Drug War Chronicle #554 - October 3, 2008

1. Feature: Drug Policy Reform and Sentencing Initiatives on the November Ballot

Election day is just over a month away. Here's a breakdown of drug policy reform and sentencing initiatives (not all of them good) on various state and local ballots November 4.

2. Feature: Drug Reform Not on the Radar in Canada's Elections

Canadians go to the polls in national elections this month, but there has been little talk of drug reform, and two pro-reform parliamentary candidates were forced off the ballot after videos of past drug use surfaced on YouTube.

3. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

"Dying to Get High," by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb, is a groundbreaking work that provides an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives.

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

Crooked policing runs the gamut this week: from a former chief of police busted for dope dealing, to a cop nailed for acting as a middleman in a bribery scheme, to some lying cops being scrutinized by a federal judge, to a crew of rogue detectives costing their employer a nice settlement, to another rogue cop who's been on the lam for the last five years.

5. Drug War Follies: Iowa Anti-Meth Pseudoephedrine Law Snags Nasal Congestion Sufferer

An Iowa man with chronic nasal congestion has run afoul of his state's law aimed at cracking down on meth cooks.

6. Public Opinion: Three-Quarters of Likely Voters Believe Drug War is Failing and More than One-Quarter Favor Legalization, Zogby Poll Finds

A poll released Thursday finds that 76% of likely voters think the drug war is failing and 27% say the solution is to legalize some drugs.

7. Sentencing: Supreme Court 2nd Amendment Decision May Provide Opening for Appeal in Case of Pot Dealer Doing 55 Years for Carrying Gun

Salt Lake City marijuana dealer Weldon Angelos got 55 years because he had a gun with him during a couple of deals and more at home. Now, in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent 2nd Amendment decision, a group of attorneys is filing a new appeal.

8. Sentencing: Pennsylvania Reform Measure Becomes Law

The biggest sentencing reforms in years were signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell last week, but the killing of a policeman by a parolee is now blocking all parole releases.

9. Medical Marijuana: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Employment Rights Bill

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has vetoed a bill that would have provided employment protection for medical marijuana patients.

10. Medical Marijuana: Bill Coming Down the Pike in Idaho?

An Idaho Republican state legislator is threatening to introduce a medical marijuana bill next session. That would bring the state in line with neighbors Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana.

11. Latin America: Mexican President Moves to Decriminalize Drug Possession

As part of a package of security measures aimed at fighting his country's powerful drug trafficking organizations, Mexican President Felipe Calderón this week moved to decriminalize drug possession.

12. Europe: Marijuana Less Harmful Than Alcohol or Tobacco, Says British Drug Think-Tank

A British drug policy think-tank has released a report saying that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and should be regulated, not prohibited.

13. Weekly: This Week in History

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

14. Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

"Mark Souder vs. The New Drug War Politics," "Calvina Fay vs. The New Drug War Politics," "New Poll: Democrats and Republicans Agree That the Drug War is a Failure," "Police Discover World's Largest Marijuana Plants," "The Drug War Bailout," "Police Defend the Right to Choke Marijuana Suspects," "SWAT Raids Often Target Innocent People," "Nasal Congestion Sufferer Arrested for Buying Too Much Cold Medicine," "When Police Mistake Chocolate For Hash…"

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

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

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18. 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: Drug Policy Reform and Sentencing Initiatives on the November Ballot

With election day little more than a month away, it is time for a round-up of drug policy reform initiatives facing voters in November. Not only are there a number of state-level initiatives dealing with marijuana decriminalization, medical marijuana, and sentencing reform (or its opposite), there are also a handful of initiatives at the county or municipal level.

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November 4th is coming up
But after a spate of drug reform initiatives beginning in the mid-1990s and continuing into the beginning of this decade, the pace has slowed this year. Of the 139 statewide initiatives identified by the Initiative and Referendum Institute as making the ballot this year, only seven have anything to do with drug reform, and four of those seek to increase sentences for various drug offenses.

Drug reformers have had an impressive run, especially with medical marijuana efforts, winning in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, and losing only in conservative South Dakota. Reformers also scored an impressive coup with California's "treatment not jail" initiative, Proposition 36, in 2002. At the municipal level, initiatives making adult marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority have won in cities across California; as well as Denver; Seattle; Missoula County, Montana; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Hailey, Idaho. Detroit and several smaller Michigan cities have also approved municipal medical marijuana initiatives.

One reason for the slow-down in reformers' resort to the initiative process is that, as Marijuana Policy Project assistant communications director Dan Bernath put it, "We've already grabbed all the low-hanging fruit."

While medical marijuana initiatives have had an impressive run, the remainder of the 22 initiative and referendum states -- Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming -- present a more difficult social and political terrain, in most cases. Running a successful initiative is also costly, said Bernath.

"Only half the states have initiatives, so there are only so many places where reformers can push them," he said. "And it is an expensive process that is often complicated. On the other hand, you don't have to rely on timid politicians. The voters are often way out in front of politicians on marijuana reform initiatives, and with an initiative, you don't have to worry about those timid politicians tinkering with your legislation and taking all the teeth out of it," Bernath noted. "As a general rule, I think most reformers would prefer to see something passed by the voters, that gives it a lot of legitimacy."

And that's just what reformers are trying to do with medical marijuana in Michigan and marijuana decriminalization in Massachusetts this year, both of which appear poised to pass. Likewise, in California, reformers are seeking to expand and deepen Prop. 36, but they also face a pair of sentencing initiatives aimed at harsher treatment of drug offenders. And next door in Oregon, anti-crime crusaders also have a pair of initiatives aimed at punishing drug offenders -- among others.

Here's a rundown of the statewide drug reform and/or sentencing initiatives:

CALIFORNIA: It's the battle of the crime and sentencing initiatives, with Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA) going up against a pair of initiatives headed in the other direction. Building on the success (and limitations) of 2002's Prop. 36, Prop. 5 would expand the number of drug offenders diverted from prison into treatment, expand prison and parole rehabilitation programs, allow inmates earlier release for participating in such programs, and cut back the length of parole. It would also decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Led by the Drug Policy Alliance Southern California office, the Yes on Prop. 5 campaign has won broad support from drug treatment professionals, with the notable exception of drug court advocates. But it also faces opposition, not only from the drug court crew and the usual law enforcement suspects, but also actor Martin Sheen and several prominent newspaper editorial boards. No polls on Prop. 5's prospects have been released. See our earlier in-depth reporting on Prop. 5 here.

Proposition 6, the Safe Neighborhoods Act, is primarily aimed at gang members, violent criminals, and criminal aliens, but also includes provisions increasing penalties for methamphetamine possession, possession with intent, and distribution to be equal to those for cocaine, and provides for the expulsion from public housing of anyone convicted of a drug offense. The measure also mandates increased spending for law enforcement. Read the California League of Women Voters' analysis of Prop. 6 here.

Proposition 9, also known as the Crime Victims Bill of Rights Act, unsurprisingly is concerned mostly with "victims' rights," but also includes provisions that would block local authorities from granting early release to prisoners to alleviate overcrowding and mandates that the state fund corrections costs as much as necessary to accomplish that end. It would also lengthen the amount of time a prisoner serving a life sentence who has been denied parole must wait before re-applying. Currently, he must wait one to five years; under Prop. 9, he must wait three to 15 years. Prop. 9 would also allow parolees who have been jailed for alleged parole violations to be held 15 days instead of the current 10 before they are entitled to a hearing to determine if they can be held pending a revocation hearing, and stretches from 35 to 45 the number of days they could be held before such a hearing. These last two provisions, as well as one limiting legal counsel for parolees, all conflict with an existing federal court order governing California's procedures. Read the California League of Women Voters' analysis of Prop. 9 here.

Ironically, both "tough on crime" initiatives have received significant funding and support from Henry Nicholas, the co-founder and former CEO of Broadcom. Nicholas has reportedly contributed at least $5.9 million to the initiatives. That was before he was indicted in June on federal fraud and drug charges. His indictment alleges that he kept properties for drug parties, supplied methamphetamine and cocaine to friends and prostitutes, and spiked technology executives' drinks with Ecstasy.

MASSACHUSETTS: The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy is sponsoring an initiative that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Known as Question 2 on the November ballot, the initiative builds on nearly a decade's worth of work by local activists who ran dozens of successful ballot questions directed at individual representatives. Question 2 looks like almost a sure winner; it garnered 72% support in a mid-August poll. Still, late-organizing opposition has formed, primarily from the usual suspects in law enforcement and prosecutors' offices. See our earlier analysis of Question 2 here.

MICHIGAN: Michigan is poised to become the first medical marijuana state in the Midwest. An initiative sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care and appearing on the ballot as Proposition 1 would allow patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. It would require the department to create an ID card system for qualified patients and their designated caregivers and would allow patients and caregivers to grow small amounts of marijuana indoors in a secure facility. It would also permit both registered and unregistered patients and caregivers to assert a medical necessity defense to any prosecution involving marijuana. A poll released this week showed the measure gaining the approval of 66% of voters. Read our earlier analysis of the initiative and campaign here.

OREGON: While medical marijuana activists are working on a dispensary initiative for 2010, perennial Oregon "crime fighter" Kevin Mannix is once again looking to throw more people in prison. Ballot Measure 61, "Mandatory Sentences For Drug Dealers, Identity Thieves, Burglars, And Car Thieves," is pretty self-explanatory. It would impose mandatory minimum sentences for the manufacture or delivery of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine of 36 months in some cases and 30 months in others. It also lays out similar mandatory minimums for the other criminal offenders listed above. Mannix originally included a provision attempting to supplant the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, but dropped it when it became apparent it could drag down the entire initiative.

Another measure initiated by the legislature and referred to the voters, Ballot Measure 57, would also increase penalties for the sale or distribution of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and Ecstasy. It sets a sentencing range of 34 months to 130 months, depending on the quantity of the drug involved. The measure would also require drug treatment for certain offenders and impose sanctions for those who resist, provide grants to local jurisdictions for jails, drug courts, and treatment services, and limit judges' ability to reduce sentences.

LOCAL INITIATIVES: In addition to the statewide initiatives mentioned above, there are also a handful of municipal initiatives on the November 4 ballot. Here they are:

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: In Berkeley, Measure JJ seeks to broaden and regularize medical marijuana access. Supported by the Berkeley Patients Group and at least two city council members, the measure would expand the non-residential zones where dispensaries can locate, create an oversight commission including representatives from each of the three existing collectives to promulgate standards and determine whether relocating or future operators are in compliance, issue zoning certificates by right if operators meet standards, and bring Berkeley possession limits in line with recent state court rulings determining that such limits are unconstitutional. The ballot argument in favor of the measure can be viewed at the link above; no ballot argument opposing the measure has been submitted.

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS: The local grassroots organization Sensible Fayetteville is sponsoring an initiative that would make enforcement of adult marijuana possession laws the lowest law enforcement priority. It also includes language mandating city officials to write an annual letter to their state and federal representatives notifying them of the city's position and urging them to adopt a similar one. If the measure passes, Fayetteville will become the second Arkansas community to adopt such an ordinance. Nearby Eureka Springs did so in 2007.

FERNDALE, MICHIGAN: Ferndale passed a medical marijuana initiative in 2005, but this year a shadowy group known as the National Organization for Positive Medicine has placed an initiative on the ballot that would allow for the distribution of medical marijuana, but only by the National Organization for Positive Medicine. The initiative is not affiliated with the statewide medical marijuana initiative.

HAWAII COUNTY, HAWAII: Hawaii's Big Island (Hawaii County) will be voting on an initiative making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. Ballot Question 1 not only makes adult possession offenses the lowest priority, it would also bar county law enforcement officials from accepting federal deputization or commissions to enforce laws in conflict with the initiative, prohibits the County Council from accepting or spending funds to enforce adult marijuana possession laws, and bar the County Council from accepting any funds for the marijuana eradication program. The initiative is sponsored by Project Peaceful Sky, a local grassroots organization whose name alludes to the disruption of tranquility caused by law enforcement helicopters searching for marijuana.

Alright, potential voters, there you have it. See you at the polls November 4.

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2. Feature: Drug Reform Not on the Radar in Canada's Elections

While most Americans are keeping a close eye on the November 4 elections here, Canadians will also be heading to the polls in a national election later this month. Conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper hopes to see his minority government become a majority one, while the opposition Liberals and New Democratic Party (NDP) dream of winning enough parliamentary seats to form a governing alliance, and the third-tier Green Party hopes to actually win some seats.

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Conservative Party leaflet demonizing drug users
Recent Canadian opinion polls consistently show the Tories pulling down nearly 40% of the popular vote, the Liberals at around 25%, the NDP at around 18%, the Greens at about 9%, and the Bloc Québécois at about 8%. How that will translate into parliamentary seats remains to be seen, but the Conservatives appear poised to retain control of the federal government. The good news is that they aren't doing it on the basis of their drug policies.

While earlier in this decade, Canada had been a hot-bed of drug reform, that issue is playing little role in this election, and to the degree that it has been part of the campaign, it has been largely negative. The formerly governing Liberals, who only a few years ago were calling for marijuana decriminalization, have retreated into silence and the Conservatives have been sparing in trying to advance their prohibitionist agenda during the campaign, although they have launched some broadsides at Insite, the Vancouver safe injection site, and they have run at least one series of campaign ads calling for the rounding up of "junkies" for treatment or imprisonment.

The NDP, which has officially embraced marijuana regulation in the past, no longer mentions it on its campaign web site issues page, but the Green Party calls openly for marijuana legalization and a harm reduction approach to other drugs. (Green Party leader Elizabeth May has publicly apologized for not having smoked pot.)

"Drug policy hasn't played much of a role in the campaign," said Eugene Oscapella, head of the Ottawa-based Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, noting that, as in the US, the state of the economy is overshadowing all other issues. "Harper has railed about getting tough on young offenders, but there really hasn't been a lot of talk about drug policy."

But a convincing Conservative victory could herald a renewed push to get tough on drug offenses, Oscapella said. "They introduced a bill to toughen up drug penalties, including some mandatory minimum sentences, and if they win a majority, they will go ahead full steam with that. The Tories aren't into sensible drug policy; they're into punishment," he said.

Where drug policy most prominently reared its head this campaign season was in the imbroglio over NDP Vancouver area former candidates Dana Larsen and Kirk Tousaw. Both are long-time prominent marijuana or drug law reform activists, both have associations with Marc Emery and the BC Marijuana Party, both are members of the NDP's anti-prohibitionist wing, and both were forced to resign last month as candidates after Youtube videos of past drug use surfaced. Larsen was also lambasted for his part ownership of a shop that sold various seeds, including those for coca plants.

Tousaw declined to comment on the affair until after the election, but Larsen, a former editor of Cannabis Culture magazine, was less reticent. He was not bitter, he said.

"My resignation was a strategic political decision in consultation with the party," said Larsen. "I could see how things were going -- continuing my candidacy would make it more difficult for the NDP in the election. I'm a former leader of the BC Marijuana Party, I've smoked pot all my life, and I've been quite open about it, but I'm not sure my friends in the NDP were aware of all the things I've done over my career. I didn't want to see [NDP leader] Jack Layton have to spend his time defending a candidate who sold 'cocaine plants' or who apparently drove while smoking pot," he explained.

"My store sold coca seeds, and while we know that the coca plant has a long history of beneficial traditional use that goes back thousands of years, I don't know that the public is ready for a candidate who sold 'cocaine plants.' If I stayed in, I would end up hurting more than helping the NDP," Larsen said.

Larsen said he had learned a lesson in hardball politics. "I should have released all of that stuff to the media on a busy news day when I first became a candidate," he said. "By the time the election came around, nobody would have cared. But it was all released the same day by my opponents. I got outmaneuvered," he observed.

"I remain a loyal member of the NDP; it is by far the best political option for the drug reform movement in Canada," said Larsen. "The NDP has a platform of taxing and regulating marijuana and ending the war on drugs. A lot of people in the drug reform and marijuana community are all excited thinking the NDP did me wrong, but I don't feel that's the case at all. If they really support drug reform, they should stick with the NDP, or work with another party that also supports it."

Although the Greens are now officially more progressive on drug policy issues, the NDP remains the best place for drug reformers, Larsen argued. "While the Greens have a great marijuana policy, and that might help push other parties to adopt those ideas, the Greens are not going to elect anybody," said Larsen. "Will the Greens do a better job than [NDP Vancouver East MP and ardent drug reformer] Libby Davies? Part of being an MP is being a member of a party team."

And, he said, there was a silver lining. "This has certainly heightened my profile," he laughed. "I got a lot of support and almost no negative comments. I'll continue to go to NDP conventions, and now people will recognize who I am."

"I can understand the NDP's concern over Dana Larsen," said Oscapella. "Driving while smoking pot and taking hits of LSD and posting that stuff on Youtube doesn't look good, and the NDP would have found itself in the position of having to make clear it doesn't support drug use, just sensible drug policies. It would take a lot of explaining to undo the potential damage."

Still, said Oscapella, the NDP remains a good bet for people interested in drug reform. "I don't think at all they're moving away from sensible drug policies," he said. "While the optics of getting elected may make them want to make this low-profile, they have too many good people like Libby Davies who are very good on drug reform. If you raise the drug reform flag during an election, you risk getting shot at."

Since the Conservatives came to power, the politics of marijuana and drug reform has gone in the wrong direction, said Oscapella. "The Conservatives have gone absolutely backwards on marijuana. They want nothing to do with any liberalization, but they do want to increase penalties on what they call major criminals, including some marijuana offenders," he noted.

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Canadian Parliament, Ottawa (courtesy Library of Parliament)
"The Greens' drug policy is the most open and sensible of any of the parties, but the NDP is also actually pretty good," said Oscapella. "The Greens are up front about it; they say legalize it, embrace harm reduction for other drugs, and move toward a regulatory model."

Both the Greens and the NDP have performed better on drug policy than the Liberals, said Oscapella. "The Liberals a few years ago were talking about decriminalization, but then they backed away from that and said they would just reduce penalties, perhaps because of political pressure from Washington," said Oscapella. "But that never passed, and I haven't heard a peep out of the Liberals about that since."

Though mostly under the radar, drug war politics did make it into some electioneering pamphlets produced by the Harper campaign and mailed to voters by Conservative candidates around the country, reading "Junkies and pushers don't belong near children and families. They belong in rehab or behind bars."

Terry McKinney, a Vancouver resident and activist, received the pamphlets and was not happy. "I wanted to sue the bastards for attacking my human rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights," he said.

McKinney clarified, "the first pamphlet was a direct attack aimed at anyone using drugs and their (addicts) total lack of humanity." It was followed by "several more attacking addicts, drug use, juvenile crime, you get the picture," he said.

"These people claim to be born again Christians," McKinney continued, "but all you ever hear from them is the moral dogma. There is no trace of compassion,caring or sympathy for their fellow man. As a person with addiction issues for almost 40 years, I have never seen such a rejection of research and science for purely personal religious beliefs in a ruling party."

Canadian voters go to the polls in less than two weeks. A Conservative majority government would be bad news for drug reform, a Liberal-NDP government might take some steps in the direction of reform, but for this election cycle at least it looks like drug reform is on the sidelines.

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3. Offer: Unique and Important New Book on Medical Marijuana

Dear friend and reformer,


In our current TRUTH 08 Campaign, we have featured the important and unique new book Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine, by sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb. More than 1,300 people have read our review of the book by Drug Chronicle editor Phil Smith -- check it out here!

Please donate to the TRUTH 08 Campaign to support StoptheDrugWar.org's work providing this and other critical writing reaching hundreds of thousands of people every month. Donate $36 or more and you can receive a complimentary copy of Dying to Get High as our thanks.

book:

notepad folder:

Donate $60 or more, and we'll send you both Dying to Get High AND the new TRUTH 08 Campaign padded notepad folder with clasp. Or just select the notepad folder as your gift selection with a donation of $36 or over. (Use our regular donation page to browse the many other books and gift items that we continue to make available.)

Following are a few things that Chronicle editor Phil Smith had to say about the book Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine, in his recent widely-read review:

In "Dying to Get High," sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb... trace the use of marijuana as medicine in the US... its removal from the pharmacopeia in 1941... the continuing blockage of research into its medical benefits by ideologically-driven federal authorities.

Chapkis and Webb deliver a resounding, well-reasoned indictment of the political and (pseudo) scientific opposition to medical marijuana.

"Dying to Get High" is also an in-depth portrait of one of the country's most well-known medical marijuana collectives... describing in loving detail the inner workings... of a group with charismatic leadership... more than 200 seriously ill patients, and the specter of the DEA always looming.

Your help is needed right now to capitalize on the tremendous progress we've already made getting the TRUTH out: the past 12 months nearly 150,000 people per month visited StoptheDrugWar.org. Several months the number of visitors topped 180,000 and the trend is continuing upward.

I am very excited about the new momentum we're generating together, and I'd like to thank you very much for your interest in changing this country's drug policies and for giving your support to the TRUTH 08 CAMPAIGN. Your contribution has never been more important.

David Borden
Executive Director, StoptheDrugWar.org (DRCNet)
News & Activism Promoting Sensible Reform

P.S. It's time to stop the senseless tragedy of the drug war and to bring an end to the countless injustices occurring every day. Your donation to the TRUTH 08 CAMPAIGN today will help spread the word to more people than ever and build the momentum we need for change. Thank you!

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

Crooked policing runs the gamut this week: from a former chief of police busted for dope dealing, to a cop nailed for acting as a middleman in a bribery scheme, to some lying cops being scrutinized by a federal judge, to a crew of rogue detectives costing their employer a nice settlement, to another rogue cop who's been on the lam for the last five years. Let's get to it:

In Schenectady, New York, a former Schenectady police chief was arrested September 24 along with his wife on multiple drug charges. Gregory Kaczmarek, who was chief of police from 1996 to 2002, faces multiple felony cocaine possession charges and second-degree conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The charges grew out of an earlier bust that wrapped up Lisa Kaczmarek and the couple's son, along with 20 other people in the Albany area. The Kaczmareks are accused of picking up drugs in Long Island and selling them in Albany. Kaczmarek has been dogged by rumors of cocaine use for years, and had denied being a cokehead when he was named chief. He retired in 2002 over a non-drug-related corruption scandal.

In Midland, Pennsylvania, a Western Pennsylvania police officer was arrested September 25 for acting as a fixer for a drug suspect who was offering to pay $5,000 to the arresting officer to make his charge go away. Kenneth Williams, 54, a part-time officer in Midland and Industry, was arraigned on charges of bribery and obstructing administration of law. According to state police, Williams offered the money to another Midland officer in April 2007. He was supposed to get $1,000 for brokering the deal, but all he got was busted.

In New York City, an NYPD detective and a deputy US marshal were the subject of a court hearing yesterday to determine whether they should be prosecuted by the US attorney's office for lying in an evidentiary hearing in a drug case. The hearing comes a week after Judge Nicholas Garaufis tossed out the evidence in the case of Edgar Matos, saying he found the officers' version of events to be "a complete fabrication" that "defies credibility." NYPD Detective Adam Heege and Deputy US Marshal Dennis Tait testified that they were looking for Matos' cousin in a homicide investigation and calmly approached Matos, who then reached into his pocket and threw away ziploc bags containing drugs in front of them. Unusually, the judge chose to believe Matos -- and common sense -- when Matos denied throwing the drugs to the ground.

In New Orleans, the city of New Orleans has offered to settle a lawsuit filed by three men who said police planted drugs in their building and falsely arrested them in 2002. The case against the four men began falling apart when the four NOPD detectives involved in the case ran into problems of their own, and the city dropped the charges in 2003. The raid looked even sleazier after attorneys in the civil suit got testimony from informants that contradicted what the officers had reported. Since the bust, one of the officers involved, Det. Earl Razor, was fired from the force after he tested positive for cocaine as he was being investigated for stealing heroin from a drug dealer in police custody. A second, Det. Eric Smith, resigned from the force in 2003 shortly before being indicted for identity theft for using a stolen Social Security number to lease a Corvette. He later pleaded guilty. The lead detective in the case, Det. William Marks, was pulled over by an Illinois state trooper in November 2003 for speeding in a borrowed NOPD vehicle. The trooper reported finding two women in the car, one of whom was a convicted felon with an outstanding Chicago warrant for prostitution, and a partially-burned blunt and pot pipe under the seat, as well as a stolen 9 mm handgun in the trunk. Marks was later fired. The fourth detective, Steven Payne, had lent the NOPD vehicle to Marks, and he was later fired for possession of a stolen weapon. The city of New Orleans has offered the plaintiffs $85,000 to go away, and if that offer is accepted, the city will be getting a bargain.

In Chicago, a fugitive Chicago police narcotics officer remains at large five years after he vanished instead of facing trial for leading a crew of crooked cops who for a decade busted drug dealers but didn't arrest them, instead stealing and dealing their drugs and money and reselling the drugs to other dealers. Sgt. Eddie Hicks, a 30-year veteran of the force, was a superstar narc, making dozens of raids, and getting away with his crime spree until he and his crew were swept up in an undercover operation in 2001. According to federal prosecutors, Hicks and crew robbed and extorted hundreds of pounds of marijuana and kilograms of cocaine from their dealer victims, sometimes posing as members of a DEA squad. He is wanted for RICO violations; conspiracy, possession, and distribution of a controlled substance; and failure to appear. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

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5. Drug War Follies: Iowa Anti-Meth Pseudoephedrine Law Snags Nasal Congestion Sufferer

As part of its effort to wipe out methamphetamine, and especially home-cooked meth, the state of Iowa enacted a law limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine people could purchase in a 24-hour period or in a month. The idea was to crack down on people who used the ingredient in popular cold and allergy medications to make their own meth.

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sinus sufferers beware -- of the cops!
But the law of unintended consequences struck again this month -- or in the case of loal sheriffs, perhaps intended consequences -- this time landing squarely on the head of a Mason City man who knows nothing about meth, but knows a lot about suffering from chronic nasal congestion. Gary Schinagel, 47, a senior investment associate at Principal Financial Group in Mason City, was arrested for the illegal purchase of pseudoephedrine after buying generic cold medicines to treat his condition.

Schinagel told the Mason City Globe Gazette his through-the-looking-glass encounter with the drug war began when his niece called him and told him he had been listed in a newspaper article as one of the uncaught miscreants in a roundup of violators of the cold medicine law. Schinagel went to the sheriff's office thinking he could clear up the "mistake," but was instead arrested.

"It is a sinking feeling to be placed under arrest," said Schinagel. "I'm not a stick-in-the-mud but I've tried all my life to abide by the law and not cross any lines I shouldn't cross. I've tried all my life to avoid situations like I find myself in now. And I still don't know which line I crossed," he said, wondering if he had purchased too many pills in one day or in one month.

He had to call his bank to get the $1,000 bail bond needed to get him out of jail. "It was embarrassing," he said. "The woman at the bank recognized my voice. I sang in the choir with her."

No word yet on apologies from the cops or when his charges will be dropped. In the meantime, Schinagel is taking cold pills that don't contain pseudoephedrine. They don't work as well, he said, and he has to buy more boxes. One more example of collateral damage in the drug war.

But Schinagel is more understanding than the police who arrested him after he came to the station to straighten out the mess. "Laws are made because there are some bad people out there and it's too bad that sometimes innocent victims get caught up in it," he said. "I understand the law -- but I will say there are some quirks in it."

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6. Public Opinion: Three-Quarters of Likely Voters Believe Drug War is Failing and More than One-Quarter Favor Legalization, Zogby Poll Finds

According to a Zogby/Inter-American Dialogue poll released Thursday, more than three-quarters of likely voters polled said America's drug war is a failure. That is a sharp contrast with current US and state drug policies. The poll also found significant differences between US policy in the hemisphere and what respondents would like to see.

On drug policy, 76% believe the US war on drugs is failing. That included the vast majority of Democrats (86%) and independents (81%) and even a majority of Republicans (61%). Among Barack Obama supporters, 89% agreed, and among John McCain supporters 61% agreed. While it is not clear that a belief that the war on drugs is failing suggests support for drug reform -- it could include those who believe it is failing because we have not tried hard enough -- it does suggest an emerging consensus that the current path is the wrong one.

When asked what was the best way to confront drug use and the international drug trade, respondents were split. Some 27% of likely voters said legalizing some drugs was the best approach (Obama supporters 34%, McCain supporters 20%); 25% said stopping drugs at the border (Obama supporters 12%, McCain supporters 39%); 19% said reducing demand through treatment and education; and 13% said crop eradication in source countries was the best approach.

The poll was by no means limited to drug policy. On other hemispheric issues, it found that 60% believe the US should revise its policies toward Cuba, 67% support a path to citizenship for tax-paying undocumented immigrants who learn English, 46% believe the US should seek to improve ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (10% want to completely break relations), 54% believe the US should lower tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, and 42% believe the North American Free Trade Agreement should be revised.

"The poll results indicate that American public opinion is far more open and flexible on issues of importance for US relations with Latin America than current policy would suggest," noted Peter Hakim, the President of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank that collaborated with Zogby International on the poll. "It also suggests, however, that public opinion may not be all that relevant in decisions regarding policy issues of greatest concern to Latin America -- that these may be largely determined by smaller groups with intense sentiments about the issues," he said in a press release accompanying the poll results.

"While there are significant differences between Obama and McCain supporters on most issues, the poll suggests that the general public agrees on ethanol tariffs, temporary workers, and the failure of the drug war -- these are important issues in hemispheric relations that the next US president will have an opportunity to deal with," Hakim added.

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7. Sentencing: Supreme Court 2nd Amendment Decision May Provide Opening for Appeal in Case of Pot Dealer Doing 55 Years for Carrying Gun

Weldon Angelos was a Salt Lake City marijuana dealer and aspiring hip-hop recording label empresario when he was busted in 2003. The federal marijuana charge could have sent him to prison for five years, but prosecutors also hit him with three counts of using a gun during the commission of a crime because he carried a pistol in an ankle holster on one occasion, had one in his car on another, and had more guns at home.

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Weldon Angelos (via mpp.org)
Although Angelos was never accused of using or even brandishing a weapon, he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to a breathtaking mandatory minimum 55-year sentence on the gun charges. The federal judge who sentenced him said his hands were tied by mandatory minimum sentencing laws, forcing him to impose a sentence he called "unjust, cruel, and even irrational."

But now, in the wake of the US Supreme Court's pro-gun rights decision in District of Columbia et al. v. Heller, a well-known law professor and some collaborating attorneys are challenging Angelos' sentence. The high court's ruling should make it more difficult to add huge sentence enhancements simply because someone owns a gun, said Douglas Berman, a law professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University and author of the Sentencing Law and Policy blog.

Angelos appealed his draconian sentence, but a federal appeals court upheld it, and the Supreme Court declined to intervene. Now, Berman and company are seeking a new hearing to have his sentence overturned based on the Heller decision. No date has yet been set for that hearing.

"Most people think I'm crazy at first," Berman told the American Law Daily. "I'm fighting people on the left who think this guy's a bad person just because he touched a gun, and I'm fighting people on the right who like guns but don't like people like (Angelos) with guns. Heller says the Second Amendment has to mean something."

One attorney working on the case, Brian Heberlig, added that it was unfair to punish Angelos with an extra 25-year sentence "based solely on handguns passively stored in Angelos's home."

Some observers label the unique effort a long-shot, but for Weldon Angelos and others who, like him, are serving extra years or decades merely because they owned guns when they committed their drug offenses, it could be the only chance to ever see freedom again.

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8. Sentencing: Pennsylvania Reform Measure Becomes Law

Sentencing reform is coming to Pennsylvania. As we reported last week, sentencing reform bill House Bill 4 had passed the Senate and awaited routine approval in the House. Now the bill, which would allow for the diversion of nonviolent drug offenders into treatment programs, has passed the House and been signed by Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and will go into effect 90 days after official publication.

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State Correctional Institution, Chester, Pennsylvania
It won't be soon enough for the cash-starved Keystone State, where the number of prisoners has quadrupled since the 1980s and increased by 21% in the last six years. Prison spending currently eats up 6% of the total state budget.

The bill and related legislation is being described by some involved in the process as the biggest sentencing reform in years in Pennsylvania. It will allow the early release of some prisoners, including drug and petty theft offenders, if they complete educational and job-training programs.

"This represents a new approach to criminal justice for offenders convicted of nonviolent crimes," said House Speaker Dennis M. O'Brien (R-Philadelphia), one of the bills' chief advocates. "It will make the public safer, ensure that offenders receive services essential to break the cycle of crime, reduce duplication of efforts that waste taxpayer dollars, and ensure that crime victims are treated fairly," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We have a serious problem here in Pennsylvania with the numbers of people we are sending to prison," said William DiMascio, whose organization, The Prison Society, advocates on behalf of prisoners. "With so many new people entering the system, and with sentences becoming longer and parole becoming tighter, it was inevitable that we would reach a point of saturation. With prisons at capacity -- and beyond capacity -- you begin to have dangerous conditions, both for the people held there and for the people who work there," he said. "Doing nothing was not an option."

But although early release and diversion provisions in the bill do not apply to violent offenders, the politics of violent crime has already intruded. In response to the killing of a Philadelphia police officer, just four days after signing the bill, Gov. Rendell issued a statement announcing the suspension of releases for all paroled prisoners pending a review of the parole and corrections systems.

"Last week, Philadelphia Police Officer Patrick McDonald was tragically murdered by a paroled offender, but it is even more tragic that this was the second instance within the last four months of a parolee shooting a Philadelphia police officer," wrote Rendell, referring to the shooting of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. "Heartbreaking losses such as these have shed light on the need to thoroughly review the process by which Pennsylvania paroles violent offenders. Therefore, I am asking you to review the way in which these two cases were managed by the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole in order to minimize the likelihood that these kinds of scenarios will be repeated."

So, for the time being, someone paroled after doing time for a nonviolent drug offense is going to be stuck in prison because a paroled violent offender killed a police officer, the new law notwithstanding.

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9. Medical Marijuana: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Employment Rights Bill

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have protected medical marijuana patients from being fired from their jobs for testing positive for pot on a drug test.

The bill, AB 2279, authored by marijuana-friendly Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would have overturned a January California Supreme Court ruling that allowed employees to fire or otherwise punish employees who legally use medical marijuana under state law. Under the Leno bill, only people in safety-related or law enforcement positions could have been fired.

In that January ruling, the Supreme Court held that the state's Compassionate Use Act did exempt patients and caregivers from being prosecuted by the state, but was not intended to stop employers from firing workers for violating federal drug laws.

Schwarzenegger sang from the same hymnal in his veto message. "I am concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use," the governor wrote. "Employment protection was not a goal of the initiative as passed by voters in 1996."

But medical marijuana supporters who spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle after the veto announcement begged to differ. "The intent of Prop. 215 was to treat marijuana like other legal pharmaceutical drugs," said Dale Gieringer, a coauthor of the ballot measure and California coordinator of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Leno told the local newspaper he was not surprised by the veto, given the Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the bill. He said the court majority and the governor apparently presumed that "the voters who supported Prop. 215 in 1996 intended that only those medical marijuana patients who are unemployed could make use of (the law)."

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10. Medical Marijuana: Bill Coming Down the Pike in Idaho?

Idaho is a rocked-rib Republican state, and the state's Republican Party is no friend of medical marijuana, but that isn't stopping one GOP legislator from going ahead with plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the next legislative session. Rep. Tom Trail (R-Moscow) told the local Fort Mill Times over the weekend that he is drafting a bill now.

Although Idaho is a conservative state, it is bordered by four medical marijuana states -- Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana -- as well as less medical marijuana-friendly Utah and Wyoming. And voters in at least one Idaho town, Hailey, last year approved a municipal medical marijuana referendum. After town officials balked at enforcing them, voters passed it again in May.

Rep. Trail said the bill he is drafting will be based on existing laws in Oregon and Washington. He also said he has been in contact with some Idaho doctors who support allowing the use of medical marijuana.

Still, it will be an uphill fight for the Panhandle Republican. In June, the GOP state convention committee voted 21-9 to oppose any relaxation of Idaho's marijuana laws, including medical marijuana. And there's still no medical marijuana in Hailey -- officials there filed a lawsuit after the May vote seeking guidance on how to deal with unruly voters who don't want authorities brutalizing medical marijuana users.

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11. Latin America: Mexican President Moves to Decriminalize Drug Possession

Faced with a mounting death toll in his war with powerful drug trafficking organizations, Mexico President Felipe Calderón has moved to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs, according to a Reuters report Thursday afternoon. The only other source reporting the news Thursday evening was the Mexican news agency Notimex.

The measure comes as part of a public security proposal aimed at combating the traffickers with better coordination among security forces. But Calderón's moving to decriminalize drugs was a surprise move. His predecessor, Vicente Fox, sent a similar bill to congress in 2006, only to pull it in the face of pressure from the US and critics in both countries who said it would create "drug tourism."

Under the proposed legislation, people carrying up to 2 grams (0.07 ounces) of marijuana or opium, half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams of heroin or 40 milligrams of methamphetamine would not face criminal charges -- if they voluntarily agreed to undergo medical treatment "for their pharmaco-dependency." Those amounts are considered "for immediate personal consumption."

"What we are seeking is to not treat an addict as a criminal, but rather as a sick person and give them psychological and medical treatment," said Sen. Alejandro González, head of the Senate's justice committee.

People caught possessing up to a thousand times the personal dose units (about 4 ½ pounds of pot, a bit more than a pound of cocaine, or about two ounces of heroin or speed) would face criminal charges as drug possessors by the Common Public Ministry (or local courts). People caught possessing quantities larger than that would be treated as drug traffickers and dealt with by the Federal Public Ministry (or federal courts).

The idea is to free up police to go after the drug traffickers -- in other words, to intensify the deadly battle against the drug gangs. Prohibition-related violence has killed more than 3,000 people in Mexico this week, including nine persons whose executed bodies were found in Tijuana Thursday morning, making a total of 33 people killed in the last four days.

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12. Europe: Marijuana Less Harmful Than Alcohol or Tobacco, Says British Drug Think-Tank

Smoking marijuana is less harmful than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, said the British think-thank the Beckley Foundation in a report announced Thursday.

"Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," said the report. "Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment," it said.

The report comes as the British government is moving to reschedule marijuana from a Class C drug to a more heavily-punished Class B drug. British officials have expressed great concern over the potency of marijuana, especially "skunk," which is apparently their generic name for any high-potency, home-grown weed, and its links to mental health problems in some users.

Rescheduling marijuana is the wrong way to go, said the foundation. "It is only through a regulated market that we can better protect young people from the ever more potent forms of dope," it said.

Now, we will see if the British government pays any attention. So far, it has resolutely ignored repeated reports finding that marijuana should be a Class C drug, or even legalized and regulated.

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13. Weekly: This Week in History

October 8, 1932: The Uniform State Narcotics Act is passed, endorsed by the federal Bureau of Narcotics as an alternative to federal laws. By 1937 every state prohibits marijuana use.

October 4, 1970: Legendary singer Janis Joplin is found dead at Hollywood's Landmark Hotel, a victim of what is concluded to be an accidental heroin overdose.

October 7, 1989: Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz tells an alumni gathering at Stanford Business School, "It seems to me we're not really going to get anywhere until we can take the criminality out of the drug business and the incentives for criminality out of it. Frankly, the only way I can think of to accomplish this is to make it possible for addicts to buy drugs at some regulated place at a price that approximates their cost... We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalization of drugs... No politician wants to say what I have just said, not for a minute."

October 3, 1996: US Public Law 104-237, known as the "Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996," is signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It contains provisions attempting to stop the importation of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals into the United States, attempting to control the manufacture of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories, to increase penalties for trafficking in methamphetamine and List I precursor chemicals, to allow the government to seek restitution for the clean-up of clandestine laboratory sites, and attempting to stop rogue companies from selling large amounts of precursor chemicals that are diverted to clandestine laboratories.

October 5, 1999: The war on drugs is "an absolute failure," says Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico at a conference on national drug policies at the Cato Institute. Johnson, who drew sharp criticism from anti-drug leaders for being the first sitting governor to advocate legalizing drugs, argues that the government should regulate narcotics but not punish those who abuse them: "Make drugs a controlled substance like alcohol. Legalize it, control it, regulate it, tax it. If you legalize it, we might actually have a healthier society." Johnson also meets with founding members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy; footage from the meeting appears on CBS evening news.

October 6, 2000: Former US President Bill Clinton is quoted in Rolling Stone: "I think that most small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized in some places, and should be."

October 9, 2000: PBS begins a special two-day program entitled "Drug Wars." The series examines America's ceaseless efforts over the past three decades to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country, and shows how the drug war wastes hundreds of billions of dollars, alters the criminal justice system, puts millions of people in jail, and allows organized crime to thrive.

October 7, 2003: Comedian Tommy Chong begins a nine-month federal prison sentence for operating a glass blowing shop that sold pipes to marijuana smokers.

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14. 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 brings us: "Mark Souder vs. The New Drug War Politics," "Calvina Fay vs. The New Drug War Politics," "New Poll: Democrats and Republicans Agree That the Drug War is a Failure," "Police Discover World's Largest Marijuana Plants," "The Drug War Bailout," "Police Defend the Right to Choke Marijuana Suspects," "SWAT Raids Often Target Innocent People," "Nasal Congestion Sufferer Arrested for Buying Too Much Cold Medicine," "When Police Mistake Chocolate For Hash..."

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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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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