amend an initiative, such as the CUA, unless the initiative grants the legislature authority to do so," Aldrich continued in the 7-2 opinion. "The CUA does not grant the legislature the authority to amend it without voter approval."

The unconstitutional provision was part of a 2004 bill by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) that sought to clarify the state's medical marijuana law. The following year, Vasconcellos got a bill passed that removed the cap language, but it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who argued that it removed "reasonable and established quantity guidelines."

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7. Medical Marijuana: Employment Rights Bill Passes California Assembly

A medical marijuana employment rights bill that would protect California patients from being fired because their medication is marijuana passed the California Assembly Wednesday. Introduced by leading legislative medical marijuana defender Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and cosponsored by Assemblymembers Patty Berg (D-Eureka), Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego), the bill, AB 2279, would overturn a January California Supreme Court decision, Ross v. Raging Wire.

In that case, the state Supreme Court upheld the ability of employers to fire employees who test positive for marijuana even if they are patients. That decision left the state's estimated 150,000 registered medical marijuana patients facing renewed job insecurity.

AB 2279 would undo that ruling. It would "declare it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person's status as a qualified patient or primary caregiver, or a positive drug test for marijuana, except as specified."

The bill also provides authorization for those who have been discriminated against by employers because of their medical marijuana use to sue for damages, seek injunctions and other appropriate relief. It would not prevent an employer from firing an employee who is impaired on the job because of medical marijuana use.

"AB 2279 is not about being under the influence while at work. That's against the law, and will remain so," said Leno, the bill's author. "It's about allowing patients who are able to work safely and who use their doctor-recommended medication in the privacy of their own homes, to not be arbitrarily fired from their jobs. The voters who supported Proposition 215 did not intend for medical marijuana patients to be forced into unemployment in order to benefit from their medicine," Leno continued.

"The California Assembly has acted to protect the right of patients to work and be productive members of society," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, the medical marijuana advocacy group that argued the case before the Court and is now a supporter of the bill. "The state Senate now has the important task of passing this bill with the aim to protect the jobs of thousands of Californians with serious illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS."

"It's important that we not allow employment discrimination in California," said Gary Ross, the former plaintiff in Ross v. Raging Wire. "If the Court is going to ignore the need for protection, then it's up to the legislature to ensure that productive workers like me are free from discrimination."

The bill has broad support from labor, business, civil rights, and medical groups. It now heads to the state Senate.

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8. Marijuana: Hawaii County Council Rejects "Green Harvest" Eradication Program

By the narrowest of margins, the Aloha State's Big Island Hawaii County Council has rejected a state and federally funded marijuana eradication program known as "Green Harvest." The action came during a council meeting last week, when the council tied 4-4 on whether to continue to support the widely criticized program. The tie vote meant the motion to accept the funding failed.

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Volcano National Park, Hawaii Island
"Green Harvest" began in Hawaii three decades ago and has been controversial ever since. Many residents opposed the program, saying low-flying helicopters searching for pot fields disrupted rural life and invaded their privacy. Others argued that the program has done little to eradicate marijuana and even promoted the use of other, more dangerous drugs.

By the 1990s, council members heeding public complaints began expressing reservations about the helicopter missions. In 2000, they rejected $265,000 in federal eradication funds, two-thirds of the program's money that year. But the following year, they once again accepted the full amount offered.

But last week's vote means the council will say "no thanks" to $441,000 in state and federal funds for "Green Harvest." It also means the county will save the $53,000 from its own budget that would have been its share of the operation's financial burden.

Last month, the council had narrowly approved "Green Harvest" on a 5-3 vote, but that vote had to be redone because the council failed to publish the legislation in local newspapers, as required by law. That provided the opportunity for Councilman Angel Pilago to change his vote and kill the program.

"This will have long-term impacts," Pilago said. "When we institute programs we, the county government, need to look at if they are detrimental to people's rights and the health and safety of the community. That's what we do," he told the Associated Press after the vote. "It's about home rule," he said. "The county must be assertive and aggressive and not defer certain powers to the state and federal governments. We must not cede those powers."

Pilago is running for mayor of Hawaii County, and his vote on "Green Harvest," as well as his support for a lowest law enforcement priority initiative currently underway there, could help him draw a contrast between himself and incumbent Mayor Harry Kim, who is a "Green Harvest" supporter.

"My position is no secret," Kim told the AP. "I support eradication, as long as it's done in a way that is not harmful to people who should not be harmed, as far as noise and catchment systems and all those concerns. I'm against all drugs. Marijuana is an illegal drug."

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9. Marijuana: Idaho Resort Town Passes Three Initiatives -- Again

For the second time in less than a year, voters in the Sun Valley town of Hailey, Idaho, have approved a trio of marijuana reform initiatives. A measure legalizing medical marijuana, another legalizing industrial hemp, and a third directing the city to make marijuana law enforcement its lowest policing priority all passed. A fourth initiative that would have directed the city to tax and regulate marijuana distribution failed.

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Selkirk mountains, northern Idaho
Voters passed the same three initiatives in November, but city officials balked at enforcing them. That stance was strengthened by a December opinion from the Idaho Attorney General's office that the local initiatives conflicted with state law.

But Ryan Davidson, chairman of the Idaho Liberty Lobby, the group that organized both efforts, put the initiatives back on the ballot. Another round of ballot box victories would make it "politically less viable" for local officials to oppose the will of the voters, he told the Idaho Mountain News.

Where things will go from here remains to be seen. The Hailey mayor, a city councilor, and the chief of police sued the city earlier this month over the initiatives in search of a judgment the city can use as a guide for dealing with them.

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10. Sentencing: New Jersey Spends $331 Million a Year Jailing Nonviolent Drug Offenders, Study Finds as Legislature Ponders Reforms

As New Jersey legislators push for sentencing reforms of some mandatory minimum drug offense sentences, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance finds that the state is spending more than $330 million a year to lock up nonviolent drug offenders. The state is also losing out financially in additional ways by imprisoning so many drug offenders, the report found.

The report, "Wasting Money, Wasting Lives: Calculating the Hidden Costs of Incarceration in New Jersey," found that the Garden State leads the nation in incarcerating drug offenders, with nearly half of all state prisoners doing time for drug offenses, well above the 31% national average. In addition to the direct costs of imprisoning about 7,000 new drug offenders each year, the state loses even more money from lost wages and tax revenues, unpaid child support, and decreased future earnings of people with criminal records. The report estimated that each person imprisoned in New Jersey will earn $100,000 less in his lifetime that he otherwise would have earned.

"We are creating an entire cast of people who will forever be economic and labor force outsiders," said Roseanne Scotti, director of DPA's New Jersey office, during a Wednesday press conference. Reduced earnings by former offenders hurt the state, she said. "It is money that would have gone into the larger New Jersey economy," Scotti said.

"The time has come for us to change from throw-away-the-key, lock-'em-up mandatory minimums," said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union). "Let's understand that that hasn't worked."

Newark Mayor Cory Booker said that saddling drug users with criminal records forces them "to live on the margins as outcasts" and push them back toward drug use. "It is time to stop the madness," Booker said. "It is time to stop the hemorrhaging of good, hard-earned taxpayer dollars, pouring it into a hole that seems to get deeper and deeper and deeper."

The report release was timed to prod the legislature into passing a bill that would allow judges some flexibility in sentencing people arrested for nonviolent drug offenses in school zones. That bill, A 2762, has already passed one Assembly committee.

Wednesday, Cryan predicted the bill would pass by the end of June. Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) also came out in support of the bill that day. Now, its up to the rest of the legislature to decide whether it wants to take a baby step in the direction of reducing drug sentences and saving the state money.

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11. Latin America: Rising Death Toll in Mexico's Drug War Signals Imminent Victory, Attorney General Claims

As of last Friday, the death toll in the prohibition-related violence wracking Mexico this year had climbed to 1,378, up sharply from the 940 dead at this time last year, Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora reported. Since then, that number has gone even higher, with killing continuing on a daily basis. Among the dead this week, seven police officers were killed in Culiacán when they raided a house belonging to the Sinaloa Cartel.

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Shrine to San Malverde, patron saint of the narcos (and others), Culiacán -- plaque thanking God, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and San Malverde for keeping the roads cleans -- from ''the indigenous people from Angostura to Arizona'' (photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith)
More than 4,150 people, including at least 450 police and soldiers, have been killed in Mexico's drug wars since President Felipe Calderón unleashed the army against drug traffickers at the beginning of 2007, Medina Mora said. Currently, some 30,000 troops are deployed in border cities, Culiacán and Acapulco, and other drug war hot spots.

This month, at least six high-ranking police officials, including the police chief in Ciudad Juárez and the acting commander of the Federal Preventive Police have been assassinated, presumably at the hands of cartel gunmen. Others have fled to the US.

But for Medina Mora, the rising tide of blood is a sign the government's offensive is working. Recent arrests and seizures have created a power vacuum, and different cartel factions are vying for turf, he argued. "Evidently when they are cornered and weakened, they have to respond with violence," Medina Mora said.

The US government apparently doesn't agree. The Congress is currently considering a three-year, $1.4 billion anti-drug assistance program for Mexico aimed at defeating the cartels. And neither, apparently, does Medina Mora's own government. It announced this week that it will deploy the military against the cartels for at least another two years.

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12. Australia: Doc Group Lobbies for Tougher Western Australia Marijuana Laws, Cites Mental Health Threat

The Australian Medical Association has called on the state government of Western Australia to introduce harsher marijuana laws. It warned of an increased risk of schizophrenia among pot smokers, citing a new review of international research on the links between marijuana and mental illness.

Western Australia has some of the most tolerant pot laws in the country. While the possession, use, or cultivation of any amount of marijuana remains illegal, under the state's 2004 Cannabis Control Act, adults possessing 30 grams or less or two or less non-hydroponically-grown plants can avoid a criminal conviction if they pay a fine or attend drug classes.

The Western Australia government has promised to toughen marijuana laws so that any adult who grew marijuana or possessed more than 15 grams of it would face criminal charges. But it has so far failed to introduced the legislation.

On Saturday, AMA president Dr. Rosanna Capolingua called on Western Australia Health Minister Jim McGinty to get moving. "The soft marijuana laws certainly do not help support the message that marijuana is not a soft drug," Dr. Capolingua told the newspaper The West. "Even though punitive measures are not always smiled upon as far as drug abuse goes, it really gets down to when do we start protecting people from substances such as marijuana and when do we need laws to protect people?"

Capolingua's tough stance puts her and the AMA at odds with its own official position on marijuana adopted two years ago. In its Position Statement -- Cannabis, 2006, the AMA had this to say about criminal penalties for drug use:

"It is often cited that criminal penalties will act as a deterrent to use. There is no evidence to support this. In A Public Health Perspective on Cannabis and Other Illegal Drugs, the Canadian Medical Association highlights the profound impact on health status associated with having a criminal record. The presence of a criminal record can severely limit employment prospects leading to poor health."

"Evidence indicates that strict drug laws in general encourage people to take more potent drugs and to consume them in unsafe ways. Prohibition also makes users less likely to seek treatment when they get into difficulty. 'Prohibition is the cause of a significant proportion of the health costs associated with illicit drug use and it hinders the achievement of the objective of harm minimization.' Research indicates that the introduction of liberal drug laws may result in a slight increase in temporary drug use but that it is unlikely to increase, and may even decrease, drug related health costs."

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13. 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 -- huge numbers of people have been reading it recently -- 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! Check out the Speakeasy main page at http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy.

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prohibition-era beer raid, Washington, DC (Library of Congress)

Since last issue:

Scott Morgan writes: "Barbara Kay Says Mean Things About Marijuana Users and the Reform Movement," "Another Ryan Frederick Update," "McClellan: Bush Partied So Much, He Couldn't Remember Whether He Tried Cocaine," "If the Drug War Reduces Violence, Please Explain What's Happening in Mexico," "Japanese Customs Hid 5 oz. of Marijuana in Passenger's Bag, Now They Can't Find It" and "Ryan Frederick Formally Charged With First Degree Murder."

David Guard posts numerous press releases, action alerts and other organizational announcements in the In the Trenches blog.

Please join us in the Reader Blogs too.

Again, http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy is the online place to stay in the loop for the fight to stop the war on drugs. Thanks for reading, and writing...

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14. Weekly: This Week in History

June 3, 1876: Fairgoers visit the Turkish Hashish Exposition at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where many partake.

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 31, 1996: Psychedelic guru Timothy Leary dies.

June 1, 1996: Actor and hemp activist Woody Harrelson is arrested and charged with cultivation of fewer than five marijuana plants, after planting four industrial hemp seeds in full view of Lee County Sheriff William Kilburn in Lexington, Kentucky.

June 8, 1998: A well-publicized letter signed by more than 600 international leaders and high-profile, influential professionals from various fields is written to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging him to reconsider "failed and futile drug war policies" as the signers believe the war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself. The signatories call for opening the debate to alternative approaches to drug abuse based on common sense, science, public health and human rights.

June 4, 1998: Common Sense for Drug Policy begins a $60,000 advertisement campaign on CNN and other outlets, timed to coincide with the June 8 UN drug summit, featuring a video of President Clinton at the UN with an overdubbed voice imitating the president and urging a change in drug policy (with a visual disclaimer saying it is not Clinton talking). On June 7, ABC Evening News covered the story.

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.

June 2, 2004: Judge Paul L. Friedman of the US District Court of the District of Columbia strikes down a law passed by Congress blocking marijuana law reform groups from purchasing ad space in public transit systems. Judge Friedman notes that the federal government cannot ban certain types of speech because it disapproves of their content -- especially in light of the government's own advertising advocating for the punishment of marijuana users on these same trains and buses.

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15. Drug Policy Alliance's Advocacy Grants Program Application Deadline Approaching

The Drug Policy Alliance will have approximately $1.2 million to allocate during the 2008 Promoting Policy Change grant cycle. The deadline for applications is Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 8:00 pm EDT. Decisions are generally made around mid-September. Applications are available here.

Through the annual Promoting Policy Change grant cycle DPA seeks to broaden public support for drug policy reform, and will fund strategic and innovative approaches to increase such support. DPA seeks proposals designed to:

  • Educate the public and policymakers about the negative consequences of current local, state or national drug policies.
  • Promote better awareness and understanding of alternatives to current drug policies.
  • Broaden awareness and understanding of the extent to which punitive prohibitionist policies are responsible for most drug-related problems around the country.

The program provides both general operating support and project specific grants. Virtually all grant making is directed to organizations working within the United States, with particular emphasis on state-based activity. Strategic, geographic or thematic collaborations are strongly encouraged. Generally, the cap on grants awarded during the Promoting Policy Change cycle is $50,000.

The Advocacy Grants Program will make grants to organizations and projects that demonstrate a clear ability and commitment to educate the public about the need for drug policy reform. DPA will consider proposals from organizations focusing on one or more of the following:

  • Public education campaigns and litigation to raise awareness of the negative consequences of current local, state and national drug policies.
  • Organizing and constituency mobilization efforts which raise awareness about the negative consequences of local, state or national drug policies.
  • Public education regarding: (1) the failures and consequences of drug polices in the United States and the possible benefits of policy alternatives to criminal prohibition; (2) reduction of the reliance on the criminal justice system by raising awareness of the need for alternatives to incarceration; (3) discrimination in employment, housing, student loans and other benefits against those who use drugs or who have been convicted of drug offenses; and (4) raising awareness of the negative consequences of current drug policies on human rights.
  • Disproportionate impact on communities of color and youth.
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16. Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

Do you read Drug War Chronicle? If so, we'd like to hear from you. DRCNet needs two things:

  1. We are in between newsletter grants, and that makes our need for donations more pressing. Drug War Chronicle is free to read but not to produce! Click here to make a donation by credit card or PayPal, or to print out a form to send in by mail.

  2. Please send quotes and reports on how you put our flow of information to work, for use in upcoming grant proposals and letters to funders or potential funders. Do you use DRCNet as a source for public speaking? For letters to the editor? Helping you talk to friends or associates about the issue? Research? For your own edification? Have you changed your mind about any aspects of drug policy since subscribing, or inspired you to get involved in the cause? Do you reprint or repost portions of our bulletins on other lists or in other newsletters? Do you have any criticisms or complaints, or suggestions? We want to hear those too. Please send your response -- one or two sentences would be fine; more is great, too -- email [email protected] or reply to a Chronicle email or use our online comment form. Please let us know if we may reprint your comments, and if so, if we may include your name or if you wish to remain anonymous. IMPORTANT: Even if you have given us this kind of feedback before, we could use your updated feedback now too -- we need to hear from you!

Again, please help us keep Drug War Chronicle alive at this important time! Click here to make a donation online, or send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. Make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation to make a tax-deductible donation for Drug War Chronicle -- remember if you select one of our member premium gifts that will reduce the portion of your donation that is tax-deductible -- or make a non-deductible donation for our lobbying work -- online or check payable to Drug Reform Coordination Network, same address. We can also accept contributions of stock -- email [email protected] for the necessary info.

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17. Webmasters: Help the Movement by Running DRCNet Syndication Feeds on 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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18. Resource: DRCNet Web Site Offers Wide Array of RSS Feeds for Your Reader

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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19. Resource: Reformer's Calendar Accessible Through DRCNet Web Site

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DRCNet's Reformer's Calendar is a tool you can use to let the world know about your events, and find out what is going on in your area in the issue. This resource used to run in our newsletter each week, but now is available from the right hand column of most of the pages on our 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.

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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