1. Newsletter Printed
2. Jan Pleas Update
3. DRCNet in the Media
4. Daily Bulletins from DPF Conference
5. DRCNet Contributing to National Medical Marijuana Day
6. Plea for Help
>From David Borden, Director, Drug Reform Coordination Network Email:
1. NEWSLETTER COMING OUT -- Issue #4 of The Activist Guide
has been printed and is being mailed today to the hardcopy subscribers.
The electronic version will be made available by this weekend. Remember,
I am no longer automatically sending The Activist Guide to the entire DRCNet
email membership. I am only emailing it to those of you who have specifically
requested to receive it by email. If you would like to get The Activist
Guide by email and you haven't already requested it, just let me know and
I will add you to that list. You will also be able to get The Activist
Guide from various UseNet newsgroups, including "talk.politics.drugs"
and "alt.drugs", or by anonymous ftp (site and directory to be
announced shortly). I will send another announcement when the document
becomes available. This month we have focused on medical marijuana and
the nationwide protests this Tuesday 11/15.
2. JAN PLEAS UPDATE -- Earlier this fall, DRCNet members
and other supporters staged a letter writing campaign to Judge James Richardson
of Council Bluffs, Iowa, asking him to let the jury decide the issue of
medical necessity in the case of Jan Pleas, a 37-year-old mother of two
teenagers who uses marijuana to relieve the pain of her severe glaucoma.
Attorney Don Fiedler, a former director of NORML, reports good and not
so good news. Pleas received probation and a deferred judgment on her tax
stamp violation, which means that if she fulfills the terms of her probation
for one year, the charges will be expunged from her record. The not so
good news is that the terms of probation include periodic drug testing.
Pleas and Fiedler plan to appeal the judgment and ask that the probation
is stayed pending this appeal.
When DRCNet members sent letters last summer to both judge and prosecutor
in the Daniel Billingsly case (Nightmare in Idaho, May issue), they were
well received by all parties involved. Judge Richardson reacted less positively.
According to Fiedler, the DRCNet internet bulletin on the case had found
its way to Judge Richardson, who stated for the record that the letters
from around the country did not affect his ruling, and that if any member
of the bar (meaning Fiedler) had initiated this campaign, he was "admonished".
Apparently a Des Moines attorney saw the internet posting, printed it out
and forwarded it to Judge Richardson (whose address was conveniently included).
Fiedler, of course, did not initiate this campaign; he simply answered
some of our questions, with the permission of his client. We have sent
a letter to Judge Richardson explaining this.
If Judge Richardson is skilled at ignoring public opinion, he is less
able to set aside his own biases. In not allowing Fiedler's motion for
a retrial, he cited legal medications that were available, including alcohol,
despite the testimony of University of Nebraska ophthalmologist Dr. Yablonski
that he had examined Jan Pleas and that these medications were not medically
viable. Hopefully the state Supreme Court will consider the actual evidence
when it makes its decision.
Fiedler says that if he had to do it all over again, knowing the outcome,
he might ask us not to send the letters. However, he doesn't think our
actions were improper or even highly unusual, and he is even considering
subscribing to The Activist Guide! He also pointed out that not all those
reading our notices are our friends; we always knew this was possible but
had never before experienced the effects directly. We will be careful,
especially if we conduct similar campaigns in the future.
3. DRCNet IN THE MEDIA -- From time to time I hear from
people who heard about DRCNet through the media. Recently this has included
the San Francisco Bay Guardian and a Los Angeles radio station. We very
much appreciate your efforts in publicizing this project. If any of you
have newspaper clippings or details about these two items, we'd love it
if you would send them along to DRCNet, P.O. Box 381813, Cambridge, MA
02238-1813, or by email to [email protected].
4. DPF CONFERENCE -- I will be attending the Eighth Annual
Conference on Drug Policy Reform, hosted by the Drug Policy Foundation,
next Wednesday through Saturday, 11/16 - 11/19. While there I will be working
as a volunteer for the conference and also promoting DRCNet and The Activist
Guide. This is the largest single yearly gathering of drug policy activists
(about 500 are expected this year), and I hope to build DRCNet membership
significantly. I will also have some involvement in the production of a
daily conference newsletter that the Drug Policy Foundation plans to make
available each morning to conference attendees. I hope to make these bulletins
available on the internet each day during the conference, and may also
supplement them with reviews of each preceding day. So if you can't make
it to the conference, daily conference summaries from DRCNet may be the
next best thing!
5. DRCNet CONTRIBUTES TO NATIONAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA DAY
-- Our one page medical marijuana "What You Can Do" guide (similar
to the email bulletin you received) is being mailed today to the organizers
of the nearly 70 National Medical Marijuana Day rallies. Hopefully they
will copy it and hand it out at the rallies so that people in attendance
will know what they can do to continue to step up the pressure on the federal
government. DRCNet thanks the Cannabis Action Network for doing this mailing
6. PLEA FOR HELP -- This is the monthly ritual in which
I humble myself and ask for your help in keeping DRCNet's efforts running.
DRCNet is usually in a state of fiscal crisis; this problem was unexpectedly
compounded this month when the computer we usually use for free to typeset
the hardcopy version of The Activist Guide was unavailable, and we had
to spend a very large amount of money renting computer time at a local
copy shop in order to get issue #4 out in time for National Medical Marijuana
Day. This has left us completely tapped out at a time when some critical
expenses are literally days away. These include printing of promotional
materials for the DPF conference, as well as internet and telephone bills
(which we've put off as long as those companies will allow). If you consider
DRCNet a worthy project, I hope you will consider supporting it by becoming
a member and/or making a donation. Full membership if $25, and entitles
you to 12 issues of The Activist Guide in hardcopy (much prettier than
email -- includes several pictures this time) and the "rapid-response-team"
bulletins in your choice of paper, fax, or email. (Though you already receive
all this material and more for free through email.) Newsletter alone is
available for $18 for 12 issues, and membership in only the rapid- response-team
is $10 per year. Make checks payable to "DRCNet", and send them
to P.O. Box 381813, Cambridge, MA 02238-1813. Many email subscribers have
been generous enough to support us in this way, and this has been critical
to the project's success. So if you've been thinking of making a contribution,
or now feel that you would like to, this would be an excellent time to
Donations notwithstanding, DRCNet will continue to make all its materials
available on the internet for free. We greatly appreciate the efforts of
all of our internet participants in making this project a success.
If you like what you see here and want to get these bulletins by e-mail,
please fill out our quick signup form at http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.