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Religion and Drug Policy Reform

This week, I'll be examining the role of religion in drug reform. I'm awaiting a packet from the Interfaith Drug Policy Alliance, with whom I will be speaking. I'll also be checking in with a progressive church alliance in California that is fighting to save Proposition 36 and with some reformers in the heartland who are trying to get god on their side. And, hell, maybe I'll even call up the conservative evangelicals and query them on drug policy. What would Jesus do?
United States

Rally Against the Failing War on Drugs

Laguna Beach, CA, Rally Against the Failing War on Drugs, sponsored by The November Coalition and Orange County NORML. At Main Beach, Pacific Coast Highway and Broadway, call (714) 210-6446, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] or visit for further info.
Sat, 07/22/2006 - 2:00pm - 5:20pm
Laguna Beach, CA
United States

Cops Against the Drug War

Check out this growing archive of speeches, interviews, op-eds and news reports about law enforcement leaders speaking out against prohibition or the war on drugs.

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Legislation

United States
Atlantic City Weekly

Cocktail Reception with Judge James P. Gray

Please join us for a private reception with Judge James P. Gray Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed Friday, July 14, 2006 Please join us for a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception for James P. Gray, author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs (Temple University Press, 2001). Gray documents the harms caused by the failed War on Drugs and evaluates the options for reversing course, from educational campaigns and drug treatment programs to strategies for taking the profit out of drug-dealing. Gray received his undergraduate degree at UCLA in 1966, served with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica from 1966 to 1968, and earned his law degree from USC in 1971. From 1972 until 1975, he was a staff judge advocate and criminal defense attorney for the U.S. Navy JAG Corps at the Naval Air Stations in Guam and Lemoore, California. He was awarded national defense, Vietnam service, and combat action ribbons. For about three years, Gray was a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. He worked five years in private practice in Newport Beach in civil litigation and was appointed by California Gov. George Deukmejian to the Santa Ana Municipal Court in December 1983. There, Gray actively sought to combat drunk driving and other alcohol-related offenses, earning a commendation from the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 1990. Gray was elevated by Deukmejian to the Orange County Superior Court in July 1989, where he received "Judge of the Year" awards in 1992 and 1995 and an honorary J.D. from Western State University College of Law. What: Free hors d'oeuvres Cash bar Books for sale When: Friday, July 14, 2006 5:30-8:00 p.m. Presentation by Judge Gray at 6:00 p.m., book signing after. Where: Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Prince of Wales Room 163 East Walton Place Chicago, IL 60611 Register: By July 11, 2006. Admission is free, but please register in advance by calling 312/377-4000. For more information, contact The Heartland Institute at 312/377-4000 or visit our Web site at
Fri, 07/14/2006 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm
163 East Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60603
United States

July Issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles (Vancouver Island Compassion Society)

United States

San Diego Medical Marijuana Co-ops Raided Again!

San Diego, CA
United States

Testimonials: Drug War Chronicle Making a Difference in the Fight

Here at and the Drug War Chronicle newsletter, we see our core mission as growing the drug policy reform movement and empowering all of the groups and individuals that are part of it, while educating the public including the media. Following are some testimonials people have sent us about how our work makes an impact:

"Drug War Chronicle is one of the first resources I suggest to new students getting involved in the drug policy reform movement. There's nothing else out there that covers a wider variety of drug war issues each week. SSDP loves Drug War Chronicle, keep up the great work!"
-Stacia Cosner, Deputy Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

"On behalf of California NORML, I strongly recommend the Drug War Chronicle. DWC consistently provides the most comprehensive, reliable, in-depth coverage of drug issues for the reform community. When Phil Smith calls me, I know that he will accurately report what I have said. DWC is a valuable resource, and I often consult its archives for background research on issues of interest."
- Dale Gieringer, Director, California NORML

"I read Drug War Chronicle assiduously in order to be up to date on the failing drug war."
- Gustavo de Greiff, former attorney general of Colombia

"When I was a high school student researching online for a paper I was writing, was one of the first sites I found, and I've read its Drug War Chronicle newsletter avidly for well over a decade. Subscribing to the newsletter allows me to get up to speed on all the important issues of the day, learn about the players, and take action. Most crucially, I found out about Students for Sensible Drug Policy there, and started going to conferences. Drug War Chronicle was a gateway drug to a life of being addicted to drug policy reform -- I am involved in drug policy reform as a full-time activist basically because of it. Since then, the Chronicle always been welcoming of the commentary the organizations I've worked with -- SSDP, LEAP, Marijuana Majority -- are trying to push. is very helpful in getting the message out to the base so we can keep people informed and give them opportunities to take actions that will change the drug laws."
- Tom Angell, Chairman, Marijuana Majority

"As part of a small staff without any single staff member devoted to research and policy, Drug War Chronicle is one of the most useful resources I have to stay on top of important developments across the country. I direct a nationwide speakers bureau, and whenever I receive a request from a state I'm not familiar with, one of the first things I do is search my Drug War Chronicle email folder to get a clear summary of the latest updates from that state. Then I am able to confidently bring the speaker up-to-date and help him/her prepare to do a talk that is not only persuasive and credible, but also informed on the current local context. If I didn't have the DWC I'd have to do endless online research and still never be quite sure if what I have is up-to-date. We also encourage all of our speakers to subscribe to stay on top of the most important updates on a weekly basis."
-Shaleen Title, (now former) Speakers Bureau Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (now Commissioner at Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission)

"We have appeared regularly in Drug War Chronicle, always correctly and in your wonderfully clear American-style journalism. We know Drug War Chronicle is read by many people who appreciate correct and well-presented information on drug policies around the world. So of course we are happy when our events get covered. Drug War Chronicle is a must for everyone who wants to keep up to date with the slow but steady revolution we are witnessing in drug policy worldwide. True quality does not need promotion: continuity, accuracy and precision are its trademark. Many thanks to David, Phil and the rest of the team!"
the late Joep Oomen, European NGO Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies and Trekt Uw Plant

"Drug War Chronicle serves a uniquely valuable purpose. It is original hard-hitting reporting that isn't skewed to the perspective of one drug policy reform group's perspective. When I tell people what is happening broadly in drug policy, I am mostly telling them what I read in Drug War Chronicle. Every week our views are challenged by the conventional wisdom -- it is an immediately relevant refresher on the big picture of why I get up every morning... to end the human suffering caused by drug prohibition. If Drug War Chronicle were to disappear, the obvious tangible value it brings would be lost. But one thing that might be overlooked is the inspiration it gives to people fighting the good fight and the morale boost that happens when people realize that great work is being done on this front by people of conscience all over the world."
- Troy Dayton, CEO, Arcview Group, and a longtime drug policy activist

"Before I started Colgate University's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I would stay up to date on issues in drug policy by reading stories in Drug War Chronicle. The information I gained familiarized me with the growing movement for drug policy reform and stoked my passion to actively change our nation's unjust policies. As leader of the chapter I used to keep myself informed and to teach other students about the most up to date drug policy issues both within the United States and abroad, and in my own research on how illicit drug markets operate around the world. Since my graduation, Drug War Chronicle has helped me in my work at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, on the Colorado Amendment 64 campaign, and now at the law firm of Vicente Sederberg in Denver, where I advise the state of Colorado on implementing marijuana legalization."
- Andrew Livingston

"Drug War Chronicle has, for years, provided a vital and unparalleled source of rational, fact based analysis on the US Drug War for readers in the UK and Europe. Congratulations to the team are fully deserved; when the Drug war ends, the role of the Chronicle in its downfall will not be forgotten."
- Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

"Oaksterdam University has long enjoyed sharing the information compiled by Drug War Chronicle with students of the History of Cannabis and Marijuana Prohibition. DWC excerpts are informative and helpful to our Legal, Politics & History classes, as well as Civics, Dispensary Management and Operations, and Advocacy courses. One of the most important services we provide is the ability to bridge to sources of good information, and I have long considered you one of our vital resources. It is simply one of the most comprehensive sources I direct my students towards. Your website and communications are a cornerstone of our Political Science department, and provide important lessons for anyone involved with Cannabusiness or drug policy reform."
- Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor, Oaksterdam University

"The West Coast Leaf always looks to Drug War Chronicle to help us determine the most important stories for our newspaper. Its in-depth coverage is top-notch, providing a well-rounded perspective on the news, along with quotes from drug policy's doers and shakers. At times, we use the stories as well (with all due credit) so the impact of the Chronicle is amplified in print edition. It's a vital resource in activating the masses with relevant information needed to make reform happen."
- Mikki Norris, Publisher and Managing Editor of the West Coast Leaf

"Drug War Chronicle is essential reading, a breath of fresh air. The mainstream media doesn't always get it right. Chronicle stories are thorough and comprehensive. I especially like the analysis and commentary. There's always something so newsworthy in the Chronicle that I pass it on to my listserv -- every week."
- Tim Beck, Chairman, Safer Michigan Coalition

"Great article -- thanks, because this text is now a weapon in our hands! I just received an email from the director of the Portuguese Drug Institute, applauding our critic spirit and frontality. I need to ask you if I can publish your article in a Portuguese cannabic newspaper in which I am a collaborator. We are in a hurry because we lost one colleague and your article is perfect for the actual Portuguese scene!"
- Jorge Roque, Portuguese activist, referring to our article about a report that highlighted Portugal's successful decrim policy, but with our article also discussing the need for further reforms.

"I used to be a volunteer staff member on a harm reduction forum, which has a 'Drugs In The Media' section. On here I, as well as many other members and staff, would post from and link to new and old articles from Drug War Chronicle. It is an invaluable resource for current and former drug users and addicts who are seriously concerned for their health, safety and legal status. News that has a positive or negative impact on the community of Harm Reduction proponents and recipients often comes from Drug War Chronicle first- and if not first, it is the place where we can easily find it. It's a resource we sorely need. Good luck with securing proper grants, I hope you can continue putting out the same quality of content as always."
- "Mike"

I've been a programmer at KZYX Philo and KKUP Cupertino since the 80's, and find the information which you provide to be extremely valuable to our listeners.
- Verge Belanger

I read as often as possible, and when relevant forward information to hundreds of activists in Kentucky and elsewhere.
- Don Pratt

"As a Norwegian writer I use DRCNet as a source for articles. DRCNet often proves useful to adjust my views according to the changing realities and relevancies of the western struggle with drugs." (DRCNet is an older name that we still use in some situations; mostly we now identify ourselves as "".)

"Six years ago, I broke a ten year addiction to heroin and cocaine with the realization that the prohibition laws and their enforcement had been far more damaging to me than the drugs I had used. Drug War Chronicle has been an indispensable resource for me, a source of verifiable, factual information, news and statistics about the reality of prohibition that I have been able to rely on when speaking with groups and individuals in my city. I recently started my new career as a substance abuse counselor at a methadone clinic in Vancouver."

"Drug War Chronicle is absolutely the best way to keep abreast of the issue. It's just a phenomenal resource -- full of interesting stories and links."
- a reporter at the Los Angeles Times

"I've covered the drug story for years, in many places and on many levels. Your coverage of the drug scene has been a vital resource for us. You provide a continuous flow of information that isn't available from any other media source."
- a producer of documentaries for HBO

"I am an active member of my geographic community serving on my county's Substance Abuse Advisory Board and Substance Abuse Prevention Association. I also serve as the community co-chair for the Washington State HIV Prevention Planning Group. I have used information from the Drug War Chronicle to bring others in my community to recognize the need for drug policy reform. As a member of the Substance Abuse Advisory Board I have been able to have materials circulated to all members of county government."
- Monte Levine

"I use Drug War Chronicle as a source for information I disseminate to the chapter -- local members use the information in conversations and more formal talks about drug policy, as well as in letters to the editor."
- the coordinator of a local chapter of a national organization

"Drug War Chronicle has been an invaluable source of information to us as far as keeping up to date on all of the latest issues surrounding addiction and drug policy. I read every issue as thoroughly as I can, and reprint and pass along many articles to my colleagues and associates. I also have used it in my monthly meetings and in Patient run support groups."
- head of a state chapter of a national addiction-related advocacy organization

"Our work is well known in Brazil and I serve on government committees as well as present at most of the conferences here. Drug War Chronicle has been a major source of information and has helped shape our treatment programs as well as influenced many policies and conferences, where the only other sources have been the official USG and UN policies."
- head of a prominent agency

"I am a university professor who teaches a criminal justice course concerning drug use/abuse trends, law enforcement issues, etc., and find the Drug War Chronicle an up-to-date source of solid information useful to me and/or my students. Even if one may disagree with some of the views presented, the Chronicle obviously tries to get the facts straight -- and does. It is an extremely valuable resource."

"I use your information to keep abreast of drug laws and initiatives and inform clients, prisoners, and prison activists. You provide a very valuable service for those involved in criminal defense and those assisting prisoners in appealing unjust sentences and convictions."
- Beverly Seymour, Liberty Rights Advocates, Johnstown, Ohio

"You are the best source of information about drugs policies on this continent and your work is crucial!"
- A European drug policy activist.

"Hell yes I read you guys... keep it up. I tell everyone I know about your site."
- an enthusiastic member in Arkansas

Out from the Shadows

An estimated 300 people attended The First Latin American Legalization Summit, or Out from the Shadows Mérida, at the Autonomous University of the Yucatan in Mexico, February 12-15, 2003, including Mexican activists, national legislators and advocates throughout Latin America, Americans, Europeans, and numerous students and interested members of the community -- an historic, first of its kind, global summit calling for and end to drug prohibition. Though the event's primary focus was on legalization, the coca issue was also dealt with extensively. Among the important leaders from the cocalero movement were Felipe Quispe of the Bolivia Parliament and Nancy Obregon of Peru. Other events in this international legalization conference series included an institutional two-day event at the European Parliament in Brussels in September 2002 and a press conference with Canadian Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin in Washington in April 2003.

This program is currently inactive due to lack of funding. If you are interested in supporting an international legalization conference, please contact us! Seed costs for the next conference should be in the neighborhood of $50,000US.

Please view video footage and photographs from Mérida online! Our thanks to Jim & Ellen Fields of Eclectech Media in Mérida, and to Radio Radicale, for their outstanding work documenting this historic event, as well as Jeremy Bigwood for photography. View or listen to Eclectech video or audio of most of the conference, English and Spanish versions available. Visit Radio Radicale for video as well as interviews from the conference, in the original language of the presenters.

Check out our "Road to Mérida" interview series:

Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General
Dr. Francisco Fernandez, Anthropologist and Former Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
Gustavo de Greiff, Former Prosecutor General of Colombia
Luis Gómez, Andean Bureau Chief for Narco News
Ricardo Sala, (Live With Drugs), Mexico
Dr. Silvia Inchaurraga, Argentine Harm Reductionist
María Mercedes Moreno of Mama Coca
Luiz Paulo Guanabara, Brazil, Executive Director of Psico-Tropicus


Click here for further background on DRCNet and Out from the Shadows.

Organizations participating in the Out from the Shadows campaign:

ABRAÇO • Ale Yarok • Asociación Civil DRIS • Asociación Mexicana de Estudios del Cannabis • Asociación de Reducción de Daños de la Argentina • Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy • Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación Social • Centro de Mídia Independente Belo Horizonte • CocachasquiCommon Sense for Drug PolicyCriminal Justice Policy Foundation • DEBED vzw • DieCannabisKampagneDrug Policy AllianceDrug Reform Coordination NetworkDrolegDrug Policy Forum of California • Drug Users Advocacy Group of Amsterdam • EfficacyFamilies and Friends for Drug Law ReformForum DrogheFuoriluogo • Grupo Ekologiko Ayün • International Antiprohibitionist LeagueInternational Coalition of NGOs for Just and Effective Drug Policies • JES Rhein-Main • John Mordaunt Trust • Law Enforcement Against ProhibitionMild Green Media Centre • Movimiento Canábico de Perú • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies • National Association for Public Health Policy • Netherlands Drug Policy Foundation • November Coalition • Parliamentarians for Antiprohibitionist Action • Por Esto! • Psicotropicus • ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy • Red Latinoamericana de Reduccion de Daños • SOMA Associação Portuguesa Antiproibicionista • Students for Sensible Drug PolicyTransform - the Campaign for Effective Drug PolicyTransnational Radical PartyTrebach InstituteTri-State Drug Policy ForumUnitarian Universalists for Drug Policy ReformUniversidad Autónoma de YucatánVirginians Against Drug Violence

Higher Education Act Reform Campaign

Since 1998 DRCNet has campaigned for repeal of the drug provision of the Higher Education Act (also known as the "Aid Elimination Penalty,") a 1998 law that delays or denies federal financial aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses -- since taking effect in the fall of 2000, nearly 200,000 students have been denied aid under this law. The major component of this effort has been our coordination of the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR), a coalition including some of the nation's leading religious, criminal justice, drug treatment, education, civil rights and health organizations which seeks to repeal the drug provision. Ten members of Congress spoke at our May 2002 press conference, a record in drug policy reform.

The campaign scored a major victory in February 2006, when the drug provision was scaled back to apply only to people whose drug offenses were committed while they were in school and receiving federal aid.

Also in February, DRCNet issued our first major report, published under the auspices of CHEAR, "Falling Through the Cracks: Loss of State-Based Financial Aid Eligibility for Students Affected by the Federal Higher Education Act Drug Provision," finding that a majority of states deny state financial aid to applicants because of drug convictions, even though few of them have laws on the books directing them to do so. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Maryland offered legislation in the state's 2006 session to address that situation, and efforts underway in states around the country to take on the issue at that level.

Speakers appearing in this photo include Rep. Bobby Rush (at the podium), with Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Robert Andrews, drug provision victim Caton Volk, Jo'ie Taylor of the United States Student Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy national director Shawn Heller and Legal Action Center representative Jennifer Collier.

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