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Libertarian Party Chair Endorses California Prop 19

Location: 
CA
United States
Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle has endorsed Proposition 19 on the November ballot in California. Hinkle said, "I urge Californians to vote for Proposition 19. The War on Drugs has created tremendous damage in California and throughout America, and this will help stop that damage. A vote for Prop 19 is a vote for justice and common sense."
Publication/Source: 
Independent Political Report
URL: 
http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/10/libertarian-party-chair-endorses-california-prop-19/

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson Speaks on Legalizing Marijuana

Republican Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico has recently spoken out about his belief that the war on drugs has been a failure, and he has proposed the legalization of marijuana. His willingness to challenge the establishment, especially the leadership of his own political party, has stimulated a growing national debate on marijuana policy that was long overdue, and broken the myth of consensus -- that all responsible elected officials support marijuana prohibition.

Interestingly, when Governor Johnson was first a candidate for governor, he publicly acknowledged that he had smoked marijuana, and that he had also experimented with cocaine. The voters of New Mexico apparently felt his prior drug use was unimportant, as they elected him to two successive terms as their governor. Governor Johnson is currently a tri-athlete who runs several miles each day, and avoids all drug use.

 For more information, contact Robert Pfountz at (479) 387-2318 or [email protected]

Date: 
Thu, 09/23/2010 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: 
525 Arkansas Ave. (Giffels Auditorium on 2nd Floor in Old Main) University of Arkansas - Fayetteville
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Swiss Pol Who Probed Secret CIA Prison System Says Legalize Drugs

In an interview Friday with the Austrian newspaper Kurier and reported in the Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger, prominent Swiss politician Dick Marty called drug prohibition a failure. Drugs should instead be legalized, taxed and regulated, he said.

Dick Marty
Marty was the state prosecutor in Ticino for 15 years and in 1987 won an award from the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. He was elected to the Swiss Council of State in 1995 and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1998. He has hold both positions ever since. Marty gained international prominence when he was appointed by the Council to investigate the collaboration of various European governments in the CIA's secret prison program and issued a damning report in 2006.

Drug prohibition has been "a total bust," Marty said Friday. "It only leads to high prices and corresponding profits for the drug mafia, without diminishing the access to drugs."

Recalling his years as a prosecutor, Marty added that it was only the small-time dealers who got paraded through the courts, while the drug lords were "little bothered" and stayed in luxury hotels. And despite the endless low-level prosecutions, it has never been so easy to get drugs, he added.

Money wasted on enforcing drug prohibition could instead be spent on prevention, and after legalization, governments could control the drug sector through regulation and taxation, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, Marty said.

Although he conceded that "drug prices will fall" and consumption would rise -- perhaps only temporarily -- if prohibition is ended, Marty said societies must confront the problem of consumption, much as the US did after the end of Alcohol Prohibition. He pointed to a Swiss example, as well: the use of heroin maintenance programs to reintegrate hard-core addicts into the social fabric. "These people are supported medically and they can work again," he said.

Ending prohibition must be a global affair, he said, pointing to the emerging discussion of the theme in Mexico as it is buffeted by prohibition-related violence that has left 28,000 dead in the past 3 ½ years. Still, Marty isn't holding his breath. "Worldwide drug legalization isn't going to happen" in my lifetime, he predicted.

Dick Marty is only 65. Let's see if we can't prove him wrong.

Switzerland

Press Release: 3 Georgian leaders sign Vienna Declaration, strengthen call for science-based drug policy

Public release date: 22-Jul-2010 Contact: Michael Kessler [email protected] 34-655-792-699 International AIDS Society 3 Georgian leaders sign Vienna Declaration, strengthen call for science-based drug policy First Lady Sandra Roelofs, Deputy Chairman of Parliament George Tsereteli and Vice Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs Irakli Giorgobiani show support for evidence-based drug policy 22 July 2010 [Vienna, Austria] – Sandra Roelofs, First Lady of Georgia; George Tsereteli, Georgia's Deputy Chairman of Parliament; and Irakli Giorgobiani, Georgia's Vice Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, today signed the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna, Austria. The Vienna Declaration (www.viennadeclaration.com) is a scientific statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. More than 12,580 people – including Nobel laureates and leaders in science, medicine and public policy – have signed the declaration since it was launched three weeks ago. The Declaration was published in the Lancet medical journal to coincide with AIDS 2010. "Georgia supports evidence- based policy in our efforts to protect community health and safety," said Roelofs, the wife of Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia. "Our signatures on the Vienna Declaration reinforce our recognition that harm reduction can provide numerous benefits and highlights the need to design policies that align with emerging science." Georgia is moving forward with activities that are intended to ensure safer and healthier communities across the country by taking action in three priority areas: prevention, treatment and enforcement. "The health of Georgians is paramount and therefore we are looking at many ways to improve the well-being of all of our citizens, including those facing challenges such as substance use and HIV," said Giorgobiani. Added Tsereteli: "We believe a scientific approach to drug policy is the way forward. We will move in support of evidence-based research and policy to optimize investments in public health, improve existing policies, and adopt much more effective and relevant legislation." In some areas of rapid HIV spread, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injecting drug use is the primary cause of new HIV infections. In some countries, people who use drugs are threatened with arrest, incarceration and worse, and therefore are reluctant to access the necessary public health services. "Misguided drug policies fuel the AIDS epidemic and result in violence, increased crime rates and destabilization of entire states – yet there is no evidence that they have reduced rates of drug use or drug supply," said AIDS 2010 Chair Dr. Julio Montaner, President of the IAS and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. "I welcome the endorsement of the Vienna Declaration from these Georgian leaders; it provides great hope for the future in an area of the world being devastated by the HIV and AIDS epidemic." In much of the world, the current approach to drug policy is ineffective because it neglects proven and evidence-based interventions, while pouring a massive amount of public funds and human resources into expensive and futile enforcement measures. Legal barriers to scientifically proven prevention services such as needle programmes and opioid substitution therapy (OST) mean hundreds of thousands of people become infected with HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) every year. In some areas of the world, the criminalization of people who inject drugs has also resulted in record incarceration rates placing a massive burden on taxpayers. An emphasis on criminalization produces a cycle of disease transmission, breaking homes and destroying livelihoods. "Georgia is at risk of rising HIV rates due to epidemics in neighboring countries and a high rate of injection drug use, so it is gratifying to see this type of leadership and deep support for evidence-based policy-making in this area," said Dr. Evan Wood, the chair of the Vienna Declaration writing committee and founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP). The Vienna Declaration calls on governments and international organizations to take a number of steps, including: * undertake a transparent review the effectiveness of current drug policies; * implement and evaluate a science-based public health approach to address the harms stemming from illicit drug use; * scale up evidence-based drug dependence treatment options; * abolish ineffective compulsory drug treatment centres that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and * unequivocally endorse and scale up funding for the drug treatment and harm reduction measures endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations. The declaration also calls for the meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in developing, monitoring and implementing services and policies that affect their lives. The Vienna Declaration is one step in pushing for support of science-based approaches to dealing with illicit drugs. The signature-gathering process aims to galvanise scientists and others working in illicit drug policy and place real and sustained pressure on policymakers to meaningfully consider the scientific evidence regarding the limited beneficial impact and negative unintended consequences of conventional illicit drug policies. The impact of the Vienna Declaration will be measured over the coming years, and progress reports on the adoption of evidence-based policies will be presented at subsequent International AIDS Conferences. The adoption of the Vienna Declaration's recommendations among high-level policymakers at the local, national, and international levels will also be tracked by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. The Vienna Declaration was drafted by an international team of scientists and other experts. It was initiated by the IAS, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Those wishing to sign on may visit www.viennadeclaration.com, where the full text of the declaration, along with a list of authors, is available. The two-page declaration references 28 reports, describing the scientific evidence documenting the effectiveness of public health approaches to drug policy and the negative consequences of approaches that criminalize drug users. ### BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada's largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility. The BC-CfE is based at St Paul's Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE is dedicated to improving the health of British Columbians with HIV through developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related diseases. International Centre for Science in Drug Policy ICSDP aims to be a primary source for rigorous scientific evidence on illicit drug policy in order to benefit policymakers, law enforcement, and affected communities. To this end, the ICSDP conducts original scientific research in the form of systematic reviews, evidence-based drug policy guidelines, and research collaborations with leading scientists and institutions across diverse continents and disciplines. MEDIA CONTACTS: Michael Kessler Media Consultant, AIDS 2010 Email: [email protected] Tel: +34 655 792 699 Mahafrine Petigara Edelman Email: [email protected] Tel: +1 604 623 3007, ext. 297
Location: 
Vienna
Austria

Press Release: 3 former Latin American presidents sign Vienna Declaration, join global call to action for science-based drug policy reform

Contact: Michael Kessler [email protected] 34-655-792-699 International AIDS Society 3 former Latin American presidents sign Vienna Declaration, join global call to action for science-based drug policy reform Former leaders urge alternatives to 'war on drugs' in lead up to XVIII International AIDS Conference 13 July 2010 [Vienna, Austria] – Former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Ernesto Zedillo (México) and César Gaviria (Colombia) today announced their endorsement of the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010, www.aids2010.org) taking place from 18 to 23 July 2010. The Vienna Declaration (www.viennadeclaration.com) seeks to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. The declaration was opened for endorsement by academics and members of the public on 28 June 2010. "The war on drugs has failed," said Fernando Henrique Cardoso. "In Latin America, the only outcome of prohibition is to shift areas of cultivation and drug cartels from one country to another, with no reduction in the violence and corruption generated by the drug trade." Authored by an international group of distinguished scientists and experts, the Vienna Declaration highlights the ways that over reliance on drug law enforcement results in a range of health and social harms including growing HIV rates among people who use drugs. The three former heads of state are the co-presidents of the influential Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, which strives to inform drug policy in the region and to contribute towards more effective, safe and humane drug policies. Joining them in supporting the Vienna Declaration are three other influential Latin American figures – Peruvian writer, journalist and essayist Mario Vargas Llosa, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and Sergio Ramírez Mercado, writer and former vice-president of Nicaragua. "The war on drugs has had such an incredibly negative impact on Latin America, and the fact that the Vienna Declaration is receiving this level of endorsement from former heads of state should serve as an example to those currently in power," said AIDS 2010 Chair Dr. Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). "I hope that the Vienna Declaration will inspire many more political leaders to cast aside the drug war rhetoric and embrace evidence-based policies that can meaningfully improve community health and safety." The Vienna Declaration calls on governments and international organizations, including the United Nations, to take a number of steps, including: * undertaking a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies * implementing and evaluating a science-based public health approach to address the harms stemming from illicit drug use * scaling up evidence-based drug dependence treatment options * abolishing ineffective compulsory drug treatment centres that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights * endorsing and scaling up funding for the drug treatment and harm reduction measures endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations The Vienna Declaration lists a range of harms stemming from the war on drugs, and notes that the criminalization of people who use drugs has resulted in record high incarceration rates, thereby placing a massive burden on taxpayers. "Instead of sticking to failed policies with disastrous consequences, we must direct our efforts to the reduction of consumption and the reduction of the harm caused by drugs to people and society," said Cardoso. "Repressive policies are firmly rooted in prejudices, fears and ideological visions. The way forward to safeguard human rights, security and health is a strategy of peace not war." Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, injecting drug use accounts for approximately one in three new cases of HIV. In some areas of rapid HIV spread, such as in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injecting drug use is the primary cause of new HIV infections. Legal barriers to scientifically proven prevention services such as needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution therapy (OST) mean hundreds of thousands of people become infected with HIV and Hepatitis C every year. The effectiveness of these programs is well-documented, though access to such interventions is often limited in those locations where HIV is spreading most rapidly. According to various scientific reviews conducted by the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and others, these programs reduce HIV rates without increasing drug use. "We welcome the support of Presidents Cardoso, Zedillo and Gaviria, as well as the many doctors, scientists, researchers and public figures who have already put their support and endorsement behind the Vienna Declaration," said Dr. Evan Wood, founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) and the Chair of the Vienna Declaration Writing Committee. "This level of support, especially before the conference has started, demonstrates the urgency that global leaders in many disciplines believe we must move towards reforming drug policies." As an estimated 20,000 conference participants travel to Vienna this week, conference organizers are encouraging them to join the growing call for evidence-based drug policies. "The approach to drug policy proposed in the Vienna Declaration will prevent new HIV infections and ensure that people who struggle with addiction have access to the medical and support services they need," said Dr. Brigitte Schmied, AIDS 2010 Local Co-Chair and President of the Austrian AIDS Society. "Access to proven interventions and to the highest standard of health are rights that each of us values, including those living with addiction." The Vienna Declaration was initiated by the IAS, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ### Those wishing to sign on may visit www.viennadeclaration.com, where the full text of the declaration, along with the list of authors, is available. The two-page declaration references 28 reports, describing the scientific evidence documenting the effectiveness of public health approaches to drug policy and the negative consequences of approaches that criminalize drug users.
Location: 
Vienna
Austria

Canada: Marc Emery Extradited to United States

Canada's "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery was extradited to the US Thursday morning. He had been imprisoned in Canada for the last 10 days after Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signed extradition papers. He is now a prisoner in a federal detention facility, where he awaits a court hearing Monday in Seattle.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/emerytour1.jpg
Marc Emery, on his Farewell Tour last year
Emery faces five years in prison in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors last fall. He and two of his employees, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey, had been indicted in 2005 by a Seattle grand jury for selling pot seeds over the Internet to customers in the US. Rainey and Williams earlier reached plea agreements that allowed them to serve probationary sentences in Canada.

Emery has been a relentless campaigner for marijuana legalization and, before his arrest, plowed hundreds of thousands of dollars into the movement. The DEA infamously gloated at the time that it had brought down a major legalization advocate, a move that allowed Emery supporters to plausibly argue his arrest was politically motivated.

Emery and his supporters continue to agitate for his freedom, but now, their more immediate goal is to get him transferred to Canada to serve his sentence. That was once a standard practice for Canadians imprisoned south of the border, but the Conservative government has limited its use in recent years.

Emery supporters Thursday demonstrated in downtown Vancouver and blocked traffic. The campaign is calling for global protests Saturday in a Worldwide Rally to Free Marc Emery. For more information about how to help Emery's campaign, visit the magazine he founded, Cannabis Culture.

Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year trafficking illegal drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed over 16,000 people, with a death toll of nearly 8,000 in 2009 and over 1,000 so far in 2010. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of several high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

Sunday, February 14

In Ciudad Juárez, hundreds of people participated in a protest against the government. The demonstration, organized by the National Front Against Repression, was protesting against both the drug-related violence in the city and the presence of the army, which is widely seen by locals as exacerbating the violence. (See related story here.)

Monday, February 15

In Guerrero, a a Mexican paratrooper assigned to the elite Presidential Guard in Mexico City was kidnapped and killed while on vacation. The body of the soldier -- Hermelindo Delgado Soto -- was found floating in the Balsas River. He had been kidnapped the previous Friday. It is unclear whether his death was related to his posting serving with the Presidential Guard.

Tuesday, February 16

In Sinaloa five decapitated heads were found next to a primary school in the town of Palmilla. Last week, three heads were found in the same location. Two of the bodies (to which the heads belonged) were found to have the letter Z carved into their back. This suggests that the killing had some relation to the Zetas organization, but it is unclear whether the men were killed by los Zetas or were members.

Wednesday, February 17

Five municipal police officials were among 30 people who were killed in drug-related violence across Mexico. Three of the police officials were murdered after being kidnapped by a group of heavily armed men in Sinaloa. The two other police officials were killed after gunmen attacked the home of a high-ranking police official where the two men stood guard. Another 25 people were killed in various parts of Mexico, seven of them in Ciudad Juárez. In another notable incident, three teenagers kidnapped in Sinaloa were found burned in a car.

In Chiapas 11 individuals were arrested in possession of weapons and drugs. The men were arrested after federal agents raided several locations across the state. They seized 351 grams of cocaine and 408 grams of marijuana, as well as several rifles and pistols, an SUV, $60,000 US dollars and 27,910 pesos (about $2,149). The rather small sums of money and drugs indicate that those captured were low-level operatives for drug-trafficking organizations.

President Calderon visited Ciudad Juárez for the second time in two weeks. He announced a change in strategy, although he said the army troops would remain. He also promised (without saying when) that specialists in solving kidnapping and extortion cases would be brought to the city, and encouraged citizens to pass information to authorities. Additionally, he announced that all cars in the city must have license plates (although technically this was already the law) and tinted windows would no longer be permitted. Several news agencies reported that there were some protests against his presence in the city.

Total Body Count for the Week: 111

Total Body Count for the Year: 1,264

Total Body Count for 2009: 7,724

Total Body Count since Calderon took office: 17,469

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Feature: Fired Up in Albuquerque -- The 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Jazzed by the sense that the tide is finally turning their way, more than a thousand people interested in changing drug policies flooded into Albuquerque, New Mexico, last weekend for the 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance. Police officers in suits mingled with aging hippies, politicians met with harm reductionists, research scientists chatted with attorneys, former prisoners huddled with state legislators, and marijuana legalizers mingled with drug treatment professionals -- all united by the belief that drug prohibition is a failed policy.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/vigildpa09.jpg
candlelight vigil outside the Albuquerque Convention Center (courtesy Drug Policy Alliance)
As DPA's Ethan Nadelmann said before and repeated at the conference's opening session: "We are the people who love drugs, we are the people who hate drugs, we are the people that don't care about drugs," but who do care about the Constitution and social justice. "The wind is at our backs," Nadelmann chortled, echoing and amplifying the sense of progress and optimism that pervaded the conference like never before.

For three days, conference-goers attended a veritable plethora of panels and breakout sessions, with topics ranging from the drug war in Mexico and South America to research on psychedelics, from implementing harm reduction policies in rural areas to legalizing marijuana, from how to organize for drug reform to what sort of treatment works, and from medical marijuana to prescription heroin.

It was almost too much. At any given moment, several fascinating panels were going on, ensuring that at least some of them would be missed even by the most interested. The Thursday afternoon time bloc, for example, had six panels: "Medical Marijuana Production and Distribution Systems," "After Vienna: Prospects for UN and International Reform," "Innovative Approaches to Sentencing Reform," "Examining Gender in Drug Policy Reform," "Artistic Interventions for Gang Involved Youth," and "The Message is the Medium: Communications and Outreach Without Borders."

The choices weren't any easier at the Friday morning breakout session, with panels including "Marijuana Messaging that Works," "Fundraising in a Tough Economy," "Congress, President Obama, and the Drug Czar," "Zoned Out" (about "drug-free zones"), "Psychedelic Research: Neuroscience and Ethnobotanical Roots," "Opioid Overdose Prevention Workshop," and "Border Perspectives: Alternatives to the 40-Year-Old War on Drugs."

People came from all over the United States -- predominantly from the East Coast -- as well as South Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe (Denmark, England, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, and Switzerland), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico), and Asia (Cambodia and Thailand).

Medical marijuana was one of the hot topics, and New Mexico, which has just authorized four dispensaries, was held up as a model by some panelists. "If we had a system as clear as New Mexico's, we'd be in great shape," said Alex Kreit, chair of a San Diego task force charged with developing regulations for dispensaries there.

"Our process has been deliberate, which you can also read as 'slow,'" responded Steve Jenison, medical director of the state Department of Health's Infectious Disease Bureau. "But our process will be a very sustainable one. We build a lot of consensus before we do anything."

Jenison added that the New Mexico, which relies on state-regulated dispensaries, was less likely to result in diversion than more open models, such as California's. "A not-for-profit being regulated by the state would be less likely to be a source of diversion to the illicit market," Jenison said.

For ACLU Drug Policy Law Project attorney Allen Hopper, such tight regulation has an added benefit: it is less likely to excite the ire of the feds. "The greater the degree of state involvement, the more the federal government is going to leave the state alone," Hopper said.

At Friday's plenary session, "Global Drug Prohibition: Costs, Consequences and Alternatives," Australia's Dr. Alex Wodak amused the audience by likening the drug war to "political Viagra" in that it "increases potency in elections." But he also made the more serious point that the US has exported its failed drug policy around the world, with deleterious consequences, especially for producer or transit states like Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

At that same session, former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda warned that Latin American countries feel constrained from making drug policy reforms because of the glowering presence of the US. Drug reform is a "radioactive" political issue, he said, in explaining why it is either elder statesmen, such as former Brazilian President Cardoso or people like himself, "with no political future," who raise the issue. At a panel the following day, Castaneda made news by bluntly accusing the Mexican army of executing drug traffickers without trial. (See related story here).

It wasn't all listening to panels. In the basement of the Albuquerque Convention Center, dozens of vendors showed off their wares, made their sales, and distributed their materials as attendees wandered through between sessions. And for many attendees, it was as much a reunion as a conference, with many informal small group huddles taking place at the center and in local bars and restaurants and nearby hotels so activists could swap experiences and strategies and just say hello again.

The conference also saw at least two premieres. On the first day of the conference, reporters and other interested parties repaired to a Convention Center conference room to see the US unveiling of the British Transform Drug Policy Foundation publication, After the War on Drugs: A Blueprint for Legalization, a how-to manual on how to get to drug reform's promised land. Transform executive director Danny Kushlick was joined by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies, Deborah Small of Break the Chains, and DPA's Nadelmann as he laid out the case for moving beyond "what would it look like."

"There's never been a clear vision of a post-prohibition world," said Kushlick. "With this, we've tried to reclaim drug policy from the drug warriors. We want to make drug policy boring," he said. "We want not only harm reduction, but drama reduction," he added, envisioning debates about restrictions on sales hours, zoning, and other dreary topics instead of bloody drug wars and mass incarceration.

"As a movement, we have failed to articulate the alternative," said Tree. "And that leaves us vulnerable to the fear of the unknown. This report restores order to the anarchy. Prohibition means we have given up on regulating drugs; this report outlines some of the options for regulation."

That wasn't the only unveiling Thursday. Later in the evening, Flex Your Rights held the first public showing of a near-final version of its new video, 10 Rules for Dealing with Police. The screening of the self-explanatory successor to Flex Your Right's 2003 "Busted" -- which enjoyed a larger budget and consequently higher production level -- played to a packed and enthusiastic house. This highly useful examination of how not to get yourself busted is bound to equal if not exceed the break-out success of "Busted." "10 Rules" was one of a range of productions screened during a two-night conference film festival.

The conference ended Saturday evening with a plenary address by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who came out as a legalizer back in 2001, and was welcomed with waves of applause before he ever opened his mouth. "It makes no sense to spend the kind of money we spend as a society locking up people for using drugs and using the criminal justice system to solve the problem," he said, throwing red meat to the crowd.

We'll do it all again two years from now in Los Angeles. See you there!

Nice People Take Drugs

In June we highlighted a bus advertising campaign, "Nice People Take Drugs," conducted by the British drug reform advocacy group Release. Some of the nice people from Release attended the big drug policy conference in Albuquerque last week, and they were nice enough to give us one of their new "Nice People Take Drugs" decks of playing cards, featuring politicians from the US, UK and elsewhere and the quotes they've given about their past drug use. (Whether all of the featured politicians are nice people is a subjective question, of course.) The front of the cards feature the organization's web site and a toll-free helpline, hard to see in the picture (0845 4500 215 if you're in Britain and need the help). Albuquerque's "British Invasion" also featured the Transform Drug Policy Foundation's new publication, After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation. Check Drug War Chronicle later this week for a conference report highlighting this and more. Here's a sampling of the Release cards: Last but not least, for now, a picture I snapped during the conference's closing plenary, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson delivering the keynote:

Resignation of Mexico's Attorney General Won't Change Much

I have an invited comment online at JURIST, explaining why the resignation of Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora won't change much. (Hint: It's Prohibition.) JURIST, which is published at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is "the world's only law school-based comprehensive legal news and research service," according to its FAQ. It's also free, archives included. I've already added it to my Google Reader.

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