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The Week Online with DRCNet
Issue #296, 7/18/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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  1. Editorial: Tragic Confusion
  2. Medical Marijuana Eroding Capitol Hill Prohibition Consensus -- Democrats Also On Attack against Drug Czar, Drug War in General
  3. With Hip-Hopper's Support, NY Governor Tries Again on Rockefeller Law Reform -- Not Good Enough, Say Critics
  4. Bush, Ashcroft Ask Supreme Court for Permission to Punish Doctors Who Recommend Medical Marijuana
  5. DRCNet Book Review: "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America," by Ted Galen Carpenter (2003, Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95)
  6. Newsbrief: North Carolina Prosecutor Charges Methamphetamine Cook with Terrorist Offense
  7. Newsbrief: Whites Benefit from California's Proposition 36 Disproportionately, UCLA Study Finds
  8. Newsbrief: No Needle Exchange in Delaware -- Lack of Political Support Cited
  9. Newsbrief: Colombian Supreme Court Blocks President's Effort to Recriminalize Drug Possession
  10. Newsbrief: Brazil to Cooperate in Andean Drug Plane Shoot-Down Strategy
  11. Newsbrief: Peru to Modify Drug Penalties -- One Step Forward, One Step Back, Some Standing in Place
  12. Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Canada's National Post
  13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story
  14. Web Scan: CEDRO, Foreign Policy, Reason, Nation, Working for Change, Washington Post, Molly Ivins,, UN Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sentencing Project
  15. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)

1. Editorial: Tragic Confusion

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 7/18/03

An oft-repeated play of confusion with tragic consequences is unfolding once more. Enlightened, rational people in the state of Delaware want to make needle exchange legal and allow communities to begin the urgent work of saving lives. Others with less sense won't let them.

Delaware, which like neighboring New Jersey has particularly restrictive laws preventing syringe availability -- the states ban both syringe possession for non-prescription use and non-prescription sale or purchase -- has the nation's fifth highest rate of reported HIV cases. (New Jersey also ranks near the top.) AIDS is the second largest cause of death among residents of the First State between the ages of 25 and 44. And half of Delaware's AIDS cases are found among injection drug users and their partners.

One of the obstacles to needle exchange in Delaware is Senate Health and Human Services Committee chair Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere), who considers needle exchanges programs to promote drug use and instead favors the standard pseudo-liberal combination of jailing drug dealers and treating addicts. But Blevins' viewpoint derives from a combination of ignorance and illogic.

It is ignorant to claim that needle exchange promotes drug use, because doing so ignores a mountain of evidence to the contrary. There have been eight major federal or federally-funded reviews of the research on needle exchange programs. These were carried out during the years 1991 through 2000, when the issue was hot on the government's radar screen and deregulation of federal AIDS grants to permit states to use them to fund needle exchange programs (NEPs) was being considered by Washington ( Each of these studies addressed the questions, among others, of whether NEPs reduce the spread of HIV, and whether NEPs increase community drug use. In each case, they found that yes, NEPs do reduce HIV and AIDS; and no, NEPs don't increase the use of drugs. These are the two findings federal legislation requires to be made before an administration can lift the federal needle exchange funding ban.

It is ignorant of economic law, or illogical in not applying it, to claim as Blevins has that prosecuting drug dealers in Delaware reduces Delaware's addiction rate. Prosecuting and incarcerating drug dealers does nothing to reduce addiction. Taking one drug dealer off the streets creates a business opportunity for another -- the supply of drugs fills the demand -- and jailing dealers hasn't even increased drug prices, as the smarter drug warriors looked for to happen.

And providing treatment for addicts, while potentially worthwhile, at best reduces the length of time for which some addicts remain addicted. By definition treatment does nothing to reduce the number of people who become addicted; treatment is after the fact, not preventive. And treatment doesn't protect injection drug users from the dangers of street drugs or drug-using equipment, of which exposure to diseases like HIV and hepatitis are only one. As AIDS prevention advocates have pointed out countless times: "Dead addicts don't recover." It's all so simple.

Blevins' senate colleague, Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) understands at least of some of the truths that Blevins can't or won't, and continues to champion needle exchange legislation in Delaware's legislature. She has garnered an impressive array of support, at the national and state level, from medicine, public health, law enforcement, even officials of her own city, who want to start a needle exchange to stem the crisis but need the state's permission to do so.

Unfortunately, prejudice dies hard. The state has not allowed Wilmington to move forward, much less changed Delaware's laws overall. Sadly, many more of Delaware's weakest will have to suffer and die before needle exchange opponents listen to reason. And the same story could be told of numerous states and communities around our nation and countless individuals and families whose lives have or will be permanently scarred, because of a bad idea, held against all evidence, by people with neither the right nor the reason to believe that they know better.

2. Medical Marijuana Eroding Capitol Hill Prohibition Consensus -- Democrats Also On Attack against Drug Czar, Drug War in General

A series of recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest that the medical marijuana issue is causing fissures in what is becoming an increasingly shaky consensus in support of harsh anti-drug measures in Congress. While none of the votes resulted in victories for drug reformers, they appear to signal a growing acceptance of medical marijuana in Congress and the emergence of a partisan divide on drug policy, at least at the national political level.

In the last two weeks, hearings on the nomination of Karen Tandy as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP, the drug czar's office), and the Barr Amendment barring Washington, DC, from implementing a voter-approved medical marijuana program have provided the opportunity for critics of the Bush administration's hard-line drug policies to step up and fight back. The result has been criticism of the drug war the likes of which has never been heard on the Hill.

On Tuesday in the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Sam Farr introduced an amendment to the Barr Amendment that would have allowed medical marijuana laws to be enacted in the District. The amendment would have allowed the city to use municipal instead of federal funds to implement a medical marijuana program. While that amendment failed on 35-16 vote, the number of yes votes was the highest yet, and while every Republican voted against the measure, roughly 80% of committee Democrats voted for it. Of Democrats voting no, all but one were from the South. And Farr requested a roll call vote, thus putting the representatives on the record as being for or against medical marijuana in the District.

The debate also saw heated words from Democrats, including ranking Appropriations Committee member Rep. David Obey (D-WI), who lashed out at the GOP. "Nothing makes me more angry than this issue," he said. "When I decide what I want on the way out, or what a family member needs on the way out," he continued, "It's none of your damn business!" he shouted, pointing directly at Republicans on the committee.

Last Wednesday, the action was in the House Judiciary Committee, which was considering the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 2003. Unlike previous years, committee Democrats did not merely rubberstamp the bill, but used the hearings as an opportunity to attack the Bush administration not only on its medical marijuana policy, but also on the drug war in general. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) offered two amendments, one that would have barred the drug czar from intervening in state elections or initiatives related to medical marijuana and one that would have barred the drug czar from approving the budget of any agency that used its funds to arrest medical marijuana patients. While both amendments failed, all Democrats present voted for the latter. There was no roll call vote on the former.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) went even further. She introduced an amendment that would have killed the entire ONDCP reauthorization bill. The drug czar's office is "wasteful, ineffective, and unworthy," Waters said, and the bill is "not worth the paper it is printed on." Surprisingly, 10 of 11 Democrats present voted for the Waters amendment. It failed in the face of solid Republican opposition, but egged on by Waters, other Democrats went on the attack.

The war on drugs is a "dismal failure," said Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC), adding that there is nothing he finds more embarrassing than the federal government's drug policy. Reps. Nadler and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) also ripped the war on drugs -- "we are falling on our own sword," said Jackson-Lee -- while ranking minority member Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) criticized the huge and growing number of prisoners filling US jails with nonviolent drug offenders. In all, committee Democrats offered up nine anti-drug war amendments, all of which failed on near party line votes.

And that same week, Karen Tandy, the Bush administration's nominee to head the DEA, ran into unprecedented opposition in the Senate Judiciary Committee. While the committee approved her nomination on a voice vote, some Senate Democrats harshly criticized both Tandy and the Bush administration's persecution of medical marijuana patients and providers. Tandy had provided written answers to earlier questions, but her position on DEA raids against medical marijuana remained steadfast.

"If I am confirmed as administrator of the DEA, it will be my duty to see to the uniform enforcement of federal law," Tandy wrote. "I do not believe it would be consistent with that duty for me to support a moratorium on enforcement of this law, or any law, in selected areas of the country." Besides, she wrote, while THC may have some medicinal value when processed into Marinol, "marijuana itself, however, has not been shown to have medical benefits."

Tandy might want to take a look at the Institute of Medicine report on the medical uses of marijuana commissioned by former drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey, fumed Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), who also questioned whether the DEA should "continue to focus its limited resources on the question of medical marijuana." Saying Tandy "didn't back off an inch" in the face of concerns about the medical marijuana raids, Durbin pointedly cast a no vote against her nomination. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) voted to approve Tandy's nomination, but not before heaping additional complaints on her. Tandy "doesn't seem amenable to listening" to popular concerns about the raids, Feinstein grumbled. Rescheduling marijuana might be necessary, she suggested.

Taken together, the clashes on Capitol Hill over drug policy in general and medical marijuana in particular in the last two weeks demonstrate both an increasing sympathy for medical marijuana, at least among Democrats, and the beginnings of a partisan divide over drug policy. "That's definitely the case. We've seen the Democrats becoming very critical and outspoken," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance's ( Washington office. "They are attacking the DEA raids, they are trying to stop the drug czar from campaigning against initiatives. At the Tandy nomination, we saw for the first time direct criticism directed at the DEA nominee over these raids. And they are attacking the drug war in general."

"The Democrats, at least, are finally confronting reality," said Steve Fox, director of governmental relations for the Marijuana Policy Project ( "They are finding that medical marijuana is not only real, but popular, and the justifications for opposing it are beginning to sound ridiculous. The Republicans haven't figured this out yet. Not enough of them know about how Bob Barr was defeated." (Barr, one of the most rabid drug warriors in Congress, lost in the Republican primary last year, at least in part because he was targeted by medical marijuana advocates and the Libertarian Party for his drug war views ( "Hopefully next year we'll be able to play a larger role in the elections and make these people realize there is a price to pay for opposing medical marijuana."

Still, Fox is not convinced that medical marijuana is the issue that will lead to the unraveling of the war on drugs. "It is clear that the Bush administration is overreaching on the medical marijuana issue, and this is showing people how foolish our drug policies are. It is also raising issues of priorities, fiscal responsibility, and compassion -- why are we wasting our time and money on this? The same arguments you can make about medical marijuana, you can make about other drug policies," he said. "But on the other hand, while medical marijuana is a drug reform issue, it is also an issue that is outside of drug reform. It is basically a health and privacy issue -- should the federal government be telling patients and doctors what to do? You don't have to be a supporter of drug reform to support medical marijuana, and it remains to be seen if support for that will bleed over into other areas of drug policy. The Republicans accuse us of using medical marijuana as a wedge issue for legalization, but that's not true. Anyone in his right mind would support it."

Nor is he certain that a partisan divide on drug policy will be etched in stone. "I don't see this as a divide that will last forever or one that holds true once you get to the state and local level," he said. "In states where we've been active, we had a GOP-controlled House in Vermont and a Republican governor in Maryland supporting medical marijuana, and similar support in other states. Congress is just a crazy place," Fox said. And many Republicans are voting no reflexively, he added. "For the most part, these are party line votes, and it takes a lot to move someone to the other side. They have to have a reason to break party discipline, and we haven't given them one yet. Even now, most politicians think the support for medical marijuana is wide but not deep. Until we can prove otherwise, there is no reason for them to chance being seen as soft on drugs."

MPP is working on that, Fox said. "Next year, we'll do a massive voter education effort to help a moderate Republican lose a race. It would take the loss of just one person, say Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA), to change the entire dynamic. We have a real strong desire to educate members of her district."

3. With Hip-Hopper's Support, NY Governor Tries Again on Rockefeller Law Reform -- Not Good Enough, Say Critics

Hip Hop empresario Russell Simmons is getting a rapid education in the politics of drug reform in New York, but perhaps not rapid enough. Simmons, whose Hip Hop Action Summit network has sought to mobilize the energy of the hip hop nation for positive political change, played a key role in creating mass protests against New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws in June and managed to insert himself into negotiations over competing versions of Rockefeller law reform in the days that followed. Those negotiations faltered, however, and this week Simmons announced that he had signed on to a new reform proposal from Gov. George Pataki (R). Problem is, in so doing, Simmons has managed to alienate the constituencies that have worked for years to obtain meaningful reform or outright repeal of those laws -- not merely window-dressing.

Under the Rockefeller drug laws, named for former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, who instigated them in the early 1970s, the possession of even relatively small amounts of hard drugs can lead to prison sentences of 15 years to life. New York prisons are stuffed to the rafters with some 19,000 small-time, usually black or Latino, drug offenders serving Rockefeller law sentences. For the past two years, Gov. Pataki, the Democratic-led State Assembly, and a growing coalition of pro-reform or pro-repeal groups have been entangled in a so far fruitless effort to reach a workable compromise. The primary issues in the way have been the degree of sentence reductions, funding for drug treatment, and the demand by prosecutors, backed by state Republican legislators, that they continue to wield power over sentencing decisions instead of judges.

Monday night, Gov. Pataki announced his new proposal, highlighting the following provisions:

  • Nearly 80% of drug offenders sentenced to prison annually would be eligible for a shorter sentence (approximately 5,400 drug offenders out of approximately 6,800 sentenced to prison annually based on 2002 admissions).
  • Class A-I, first-time drug offenders would receive a 50% reduction in minimum sentences, from 15 years to 8 years. With earned good time and merit time, offenders could be eligible for work release after serving 3.7 years in prison. Over 90% of Class A-I drug offenders sentenced to prison over the last 5 years were nonviolent, first offenders.
  • All other nonviolent drug offenders would be eligible for sentencing reductions as well. For example, the minimum amount of prison time for a Class B, nonviolent drug felon will be reduced by 45% from 3.8 years (with merit time allowance) to 2.1 years. 70% of Class B predicate felons sentenced to prison within the last 5 years had no prior violent felony conviction.
  • The weights would double for certain controlled substances. 63% of Class A-I drug offenders sentenced to prison over the last five years and 58% of Class A-II drug offenders sentenced to prison over that time period were committed on drug possession only.
  • All nonviolent Class A-I drug offenders could apply for re-sentencing. Approximately 90% of drug offenders serving life sentences for Class A-I drug convictions could be eligible for retroactive re-sentencing. Of the approximately 550 Class A-I drug offenders under custody, 370 (67%) could be eligible for immediate release if sentenced to the new minimum determinate and awarded merit time and good time.
  • All other non-Class A-I drug offenders under custody who have not reached their minimum sentences would be eligible for an additional merit time reduction of 1/6 off their minimum sentences. Approximately 10,000 would be eligible for the additional reduction.
  • Increased determinate sentences for drug felons with prior violent felony convictions.
  • Mandatory 3-year consecutive sentence for those who carry, use or possess a gun in the course of the commission of certain drug offenses.
  • New kingpin offense for those who exercise leadership roles in a controlled substance organization.
  • Enhanced penalty for a person 21 years or older for using a minor less than 18 years of age in the commission of a drug sale or for using the Internet to sell illegal drugs.
"There is general consensus that the Rockefeller drug law sentences are in need of reform," Governor Pataki said in a press release announcing the new proposal. "This legislation corrects the portions of the laws that are widely agreed to be too harsh and should be overhauled. Through this proposal, hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders currently serving unduly long sentences could be reunited immediately with their families and thousands of other nonviolent offenders in prison could have their sentences reduced as well."

His proposal is a "just and balanced bill," Pataki added, one that sends "a clear message that New Yorkers will not tolerate those who jeopardize the health and safety of our communities by selling drugs."

But while Simmons and Democratic presidential contender Al Sharpton signed on in support of Pataki's new proposal, they were almost alone. "We are most disappointed by the complete lack of judicial discretion and the absence of any drug treatment diversion provision or funding for low-level offenders under this proposal," said State Assembly leader Sheldon Silver in a joint statement with Jeffrion Aubry (D-Queens), who has made changing the Rockefeller laws a capstone of his political career. Silver's aides told the New York Times the Pataki plan couldn't even be considered dead on arrival, since it had never officially arrived -- only an outline had been slipped under an Assembly lawyer's door Monday night.

"This is a great public relations move, but it is bad public policy," Andrew Cuomo told the Albany Times-Union. Cuomo, a former Democratic gubernatorial contender, had worked with Simmons in pushing for reform. "Now, we don't know what the bill actually means."

"On balance, we think it is a bad deal," Robert Gangi of the Correctional Association of New York told the Times. "The message that needs to be communicated to the governor and to Russell Simmons is, "Don't come back with a drug law reform proposal unless it restores sentencing discretion to judges.'"

As if that criticism weren't enough, even the Drug Policy Alliance, which had shepherded Simmons in earlier negotiations with the governor, was keeping its distance. "From my perspective, what they did was take a tentative agreement and add a lot of frills to it that eviscerates any of the good stuff that was in it," said Deborah Small, the group's director of public policy, who had accompanied Simmons at the June meetings. "If this passes, it will do more harm than good."

Paradoxically, Simmons' miscue in signing on to the governor's newest model may have helped solidify a movement for repeal or radical reform which had begun to splinter as the possibility of a deal drew tantalizingly near. Simmons' endorsement of the Pataki plan can be excused as a political newcomer's naivete, but that's no excuse for Pataki and state Senate Republicans. Rockefeller reform still appears as far off as the day Pataki began claiming he wanted it in January 2001.

4. Bush, Ashcroft Ask Supreme Court for Permission to Punish Doctors Who Recommend Medical Marijuana

The Bush administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that bars the federal government from taking prescription licenses from doctors who recommend marijuana to patients for medical reasons. After the passage of California's medical marijuana initiative in 1996, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (the drug czar, then Gen. Barry McCaffrey) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) moved to strip licenses to write prescriptions for drugs from physicians who recommended that their patients use marijuana for medical purposes. California doctors, patients and activists filed suit to block the DEA, and the 9th Circuit agreed in an October 2002 ruling, finding that forbidding physicians from writing recommendations -- not prescriptions -- for or even discussing medical marijuana violated their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court is not bound to hear the Justice Department's appeal, but if it does so it will give the court the first opportunity to revisit the medical marijuana issue since 2001, when it ruled that federal drug laws provide no exception for medical marijuana use. Since the laws in all nine states where medical marijuana is legal (Maryland, the ninth state, retains a token fine for medical marijuana users) require some sort of physician recommendation mechanism, an adverse ruling in the Supreme Court could effectively neutralize those laws -- if no doctor will recommend for fear of losing his prescription license, no patient can meet that requirement. At the least, it would have a chilling effect on doctor-patient communication about medical marijuana. "Doctors would begin censoring their conversations with patients," said Graham Boyd, head of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Policy Litigation Project, who successfully argued the case, Conant v. McCaffrey, in the lower courts. "Important medical information for patients who could benefit from marijuana will not be conveyed if the government prevailed, information about dosage, frequency, routes of administration," he told DRCNet.

On July 10, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review the case in its next session, which begins in October. The 9th Circuit's decision barring the government from taking action against physicians who recommend medical marijuana "effectively licensed physicians to treat patients with prohibited substances" and interfered with the government's authority "to enforce the law in an area vital to the public health and safety," the Justice Department wrote in documents filed with the Supreme Court. Doctors who recommend medical marijuana are no different than those who would dispense LSD or heroin, argued Solicitor General Ted Olson.

Angel Raich of Oakland doesn't see it that way. "What about the health and safety of these patients?" said Raich, 37, who relies on medical marijuana to alleviate a litany of diagnosed maladies, including an inoperable brain tumor, wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, scoliosis, chronic pain disorders, sleep disorders, and a heart murmur. "If I don't medicate with marijuana every two hours, I'll lose a pound a day. If we lose this case, doctors would not stick their necks out, my doctor could lose his license. Patients like me would literally be dying," she told DRCNet. "They give me my cannabis in the hospital now. This would mean no overnight stays there, no treatments there. This would be devastating."

Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML (, agreed that that an adverse ruling would be bad news indeed. "A bad ruling would be terrible," he told DRCNet, "it would basically end access to medical cannabis." But Gieringer doesn't see that happening. "This is pretty standard First Amendment stuff," he said, "and the Supreme Court has backed those freedoms pretty consistently, even in the flag burning case. Most attorneys I've talked to feel the government has a losing case."

Boyd, who would have to argue the case if the Supreme Court accepts it, was more circumspect. He was loathe to make predictions, he said. Still, "every judge who has looked at the case -- five judges, three Democrats, two Republicans, right across the political spectrum -- so far has rejected the government's position," Boyd conceded. "It is also notable that the government's position has drawn support from almost no one, and opposition from many, many groups."

Angel Raich is still worried. "Conant represents so much. If we don't do well with Conant, that's a signal that other medical marijuana cases will fare poorly, too. This could be very devastating," said Raich, who spent four years in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed "until cannabis came along." She would consider emigrating, she said. "I would hate to think I wouldn't be able to be safe in my own country," she said, "but I would have to leave."

It may not come to that, since the Supreme Court has not yet decided even whether to hear the government's appeal. And, Gieringer added, if the court actually upheld the government's position, it could be time for a new California initiative. "Cannabis as an over-the-counter medication -- what do you think about that?" he asked. "I think it could actually have a chance if it came to that."

5. DRCNet Book Review: "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America," by Ted Galen Carpenter (2003, Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95)

Phillip Smith, Week Online Editor, [email protected], 7/18/03

That Ted Galen Carpenter's masterful account of US drug policy in Latin America begins in the skies over the Amazon with the shooting down of a small plane carrying US missionaries resulting in the death of Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter is both timely and appropriate. Timely because the US, Colombian, Peruvian, and now the Brazilian, governments are right now in the midst of scheming to reinstitute the murderous policy of blowing the planes of suspected drug smugglers out of the sky if they fail to heed orders to land. And appropriate because the response to the inevitable tragedy is so indicative of the US crusade against drugs in Latin America: "It didn't work, so let's do it again, even more so."

As Carpenter explains, the policy that led to the killing of Veronica Bowers was part of a US effort to eradicate domestic drug consumption by cutting off the supply, in this case, Peruvian coca paste and cocaine flown to Colombia for further processing and distribution in North America. Beginning in 1990, Peruvian and Colombian air force fighters, directed by US surveillance planes and radar, shot down at least 33 planes, though as Carpenter points out, it remains unknown how many were really drug traffickers. Peruvian coca production shrank dramatically, although that may have had more to do with an epidemic fungus than with enforcement efforts in the sky or on the ground. But the success was only apparent: Like a balloon squeezed in one spot, new coca production sprang up in Colombia, exploding until Colombia is now the world's largest coca producer.

That tale is instructive, but it is hardly unique in Carpenter's succinct, hard-hitting, fact-filled narrative of our quixotic crusade and its consequences. Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, DC, Carpenter scathingly unveils the evolution of a US drug policy whose roots lie a century back and whose fruit is bitter and poisoned, like the coca crops of Colombia today. Driven by domestic political considerations, institutional self-interest in the military and the drug war bureaucracies, and imperial arrogance, US administrations since Nixon's have pushed an aggressive, increasingly militaristic, policy of source country eradication on a reluctant Latin America.

As Carpenter shows with example after example, ramification after ramification, the results have been disastrous. Take Colombia. After twenty years of ever-increasing US military and other assistance to help Colombia "fight the war on drugs," that country has gone from exporting marijuana and small amounts of cocaine to become the world's leader in cocaine production and distribution. Small bands of smugglers morphed into lethal, sophisticated crime organizations, then, under the pressure of the war against the cartels, morphed back into more decentralized organisms. But the cocaine never stops coming. Meanwhile, growing fat off the trade, leftist guerrillas and rightist paramilitaries alike swelled, leaving a spreading trail of violence across the land.

By any sane yardstick, US drug policy in Colombia is a miserable failure, as Carpenter makes clear in some detail. Thousands die in political violence related to the drug trade, hundreds of thousands have been turned into refugees, hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land have been sprayed with poisons. And the cocaine never stops coming. But sanity is not what drives US drug policy in Colombia, and the fact that even with another billion or two in US military assistance it is difficult to see anything approaching success has Carpenter worried. "If the effort fails to achieve its objective," he writes, "pressure will mount on the United States to increase its commitment. Even during these relatively early stages of the campaign, one can hear arguments that America's credibility is on the line... In Colombia, another quagmire is beckoning."

Carpenter packs a lot of factual detail and analysis into 233 fast-reading pages. In one chapter, he dissects the package of supply-side solutions -- eradication, crop substitution, interdiction -- and finds them wanting. In another, one that resonates oddly as the United States embarks on a militant, rough-riding foreign policy around the globe, he describes the favored US tactics of bullying, pressure, and coercion, the resentment they inspire, and the anti-American sentiments they fuel across the hemisphere. "Those who favor using such coercive tactics," writes Carpenter in words seemingly specially crafted for the Bush foreign policy team, "should consider the possible adverse consequences. It seems profoundly unwise for the US to attempt to dictate the policies, much less the composition, of foreign governments. Such imperialistic pretensions are certain to be widely resented, especially in Latin America... The perception that US ambassadors are modern day Roman proconsuls implementing Washington's imperial edicts could undermine the legitimacy of the hemisphere's democratic governments and reawaken virulently anti-American emotions throughout the region."

But the US does not simply inflict its drug war, with all of its baleful results, on its hemispheric neighbors, it inflicts it on itself, and Carpenter waxes eloquent here as well as he describes the familiar litany of legions of prisoners, a gutted Bill of Rights, and a shrill, hysterical, and ever-escalating prohibitionist mindset. And unlike too many academics and other writers on the war on drugs, who clearly see the nature of the problem but fear to speak the solution, Carpenter makes no bones about calling for the legalization and regulation of drug use and the drug trade. "The only way out of this public policy morass is to adopt a regime of drug legalization," he bluntly states.

Despite the author's libertarian leanings, "Bad Neighbor Policy" is driven largely by pragmatism, not overt ideology. While a handful of references to the failures of central economic planning or the virtues of free trade agreements may cause some grinding of teeth in Buenos Aires or Bogota, Carpenter's libertarianism here targets primarily the unseemly state power of the US drug war machine.

Carpenter's libertarian skepticism of state power doesn't prevent him in the second to last paragraphs of the book from resorting to an argument that is all appealing to drug reformers but which drug policy and foreign policy reformers alike should approach with care. Ending the war on drugs, he argues, would "free up thousands of personnel and billions of dollars for waging the war against terrorism." True, but the futility of one never-ending war, as Carpenter has just spent a book describing, and the abuses of power involved in it, ought to lend caution to calls for bringing more troops into Ashcroft's Army.

Small quibbles aside, "Bad Neighbor Policy" is an excellent introduction to US drug policy in Latin America and a scathing indictment of it, all wrapped up in a nice, neat package. For area and policy specialists there are no earth-shattering revelations -- only tight narrative and tighter argumentation -- but for younger readers, those who weren't paying attention for the past quarter-century, and those who are relatively new to the topic, "Bad Neighbor Policy" will be a real eye-opener.

6. Newsbrief: North Carolina Prosecutor Charges Methamphetamine Cook with Terrorist Offense

You think you've seen every possible bit of silly drug war overreaching, but then comes along someone like North Carolina's Watauga County district attorney Jerry Wilson to prove you wrong. According to a Wednesday report in the Winston-Salem Journal, Wilson has charged a local man with two counts of manufacturing a nuclear or chemical weapon after he was busted cooking methamphetamine in his home last week. It is a novel use of a state law designed to confront "the terrorist threat," but instead of ridiculing the overzealous prosecutor, North Carolina law enforcement and political officials are praising him.

"This is a two-edged sword," Wilson said. "Not only is the drug methamphetamine in itself a threat to both society and those using it, but the toxic compounds and deadly gases created as side products are also real threats. I feel that, as a prosecutor, I have to address this. Something has to be done to protect society." He told the newspaper he decided to use the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) law as he researched ways to stop the advance of amphetamine in the region. The 12-year-to-life sentence on the WMD charge is more than he can get with a meth charge, usually 30 months.

Attorney General Roy Cooper thought it was a great idea, a spokesman told the Journal. "Attorney General Cooper worked with the governor and the legislature to toughen anti-terrorism laws, and he supports efforts to use the laws of our state to protect North Carolinians from potential terrorist activities and dangerous drug production," the spokesman said. So did Watauga County Sheriff Mark Shook. "I love it," Shook said. "Now instead of laughing at you when you charge someone, they're going to go 'Whoa.' This really gives us something we can use."

It is unclear how many people find a three-year prison sentence something to laugh about, but just in case defendant David Miller was giggling, Wilson, in a fine example of prosecutorial overcharging, also charged him with one count each of manufacturing a controlled substance (methamphetamine), maintaining a dwelling place for a controlled substance, and possession of the immediate precursor chemicals with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a controlled substance. But wait, there's more. He was also charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance, one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction (an automatic firearm) and two counts of possession of the immediate precursor chemicals. And just in case, there are not one, but two, counts of manufacturing WMDs.

7. Newsbrief: No Needle Exchange in Delaware -- Lack of Political Support Cited

Last year, Delaware had the nation's fifth highest rate of reported HIV cases, and AIDS is the second leading cause of death among Delaware residents aged 25 to 44, but the state remains immune to harm reduction policies, specifically needle exchange programs, that have been proven to lower such numbers. And even though intravenous drug use now accounts for most new HIV infections in the state, not only does Delaware block needle exchanges, it is one of only five states that continue to block the sale of syringes without a prescription.

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) has tried for the past decade to win state approval for a needle exchange program in her hard-hit district, she told the Delaware News Journal. "The fact is that Wilmington is in a crisis situation. It's an epidemic," she said. But this year she didn't even bother to introduce a bill. "The reason is I've received significant opposition from fellow legislators who said I was promoting drug use," Henry said. "I've had the full support of City Council and the mayor to do a pilot program in Wilmington, but we just couldn't get that done." Still, Henry added, she will probably reintroduce her needle exchange bill when the legislature reconvenes in January.

In neighboring Maryland, a Baltimore needle exchange program is credited with reducing the HIV infection rate by 24% since 1999, according to the Maryland AIDS Administration. That and similar successes have led the American Medical Association, the Medical Society of Delaware, the American Pharmacists Association, the Delaware Pharmacists Society and even some Delaware law enforcement officials to support needle exchanges, but Delaware lawmakers aren't listening.

"Sen. Henry's heart is in the right place. She's basically trying to eliminate disease as far as AIDS and hepatitis," Newport Police Chief Michael Capriglione, president of the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council, told the News Journal.

But politicians such as Sen. Patricia Blevins (D-Elsmere), who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, see needle exchanges as promoting or condoning drug use. "I think our first line of defense needs to be reducing the number of addicts in the state," Blevins told the News Journal. "That certainly starts with drug treatment and with prosecuting drug dealers. I think Delaware has done a good job with that." Meanwhile, intravenous drug users and their partners now account for more than half of all HIV infections in the state, according to figures released last month by the state health department.

8. Newsbrief: Whites Benefit from California's Proposition 36 Disproportionately, UCLA Study Finds

In a study released on July 7, researchers at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program reviewing the first year of implementation of California's pioneering "treatment not jail" law surprisingly found that whites made up half of those referred under the measure designed to divert nonviolent drug offenders from prison into drug treatment. Whites make up only 30% of all California drug offenders.

While the study's authors did not seek to explain the anomaly, interested reformers offered some tentative opinions to the Los Angeles Times. Admitting that the fact that whites seemed to be benefiting more from the law was a concern, Whitney Taylor, former director of Proposition 36 implementation for the Drug Policy Alliance, suggested that it resulted from differential policing. A heavier police presence in black and Latino neighborhoods probably means higher arrest and conviction rates and thus more members of those communities becoming ineligible to participate. "I don't think it's a problem with the proposition," she said, "I think it's a problem for the criminal justice system."

Dan MacAllair, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, speculated that whites could have access to better legal representation. "There are questions that need to be answered," he said. "I would want to look at arrest and charging patterns. Is it an economic crime in certain communities as opposed to a user crime in white communities? We need to be collecting the data."

In other findings, the UCLA researchers noted that methamphetamine users made up 50% of those diverted to treatment, cocaine users came in at 15%, and heroin users at 11%. Strangely enough, persons arrested for marijuana crimes constituted 12% of all diversions.

Visit to read the report online.

9. Newsbrief: Colombian Supreme Court Blocks President's Effort to Recriminalize Drug Possession

On July 9, the Colombian Supreme Court threw a wrench into President Alvaro Uribe's effort to recriminalize simple drug possession through a referendum set for later this year. Drug use and possession have been legal in Colombia since 1994, when the Supreme Court ruled that laws punishing them violate the rights to privacy and personal development of Colombians. The court ruled last week that a referendum on the drug question is unconstitutional.

Taking the question of recriminalizing drug possession to the voters was part of a broader, 19-point referendum dealing with electoral and financial changes desired by the Uribe administration. The Supreme Court also declared three other sections of the referendum unconstitutional, but gave its okay for a vote on the remaining 15 points.

In a televised address, an unhappy Uribe told his constituents he would heed the court's ruling, but continue to seek to change the law. "As president of the republic, is it my job to comply," he said, before proceeding to say how he would attempt to get around the ruling. "Some people ask me what is going to happen with the important questions that were declared unconstitutional," he said. "Penalizing personal use was declared unconstitutional in this country, which has suffered so much because of drugs. It is a country that has seen two generations killed because of drugs. A country that has extradited so many citizens because of drugs. A country with a peasantry that has suffered so much because of drugs, with its ecological resources martyred by drugs. Such a country must insist on eliminating not only the production and the traffic in drug, but also their use," Uribe said.

To do so, Uribe said, "on July 20 we will present this article which has been declared unconstitutional to congress. We will propose to the congress a bill that permits the punishment of personal drug use."

That statement drew a harsh response from Guaviare congressman Pedro Arenas. In a statement made public by the Colombian Institute for Development and Peace (, Arenas said, "With this proposal, the country is taken back to a matter that was settled by the court in 1994, when it declared the personal use of drugs constitutional. [The drug provision] in the referendum was another demonstration of the prohibitionist, repressive and criminalizing character of the current government, which mixes in the same article peasants, whom it jails, fumigates and persecutes, as well as users," said the congressman.

"With those provisions, the government will carry off to jail thousands of peasants, coca leaf pickers and addicts, which would be unconstitutional in the light of the 1994 ruling," Arenas continued. "What I want to say is that although the court buried [the drug provision], the government still has the legal tools to continue with its policy of criminalization. For now, the government is losing the drug fight with the courts. The court has already said that to fumigate in indigenous territories, the government must first consult with them; the tribunal of Cundinamarca has ruled that the government is not complying with the plan for environmental and health management [regarding fumigation of proscribed crops]; a tribunal ordered the Department of the Environment to pay for not having complied with the plan for environmental management; and the reality is that they are also losing in that the crops are not being reduced at the rate they wanted. This all goes to show that the problem is a political one, of national dependence on a policy designed in the US in line with the prohibitionist dogmas of the Vienna Conventions," Arenas said.

"Best wishes to the Supreme Court, which has shown once again that it can be an uncomfortable pebble in the shoe of the government of the day."

10. Newsbrief: Brazil to Cooperate in Andean Drug Plane Shoot-Down Strategy

While the election of Brazilian President Inacio "Lula" Da Silva may, as DRCNet has reported (, augur progressive change in that country's domestic drug policies, all signs are that Brazil under Lula will continue to cooperate in the US-dominated hemispheric war on drugs. The Brazilian and US militaries continue to cooperate in the construction of an Amazon basin radar array, and while Lula has publicly stated his opposition to Plan Colombia, his ministers are working to coordinate the reinstatement of one of that policy's most drastic aspects: the shooting down of suspected drug-smuggling planes.

That policy came to a screeching halt in April 2001, when Peruvian pilots directed by CIA contract employees blew a plane carrying US missionaries out of the sky over the Amazon, killing US citizen Veronica Bowers and her infant child. US, Colombian and Peruvian officials have been working ever since to get past the embarrassing killings and back to the business of only murdering suspected drug pilots. Last week, according to Reuters, Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Viergas said Brazil was working with Peru and Colombia to devise a set of common rules to govern the shoot-downs. While Viergas said the three countries were seeking a legal way to shoot down suspected drug planes, international civil aviation law makes no provision for shooting down planes of suspected criminals.

The three countries needed "coordinated legislation" to track planes as moved from country to country, Viergas said, adding that they may form a joint air traffic control system. "Our legislation must be compatible. I've been to Peru, and I've been to Colombia, and I've talked to my colleagues, I'm familiar with their legislation," Viegas said in Washington on July 10. Viergas added that he had briefed US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the process of coordinating the shoot-down policy, as well as meeting with other senior US defense officials and members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Brazilian politicians are considering a bill that US drug warriors will find pleasing. Washington has long urged Latin American governments to expand the role of the military in the war on drugs. The bill would give the Brazilian armed forces a permanent role in fighting the drug war, something Latin American governments have been chary of for fear of easing the return of the military dictatorships that plagued the region as recently as 20 years ago.

Viegas isn't so enthusiastic about that. "What we need to do is strengthen the police and develop the necessary and pertinent ways the armed forces can provide them with logistical support, not substitute them," he told Reuters.

11. Newsbrief: Peru to Modify Drug Penalties -- One Step Forward, One Step Back, Some Standing in Place

The Peruvian government this week announced proposed modifications in the national penal code that will shorten sentences for most drug offenses and leave intact the code's provision barring the prosecution of simple drug use or possession. But the proposed changes would also increase criminal penalties for small-scale drug dealing. The measure is a revision of the Law No. 28002, the country's drug law.

But given the sorry state of the government of President Alejandro Toledo -- his popularity currently hovers in the single digits and his cabinet was just reshuffled in the wake of violent protests resulting in a state of emergency -- and its other urgent priorities, whether the proposal will make it through the parliamentary process while Toledo is still around is an open question.

Among the proposed changes, as reported by El Peruano:

  • Ends life imprisonment.
  • Retains Article 299's exemption from penalty for personal possession and use, but replaces the judge's discretion to determine the amount of drug considered personal with specified, as yet undetermined, quantities.
  • Reduces penalties for possession with the intent to traffic from 8-15 years in prison to 6-12 years. Fines are reduced from 120-180 daily minimum wages to 60-120.
  • Reduces penalties for aggravated drug trafficking from a mandatory minimum 25 years to 15-25 years. Aggravating factors include misusing public office to sell drugs, selling to minors, being a member of a drug-trafficking organization, or selling more than 10 kilograms of cocaine, five of opium, or 100 of marijuana.
  • Creates a penalty of 25-35 years in prison for a "drug lord" -- defined as a person who acts as leader of a drug trafficking organization -- or for someone who uses the traffic to finance terrorism.
  • Increases trigger quantities (exempts more low-level offenders) but increases penalties for small scale trafficking or production ("microcommercialization" or "microproduction"). For sales or production of less than 25 grams of cocaine, five grams of opium, or 100 grams of marijuana, penalties increase from 1-4 years to 6-10 years.

12. Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Canada's National Post

In a July 11 editorial, Canada's National Post newspaper called for the legalization of marijuana under the headline "Legalize Pot." Aside from the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Post is the only Canadian newspaper considered to have a national reach. The newspaper had supported Prime Minister Chretien's marijuana decriminalization proposal, the editorial noted, but the current medical marijuana snafu -- because of repeated court rulings, the Canadian federal government finds itself in the uncomfortable position of being forced to distribute medical marijuana in order to avoid the collapse of its marijuana laws -- has led the Post to the conclusion that decriminalization isn't enough.

"Outright legalization may be in order," the Post editorialized. "Ottawa finds itself in the strange position of being a de facto pot dealer. This status quo cannot last," not because that would be morally wrong, but because it conflicts with the Post's free market ideology. "Marijuana is a chemically complex substance and only a free-market solution can supply therapeutic users with the variety and quality they seek. Second, it seems wrong as a matter of economics for the federal government to be a drug industry monopolist -- just as it is wrong for provincial governments in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and elsewhere to be booze industry monopolists. When the state gets involved in the sale of state-regulated substances, inefficiencies and conflicts of interest inevitably abound. In the long run, it makes more sense for pot to be treated like tobacco or prescription drugs -- regulated, but not sold by, the government."

It is the issue of medical marijuana that has led to the possibility of legalization, opined the Post. "First, the issue of therapeutic marijuana has created a sense of urgency in regard to drug reform: It is inhumane to deprive AIDS and cancer sufferers of an effective means of pain relief for a day longer than necessary. Second, by bringing a sympathetic, politically active class of marijuana smokers into the public spotlight, therapeutic marijuana has helped debunk the image of pot users as Cheech and Chong-style stoners.

"The result is that public acceptance of marijuana is increasing and even decriminalization now appears inadequate as a reform measure. Hopefully, this change in attitude will soon translate into political action. We look forward to the day when pot decriminalization gives way to pot legalization."

Read the complete editorial online at:

13. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story

After a brief hiatus, the corrupt cop weekly feature returns. This week, we go to North Carolina, where the leader of the Robeson County Sheriff's drug task force has resigned amidst allegations he falsified evidence to obtain search warrants. Lt. C.T. Strickland resigned June 27, although that information was not publicly known until last weekend.

Strickland had been placed on administrative leave after his credibility was questioned in court. North Carolina Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks had thrown out evidence in a drug case in September after learning Strickland had lied to obtain a search warrant in the case. In his affidavit to a magistrate to obtain a search warrant for the home of Christopher Logan and Gary McLean in Red Springs, Strickland wrote that he had an informant make a drug buy at the house under his supervision.

Logan and McLean were arrested and charged with selling crack cocaine, but during proceedings in the case, defense attorneys presented evidence showing that Strickland's informant had never been in the house, had not bought drugs there, had never worked any other cases with Strickland, and in fact, had only met Strickland the day before the search warrant application was made. This prompted Judge Weeks to throw out the evidence that grew from the bogus search warrant affidavit and to rule that Strickland had "knowingly" provided false information to the magistrate to obtain the warrant.

Perjury is a Class F felony in North Carolina, punishable by up to 68 months in prison, but Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt has yet to decide whether to charge Strickland, the Fayetteville Observer reported. Nor have Robeson County authorities asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the incident, Fayetteville district supervisor Jerry Weaver told the newspaper.

Britt dropped the charges against Logan and McLean, but there is no word yet on whether he will review other cases made by Strickland during the eight years he headed the drug task force.

14. Web Scan: CEDRO, Foreign Policy, Reason, Nation, Working for Change, Washington Post, Molly Ivins,, UN Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sentencing Project

The Netherlands drug research think tank Centre for Drug Research, or Het Centrum voor Drugsonderzoek in Dutch (CEDRO), has added three new documents to its online library:

Justus Uitermark and Peter Cohen detail how a March meeting on "law enforcement and terrorism," which included Dutch and American law enforcement officials, produced little to do with terrorism but much to do with drugs, particularly ecstasy, in:
"The Netherlands as a Branch of American Law Enforcement?"

CEDRO director Peter Cohen criticizes the dogmatic basis of the United Nations drug treates, in:
"The Drug Prohibition Church and the Adventure of Reformation"

John Davies, Douglas Cameron and Ernest Drucker criticize the "Farmington Consensus," which has been used to stifle unpopular ideas and debate about fundamental questions on addiction, in:
"Damned and be Unpublished?"

Ethan Nadelmann urges Latin American leaders to break with US-led drug policy, in:
"Addicted to Failure"

Jacob Sullum describes the threat to freedom of speech and assembly posed by the RAVE Act, for Reason magazine, in:
The Chill Is On: Fighting Raves, Squelching Speech

Jason Vest profiles incoming DEA administrator Karen Tandy in:
"A New Hard-Liner at the DEA"

Bill Berkowitz profiles Tandy for Working for Change, in:
"Tandy Won't be Dandy for Medical Marijuana"

Former Baltimore police officer and doctoral candidate Peter Moskos writes that "eighty years of failed drug prohibition have destroyed swaths of urban America," a Washington Post, op-ed:
"Victims of the War on Drugs"

Columnist Molly Ivins decries the drug war's draconian response to crack cocaine use:
(follow menu to July 10 or July 15 if it doesn't immediately show)

New Freedom of Information Act research finds that Venezuela's government under then-president Carlos Andrés Perez successfully resisted US pressure to aerially fumigate drug crops using glyphosate in 1988-89:

The UN's 2003 Global Illicit Drug Trends report is now online at:

A Bureau of Justice Statistics report, "Money Laundering Offenders, 1994-2001" (NCJ-199574), is available at or in print by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at (800)-851-3420.

The Sentencing Project has launched its new web site, featuring news, events, and downloadable publications on sentencing, incarceration, felony disenfranchisement, juvenile justice, drug policy and other issues. Visit to check it out.

15. The Reformer's Calendar

(Please submit listings of events concerning drug policy and related topics to [email protected].)

July 23, "Drug Policy Reform 2003: The State of the Movement," forum with Ethan Nadelmann. At the San Francisco Medical Society, 1409 Sutter St., call (415) 921-4987.

July 24, "Can We Really Afford a (Failed) War on Drugs?", forum with Ethan Nadelmann. At the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, 595 Market St., visit for info.

August 11-16, Seattle, WA, "Northwestern Exposure," speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

August 16-17, 10:00am-8:00pm, Seattle, WA, "12th Annual Seattle Hempfest." At Myrtle Edwards Park, call (206) 781-5734 or visit for further information.

August 20-23, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, 2003 Hemp Industry Association Convention. Registration $200, $150 for additional family members, includes meals, tipi camping and activities. Visit for further information or contact (707) 874-3648 or [email protected].

August 22, 10:30am-5:30pm, Hot Springs, SD, Public Industrial Hemp Seminar, featuring speakers, exhibits, vending, benefit auction and complimentary hemp food lunch. At Mueller Civic Center, admission free, visit, e-mail [email protected] or call (707) 874-3648 for further information.

August 23-24, Vancouver, BC, Canada,, exposition on medical cannabis applications. E-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

September 4-5, Missoula, MT, "2nd Annual Montana Drug Policy Summit." At the University of Montana campus, contact John Masterson at [email protected] for further information.

September 18, Tallahassee, FL, "Innovations in European Drug Policy," the Richard L. Rachin Conference. Sponsored by the Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in conjunction with the Journal of Drug Issues, at the Center for Professional Development, contact (850) 644-7569 or [email protected] to register or (850) 644-7368 or [email protected] for further information.

September 20-27, Phoenix, AZ, "Phoenix Rising: LEAP in Arizona," speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

September 22-23, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, "First National Seminar on Drug Users' Rights." Sponsored by ABORDA, visit for further information.

October 5-17, Deming, Silver City, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, NM, "Continuing Drug Policy Reform in New Mexico," speaking tour by Jack Cole and Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

October 22, 7:00pm, Syracuse, NY, "Against All Odds: Cops Fighting the War on Drugs," forum with Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Sponsored by Reconsider: Forum on Drug Policy and Syracuse University Students for Sensible Drug Policy. At Syracuse University, for further information contact Gerrit Cain at [email protected] or Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected].

November 5-8, East Rutherford, NJ, biennial conference of Drug Policy Alliance. At the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center, 2 Meadowlands Plaza, visit for further information.

November 7-9, Paris, "Fourth Hemp and Eco-Technologies Exhibition." At the Cité de Sciences et de L'Industrie, call +33(0) 1 48 58 31 37, e-mail [email protected] or visit for further information.

January 28-February 7, 2004, Hannibal, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, "Special Delivery for John Ashcroft," speaking tour by Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Roger Hudlin. Contact Mike Smithson at (315) 243-5844 or [email protected] for details of individual engagements.

April 20-24, Melbourne, Australia, "15th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm." Visit or e-mail [email protected] for information.

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