The Week Online with DRCNet
Issue #297, 7/25/03

"Raising Awareness of the Consequences of Drug Prohibition"

Phillip S. Smith, Editor
David Borden, Executive Director

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Note: Effective issue #300, The Week Online will be known as "Drug War Chronicle."

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Editorial: Follow the Undercurrents
  2. Bad Neighbor Policy: Learn All About the Drug War in Latin America through DRCNet's New Book Offer
  3. Historic Medical Marijuana Vote in House -- Support Rises, But Not Yet Enough
  4. House Defeats Effort to Divert Colombia Military Aid, Barely
  5. DRCNet in Action: Grassroots Action on Medical Marijuana and Colombia Votes
  6. DRCNet Interview: Baldomero Cáceres, Advisor to the Confederation of Peruvian Coca Growers
  7. Unapproved Vancouver Safe Injection Site Gets Unwanted Police Attention
  8. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- Afghanistan at a Record Pace This Year
  9. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- In Welsh Fields, the Poppies Grew
  10. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- Feds Find Plantation in Midst of California Forest
  11. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story
  12. Newsbrief: Wisconsin Weedstock Wins Appeals Court Victory
  13. Newsbrief: Australian Safe Injection Room a Success, Say Evaluators
  14. Newsbrief: Spanish Government Okays Heroin Maintenance in Catalonia
  15. Newsbrief: Dr. Strangelove, Please Call Home -- Connecticut Scientists Compile Marijuana DNA Database to Track Trafficking
  16. Newsbrief: Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Methamphetamine Package, Includes Life in Prison for 1,000 Grams
  17. The Reformer's Calendar
(read last week's issue)

(visit the Week Online archives)


1. Editorial: Follow the Undercurrents

David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 7/25/03

One of the questions I'm asked most frequently, by old friends and new acquaintances alike, is "how are things going in the war against the war on drugs?"

The answer is complicated. In some ways things are going badly: half a million nonviolent drug offenders; escalating drug war in the Andes; mandatory minimum sentencing reappearing where we thought it was gone; medical marijuana clinics raided by federal strong-men; drug testing in schools; countless outrages in communities and nations around the world.

But if the political currents of the day are against us, I tell them, the undercurrents are moving in our direction. There is a world of difference between the situation of 10 years ago when DRCNet was founded (yes, our 10th anniversary is approaching) and the dialogue on prohibition and the drug war today. We are still losing, yes, but we are losing less badly.

In 1998, for example, there were zero governors of states who would talk seriously about drug legalization. In 1999, there were two -- Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who took on the issue as a crusade -- and Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, though with less focus on it than Johnson. Numerous ballot initiatives enacting various levels and aspects of drug policy reform have passed in states around the country, many more victories than losses despite last November's setbacks. Entire new movements within the drug reform movement, such as Students for Sensible Drug Policy, have risen to prominence and are making waves in ways that would have seemed surreal a decade or more ago.

The tone of conversation and dialogue has shifted in ways proving that attitudes on drug policy are changing, slowly and gradually yet unmistakably. People today are much less likely to assume a drug reformer thinks everyone should use drugs; and are much more likely to bring up the medical marijuana votes or how New York is trying to get rid of the Rockefeller Drug Laws and what a waste of money the drug war is. They might not agree with legalization -- or they might -- but they understand that what we're doing now is not working. And they're much more willing to consider alternatives and think about what we have to say.

And in some ways the fight is starting to get close. This week, a vote in the full House of Representatives fell only a small handful of votes short of significantly cutting back funding for the drug war in Colombia -- close enough to imagine our side winning the next one, something that would have seemed a mere pipe dream several years ago to those less optimistic than myself -- and this despite hard lobbying by George Bush and Colin Powell on the other side.

It is only realistic to acknowledge that there are enormous political forces arrayed against us and that the laws and policies in place in the United States are atrocious. But the shift in attitudes and in the balance of power of drug politics is also real, and one need only know where to look to see that.

Follow the undercurrents. They are flowing toward the future.


2. Bad Neighbor Policy: Learn All About the Drug War in Latin America through DRCNet's New Book Offer

On the heels of the closest-ever vote on the US-driven drug war in Latin America, there's no better time to buy and read Ted Galen Carpenter's new book "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America." Carpenter, who is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, is a "succinct, hard-hitting, fact-filled narrative of our quixotic crusade and its consequences," according to Phil Smith's book review in last week's issue of The Week Online (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/296.shtml#badneighborpolicy).

You can get your own copy of "Bad Neighbor Policy" from DRCNet by visiting our donation page at http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ and making a contribution of $35 or more -- or donate $60 or more and get two copies -- one for you and one for a friend or for foreign policy staffer in your Congressman's office when you go there to talk about this and other issues. Since most of the Members of Congress who need to be swayed on this issue are Republicans, and since Republicans like the Cato Institute because of their free-market economic stances, Carpenter's book is a fine choice to use for that purpose.

DRCNet needs your help to continue our work. Though funding prospects for later in the year are promising, your help is very much needed in the meantime -- DRCNet literally will be unable to pay its bills or payroll or keep its online petitions to Congress running through even next month, without your support. So please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ to make a generous donation by credit card or to print out a form to send in with your donation by mail -- or just send your check or money order to: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036 -- and contact us for instructions if you'd like to make a contribution of stock.

"Bad Neighbor Policy" comes out as the infamous airplane shoot-down program that claimed the life of missionary Veronica Bowers and her daughter resumes in Peru and spreads to Brazil, and the book opens with a recounting of that tragic incident. Carpenter has written a thorough, tightly-written overview of the insanity of the drug war in Latin America, offering critical analysis in an urgent issue dominated by hysteria and politics. Whether you're new to drug policy, or you're looking for a solid history and reference with all the most important facts about the Latin American drug war in one place, "Bad Neighbor Policy" will anger and enlighten.

So visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ to donate and order your copy today! Please note that donations to the Drug Reform Coordination Network are not tax-deductible. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to support our educational work, make your check payable to DRCNet Foundation, same address. Thank you for your support.

3. Historic Medical Marijuana Vote in House -- Support Rises, But Not Yet Enough

In a surprising show of strength for medical marijuana, more than 150 members of the US House of Representatives voted Wednesday for an amendment to the appropriations bill funding the departments of Justice, Commerce and State that would have barred Attorney General John Ashcroft from using federal marijuana laws against medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have legalized the practice. But the vote also demonstrated the continuing strength and persistence of the prohibitionist opposition, with the amendment being defeated by a roll call vote of 152-273.

Spurred by continuing SWAT-style DEA raids on and federal prosecutions of medical marijuana providers in California during the Bush administration, New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) sponsored the amendment with California Dana Rohrabacher (R), which read: "None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to prevent the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington from implementing State laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana in those States."

The vote marked the first time the entire House has held a roll call vote on the issue since 1998, when a non-binding resolution condemning medical marijuana passed by a margin of 311-94. But while the increase in favorable votes is significant, the nature of the debate that took place suggests that congressional drug warriors and their arguments still carry a lot of weight in the House -- no matter how lame some drug reformers find them.

After Hinchey introduced the amendment, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) commenced the attack by producing a letter from the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police opposing it, warning that the amendment could be a "significant disruptive effect" on drug crime prevention, that "marijuana is the most abused drug in America" and that blocking federal persecution of medical marijuana "sends the wrong message."

Those themes were elaborated on, embellished, and added to by a largely familiar cast of House prohibitionists. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) touched all those bases, then added that he had recently met with Dutch officials, and "even that nation, which is generally recognized for its extremely liberal drug policies, specifically has rejected the use of smoked marijuana for so-called 'medicinal purposes,' which these state referendums do not do." [Souder's claim should be news to Dutch pharmacists, who now stock government-approved medical marijuana on their shelves (http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/279/dutchmedmj.shtml).]

Following Souder's lead, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) warned that there is no such thing as medical marijuana, marijuana today makes the user "shockingly, dramatically" higher than in his youth, and that marijuana was a "precursor drug." Oh yes, and "the people were led astray" by big-spending outsiders who have "outspent opponents of these measures by two, three, four, five, ten times." But Shadegg's philippic was one-upped by veteran anti-drug crusader Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who scoffed at Shadegg's weasel words on marijuana potency. "There is a several hundred percent increase in potency in what is on the market," he claimed. "Everything we do towards trying to glorify or utilize marijuana for whatever use or whatever purpose does lead more of our young people to use this. Marijuana is a gateway drug, and so we end up with a death toll that we have seen so painfully across this nation."

But in the midst of what medical marijuana activists consider the lies, distortions, and misrepresentations of the congressional prohibitionists, one of them, Virginia's Rep. Frank Wolf (R), at the end of the night spoke words that both explain the opposition's immunity to rational argument and have the ring of truth. "Mr. Chairman, this is really a cultural issue," Wolfe said. "That is what this is all about. It is about the culture, nothing else."

Wolf's words offer a simple explanation for how a majority of the House could ignore the eloquently presented appeals to compassion, science and reason made by the amendment's supporters: It's not about that. But the amendment's supporters argued as if it were. "This is not about legalization of marijuana," Rep. Farr told his colleagues. "This is just saying, Federal Government, where those States have adopted those laws, just stay off their backs... This amendment provides States with voter-given authority to promulgate regulations to control the limited, limited, limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is an amendment about States' rights. It is about the sacredness of the electoral process and the sanctity of the citizens' votes. It is about treating people as they have instructed their government to do so."

"I ask, can we truly be so lacking in compassion?" added Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a long-shot Democratic presidential candidate who has taken a strong, progressive stand not only on medical marijuana but on drug policy reform in general. Taking a pot shot at the Bush administration, Kucinich added that it is worth reflecting on the context of "the law enforcement policies of an administration which cannot effectively meet the challenge of international terrorism, but is ready to wage a phony drug war, including locking up people dying of cancer simply because those poor souls seek relief from horrible pain."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) tried cool reason. "The fact of the matter is, we ought to let doctors prescribe the medicines they feel would be most effective for their patients," he said. "It is not up to us to stand up on the floor of this House and declare with the expertise of the politicians that we are that marijuana, or morphine, or tetracycline is not an effective drug. That is the job of the doctors and the medical professionals to make those judgments."

But it was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who hit the emotional buttons to best effect. Calling the caging of medical marijuana patients and providers "a travesty" and bluntly declaring that "the drug war is a miserable failure," he then got personal with his colleagues. "My mother passed away about four or five years ago," he said. "One of the factors in my determination tonight to stand up here before you is that I remember when the doctor told me that she had lost her appetite and I was going to have to feed her. I was very pleased that I had voted for making the medical use of marijuana legal because I could not look at myself in the face knowing that I had done that to other people who were confronted by their mother. What are we doing to someone, and they do not have to be critically ill. What about an older person that has lost their appetite and their will to live? If a doctor thinks it is going to help them to use marijuana, it is immoral for us to try to put people in jail who are moving to alleviate that type of horror that people have in their own lives."

Still, the amendment failed. And if the vote was an example of cultural war, it appears to be a cultural war that is taking on increasingly partisan coloration, at least when it comes to medical marijuana. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats voted for the amendment, while nine out of ten Republicans voted against.

"It is becoming somewhat of a partisan issue at the national level," said Drug Policy Alliance (http://www.drugpolicy.org) associate director for national affairs Bill Piper, who worked the Hill for the amendment, "but you have to remember that the Republican leadership opposed the amendment and Republicans were under pressure to toe the party line. The fact that 15 of them bucked the leadership and voted for it shows there is support even among Republican representatives." Still, Piper conceded, "the lopsidedness of the vote show that the Democrats understand this issue and see it as something they can use against the Republicans. But even if there is a partisan tinge, this is an issue that cuts across ideological lines."

Drug reformers and medical marijuana advocates are claiming a symbolic victory. "This shows real progress toward reform of the nation's medical marijuana laws," said Darrell Rogers, incoming acting executive director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org), one of the groups that had been working the Hill. "Our efforts are starting to pay off. Considering that they are comparing drug law reformers and marijuana users to terrorists these days, I think we did pretty well."

Piper agreed. "This vote shows how powerful this issue and the movement behind it is. Some people have been disappointed that the numbers weren't higher, but when you consider what the amendment would have done -- not just stopping raids and prosecutions, but barring any funds to undermine medical marijuana initiatives, barring funds to appeal the Rosenthal case -- asking members to pass something like that is pretty radical," he said. "We're thrilled. We feel like we have a floor of 152 votes, and we'll keep doing this until we get over the top. A message has been sent to Bush and Ashcroft: There are political consequences to arresting medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Maybe they'll think twice now before conducting another raid."

As for the recalcitrant Republicans, said Rogers, they just need a little bit more time and pressure to come around. "They need to see that they should be supporting their voters and not worrying about the Justice Department."

But while the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org) noted that advocates were "cheered" by the growing number of allies, it took a tougher tone than others. "By defeating this amendment, the House today guaranteed that patients battling cancer, AIDS, MS, and other terrible illnesses who find relief from medical marijuana will continue to be rousted out of their beds by armed DEA agents, arrested, handcuffed, and jailed," said MPP director of government relations Steve Fox. "This will happen even in states where the voters or state legislators have acted to protect patients from just this sort of cruelty and violence."

"It is particularly shocking that only 15 Republicans -- who regularly advocate for states' rights and reduced federal power -- voted to end the DEA's attacks on the sick," Fox continued. "Nevertheless, the 152 votes in favor of protecting patients represent a 62% increase over the last House vote on medical marijuana, so we've made major progress. We are encouraged that more than two-thirds of Democrats voted to protect patients."

To read the debate in its entirety, visit:

Part 1: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03.n1110.a09.html
Part 2: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1111/a01.html
Part 3: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1111/a02.html
Part 4: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1111/a03.html
Visit http://www.drcnet.org/wol/july23-yesno.xls to download an Excel spreadsheet -- which you can sort by state, district, Rep's name, party and votes -- containing the results for the medical marijuana and Plan Colombia votes. Visit http://www.drcnet.org/wol/july23-yesno.pdf for the same document in PDF format, sorted by state then district number.

Visit http://www.mpp.org/pdf/rollcall.pdf to see an ad placed by MPP, DPA and ACLU in the Capitol Hill news outlet Roll Call.


4. House Defeats Effort to Divert Colombia Military Aid, Barely

In a borderline show of strength, House Republicans Thursday barely beat back efforts by Democrats to redirect $75 million in funds destined for the Colombian military. The vote, on an amendment to the $17 billion foreign aid appropriations bill, was 226-195, leaving opponents of US support for Colombia's embattled government just 16 votes short of victory. The foreign aid appropriations bill passed on a vote of 370-50.

The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Ike Skelton (D-MO) would have stripped more than 10% of the $731 million in Andean anti-drug assistance that the Bush administration requested and used the money to support President Bush's announced but under-funded global AIDS initiative. Beginning with the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, the US government has thrown more than $2 billion to the Colombian military and national police. At first, the money was directed solely toward anti-drug efforts, but last year the Bush administration removed that restriction, paving the way for explicit US involvement in Colombia's multi-sided civil war.

Nine members of Congress delivered eloquent attacks on the administration's Andean policy. They included McGovern and Skelton, along with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), David Obey (D-WI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority leader, and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) did not speak, but had worked to rally support for the amendment. Five congressmen spoke against the amendment, including rabid drug warriors Rep. James Kolbe (R-AZ), John Mica (R-FL), Cass Ballenger (R-NC) and Mark Souder (R-IN), as well as the usually reform-minded William Delahunt (D-MA).

The actual vote reflected the partisan split evident in the debate. Of the 196 votes for cutting the Colombia aid, only 12 came from Republicans. And of the 226 votes to keep the aid, only 17 came from Democrats.

While unable to win the vote on the McGovern-Skelton amendment, opponents of the Colombia aid pronounced themselves satisfied with the growing opposition to administration policy in the region. "I'm actually optimistic, considering that the administration has been playing the whole 'narcoterrorism' thing and screaming 'terrorists' at the top of their lungs," said Sanho Tree, director of the Institute for Policy Studies' Drug Reform Project. "It was impressive that so many members of Congress stood up to that," he told DRCNet.

"The debate was excellent and advanced our cause," said Eleanor Starmer of the Latin America Working Group (http://www.lawg.org), an umbrella organization of more than 60 social justice, human rights, and other groups working to shift US policy toward Colombia. "The nine members who spoke in support of the amendment were able to get the message across that Plan Colombia has not achieved any of those goals set out in 2000," she told DRCNet. "They pointed out that drug production has not decreased, only shifted back to Bolivia and Peru; they pointed out the ongoing links between the Colombian army and the paramilitaries; and they pointed out that when Plan Colombia was first passed, its goal was to decrease drug abuse in the United States, which has not happened."

With Secretary of State Colin Powell and House Majority Leader Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) lobbying hard against the amendment and playing the "narcoterrorism" card, some Republicans who were sympathetic ended up voting against the amendment, Starmer said.

"The whole 'narcoterrorism' thing is a very effective political construct," said Tree. "They can not only bait someone as soft on drugs, but as soft on terrorism. But there is no such thing as 'narcoterrorism.' People get involved in the drug trade because it's so profitable," he said, "and so do the belligerents in Colombia. You don't call Appalachian pot farmers 'narco-hillbillies;' it doesn't add anything, and this 'narcoterrorism' talk does not help us understand either the phenomenon of terrorism or that of drug trafficking. In fact, the Bush administration's policies will aggravate both."

Still, said Starmer, the specter of "narcoterrorism" is not as effective as it was last year. "It was tough to oppose last year when they expanded the mission from drug suppression to include anti-terrorism, but this week it was fundamentally a debate over drug policy instead of an argument over how terrorist is the FARC," she pointed out. "The Democrats have been able to turn this around, especially when they can ask why we're funding a government that collaborates with groups on the State Department's terrorism list," Starmer added, alluding to the close ties between the Colombian military and the right-wing paramilitary forces. "This is a very contentious issue in Congress," said Starmer, "and this was hotly debated." Still, she said, that is probably it on Colombia in Congress until next year.

Maybe that's a good thing for President Bush, Tree suggested. "Bush has bitten off more than he can chew. He's sinking into three different quagmires -- Afghanistan, Iraq, and Colombia -- and he's got a declining political base and a declining tax base. He can't pay for all this. He's running huge deficits." Perhaps, as with the states, which are cutting prison sentences because they can't afford them, it is the cost that will end this policy, said Tree. "Fiscal conservatives will ultimately tip the balance," he predicted.

Visit http://www.drcnet.org/wol/july23-yesno.xls to download an Excel spreadsheet -- which you can sort by state, district, Rep's name, party and votes -- containing the results for the medical marijuana and Plan Colombia votes. Visit http://www.drcnet.org/wol/july23-yesno.pdf for the same document in PDF format, sorted by state then district number.


5. DRCNet in Action: Grassroots Action on Medical Marijuana and Colombia Votes

As the House of Representatives prepared to take historic votes on drug policy, DRCNet didn't just observe and report on it. DRCNet's action alert network sprang into action and got letters and phone calls flowing into Congress. Our work along with that of many other organizations working on these issues had a clear and positive impact on the votes.

On Monday DRCNet launched letter-writing campaigns on medical marijuana (http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/) and Plan Colombia (http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/stopthehelicopters/), issuing an action alert to this list asking our readers to visit the web sites to send e-mails and faxes to their US Representatives and the President, and to also call their Reps' offices on the phone.

Early Wednesday afternoon, we used our separate action alert list (people who've participated in web-based DRCNet action alerts since January 2001) to contact supporters in two congressional districts in Washington state whose Reps' votes were in doubt, according to information received from MPP, and we sent a similar action alert to Washington state subscribers to this list.

And later Wednesday afternoon, after learning the Colombia vote was likely to take place that night, we sent an alert to our full action alert list, urging more e-mails and phone calls. We took the opportunity to try out new features of the system we're using to try to increase participation. Each subscriber received a personalized message which identified that person's own US Rep. and the phone number of the Rep's office. And, for the first time, the action alert included a copy of the sample letter in the e-mail itself, which members could edit and send to their Reps and the President by replying to the alert itself.

Our final numbers were over 1,000 members sending e-mails or faxes to Congress on Plan Colombia and over 1,250 on medical marijuana. We have no way of knowing how many people made phone calls, but those who took the time to write back and let us know they made calls numbered about 130. This is a good contribution made by DRCNet members, including many receiving this newsletter, particularly given the last-minute nature of this particular call to action and the fact that many other groups were sending out alerts on the same issues at the same time, some of whose memberships overlap with our own.

More is needed, however, to go beyond progress to reach actual victory. Monday we will use the personalization features of our system to send out a "thank or spank" alert letting people know how their individual Reps voted on each of the two amendments, providing e-mail letters for them to send and phone numbers for them to call. And sometime next week or the following, we will distribute an action alert opposing the Senate version of the Latin American drug war funding package, the Andean Counterdrug Initiative. Will 2,000 of you respond to that one, with more time available in which to do so? How about 5,000? Or 10,000? It all depends on you.

Last but not least: DRCNet needs your financial support to continue to offer legislative services such as action alerts and our vote-tallying spreadsheet made available online to all interested parties (linked to in each of the last two articles), to do more of this crucial, action-oriented grassroots organizing, and to continue to pay for our sophisticated online action alert system with the powerful features described above that increase participation. Please visit http://www.drcnet.org/donate/ to support DRCNet's action alert program today! Donate $35 or more and you can receive a free copy of "Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America" by the Cato Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter. Donate $60 or more and get two copies, one for yourself and one for a friend or for the foreign policy staffer in your Congressman's office.

Thank you for being a part of drug policy change.


6. DRCNet Interview: Baldomero Cáceres, Advisor to the Confederation of Peruvian Coca Growers

Baldomero Cáceres Santa María, a retired professor of social psychology at the La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima, has for more than a quarter-century fought for policies that recognize the traditional uses of coca in the Andes. A Stanford University graduate, Cáceres first published on the topic in 1977, and three years later he helped organize the first conference of Peruvian coca cultivators in Cuzco. He has been working with Peruvian coca growers ever since, most recently as advisor for the Confederation of Peruvian Coca Growers (CONCPACCP).

Cáceres also maintains the Cocachasqui web site (http://www.lamolina.edu.pe/investigacion/cocachasqui/), whose call for repeal of Law 22095 -- the country's coca law -- was endorsed by the National Agrarian University as part of its centennial ceremonies. Cáceres is a proud and inveterate user of both coca and marijuana. He was pointedly uninvited to a recent contentious meeting between CONCPACCP and Peruvian government ministers led by Premier Luis Solari. DRCNet conducted this interview with Cáceres via e-mail this week.

Week Online: Last week, we reported briefly on the new set of penalties for drug offenses in Peru (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/296.shtml#perudrugpenalties). But we reported that the changes were under consideration, not yet law. Did we get it wrong?

Baldomero Cáceres: You are talking about Law 28002, which revises the penal code. It was recently promulgated by the government after being approved by the congress a few months back. It reduces penalties for some drug trafficking crimes, but it also brings nearer the criminalization of the simple growing of marijuana or poppies. In this fashion, the government is attempting to comply with the recommendations of the US Embassy to become more extreme in its treatment of this subject.

WOL: What is going on with the Toledo government? There has been a state of emergency, his popularity is rapidly dropping, and he has had to change his cabinet. Meanwhile, the Peruvian press is full of stories about the reappearance of the Shining Path. Is change coming?

Cáceres: While Dr. Solari has left his post as premier -- it is now held by a woman, Dr. Beatriz Merino -- nothing indicates a real change in the general policies of the government. The main ministries -- foreign relations, economy, defense, and interior -- continue with the same ministers, and President Toledo appears resigned to defending himself to remain in power until the end of his term without really assuming any real leadership. Meanwhile, what is certain is that the "drug traffic" will grow and the violence will reappear in the coca production zones most at risk, particularly the Ene-Apurimac river valley, because of which the area will be militarized. That brings with it the risk that the armed forces will get involved in the conflict, and their eventual corruption, as has been the case in past decades.

The mass media seem ready once again to throw up a smokescreen with a slew of stories emphasizing violence in order to hide the real business, as they did in the 1980s. The bombastic announcements of the resurrection of the Shining Path, in any case, cover up more burning questions, such as what to do about popular discontent.

We have a problem with the political class. The politicians prefer to walk blindly past the skinny cows on their way to their own state-sponsored comforts. While the politicians get personal and family security and private guards, benefits for retirees and the unemployed, like the buying power of the great majority of state workers, have been shrinking for the past 20 years. This has created a vast discontent directed at the political class, which continues pirouetting across the stage while we continue paying the price for their irresponsibly taking the country into debt and their submission to the US Embassy. It is no longer enough to "reengineer" the budget, it is not enough to create another front of political leaders to "work together." Unless there is radical change, they will not be able to confront the growing wave of discontent.

WOL: When we spoke with cocalero leader Nancy Obregon (http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/292/nancyobregon.shtml), she told us despite the setbacks in recent negotiations with the Toledo government, she thought the government was keeping "a door open" for further talks. What is the state of the cocalero movement, and, in your judgment, is there an open door?

Cáceres: After that last round of meetings with the ministers, where they deceived the cocaleros there in Lima through a Supreme Decree already denounced by the peasant leadership, the movement has entered into a period of retreat. I hope the movement recomposes and reconsolidates itself, and toward that end, there is a meeting of representatives of all the coca-growing valleys set for Cuzco in October. As for the good faith of the government, I would say that the door is open just enough to prevent it being said that it is completely closed, because they are prepared to resist any effort to clarify the problem of coca. This could be why they asked Nancy Obregon to ask me not to attend the meeting which had been brought to head by Solari's effort to take care of business.

WOL: There have been two international conferences where drug reformers have gathered this year, at Mérida in February and at Cartagena in June. You were at both. What kind of impact do you see coming from them?

Cáceres: Given that we who object to the drug war are a minority, each one of these meetings reinforces us by making us aware of the universal character of our protest. The personal relationships that are being built will hugely facilitate the consolidation of our movement. As for the proposal by Mama Coca (http://www.mamacoca.org) for an international commission, that would be a means of institutionalizing the task of questioning the "world order." I will collaborate in that, but I am proposing that more than a study commission, it would be a protest commission! Personally, I was very interested in Cartagena because you do not hear any defense of the coca leaf there since they lack our tradition of use. Because of my defense of the coca leaf, I have been invited to talk about my vision of coca at the 2nd International Symposium on Biodiversity in Cali in October.

WOL: You are a social psychologist and you have written about the role of psychiatry in creating and maintaining drug prohibition. What are you getting at?

Cáceres: I believe that ever since its separation from medicine at the end of the 19th Century, psychiatry has been accepted by society as a sort of priesthood because it attributes to itself a scientific character that it has not had for some time. It has created the pathological entity "addiction" or "dependence," which demonstrates a lack of respect for the medical experience acquired throughout the 19th Century regarding plants that have medicinal uses for the nervous system. Opium and opiates, cannabis, coca leaf and cocaine -- all were gratuitously discredited by psychiatry. Today, thanks to the advances in neuroscience coming from new technologies, it is time to reconsider the received wisdom of that bookish psychiatric tradition, which is kept alive by the World Health Organization's famous Expert Committee on Pharmacodependency, which in 1992 decided not to bring to light new information about coca.


7. Unapproved Vancouver Safe Injection Site Gets Unwanted Police Attention

Vancouver police are harassing the hemisphere's first safe injection site for hard drug users, according to site staff and Downtown Eastside activists. Police deny it. Police actually entered the premises of the unapproved site on Sunday night, but have been scaring potential clients away for the last three months by maintaining a presence near the site, said Megan Oleson, RN, in a statement Monday.

"On July 20 2003 at 1:24am, three police officers forced their way into the Safe Injection Site at 327 Carall St., questioning and detaining people accessing the drop-in area of the safe injection site," Oleson narrated. "The police officers attempted to access the injection room and were denied access by on-site volunteers, who demanded that the police present them with a warrant to search the premises. The officers involved -- badge numbers 3202, 1454 and 1886 -- had no warrant to enter the private premises and declared no reasonable cause to enter the safe injection site. Since April 7, 2003, those who access and volunteer at the safe injection site have been subject to police harassment on a nightly basis. Through search and detainment, police harass and intimidate people who frequent the site."

"We consider these allegations to be fabrications," responded Constable Sarah Bloor, spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department. "We had officers out there working patrol and they heard loud music coming form the site and they also saw a woman passed out on the couch," she told DRCNet. "They popped inside and said hello and no one answered. A woman came from the back and had a civil conversation. Then a man demanded to see a search warrant and was quite confrontational. The officers were not there more than two minutes, and just to address the loud music."

"That's utter bullshit," replied Dean Wilson of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (http://www.vandu.org), which is part of a Downtown Eastside coalition of advocacy groups that opened the safe injection site. "They've been doing systematic harassment, they park right outside for long periods with their police lights flashing," he told DRCNet. "They don't learn. The reason we opened the site in the first place was because they came and fucked with us," Wilson said.

Wilson was referring to the sudden deployment of dozens of officers beginning in April in an effort to disrupt the thriving hard drug scene centered on Main and Hastings in the Downtown Eastside. Although police had earlier vowed to use a light touch in the area until other elements of the city's much vaunted and long delayed Four Pillars (prevention, education, harm reduction, enforcement) strategy for dealing with the city's estimated 12,000 hard core drug users, they instead began saturating the area. Since then, Vancouver police have generated a steady drumbeat of civil and human rights complaints from organizations including the city's Pivot Legal Aid Society, which is filing 58 separate complaints, and Human Rights Watch, which has engaged in heated polemics over the issue with Mayor Larry Campbell, a strong supporter of the Four Pillars strategy.

The site opened when the police landed, Wilson said. "One night 50 cops show up, and our storefront just morphed into a safe injection site," he said. "Some of them really don't like it."

"They have this idea that we're supposed to be grateful they haven't shut us down," said Anne Livingston, VANDU program director. "But no, we're not grateful. They can't shut us down. We didn't ask their permission to open and we aren't asking their permission to stay open. So what we get is this systematic harassment."

"I do not believe our officers are harassing people," said Constable Bloor. "They conduct themselves in a professional manner. Officers in the area do street checks as part of routine patrol, and no one is prevented from accessing the site. We have zero enforcement."

Police may not be preventing anyone from accessing the site, but fear of police is, said Oleson. "Recent surveys have shown that periods of increased police activity at the safe injection site dramatically reduce the number of people accessing the site, dropping the amount of needles exchanged from 150 to fewer than five, while user visits plummeted from 35 to less than three," she said. And that's bad news both for the users and for Vancouver, said Oleson. "When users are discouraged from using a safe injection site, drug-related harm is increased, particularly an increased incidence of disease transmission, overdose death and street violence."

While Oleson is demanding an apology from the police department, according to Livingston, "all we really want is for the police to back off." It would be nice if they were "better informed" about harm reduction strategies, too, she added.

While some look to tensions to recede as the city's first government-sanctioned safe injection site prepares to open this September, that seems unlikely. "We're not going away," said Livingston. "There is a need to ensure that the new site is a user friendly place, and there is a need for more than one safe injection site in this city."

The Vancouver police, for their part, say they support the coming authorized safe injection site. "We continue to maintain that other forms of treatment are needed and we remind people that the safe injection site is only a research project, but the Vancouver Police Department wants a safe injection site," said Bloor. "We want to sit at the table and not interfere, we want to give it a chance."

Maybe someone should remind the officers on the Downtown Eastside beat that the department supports the notion and is practicing "zero enforcement" around the current, unsanctioned site.

Visit http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/285/vancouverinjectionsite.shtml for DRCNet's previous coverage of the Vancouver safe injection site effort.


8. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- Afghanistan at a Record Pace This Year

Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer in recent years, is preparing for a bountiful harvest, according to various press reports. The US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai has banned the production of opium, but with little apparent impact. Last year, Afghanistan supplied 75% of the world's opium, according to the United Nations, and this year it appears ready to exceed that figure.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that "Afghanistan appears poised to produce another bumper crop. In rural areas where wheat has historically been the dominant crop, fields of brilliant red, pink and white poppies are proliferating. Many poor farmers, who complain that the Afghan government and other countries have failed to ease their economic woes through legal means, say that they are growing illegal opium poppies for the first time."

Last year, Afghans produced about 3,400 tons of opium, already putting the country ahead of the record 3,250 tons harvested in 1999. The Taliban government banned opium production in 2000, reducing the crop by 90% that year.

While the United States has given lip service to Afghan opium eradication, US drug war goals are in conflict with US geo-strategic goals of maintaining a friendly regime in the country, once the main base for Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and still a country where US armed forces come under almost daily attack from Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants. According to the Post, "many well-placed politicians, police officers and military officials already are profiting from the drug trade."

"This is just outrageous," one disgruntled drug warrior told the Jewish newspaper the Forward in May, as the Senate examined the explosion in Afghan opium production under the US-created and backed regime. "If any other country was in the position we are and allowing this to happen, we would accuse them of being complicit in the drug trade. The Bush administration is showing benign neglect," said former State Department and CIA official Larry Johnson.

Most Aghan opium is destined to become heroin delivered to the thriving markets of Europe, and for this reason Britain has said it is taking a lead role in attempting to suppress Afghan production. So far, the impact is less than nil.


9. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- In Welsh Fields, the Poppies Grew

If the British can't stop opium in Afghanistan, they are at least bound and determined to stop it in the home isles. While it is not illegal to grow opium poppies in Britain, city workers in the Welsh harbor town of Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, hurriedly removed scores of the bright red flowers from alongside local roadways earlier this month after a local amateur botanist pointed them out.

While growing the poppies is not a crime, processing them in any way, including picking them, is against the law. Local officials spotted visitors doing just that in June during a local celebration of American aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who landed there in 1928, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

"Instructions have been given to remove the poppies," said Elwyn Hughes, the town's parks manager. "These poppies have been planted on county council land and we are not aware who is behind it. We are now working to tackle the problem rapidly," he told the Guardian.


10. Newsbrief: The Opium Files -- Feds Find Plantation in Midst of California Forest

Poppies are popping up all over. The Associated Press reported that federal officials had discovered and seized some 40,000 opium poppies growing deep in California's Sierra National Forest on July 16. Three men dressed in camouflage who had been slitting the poppies to obtain opium fled into the woods, said Forest Service spokesperson Sue Exline, adding that authorities may have found one of the men. "He had cuts all over his face and the brown residue all over his hands," Exline said. "He told officers he had been camping in the area and his friends had left him." He could be charged with possessing opium, a felony.

The poppies were found spread over two acres at the 3,000 foot level of the forest in an area that had burned two years ago. The area has been a popular marijuana cultivation zone, authorities said, but they were unaware of any previous attempts to cultivate opium there. "This is a pretty alarming development," said Matt Mathes, another forest service spokesman. "The environmental and public safety problems posed by marijuana are bad enough. I would think this would be worse."

The plants would have yielded about 40 pounds of raw opium or, with further processing, about four pounds of heroin. DEA officials speculated to the AP that the plantation could be a sign that Mexican heroin traffickers are following in the footsteps of their pot-smuggling compatriots, who have in recent years set up marijuana plantations in remote US national forests.


11. Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story

The Rampart scandal, where Los Angeles police anti-gang and anti-drug squads rampaged through the near-downtown Rampart neighborhood in a years-long crime spree in the 1990s, is the scandal that keeps on giving. The scandal broke in 1999, when LAPD officer Rafael Perez confessed in a plea bargain that he and other officers based at Rampart station had routinely framed suspects, faked evidence and covered up unjustified shootings.

The Rampart scandal has seen numerous investigations by state, federal, and the LAPD, and the Los Angeles Police Commission announced Tuesday there will be yet another. A blue-ribbon, 10-member panel will review how LAPD responded to Rampart. According to the Los Angeles Times, the group "will examine institutional failures of LAPD and consider whether structural changes have been made to prevent their occurrence." The panel includes lawyers and academics with strong law enforcement backgrounds as well as some vocal critics of LAPD. Many of them have served on previous panels that reviewed LAPD misbehavior, including the Rodney King beating, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and earlier Rampart investigations.

LAPD Chief William Bratton called for the new investigation in February. Bratton, who assumed his role with LAPD after the scandal, was unhappy with the department's internal probes into Rampart.

Although Perez and his partner, Nino Durden, told state and federal investigators that dozens of Rampart officers were involved in widespread corruption, only seven officers have been prosecuted. One was acquitted, three convictions were overturned on appeal (those cases continue), and three pled guilty. Last November, Los Angeles prosecutors announced they were dropping an additional 82 cases for lack of evidence, saying that Durden and Perez were not credible witnesses.

So far, the city of Los Angeles has paid out more than $40 million to settle claims from victims of the rampaging Rampart officers, and more than 100 convictions of alleged gang members and drug violators have been overturned. Most prominent among those was the conviction of Jose Oviedo, an unarmed gang member who was shot and paralyzed by Durden and Perez. The dashing duo then planted a weapon and arrested Oviedo for attempting to shoot them. He was convicted and spent three wheelchair-bound years in prison before being released as the scandal unfolded.


12. Newsbrief: Wisconsin Weedstock Wins Appeals Court Victory

Madison's inveterate marijuana activist Ben Masel has once again proven to be a gadfly that local authorities would be better off leaving alonw. As Masel announced in a Thursday e-mail, the Wisconsin 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a Sauk County ordinance used to shut down the 2000 Weedstock festival, declaring the ordinance unconstitutional.

Masel, who organized similar festivals throughout the 1990s, refused in 2000 to comply with the Sauk County ordinance, arguing at the time that it was an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly. Masel was arrested for his efforts, and Sauk County sheriff's deputies rousted the 300 to 400 people gathered at the event.

Three years later, the appeals court has agreed. While it rejected a litany of arguments crafted by Masel, enough of them stuck to convince the court that Sauk County's open-air assembly ordinance violated the constitution on its face by requiring that applications for permits be done far in advance, by barring the promotion of an event prior to permit approval, and by failing to put any time limit on the period the county had to process applications. While governments do have the right to regulate such events, the court ruled, the Sauk County ordinance did not meet the standard required of regulation that infringes on First Amendment rights: that such ordinances are "narrowly tailored to achieve a significant government interest."

Now the case goes back to circuit court, the Sauk County ordinance goes in the garbage, and maybe Weedstock can go home to Wisconsin. This year, it will be held in friendlier territory, across the Canadian border in Ontario, which currently has no valid laws against marijuana possession.


13. Newsbrief: Australian Safe Injection Room a Success, Say Evaluators

A review of the safe injection pilot program in Kings Cross in Sydney deems the program a success and clears the way for the $1.6 million per year project to continue. Studying the first 18 months of the center's operation, researchers found that more than 3,800 persons made use of the center, where injection drug users can shoot up under medical supervision and receive access to counseling and treatment. Users visited the site some 56,000 times during the period under study, the researchers found, and registered some 400 on-site overdoses -- but none of them were fatal. The report estimates that the presence of medical staff at the site saved at least four lives.

The Kings Cross safe injection site was first proposed in 1999, but faced lengthy debate and a legal challenge from the business community before opening in May 2001. The New South Wales government gave its approval in an effort to "decrease overdose deaths, provide a gateway to treatment, [and] reduce the problem of discarded needles and users injecting in public places."

According to the evaluation, the site has worked as promised. The evaluation found no negative impact on the community or any evidence of an increase in crime in the area. In fact, public support for the site grew from 68% to 78% during the 18 months, the evaluation revealed. The site made 1,385 referrals to drug treatment, "especially amongst frequent attenders, "the report noted.

According to the British Medical Journal, New South Wales officials will use the favorable evaluation to push for a continuation of the program, and officials in the Australian Capital Territory may do the same. That's not the case with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, apparently a man not inclined to let the facts interfere with his opinions. "I've never supported heroin trials and I've never supported heroin injecting rooms, and this government never will," he said.

The complete 233-page evaluation, conducted by a team led by Dr. John Kaldor, professor of epidemiology and deputy director of the national center of HIV epidemiology at the University of New South Wales, is available online at http://druginfo.nsw.gov.au/druginfo/reports/msic.pdf.


14. Newsbrief: Spanish Government Okays Heroin Maintenance in Catalonia

The Spanish Medical Agency has approved a request from the regional government of Catalonia to begin a heroin maintenance pilot program, according to wire service reports Wednesday. A similar program has been in effect in Andalusia for the past year. The Catalonia program should be up and running by the end of September, health spokesman Xavier Pomes told reporters.

Aimed at hard-core users not amenable to methadone or other treatments, the Catalonia program will try two different approaches. Some 45 subjects will be hospitalized at the St. Paul and Valley of Hebron hospitals in Barcelona and the Mutual Hospital in Terrassa for 90 days. One-third will receive heroin, one-third morphine, and one-third methadone. In the second study, 90 heroin users will come to the hospitals daily for their walk-in drugs. As in the first study, users will receive either heroin, morphine or methadone.

The intention of the programs is to "improve the quality of life of the heroin users who have not succeeded in detoxifying themselves from their addiction," said Pomes, adding that methadone maintenance programs had a failure rate of about 10%. Those who will participate in the heroin maintenance studies, said Pomes, "are a habitually marginal group who have failed to obtain results with methadone on one or more occasions."


15. Newsbrief: Dr. Strangelove, Please Call Home -- Connecticut Scientists Compile Marijuana DNA Database to Track Trafficking

Researchers working at the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory in Meriden have spent the last three years mapping the genetic profiles of some 600 marijuana samples from around New England, the Associated Press reported Monday. The work could help law enforcement track marijuana distribution, researchers said.

The DNA mapping project takes advantage of a marijuana cultivation technique increasingly popular with growers: taking cuttings (or clones) from plants with proven performance. The plants grown from the cuttings are genetically identical to their parent. Using clones instead of growing from seeds have key advantages for growers. Cloned plants are a known commodity, since given the same conditions they will behave in the same manner as their parent. A garden of clones will also grow uniformly. And with clones, there is no concern about getting male plants, which not only do not produce THC in high enough quantities, but are also a potential threat to fertilize the sought-after female plants, making them go to seed and dramatically reducing their value.

Researchers at the lab and law enforcement sources told AP that once the marijuana DNA database was large enough, "using a single marijuana bud seized anywhere in the world, police would be able to quickly deduce whether a suspect is a homegrown dope dealer or part of an international cartel."

That is wishful thinking. Clones are often sold to other growers, so the fact that a bud found in New England matches one found in, say, British Columbia, would actually demonstrate only that at some point they came from the same parent, not the fact of a continental cultivation conspiracy.

While the Connecticut database is not nearly large enough to be able to help law enforcement at this point, researchers told AP they are seeking to renew a $340,000 federal grant to continue their work and they hope federal agencies will begin sending in samples. The genetic mapping technique will not work for drugs such as cocaine or heroin, they added, pointing out that the chemical processing makes such tracking impossible.

Not everyone shares the excitement of scientists and police. "It's a huge, monumental waste of taxpayer dollars," Allen St. Pierre, executive director the National Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws Foundation, told the AP.


16. Newsbrief: Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Methamphetamine Package, Includes Life in Prison for 1,000 Grams

Methamphetamine mania continues its march across the land on the heels of the drug's slow but steady spread from West to East. Last week, Michigan became the latest state to entertain tough new legislation aimed at cracking down on meth. Cheered on by mid-state law enforcement and prosecutors, state Sen. Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck) introduced a three-bill anti-meth package that would increase penalties for methamphetamine possession, delivery or manufacture on July 17.

Under current Michigan law, any methamphetamine offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but Birkholz' package would increase those penalties, all the way up to life in prison for possession of 1000 grams (one kilogram, 2.2 pounds) of the homemade stimulant. That would mean that meth crimes would be punished as severely as similar cocaine and heroin offenses. The package would also make theft of anhydrous ammonia, used in some meth cooking formulas, a specific crime, punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to figures from the Michigan State Police, authorities busted 206 meth labs last year, double the number from the previous year, and have already busted another 104 in the first five months of this year. Those numbers helped Birkholz and her chorus of lawman supporters hype the threat. "This has become the cocaine of the 21st Century," Birkholz told a press conference announcing the bills. "It's moving... what we want to do is stop it in its tracks."

"The problem with this drug is you have the ability to make it in your house and all the things you need to make it are in your local grocery store," chimed in Eaton County Assistant Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd said. "This has become a major cancer and it's spreading," he said. But not only is methamphetamine the new cocaine and a cancer, it is also a menace -- just ask Easton County Sheriff Rick Jones. "It's a growing menace and we'll do everything we can to combat it," he said.

The package of three bills had not yet been posted at the Michigan legislative web site (http://www.michiganlegislature.org) as of press time.


17. The Reformer's Calendar

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

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 http://www.hempfest.org 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 http://www.thehia.org/PDF/2003HIAConvention.pdf 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 http://www.HempIndustries.org, e-mail [email protected] or call (707) 874-3648 for further information.

August 23-24, Vancouver, BC, Canada, CannabisExpo.com, exposition on medical cannabis applications. E-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.CannabisExpo.com 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 21-28, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, "2nd Darwin International Syringe Festival and 1st International Conference on Using Direct Action to End the War on Drugs." Sponsored by the Network Against Prohibition, visit http://www.angelfire.com/oz/syringefestival/ or http://www.napnt.org for further information or contact [email protected] or +61 (0) 8 8942 0570.

September 22-23, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, "First National Seminar on Drug Users' Rights." Sponsored by ABORDA, visit http://direitodeuso.dk3.com 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 http://www.drugpolicy.org 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 http://www.festival-du-chanvre.com 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 http://www.ihra.net or e-mail [email protected] for information.

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